Hello all! I'm new here (also new to homeschooling - was
homeschooled myself but just brought my own kids home and am veering
toward unschooling). I intend to simply read for a while to learn!
But I do have a question tonight in my reading online and bouncing
from place to place....

I've been reading Sudbury School/Free School stuff and also ran
across info on the Hole in the Wall project (where a PC was placed in
a hole in a wall in a village in India and the village children
taught themselves within days to use it for a variety of purposes -
the experiment highlighted the ways that children glean knowledge
through peer interaction without needing adult intervention or

So here's my question. I am intrigued by unschooling and by the free
school model but see the reliance in the free school model on peers
and social capital. I am wondering what folks here think of the
value of peer "inspiration" (I'm not talking grade level peers - I'm
talking groups of children inspiring learning in one another as they
share knowledge - kind of children "strewing the way" for each
other)....and whether this is lacking in your unschooling
experience. Believe me, I am NOT asking the old socialization
question - think it's one of the dumbest possible questions out
there. But I do see the magic that happens when kids inspire each

I have four kids, so I am amazed already at seeing their
relationships flourish and see how this kind of dynamic will happen
within our own family but wonder what level of credence people here
give to the ideas and how they see it happen for their own children...


- Jennifer (Denver, Colorado)

Sandra Dodd

-=-So here's my question. I am intrigued by unschooling and by the free
school model but see the reliance in the free school model on peers
and social capital.-=-

In some ways those schools create a culture separate from the child's
homelife and work within that.

Unschooling uses the real life that already exists, and the real
family. Families have friends and neighbors and cousins, when
they're lucky, and a young child's circle will continue to expand as
he gets older, but it can happen naturally and gradually.

Since they were little I liked the way having a visitor would change
the dynamics and the use of the same old toys and swing set and art
supplies. A food the kids were used to having around would be
recharged by the excitement of a visitor. "You have popsicles!?" and
the popsicles were more exciting, for a few moments. A game that
had gotten old was new again. A treehouse got a new role in a new game.

Is that the sort of inspiration you mean?

Yesterday Holly's friend Jasmine came over. Jasmine is a year older,
and that's the family Holly stayed in England with and went to a
wedding in France with.


So Jasmine is in the dorms at the university in town, and hadn't hung
out with Holly alone for a while. They both drive. They could have
gone anywhere and done just about anything. Jasmine had talked about
maybe going to see Tropic Thunder, but Holly had already seen it
twice. They thought maybe of playing cards. They ended up doing
Shrinky Dinks for three hours, and Jasmine left with a little string
of shrinky dinks fastened to her purse, and a big smile on her face.
She said she was glad they had done Shrinky Dinks instead of a movie,
because then they were able to talk.


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