Unschooling
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How to improve the public school experience from an unschooler's perspective

How to improve the public school experience from an unschooler's perspective | Unschooling | Scoop.it
As an unschooling parent, I often struggle with thoughts of what happens to all the other children that are still in the public school system.
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Now that I have researched some of the pros and cons to unschooling, I wanted to see how this form of education can influence public education because both are methods of education and it is the most beneficial for the future to give the students the best education possible. The six reasons listed were changing the way we view educating children, apprenticeships, accepting that learning happens all the time in different means, showing them multiple possibilities, reduce class size, and utilize technology. The one that resonated with me the most was the idea that technology should be added more. I understand that technology is a huge part of society today, but I wonder about when it is the appropriate time to introduce this technology so the students do not rely on it, but rather can figure out how to find answers and research on their own. This author says that, “I would argue that teaching and utilizing technology effectively in education may be one of the most important things to helping prepare our children.” As much as I agree with that and think that technology is a wonderful tool and a necessity in our society, I also think that students should be able to survive without a phone or tablet in their hand. She relates this to unschooling in the fact that unschoolers have time to play on the computer and learn in unconventional ways, like using technology rather than being lectured to. I think this is important to see how unschooling, even though it is not like traditional schools, is able to improve the ideas in public schools and even the other way around. The schools should be the right fit for the child to excel so providing the best method, no matter which one, is vital to the progression of this country in the future.

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Response to segment on unschooling by an unschooler

I was so angry at Good Morning America that I made a video. It is long, but I had a lot I wanted to say. I made some shorter videos that might be easier to w...
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This is a video in response to the Good Morning America segment on unSchooling. This girl was unschooled from the time she was born until college where she got her bachelor’s degree and is almost finishing her masters. She explains her grades in both schools and they were very high. She responds to some of the typical questions asked of unschoolers and homeschoolers. One of the very popular questions asked of them is how will they gain social skills. She explains her personal experience with making social skills by saying that, “I wasn’t forced to make friends with people that were just my age. I had friends that were my age, and I have friends that are younger and friends that were older and friends that were a lot older when I was growing up. I didn’t make my friends because I was forced to be in a room with a bunch of people that were my age, who lived close to me. I made my friends because they were people who did things I was interested in. Which kind of sounds like what adults do.”  I think she makes a very good point that not all friends and social skills come from schooling, but that is just a place where kids spend the majority of their time. I think that as a society we view school as one of the few places to gain social skills and that is wrong because more interactions come from outside the assigned classes and assigned group of kids. 

 

She also talked about the topic of what material the students will actually learn in unschooling. “The theory my parents went off of was that, if you’re interested in something then you are going to learn it a lot better because you care about it. I know it sounds crazy, but it works.” I think this is true in unschooling and traditional schooling because you are only really going to put time and effort into things in which you are interested in. In a traditional classroom, you are only going to want to really learn things that you like, and the stuff you do not like you will only learn for the test so in the end you do not actually know it that well at all. She was not interested in math, but her parents made her get a checking account and learn how to balance a checkbook. She also did their taxes and helped with their account. I think this is an excellent way to not force the unschoolers to learn all the traditional material, but still allowing them to have skills needed for the future. The skills her parents made her learn were very practical and even encouraged her to learn some of the traditional subjects taught in school.

It is interesting for me to hear about her experience compared to her brother’s. “He was the kid that my parents worried about. ‘He never does anything. All he does is play on that computer, but we trust in this.’” He ended up being a successful computer builder and all that time with the computer paid off. This is different from her experience because she was involved in many different things, but he only was with his computer. This is cool for me to see how unschooling can be successful in different methods of unschooling even when it looks like it is failing.

 

All in all this video helped me see a different perspective from someone in unschooling. This view that she was prepared and actually can be successful in society is completely different than the girl interviewed on Good Morning American who talked about how she does not feel prepared for college. I understand that this youtube video is in response to the Good Morning America talk, but I just find it very interesting that there are some completely different viewpoints within the idea of unschooling and how it takes different roles for different families. I want to keep researching and learn about different experiences for different children. 

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Some may call it unschooling, I call it educational neglect

Some may call it unschooling, I call it educational neglect | Unschooling | Scoop.it
The ninja twins take aim to protect homeschooling
UPDATED Wednesday 6:05pm. It has become apparent that I need to put a disclaim
molly carlson's insight:

According to this article, unschooling is a way to represent parents neglecting their children. This author brings up a good point when she says, “When we have infants and toddlers, are we supposed to not speak to them and say to each other that we’ll teach them to speak once they have an interest in doing so?”. It made sense in the previous article (I’m unschooled. Yes, I can write) when she talked about choosing to learn different subjects and feeling empowered by not being forced, but it completely confused me now that I think about the different basics that these students would not learn because they may not have the desire. I know that this teaching a kid how to talk is an extreme example, but I feel like there has to be extreme examples of unschoolers who do not know how to do certain things.

 

The author also continues on to explain how some of the unschoolers see school as a means of coercion, but “When I think of coercion I think of the dictionary definition: persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats.” I agree with the author that traditional schooling is not involving coercion, but yes it is having children actually learn a curriculum. I think it is important to see that just like traditional students do not understand unschooling, unschoolers do not fully understand traditional schooling. Most traditional schoolers have the idea that, “ I say that a child who has no knowledge of the world, has no ability to know what he wants to learn.” Even young students cannot see how the opposite works; for example, “Shira was horrified and sad. She had tears in her eyes when she asked me why this mother was punisher her daughter like this. She could not envision a world where she couldn’t pull out a craft book and read the instructions herself when she wanted to do a new craft, or read a recipe when she wished to back or read a book about her beloved horses.” It is very interesting to me to see how parents and students react to seeing an unschooled child. I personally have never met one, but I think it would be really cool to actually interact and discuss with them about their education experience. I want to keep looking into the pros and cons for unschooling in some different perspectives. 

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I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.: New to this blog? New to Unschooling? Read this!

I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.: New to this blog? New to Unschooling? Read this! | Unschooling | Scoop.it
molly carlson's insight:

This is a particularly interesting blog post by a 19 year old girl that was unschooled. She begins by explaining what unschooling is. First, “unschooling is student directed learning, which mean the child or teen learns whatever they want, whenever they want.” When I first read this, I was absolutely shocked at what was said. I am so used to traditions schools that it seems outrageous to me to even imagine learning whatever I want whenever I want. Second, “unschooling requires a paradigm shift, one in which you must stop looking at the world as a series of occuurences/resources/experiences etc. that can be learned from, and a series that can’t.” To be completely honest, I never have thought about this before. Now that I think about this, I feel like I do learn from many different experiences even if it is not conscious thought. Third, “unscooling, at its heart, is nothing more complicated or simple than the realization that life and learning are not two separate things.” I do not always specifically think about how I am learning in different situations, but I learn from the things I do and apply that knowledge to the future. If this is how unschooling works, then it seems to me like this plan of schooling could actually work the more I think about it.

 

Many of the stereotypical questions were asked and she responded in a very mature and insightful way. Some of these questions included topics like socialization, college, structure, learning things one does not like, experiences with bullies/frustration, functioning in the “real world,” gaps in education, motivation and more. One of my favorite things what the author said when reacting to the question of “Won’t unschoolers have gaps in their education?” is her saying, “Everyone has gaps in their education.” This was such a good response that speaks so much truth about the educational system today and makes me really question how I feel about traditional education and now this unschooling method. Even though we think the traditional model is the best, it is not perfect and the students are not going to be able to come out knowing everything. It makes me wonder what the differences in the gaps are in unschooling verses the traditional model. She also has a good response to the question about how unschoolers will be able to function in the “real world” by saying that, “This is a strange thing for people to think about, in my opinion, considering that school is an artificial environment where children and teenagers are segregated from the outside world in the same age classrooms for hours every day; where their lives are ruled by the bells; where teachers hold all authority; and where if an individual decides not to attend, a truant officer can go to their house and force them to do so. This does not sound like the ‘real world’ (though it does sound more than a little like a prison.” I have never thought about how a school is a prison, but there is some truth when it is explained like this. I do not completely agree with her being upset that there is a teacher with authority above the students because in life and in jobs there are going to be people above them and they are going to have to submit to their authority.

 

All in all, this article does give more explanation to how unschooling works, but I am still skeptical on how this exactly works and I want to know some success and failure stories from unschoolers to see how this actually plays out in real life. 

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A Few Negative Things to Consider About Unschooling

A Few Negative Things to Consider About Unschooling | Unschooling | Scoop.it
A few of the cons about unschooling that should be considered.
molly carlson's insight:

This yahoo article shows the cons of unschooling in the perspective of a parent. This was really interesting to me because normally articles focus on the students but never really about the parents that are having to deal with this unusual education. The negatives about unschooling listed are the constant questioning, learning is hard to measure, doubts, resources are not always obtainable, and there a lack of support. All of these cons have to do with the parents feeling about the situations, and it was not something I did not think about how these parents could feel this way.  I think the point that I took to heart the most was the constant questioning. This includes, “People will want to know what grade they are in and try to measure your children’s knowledge based on knowledge of peers within public schools.” This was hard for me to think about because I am a very comparison based person and I just want to be liked by people, so to think about myself and my kids being judged on decisions that we deemed best for them. I never thought about how hard it must be to be the parent of an unschooler because no one other than unschoolers fully understand what it is and what it involves. This article allowed me to see that unschooling is not just a copout for some parents, but rather something that can actually be a struggle and involves a lot of work for them. 

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Video: Extreme Parenting: 'Radical Unschooling'

Video: Extreme Parenting: 'Radical Unschooling' | Unschooling | Scoop.it
'Radical unschooling' allows kids to make their own decisions when it comes to education.
molly carlson's insight:

This is a Good Morning America piece on unschooling. The news anchors begin by saying that the premise is that “a child follows he or her own passions and the learning will come from the doing. Most educators say there is often a huge gap between the utopian ideal and reality.” When the video begins it shows one set of parents explaining unschooling by saying it is “living your life as if the school system didn’t exist” and “The key there is that you trust your kids to find your own interest.” These parents are trusting their kids to do whatever they want for school, instead of teaching them the subjects. One correspondent say that, “This to me is putting way to much power in the hands of the kids. Something that we know kids can actually find very anxiety producing. And it’s also sending the message that they’re the center of the universe which I do not think is healthy for children.” I can see where she is coming from and I actually agree that there is a lot of power in the hands of the kids when normally it is in the hands of the parents or teachers. I think that kids should know their boundaries and not think of themselves as the center of the universe because they are so young and do not know much about how the world even works in the first place.

 

I found it really interesting that there are 57 million school kids, but 1.5 million are homeschooled and ten percent of those are estimated to be unschoolers. To me that is a very large amount of students that are not attending school. This is hard for me to think about because as a future teacher I think of more students than that attending the public schools, but this statistic shows otherwise. When the news anchor asked the unschooled girl “do you feel prepared for college academically and socially?” she responded, “No not really because I haven’t done the traditional look at a text book and learn about much. If I went to college I would pick up and text book and learn.” I thought the whole point of unschooling was to prepare students for a future in a different way other than the traditional method, but if the students are not prepared for a future in society after years of unschooling then I do not see the point to this method. I think there are too many students in unschooling to have it be a method that does not adequately prepare students for when they are older, because eventually all of them will have to be in society in some way or another.

 

After reading this article it makes me really question the quality of this educational substitute. If unschooling could prepare students to have work in society without needing all the subjects taught in school, then I would be more inclined to like this method. I want to see if this is actually how people view unschooling or if this was just a one-time idea on a news station.  

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Dale Stephens, founder of UnCollege, on what he did 'instead of school' | Wired Next Generation 2013 video (Wired UK)

Dale Stephens, founder of UnCollege, on what he did 'instead of school' | Wired Next Generation 2013 video (Wired UK) | Unschooling | Scoop.it
Watch Dale Stephens, founder of UnCollege, discuss his book Hacking Your Education, which he he said was "what [he] did instead of school".
molly carlson's insight:

This is a speaker from Uncollege which is a gap year program that teaches skills to students skills to succeed in life and may persuade them to not actually attend college. He left school when he was thirteen with the support of his parents that said he would have to make his own decisions one day and the worst that would happen is that that he would decide to go back and school will always be there. “Do we trust people’s innate capacity to be curious?” Dale thinks that students do not need to necessarily go to school because their own curiosity will encourage students to learn on their own and while not being forced to learn. Parents that trust their kids trust in their children’s curiosity. In Dale’s own experience, “Not only did I learn the subjects, I learned how to learn” and he learned  “How to ask questions, how to find mentors, how to find resources, how to evaluate myself, how to keep myself motivated.” I personally think that these are all important things to learn and school can provide these things for some people, but I think it is very important that these unschoolers are learning these skills too.

 

When Dale thought about college he mentioned that “ I thought you had to be motivated, privileged, and a genius to succeed in the real world.” This comes from the idea that to succeed you need to go to college. But in reality companies want people that are lifelong learners, self-motivated, think critically, but school teaches you to get good grades, turn in homework, and follow assignments, which is the opposite of what employers want. Dale provides specific examples about how college and school in general may not be the best for learning for every person. This really encourages me knowing that this may be a good option for some students to learn things that I have learned in college. This video has also made me annoyed knowing that I am spending all this time and money on a college education, when there are people that are succeeding in the world without college degrees and who are viewed as accomplished in the eyes of potential employers because they have learned some of the same qualities I have from school. This makes me wonder why everyone is not unschooled and does not go to college, so I want to keep looking to find the reason why because since not everyone does it, there has to be a reason why not.

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