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Free-range education: Why the unschooling movement is growing

A once-utopian idea – allowing kids to ‘discover’ their own education path while learning at home – goes mainstream. 

"... "unschooling,” an educational theory that suggests children should follow their own interests, without the imposition of school or even any alternative educational curriculum, because this is the best way for them to learn and grow." 

Free-range education: Why the unschooling movement is growing -

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"MADISON, N.H. — On a late Monday morning in this rural New Hampshire town, Dayna and Joe Martin’s four children are all home. Devin, age 16, is hammering a piece of steel in the blacksmith forge he and his parents built out of a storage shed in the backyard. Tiffany, 14, is twirling on a hoverboard, deftly avoiding the kaleidoscope-painted cabinets in the old farmhouse’s living room. Ivy, 10, and Orion, 7, are sitting next to each other using the family’s two computers, clicking through an intense session of Minecraft.  

It looks a lot like school vacation, or a weekend. But it’s not. This, for the Martin kids, is school. Or, to put it more accurately, it’s their version of “unschooling"....."

What do you think Marlene? Is replacing schooling with Minecraft a good idea?

I'm a lady, Adam. I won't tell you what I think ;)

And you, Adam. What do you think?

Mine craft is fun but it doesn't sound like education to me. 

I advocate incorporating video games as part of structured learning, not for replacing it. As an example, assignments for a variety of math disciplines.

That's good. PART of a complete breakfast. Good thinking. 

"But increasingly, Professor Stevens and others who have studied unschooling say, the practice is losing its rebel, alternative ethos. Although regulations differ state by state (one reason why accurate statistics on the movement are difficult to pin down), unschooling in some form is legal everywhere in the country. And the families who do it are increasingly mainstream, middle-class, and educated. 

In a survey of some 5,500 home-schooling families, filmmakers Dustin Woodard and Jeremy Stuart, whose documentary about unschooling, “Class Dismissed,” came out in 2014, found that the vast majority of unschooling parents (almost 89 percent) were married, and 91 percent had at least some college experience. Almost half live in the suburbs, while the rest are split fairly evenly between urban and rural areas. Almost all say they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their choice to unschool their children – whether because they have more time as a family, are able to travel more, or see their children learning successfully. While many unschoolers say they are opting out of the national obsession with college admissions and standardized test scores, literature about unschooling regularly mentions how unschoolers are often accepted into top colleges." 

There are social aspects to college — to many places — where the discipline of vocal restraint and movement are mandatory. For those who are 'unschooled', it seems there would be a problem of not being able to 'do as they please', and to do it when they want.

That last point is key. How do people learn empathy and respect for others?

Through the kind of socialization that school provides. 

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