When I started homeschooling my son, Danny, I had a hard time making a decision about which homeschooling model to use. I had always been a good student in school so the more traditional models – the ones that were more like school at home – felt right to me. Still, my heart was telling me that unschooling was the way to go. Letting him learn at his own pace, letting him choose what he wanted to learn, using the whole world as a classroom – I knew that was how he would learn lessons far beyond reading and math.
I read every book on unschooling that I could find and I thought I had my brain around it, but it was so hard to let go of the notions about learning I’d acquired growing up. What we ended up with is something of a hybrid – we focus on what he wants to learn and the majority of our time is unstructured, but we also use an online learning program for a small portion of his day. Maybe that’s just a nod to my own insecurities, but it works for us.
One day I came home from work and he was reading a comic book and watching a cartoon at the same time. I asked him if he’d done his online program for the day. He said he hadn’t, but that he would. Exasperated, I pointed to the computer and said, “Get over there and learn something.” He looked at me and calmly replied, “But I am learning something. I’m comparing the animated cartoon to the original comic book. Then I’m going to write about it. Learning is everywhere, remember?”
Yes, I remember. Learning is everywhere.