Inspire your child and maybe even yourself with these creative unschooling ideas!
Have you ever been in such a rut that everything looks mundane and uninteresting? This rut, be it with food, television, or your career, can steer you down a negative path and affect not only your happiness but also the happiness of those around you. Children, much like us adults, are very capable of getting into those same mental ruts and may require your guidance. As a responsible unschooling parent, it’s paramount for your child’s development that you keep your eyes peeled for signs that your child may require a little inspiration to forge new paths. These are a few creative unschooling ideas that will no doubt inspire your child, and maybe you as well.
“It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.”
The idea of field trips may seem so played out, but in actuality, it is one of the most exciting ways to inspire your child to learn about something new. Look beyond the stereotypical field trip ideas like those that your child might take in a public school, and introduce them to crafts or hobbies. This need not be over the top. With a “field trip” to the local craft store, you might inspire painting with some acrylics and a set of new brushes, or inspire them to take up sewing, or even floral arranging. With these hobbies, there is a very plausible possibility that your child could turn a hobby into a trade. The world will always value art—and sewing is a useful skill whether the world continues to modernize or we return to simpler ways of living.
Hardware stores are also excellent places to introduce your child to different possible areas of interest. Some of them even offer free workshops for children. The plumbing parts aisle might seem boring at first, but with a little creativity, even the most seemingly mundane of connectors and pipes have the potential to inspire your child to create all sorts of fun games and gadgets.
Unschooling Idea #1:
Purchase a plethora of plumbing parts and allow your child to piece them together into different shapes and configurations. Then experiment with pouring water through them. This is an incredibly fun outside activity to do using a water hose or kiddie pool. Masquerading as a game, this water play will teach your child about water flow, water pressure, and head height. Your child will learn through experience the physics of water and how it behaves in different environments. This might lead to genuine interest and set him on a path towards becoming a Civil Engineer or Hydrologist!
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Unschooling Idea #2:
Maybe your kids won’t get into “plumbing” and you need a different creative unschooling idea to give them that kick in the self-directed learning pants. Since the child is in charge of his learning, give him the chance to really take charge. Allow your child to run the household for an entire day without any direction from you as a parent. Take the back seat from the authoritarian role and watch your child model adult behavior (likely to provide some interesting and valuable insights!). Going through the events of a normal day in the life of mom or dad, they’ll have to accomplish various chores that will present challenges otherwise unknown to them. Paying bills will offer an exciting opportunity not only to teach math but also to teach fiscal responsibility. By preparing meals, doing laundry or mowing the lawn, your child will be put on a path to becoming a functional adult. (Personal note: I never did laundry until I was 21 years old. I just always had someone to do it for me. I was college-educated and had no clue! I still struggle with it).
For an added dimension to this idea, coordinate with an unschooling-family friend and ask them to agree to allow your child to run their household for a day. This will place your child in the semi-uncomfortable position of not being on home turf. By taking away the familiarity of your home, your child will learn (without being told) how to adapt to different situations. They’ll be forced to find utensils in different drawers, perhaps use a lawnmower completely different than the one you own, and most importantly, be in a situation where they must communicate with others. Being able to become comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings is a skill that many people as adults struggle with. Losing that struggle can result in stagnation in one’s career and social life because of the fear of change and an inability to adapt.
“Integrity has no need of rules”
Studies show that teenagers really need their sleep. Teenagers that sleep fewer than eight hours a night are at higher risk for suicide, being overweight, high rates of injury, and poor sustained attention. Being unschooled allows them to get the rest that they need, which is actually incredibly crucial for proper adolescent brain development. With all of this extra energy and focus, what are you going to do with that hormone ridden teenager?
Unschooling Idea #3:
How about considering having them select a charity or organization where they can volunteer. This should be a decision they make on their own! If you make the decision for them to volunteer, chances are they’re not going to get the full impact of the activity. Perhaps your teenager wants to put some of that angst to use and pound some nails for Habitat for Humanity or walk dogs at the animal shelter. Such activities will instill not only a work ethic but also a sense of self-pride.
If your teenager seems less than enthusiastic about working for free, suggest that they consider creating their very own charity. This could be anything near and dear to your child, such as collecting shoes for underprivileged children in the community, cutting grass for elderly neighbors, or even adopting a highway and picking up garbage (which includes the added reward of a nifty sign acknowledging their contribution). Once they’ve gotten started with their own tiny non-profit, they’ll be able to develop skills such as time management and meeting the responsibilities of ownership. They will learn what it’s like to be relied upon to perform tasks they view as important which will help to create an incredibly solid work ethic.
“The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.”
Outside of the structures of work and school, we aren’t surrounded by people that do the exact same things as we do. We come across people who have different abilities, skills, and interests. Their experiences are unique and different from our own. However, the basic premise of the public school system is to ignore (and even remove) our uniqueness. They shove a bunch of children into a room, teach them all the same exact things, and expect that they’ll to grow into well-rounded adults. In adulthood, we realize it’s absurd to think that actually worked for anyone. This is why it’s crucial to get rid of our children once in a while! This next creative unschooling idea is more unconventional than the previous suggestions and might seem harsh at first, but ultimately, it builds more practical world experience.
Unschooling Idea #4:
Ship your kids off to stay with an aunt, sister, or family friend for a few days to learn what someone else’s lifestyle is like. How exciting would it be to stay with your “cool aunt” as a child and be able to focus on and absorb what makes her cool? That “cool aunt” might be able to bring your child to work with her, give your child an opportunity to try new foods or be introduced to new circles of friends. Your child will gain more knowledge—and you’ll gain a little time for yourself, and let’s be honest; what parent couldn’t use a little “me time” once in a while?
Unschooling Idea #5:
If you really want to blow the growing mind of your child, have them attend Anarchapulco with you, where kids participate for free! The breathtaking hotel Princess Mundo Imperial provides a beautiful backdrop with some great opportunities for some real-world learning, whether in the conference hall or on the beach. This community of free-thinking families will foster an environment that promotes opening and activating one’s mind. At Anarchapulco, there’s no reliance upon force to get your kiddos excited about learning. There’s a range of fascinating content directed at engaging your children. All you need to do is set them loose! The Family Stage will be set; what will your child learn on their visit?