A Simple but Helpful Unschooling Habit You Can Start Today

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We are learning to embrace simple ways to make our unschooling journey easier, without sacrificing spontaneous learning.

Being matriarch of an unschooling family can feel a little chaotic at times. My former self would have been at wits end trying to control the environment and keep order. Thankfully, my unschooling journey has taught me that I don’t need to keep things in order 100% of the time. Some of the most amazing learning experiences happen when I just let things unfold naturally. That said, there are some things I want to be organized with. I am sharing one of the new habits I’ve adopted this year that’s proving to be really useful in helping us stay on track, and in other ways I hadn’t anticipated.

I began sending my daughter an email at the start of our day, briefly summarizing our goals for her unschooling experience that day. Here is an example of one of the emails, just to give you a idea of what this looks like for us….

 

Hi, Holly! This is your unschool agenda for today.
 
Activity: Watch and do the yoga for this video (it is free for Prime members, on Amazon). http://www.amazon.com/Therapy-Stress-Relief-Kanta-Barrios/dp/B004VZW2AG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441204700&sr=8-1&keywords=Yoga+Therapy+for+Back+Pain+and+Stress+Relief+with+Kanta+Barrios&pebp=1441204706664&perid=0R310N8VJBCF0B6Z25BJ
 
Learning Blocks:
Learning blocks should last at least 1 hour but may go longer if you wish.
 
Block 1:
Finish yesterday's assignment for Financial Responsibility class
 
Block 2:
Begin reading the following resources on the history of Yoga
http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogahistory.asp
http://www.yogajournal.com/article/beginners/the-roots-of-yoga/
 
Eventually, you will have a poetry assignment that involves telling the history of yoga through your eyes and interpretation. Take notes on history of yoga if that helps you, but it is not required to take notes.
 
Love,
Mom

 

When she hands something in, I give feedback via email and then we discuss it as needed.

The benefits of this daily agenda email are emerging in ways I didn’t think of before starting this practice.

Here are 5 ways this is helping us:

  1. It helps to stay on track because we set an intention for each day of unschooling. Seeing the intention in writing solidifies it and puts the energy in motion. This teaches my daughter to practice setting intentions, which I believe to be important.

  2. It allows me to have ready-to-go examples of our subject matter and timelines. That's a huge help at portfolio review time (in Ohio, we have to opt for either standardized testing or portfolio reviews, at the end of the school year. We have an amazing unschool-positive portfolio reviewer and we go that route).

  3. It teaches my daughter to work with an agenda and to self-start to reach the goals on the agenda. I call it self-starting because while I send the agenda, she can give input on it or modify it as she sees fit and it's up to her when to work on it. I give suggestions and leave the doing up to her.

  4. It gives my daughter the opportunity to translate an electronic agenda into her own way of goal setting and workflow. This would be very beneficial to anyone entering the workforce where they will receive emails with deadlines, agendas and revision suggestions, etc. She can build on her research skills by finding time management apps that she enjoys working with, or she can experiment with drawing to map out her time, etc. 

  5. It gives a sense of accomplishment to take something off the list. I mean, who does not feel that Cha-Ching! feeling when crossing something off the to-do list?

My 11-year-old son and I are not using the electronic agenda approach yet but we may begin next school year. For now though, it is working well with my daughter. If you try this, let me know how it works for your family.

2-Minute Takeaway (Journal Prompt): One thing I can do to help keep our family organized is _________.

Love,