Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Speaking of Unschooling...

Like most unschoolers, when I talk about unschooling, I'm really talking about whole-life learning. Unschoolers in general don't differentiate between experiences as learning vs. non-learning. Making breakfast together is just as valid a learning experience as using the compass to draw out geodesics. When Olivia and Adam go tearing around outside with friends, making movies, developing story lines and acting, we recognize that as just as valuable as anything academic. Recognizing those two things as equally valuable however, is where the cognitive leap comes in and thus the term unschooling. Unschooling, at least in our case, where our children have never attendend school and we have, learning to de-school ourselves is a life changing process. For the most part, I think we've successfully made the leap. There are challenges however, living in a culture that is still very schooled, or institutionalized. Living whole-life learning in a world doggedly determined to adhere to the factory model (more on that here ) can be a bumpy path to take. Thankfully, there are signs that our culture is ready for a change, is gradually moving away from a rigid 9-5 world, to one that integrates, well, whole-life learning. Here's one example.

What is so heartening about the Ode article and others like it, is that the traditional factory model for education is being questioned. We're questioning how we teach, the dynamics and culture (and pressures) of a typical school, questioning what is taught (see this amazing speech), and we're even questioning the much lauded benefits of college (or at least recognizing that it might not be for everyone for a myriad of reasons, while recognizing that academics can be approached in diverse ways, for instance). It may be sinking in that whole-life learning is not only possible, but paramount.

When we consider that many of the things that we now take for granted (social networks, YouTube, for example) and realize that none existed just five years ago, we must consider that this world full of rapid change and new technologies is the future our children face (and like Sir Ken Robinson asks, how do we teach to that future?), and indeed, if the future is coming in five year increments, we adults must be willing to incorporate whole-life learning into our lives also. This is a challenge that the factory model faces as well, and the corporations that adjust to rapid change, adopt new technology, social networks and new ideas, while supporting and motivating the people who work for them will flourish. Flourish, too, will the children today who are supported in whole-life learning.

(And they'll keep making movies, too.)


  1. that movie looks like too much fun!
    thanks for the great words here and in your other post last week ~ great stuff :)

  2. Nice to see you here, Kelly! Many thanks for reading and commenting! xo Amy



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