Unschooling is the belief that children learn naturally and do not need outside interference from curriculums, schools or other types of formal instruction. If you believe in unschooling and you've decided to register your child as a homeschooler, you may be well on your way to some exciting adventures. However, if you also need to find a child care center to watch your child occasionally as you work or do other things, you may want to look for a child care center that can support you in your unschooling journey. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Look for a childcare provider familiar with unschooling or related principles.
As your child is not in child care full time, you don't need a child care provider who is wholly on board with unschooling, but you need someone who understands the principles and is willing to support you at least in mind. To that end, look for a child care provider familiar with unschooling, the works of John Holt or even the Sudbury private school movement, which is very similar to unschooling.
2. Trade childcare with another mom.
If you cannot find a child care center who is familiar and comfortable with unschooling, you may want to find another unschooling parent in your community and ask if that family wants to trade child care with you. That way, you both get a break, your kids get time to play with other kids, and your kids always get to enjoy an unschooling environment.
3. Look for a child care center that is play rather than education focused.
Unschoolers believe that learning happens during play, while doing things you are passionate about, or even just while sitting and observing the world. People who believe in traditional education, in contrast, often believe that learning has to be a contrived process mediated by didactic rather than entertaining books, enforced by songs about the alphabet, or meted out by class room instruction or educational field trips.
To stay in line with your educational principles, look for a daycare center that focuses on providing fun and entertainment for the kids, rather than one focused on so-called educational activities.
4. Make your child an agent in the process.
A big part of unschooling is letting your child decide what they want to learn and/or how they want to spend their time. To foster that belief, make your child an agent in the process of selecting a daycare. Whether you are taking your child to a conventional daycare or trading with another family, listen to your child's concerns, and if they like one place better than another, default to that choice.
For more information, check out centers like Small World Early Learning & Development Center.