21 July, 2016
Unschooling is a form of education in which learning is based on the student’s interests, needs, and goals. It may be alternatively referred to as natural learning, child-led learning, discovery learning, autodidactic learning, or child-directed learning.
Unschooling contrasts with home schooling in that the student’s education is not directed by a teacher and curriculum. The student is in control of his/her own education but he or she can use the teacher’s curricula. The student selects how, when, why, and what s/he learns. Parents who unschool their children act as “facilitators” and provide a wide range of resources, instruction and support. Unschooling begins with a child’s natural curiosity and expands from there, as an extension of his/her own personal interests and needs.
The term Unschooling was coined by John Holt. An author of ten books on education, John Holt founded the Un schooling magazine Growing Without Schooling.
According to the article Homeschooling: Back to the Future?, unschoolers have been accepted to most universities (including Ivy League schools). The article states that “in the absence of a transcript or high school diploma, applicants can submit samples or a portfolio of their work, letters of recommendation, and CLEP and Stanford Achievement Test scores.” Some universities consider unschoolers to be an asset because they tend to love learning, be self-motivated, and know what they want to get out of their college experience. According to Johnathan Reider, an admissions officer at Stanford university, speaking of homeschoolers in general, “The distinguishing factor is intellectual vitality. These kids have it, and everything they do is responding to it.”
Some common arguments against unschooling are given below.
- Some children lack the foresight to learn the things they will need to know in their adult lives.
- There may be gaps in a child’s education unless an educational professional controls what material is covered.
- Because schools provide a ready-made source of peers, it may be more challenging for children who are not in school to make friends and develop social skills than it is for their schooled peers.
- Children have a cosmic capacity for learning new things, so it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that they learn a number of essential things, as it could be more difficult to learn those things as an adult (what these essential things are varies from critic to critic).
- Some children are not motivated to learn anything, and will spend all of their time in un-educational activities if not coerced into doing otherwise.
- Not all parents may be able to provide the encouraging environment or have the skills and patience required in stimulating the student’s curiosity.
- Because they often lack a diploma from an accredited school, it may be harder for unschooled students to get into college or get a job.
- If they are not made to do arbitrary and tedious schoolwork, children might not learn how to do difficult, uninteresting, and unpleasant work.