Friday, February 15, 2008

City on a Hill Press

Class Dismissed
By Rachel Tennenbaum
Imagine waking up on a Monday and driving up to Berkeley to check out a new art gallery opening. That night you play some video games and crack open a book before hitting the hay. Think this sounds like a day off for a college student? It’s actually the school day of a 9-year-old. No, it’s not a fantasy Ferris Bueller-style: It’s a daily reality for thousands of young learners who call themselves “unschoolers.”

Unschooling. Some call it a counter-culture, but others just call it natural learning. It’s an offshoot of homeschooling coined by educational philosopher John Holt, but it varies from traditional homeschooling in the sense that there is no curriculum. None. No math, no English, no science, no history. You just live.

This article is a fun read, and I know several of the people named and quoted, so it was especially interesting for me. I'm glad the author didn't leave it at "You just live," because that alone would be wrong and misleading. "Just" is such a dismissive little word...

But read the rest. Unschoolers don't "just live." They live large. They live expansively, and richly and joyfully. Those are the things that make it work.

1 comment:

Sandra Dodd said...

Pam Tellew, quoted above, wrote this on a discussion list:

One of my quotes got a little mangled though. She wrote: '"Every once in awhile I get a bug in my head saying, 'Gosh, I don't think I know that this is out there in the world,'" Tellew said. "I started telling them about math and they didn't really care. Pushing that kind of stuff is what gives people that resistance." She would rather her children follow something that excites them. '

What I said was, "Every once in a while, I get a little bug in my head saying, 'Gosh, I don't think they (my kids) know that this is out there in the world.' Then I told her about how I'd recently been on a little math jag of my own, learning about Fibonacci numbers for the first time, and when I showed my kids they weren't interested at the time, so I dropped it. My son thought the way it was written
made them sound anti math, which they aren't, just busy with something else they cared more about at the moment.

Oh, and it wasn't exactly an unschooling camp-out where she interviewed people but there were lots ofunschoolers there.

But overall, a pretty good article. I loved that she quoted so many kids.