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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Unschooling

Updated on March 23, 2011

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Unschooling

Is unschooling right for you?

A popular homescooling method is unschooling. This is a method that was advocated by its founder, John Holt. However, trying to define precisely what this homeschooling method is about is difficult because there are so many different ways in which it can be defined. The most common definitions include:

1.Unschooling is focused upon the process of learning, not the content that is learned. This is because unschoolers believe that you can look content up any time you want as long as you have the ability to learn.

2.Unschooling focuses upon a child's interests, trusting that the child will let their parent know what they want to learn.

3.Unschooling is not something that is planned out. It is spontaneous learning that occurs with the world being the child's classroom.

4.Unschoolers believe that if you provide a child with a good environment, they will naturally learn what it is that they need to know.

5.Unschoolers do not rely upon any curriculum.

6.Unschoolers believe that learning is a natural part of life.

7.Unschoolers believe that their child will determine what they need to learn and when they need to learn it.

The biggest reason why unschooling is so difficult to define is because it does not focus upon content. Unschooling is a process, not a specific technique. This homeschooling method does not have steps for you to follow. In fact, unschooling is more of a lifestyle than an educational method.

Of course, there are some real advantages to this method. Some of these advantages are:

1.Children learn that learning does not only take place within a classroom but it takes place everywhere, all of the time.

2.Children discover that they do not need an adult to help them learn things but that they can learn things all by themselves.

3.Learning becomes an exciting adventure.

4.If a child has a special interest, then they are free to persue that interest.

5.Nothing is considered to be an "extracurricular activity." This is because all activities are considered to be a part of the learning process. As such, everything from going on field trips to going to the store, as well as daily activities such as preparing meals, is all considered to be part of the learning process.

6.Unschooling can take place regardless of your living situation. This is becase the world is your classroom.

7.You can choose between all types of curriculu since whatever your child wants to do is a part of the unschooling process. So, if your child wants to use a textbook or workbook then that is also unschooling.

Just as there are advantages to homeschooling, there are also disadvantages. A few of the disadvantages include:

1.A parent might be afraid that there will be "holes" in the child's education.

2.There may also be the fear that a child will never show an interest in certain subjects, so they might miss out on studying it.

3.If you feel that studying a specific subject is an important part of a child's education and character development, then you might not be cut out for unschooling.

Whenever unschooling is done well, a child will develop an intense curiosity for life. A child will also become very self-motivated. Both of these things will stop a child from experiencing burn out. However, as a parent, only you can make the decision of whether or not to unschool. Of course, you can always start and stop, mix and match, and create things too. It all depends upon you and your child's needs.


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