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Homeschool Fiction

Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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March 2009
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Topics: education,empowerment,homeschooling,mindful parenting,Unschooling

“How much time does Unschooling take?”

Before I first became a parent, I was fully aware that my child would take up most of my time.  As she even demanded to be with me during my sleeping and showering minutes, I quickly researched if that was normal — IT IS! — and I learned about Attachment Parenting.

Time went by and our parent-child relationship grew and grew.  Before I knew it, she was “preschool” age and I knew I’d never be able to send her to school of any kind.  So, I looked into all of our homeschooling options and stumbled upon Unschooling.  Since unschooling is an extension of attachment/mindful parenting, it was the answer for my family.

When I explain my family’s lifestyle to people who ask, they’re usually confounded by how much time I spend on my kids.  They exclaim how they “need a break” and “cherish their ‘Me Time'” and thus could never homeschool, let alone unschool.

I get that mode of thinking, I really do.  However, what these people don’t understand is how much richer and conflict-free the home can be with this lifestyle.  We’re not on each other’s toes all day.  And, the older the kids get, the less time we spend physically together each day.

To the question…  “How much time does Unschooling take?”

Short answer: A lot!  Just as breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping takes hours and hours of time, the benefits far outweigh the time (plus, it’s easier to roll over and feed a baby than it is to have to get up in the middle of the night).

Long answer: Whereas a parent who sends their child to school can “not worry” about their education, and a homeschooling parent can call school over for the day, an unschooling parent makes the choice to be available to their child(ren) at all times.

Saying that it takes  “a lot of time” seems to overwhelm most parents and they give up the idea of keeping their children home with them before they even try.  Yet, “a lot” doesn’t convey how lovely it is to not have to worry about driving the kids to school, alarm clocks, packing lunches, parent-teacher conferences, forcing the kids to do their homework, and all the requirements that having your children go to school can involve.  That’s hours of work every week that my family doesn’t think about.  Instead, we spend that time hanging out together — playing games, making/eating food, watching movies, reading books, going for walks, and basically doing whatever we feel like doing.

Unschooling is my whole family’s life.  We live it every second of every day.  So, we could pretty much say that it takes ALL of our time, just like breathing does.

To the hidden question of, “How much time would I need to spend with my kids if I decided to unschool them?”: I spent some time a few months ago trying to explain this to a new mother and a homeschooling mother, but neither understood.  The article, “Precisely How to Unschool” by Sandra Dodd explains it perfectly.

As for me, I’ll continue to give my kids as much (or as little) time as they want for always and for ever and I’ll enjoy every minute of it.