Sunday, June 5, 2022

What Is Unschooling?

Our weekly parent book group (which meets on Zoom and you're more than welcome to join us!) is currently reading Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work by Akilah Richards. It's a remarkable book. I especially like how she unpacks all the questions we ask ourselves internally as we struggle through putting theory into practice.


I want to share the first two paragraphs of "What Is Unschooling?" (a section in chapter 4, "The Shift in Power That Eventually Rooted Us in Unschooling") because I think she sums up very accurately what we are hoping for in choosing self-directed education.


    What Is Unschooling?

    short definintion:

    Unschooling is a child-trusting, anti-oppressive, liberatory, child-centered approach to parenting and caregiving. It is a way of life that is based on freedom, respect, and autonomy.


    long definition:

    Unschooling is a curiosity-led approach to learning without testing and predefined curricula. Unschoolers see learning as an organic by-product of living and being a child and, therefore, reject the premise of passing information from adults and books to children based on what is believed (by adults) to be necessary learning. Children follow their interests, and their parents offer resources, which can include direct instruction and books, for their children to pursue exploring what they enjoy. Unschooling is a way of life that is based on freedom, respect, and autonomy. Listening and witnessing help parents to facilitate learning by offering resources for their child to pursue their interests and to follow their curiosity, without the restrictions of time limitations or judgment by way of testing.


Thank you, Akilah, for masterfully wording what we are all thinking!

I am VERY interested in researching and writing a paper on what Steiner would have said about self-directed education, so if anyone wants to join me in reading a bunch of his work and combing through it for insights, let me know! It would be a good project to tackle as a team!

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