What is Unschooling? Education on the Road

by Melissa

After many days of research I am excited to be telling you about a type of schooling that I have fallen in love with.

Unschooling - is it right for us?

Unschooling

Education that is led by your kids.  It allows your child to have the freedom to explore and discover topics of interest to them.  They are allowed to stay on this topic for as long as they have interest and can take it in any direction they choose.  As the parent your job is to facilitate learning – not teach your child.  There are no tests, no workbooks (unless of course your child is into that) and no mandatory subjects that have to be covered.

Now the pros and cons of this type of learning.

Pros

  • Kids get to see and experience the “real world” by learning about multiple cultures as they travel or explore their surroundings.
  • Kids can stick to a topic until it is exhausted, taking it above and beyond just basic understanding.
  • Because they are studying what they choose, they and I will be more relaxed.
  • Curiosity is promoted and encouraged to be explored.
  • This type of learning promotes the desire to seek knowledge and answers to questions in many diverse ways.
  • Allows for intelligence to be diverse and dynamic.

Cons

  • Very unstructured academic skill sets.  Every state in America is focused on set objectives for each grade level.  How can I just let them go and not touch on these?
  • Lack of formal assessment.  You cannot get around testing.
  • We eventually will be returning to a traditional school setting.
  • Socialization.

One of my biggest concerns and obstacles is that of socialization.  I have never met a person who did not balk at home schooling with the snide remark “your kids are going to be weird.  How will they learn to socialize if they are at home?”

One blog in particular really helped me to feel better.  World School Adventures has been traveling for years now unschooling their children as they go.  From reading their blog it is clear to see that their children do not want for friends or socialization.  They have made friends old, young, and from many different cultures. They are equally able to communicate with all.  I really like this as it allows my kids to be comfortable working with anyone of any age.  How awesome that my kids will be able to learn first hand how to work with people of all generations and cultures.  What an amazing asset to add to their resume.  So am I concerned about socialization? No.

I plan to address the other cons in my list as I explore other types of education in my next post of this series.  Stay tuned.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gretchen Trominski December 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Read an interesting article that said the 3 R’s of education have been replaced with the 4 C’s: creative thinking, critical thinking, computers and calculators. I know that any topic your kids get interested in can be explored while integrating history, language, and math skills as they explore it. Know you will do a good job. You always have.

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