Google+ Authentic Parenting: What is Unschooling?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is Unschooling?

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Yesterday we tackled Montessori, today, we'll discuss what it means to unschool.

Often when inquiring what unschooling is, you'll get a list of what it isn't and getting a concise definition can be hard. But we'll give it a go anyway.
Unschooling is self-directed, interest driven learning, which is facilitated by parents or caregivers in a rich and nurturing environment.
source: Oana Hogrefe Photography

The unschooling philosophy starts from the concept that learning is innate to humans and that, given the right circumstances (food, shelter, safety - both physical and mental, rich and creative environment) a child (or even adult) will learn anything they need when they need it.
Unschooling goes by many names: self-directed learning, interest based learning, life learning, holistic learning... but basically they are one and the same, just variations on a theme. They all put the learner central, instead of putting the material central. They're highly individual methods of learning... they become more of a philosophy of life than the way learning is seen in the traditional sense.

Learning, in the sense that unschoolers see it, is so intertwined with life that it cannot be seperated from life. Just like any child that has the physical and mental capacities will learn to walk and talk, so shall he learn to read, and write and even do math.

Unschooling is not a hands off method as is often misconceived. Parents or caregivers have a very active role in helping the growing child obtain the knowledge he or she seeks. They are also highly involved in creating that 'rich environment' I've hinted at a couple of times throughout this post.
Unschooling doesn't happen in an air tight cocoon, it happens in the world (worldschooling is a fine term to point to this), in real life, through real encounters and interactions.
Unschooling parents will actively involve children in conversations, actions and well, life in whole.
Unschoolers see children as part of the 'real world', not as people in formation who need to be kept from it.

Unschooling is respectful of the child, his abilities and pace and interests and passions.

Want more? Read my post 'Unschooling: an Introduction'


Do you like where this is headed?
Sara McGrath's 'Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning' is a Practical Handbook on Learning Without School: People who feel drawn to the philosophical principles of unschooling often ask ‘How do you unschool?’
McGrath eloquently answers questions people who are new at unschooling often struggle with and offers to be a guide on the path towards an unschooled life.

From the book: Unschooling life feels joyful. A self-motivated, passion and purpose-driven life feels intrinsically right.

Sara McGrath is a long-time homeschooling mother of three and author of several books on self-motivated homeschooling, unschooling, how-to, fiction, and a memoir, as well as hundreds of online articles.

120 pages, value $4,99


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