I have a 9 year old and almost 6 year old, both came out of school within the last 4 months and both are exceptionally gifted with asynchronous development and some specific differences. (Executive function and motor control.) I have ADHD.
The eldest and I need a little structure planned into our days and even if we don't follow it it helps us 'hang' the rest of what we do round a frame of sorts. It's loose and flexible but without it we struggle. We're get up and move, noisy people.
The youngest likes routines and structure and sitting down to work on things quietly.
So far, I'm very taken with unschooling and feel I'd like to continue down this path after our deschooling period, which seems to be naturally drawing to a close as the kids are asking for more structure. I want them to continue to pick up what they're interested in and feel that starting the day with some structured activity and having 3 or 4 planned get togethers with friends each week is probably all we need for now.
Rather than deciding to sit down and 'do maths' or have 'writing practice' each morning, I asked the boys what they'd like to learn about. They said pizzas and fizzy drinks - specifically, the 5 year old asked how carbon dioxide gets in them and how it stays in so long. The eldest just wants to taste test lots of pizzas. He did the same with chocolate these last couple of months and he actually learnt a great deal and had enormous fun, which has made me feel really confident about unschooling.
So I made a list of things they might like to learn about pizzas and fizzy drinks. Here it is:
Different kinds of bread, how it's made, history of growing crops and make our own.
Grow our own toppings - tomatoes and veggies.
Find out about different types of cheese and make our own.
Make our own pizzas (we do this regularly anyway, but we could try more unusual ones.)
Learn some facts about Italy - climate, history, politics, whatever they are interested in.
What is carbon dioxide?
Learn more about the bubbles, how they form etc.
Try to borrow a soda syphon to make our own fizzy drinks.
Make traditional lemonade.
Find out about a fizzy drinks company eg Barrs.
See if the tooth fairy can give us a tooth back to put in some coke.
Find out how sugar is made.
And, obviously, the diet coke and mentos experiment.
Advertising around the fizzy drinks market.
If I set aside an hour a day to help them develop projects like this, are we moving away from unschooling? Is this something other people have done and if so how has it worked out? Anything I've missed out that your kids would want to cover?