When schools were created, it was thought that learning was a sequential process that involved structure, uniformity, and memorization, and relied on extrinsic motivation and control – things like praise, rewards, and punishment. Now science knows differently; modern cognitive research is demonstrating that learning is open-ended and spontaneous, and that people – including children – learn best when they are intrinsically motivated (or what researchers Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan refer to as “self-determination”) and can build on their everyday experiences.
The whole post is a great analogy about a train ride (schooling) vs. a car ride (homeschooling) vs. family and individual bike trips (unschooling).
So the next time someone asks you if you are afraid your child will have knowledge gaps because of unschooling, you can say something like, “I’m sure they will! And what thrilling opportunities those gaps will provide for my child!”
The next time you are feeling doubts about unschooling, when you question whether or not your child is learning everything he or she needs to know, you can think of bicycles. You can think of all the interesting gaps your child has crossed so far on a bicycle. And you can get excited about the possibilities of where and when your child will find the next gap, and how you can support him or her in crossing it.
I loved college, but as someone who’s not using her degree and who realizes the costs are just going up up up, I’ve had to wonder how I’ll advise my kids on whether and when to go. This post made me laugh.
And so we pound it into kids from a young age. Learn to accept the misery now, because this is your life. Sure school sucks, but hey, that’s the way life is. Get used to it! Wear it like a twisted badge of honor. […] We are a culture of people who spend our entire lives doing things we don’t like and bragging about it.
Your three-year-old wants to build a rocket that really flies — one that he can sit in.
Your six-year-old wants to build a three-story treehouse with a fireman’s pole.
Your nine-year-old wants to write a novel that will be published by a real publisher — or a screenplay that will be produced by a real movie studio.
How can we help kids tackle their big, ambitious, seemingly unachievable goals?
The tone is rather … well … bitter, but I like that every now and again. It’s cathartic. Some of my faves:
3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You’re probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you’ve ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
7 We don’t look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they’re in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we’re doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
12 If my kid’s only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he’d learn in school, please understand that you’re calling me an idiot. Don’t act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you’re allowed to ask how we’ll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can’t, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn’t possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.
20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he’s homeschooled. It’s not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.
Don’t wait for the perfect timing to get out there and see the world. I need this encouragement.