I heard it on news this morning! Am I the last to hear this term? I was fascinated, so I did what you would probably do, I googled it.
Here is a 6 minute ABC News video from Apr 20, 2010, so this term has been around for some time!
My understanding - Unschooling means students select their own learning path, set their own agenda of what they want to learn and when, attend no classes, have no textbooks, and do not take tests. Is unschooling a subset of homeschooling? Philosophically the difference appears to be that unschooling has no curriculum.
Here is a more recent Minnesota Today News report on Unschooling kids by Bob Collins (8/21/12) including this one hour video of Astra Taylor on the Unschooled Life.
What do you think about "unschooling"? Is this a path for some children that can work in today's world?
Yes!---I have been following it the past year or two, learned about it from my daughter's Montessori teachers. There is actually a pretty good size unschool community here in the Charleston SC area. I also follow this blog by Blake Boles:
I am especially intrigued with the higher ed piece, with college tuition going up at such an untenable rate there need to be viable alternatives.
I enjoyed Blake Boles' blog and reading his Goals, a good task for all of us to do. I can see where I have to focus my thinking on this topic to include various age groups, interests, and abilities.
For the college student, and one of my two sons is a self-starter who thrived under an alternative learning path, but he did get his degrees and those did provide opportunities. He continues to be a life long learner, picking up what information he needs from books, the Internet, and professional contacts. At times in his life, he would have done quite well in unschooling.
But, what does the unschooled student have to recommend him for jobs? Ok, that is an end product. How does the unschooler validate his learning? As a high school student coming out of unschooling, how does he apply competitively for college? How does he complete a college degree in a reasonable amount of time?
This community is a great place to explore new ideas and this is pretty new to me.
This unschooling approach is a classic example of modern idealism. With growing populations there will undoubtedly be a small group of anti-conformists out there who think they know what is best for their children. They disregard the past decades of classroom style teaching and come up with their own method of teaching. Actually, it is more of a theory of education than a teaching style.
I do not believe that the unschooling approach would be beneficial to the student in many ways at all. By not growing up in the traditional school setting, they would lack attributes such as structure, prioritization, and other valuable skills necessary for maturity and independence.
One of the points I found so interesting in Astra's speech was that years of traditional schooling foster attributes like structure and conformity, and that she and her siblings were actually more mature and independent than many of the "public school kids" they met, growing up. I even wondered if they were too independent, hearing her express unfulfilled wishes to belong to clubs and collaborate with peers and with consideration of the point made in the first video: sometimes it is good for children to do things they would not have chosen for themselves because in that way, they are exposed to a variety of things that might interest them.
You make an excellent point, Lindsey. Exposure to a variety of people, subjects, activities, sports, and clubs in public schools broadens a student's scope of learning. It isn't just from textbooks and seeking information on what interests us. This is the time in their life when they should explore subjects and relationships.