Unschooling takes to heart the old maxim that one should never let one’s schooling interfere with one’s education. This article from CNN describes unschooling in a formal setting, but it is more commonly practiced as a form of home-school:
Six-year-old Karina Ricci doesn’t ever have a typical day. She has no schedule to follow, no lessons to complete.
She spends her time watching TV, doing arts and crafts or practicing the piano. She learned to spell by e-mailing with friends; she uses math concepts while cooking dinner.
Everything she knows has been absorbed “organically,” according to her dad, Dr. Carlo Ricci. She’s not just on summer break — this is her life year round as an at-home unschooler.
“It’s incredible how capable she is,” Ricci said in a phone interview from his home in Toronto, Ontario. “And I think that all young people are that capable … if you don’t tell them they can’t or they’re not allowed, they surprise us in a lot of ways.”
Ricci is professor of alternative learning at Nipissing University and an advocate of unschooling, a concept that’s gaining popularity in both Canada and the United States thanks to frustration with the current public education system. In unschooling the child is in control of his/her learning. They are free to decide what they want to study, when they want to study it.
Experts say there are about 2 million home-educated students in the U.S., and Ricci estimates 10% adhere to unschooling ideals. In addition, there are more than 20 Sudbury schools — private institutions that follow the same philosophy — in North America. Anew one is set to open in Toronto next fall.
The unschooling philosophy is based on education pioneer John Holt’s 1964 book “How Children Fail.” Put simply, Holt wrote that living is learning. He believed children should follow their innate curiosity and passions rather than being forced to learn hordes of information they will never use.
“I think our education system as a whole is, to me, in a very delicate and precarious place,” Sudbury Valley staff member Mimsy Sadofsky said. “It keeps trying to do what it can’t do, which is make every child learn everything in the whole wide world. It’s like heading toward a cliff.”
[Read on at CNN.com]