Unschooling - The Ultimate Guide for Parents
Jan 10, 2022 For most of us, the very odds of no piled up books in sight, no tests to attend, and no assignments to frantically finish might seem like something of a distant dream. A Utopian reverie that remains a speck in a hinterland. But turns out, it isn’t much of a moonshot.
In This Article
Changing times and growing needs means new concepts. Unschooling is a concept that is fast replacing the conventional, time-honored school system that’s prevalent in our times. With unschooling, you bring a miniature form of a classroom into the comfort of your home.
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As a type of informal learning, there is much to be understood about unschooling. In essence, this form of homeschooling believes in putting learner-chosen activities as the main way of understanding and learning concepts. Unschooling focuses on students gaining the required education through real-life experiences that involve activities such as playing, household responsibilities, developing personal interests, and nurturing curiosity.
Most often, unschooling focuses on the children themselves and giving them more personalized and meaningful training. This unconventional form of education raises questions about the value and effectiveness of the traditional model that fixates on a pre-set curriculum that is heavily incidental to grades.
Unraveling the Philosophy Behind the Concept
“I live therefore I learn,” writes Pam Sorooshian in describing what it is to be living an unschooling life. As something that is as innate as learning, unschoolers vouch for this method of learning to be satisfyingly rewarding. For something as incidental as learning, kids should not have to be tested to find out what and how much they learned; it is rather self-revealing in the way they use it to deal with a situation.
The most basic idea of unschooling is that education should occur naturally to the child. The approach gives curiosity and imagination due credit, something which seems to be lacking in the long-established educational models.
Unschooling seeks to honor the uniqueness and individuality of every child. It is in many ways, equipped to suit students who vary in their learning style. Also, just as children reach growth milestones at different ages, they naturally learn different things at different ages. That is where the prominence of Albert Einstein’s words comes into the light:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Traditional schools have an embarrassing history of encouraging debilitating inferiority in the minds of students who are not as “intelligent.”
Why You Should Consider Unschooling
Over recent times, the concept of unschooling has raised many eyebrows. You might have wondered how teaching at home can replace the traditional and time-honoured way of going to schools. But unschoolers beg to differ.
We are in an era where the communication gap between parents and children is widening exponentially. So, the concept of unschooling is sure to feel like a breath of fresh air. In unschooling, it’s common that parents and children spend more time together – which can be influential in improving their bond.
Advocates of unschooling argue that much of what kids learn in regular schools isn’t very useful in real life. There is an opinion that kids just learn to follow instructions and never really encounter or learn about “real-life problems.”
There is another common argument that the conformist school system is unfavorable for those who want choice. It gives them a chance to choose what, how, and when they study. That is where lessons imbibed by the students in the process of unschooling weigh themselves against the former; they have a more grounded and sustainable choice in this mode of learning. They learn to deal with challenging real-life situations and not just solving challenging imperial equations.
It seems that peer groups heavily influence children who attend schools, of which parents likely have no influence or even knowledge. For the most part, there is no denying that peer influence can be healthy and even beneficial for the child.
At the same time, there have been countless instances in which a negative influence from peers proved to be damaging and extremely detrimental. While parents determine whether or not kids want to go to conventional schools, unschoolers relate to finding their place within a more diversified group of people – both younger and older individuals.
Now add the fact that the children choose the teachers they work with. While in traditional learning, parents have practically no say about who their pupil’s teachers are, it’s a lot different in this form of teaching. The parents can take time and choose coaches and mentors that their children work with. This way, they build a more lasting and ongoing relationship.
The Role of the Unschooling Parent
So, the decision of picking unschooling seems daunting in itself, but parents also have fears as to how to carry out the role of an unschooling parent. Part of the problem of choosing this concept is certainly because of the increased responsibilities it brings.
But being an unschooling parent is not that knotty. Yes, it does require effort, but it’s positively worth it. In order to be a good unschooling parent, the first step is to be a good judge of your child’s interests. Understanding what they like and do not like, and showing genuine interest in them will give you a good head start.
Following up on your child’s interest is always recommended. Spending time with them conversing about an array of topics is likely the most imperative parental action involved. I cannot begin to stress on the importance of being observant of your child’s actions. Lastly, do not forget to have a little fun.
Do the Stats and Figures Add Up?
According to a survey of 75 participants (adults ranging from age 18 to 49), all but three of them felt the rewards of unschooling outweighed the drawbacks. Almost 70% of them claimed that “the experiences enabled them to develop as highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals. It gave them a broader range of learning opportunities; a richer, age-mixed social life; and a relatively seamless transition to adult life.”
It’s also surprising to note that very few of them had any grave or substantial complaints about unschooling. More than a third of the respondents said they could not think of any inconveniences at all. For the remainder, a few of the noteworthy drawbacks included judgments that came from the society, some degree of social isolation, and the difficulty experienced in fine-tuning to the social styles of their peers.
One Last Word
It is solely reliant on you and your child’s discretion whether you want to go the conventional way or choose the road that’s less traversed when it comes to education. Also, first, determine if unschooling is legal in your area, and then continue your exploration.
But either way, there’s no doubt that barring a few shortcomings, unschooling could be a great way to learn and have fun with it. Unschooling can work brilliantly if both you and your child are into this system of learning and experimenting. In a nutshell, the key is to learn to coexist beautifully in an innermore without losing grip of your outside ties.