Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Education Just Happens... Does it really?

By Maryann Turner
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #14, 1996.

Pin It

Maryann Turner


What do you need to be a successful unschooler? The obvious answer is not necessarily the right answer. Many unschooling advocates would say that all you need is a child's natural curiosity about the world around him. Yes, that is one of the main ingredients in a positive unschooling experience, but of equal importance is the environment in which the child carries out his daily learning.

If you envision a well-rounded, well-educated adult emerging from a cocoon of flexible relaxed home education, then you have to be sure to include the necessary tools in that cocoon during the metamorphosis. It is necessary that your child have the love of knowledge modeled for him every day by his mentors. He has to see you eagerly take on new learning experiences. It is very important that he know you are available to help him answer questions about the world around him, even if you don't readily know the answers. He has to be confident in his (and your) ability to search for knowledge.

Show Enthusiasm

The most important gift you can give your eager learner is enthusiasm. If he doesn't see you get excited in the quest for education, his excitement will soon die. Give him space to explore the world around him, but be handy in case he wants to include you in his explorations. Be open to the learning opportunities in your everyday life. Should he suggest a walk in the woods, take time to walk with him. Listen to his questions, because when he asks, he is opening the door for you to be an active part in the learning process.

You can't teach a child that isn't receptive to learning, but if the door is open the education pours right in. Sitting him down at a desk with a bunch of books doesn't work, because all he has to do is either tune it out or memorize and remember a bunch of facts for a short time and he's done. In either case, true education didn't take place. Education has to start in the heart. If you leave the door open, the opportunity will arrive.

A Step in the Write Direction

My younger children had never shown interest in spelling correctly, and to be quite honest I was starting to worry a little, because like all good moms I thought my 10-year-old would eventually need to be able to spell something, other than cat. After a year of their journal writing (a project they began, because they wanted to do what Mom does), my 10-year-old came to me with a request that totally erased all worries. He said, "Mom . . . I think I need to work on my spelling. It takes me too long to write in my journal when I have to figure out how to spell every word." I started looking through the mountain of spelling programs I had purchased, just in case this moment ever arrived. Guess what? None of them seemed right. So much for impulse spending! Time for Plan B, I picked up the homeschool catalogs and every spelling review I could find. I finally decided on a program that took only a short time each day, and seemed easy to use.

It is working beautifully. Not only is he enthusiastic about his spelling endeavor, it has carried over to his younger siblings. Now they greet me at the breakfast table with their spelling list. This is unschooling at its best. All I had to do was give them the right ingredients. Not only did knowledge grow, so did wisdom. He became wise enough to realize he needed to learn to spell.

Space to Grow

Unschooling doesn't necessarily mean never using textbooks or never teaching your child anything. Unschooling is a phrase that originally meant "doing it differently than the schools do it." In a Christian unschooling home, the unschooling approach fits right into the Christian structure and framework you have already set up. You simply give your child space to grow and mature into the person God made him to be. Surround your children with learning opportunities and learning tools, share in the joy of learning and model a lifetime learning attitude for your children to mirror . . . then education just happens!


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning

Articles by Maryann Turner

What is Unschooling?

Education Just Happens... Does It Really?

Getting Ready for College in the Early Grades

The Most Significant Scientific Discovery of All

What is Our Job as Parents?

This Land is God's Land

Doing It All Can Do You In!

Unexpected Gifts

Community Service?

You Don't Have to Be Perfect... Just Smile!

Play Ball!

Celebrate the Simple!

Popular Articles

A Reason for Reading

Laptop Homeschool

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Character Matters for Kids

Critical Thinking and Logic

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

The Benefits of Debate

Classical Education

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

University Model Schools

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

The Charlotte Mason Method

I Was an Accelerated Child

AP Courses At Home

Teach Your Children to Work

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Combining Work and Homeschool

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

The Gift of a Mentor

Phonics the Montessori Way

Start a Nature Notebook

Montessori Math

The History of Public Education

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Shakespeare Camp

Bears in the House

Who Needs the Prom?

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

Teaching Blends

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Myth of the Teenager

Getting Organized Part 3

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

How to Win the Geography Bee

Narration Beats Tests

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers