Unschooling is an increasingly popular educational style among homeschoolers that often terrifies people who are not familiar with it because it does not follow any set curriculum.
Instead of following curriculum expectations made by some beaurocrats, unschoolers take charge of their own education, they decide themselves what they want to study and they do not always use textbooks.
This is why this education style is also known as child or student led education. However, it does not mean when the child learns only what they want, but it means that he/she participates by helping to choose educational materials, learning style, and the pace of learning.
And when using textbooks both parents and children use it as a tool rather than their master. For example when learning math an unschooling students might choose to do as many problems and exercises as she/he needs to master the material instead of doing every single problem.
Many parents often wonder how do you keep the records of what your child is learning and how do you know if she/he knows enough when unschooling in the absence of marked sheets. It is really simple.
Write down the titles of all the books your child/student studied on any given subject and record also the approximate time it took him/her to study it.
In a similar way record all the documentaries you watched together and the time it took to watch them. Print out any research report, story, essay he/she has written on any subject and give it a grade, then file it in a binder.
You can even create quizzes based on the material your child studied, grade it and file it as well. Have your child take pictures and record what she/he has learned from any science project, field trip to the museum, or even a nature hike. Have discussions based on articles he/she has read on various subjects of interest.
At the end of the school year ( whatever it is in your case as some kids take longer or shorter while others even like to study through the entire year) file all these records by subjects and write a report card describing what was covered and how you arrived on the final grade.
You can even compare what your child has learned with the curriculum expectations set by public education system in your area. You will find out that your child not only knows enough, but often far more than what was expected in the curriculum.
It will give you a peace of mind and it will also serve as proof that your child is receiving more than adequate education should the school board in your area ever question you, and it will make it easy for your child to re-enter or enter a public education system at any level when you decide it is in her/his best interest.
Author's note: Image courtesy of http://unschoolingsupport.com/the-word-unschooling/