By Yolanda Spivey
Few people know what “un-schooling” really means. It’s actually the opposite of school. While most schools and home-schoolers follow a strict guideline and curriculum for lesson plans that are guided by textbooks, un-schooling doesn’t offer this type of instruction. It’s actually sort of a “free-style” way of learning.
Instead of being forced to learn certain lessons that are often regimented, un-schoolers learn according to what interests them. Children usually get their learning experience from the internet, museums, farms, library books, movies or professionals.
Although there are no statistics kept, un-schooling proponents estimate that 20 percent of home-schoolers are in fact un-schooled. In some states, un-schoolers meet the same education regulations as home-schoolers. Students must be registered with a school district and must abide by certain criteria that is set up by their states. Most importantly, they must pass a standardized test and be evaluated by their state every other year to ensure that they are learning.
If a child scores too low on a test, or it is determined that they are not performing up to par, according to their states guidelines, the state can then require the child to enroll in public school.
Un-schooling is not the right choice for everyone. The Chicago Tribune points out that “Parents who want to try it must have a knack for providing the right kind of stimulation and environment that inspires their kids to want to learn.”
Jessica Coulson, a former school teacher has been un-schooling her children for the past six years. She believes children are “curious, inherent learners.”
She, along with un-schooling experts, have seen their share of un-schooling success stories with many un-schoolers going on to eventually attend prestigious colleges and universities such as Harvard, Amherst and Brown University.
There are , however, some who are totally against un-schooling. For instance, former teacher James Dugan sees potential problems with both home-schooling and un-schooling. He told the Chicago Tribune, “I would question the validity of un-schooling. I wonder why they would do this to their child.”
Whether a parent chooses to un-school their child or not, they must have the discipline and dedication to ensure that their child is learning and excelling.