Sharyn Mayer…..my two cents
Unschooling…..We all know about home schooling, but after seeing one of the late night cable talk shows, I learned there is a new term for a new kind of education called, “unschooling.”
Unschooling is kind of like home schooling, but not like real school with a planned curriculum. “Students” decide what they want to learn about and how they want to learn it. Becoming part of the community, planning field trips and learning about one particular area of interest at a time is all part of “unschooling.”
Instead of things like working a list of fractions, running multiplication tables, etc in subjects like math, the unschoolers will for instance, study geometry by examing architecture or a homemade quilt ‘” it is shifting perspectives and taking the textbook out of education.
As far as the legality of it all, while each State has its own guidelines, it is legal within a specific framework that must be met. Parents and educators alike, ask how do you measure whether a child is learning or not. Advocates of this form of education, say it is measured by the observer ‘” how the child speaks, interacts, demonstrates skills ‘” that is how one can tell a child’s mastery of knowledge.
An example of unschoolers are Massachusetts residents, Christine Yablonski and Phil Biegler whose teenage children are being unschooled. Yablonski and Biegler have been making the tv circuit interview rounds and the following description was taken from a recent blog about them and unschooling as a new practice:
“The Biegler children live as though school doesn’t exist. They’re at home all day, but they’re not being homeschooled. They’re being “unschooled.” There are no textbooks, no tests and no formal education at all in their world. What’s more, that hands-off approach extends to other areas of the children’s lives: They make their own decisions, and don’t have chores or rules.
Christine Yablonski and Phil Biegler of Westford, Mass., are self-described “radical unschoolers.” They allow their teen daughter and son to decide what they want to learn, and when they want to learn it. The key there is that you’ve got to trust your kids to — find their own interests,” Yablonski told “Good Morning America.”
Whether you think this to be a good or bad idea, many questions remain ‘” what about social interaction with children their own age? how can this prepare them for college and the entrance exams that go along? can they possibly get the “all round” education of all important subject matter this way? What about discipline?
It’s a fascinating topic and I expect more research will come in as more of the population subscribes to this very different approach in education.