I recently came across the term “unschooling,” and having no idea what it meant, I did some research. This is what I found from Unschooling.com:
One thing school does that you don’t ever, ever have to do is this: By making certain things “subjects,” other things are not subjects, and in school, only subjects matter. What you learn “on your own time” is unimportant, and in fact detracts from the time you should be spending on subjects. Homeschools can end up making this same mistake: You buy a curriculum and you “do school,” and THEN you can play (i.e., then you have “free time”). IF you do your lesson, you can play. Unschoolers turn the whole thing upside down: If you follow your interest (play), you will learn in the process.
Think about how an adult learns something new, how you yourself do it; there is no reason why a child can’t learn in the same way. You have an interest, let’s say, in tying flies for fishing, or in the Civil War, or in chinchillas. What do you do? Research, for one. What kind? The library, perhaps. You find books on the subject. You find movies about the Civil War. You go to the zoo or a pet shop or a state fair to see chinchillas and talk to people who raise them. You find a TV program about tying flies and how to cast, and you go to the lake and see people fishing, and talk to them. You realize you can’t quite understand how to do it by reading, so you find someone who can show you. You want to have some fun interaction with others, so you join a Civil War reanactment society. Now, imagine you are in school, and you have to “study” tying flies, or raising chinchillas. You have no interest in these things at all; you are totally absorbed by the Civil War right now. It would take coercion (rewards/grades and punishments/grades) to make you “learn” about flies and chinchillas, and as soon as that last final is done, you forget it all and go back to that fascinating book on Antietam.
People learn because they are interested in learning something, for some reason. A man learns Greek to fulfill a goal important to him; a girl learns to keep her heels down and her reins even, because she wants to advance to using a bit. If these things, being a priest or horseback riding, were not important to the individuals in question, would either of them learn them? Would they be happy doing so if someone were making them do it? Children will learn long division, and algebra, and calculus in the same way. If they truly are not interested in mathematics, then they don’t need it. They will most likely not pursue careers that require it. Basic arithmetic, sure. People need that, and without the interference of school, kids find it fun.
So.. I’m VERY interested in your thoughts I’ve never really thought of doing anything but public school, and am not about to change my whole world or anything, but the information I found raises some very interesting questions.. First impressions, ya’ll?