This article from Massachusetts provides a reasonably broad look at unschooling, along with the ‘balanced’ viewpoint from professional educators. I’m still looking forward to the day when the articles about public school include ‘obligatory’ comments from homeschooling veterans.
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Massachusetts, 9 December 2006, When DROPOUT isn’t a bad word: Some local teens are thriving by setting their own schedules and learning by doing
Some education experts worry that unschoolers will lack social skills and basic life skills necessary for life.
“Schools provide sort of a liberal arts education. You get well-rounded. Does that happen in an unschooled situation?” said Lorne Ranstrom, chair of the division of teacher education at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy. “Who’s in charge of that kind of teaching? Is it her parents? Is she pretty much on her own?”
Donna San Antonio, a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, agrees.
“The idea behind unschooling is that not everyone is going to be a biologist or a mathematician,” San Antonio said. “The idea is that people can follow the path that their own learning brings them.
“The problem is that we never know where our lives are going to bring us. Some people find themselves in situations where doors are closed because they didn’t have biology or they didn’t have algebra 2 and pre-calculus.”
Anna Finklestein left Sharon High School after the ninth grade because she was bored and felt she could put her time to better use. She started a professional theater company for young adults, interned at Boston’s Huntington Theater and took college courses at the Harvard Extension School.
This year, she got a part-time job at Ward’s Berry Farm.
At 16, she spends her spare time thinking up future projects and how to accomplish them – like starting a coffee shop, a homeless shelter or a baby-sitting service.
“I’m unschooled. I basically control what I do,” said Finklestein, whose second theater production, “The Laramie Project,” closes this weekend.