“What does a typical classical unschooling day look like?” “How exactly do you do school?” “Is there a ton of memorization?” “Do you use a curriculum?”
These are the most common questions I have received lately and ones I hesitate to answer. I hesitate to answer it because homeschooling looks – or should look – different for every family. So when people ask me how we classically unschool I tend to be taciturn.
Unschooling by definition is non prescriptive. So I’m not recommending this as an “ideal” day. This is just our day.
With that said here’s a typical classically unschooling day for us.
The mornings tend to be pretty easy and loose. The children wake up at seven, they make their breakfast and leave me time to have my coffee, journal and work on my blog. Some days I wake up earlier – as early as 5:30 a.m. – because I want to write or catch up on other writing work.
About 8 o’clock if it is a workout day I head out into the backyard with my kettlebells and listen to a podcast while working out. While I am doing this the children usually play or explore or ride their bicycles in the street or they decide to read. Before school, we do chores together.
Our school or “sit down work” as I prefer to call it begins about 10 a.m. This is when we do drills for math or phonics or anything that the children are currently working on. Check out this post about how we decide what they will be working on for a period of about three months at a stretch.
The sit down work is done by 11 a.m. and that is when we start working on lunch. My daughter enjoys cooking and this is when we put lunch together. We’re currently working our way through the sixth book of The Chronicles of Narnia – The Silver Chair.
At about 1 p.m. is free time again. This is when the children sometimes head into their own rooms to have some quiet reading time or they go outside and play Jenga or swing or just annoy our pet cat. (We have our own version of Grumpy Cat.) Occasionally, they get involved in some extended crafts or build a tent out of their blankets and hang out in the living room. 2 p.m. is officially the time when they are allowed to watch TV or play video games. (This “screens after 2 p.m. only” rule is relaxed on Saturdays when they get to play online to their hearts’ content.) This is when I head into my bedroom for some quiet reading time or for a nap.
Dinner preparations begin about 4 p.m. when screens turn off. Dinner is usually at five after my husband comes home and on some days the children can practice their music with him. He is currently teaching my daughter to play the guitar.
Bedtime for them is at 7. My daughter will usually read for an hour in her room before going to bed.
So there you have it. This is what are classically unschooling day looks like.
But where does the Classical part of it come in, you might ask. And I would point to our love of history, our emphasis on learning through the trivium and the importance we place on memorization.
Since we are still in the grammar stage of learning I focus not on trying to get them to understanding concepts as much as I do on giving them the facts.
Using the unschooling idea of strewing I get them interested in a variety of things and when that interest grabs them I make sure to put a lot of work into getting them to memorize and learn and remember facts. For this purpose I make use of whatever media, field trips, guides (family and friends) and books we have at our disposal.
As I have mentioned elsewhere before I am not opposed to using workbooks classes or any other traditional form of learning if it helps my children. However I see myself more as a guide to facilitate their learning rather than someone from whom all knowledge is to be imbibed.