Eclectic Unschooler?

2013-08-20 11.14.22I just took the “Which Homeschooling Approach is Right for You?” quiz on, which is a TLC site that is more entertaining than respectable. Every now and then I glean something useful, but most the time I visit, I’m just procrastinating. This quiz, however, has left me unnerved. Mostly because it’s on to something and the control freak in me just can’t handle it.

I answered the multiple choice questions posed in terms of my ideal home school. I answered them based on the reasons I chose to home school. I did not necessarily answer them in light of what we are actually doing. After all, that seems to be the whole point of the quiz.

So, according to the scientific genius of the aforementioned quiz, I appear to be an “eclectic unschooler” at heart. I’m fine with eclectic. That’s a word I would use to describe many areas of my life. Unschooler on the other hand… Well it’s like I said, the control freak in me just can’t handle that.

It’s funny because in my mind’s eye there is a lot of unschooling. I like the idea of following the kids lead and learning what interests them. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this approach, as it must foster a genuine love of learning. HOWEVER, unschooled children do not test a well as their public schooled counter parts. I certainly don’t want to be playing a mad game of catch up in 2023 trying to teach Andy math skills or anything else he’s lacking just prior to taking the SAT.

So I started this post about a month ago. I guess I never got around to finishing it. I like it though, so I’m going to round it out and go ahead and push “publish.” After reflecting on the quiz, talking with Josh and gleaning some wisdom from homeschooling veterans, I’ve come to peace with my title of eclectic unschooler…for now. We will all enjoy homeschooling much more if we’re doing what comes naturally instead of forcing something that doesn’t. That being said, we’re going to take somewhat of an eclectic unschooling approach for the time being, that is until about 5th grade.

Math and phonics are non-negotiables. They will be the structured albeit eclectic exceptions to this rule. Those subjects will have clear learning objectives keeping the boys at or above the standards expected of their traditionally schooled peers. Everything else is up to the kiddos. They can lead the way, choosing what they want to learn in terms of science, history, geography, etc, etc, etc. For me, this seems to be the best plan to match my personal objective of having my kiddos at home with me and the personal standards I hold in terms of what I want them to accomplish. It’s not unschooling per se, but it will capture the parts of unschooling I like, while avoiding the parts I don’t.

I guess in reality I’m just an eclectic homeschooler. Maybe if there were a few more questions on that little quiz they could have put me in a more concise nutshell. Either way, I’m happy with what we’re doing and I’ve learned a lot about myself, our school, and my teaching style since taking this quiz. This will save us all lots of frustration from attempting to master hours of boring workbook pages.


Thanks for reading! Do you have any comments or similar experiences? Share your thoughts below. (Even if it's an old post, I'd love to hear from you!)

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