Creative Child

School is Out … Forever?

by Erin J. Bernard on Jan 26th, 2015

Imagine waking up each morning at the hour of your choosing, eating breakfast at your leisure and spending the day immersed in the creative, physical, and intellectual pursuits of your choosing.

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Most people must wait until retirement to enjoy such complete personal freedom, but for a growing minority of American children, total independence is also the rule. 

These kids are known as “unschoolers” and their parents have rejected the notion that children thrive best in highly structured environments.

This somewhat radical offshoot of the homeschooling tradition trades tests and textbooks for child-driven organic learning opportunities and free-range exploration. Unschooling is “the process of learning through life, without formalized or institutionalized classrooms or schoolwork,” according to The Free Child Project, an unschooling advocacy organization.

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And it’s a philosophy of parenting as much as an educational approach, based on the belief that children should be empowered to navigate the world on their own terms and to direct their own learning by studying subjects that interest them personally.

How does it work?

There are as many unschooling formulas as there are families practicing the approach. At a fundamental level, parents of unschooled children allow offspring to set their own, project-based educational goals and to go about achieving those goals in the manner they see fit, at the times they choose. Children begin to read, write and do math when they express an interest in the tasks, and not before. Older kids may study geometry by sculpting three-dimensional shapes, biology by collecting bugs in the forest or economics by opening a cupcake business.

Continue reading about unschooling on page 2...

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