Unschooling: A New Controversial Approach To Schools

Getting Unschooled


You’ve probably heard of “homeschooling” but have you heard of “unschooling?” The Washington Post interviewed a family that unschools their children, the Hewitts. The Hewitt family has two boys, Fin and Rye, which receive minimal formal education each day, their father estimates that they probably get less than two hours a day of formal education. Instead, they are encouraged to go out into the world and learn how to be self-sufficient on their own. Mr. Hewitt believes that the unstructured and unconventional education he provides his boys is much more valuable than the term sounds.

The Washington Post writes, “Unschooling values autonomy over structure and posits that you don’t have to confine kids to a classroom – or even a desk — because children are natural learners.”

Mr. Hewitt believes that unschooling is most successful when children are able to be fully immersed in their communities and environments. Unschooling is not standardized or institutionalized and can be executed in many ways by different families based on what kind of communities they live in.

According to the website, Unschooling.com, this method of homeschooling provides drive for self-directed education based on one’s own interests. While nothing is promised of those who choose to allow their children to educate themselves, however it continues to be a positive way for some families to exist and for children to challenge themselves.

Some ask Mr. Hewitt whether his children will have to take remedial math if they decide to go to college, if perhaps this lack of structure will do them more harm than good. Mr. Hewitt defends unschooling with the argument that that would put them on the same level as many children who do receive formal education.

In an article by Luba Vangelova she asks, “How do Unschoolers Turn Out?” In her research she found, “Getting into college was typically a fairly smooth process for this group; they adjusted to the academics fairly easily, quickly picking up skills such as class note-taking or essay composition; and most felt at a distinct advantage due to their high self-motivation and capacity for self-direction.”

With the all the information out there on our public school systems this could be an interesting method of homeschooling to look in to. Obviously it is not for everyone, a lot goes into having this being a successful outcome for kids such as environment, community or socioeconomic status. However, it could also be what allows your child to find his or her true passions.

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