Unschooling

Salon.com Life | Endless summer

Unschooling is the topic of a feature article at this morning’s online magazine, Salon.

“Endless Summer,” by editorial fellow Sarah Karnasiewicz, starts out with this definition: “Unschooling is a radical branch of home-schooling where kids control what and when they learn — free of teachers, schedules and tests. Unschoolers say it’s intellectually empowering. Critics call it irresponsible.”

Farther on in the three page article, Karnasiewicz explains unschooling again as being made up of: “…followers of a radical approach to education that rejects not just the routines of traditional school, but the authoritative ideology it represents. Unschoolers make up approximately 5 to 10 percent of all home-schoolers. They learn without teachers, curricula or exams; rather, their whole lives are laboratories in which skills and smarts are acquired piecemeal, through casual interaction with the world around them.”

The article quotes my favorite lines from John Holt, which begin with “All I am saying is … trust children.”

It’s an interesting piece, thoughtfully written, and a good introduction to the concept of unschooling.

“The most radical aspect of unschooling may not be its approach to education, but the way it reimagines childhood.”

A tip o’ the hat to Daryl.

5 Responses to Unschooling

  1. Susan Ryan on October 3, 2005 at 7:09 am

    Love the picture of the little girl cloud dreamin’.

    HEM has many photo ‘keepers’ like that.

  2. Helen on October 3, 2005 at 7:14 am

    I thought that was a clever picture for the article!

  3. Jes on October 4, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    As an adult who was unschooled as a child, I was happy to see an article on unschooling. While there were a few good points the paragraph near the end bothered me. It begins: “Indeed, given the temptations and distractions of everyday life, is it unreasonable to wonder how much kids can really learn when just left up to their own devices? Conventional wisdom tells us that when not compelled to study the basics of reading and writing and arithmetic, the average kid will fritter away the day playing video games and flipping TV stations.” This paragraph exemplifies how difficult it is to explain unschooling to someone accustomed to the traditional system. It is based on fear and returns to the idea that children must be forced to learn . I know this is false and that children DO want to learn as long as their natural born curiosity isn’t crushed with busy work in a classroom. I also know that as an unschooler who went on to graduate from college, “the basics” are acquired as a latent consequence of living in the world.

  4. Helen on October 4, 2005 at 1:19 pm

    The paragraph or two near the end was the writer’s feeble attempt to add “balance” to the piece and throw in a dissenting opinion, as she was undoubtedly taught to do when writing an article and as most editors expect to see. It’s a habit that annoys me more and more these days, because it’s so often a departure from the overall views of the writer. I think that’s evident in this case, as the writer clearly “got” the concept of unschooling.

  5. anthony freeman on December 12, 2005 at 10:14 pm

    i really am impressed by your site. very original & interesting content. red gnome becomes faithful round in final: http://www.newscorp.com/ , Black is feature of Coolblooded Girl right chair will win pair without any questions , Tremendous, Curious, Astonishing nothing comparative to White right circle will love tv without any questions

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