Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unschooling?? I am too concerned about my kids future!!

I just became aware of the Unschooling movement. Huh? I knew about homeschooling, but unschooling? It sounds like an oxymoron. But apparently it is quite a growing movement in the country.

Currently it is estimated that anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 children are following this unconventional method of learning. Unlike the home school method of learning, unschooled children follow no set curriculum, rather they learn what they want, when they feel so inclined. This is because the philosophy of the learning method states that humans have an ingrained need to learn and will do so if theft t their own devices.

Okay, I can buy that. But it seems like a fairly large leap of faith. You only have once chance to ensure that your child receives the best education possible. What if your child feels the need to play video games rather than explore the beauties of math? Or what if your kid decided to spend his entire childhood reading only comic books? What then? Or never learning to read at all?

What kind of qualifications will they have in this ever changing world where knowledge is power? And education is key to success? 

Homeschooling itself is controversial. The National Parent Teacher Association opposes the practice, as do the National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Unschooling is even more controversial. To some educators it’s tantamount to uneducating. They worry that while the popularity is gaining, it’s not a good idea for many families.

“If the parents are highly educated and/or from a higher socioeconomic level, the kids are going to get all kinds of rich experiences because the nature of the home is going to be about books, experiences, education and learning,” says Myron Dembo, a University of Southern California professor of education. “These kids won’t be harmed as much from [unschooling] as the kids who have parents without much education. One thing I worry about, though, is that the parent may be less competent than the parent thinks.”

Dembo, the author of "Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success," agrees that the best education comes when children are self-motivated, but he says without formal matriculation some kids risk simply being left out. They may not master basic skills, they won’t receive so much as a high school diploma, and their chances for productive futures could become nonexistent.

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1 comment:

  1. It is a big leap of faith, but as an unschooling teen who's met over a hundred people who were are are being unschooled, I really don't think it's "harmed" any of them (myself included)! Also of note, they came from vastly different socio-economic backgrounds, with parents that had a wide variety of formal education or lack thereof. Personally, I'm so grateful that my parents trusted me with my own education! :-)