In Search of Alternative Education Approaches

I’ve been studying alternative education approaches because, as I recently wrote, I’m planning on homeschooling Fae. Homeschooling for us is going to be a process that slowly evolves. I’m not going to re-create “school” in our home once my daughter’s the proper age. By that time we will have already established an enriching daily rhythm, full of exploration, projects, and, well, learning. I plan on taking more of an “unschooling” approach, where Fae’s surroundings (our home, nature, the world) will be her “school.” I plan to encourage her to follow her interests, providing materials, tools, and curriculums as needed. Her education is just going to be part of our daily lives–something that has already begun, and will grow along with her.

Fae

When reading about alternative schooling you often find that many of these approaches can begin during the pre-school years, and even as early as birth. The Montessori and Waldorf approaches both speak of ways to provide a beneficial environment for children from the time that they’re born (for example, Waldorf recommends free-play with very basic and natural toys; Montessori recommends allowing children to perform practical daily tasks themselves). I want Fae to be educated in-the-round. I want to provide a solid foundation for her body and soul, not just her mind. So, with that said, I’m going to take an alternative route to education, as I do, seemingly, for almost everything.

I’ll be writing about alternative education in more detail–and how I’ve been incorporating it into our lives, and (as I learn more) further plan to–in the future. I’ve mentioned Montessori and Waldorf, but have also recently come across Reggio Emilia, and am going to search deeper into “Unschooling,” coined by John Holt.

I’m inspired. Creating a homeschooling environment for Fae excites me. There are so many good, and creative, routes to take for educating children. I plan to use those aspects that fit best for my family and apply them to our day, making adjustments as need be. Homeschooling can be infinitely flexible, and can blend right into a family’s already established lifestyle. I’m truly looking forward to it.

Me

Fae is running around, chatting, and playing with walnuts in their shells.

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12 responses to “In Search of Alternative Education Approaches

  1. Amazing, I’m also interested in home-schooling and I’ve also read a lot about unschooling. I’m skeptical about unschooling, just because I want to give my kids the best, so I’m not sure what I’ll do. Good luck though!

    • Thanks so much Maryse. I was unsure of “unschooling” when I first heard of it because I thought that it meant “not-schooling,” but I’m now learning that a lot of homeschooling can be classified as “unschooling” even if it involves consious projects, activities, and teaching. I still may choose to use a structured curriculum–maybe a Waldorf one–but may base it in an unschooling environment. I’m just not sure yet. Good luck to you, too! Thanks for commenting.

  2. It is so comforting to hear your views on education. I haven’t done as much research as I want to yet, but have read about Waldorf and Montessori approaches. I am mindful of Jehryn’s education as we go about our daily tasks. He helps me with the laundry, pretends to cook with my pots and pans, and watches intently (often while being worn on my back) while I prepare food or wash dishes. We read books, play with instruments, dance and sing. We show him our seedlings and he ooh and ahhs as they grow bigger. I am looking forward to experiencing the garden with him. I feel very strong about homeschooling. I definitely want to learn more about “unschooling.”

    • Homeschooling just makes so much sense to me. Jehryn is already learning so much just from observing since you carry him around with you. The skills that children pick up while going about the day with parents are amazing. I joke with Jared sometimes about how Fae already knows how to cook. She doesn’t, quite, but when I cook our meals she’s often in my arms, or on me, watching. Last night she surprised me by saying “pepper” after I salted our turkey burgers–she knows that I sprinkle the pepper next. I always thought that experience was one of the greatest, and lasting, ways of learning. Our little ones are getting a ton of experience.

      I haven’t yet grown anything with Fae, but I’m plannng on starting an indoor herb garden this spring, and look forward to Fae helping. That’s something that you probably know so much about. 🙂

  3. my oldest son is preschool age and I am faced with this desicion very soon. in the past it didn’t seem so daunting, but now that the time is nearing I keep wondering if I can do him justice? I believe the answer is yes. I hope the answer is yes.

Any thoughts? I love hearing from you.

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