Depends on who you ask. I am not big on labels and unschooling bests describes the way we homeschool . Some uschoolers take offence and like to tell me I am not *really* unschooling . To me this smacks of the mommy-er than though attitude I come across every so often and I just nod and dismiss.
Every ones homeschooling experience will be different. One of my good friends- one I will describe as unschooling- lives in a rural area with 4 children. I live a courtyard in the suburbs and we have about a zillion kids around us. I get a lot of the negative socialization that my daughter would be even more exposed to if she were in school. Based on some of the incidents we have had on the street the last few years I think we made a very wise choice keeping her out of institutionalized learning. My girlfriends kids may be lonely for other kids to play with at times but she sure doesn’t get the awful peer pressure my daughter faces.
That same peer pressure will often be a catalyst to learn something new and she will often ask to learn something because the other kids know it and she wants to be the same. This to me is valid reason and falls in to my beliefs as unschooler and child led learning. Last week she became obsess with learning her times tables. She made up her own times table- a very laborious project that involved her doing every one with a calculator and writing it in bright green magic marker. She spent hours and hours on this. This led to her having e write questions down for her. The she asked for some worksheets. There is a fabulous site that auto generates math works sheets, Super Kids Math Work Sheets , it is one of my favourite sites- The have excellent addition and subtraction as well as some fun online math games. The whole site is great and a wonderful resource for homeschooling families.
Generally I do make up my own math worksheets or use super kids sites. Every so often I get a wave of panic and will jump into something more structured like Miquon Math and Cuisenaire rods or but a text book. I also used to buy tons of the Math Smart and English Smart workbooks at Costco and put them on shelf- which my daughter can use or not use as she wishes. My problem with these is they are “graded” and E. can get hung up on that- working in a Grade 2 work book rather than a Grade 3., so I have not bought these in the last few months.
To me child led mean just that- when your children express a desire to learn something you find and provide the access and tools to learn. That can be piano lessons, math work sheets, a calculator, a bucket of beads or a deck of cards or. All are tools to learning and none should be ruled out.