I continue to podcast chapters of my autobiographical novel based on my odyssey backpacking through Western Europe in 1973 at age 18. There appear to be at least a handful of people who are listening to all or some of the episodes, and occasionally I get at least a bit of feedback. Even one or two positive comments are very helpful feedback that I’m on the right track with this.
This is another chapter in my series of looks back at my own development and how I learned most of the skills that are critical to my life today outside of any school or other formal education environment. Based on the sum total of this reassessment, I have become a strong advocate for informal learning, what 1970s radical educator John Holt coined as “unschooling”.
Wikipedia defines “unschooling” as 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.
Though the scope of the definition applies the term to learning by young people, I think it is applicable for lifelong learning as well. And this essay is about my own lifelong learning over five decades, mostly outside of any formal education setting, developing the skills and inclination I currently have as a writer.