Last time we talked about journaling for the homeschooling child actor. If keeping up with the education of a homeschool child that follows a traditional or parent-led curriculum is challenging, keeping up with an unschooler’s (nontraditional homeschooler) work is daunting. Never fear. Here are some simple tips to help you make sense of your unschoolers educational journey.
Robotics, Scouts, Basketball, Martial Arts, Ballet- these are all learning activities that you should include in the journal. For each journal entry, write down what subject is being covered, what topic is being covered, and how long the activity lasts. For special events such as games, competition, and presentations, take a photo and add it to the journal.
Piano, computer coding, math- Yes, even unschoolers call in the big guns to teach children subject matter that the parent cannot. Whether the classes be every Tuesday at 4 or whenever the tutor and student’s calendars align, keep track of this information in your daily journal.
Zoo, science museum, history museum, Civil War reenactment, Art museums- Children typically learn more in one day of hands-on activities and up close tours than in a full month in a textbook. I know we were pretty much done with Anatomy after visiting Bodies: The Exhibition a couple of times.
In the younger years, my children would beg to play their video games, and I never said no. What they didn’t realize is that all of their video games were learning activities. Math Blaster was a household favorite! As they get older, you have to work harder to find online programs and games that also entertain, but a site called Homeschoolgamesschool.com has a formidable list.
Individual spontaneous activities:
People think of this as the main function of unschooling, but it is actually just a part. Children might decide to go on a nature walk, or watch Animal Planet for 3 hours, or to draw mammals for 1/2 hour. Putting these things down in a journal will help you to tie all into a cohesive year-end report;
A daily journal for grade 7 might look like this:
To make sense of it for the end of the year, it is important to color code each entry so you can tie the same subject items together.
Keep a running checklist of important subject matter the child should learn, even if it is eventually and on their own timeline. On those days when they are bored or have not activities planned, they can consult the checklist and try out one of the items. You can create grade-level checklists by consulting the Core Knowledge Series of books by E.D. Hirsch, or by consulting World Book Encyclopedia for a Typical course of study. https://www.worldbook.com/typical-course-of-study.aspx
A portion of such a checklist would look like this.
Andrea Hermitt is a veteran homeschooler who has taught her two children from early elementary through high school. Both were accepted into several colleges and received scholarships. One holds a Bachelors degree, and one has a Masters degree. Ms. Andrea, as she is affectionately known, counsels homeschooling parents in setting up a program that works for their children, and helps students work toward their college goals.