I am realy SHOCKED by all the press unschooling has been getting this week- and some of it is even good! Here is article from Denver post:
Kids have themselves as teachers
Parents reject classes, curricula, books in new slant on home schooling
By Susan Saulny
Chicago – On weekdays, during what are normal school hours for most students, the Billings children do what they want. One recent afternoon, time passed loudly and without order or lessons in their home in a North Side neighborhood.
Hayden Billings, 4, put a box over his head and had fun marching into things.
His sister Gaby, 9, told stories about medieval warrior women, while Sydney, 7, drank hot chocolate and played with Dylan, the baby of the family.
For Juli Walter, the children’s mother, this is “child-led learning,” something she considers the best in home schooling.
“I learned early on that when I do things I’m interested in,” Walter said, “I learn so much more.”
As the number of children who are home-schooled grows – an estimated 1.1 million nationwide – some parents are opting for what is perhaps the most extreme application of the movement’s ideas.
They are “unschooling” their children, a philosophy broadly defined by its rejection of not only the schoolhouse but also classes, curricula and textbooks.
There is scant data on the educational results of unschooling.
There is not even reliable data on how many people are unschooling, though many experts suggest the number is growing.
“It is not clear to me how they will transition to a structured world and meet the most basic requirements for reading, writing and math,” said Luis Huerta, a professor of public policy and education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University, whose national research includes a focus on home schooling.
In Chicago, a group called the Northside Unschoolers has 100 families registered on its online list.
There are similar organizations coast to coast – the San Francisco Bay Unschooling Network; Unschoolers Unlimited in Guilford, Conn.; and the Unschoolers of the Ozarks, serving Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas – but accurate figures for the number of families they serve are hard to find.
Adherents say the rigidity of schooltype settings and teacher-led instruction tends to stifle children’s natural curiosity, setting them up for life without a true love of learning.
“When you think about it, the way they do things in school is mostly for crowd control,” said Karen Tucker, a mother of three boys who is an unschooler in Siloam Springs, Ark.
Coming under the umbrella of home education, unschooling is legal in every state.
The only common requirement is that students meet attendance rules.
Only 25 states have testing or evaluation requirements for home-schoolers, so it is difficult for researchers to even begin to answer their most basic questions about unschooling.
Unlike the more familiar home-schoolers of recent years, unschoolers tend not to be religiously motivated.
They simply have decided to rearrange their lives around letting their children explore their worlds, unencumbered by the usual pupil-teacher relationship.
Members of such organizations form a united front against sometimes fierce criticism from outsiders.
“When you are in a subculture of a subculture, you often get painted as the freak family,” Tucker said, “and people believe that what the expert says is true instead of thinking the alternative viewpoint portrayed has some merit.”
The U.S. Department of Education last did a survey on home schooling in 2003.
That study did not ask about unschooling.
But it found that the number of children who were educated at home had soared, increasing by 29 percent to 1.1 million from 1999 to 2003.
Do you know of Online Schools and resources? Please let me know by posting in comments or email me!