Unschooling a gifted child is such a personal journey. Your children’s interests and the family culture will determine how you spend your time and money. For many children, passions come and go so spending too much money on any one area of interest may prove unwise when finances are limited. One of the great things about unschooling is there is no need to buy curriculum which can be costly. Imagination is free and creativity can be expressed without a huge financial commitment. As unschoolers, all moments in life are filled with learning opportunities.
The crux of our family dynamic is learning how to navigate life with a healthy mind, body and spirit. We focus on authentic, meaningful living with personal growth at the forefront of our unschooling adventure. Know who you are and understand the greater context of the mainstream social world. These life lessons and journey toward self-actualization only take an open mind, a desire to evolve and a little ingenuity. Life brings us learning opportunities daily whether we are ready for them or not. As moments unfold, natural consequences may occur and we break down what we have learned and try to improve our awareness of how to navigate life in a healthy, compassionate way. Real life is happening all the time.
Unschooling doesn’t have to break the bank. More isn’t necessarily better and almost everything you need is within reach if you take a few simple steps. Libraries may be the single most important resource in your unschooling on a budget lifestyle. In addition to the plethora of books at your disposal, the library offers free classes, WiFi and computer access. While we enjoy perusing book stores, at the library my children can experience the thrill of the purchase without my having to experience the wrench of payment. One could successfully homeschool / unschool with nothing more than a library card.
This summer we took part in Kids Bowl Free at our local bowling alley which turned out to be our theme for the summer. We invested a small amount in shoes in an effort to save in the long run and almost every day we enjoyed this fun sport with free air conditioning and an amiable staff. Indoor trampoline places can be a great affordable outlet for fidgety children high in psychomotor overexcitabilities. The possibilities are endless should you desire an active life outside the home. Park days and organized homeschool field trip meet ups are available in most cities. In Los Angeles, there is always a social gathering open to like-minded homeschooler / unschooler families. With all these great opportunities at our disposal, we still prefer spending quality time at home where we are free to be exactly who we are with no pretense.
I am a fan of annual memberships to my local zoos, aquariums, museums and cultural centers. With one upfront payment, we are free to enjoy field trips at our leisure without an ongoing expense. During school hours, these wonderful landmarks are under crowded and far more enjoyable for us to explore leisurely. Freedom to choose how we spend our time and money is one of the best gifts when cultivating an unschooling life.
The beauty of unschooling is that anything is possible. Our unschooling life keeps us at home for much of our day because that is what works for us. I often dream of worldschooling but that is not a part of our current family dynamic. We live near wonderful hiking trails and beaches; however, our photosenstivities keep us indoors where we don’t feel assaulted by the elements. Each unschooling family follows their own bliss. We all enjoy organic, in-the-moment learning, reading, writing and playing with various screens with our pets nearby. Home is our sanctuary. We have a huge digital library of documentaries and movies accessible to us with a small monthly commitment to selective media providers. We play a lot of games but more than anything, we have incredible discussions, brainstorming sessions and we love to create our own audiovisual and print media.
We aren’t focused on cramming a bunch of facts into our brains, and yet, we are all filled with factoids that we share with one another indiscriminately because we are all so passionate about that which we are learning. I am currently engaged in deep self-study and immersion into eastern philosophy and as I gain wisdom from my studies, I am able to infuse wonderful philosophical insight into our daily life. My oldest child spends the majority of his time deeply engaged in the cinematic arts and excitedly shares his discoveries and work product with us and publicly through his YouTube channel. My little one is an actor. He practices throughout his day and loves to create live scenes, trailers and movies for me. He is an emotionally intense little boy who releases his sensitivities through acting. For him, it is cathartic and an extension of his incredibly imaginative intellect. As you can see, none of our focus is on traditional in-the-box academics and likely never will.
Learning comes in all shapes and sizes.
We let go of mainstream thinking and social convention a long time ago. The upside to raising children outside of school is that they won’t have to spend their young adult lives undoing the harm of mainstream conditioning. Once you have rid yourself of a schooling mindset and what education and parenting should look like, you open yourself up to greater possibility.
Learning is not finite and it doesn’t only come through coursework and classes. Fortunately, as we are in the Digital Age, the free exchange of information is available to everyone in real-time. My favorite learning tools are audiovisuals and phone/tablet apps, so many of which are free or just a few dollars. Real, affordable, egnaging, anytime, anywhere, on demand learning at your chidren’s fingertips. A wonderful unschooling aid is to strew interesting materials in plain view so as to elicit possible interest. Digital strewing via apps is particularly alluring as digital kids enjoy trying new dynamic games and rarely shy away from any inherent learning curve.
Unschooling is freedom. Freedom doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. It may take a lifestyle adjustment to realize that we don’t need a lot of stuff to learn; however, as we continue to ameliorate our perception of learning and personal development, we are able to cultivate a rich, grounded life filled with creativity, intellectual engagement, compassion and joy.
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This blog is part of a blog hop on budget parenting