Lefty Parent

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Living & parenting without the rule book

Posts Tagged ‘radical politics’

Unschooling in the Art of Social Transformation

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

It is my continuing effort to promote the concept of “unschooling”, the mostly unsung method of human development that often gets short shrift compared to more formal modes and venues for education. Wikipedia defines “unschooling” as a term coined in the 1970s by radical educator John Holt, representing…

A range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. There are some who find it controversial. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities, often initiated by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

Becoming familiar with the concept of unschooling reading works by John Holt, Pat Farenga, Matt Hern and John Taylor Gatto, I have been taking a long look back at the road I’ve traveled and the key developmental experiences that have contributed the most to who I am today. Though I went to school (K-12 & college, some 20 years worth!), my school experience contributes relatively little to who I really am today, and the wisdom and skill set that I bring to my life’s activities. What is more significant, in retrospect, are the major themes of my own self-directed learning done mostly outside of school.

I have already told the story of my developmental themes around participation in theater and military simulation board games. What follows is a narrative of my continuing interest around the theme of social transformation. What I’m trying to get at is the “deep dive”, the robust weaving of many threads, that can happen with a totally self-directed effort to learn. This rather than learning initiated by an external entity that the learner is “assigned” to learn to a prescribed extent.

I will warn you up front, like the others, it is a long piece, some 7000 words.

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