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.
With the changing times and growing needs, unschooling is a concept that is fast replacing the conventional, time-honoured school system that’s prevalent in our times. With unschooling, you bring a miniature form of a classroom to 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 chief way of understanding and learning the concepts. Here, the focus is put on the students having the required education through natural life experiences which involves activities such as playing, taking care of household responsibilities, and working on developing personal interests in addition to nurturing curiosity.
At most times, unschooling is centred on the children themselves and giving them more personalized and meaningful training. This unconventional form of teaching raises questions over the value and effectiveness of a study model that is so fixated on a pre-set curriculum that is heavily incidental to grades.
Unravelling 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, one should not have to be tested to find out what and how much they learnt; it is rather self-revealing in the way someone uses it to deal with a situation.
The most basic idea of unschooling is how education is supposed to be one that occurs naturally to the child. The approach that is carried out is the one that gives curiosity and imagination due credit, something which seems to be lacking in the long-established educational models.
Unschooling seeks to honour the uniqueness and individuality of every child. It is in many ways, equipped to suit students who vary in their learning style. It is also important to note that just as children reach growth milestones at different ages from each other, children are also prepared to 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.”
Schools have an embarrassingly long history of inducing a feeling of debilitating inferiority in the minds of students who are seemingly not as “intelligent”.
Why Should You 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.
In an era where the communication gap between the parents and children is widening exponentially, the concept of unschooling is sure to feel like a breath of fresh air. Noticeably during the process of unschooling, the parent and the child spend more time together which can be influential in improving their bond.
Advocates of unschooling argue that much of what is taught in contemporary educational institutions are of very little or no use in the practical living scenarios. There is a prevalent reflection that in schools, the children are merely taught to follow instructions and never really encounter or are exposed to “real-life problems.”
Another common argument being how the conformist school system is unfavourable for those who want to determine what they study, how they study and when they study. That is where lessons imbibed by the students in the process of unschooling weighs itself against the former; they have a more grounded and sustainable choice in this mode of learning. They are trained to deal with challenging real-life situations and not just solving challenging imperial equations.
It would seem that the children who attend schools are heavily influenced by their peer groups of which parents would 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 where a negative influence from their peers proved to be damaging and extremely detrimental. While it’s left to the parent’s discretion whether or not they want to go the conventional way, unschoolers relate to finding their place within a more diversified group of people-both younger and older individuals.
Put in the same idea in the case of selection of instructors that the children work with. While in traditional learning, the parents have practically no say in whom 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, a more lasting and ongoing relationship is built.
The Role Of The Unschooling Parent
As if the very decision of picking unschooling does not seem like a daunting selection in itself, there are impounded fears as to how one should carry out the role of an unschooling parent. Part of the reasons why this concept may be off-putting to many parents is certainly owing to the increased responsibilities it brings along.
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 Tote Up?
According to a survey among 75 participants (that had adults ranging from age 18 to 49), all but three of them felt the rewards of unschooling outweighed the drawbacks. Almost seventy per cent of them bore testimony to the fact 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 against unschooling. More than a third of the respondents said they could not think of any inconveniences at all. For the remainder, few of the noteworthy drawbacks included judgements 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.
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.
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