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'Unschooling' as an adult...

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Does anyone do this? I guess it seems sort of a weird question, because we are working and learning every day, but does anyone ACTIVELY educate themselves as much as possible, outside of a college/university setting?

I ask because I have been reading e-books and textbooks voraciously lately, and I realized that I crave just as much input and stimulation as my children do. If you do 'unschool' or educate yourself, what is your routine/plan/outlook on it? How do you fit it in with life? DO you have goals, or just follow your interests? To a certain extent, I guess we are all unschooling ourselves on the subject of unschooling, what other subjects do you extend it to?

I Am Very Curious.
post #2 of 31
My kids and I are learning French together. I never took it in school, instead I had two years of Spanish.

It's exciting! We're learning.

I've learned all sorts of things as a parent: natural birth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, homeschooling, nutrition. I've been fascinated by it all and have done lots of reading and listening.

My kids are in a theater group now, and I've started learning about running the lights and the sound board. My husband is designing and building the sets.

As a family, we are learning all of the time. It has been an organic process as we've gone along in our way out of the mainstream. It has meant research and discovery at every step. It has required a kind of consciousness that I didn't have before.
post #3 of 31


I do. I just read a loooot of non-fiction. I talk about it, read it, enjoy it, use it. I'm not a very structured person at all.
post #4 of 31
I am learning a lot of stuff WITH my son (chemistry, astronomy, sea creatures, plants etc.) that I either learned & had forgotten, or never learned in the first place. So that's fun. And my son picks up on my enthusiasm for it. I have a real passion to learn latin and greek word roots so I am going to find and print that out too. I am fascinated by the way we can get a hint of what a new, strange word is about just by knowing the components!! [like "hippo" + "potamus" = "water horse" and "meso" + "potamia" = "between water" (roughly translated but you get it, bec. it's between Tigris & Euphrates rivers and then you recognize that "potable" and "potion" must be related and so on & so on... I love that sort of stuff. And the latin names for animals and the names of dinosaurs....it's like building with blocks!]

As for myself, I know next to nothing about history, so I asked for "People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn for Mothers Day and I am just making my way through it when I can find a few moments here or there, like before bed. I'm even making a little card file of dates so that I can "see" the order in which things happened, so I sort of know what was going on WHEN. For me (I am a "visual") this is very important. If I had the wall space I'd make a big long timeline and just keep adding new things to it.

I'd love to do more, but I don't have the time. So much of what I learn with with my son.
post #5 of 31
I have always pursued my interests through classes (like when I tried yoga) or books or internet or clubs (knitting groups when I wanted to knit). I've gone through phases where I've been interested in various historical periods (middle ages, conquest of the new world, nazi germany, ancient greece to name a few) or the equestrian arts (dressage can be a very academic sport). With kids I've gotten into psychological development, parenting theories, birth, breastfeeding, you name it...

I think most adults do this without even thinking about it as "unschooling". But it is, which I think is what many mainstream people don't get about unschooling. We adults do it all the time, but we don't think of it as an "education". And yet we (as a society) have such a hard time believing that kids will pursue their interests in the same way.

I actually wrote a blog post about this a while back...
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by CultivatingMyRoots View Post
If you do 'unschool' or educate yourself, what is your routine/plan/outlook on it? How do you fit it in with life? DO you have goals, or just follow your interests?
These are interesting questions. I can't NOT learn--every day, whether from reading a book, or hearing the news, or having conversations with people, or trying something new, or simply thinking things over, I feel like I'm always learning. Yet I don't think to myself, "I'm unschooling myself in history, or current events or art." or whatever. It's just...life. Learning is what we do.

There are times when I decide to learn some specific thing and I set about to do so with a plan and a goal, but it's always interest-driven and I've never thought of this as different from things that I learn without having a set goal.

It's funny, when I try to explain unschooling to people, I sometimes use the example of how we, as adults, learn new things--that seems to need no explanation and they often chuckle when they realize the connection. It seems odd to take unschooling as a model and apply it to our lives because, to me, it just IS life.
post #7 of 31
Sure, I don't really think of it as unschooling most of the time. (though when my parents get on my back to go to college, I definitely do wish people recognized adult "unschooling")

I read and study all sorts of things.
-I'm learning hebrew by myself
-I love reading about history
-I'd like to learn calculus,however I keep getting books from the library that aren't the type of calculus book I want
-I read tons of literature
-other interests at different periods of time (right now, also quilting, adolescence (read teenage liberation handbook, now reading the case against adolescence), )
post #8 of 31
I think that after my traditional schooling is when my education began. Sure, I'd learn just enough to ace the test, then do a brain dump. Honestly, I cannot begin to tell you what I've retained from both regular school (to include college) and military professional development schools. If I really need something, I learn it. Otherwise, I go through the motions, take the test, then forget. But, stuff I'm interested in, or that I need for work or life, I learn it quickly and well and remember years later.

My current interests are : homeschooling (still trying to decide if and which kid I'm going to hs--the 9 year old with ADD or the autistic 7 year old (non-verbal--it would be mostly to increase his therapy time and have his therapists do his academics, he's starting addition!); finance; different historical periods; and other things. I've got Rosetta Stone and was starting on French.
post #9 of 31
2lilsweetfoxes, how do you like Rosetta Stone for French? My kids and I have mostly done lots of beautiful flash cards with me looking up pronunciation on line. Also, I've discovered Busuu.com which is an interactive site kind of like facebook for learning other languages.

Do you like Rosetta Stone? Is it worth it, do you think?

Thanks!

Also, I've heard Pat Farenga explain that Unschooling is sort of like all the ways you have learned things in your adult life after you got out of school. That IS Unschooling. Seen from that perspective, it can help people understand how Unschooling can work for kids. Anyone learns as there is interest and need. Same for us adults as we continue to learn.
post #10 of 31
Through my Army Knowledge Online account, I have access to every language they offer--even some "rarer" ones at no cost to me. I was enjoying it, then we dropped internet. Recently we got internet again, so I've got to get back into it. There is another company that makes stuff like RS for a fraction of the cost, but I haven't checked it out.
post #11 of 31
I have always learned more for reading/studing for myself. I went to public school and feel like most of my learning came from things that I was interested in. I taught my self about nutrition in 1989. I wanted to become a veg. I then started learning about alt. med.

When I became preg. I started learning as much as I could about birth/breastfeeding. My mother just told me today I should become a midwife. I read anything that I could get my hands on. I'm currently studing to become a LLL leader.

I love to lean about history. I told my 5th grade teacher all about WW2 and the Japanese camps. She had to stop me. I also had a great time in 10th grade health class. The teacher hated me by the end.

So I think that I always "unschooled" myself. So now I'm not stessed about my 2 boys.
post #12 of 31
I don't even feel I really started to learn until I unschooled myself.
post #13 of 31
I didn't have a negative academic experience in public school, private school or college. I also felt like I learned things there.

But do I continue to learn, actively learn? Yes. I don't say "of course" because honestly, I do know people who don't - unless you count following television shows like American Idol or playing the Facebook games 10 hours a day learning. Which it might be, but I'm just saying that for a lot of people I know, that's the extent of it.

Some subjects I have studied in the past two years:
- Food issues, in enough detail that I think that if I just wrote a few papers (which I have not) I could honestly claim a bachelor's degree in it.
- Homesteading, all theory and no practice (I know in pretty good detail how to butcher a chicken, what to do if a cow founders, various methods of root crop storage, pasture and crop rotation techniques, how to make soap, etc.).
- History, Take Two. Have been reading the history books that don't follow the textbook line. I hated, hated, hated history in high school (so much that I actually failed a semester - please note that I am otherwise a perfect 4.0 student). Now I know why.
- Starting to learn about First Nations.

My DH:
- Electronics, which I'm pretty impressed about. Taught himself.
- World religions. I said I could be a BS in food issues, DH could be a BA in major world religions.
- Now he and I are both learning about first nations.
- And he's studying forest management.
post #14 of 31
I'm going back to school, but whether I'm in a formal school setting or not, I love learning. I'm an obsessive researcher and I love books in general. If something sparks my interest, I NEED to figure out how to do it, what it is all about, etc. and I just go for it and throw myself into the subject.
post #15 of 31
I don't have a particular goal or schedule that I follow. I tend to get passionate or obsessed with something that I want to know more about and then I go...until it doesn't interest me anymore (usually several months). Often, I will drop the subject just as easily as I picked it up. But there are things that I keep coming back to such as non-allopathic health modalities. Now I'm learning about felting.
post #16 of 31
Yes, I really see it as the same thing. The things that I have learned most thoroughly are subjects that I have actively sought out and taught myself. I just learn better that way.
Almost 2 years ago, I taught myself to needle felt from YouTube videos and I now have a successful business making items for people all over the world I love to teach myself new skills - it's so empowering.
post #17 of 31
Yes, I'm decidedly unschooling myself! It was a definite decision. I've had a LOT of formal schooling, and it took me years to realize there was learning outside of a school building.

I figured it out from watching my hubby. He collects knowledge, but mostly skills. Woodworking, blacksmithing, knifemaking, painting, sculpting, design, etc. He learns by doing. He just naturally collects mentors! A skill I seriously lack.

I learn by hearing/reading and then seeing. More of a traditional book-learner. So for topics/projects I'm learning about gentle parenting, NVC, home food preserving, Spanish, Signed English, home/uschooling, bookkeeping, and whatever else strikes my fancy that appears in my path.
post #18 of 31

Life Long Learning

One of the benefits of being home with children is the opportunity to have time to pursue interests, learn along with a child or as an outgrowth of a child's interest. To be alive is to learn, to enjoy, to engage in life. I can't imagine any other way to live.

As I read historical fiction to my children I learned more about various historical time periods than I ever understood as a child. Part of that is maturity and my own life experiences.
post #19 of 31

Yep and i dont even have children yet.  I am regular at the library (literally all the librarians know my face and my name lol).  I find something that im interested in and then i read and drill down into it until im satisfied.

 

I cant wait to do this with my own kids one day. shy.gif

post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashersmum View Post

Yes, I really see it as the same thing. The things that I have learned most thoroughly are subjects that I have actively sought out and taught myself. I just learn better that way.
Almost 2 years ago, I taught myself to needle felt from YouTube videos and I now have a successful business making items for people all over the world I love to teach myself new skills - it's so empowering.


I loooooove your woolies! Your shop has been in my bookmarks for a long while. :)


Edited by PreggieUBA2C - 12/14/10 at 7:28pm
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