Unschooling; education without teaching

Whilst we have been on this journey, we have got chatting to so many folks and have been met with, “wow, good on you, what a great experience for the kids” almost every time. But someone asked me the other day what lessons I teach Jack. When I replied that we don’t really do lessons, the chap was quite puzzled. So it prompted me to write a little bit about what we actually do do.

The night before last, we ‘wild camped’ at a spot on the B8007 on the way back from the Isle of Mull. As we often do, we parked up, then headed off for a bit of an explore. Jack said he was heading down the rocky shore, and then a few minutes later called me over. He had found some mussels, live ones. So we decided, seeing as mussels are his absolute favourite, that we were going to forage some and have them for supper. An hour or so later, after walking, well climbing/falling down some seriously challenging rocks, we had collected a carrier bag and pockets full of mussels. Now, whilst we were doing this, we talked about topics such as:

  • sustainable fishing
  • how shellfish eat and breath
  • 36964814_10160682165390375_7130239305905078272_nwhat is the point of seaweed
  • why certain creatures allow other creatures to live on them
  • why in Scotland we have seen more wildlife in the waters than we do at home
  • the advantages and disadvantages of being different creatures
  • how do we know what is poisonous and what isnt
  • what you could use mussel shells for
  • oh and we held starfish!

Jack being the talkative chap that he is, loves these sort of chats once he gets going. He also comes up with the most insightful and brilliant ideas, as most children have the ability to do. So, without a workbook or even a chair in sight, he learnt something, many things in fact. And did so by using his own mind, experiences, and real things that were in front of him. This is the type of learning that was championed by Maria Montessori.

We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.” Montessori.

And isn’t that just so true? Real learning, discovery, expanding of the mind, can occur only when the child (or adult) is ready for that learning, and experiences it. But sadly, at most UK schools, how many opportunities are there for this to happen? So, in a nutshell, this is why we unschool. We believe in giving children the opportunity to develop their own mind in any and every way they choose, as opposed to telling them the stuff that’s going to be on the test. As a byproduct – delicious mussel supper!!mussels

So back to the real important stuff now…ITS COMING HOME!!! [and to prove the point that learning only is effective when the child cares, I sat through many English lessons at school and I still don’t know if it is: its’, it’s or its.] But, I don’t care because whatever it is….FOOTBALL’S COMING HOME 🙂


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