The Traditional Curriculum and Fear
Many of the things we do in life, are because of fear. The traditional public school system is based on the assumption that knowledge must be forced upon children because they will never pursue it for themselves (The Natural Child Project). We send our children to school because we are afraid we are inadequate and cannot teach. We are afraid that due to our inadequacies as parents, our children will not measure up. We are afraid that our children will not be smart enough. We are afraid that our children will be behind. We are afraid that they will not learn what they are supposed to learn when they are supposed to learn. We are afraid that they won’t be able to get into college. We are afraid that our children will be doomed to a life of mediocrity.
We are afraid that people will thing we are weird.
- In my opinion, this is the most misunderstood homeschooling method – or non-method. Unschooling is simply – learning that happens naturally. When one unschools – they don’t care about arbitrary stages of development that somebody created a century ago – by studying , who? What was the socioeconomic status and the ethnicity’s of the study subjects? Children are inately curious, and are driven to understand and master the world around them (Yes, I Can Write). Unschooling is a different perspective all together. Unschoolers believe that true learning happens best when it arises from the experiences and interests of the learner (The Path Less Taken). Unschoolers live their lives – and they learn from it.
- Don’t have labels
- Don’t have an authority
- Parents are not teachers but guides the child along their way
- They don’t have subjects, texbooks and formal curriculum
- Don’t have the day divided up in time
- Don’t have time out chairs, regular bed times, or chore charts.
Unschoolers live cohesively has a family, working and growing together.
Shift in thinking – What do Unschoolers do all day?
- Play games
- Watch movies
- Play outside
- Conduct experiements
- Complete Projects
- Invent things
- Build things
- Watch TV
Well, what if they decide to play video games all day? Well, learning is everywhere. Even video games can be a valuable learning tool that will peak interests and promote creativity. If the child does in fact play video games all day – if he has the freedom to choose there are a few things that can happen.
- He/she gets his/her fill and moves on to something else
- It develops into a real passion that then transfers into a possible interest and career path
- It leads to other areas of exploration
When someone is free to choose their path – it leads to further growth and learning.
A Free School
I had previously mentioned that we tried the Sudbury school for a few months. The typical day went – you would arrive anywhere between 9-11 AM – and you would have to stay a period of 4-5 hours and come at least 3 days a week. It didn’t matter what you did during the day – but you would have to adhere to those restrictions.
Because of the lack of authority figures, the kids had to be responsible – as no one was watching over them. This was a very important part of the program.
Everyone in the community had equal say. They had a democratic environment – where there was a judicial committee made up of the community members. They would have hearings if there was a problem. All decisions would be made via a democratic process.
- Could the students read? Yes. They learned to read when they were ready.
- Could the students reason? Yes
- Could the students write? Yes. They learned to write when they were ready.
- Were the students good citizens? Yes
I firmly believe that everything we do with our kids can be turned into a learning experience – the trips we take, the books we read, the art projects that we do – the things we cook and bake. I bet if we were to keep track of everything – we could cover an entire year school curriculum – just having fun with – spending time with – and experiencing every day life with our children. What are your thoughts? Would you be comfortable teaching your children in this way?
Visit our other posts in the series – addressing addresses different homeschool methodologies
- Homeschool – Montessori
- Homeschool – Charlotte Mason
- Homeschool – Classical Trivium
- Homeschool – Waldorf
- Homeschooling – Unschooling
- Homeschool – A Day in The Life of a Homeschooling Family – A New Series