Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unschooling a 2 Year Old

I've had a few people ask me when I plan to start unschooling Echo. I always do a little inward sigh when this happens because unschooling is so hard to explain (not that I don't love talking about it!). The thing is, unschooling is a lifestyle. There is no start, or I guess it would be more accurate to say that we start at birth and we never ever stop. We do a lot of "educational" things with Echo every day but it boils down to following her interests and exploring the things she wants to explore. My job as an unschooling mom is to provide her with the materials she needs and expose her to as much as possible so she can discover new interests.

For example: Echo has recently developed a strong interest in Winnie the Pooh. She is crazy about anything to do with Pooh and his friends. She talks about them all the time and can't get enough of reading pooh stories. We want to encourage her passion for Pooh as much as possible and have found her as many Pooh related resources as we can. We checked out pooh books from the library, My parents gave us a huge stash of Pooh books they got at the used book store along with some pooh figurines she can play with with. Eric's parents got her a plush pooh doll that she likes to sleep with and pretend to cook for. We have sticker books, classic pooh stories, modern pooh stories and we have watched every pooh cartoon we can get our hands on multiple times.

By following her interest and doing something she loves with her we are showing her the things she cares about are important to us. She is learning all kinds of things through imaginative play and language arts (if you want to put educational labels on things which I generally don't do). It is so exciting to watch her delve really deep in to something and it's amazing all the unintended things she learns just from exploring a subject she is passionate about.

Echo spends her days playing outside (see her amazing rock tower in the photos above), reading (us reading out loud to her and her looking through books on her own), painting and drawing, building with blocks, working puzzles, and cooking (both pretend and real). She also practices cutting, glueing, working with play dough, and sewing on the sewing machine. We take her to the library, the botanical gardens, craft and story time at Whole Foods, museums, parks, on everyday errands like the grocery store and hiking when we have the time. We have struggled with how to address boundaries for media but have settled in to a nice routine of having a family movie night a few times a week.

I'm sure I'll be writing a lot about our unschooling journey throughout the years but but this is how it works in the early years (and really later on too). We do what we do, we live our lives and we learn along the way.

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