Friday, May 24, 2013

Unschooling Structure - Does Your Child Need More??

The best thing about unschooling is that it is custom fit for each individual child.  Their interests. Their skills. Their passions. Their talents. Their goals. Their needs. And yet, I continue to hear homeschooling parents say that while unschooling would work for one or some of their children, they have one in particular who needs more "structure" - craves it.  So, for that child, unschooling would not be a good fit - it just wouldn't work. Some have even "tried it out" for that kid. And found that without this needed "structure", they floundered - didn't know what to do with themselves.

Did I mention how unschooling is custom fit for each individual child?  :)

We have an image of the ideal unschooler inside our head. The inspired, creative children who seem to have idea after idea. They move effortlessly from one self-directed project to another - following their own path of rabbit trails. I have one of those children. I marvel at her. Just trying to keep up with her makes me tired. But honestly, most of the time what she needs from me is to be there to share ideas with, help her get the stuff she needs and get. out. of. her. way.  

But not all unschoolers work this way. Some children do need and appreciate more parental input. More ideas. More suggestions. More guidance and direction. More..."structure". 

My oldest has tended to be this way. She doesn't know where to start with things sometimes and appreciates having someone by her side to walk her through step by step. She requests it. Needs it. Someone to give suggestions. Remind her of her goals and timelines. Encourage her to focus. Nudge her more often. Even give a gentle push from time to time. She knows the ball is in her court - the choices are hers to make and she has veto power when it's not working. But she needs more in this area than her younger sister does.

A particular child's need for structure, for direction, does not necessarily have to mean prepared curriculum, workbooks and textbooks - though unfortunately, that tends to be how most parents interpret it. Sometimes a child simply needs a bit more parental involvement and guidance as they find their way, in their own way, on this unschooling journey.  

If your child needs more...give them what they need. That's precisely what unschooling is all about.