Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unschooled does not mean Unstructured

Some unschoolers worry that if there is structure in their kids' lives, then they are not really unschooling. This is faulty thinking and sounds as ridiculous as saying that there is no learning being done if you are not seated at your desk in a specially established 'learning institution.'

It's that 'purist' tendency that corrupts all good intentions and good ideas making a prison out of what was initially a way to experience freedom.

You can have freedom in learning as a strategy for educating that includes 'A to B-no deviation' programming. This is what can happen when an unschooler decides they want to study a subject that is best achieved by following a structured curriculum to attain their goals.

Structure is often appreciated by kids. In my case, my daughters have always enjoyed following a course of study in music-two of them follow the Royal Conservatory program in violin and piano, and have been doing so for years.

Karate lessons, Mandarin language,soccer and swimming practice all add 'sought out' structure to the day, helping my daughters gain a sense of achievement and completion.

The key to structure in unschooling is that the learner be in the driving seat-that they are directing their own learning and agree to accept or not accept a structure as they feel meets their needs.

To strictly define oneself as such and such only leads to rigidity and ultimately, that is what we want to get away from.

Rather to be open and adaptable, to be willingly to experiment, try out what works, reject what doesn't is real freedom in learning.


Anonymous said...

So true. If children choose to do a structured activity, then that is unschooling.

Unschooling, autonomous, children's choice, it's all the same thing.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it eclectic learning?

Mr. K said...

"Isn't it eclectic learning?" - what is with the need to label something so liberating?! Be flexible, avoid labels, relax and enjoy your life. Maybe watch "Life of Brian" and see how labels are divisive and silly...

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