What is unschooling?

The philosophy of unschooling:

(i) Children are born natural learners and through their interests and curiosity, they learn to discover the world. Parents are the natural educators of their children – they instill invaluable education to their children by nurturing good values, good habits and good attitudes towards learning and living – two things that are one and inseparable.

Unschooling advocates believe that children are born with a natural curiosity and love of learning, and that this desire to learn will continue to grow and develop if it isn’t stifled. – See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/educational-philosophies-defined-part-i/#sthash.hWOu6LiY.dpuf

Further Reading:
How Children Learn by John Holt
Teach Your Own by John Holt
Five Steps to Unschooling (Home Education Magazine)

(ii) Each child is born with a natural gift – our role as parents and educators is to help them uncover it and to nurture it to maturation. This natural potential needs to be unearthed, nurtured and encultured through exploration, expressions and experience in an environment of love and compassion.

Further Reading:
The Unschooled Mind by Howard Gardner
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in Practice by Howard Gardner
“The Element” and “Finding Your Element” by Sir Ken Robinson

(iii) There is a saying that “It takes a village to raise a child,” which means that to properly bring up a child, we cannot do it alone – we need to have the community involved. But this community is on the brink of extinction due to the mass migration of population from the villages to the cities. So our task now is to try to recreate the community in the cities using today’s technologies, bringing virtual communities into real life ones. These communities act as supportive networks consisting of fellow unschoolers, co-learners and educators. Together we can bring up a new generation of emotionally and spiritually-fulfilled individuals who are talented in a myriad of ways and who care deeply about the world they are inheriting.

Further Reading:
Rethinking Schools – An Agenda for Change edited by David Levine, Robert Lowe, etc
Different Drum – Community Making And Peace by M. Scott Peck, M.D.
Because We Can Change The World – Mara Sapon – Shevin

What Is Unschooling?

This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning, as opposed to exam-driven, curriculum-led and consumer-driven education. Instead of schooling, where the day is compartmentalized by subjects, and the children are segregated by age, and the learning is limited by textbooks an testings, unschooling days can consist of the following, according to the children’s interests and inclinations:

play at the park
climb a tree
hangout on the tree
stroll at the park
pick up leaves, stones and sticks (just for fun)
draw a picture
write a story
tell a story
sing some songs, write some songs
do a play – write, direct, and perform
choreograph fighting moves with broomsticks being used as Jedi’s light sabers 🙂
learn to skateboard, wave board, scootering and do monkey bars
read a book
make a video
make compost heap
do organic farming
bake for sale, competition and charity
make arcade games from cardboard and have kids and adults come and play
build a race car and race in the car!
travel the world and join volunteering groups

How do we unschool?

By asking the right questions. By finding the right approaches. By empowering parents and educators. By creating communities that are open, diverse and inclusive.

spend copious amount of time with children
watch them, join them, support them in their play activities
teach them to care and share and to try new things, new foods and new friends
be their shoulder to cry on, their ears to listen to, their arms for hugs
explore learning together – hiking and camping for the adventurous, reading and imagining for the Imaginative, baking and cooking for the gastronomically-inclined….

The list is endless and the good news is, you and your children get to write and do the list (or not, if you choose not to!)

The role of the unschooling community – to help nurture talents and to support the growth and development of the learning mind.

We do not have to do this alone. In fact, we should not do this alone. Unschooling with a community is a wonderful experience. Of course it takes a lot to create and sustain one, but what we get out of it makes it all worthwhile. Community unschooling has the potential to take off in communities around the world. It is simple. It is gratifying. It is life-changing!

Special note: We will be going up north this week (Dec 5 – Ipoh,
Dec 7 – Penang). so if you are keen to meet up to discuss about unschooling, please email us at beyond.schooling

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2 Responses to What is unschooling?

  1. Lillian Kandiah says:

    Hi, I just came across your site. I am very interested in homeschooling my 3 year old. But I really do not know where to start. I just missed meeting you in Ipoh. Please do guide me on how to begin schooling my active son.

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