Last week I was on my way out of a Dr.’s office and I was surprised to hear Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN Health Channel talking about the importance of unstructured learning for children. He also mentioned Christopher Paolini so I visited the CNN Health Channel to try and find the report. I wasn’t able to find the excact one, but I did find an interesting interview that Dr. Gupta conducted with author Christopher Paolini last fall. You can access it at the CNN site here. (You will need to scroll down and click on “Environment sparks the genius inside?” that can be found within the green box titled WATCH on the upper right hand side)
There have been many unschooling articles in the news as of late and it is nice to see that some of them actually do see the value of allowing children to follow their interests at their own pace. I was reading my blog feeds this a.m. and saw that there was yet another decent peice on unschooling today!
You have to trust that the child will learn, ”Unschooling’ movement leaves education choices up to kids was published in the Chicago Sun-Times, December 24, 2006 BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter
The whole report is a good read, but I particularly enjoyed the quotes below by Dorothy Werner and Pat Farenga:
“Not for everyone
Yet even advocates caution that unschooling is not for everyone.”It’s just kind of a scary way of doing things. Not many people are willing to go out on that limb,” said Dorothy Werner, founder of Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience, an Illinois home-schooling support group.”You have to trust that children want to learn. You can’t believe that children must be forced to learn,” Werner said.”Parents who need to be in control … would have a hard time. If you want your child to be learning the same factoids as the child next door, unschooling is not for you.”
Home-schooling researcher Michael Apple, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is “wary of the hype.” He wonders what unschoolers are really learning about people of other races, religions and cultures.
“There is no public accountability,” Apple said.
Counters unschooling author Farenga: “Who is going to be the commissar of correct thought?”
William Schubert, professor of curriculum studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, home-schooled his daughter using a few unschooling ideas.
He says unschooling can be positive, but requires time, resources and “dialogue with … well-educated people.”
“We don’t know that children are innately curious. The question is open,” Schubert said. Some unschoolers “may not get any further than eating candy bars.”
Unschooling may be easier for parents with the time and resources, Farenga agrees, but “everyone can find that within their own little sphere.”
“I’m not trying to make this sound like it’s easy,” Farenga said, “but it’s not easy if your child is failing or hurting in school, either.”
Abby and others insist every child has a passion waiting to be ignited.
“Every person has something they absolutely adore and would like to do for the rest of their life,” Abby said.
“If you can pinpoint that, and have your kids run with it, you’d be amazed how excited your kids can be about learning.”
Posted by Mary Nix