This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Unschooling Homeschool High School, Interview with Julie Polanco. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Unschooling Homeschool High School, Interview with Julie Polanco
We are joined this week for a chat with our friend, Julie Polanco. Julie is an unschooling mom and the host of our network’s Crunchy Christian Podcast. We are so glad to finally have a crunchy unschooler on Homeschool Highschool Podcast!
As you know, we 7Sisters believe there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! There are classical homeschoolers, Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, traditional textbook homeschoolers, hybrid school homeschoolers, or (like us) eclectic homeschoolers that do a mix of everything.
There are also UNschoolers. We are so glad to finally have a chance to talk about unschooling homeschool high school!
Julie and her family have finished their nineteenth year of homeschool. She has two homeschoolers who have already graduated from high school, one homeschooling high school and one homeschooling middle school.
When they first started homeschooling, they were not unschooling. They wanted to make sure they did homeschooling “right” so she tried a lot curriculums. However, some of Julie’s kids had learning differences so traditional curriculum was not a good fit. Two of her kids had ADHD so textbooks were burdensome. In fact, Julie watched, “the light go out in my son’s eyes” as she saw him struggle with textbooks.
After a while of struggling to get her son to co-operate with learning from a textbook, she felt God telling her, “You cannot continue to do this. This is not how I made you. This boy is obedient in every other way, so you need to try a different way to educate your son.”
She found that other way to educate her son: Unschooling!
Julie’s unschooling is flavored by her Christian worldview, so her unschooling might look different from those who have other worldviews. That’s because there’s not ONE right way to unschool high school!
So she helps her kids develop their love of learning (which is a major focus of unschooling) along with some parameters:
- Screen time is limited
- Doing productive learning activities (do not waste time)
- Concentrate on discovering their curiosity and passions
- Develop strengths more than work on correcting weaknesses
- Give some kind of structure
- (this is like when you go on vacation, you are going to enjoy it but you also have some kinds of plans for travel and perhaps, other parts of the trip)
- Make sure a structure plan fits their personalities and rhythms
- Help them develop some goals for their growth and their education
- On the other hand, allow some boredom, so they learn to find ways to drive themselves to explore and learn
Her son today still has some challenges. However, he also has many hobbies and skills. He has learned about himself and believes in himself.
This is because God creates a person with the right mix of things they need in order to fulfill their callings.
Her daughter is quieter but she flourished in an exploratory unschooling setting. She is developing her skills and talents. Her younger two kids have always unschooled. They have been flourishing in this kind of learning atmosphere.
The point of homeschooling is to give each young person the education that they need!
Julie and her unschoolers have had some cool experiences over their homeschooling years.
Here are a few of the interesting things they have done:
- Julie gave her son transcript credit for learning 3-D modeling. He also earning credit by taking a course at the Chicago Adler Planetarium where he learned 3-D animation. He created a 3-D warrior angel and an entire 3-D chess set.
- Not only that he developed some of his own software and sold them.
- He also earned transcript credit for developing his own YouTube channel. While he worked on the channel, he developed skills in using green screen, doing video editing and time lapse work.
- Also, he earned Language Arts credit for creating his own graphic novel.
- He is now part of the Praxis program, learning business skills.
- Julie’s oldest daughter took classes at the Field Museum as well as the Museum of Science and Industry. Where she learned how to use Garage Band, as well as skills for audio editing.
- She also did NaNoWriMo. She did a one hundred page book in a month. She also worked with mentor writers at a local writer’s organization.
- Her daughter is now studying medical technology at the local community college.
Her teens have not been limited by the choice to unschool homeschool high school! In fact, their world is big and includes many wonderful things!
Also, check out Julie’s work:
The Crunchy Christian Podcast where she talks about healthy lifestyle based on her training as a master herbalist
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