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If you are interested in homeschooling or new to homeschooling, you probably hear the word unschooling from time to time.
You may be wondering what that unschool lifestyle is all about, or even if it’s an option for your family.
So, what is unschooling?
It is a method or style or philosophy that allows children the freedom in learning away from curriculum or a strict school schedule.
Natural learning, experience-based learning, or independent learning are synonyms for this style.
Some see unschooling as a method of homeschooling, while others see it as a completely separate style of learning.
NaturalChild.org describes unschooling:
A large component of unschooling is grounded in doing real things, not because we hope they will be good for us, but because they are intrinsically fascinating.
There is an energy that comes from this that you can’t buy with a curriculum.
Children do real things all day long, and in a trusting and supportive home environment, ‘doing real things’ invariably brings about healthy mental development and valuable knowledge.
It is natural for children to read, write, play with numbers, learn about society, find out about the past, think, wonder and do all those things that society so unsuccessfully attempts to force upon them in the context of schooling.
Unschooling provides a unique opportunity to step away from systems and methods, and to develop independent ideas out of actual experiences, where the child is truly in pursuit of knowledge, not the other way around.
With this philosophy, you don’t use specific a homeschool curriculum, or textbooks, or a rigid schedule or structure.
There is no set time for learning because learning happens all the time! So, you don’t “do” school. Learning just . . . happens.
During unschool, learning flows naturally and is led by your child at his or her own pace.
The unschool method is about empowering a child to learn and helping instill a life-long love of learning.
ZenHabits.net discusses this approach:
[With this method] kids learn how to learn, how to teach themselves.
If you know how to learn and how to teach yourself, then you are prepared for any future.
If in the future the things we know are obsolete, then the person who knows how to learn anything will be ready to learn whatever is in use in the future.
The person who only knows how to learn from a teacher will need a teacher to teach him.
ALSO CHECK OUT : HOW TO START UNSCHOOLING
History of How Did Unschooling Start?
Unschooling is based on the theories and teaching of John Holt.
John Holt was an author and educator and pioneered the unschool movement.
Holt said, “Helping children learn and explore in the world is best seen as a branch of natural science, like trying to raise exotic plants or little-known animals.”
Holt worked as an educator for years before he realized that education is not the same as schooling or learning.
Holt’s controversial position as a progressive school reformer in the 1960s changed to that of social reformer in the 1970s.
Holt insisted that laws and customs that prevent children and families from learning in the real world should be challenged and that school should be viewed as a convivial learning resource, like a library, rather than a compulsory treatment clinic.
Holt died in 1985, but his work is very much alive in the homeschooling lifestyle.
John Holt Unschooling Books
Holt wrote many books that unschoolers and homeschoolers still incorporate into their lifestyle today:
Is Unschooling Legal?
Unschooling may seem like a radical approach to many, even in the homeschool community. Because of this, I think many people often wonder if this method of homeschooling is legal.
The biggest things to remember is that, it does not mean not learning. Nor does it mean not parenting.
The unschool approach is seen as part of homeschooling, which is legal in every state of the United States.
If you are interested in homeschooling or the unschool method, you should first check the homeschooling laws for your state.
(Be aware, homeschooling is illegal in some other countries.)
Other Unschool Books
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