Unschooling is a homeschool philosophy largely based on child-led learning. It embraces the idea that children learn best when they want to learn something. It also maintains that a great deal of what we need to know we can learn through life experience.
This does not mean that parents who embrace this method simply take the hands off of the homeschooling wheel and allow their children to drive. Instead, unschooling parents make an active effort to engage children in various activities in order to get them interested so that they will want to learn new things. Strewing is a common activity in which interesting resources are left around the house so that children will pick them up and want to investigate topics further.
Interested in learning more? I reached out to a Catholic unschooling group that I belong to on Facebook to get their best recommendations on resources for Catholic unschoolers.
In many ways, John Holt is the father of modern homeschooling. His observations of how children learn challenged the traditional school system he was then a part of. Here are a couple of his works worth checking out:
How Children Learn – This classic explores how for children “learning is as natural as breathing.”
Learning All the Time – Explores how small children learn the basics of education without being “taught”.
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie is a more recent homeschool classic. This is a short book, only about 100 pages, but eclectic and relaxed homeschoolers of all stripes will find wisdom and encouragement in these pages. Mackenzie also tackles self-care for homeschooling moms.
Suzie Andres has published two books on Catholic unschooling, both of which are worth reading:
Homeschooling with Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschooling – Suzie Andres describes her search for the perfect educational methods for her children which led her to unschooling: “It has taken years of trial and error, along with the grace of God, for us to find the homeschooling approach that fits our family best. I have enjoyed writing about our experience in the hope of helping others to discern how God is leading them.” This approach to education is not only gentle but filled with a trust in God and the natural tendency for learning that He has placed in us all.
A Little Way of Homeschooling – This is one of my all-time favorite homeschooling books. Suzie Andres and twelve other Catholic homeschoolers describe how they implement an “unschooling” style of teaching in their homes.
Sue Elvis is an Australian Catholic unschooler. She shares her experience and wisdom in a blog, podcast, and videos, all of which are accessible on https://www.storiesofanunschoolingfamily.com/. She is also the author of Curious Unschoolers and Radical Unschool Love, both of which offer a comprehensive look at what life is like in her unschooled family.
Faith Roberts has a YouTube channel devoted to Catholic unschooling. You can check her out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGFEBTgFYesIm7EAE4GMP4Q/videos
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