Unschooling isn’t a new idea. Thinkers from Socrates to Jean Jacques Rousseau have touted the benefits of letting a child’s interests lead their education.
But it was John Holt who penned the term ‘‘unschooling’’ in the late 1970s. He inspired some families to abandon the school system for a looser approach to education.
Recently, the idea has been catching on. Estimates are hard to come by, but within the roughly 1.1 million home-schoolers in the U.S., it’s clear many are being unschooled.
Very interesting. I can see where the "unschooling" method would definitely not work for some kids, but for others it could be just what they need to really excel. I wonder if it would be possible to find a working balance between the two opposite ends of the education spectrum.
Maybe a system where half to three quarters of the school day is normal, structured academics - "the three R's", as it were - and the rest of the day is (not teacher led, but supervised) free exploration of a student-chosen area of interest.
Maybe this could be done in a private school - I'm pretty sure there are too many obstacles for it to be attempted in a public school setting. There's no way to have 25-30 kids in a class each following their own path of exploration, and still have proper supervision, not to mention covering the costs of all the supplies that might be necessary to allow real exploration of so many possibly diverse ideas, or the issue of parent permission.
But, even with all of that, as with homeschooling, I still think it could be a worthwhile endeavor, for someone who is properly equipped to do it right. Done poorly, homeschooling, unschooling, or for that matter, traditional schooling, can be pretty much useless, but done right, either schooling method can be a very good thing. The article about unschooling mentions:
... some universities like Stanford and MIT have welcomed some of these unconventional students.
For Roya Sooroshian, getting into college wasn’t a problem. She’s been unschooled since the fourth grade. She passed the high school equivalency exam at 15.
That's fairly impressive.
So, read the article if you haven't already, and tell me, what do you think?