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Unschooling Questions

Unschooling Questions

I’ve had this saved for a while in my documents. These were questions someone asked Joyce Fetteroll on an unschooling info list.

Can a unschooler go to college?

Can a schooler go to college? Not all of them do. Not all of them can. Not all of them want to. I think it’s clearer to state that unschooling doesn’t get in the way of kids going to college. If they feel that college is a good way to explore their interests, there isn’t a reason they can’t go.

Is it difficult to learn to sit in a seat, or is one more adaptable when one needs after being allowed the freedom of unschooling?

I think it’s oh so common but oh so sad that people believe not only that we need to train for several years to sit through lectures but that the training is a good thing. I think it’s also sad that people believe that we learn discipline by sitting through things we don’t want to do. And that unless we’re trained through dullness that we won’t ever do something we don’t want to do to get to something we do want to do.

Be aware that you — and 99% of the people in the US — have no experience with people who have always had freedom from the time they were kids. You don’t know how people who’ve always had freedom behave. You only know how people who have been controlled act when given freedom. You only know how people who’ve been left to raise themselves act when given freedom.

It’s a wicked important realization. You can’t project what you know of human behavior onto kids who’ve always known freedom because you only know the behavior of controlled humans.

If you’ve spent 12 years learning that lectures and textbooks are dull and hard, then college looks like 4 more years of the same. If you’ve spent 12 years exploring all sorts of different ways to learn and college is a self-chosen way to continue exploring, then lectures and textbooks are just a part of the package.

My daughter has been taking college courses since she was 12 and hasn’t had any problems with the format. That doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same experience. Given freedom, unschoolers are free to come to the conclusion that lectures and textbooks don’t fit with their style of learning. (Schooled kids just end up thinking they’re dumb.)

I’m concerned my dd will not have the skill nor the aptitude unless she goes back into “school”. Any thoughts?

At 18 she will be different than a schooled kid. She will not have the academic knowledge crammed into her (and often blissfully forgotten!) that schooled kids have. What will help is to get over the idea that schooling is what colleges want or need. It’s what colleges are given to work with. Colleges mostly don’t have a choice. More than kids who’ve been cramming textbooks into their head for 12 years and haven’t had a chance to experience life to figure out what they want to do, colleges like older students who’ve been out in the workforce, who are clearly focused on where they want to go. Unschoolers can be like that. Unschoolers get to explore life and figure out where their skills lie. They go to college because that’s the way they want to explore their interests, not because it’s another hoop to jump through to get to the vague destination called “Success”.

© 2011 An Unschooling Life

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One Response to “Unschooling Questions”

  1. Mylene says:

    As a trade school instructor at a Canadian community college, I’m happy to report that each year, some of my top students had not attended high school, for one reason or another. They often have advantages over students who did — increased focus, more comfortable being self-directed, less bogged down with terror of being “wrong.”

    When you are considering your options, please don’t forget trade school. You may find that the hands-on approach, apprenticeship system, mentor-type relationships with instructors, high degree of personal responsibility, and above all high degree of respect for things learned outside of school is well suited to an unschooled mind.
    Mylene´s last post: Engineering Resources for Science and Math TeachersMy Profile

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