Despite working most of my adult life in the structured environment of public education, I find a lot to like in a growing trend called unschooling.
This is a branch of homeschooling in which parents reject “the basic foundations of conventional education, including not only the schoolhouse but also classes, curriculums and textbooks”.
The families who subscribe to this seemingly radical concept of education make some excellent points about the downsides to public schools.
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.
“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., and belongs to the Unschoolers of the Ozarks. “We don’t duplicate the methods of school because we’ve rejected school.”
You can imagine one of the first challenges to this approach to education opponents try to make.
“One criticism I hear over and over is that children won’t be ready for the real world,” Mr. Farenga said. “That’s ridiculous. We’re saying get them out of the classroom and into the real world. It’s not about isolating them and drilling them.”
He makes an excellent point.
Can we seriously claim that our schools are preparing kids for the “real world”?