Saturday, November 25, 2006

"Child-led learning"

In the bad idea department, "unschooling" has to rank in the top five of all time. Before children have even the slightest idea what's out there, parents isolate their kids from not just the classroom, but the very concept of education. One need not be of the Allan Bloom, "Great Books" school to see how this might be problematic. From the NYT piece: "Adherents say the rigidity of school-type settings and teacher-led instruction tend to stifle children’s natural curiosity, setting them up for life without a true love of learning." And yet, without this rigidity, children (and adults!) would spend all their time lying around in bed, eating cheesy poofs, as does Cartman in the "homeschooling" episode of "South Park."

That said, "Unschoolers of the Ozarks" is in the top five of most amusing organization names of all time.


Dana said...

I'm not a particular proponent of unschooling, however, I am an advocate of the parent's right to determine the educational course of their child. There are "radical" unschoolers who provide little or no structure, but most that I know are not so extreme in their beliefs. Some even order curriculum...but they do discuss things with their child and follow the child's interests to meet educational objectives.

I don't think that South Park is the best resource for opinions on homeschooling or unschooling. Those I know are quite industrious and a little more directed than the public schooled kids I know. My daughter is not "unschooled," but if I left her to her own devices, she would spend an hour or two on the couch with a pile of books, some time with her cross stitch, some time writing and (if I let her) would make lunch for us every day. And she would spend a good deal of time up a tree and riding her bike...not to mention the time spent watching her bird feeders for new guests. This is what she does with her days off when we have no particular structure outside of normal chores.

Anonymous said...

You write: "...without this rigidity, children (and adults!) would spend all their time lying around in bed, eating cheesy poofs..."

Really? Is this what you would do? All day, every day? I might do that occasionally, but I would certainly tire of it and want to actually do something with my life. Most people want to succeed in life and quickly learn what is needed (education, job) to gain success.