This group is for parents in the MD/DC/VA areas who are unschooling their children. Child led learning. Following your own interests. Living peacefully, joyfully & in the present. Unschooling is freedom, growth, and vast possibilities.
Q:What is unschooling?
A: Unschooling is a term that the late John Holt coined in the late ‘70's to describe learning that is based on a child's interests and needs. Unschooling does not begin with a parent's notion of what is important to learn and then turn the choices of how to learn the content over to a child. Rather, it begins with the child's natural curiosity and expands from there. Unschooling is not "instruction free" learning. If a child wants to learn to read, an unschooling parent may offer instruction by providing help with decoding, reading to the child, and giving the child ample opportunity to encounter words. If the child is uninterested in these supports, the parent backs off until the child asks for help. The most important thing about the unschooling process is that the child is in charge of the learning, not the adult. Unschoolers often do no traditional school work, yet they do learn traditional subject matter. They learn it as a natural extension of exploring their own personal interests.
Unschooling will look different in different families, and "radical unschooling" simply means extending the philosophy of unschooling (that children will learn what they need to know when they are ready and want to learn it) into every other aspect of life (i.e. children will go to sleep when they are tired, eat when they are hungry, and will learn to be a functioning, helpful member of a family/household without being forced/required to do things like chores, given punishments, limited on tv/videogames, etc.) Radical unschooling could also be called Mindful Parenting, or respectful parenting.
Unschooling requires active effort in connecting with your children as they are right now. It requires active effort in finding things in the world that you think would be of interest to them. It requires active effort in giving them as much of the world as you can and letting them choose from it what they love. It requires active effort in basing your life in Joy and Love.
Unschooling is a unique opportunity for each family to do whatever makes sense for the growth and development of their children. If we have a reason for using a curriculum and traditional school materials, we are free to use them. They are not a universally necessary or required component of unschooling, either educationally or legally.
Some quotes to help define Unschooling:
"Let me sum up what I have been saying about learning. I believe that we learn best when we, not others, are deciding what we are going to try to learn, and when, and how, and for what reasons or purposes; when we, not others, are in the end choosing the people, materials, and experiences from which and with which we will be learning; when we, not others, are judging how easily or quickly or well we are learning, and when we have learned enough; and above all when we feel the wholeness and opennesss of the world around us, and our own freedom and power and competence in it. When then can we do about it? How can we create or help create these conditions for learning?" - John Holt
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child." - George Bernard Shaw
"To parents I say, above all else, don't let your home become some terrible miniature copy of the school. No lesson plans! No quizzes! No tests! No report cards! Even leaving your kids alone would be better; at least they could figure out some things on their own. Live together, as well as you can; enjoy life together, as much as you can." - John Holt.
“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”- Richard Louv, Last child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.
As a species, we are most animated when our days and nights on Earth are touched by the natural world. We can find immeasurable joy in the birth of a child, a great work of art, or falling in love.
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
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