sanfrantigger

I have a philosophical question that I need some help with.

I've read a few times on the Radical Unschooling Facebook group (I'm paraphrasing) that not all ideas about unschooling are equal. So as an adult and parent, what I'm hearing is that not all the ideas about unschooling I hear or learn are equally valuable and helpful.

However, when children's learning is discussed, I tend to get the message that parents should not view one form of learning as better than others, either in form (i.e. video games vs books) or content (one subject/interest vs another).

Can you please provide some clarity around this? It seems to be a contradiction, but I'm hoping you can shed some light.

Thanks.

Meredith

"sanfrantigger" <[email protected]> wrote:

> I've read a few times on the Radical Unschooling Facebook group (I'm paraphrasing) that not all ideas about unschooling are equal.
******************

Not all sources will meet the same sorts of interests and needs. It depends on what you're looking for, what your interests and priorities are. For instance, if you're looking for a gentle support group, a place to get general homeschooling information, or an idea group this list, Unschooling Basics, isn't a good resource for you. It won't provide what you want.

If you want to dig down into the fundamental principles underlying unschooling and analyze your own thoughts and actions in light of those principles, then it's a good resource.

There's a big wide range of what people consider "unschooling" - a great deal of which doesn't have much to do with those fundamental principles, and there are plenty of resources which don't really say much about unschooling itself. And just like any other fad, there are people trying to capitalize on "the unschooling market" who aren't all that credible or honest, or trustworthy. And there are people who have strong ideas and beliefs in addition to unschooling and try to combine those.

> However, when children's learning is discussed, I tend to get the message that parents should not view one form of learning as better than others, either in form (i.e. video games vs books) or content (one subject/interest vs another).
***************

It's not really a contradiction. In fact, one of the ways kids learn is by making use of a variety of different resources and then making judgments about which are better, more credible, more enlightening, more exciting. All those sources aren't "equal" - and that's Okay. In fact, that lack of equality is part of the field in which learning occurs.

That's true of adult learning, too, with one big caveat: adults need a Lot more deschooling than kids. Adults start out learning about unschooling by asking very schoolish questions and expecting schoolish answers - it's inevitable, but it also sets adults up to sometimes narrow down their field of learning sooner than would a kid pursuing a similar interest.

So shop around! There's looooots of information about home and unschooling these days, and a great deal of it is free on the internet. Make your own judgments about what's good information and what isn't by what helps you and your family move in directions which support your values.

This list: Unschooling Basics, isn't intended to be a "one size fits all" source of home-ed information. It's one particular resource for hard core analysis of the fundamental principles of unschooling - the unschooling basics - and how those work in real families.

---Meredith

lindaguitar

--- In [email protected], "sanfrantigger" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> I have a philosophical question that I need some help with.
>
> I've read a few times on the Radical Unschooling Facebook group (I'm
> paraphrasing) that not all ideas about unschooling are equal. So as
> an adult and parent, what I'm hearing is that not all the ideas
> about unschooling I hear or learn are equally valuable and helpful.

From my perspective, this is simply someone's way of saying, "not all ideas about unschooling conform to what *I* believe about unschooling." As to whether or not various different ideas about unschooling are actually equally valuable - I would say that they all have potentially equal value, in terms of their helpfulness or usefulness, but each individual will gain more from certain ideas/writings/points of view than from others.

> However, when children's learning is discussed, I tend to get the
> message that parents should not view one form of learning as better
> than others, either in form (i.e. video games vs books) or content
> (one subject/interest vs another).

What that message actually means is "Question/challenge all of your preconceptions about 'learning' and 'education', that are based on your schooled upbringing."

This has nothing to do with various, and sometimes conflicting viewpoints about some of the the details of what "unschooling" means. Despite some opposing points of view about side-issues and specific situations, there is pretty much a consensus that "unschooling" means letting go of "school" ideas about how children learn, and the notion that they must be forced to learn subjects chosen by others.

Therefore, although the mainstream K-12 schools in most of the world tend to:
use a set curriculum,
divide kids into grade levels by age,
list only 5 or 6 academic subjects as valuable enough to be a part of the "core curriculum",
use certain types of textbooks and worksheets, etc, as teaching materials,
give mandatory assignments and tests,
and grade the students' work,
these "school ideas" and methods are NOT intrinsically necessary or beneficial to children. In fact, for the most part, they are very detrimental, both to children's learning, and to their well-being. I'm pretty sure that all unschoolers agree that children do not have to be forced to learn or told what, when, and how to learn; each child (each human being, in fact) has the innate intelligence and the inherent right to make those decisions for him/herself. And there is an assumption among unschoolers (and the founders of the Sudbury Valley School and the other Sudbury schools) that children WANT to become functional adults, and they will choose to do what they can to accomplish this goal, in their own time and way.

Linda

Joyce Fetteroll

On Jul 24, 2013, at 12:41 PM, sanfrantigger wrote:

> what I'm hearing is that not all the ideas about unschooling I hear or learn are equally valuable and helpful.

The problem is there isn't just one definition of unschooling. So ideas that work for one definition might be very wrong for another.

It's said Alexander the Great founded at least 20 cities named Alexandria. So 2300 years ago if you were to ask someone for directions to Alexandria, you needed to know which you meant before following their directions! ;-)

Same with unschooling. To find ideas that will work for you, keep reassessing where you want to go, what you want for your family, what person you want to be rather than heading for "unschooling".

Ask yourself, "Will that idea move toward or away from helping my child explore his interests?" "Will that idea move me toward or away from being a kinder person?" Or whatever your priorities are.

To make matters more confusing, people in daily social situations trade implementations, that is, "What works for my family." Which makes sense. Not all families have the same goals or values. Not all families have the same mix of personalities. So no one can be certain what works for them will work for someone else.

BUT, even though an implementation may not work for every family, principles that are based on human nature rather than personality will work for anyone. Everyone likes to be treated kindly, respectfully, as though they and their thoughts were of value. (What a kind act looks like when implemented in a family is where the differences are.

For that reason I prefer forums that focus on the goal I want and the principles I want to live by and *how* those principles work. On this list the goal is learning and great relationships. The focus is then how to ALSO make life workable when those are put first.


> However, when children's learning is discussed, I tend to get the message that parents should not view one form of learning as better than others, either in form (i.e. video games vs books) or content (one subject/interest vs another).

It depends what your goal is. It depends what principles are most important to you. :-)

Ideas offered here are for growing learning and relationships. The principles support learning and great relationships in humans.

If your goal is different, you'll need to pick and choose what ideas offered here will work for you. I think it's easier to do here since a lot of discussion is about why things work.

Joyce

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Joyce Fetteroll

On Jul 26, 2013, at 12:12 AM, lindaguitar wrote:

> From my perspective, this is simply someone's way of saying,
> "not all ideas about unschooling conform to what *I* believe
> about unschooling."

If a forum focuses on a well defined idea, then the discussion can be clearer and more targeted. People can say with confidence that this will work or that won't and here's why.

If a forum focuses on supporting anyone's definition, then the forum will feel more welcoming. There will be more ideas -- implementations -- offered, but the ideas may lead in contradictory directions.

The question is really what someone wants from a forum, what will work for their needs. So it's good to try out several. :-)

Joyce

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

sanfrantigger

------ It's not really a contradiction. In fact, one of the ways kids learn is by making use of a variety of different resources and then making judgments about which are better, more credible, more enlightening, more exciting. All those sources aren't "equal" - and that's Okay. In fact, that lack of equality is part of the field in which learning occurs. ------

That is clear and helpful. My role isn't to make the judgements for my children, but to partner with them in their own process of judging information. Thanks!