The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning

I came across an interesting resource today:

The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning

This journal seeks to bring together an international community of scholars exploring the topic of unschooling and alternative learning, which espouses learner centered democratic approaches to learning. JUAL is also a space to reveal the limitations of mainstream schooling.

JUAL understands learner centered democratic education as individuals deciding their own curriculum, and participating in the governance of their school-if they are in one. Some examples of learner centered democratic possibilities are unschooling, Sudbury Valley, Fairhaven, the Albany Free School, and the Beach School in Toronto. In terms of unschooling, we view it as a self-directed learning approach to learning outside of the mainstream education rather than homeschooling, which reproduces the learning structures of school in the home.

The founder and publisher of The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning is Dr. Carlo Ricci, who notes in his biographical credit:

I teach in the faculty of education’s graduate program at Nipissing University and I founded and edit the online Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning (JUAL). I try to incorporate the spirit of unschooling, democratic and learner centered principles in all of my classes. Everything of value that I have learned, I have learned outside of formal schooling. I have never taken a course in school connected to what I now teach and write about. I have taught in elementary and high school. I have also taught in undergraduate, teacher education programs and graduate programs. My personal schooling experience as a student and later as a teacher has inspired me to revolt against institutional schooling. I continue to heal from the wounds inflicted on me by formal schooling. I have two daughters ages 2 and 4 that I hope will decide to be unschooled.

From JUAL’s submissions page:

We invite submissions that celebrate the successes, and challenges, of non-mainstream learning, and that help promote an understanding of how authentic alternative learning environments can inform educational policy. As well, we welcome articles that highlight the limitations of mainstream schooling.

The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning publishes articles in a variety of scholarly forms; for example, review essays, discussions, book reviews, research notes. We encourage and support creative representational forms of work.

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2 Responses to The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning

  1. Helen on May 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I differ with these folks on one very significant point, in which they write: “In terms of unschooling, we view it as a self-directed learning approach to learning outside of the mainstream education rather than homeschooling, which reproduces the learning structures of school in the home.”

    That’s one definition of homeschooling, but it’s not our definition.

  2. Amy Mallison-Austin on May 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Since there are no cut and dried standards for the fifty states, some of us have things that we are “required” to do by our states in order to homeschool. We do what is required, but only because we have to. In Pennsylvania, we have to produce a portfolio of material to prove that we have covered at least nine of the eleven subject areas. Again, we do what we have to do, and we do what we want to do the rest of the time.

    At the same time, we do not replicate school in the home. We sit around the dining room table because that is where there is enough room for three or four children and a mother holding a fussy toddler. We eat and drink at will while we work. We color, draw, laugh and sing.

    That is our definition of homeschooling.

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