Sunday, July 7, 2013

Unschooling: Bethany Style

This past spring I attended an unschooling session at the Cincinnati homeschool convention.  I picked it because I was looking for a good definition of what unschooling is.  Everything I had read defines it differently.  This lead me to the conclusion that depending on who you talk to what they think unschooling is will vary.  For those of you that are not familiar with the term unschooling let me give you a definition from   Unschooling: a home-school education with the child taking the primary responsibility instead of a parent or teacher; also called child directed learning & self learning.  

As I sat through the woman's lecture she described what she had done with her daughter who has now graduated.  The more she explained her approach to learning - I realized by her definition I had unschooled for history this year.   Here is how it happened.

Over Christmas break Eliana and I were talking about George Washington.  She asked me why he wore a white wig.  I had no idea, so we looked into and found out it was the fashion trend.  That lead me to think maybe we could study the history of fashion in January.  Eliana would love it and it is something I would never do with the boys.  So the research started.  I decided to start with the revolution since that is where the entire conversation started.  These were our text books for the month.
We read the books, made paper dolls and made it to the end of January.  We had only reached the end of the revolution.  I decided we would proceed with this history lesson until Eliana got bored. Here's the thing - she never got bored because she never realized she was learning.  She thought all we were talking about was clothes.  But we learned how clothes were made, inventions that made clothing more durable and able to be mass produced, and how wars and The  Great Depression changed clothing and people's lives.  By May we had  made it to the 1950's.  Over the course of the semester we read a lot of books.  My favorite was Dressing a Nation.  They were simple enough for Eliana to read alone or for us to read together and find other activities.  We made paper dolls at different periods in time,  we looked at different fabrics and how they were made at the fabric store,  Eliana designed clothing that would have been worn by men and women during the 40's,  and we watched Gone with the Wind when we talked about the civil war.  We had planned on making matching 1950's dresses for her and her American Girl but ran out of time.  We are hoping to get that done this summer.

Eliana & I had so much fun doing this.  My daughter shares my love of clothes so spending time learning about them was so enjoyable.  I asked her which is her favorite style.  Her response was Southern Belle's of course.  She loves the hoop skirts and big lacey dresses.  Me on the other had would have fit right in the 1950's.  I love the circle skirts and peddle pusher pants.

So what era of fashion do you love?  

I know I am not the only homeschooler to do this.  I would love to hear how others have incorporated unschooling into your school day!

1 comment:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31