Five years ago, I went looking to learn about homeschooling after my son had endured extreme bullying in school. I knew nothing more then there's no way I could do worse for my son then the current 'system' was doing. At first, I thought 'homeschooling' equaled setting up a 'schoolroom' in ones house and doing a smaller version of the classical one room schoolhouse image.
I bought posters and charts and filled the house with all sorts of scholarly things. Looking back to the beginning of our first full year of official homeschooling makes me smile. (We pulled George out of school when he was in second grade but didn't seriously push 'homeschooling' till what would have been considered the beginning of his third grade year.) He seemed to take to learning so naturally, that I soon learned to relax, which shortly after, slid more comfortably into unschooling.
As with many new homeschoolers, I worried. As I kept finding myself more and more drawn to unschooling, I worried more! What if? As a mom, I now know I'm not alone in this concern for just how will my child learn? Will I teach him all that he will need, to go to college, to get a successful and happy life? So to help me learn more, I joined a bunch of groups. I joined local homeschooling groups. I joined national homeschooling groups. I researched and I read then I researched some more. I shared the highlights with my spouse who now is enjoying life as an unschooling father! Yes, unschooling just as with parenting, can be a family affair.
My son is soon to be thirteen. By age requirements, he would be in seventh grade this year had he opted to return to school. He did not but the choice shall always remain his to decide. He has officially been unschooling now for four years plus one year of deschooling. He is still an avid reader and is always learning. There have been a few times he has been concerned that he might not be as smart as his same age peers, but at those times, we help him to explore just what his peers are learning and so far, he has been unimpressed. It seems that my son has a deeper knowledge base as he doesn't have to stop something he is into because he must switch to a different class or subject. He learns things because he is interested so the information sticks.
The best advise I recall ever receiving on education, or on how kids learn, or how to teach, was this; If you read, your children will read. If you write, your children will write. If you love life, so will your children. Instead of looking to engage your children in something, go find something to engage yourself into. They will come to see what you are doing and if you make room for them to join you, they will. Love learning and they will, too. No force will ever be required.
Oh, and most importantly, be willing to do the same in reverse! Be open and willing to learn what they have to teach YOU! You may just find yourself pleasantly surprised!!