Have you ever heard of that term? It is not a new one but it seems to be gaining momentum. I have already mentioned the pet peeve I have about using the term unschooling for a preschooler but I thought I would go into it more.
Unschooling is educational choice, an ideological shift that yes, may look, and feel like a continuation from toddlerhood and the preschool years for many, but is at the same time, very different.
Children are only required to go to school or have an alternative educational model once they reach school age, and once they reach that age, unschooling is not a choice that is not taken lightly as it requires a complete paradigm shift on how children learn and trust that children will learn what they need without any imposed curriculum.
Preschool is not a requirement just as daycare is not a requirement. Many parents that choose to use public school or homeschool using a strict curriculum will not choose to send their preschool, yet it doesn’t mean that they are that they are unschooling or “unpreschooling” just like not sending a baby to daycare is not “undaycaring” it is simply called all just part of parenting, it is simply letting pre-school aged children be themselves and learn organically. Then, when they reach school age, unschooling demonstrates that there is no schooling involved and when we reach adulthood, the term is left behind again. There is already so much confusion around the term unschooling that adding another term, especially for an age that is not school aged, just makes it more confusing. Essentially, I think that this is why the term “life-learning” is gaining momentum over the term unschooling in many circles.
Another thing is that in my experience over the years, what happens when applying an educational term to this age group is that parents start looking for and applying educational value on activities, and pages and websites that talk about unschooling in the toddler years often paradoxically focus on educational activities, things to do and educational websites. They focus on tricks and games for learning letters, numbers and colours that are fun etc… There is a focus on it being “child-led” yet it is often still parent directed. Basically, it is often about homeschooling based on a child’s interests (which is not unschooling at all).
In many cases that I have seen, parents that don’t agree with unschooling, or child-led learning, but don’t send their kids to pre-school, or don’t start homeschooling curriculum before a certain age, are often less preoccupied by what their pre-school age child is learning then parents that are “unschooling” a pre-schooler or “unpreschooling”.
Until a child is school age, educational terms should be set aside.
All children that are left to their own devices are learning organically. (In essence until children are expected to learn, they are all being unschooled) Once a child hits school age, unschoolers simply let that organic learning continue and the educational term comes into play as a way to explain the educational style chosen.
But until then, letting a child be a child should be awesome enough!