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It's about learning, not homeschooling or unschooling

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Homeschooling--What does it even mean anymore? I've spent years homeschooling and writing about it and I can't give a solid answer. That's why I'm more concerned with learning than with whatever a family calls how their child learns, i.e., homeschooling, unschooling, online schooling, or parent partnership program through the school district.

A few good blogs about learning

In How to destroy a child's love of learning in 15 easy steps, Lori Pickert, author of Project-Based Homeschooling, presents a concise, thoughtful list of ways to sabotage your child's learning. Coming from an unschooling philosophy, my favorite is no. 1: Make sure he knows learning isn’t about what he wants to do but what he HAS to do.

In There is no normal, Chris Mercogliano, author of Teaching the Restless, describes what "normal" really means and how educators need to make "a radical shift away from the educational and medical paradigms that gave rise to so-called “disorders” like ADHD in the first place?" She explains that "labels like ADHD are the logical outcome of an extremely outdated educational model which views learning as a fixed, mechanical process that is the same for every child."

In a letter to a teacher, Mercogliano gave this response: "As for the other little girl you mentioned who annoyed the teacher by picking up ants during reading group, here we would probably ask her if she’d like to learn more about ants, which might lead to finding some good books about ants and maybe even collecting enough of them to build an ant house so she could study their behavior by observing them with a magnifying glass."

Doesn't that sound like unschooling? I think it does, but it's really about learning in the best way for the learner.

John Taylor Gatto, author of The Underground History of American Education, said: "In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling."

In The big lie homeschoolers tell, Penelope Trunk compared the apologetic "Homeschooling isn't for everyone," to breastfeeding. I would have to agree. If unschooling isn't really about where you learn, it's about learning in the best way for the learner, then it's best for everyone regardless of where you do it.



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