Thursday, January 19, 2006

Radical Unschooling

That is what we do in this house, though this term is almost "dirty" even within the homeschooling community...

What does it mean?

It means Dave and I don't "provide" and education for our children at all. We only assist them (when asked) in learning whatever knowledge or skills they are interested in learning, at the time, and for the duration that they are interested.

I've trained as a teacher. I have an undergraduate degree in Communications (Professional Writing), and post graduate diploma in Vocational Education and Training, and a Masters degree in Education (specialising in Early Childhood Development)... Through out all my learning and research about how people communicate and how children and adults learn and develop, I've come to understand that the inquisitive nature of human beings ensures that even without direction, the human child (or adult, if not depressed or oppressed, and even still) will can't help but learn those skills and information that s/he finds useful.

It is completely possible to learn skills and information that one does not feel are relevant and useful, most of us do this every day against our will, however, the process of doing so creates a furtile ground for resentment of "learning", where people become actively resistant to learning because they feel it eats into their "playtime" (the time they use to learn things that interest them and are of use to them)...

Education research has proven that skills and information that are assimilated during "playtime" are retained far longer and with greater saturation than skills and information which are assimilated through enforced learning.

Therefore I believe, and I have managed to mostly convince Dave of this, that leaving our boys to learn things as they are inspired to learn them, is the best way to insure they retain what they learn.

It requires a lot of faith, and I find that I am unable to find peers who have the same degree of faith that I have in this process. Most home educating parents feel the need to actively impose some sort of "education' on their children, even for their own reassurance, whereas I feel this risks dampening the child's enthusiasm for learning, even mildly. Each encounter of "you MUST do this exercise, or this project" however small, put a bad taste of learning onto the sensitive palette of the developing child...

Call me crazy, LOL, I'm used to it...

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Teenagers and the failing parent...