Unschooling means many different things to people. To my family it means that we are continuing a lifestyle we began when our oldest, Alexander, was born known as attachment parenting. When Alexander was born we ignored the majority of books on parenting and instead followed our hearts. We created a family bed where the three of us (eventually four of us) slept until each child was ready to move into a bed in our bedroom and then into their own room. I breastfed (tandem for several years) until both kids were naturally ready to wean on their own. Rather than "disciplining" our children, we tried to figure out what was happening in their surroundings or life that was creating an upset and worked with each child. We have allowed our children lots of time for play, exploration, and rest. We have trusted that if we had a strong connection with our children and allowed them to be who they really are, they would thrive.
Unschooling is a natural extension of attachment parenting. As our children have become teens, we have trusted that they are making decisions based on their individual needs. We encourage them to talk with us but also respect that sometimes they need to explore life alone or with friends. Rather than following a curriculum designed by strangers, we follow the needs and desires of our children. Sometimes I am their teacher, and often they are mine. Many times we are learning together for the first time. We learn and grow together as a family and individually.
My children have never attended school or sat down to do "school work" (unless requested by them) . They have both followed their many interests and through their own curiosity, they have learned to read, do math, ponder on science, and explore history. As a mother and life learner, I have learned much. I have learned many interesting things about life while following their lead. I have learned to slow down. I have learned patience. I have learned that children do not have to lose their desire to learn if it is never taken away from them.
Following are websites and books that have enriched our lives.
Born to Learn...Free to Learn
The Natural Child Project
I Live Therefore I Learn: Living An Unschooling Life
Unschooling Is Not Relaxed Homeschooling
The Biggest Bed in the World
Nighttime Parenting by William Sears
Learning at Home: A Mother's Guide to Homeschooling by Marty Layne
The Call to Brilliance: A True Story to Inspire Parents and Educators