Tag Archives: learning

Unschooling in the Art of LIfe

northern-ireland-muralAs much as formal standardized education tries to turn it into a science, life, and the continuing human development which in my opinion is one of life’s most compelling narratives, is really more of an artistic endeavor. It is at its best the creation of a compelling narrative based on the uniqueness of a person’s soul and the life’s context that soul is unfolding and evolving in. It is not so much about following a procedure developed and “perfected” by others, or emulating another’s life successfully lived. It is more like a mural, ballad, novel, television series or other story told, reflecting the unique voice of the artist and their unique playing of the hand they are dealt.

According to Wikipedia, “science” is…

A systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Whereas “art” is defined as…

A diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities.

Modern society has been all about science and its organization of knowledge in the form of technology, industrial practice and social engineering. We identify experts who develop the best practice and then we create an institution to share that expertly designed practice with others. If the governing bodies of a society think a best practice is particularly compelling and effective, we may attempt to apply it universally, even possibly mandating that everyone follow it for their own good, or at least for the common good.

Continue reading →

Guest Blog by Emma Rosloff: My Experience with Unschooling (Abbreviated)

Emma Age 20This is the first time I’ve published a piece by a “guest” blogger, which in this case happens to be my daughter Emma! She published her piece initially on the Daily KOS progressive political blog site (click here to link to it), and got a large number of views, recommends and comments, plus a “Community Spotlight” acknowledgement. I’ve posted it below in its entirety, along with some follow-up replies she made to comments she received…

Continue reading →

Thinking Outside the Schooling Box?

I am becoming more and more uncomfortable with the whole concept of “school” and “education”, seeing both as formalized and standardized bureaucratic mechanisms that awkwardly attempt to both facilitate and direct human development. I think that is at the heart of the issue and my discomfort, because facilitating people and directing people are two very different approaches to human social interaction, often incompatible with each other.

A recent piece I read in Education Week, “Superintendents Push Dramatic Changes for Conn. Schools”, highlighted my discomfort with this discordant duality. From the intro to the piece…

The Connecticut classroom of the future may not be limited by a traditional school year, the four walls of a classroom, or even the standard progression of grades, based on a proposed package of unusually bold changes that are being advanced by the state’s school superintendents. Instead, the current system would be replaced by a “learner-centered” education program that would begin at age 3; offer parents a menu of options, including charter schools and magnet schools; and provide assessments when an individual child is ready to be tested, rather than having all children tested in a class at the same time.

As a broken-record advocate for “many educational paths” this all sounds very good to me. Build an entire infrastructure of different and differentiated learning venues, which in some cases is a school, in other cases perhaps a library, in other cases a “real world” venue like a work place or community center, and even a kids’ home. Leverage the Internet as well to link all these together, students with teachers (only when teachers are needed by the learners) or create new virtual venues beyond all the brick and mortar ones.

Continue reading →

Under-Imagined and Over-Taught?

We seem to have become a culture obsessed with programming our kids for success through instruction rather than acknowledging that real learning is mostly about exploration and discovery which includes a lot of the dreaded “F” word… failure. The juxtaposition of two items in the news this week, along with the reappearance of a J.K. Rowlings speech from 2008, speak to this obsession and good reasons to overcome it in favor of a more imaginative learner-driven paradigm for learning, to achieve the right dynamic between imagination and instruction in the human developmental process.

The first news item is recently published research looking at the earliest periods of human development, showing that instruction limits the imagination applied to play and learning among young children.

Continue reading →