Unschooling the Basics

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

I came across this blog post by following a link on twitter. A great post to show your other half or mother-in-law if they have their doubts about the effect of unschooling on things like Math and Reading. After socialisation, these two are my most commonly received objections. Here are some extracts:

“Generally people seem to understand the wisdom of interest-led learning, but occasionally people will express concern about “basics”. I’ve written some posts previously about our journey of the learning of reading and math. It’s a pretty simple idea: people want to know about those things that are valuable to them. You can hardly get more basic than that truth. We see it in children from the time they are born — no one has to make them learn how to walk or talk: they see others doing it, and they want to be included, so they just start doing it. Without instruction, and without thinking to themselves “this is something that I need to learn.” It’s picked up in a gradual, organic, automatic way. That’s human nature.”

“Math and reading, the most basic part of “academics”, are part of the kind of knowledge base I’ve been talking about simply because they are used so often in everyday life.”

“But — “What about those who don’t like math? What if they never want to learn algebra, and trig, and calculus????” Okay, what if? Honestly, let’s just be rational about this. Life is short; we have little enough time to focus on our strengths. Why waste time being made to learn something one has little aptitude and interest for? For what possible purpose? “To get a job that involves doing higher math.” But why on earth would someone want such a job, if they didn’t like math? Perhaps wealth and prestige; but there are many ways of gaining those things if they are your primary goal, many of which don’t involve math, and as they wouldn’t be the best person for the job, and wouldn’t be happy doing it, it’s not sensible that we as a society or as parents ought to be encouraging or pressuring them into such a thing.”

The full blog is at http://fourlittlebirds.blogspot.com/2010/02/unschooling-basics-how-does-this-work.html


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