For me the term “unschool” is relatively new. Its something that I had to do some research on. Here is what I found in a nut shell:
- John Holt was the father of unschooling
- He developed this in the 1970’s (So I am surprised that I have never heard of him)
- He believed that the institution of formal schooling was a waste of a child’s time since all children develop differently
- He believed that children should have free range on what they want to learn and how they learn it (with some guidance from parents and adults)
- He also believed that children want to learn and that having community based experiences, spontaneous experiences, and valuable hands on activities will make a child more of a lifelong learner.
I realize that being a school teacher discussing unschooling seems a bit strange to some. But after doing some research, I have found that there are parts of the philosophy of unschooling that I agree with and have tried to implement in my classroom. I understand that it may be impossible to unschool a child who attends school, but I do understand that some of philosophical ideals I do agree with.
One philosophical point that I agree with deals with learning styles Every child who is tested as an advanced learner or children who are normal learners all have a learning style that works best for them. My classes are small enough that I get to know my students learning styles. I have my students for multiple years, but for only one day a week for five hours.
Another philosophical point that I agree with is giving children a wide open range for learning and being creative. I don’t see my self so much as a teacher but as a facilitator. I try to give my students ideas to build off of at times. I also give my students free range for several of their projects. I want them to do projects that interest them. I believe it makes the learning more personal. There are times I give my students a topic and allow them to do what they want with that topic. Being that I have to link things to standards, I usually use the common core to a way that will benefit my students’ creativity the best I can.
I understand that unschooling is getting children out of school and have some “real life” learning. I feel like in my classroom, I can give my students real learning I can Skype or do a Google Hangout with other teachers and students from other states or countries so my students can interact with and learn from them. I can do more hands-on or more student lead units. I can bring in guest speakers to work with my students, and do some community activities that would allow my students to work along side people in the community.
All of this gives me a lot to ponder about.