I wrote in one of my earlier blogs about home schooling. The other day a friend enlightened me to the world of unschooling, a term that sounded both foreign and horrifying to me. The thought of not educating your child at all just seems absurd to me, as a parent. However, this method of education is actually more convincing that its name suggests.
The concept of unschooling is rooted in the belief that all children have a desire to learn new things but that we suppress this desire through traditional teaching methods. Unschooling, on the other hand, allows children the freedom to develop their thirst for learning when the time is right for them. From the research I have done it seems that most children will just choose to sit in front of the TV for the first few weeks or month, which is a scary prospect for parents. However, without exception, all children who are unschooled leave the television or video game at some point early on in their education to pick up a book or start working out the mechanics of something in the home and so on.
Unscholled children are provided with the books, IT, toys, equipment and other resources that they need to learn and they use these as and when their interest is piqued. Unschooling is growing in popularity in the US but is still fairly unknown here in the UK. To ensure that children adopt the social skills necessary for adulthood, unschooling networks have been set up in the US so that unschooled children can get together for social interaction in the form of parties, outward bound days, camps etc. Also worth noting is that unschooled children are far more adept at relating to people of all ages and not just their peer group.