The Six Pillars of Unschooling

Tying it all together

Here are the six pillars of unschooling on which the unschooling lifestyle is built. Unschooling is most successful when all six of these principles are implemented seamlessly into our daily lives:

  1. Unschooling is putting our relationships first. Creating a peaceful household where members are equally valued, where individuals needs are met with respect and care. Nurturing our relationships with each other and providing a space where children feel genuinely safe and esteemed. From this foundational point children are able to explore and play without fear of criticism or shame and with adults as their ally and partner.

2. Unschooling is choosing joy. When we are faced with choices in our day, we choose the path that will bring our children the most joy. We put our energy into the things that will make our children happy.

3. Unschooling is trusting our children. Trusting our children is the opposite of controlling our children. Trusting our children is enabling them and empowering them. We lay aside our fears and support them in the decisions that they make. Providing them with a safe place that they can try out their ideas and practice decision making.

4. Unschooling is nurturing the children that we have. Unschooling enables our children to be themselves. We can help our children learn how to be in the real world and be their advocate. We can love them unconditionally, value their uniqueness and celebrate them for who they are.

5. Unschooling is supporting our children’s interests. Facilitating our children’s learning and enabling them to follow their passions. Spending our days finding and extending opportunities for them to engage deeper with the things that they are interested in.

6. Unschooling is trusting the learning process. Children are learning all the time. It is part of our natural design as human beings. We accept and trust our children’s desire to discover more about the world around them and we surround them with the tools that they need to be able to do that.

The hardest thing about writing this series has been separating the Six Principles and discussing them as distinctive entities. As you read through them, one may resonate true more than the others, or sit easier with your current lifestyle and educational approach. They are in fact difficult to implement as separate ideals and it is difficult to commit whole-heartedly to one or two without beginning to crossover into and begin to exercise another of the principles.

Here are some examples,

If you feel confident in following your children's interests and with them exploring their own passions then you will automatically see the benefits of doing the things that bring them joy and how this strengthens your relationship with them.
If you trust the learning process then relinquishing what they learn about and following their own interests is a logical step to take. It also allows us to begin to trust our children in other areas and move towards providing a safe and secure environment for them to make their own decisions.
If relationships have always been a priority in your household, it makes sense that nurturing the children that we have is also embraced as part of this premise and that we follow a path of joy through our days.

As you begin to step into unschooling or expand your journey and implement a new pillar you will see that each of the principles, although good on their own, are stronger when entwined with another. As more of these pillars become staples in your family life you will see that unschooling is most successful when all six of these principles are implemented seamlessly into our daily lives. Your relationships will be stronger, your life full of joy, your children will value themselves as individuals and as members of their household and community, and their learning will thrive. Entwining these principles all together and weaving them seamlessly through all aspects of your family life will create a lifestyle where learning can be rich and flowing and life can be enjoyed.

To read in depth about what each of the six pillars of unschooling are and how to begin implementing them into your daily lives and why they are an important factor in an unschooling family, start here at The Six Pillars of Unschooling.

You can also find out about what unschooling looks like in our house at The House of Wonders

Read more

What is unschooling?

How do you unschool?

Why unschool?

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

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