Friday, May 9, 2008

Homeschool or Unschool?

My wife and I are advocates of homeschooling in all its forms, but for our son we chose Unschooling which might be described as letting the learner choose what, when, where and with whom he learns.

The big advantage our son had, thanks to UNschooling throughout his youth, was that he learned to be in charge of his learning, and really his life to a great degree. In contrast, kids who attend schools learn to wait for others to tell them what to do, what to think. After twelve years of that, they become completely dependent on others for direction. In our son's case, he learned to be in charge of his own life to the degree he was able.

In general, that does not prepare young people for college. Colleges prefer people who have initiative and can motivate themselves, who know what they want to learn, and most important, know how to find information when they need it, and are not afraid to make decisions for themselves. Those characteristics are the opposite of what public schools teach. The government schools have the goal of turning out a "workforce" of dependent predictable people. The government does not want people to be well educated -- just enough, but no more. The "economy" needs lots of sheep, not too many shepherds. Lots of spectators, not many players. Our son, and many homeschooled children we know, learned to be independent and creative thinkers, to do what was right for them, not necessarily for the "economy."

School does not prepare children for life. Each year of school merely prepares them for the next year of school. Our motto is, "Live with your children as though there were no such thing as school." Let your kids know that they are responsible for their lives and for their learning, no one else is.

Our son never did lessons, never looked at a school book. We did not teach him school stuff at home. He learned what he was interested in, which was almost everything. He scored incredibly high on the SATs and got into college easily on his own and breezed through happily graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was well prepared for college without doing any of the school stuff. He was prepared for life, not just college. He is grateful for his experience growing up and we are still his best friends. What more can we ask?

Postscript: Cassidy met a wonderful lady in Seattle and they have moved back to Brooklyn, NY to live. The couple have asked to be married at our house in CT and the fiancee also asked Luz to be their minister and perform the ceremony in June. How sweet it is!


Traceytreasure said...

I'm learning so much from you. Thank you very much. I appreciate you and your wonderful information. I think I found you just in time!

christinemm said...

Great post Ned. Thanks for the reminders of the fact that schools make followers not leaders.

A Bishops Wife said...

This is great to hear. This is what is best suited for my Noddy. Iy kind of scares me sometimes because I feel like I should be structuring his school lessons at home. Thanks for the encouragement.

Mrs. C said...

Congrats to the young couple, Ned!

I'm going to be posting occasionally with quotes from your book. Please feel free to join in; I've learned so much from it.

George Bernfield said...

Good. I'm in college right now, and I'm having a tough time getting motivated because I've been doing the opposite for the rest of my life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I used a quote from you, with credit to you, on my facebook status: "School does not prepare children for life. Each year of school merely prepares them for the next year of school." I am cynical by nature but this hit home for me in so many ways...From my own experience with schools, and from my children's experiences. Thanks.