Unschooling: practical or dangerous?

Filed under: Media, Day Care & Education

Unschooling is a new term on the home schooling curriculum, and one that's caused more than a little controversy.

"Unschooling" is essentially the rejection of the attributes of a conventional education: the books, the classes, the curriculum and the building itself. While traditional home schooling embraced the basic tenets of traditional education, unschooling stands on the belief that kids will eke out their own educational direction.

As I read this article in the New York Times, I was at first alarmed. Letting kids define their own education? Without text books? If someone had asked me to find my own way as a child, I would have...well, I would've read Judy Blume books all day and refused to ever learn my long division. Which basically is exactly what I did in school.

Currently, this method of education is legal and America and, while small, the movement is growing. Opponents say that it fails to adequately prepare children for the structure of the real world, while proponents object. One Mom in the article noted that learning came from practical desire rather than forced circumstance: her son learned to read when he felt desire, her children learned math when they needed to calculate what purchases their allowance would buy.

I think the idea's a good one. I'm interested to observe how it plays out in the coming years.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.