What is "unschooling" and could it work for your kids?

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You've heard of homeschooling, but have you heard of unschooling? Learn more about the unorthodox approach to education and if it suits your children

You've heard of homeschooling, but what about unschooling?

If you aren't familiar with the term, unschooling is an approach to academia that takes kids out of the classroom, and away from a standard one size fits all method of education.

The true value and distinctive qualities of unschooling, according to USA Today, are its emphasis on "customising learning to the individual child" and its dependency on a child's inherent curiosity which leads them to new and exciting topics.

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While still a rare approach to education on  global scale, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that there are nearly 2 million homeschooled children, of which 10 percent are estimated to be unschooled.

“Unschooling is allowing your children as much freedom to explore the world as you can bear as a parent,” says Patrick Farenga, author and president of Holt GWS, an organization dedicated to continuing the mission and teachings of the late John Holt, considered to be a founder of the unschooling movement.

Learn the basics of "unschooling" and if it's the right approach for your kids! Visit the next page for more info!

More about unschooling...

The very foundation of unschooling is that children learn best when they discover and engage in subjects themselves. As a parent of an unschooled child, the goal is to help nurture and foster their talents and interests.

There's no need to be considered an education expert, or a proficient teacher. Instead, parents are encouraged to be facilitators and proponents to their kids' educational endeavors.

Sue Patterson, a homeschooling coach, unschooling mentor and author believes unschooled kids have a great opportunity to develop social skills within the confines of their families as well as the world around them. “We have such a problem with bullying in schools. Why on earth do we think that’s where (children) need to be to learn social skills?" she claims.

“You don’t learn it sitting in a classroom where you are encouraged not to socialize,” she adds.

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Is it the right fit for your kids?

Patrick Farenga believes that learning outside the compulsory schooling environment is the best strategy for educating children. He argues that traditional education (i.e. attending school in a standard institution) runs contrary to the way children learn naturally, which is initially through play and exploration.

While Farenga makes a valid point, it's a subjective matter that boils down to which approach to learning children respond to best. If your child flourishes through social interaction with peers, and responds/conforms well to directions and rules, then a more traditional approach may be the best way to edify your child.

Alternatively, if you feel your child does not conform well to rules/guidelines and struggles to adjust to a unified curriculum, you may want to consider unschooling. Its individualised learning approach may be just what your kid needs to flourish and develop properly under his/her own unique style of learning.

Surely parents must wonder if their children are at risk of falling behind academically. Moreover, parents may be concerned what this method means in regards to reaching higher education in college. Farenga reports that college is a very real option for unschoolers. Many go on to earn degrees."

"Success without school is possible, and parents shouldn’t have to sacrifice their relationship with their children on the altar of education. Education is a byproduct of a good relationship between you, your child and the world around them," says Farenga.

[H/T] USA Today

READ: Top-performing Asian schools use the “mastery approach”; learn why it’s quickly spreading

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