I’m one of those people that doesn’t wait to cross a bridge until I come to it. I try to picture features of the bridge, design tests for determining the soundness of construction, etc. That’s why, as a lifelong learner and educator, I’m already researching different educational options for my Loveyou’s and my unborn children.
I believe that how we learn shapes what we learn, and subsequently, how we see the world. I’m not making a secret of the fact that I abhor the current state of public schools and testing; and I don’t believe one should need to pay large amounts of money for their children to have a top-notch education, either. By top-notch, I mean one in which: peers and mentors instill a passion for learning through self-directed projects; rankings are irrelevant; self-esteem is healthy; and family bonds remain strong. You’ll notice I have no interest in dividing education into particular subjects. Life isn’t segregated. Why should learning be? Living is learning.
My philosophy has brought me, a former preschool teacher, to the concept of unschooling as an option. The wikipedia definition is as follows:
Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.
The term “unschooling” was coined in the 1970s and used by educator John Holt, widely regarded as the “father” of unschooling. While often considered to be a subset of homeschooling, unschoolers may be as philosophically estranged from homeschoolers as they are from advocates of conventional schooling. While homeschooling has been subject to widespread public debate, little media attention has been given to unschooling in particular. Popular critics of unschooling tend to view it as an extreme educational philosophy, with concerns that unschooled children will lack the social skills, structure, and motivation of their peers, especially in the job market, while proponents of unschooling say exactly the opposite is true: self-directed education in a natural environment makes a child more equipped to handle the “real world.”
I still have tons of practical application questions, but I’m excited by the prospect. I may post more comments and/or resources later.