It’s not often that a homeschooling dad can share homeschooling experiences, as Wisit Wangwinyoo did in a Bangkok Post interview.
AN ALTERNATIVE FATHER December 4, 2008 SUPAWADEE INTHAWONG
Wisit Wangwinyoo is not an ordinary father.
A thinker and writer in philosophy who has translated the works of prominent Buddhist spiritual leaders like Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama, he chose to home-school his son and wrote about it in the book Home-made School, released in 2005.
His son, Isara, 18, and a music student at a college in Russia, also published a book that is a sequel to his father’s, telling the stories about the alternative education experience from his perspective.
The painful transitions in losing his wife to brain cancer 12 years ago seem to have helped solidify perspectives about his son’s childhood and education.
Wanting to spend as much time as possible with his son, he started the “unschooling” process for the then-six-year-old Isara.
His so-called “home-made” education method was based on the natural child-led learning with some influence from the ideas of US writer John Holt, the author of the books How Children Fail and How Children Learn.
John Holt’s research and philosophies seems right in line with what Wisit Wangwinyoo did for his son. He chose a home for his son that would be conducive to nurturing and learning.
He chose Ashram Wongsanit, a community of NGO developers and alternative educators in Nakhon Nayok, as the home and school for their child, convinced that the natural surrounding and thatched home would provide a greatest learning opportunity for the boy.
The father and son later settled in Chiang Rai, following the family of Wisit’s brother. The northern province was also an ideal place for the learning and growing of his son, according to Wisit
The in-depth article covered a good deal of Wisit’s thought process about education, along with Isara’s childhood journey and accomplishments. Isara shared some thoughts about his father and life so far, which parents always hope to be positive. Wisit shouldn’t be disappointed.
On Wisit’s birthday, Isara wrote to thank his father for arranging him home-school education so that he did not have to “put up” with things he would not enjoy learning.
He said Wisit is a role model who works with passion and joy, and not for money or fame.
An image Isara has remembered since he was young was his father waking up early each morning to write books or translate works.
Isara said his father always avoids answering his questions directly but will try to have him think and find the answers by himself.
Isara is now in Yaroslavl, Russia studying piano in college.
~ Susan Ryan