Today I hope to share with you where I started on my unschooling journey. I didn’t always consider myself an unschooler. I always have taught my kids at home, I started my career in the public school system as a sign language interpreter. I worked in the Lincoln Nebraska Public School System and the Jefferson County Tennessee public school system with some amazing children. However, those experiences were enough for me to whole heartily decide that I would educate my children at home.
So when Big Z was born I started like most parents that start homeschooling, I began to research what options were out there. I fell in love with Charlotte Mason’s teachings. So when Big Z was ready according to public school standards to be a kindergartner I started with the Charlotte Mason (www.amblesideonline.org) curriculum. I loved it for many reasons. It was free and filled with lots of time in nature and reading living books. I knew workbooks and being planted at the table for hours a day wasn’t for me.
As time progressed, and with the birth and death of my sweet Bella. I found the amount of book reading to be overwhelming. Though we stuck with it, sometimes lightening our load. I had the support of my then husband, Ian. He was a large key to the Charlotte Mason program working for us. He handled subjects like Math and History. Which gave me time to tend to our daughter, then later, our third child, Lil’ Z. I was also researching and reading about the philosophy of unschooling, though Ian wasn’t on board with all of the ideas, we became more relaxed in our homeschooling in the process. Sadly Ian died suddenly when Big Z was 10 and Lil’ Z was 3, leaving me overwhelmed yet still needing to provide an education for my children.
A few months after Ian passed away a homeschooling list posted about an unschooling conference in Kalahari waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio. I asked my mom to join me and I looked at it as a way to give the kids and myself a break but at the same time to be inspired in my way of educating my children. It was truly an inspiring experience for me. I had the chance to meet such wonderful role models such as David Albert and Cindy Gattis. The way they educated their children was so encouraging and enlightening. I also found the people that I met really lived a life that was in general in line with my own philosophies of attachment parenting. This experience sent me on a new path… and as they say,the rest was history.