Adventures in Unschooling

Unschooling thoughts and potty training.

Posted on: November 14, 2009

Just want to quickly say that I added pictures of that bowling set I spoke about in my post from a couple of weeks ago…if anyone was interested in seeing it.

I have been reading this unschooling book called Homeschooling our Children Unschooling Ourselves. The books is entirely about unschooling and not homeschooling so I am not sure why she chose that title but no matter, it is still a lovely, inspiring book.

She talks a lot about her experiences as a teacher in a public school and how she saw young children full of excitement become apathetic teens. It was disheartening for her to see how the things the teachers did smothered the love of learning in so many children. When it was time for her children to go to school she couldn’t bear to send them to school. She then began her journey into unschooling.

I was regalled by her stories of her children learning a wide diversity of topics to the kind of depths that school never allows. Her children are now roughly the age of my parents (so obviously she was involved in the very beginnings of the movement).

I have been so inspired by her doubts and her eventual success. There once was a time when she thought her daughter would never read. Within a few years from then her daughter was reading far beyond the level of other children her age. Awesome!

I have been thinking about how we plan let our children direct their own learning and how that applies to the rest of their lives. Specifically the potty training aspect of it.

My gut tells me that I should just back off and let them tell me when they are ready to stay dry but the other part of me feels like exploding every time I have to change my four year old’s diaper.

And of course, my three year old won’t potty train either. Why would he want to when his brother won’t do it?

I just feel so lost and alone with all of this. Sometimes I think about putting Trey in playschool just so the other kids can make fun of him for wetting his pants. That sounds horrible but my being patient and supportive hasn’t helped, neither has blowing up though.

I sure hope we get this over with soon. I have been fighting with him for over a year and I have been at the end of my tether for a long time. And he will stay dry all day when he feels like it so it seems 100% psychological. Ugh! Well there goes my good mood.

Anyways, I have a picture of the kids learning their letters and reading completely on their own. These are flashcards they received from a teacher family member. I thought, “what am I going to do with these since I don’t “teach” my kids?”

Well, I let them play with them and they spent about a half hour working on the reading the words in the back and learning the letters. What do they need me for?  🙂


And the other day Trey came up to me with one of his magnetic fridge letters (the E) saying that the sun was making an E. And sure enough the sun was shinning through our window and forming a giant E on the wall.

A couple of months ago we let Trey have our old film camera. He has loved taking pictures and so when we had his film developed I thought he might like to scrapbook his pictures. Here are some of his scrapbook pages. I didn’t help him with any of this by the way.


And we also set up our Christmas tree last week. Here is Joel DSC06728cwearing a stocking on his head.

Yup, they are excited all right. This is going to be a good Christmas.

I am constantly impressed by what our kids are learning. Trey used a surprisingly large word in proper context this week.

Anna is learning to walk and is already manipulating her brothers.

Joel is using his imagination more and more and Trey is expressing  more interest in reading. It’s amazing to see them grow.



3 Responses to "Unschooling thoughts and potty training."

Read children’s story books about potty training to your child. There are lots of books available for you get online on potty training. Reading and imagination helps the child to relate to the interesting characters and behaviors within the story and helps them follow accordingly. Offer lots of praise when your child does make some progress. It is not an easy practice but this will help you see results amazingly when you really put in the effort to make your child proud of their achievement. Avoid physical punishment for not using the potty. Stop all reminders about using the toilet. Replace the reminders with the potty training stories you’ve read to your child. This helps as their mind recalls the story and how will keep it in mind when its time.

I have noticed that he does build a parallel between the characters in his books (he talked about Ashley (from a book) staying dry etc). So I created a basket with fresh undies and books for him to keep in the potty. Giving him something to do in the bathroom (like sit and look at books) has helped get him to poop on the potty.

We have also taken the advice of another book and we are letting him clean up after himself and basically ignoring the potty traning part of the relationship and focusing on the more fun, less streeful parts of it instead. We had been obsessing about and us relaxing about seems to give him less reasons to pee in his pants (seemingly to tick us off).

We are making ground but it’s slow.

i have had the same experience, and have doubted myself so much. i will just tell you that my son is now 4 years and 4 months and just this week started peeing on the potty. wow! i don’t know where it came from…i just decided to unschool potty learning and let him do it on his own. i am happy that we didnt coerce or bribe him to do something that is so essentially an activity that should be his to control.

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  • None
  • withoutloveweallperish: 50 books for $10!! As a book lover, that sounds like Christmas come early! Lovely library set up, need to set up one of those for myself!
  • theworldismysoyster: Sure. Just none of my kids. :)
  • goobrobinson: Hi! I'd like to seek your permission if I can reuse one of your pictures for my next post? Specifically the second picture.


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