02 October 2010

Alternatives to a Designed, Uniform Idiocracy

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. _AP_via_NewsAlert

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling which allows children greater freedom for exploration in the adult world -- the real world -- in the quest for purpose, personal identity, and a discovery of personal strengths and interests in the act of learning. But before a family can begin "unschooling," it must first learn to "deschool."
Ivan Illich first coined the term "deschooling" in a controversial book called Deschooling Society, published in 1971. In this book he enlightens his readers to the fact that “universal education through schooling is not feasible." He goes on to explain that the institutionalization of education means an institutionalization of society as a whole. And that until we change the way we view education we won't be able to change the way all institutions function. There is a corrupting impact at the institutional level, but it is particularly damaging to society when this happens in schools; and it is happening in schools as we speak. _AP
All children learn differently, and rather than fighting against natural differences, unschooling adopts tools which allow children to develop their own natural "learning instinct." Tools such as Singapore Math (also Saxon Math).
In contrast to the most common math programs in the United States, Singapore math devotes more time to fewer topics, to ensure that children master the material through detailed instruction, questions, problem solving, and visual and hands-on aids like blocks, cards and bar charts. Ideally, they do not move on until they have thoroughly learned a topic.

Principals and teachers say that slowing down the learning process gives students a solid math foundation upon which to build increasingly complex skills, and makes it less likely that they will forget and have to be retaught the same thing in later years.

And with Singapore math, the pace can accelerate by fourth and fifth grades, putting children as much as a year ahead of students in other math programs as they grasp complex problems more quickly. _NYT
The number of tools being adapted for homeschoolers and unschoolers is accelerating rapidly, as the number of homeschoolers rises. The crisis in the failing system of government education is no secret to parents who are paying attention.

If you want obsolete children who will grow into a perpetual, lifelong incompetent adolescence, send them to a government school. Or send them to any kind of school where you can leave their education up to professional educators. Take a "hands-off" approach, like your friends are doing for their kids. Then open your arms, and embrace the Idiocracy.


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Blogger sampleletters said...

I feel home schooling should be done when some one is unable to go to school due to health problems, else students will for sure become lazy and get addicted to internet ! Hope parents make sure they study in school and learn life!

Monday, 04 October, 2010  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

The "socialization" argument has always galled me. Public school for me was a waste of time at best and soul crushing experience at worst.

Never in my adult life have I ever experienced such a bizarro world of monotony, group-think, and social cliques. If I ever walked into a work place that resembled 1/10th of what the public school world was like.. I would resign immediately.

Monday, 04 October, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

HILN: Quite right. Socialisation certainly occurs, but it is too often socialisation into groupthink, drugs, drinking, delinquency, and lifelong adolescent incompetence.

s-letters: That's the point: studying in school will teach them nothing about life that students need to know to master their future.

Monday, 04 October, 2010  
Blogger Jehu said...

In practice, most homeschooled kids are about 75% unschooled anyway. I say this because the average formal instruction time per day of the homeschool kids I know is in the neighborhood of 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes less. The kids then spend a lot of their time studying whatever they're inclined to be interested in according to their inclinations. It's amazing how much less time it takes for a mom without an education degree to stay above grade level than her degreed counterparts in the public schools :-)

Monday, 04 October, 2010  
Blogger gtg723y said...

As a former teacher in a Montessori setting let me tell you one child is far easier to interact with than 30. This is why I think school should be left to the private sector, not all families have the luxury of one parent staying home with the children. Perhaps if the American family went back to the 1950's standard of living, but that is a hard sell.

Monday, 04 October, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

With all the educational resources that are available free over the internet, school should be much cheaper. Children tend to learn for themselves -- they are not so much taught by adults.

If not for crippling regulations and a legal environment that encourages frivolous lawsuits, the private sector would be able to provide a first class education at an affordable cost.

The public sector unions don't want children to be liberated from their clutches.

Wednesday, 06 October, 2010  

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