Monday, October 10, 2011

what is unschooling?

PsychologyToday | Unschooling is a movement that turns conventional thinking about education upside down. I'd like to learn more about it and tell the world more about it, and for that reason I'm conducting a survey of unschooling families. If you are a member of such a family and are willing to participate, you can download the survey form by going to Pat Farenga's website and scrolling down to find the link (Pat has kindly posted the form). If you can't find it that way, you can request the form from me by email, at The form itself contains all the information you need to complete and return it. It's short and not hard to complete. I would be very grateful for your participation. I invite you also to forward the form, or a link to this post, to other unschooling families, so they might also participate. (I plan to analyze the responses by the beginning of November, so please return your form before then).

Here's some of what I know already about unschooling, before conducting the survey. Defined most simply, unschooling is not schooling. Unschoolers do not send their children to school and they do not do at home the kinds of things that are done at school. More specifically, they do not establish a curriculum for their children, they do not require their children to do particular assignments for the purpose of education, and they do not test their children to measure progress. Instead, they allow their children freedom to pursue their own interests and to learn, in their own ways, what they need to know to follow those interests. They also, in various ways, provide an environmental context and environmental support for the child's learning. Life and learning do not occur in a vacuum; they occur in the context of a cultural environment, and unschooling parents help define and bring the child into contact with that environment.

All in all, unschoolers have a view of education that is 180 degrees different from that of our standard system of schooling. They believe that education is something that children (and people of all ages) do for themselves, not something done to them, and they believe that education is a normal part of all of life, not something separate from life that occurs at special times in special places.


umbrarchist said...

So there can be stupid unschooling just as there can be stupid schooling.