Unschooling is a term that John Holt coined in the 70s, after years of extensive research regarding how children learn and what was causing them to fail. He determined that totalitarian school pushes many children to fail via a fear inducing sub-society, where school as structured seemed to slow the learning process in most children.
One of his strongest beliefs was that children did not need to be forced into learning, that they are always learning, yet anything that resembled the rigid structure of school was actually counterproductive to their success. The theory has resonated, thus unschooling, or life-learning led by the child’s interests, was born.
When I first heard about unschooling 8 years ago I thought it seemed crazy. I thought all the things that some of you are thinking right now. What about socialization, grades, college? My children need to go to school to be “on track” with everyone else. It seemed lazy and neglectful, and I couldn’t imagine going against the grain in such an “extreme” way.
Flash forward to today and you see a very different philosophy in my home. I have spent the past 6 years homeschooling my oldest son. We have since had 2 more children, traveled with them extensively, moved to a foreign country, and experimented with almost every type of homeschooling you can imagine. Then I discovered the mind-opening experience that is unschooling, and now I can’t imagine living my life in anything but this “extreme” way.
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