Becoming an Unplugged Homeschool Teacher

Tuesday, January 25, 2022


When I took on the journey of homeschooling my children, I had many misconceptions about what that would truly mean. Unfortunately, part of our journey was rocky and very trial and error. I've come to learn that when homeschooling my children mistakes are not something to be ashamed of at all. There is no right or wrong way to teach your children as long as you are making an effort to show up for them. The year 2020 was a very difficult year to homeschool my children because the entire world seemed to be off their normal schedule. The internet became really busy and there were times when service was very spotty and unreliable. I began to focus so much of my energy on the things that my children were not learning on time verses how I could have been using the "no internet" time to my advantage. I wasted so much time pondering on what I thought was expected of me and lost a lot of good opportunities. In September of 2021 both of my children went back to traditional school with a mindset of positivity. They both wanted to experience school and see if it was something they would like for a long period of time. My eldest has been to traditional school before but she wanted to experience middle school. The youngest wanted to give making friends in a classroom setting a try. They both attended school for two months at the most and decided that homeschool was a better fit. I was not prepared for their return and for the first few months of having my students back it took me a moment to get back into the swing of things.  Teaching my children has always brought such joy to my life and for a very long time I thought I had to teach them the way that their "regular" teachers would have. I spent so much time trying to put together lesson plans, schedules, and tasks that I became very overwhelmed with it all. The fun of teaching was completely gone. I no longer lacked the spark that I once had to teach the two most important students of my life. I did go to school for Early Childhood education, but I am one year off from obtaining my teaching degree. I have also had 15 years of early childhood experience working with children of all ages. None of that matters you guys. NONE. When you become a homeschool teacher it does not matter how much education or experience you have had or need. What matters is how you show up for your children every day. We are the ones responsible for their learning experience and memories. I do not want to add to any pressure you may be feeling but it is a huge responsibility that we have been blessed to have. With that thought in mind I knew that something needed to change within me in order for me to be the best teacher my children needed me to be every day.  In order to regain a sense of control and balance, I took a few weeks off from teaching my children under a strict schedule. We spent a day or two relaxing and reading a lot. I enjoy reading on my own time and my children have slowly become bookworms as well. (Not every day but often) I did a lot of research on teaching methods and creative lessons. None of which really clicked or struck a nerve within my creative soul.  That is when I had the realization that I was not a traditional teacher. I was not a typical person either. I am an artist. I enjoy the arts, writing, reading, music, and the outdoors. I enjoy the act of creating and doing. That was what was when I realized what was missing in my own teaching method. ME. Yep. That's right. I was missing from their lessons. I was trying so hard to teach them as someone else would teach them that I was stressing myself out. As soon as I realized that homeschool did not have to be that hard or that artificial, a huge weight fell off my shoulders. I could breathe for the first time. During my homeschool journey with my children I have desperately struggled with teaching the traditional way with a schedule and computer. Due to that I was failing as their teacher. They are brilliant children and continued to do their work regardless of my own personal short comings. They both were a head in many of their subjects when they attended traditional school, so the way I was teaching was doing an okay job for the most part. I could keep teaching them that way if I wanted too but why would I want too? Eventually I would become someone not fun to be around. Someone who was boring and uninterested. I do not want to be that kind of teacher for my children. So, with a few more days of studying and researching I became aware of a new method of teaching. I call it the "Unplugged" teaching method.  Now many of you hear the word unplugged and think it means no internet at all. Like ever. Let me tell you first off before you freak out, that is not the case here. Unplugged simply means - unplugged from traditional restrictions and methods of teaching. No longer being confined to a desk or a classroom setting. No longer being stuck in front of a book or a screen every day. Lessons can be learned in nature, science can be explained with life, and art can be done in the beauty of the park.  Once I realized that my choice in how I teach my children was mine and mine alone I became totally inspired. I was no longer confined to schedules, desks, or lessons. I was free to teach both of my children freely. As long as they were learning it did not matter how they were learning. Last week we went to the park after watching a movie for English. While we were at the park, we all took out our sketchbooks and sketched the local scenery. We talked about different kinds of trees, and bodies of water. We discussed poetry and the beauty of nature itself as it was right in front of us. Lunch was at the picnic table as we laughed at the wind blowing our napkins all about. They found it funny that their mom tried to save every last one, but I explained the importance of keeping things the way you left it. Later we packed up and went on a walk around the nature trail and took a look at different streams and people. The park was played on as well but not as long as we normally did, they wanted to stay near the nature trail instead. When we went home, I could tell that learning for the day was over. But the feeling I felt was amazing. We had covered so many lessons in one day just being out in nature that I had not planned to even cover. You guys it is okay to deviate from the plan, if the goal is the same. Homeschooling should be fun and adventurous. It should be free and exciting. Learning should be more than memorizing words and tests. 

I am now focused on teaching my children in a Non-Traditional way. The oldest will still have her lessons due for grading since she is going into the ninth grade. But I will focus more on creative ways for her to learn despite the technical parts of her coursework. There will be more days where we turn off the internet and step outside. I hope you all will join me on my journey to the Unplugged method of teaching. I will be sharing ideas and creative tips for anyone to use. I cannot wait to start this journey with my children and my readers. I hope that I can help you embark on a fun and memorable homeschool experience as it should be. 

What are your homeschooling methods? Do you lean towards a more traditional style of teaching or are you a more relaxed homeschool teacher?

Let's share experiences and chat about it in the comments! 

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