Stealth schooling is generally a term for unschooling. I like unschooling as a concept. Sometimes my gifted son is all for it, and sometimes he thinks it doesn’t feel like school and, as he has a very definite notion of what is school, will demand something more structured.
That said, there’s still some stealth schooling going on. The truth is a child learns things from all sorts of activities. It would be difficult to find an activity that doesn’t teach them. Half of attempting stealth schooling is to adjust our thinking — to see value in any activity from a schooling perspective. Artistic activities aren’t just about art education: they are about problem solving, fine motor skills, visual skills and unlocking creativity. Playing with legos isn’t just play: it’s engineering in its most basic form, mathematics, balance, patterning, and in some cases, robotics. Playing with dolls isn’t just play: it’s communication, interpersonal relationships, behavioral science, exercises in compassion, fashion, and personal care. Even riding a bicycle requires practice of necessary skills: balance, proprioception, following laws, and caring for your physical body. When we, as homeschoolers, make that adjustment to our thinking, we begin to see how any activity can be beneficial to our children.
Stealth schooling is generally when a parent leads a child into learning a specific topic and some stealth schooling is easier than others. For me, it isn’t just my son who will decide something we’re doing isn’t schooly — I answer to my hubby and to a charter school, both of whom claim to be very easy going about whatever I want to teach my son, until they aren’t. The charter wants me to have lesson plans. If I’m truly allowing my son to be an unschooler, this is really hard. What interests him today may not interest him tomorrow. So I may have started the year intending to study California History, but he may not cooperate. My husband recognizes that he couldn’t teach Pumpkin. It would drive him nuts. Yet he’s right there comparing everything when Pumpkin goes to scouts.
Stealth schooling for social studies and science are incredibly easy. If I buy a text book for either subject, Pumpkin will read it cover to cover when it comes in the house. He loves models and history videos. He adores geography puzzles. Those are so easy. enough
Math and Language arts are much harder. He loves to read, so the reading part of L.A. is no problem. When we go to the library, Pumpkin reads every book we bring home the first day. Sometimes he’s interested in math, other times it’s like pulling teeth. But the real problem is writing.
Pumpkin can write beautifully. His handwriting is nice, his storytelling skills are immense. I’ve never seen a “Dick and Jane” sentence from him. But he hates writing. He considers it a punishment. And the thing that truly killed unschooling for us was when he purposefully bombed the writing portion of his STAR test. The downside of a charter is that we must do the state testing. This brilliant kid bombed it. And so Hubby said no more.
So stealth schooling happens for us on the weekends. I leave cool games and books for him to discover and he does. I got him project printouts on legos and asked him to help his brother build a castle. And of course, we have field trips which provide stealth schooling opportunities galore. If we go to a museum, I give him a scavenger hunt sheet, to see if he can find the educational stuff in the museum (using the websites). I wish we could be freer with school, and do more stealth schooling, but for now we cannot.