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    Joined: Mar 2014
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    LRS Offline
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    This thread has been veru interesting, and I've gone off and read some of the links and everything. We have been kindof unschooling for a few months, and it has been nice, but I have doubts about the whole believing thing HK points to. The John Holt extreme way. We have one kid in the neighborgood being raised that way, with no bedtime or anything "imposed" on her. Truth be told she's a precocious sweet child but... I am certainly not handing the reins over to my kid. The post on mothering about regrets was interesting.

    Anyway, I guess I should call what we do relaxed homeschooling. Because also, I make my kid go to supplementary classes on weekends and stuff. And my husband and I have agreed that math needs to be learned more methodically.

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    Originally Posted by LRS
    We have one kid in the neighborgood being raised that way, with no bedtime or anything "imposed" on her. Truth be told she's a precocious sweet child but... I am certainly not handing the reins over to my kid. The post on mothering about regrets was interesting.

    That's not unschooling, that's permissive parenting.

    That doesn't usually end well, either, for much the same reasons.

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    Originally Posted by Zen Scanner
    It seems there is a straw man leg of this thread arguing against a radical free-range osmotic thing and by proxy dismissing the whole principle of child-led learning.
    This comment has totally thrown me for a loop. I cannot fathom what you are referring to here. There's nothing in this thread that fits your description. Could you please explain what you mean.

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    It's been a while but IIRC, what I've read by Holt and others basically point to unschooling being the opposite of typical school i.e. rote learning style activities, top down presentation, children having little say in the matter, lack of opportunities for self discovery etc.

    Well.... that may have been "the opposite" in Holt's day back in the late 1960's to mid 1970's, but really, anyone that still thinks those things probably hasn't been in a classroom lately, because there has been a push for "student-led inquiry" over the past decade that has virtually eliminated top-down instruction. I must say that I think that has mostly been a disaster, since most children are not good autodidacts, but anyway. LOL. Truthfully, the apocolyptic visions of how classrooms are wastelands for learning haven't really been true in the way that Holt and his like-minded peers maintain for, ohhhhh, about thirty years now. Oh, there are problems. Certainly-- we spend lots of time discussing them here. But schools do NOT deserve the demonization delivered by some unschooling proponents, any more than Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall or Monty Python skits adequately represent the British educational experience these days.

    John Holt's philosophy is pretty extreme.

    Examples:

    ... the human animal is a learning animal; we like to learn; we are good at it; we don't need to be shown how or made to do it. What kills the processes are the people interfering with it or trying to regulate it or control it.


    I don’t see homeschooling as some kind of answer to badness of schools. I think that the home is the proper base for the exploration of the world which we call learning or education. Home would be the best base no matter how good the schools were...


    For more of this kind of gem, please see the interview with Holt himself:

    http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/marlene_bumgarner.html


    If you glance down the article list at Natural Child's Learning Topics, most follow one of three main ideas:

    a) unschooling may not look like it's working, and that's when you need to have more faith in the process, b) learning disabilities don't exist until Schools incorrectly force labels on children, and/or c) schools are The Epitome of Evil.

    I strongly recommend a look at those articles-- they really give one a sense of what the radical unschooling community is about, underneath the positive spin about motivation.


    Holt maintained that ALL children learn best away from adult direction of learning activities, ultimately, and subscribed to the notion that "natural" learning was superior to "artificial" learning in every way. NO skills did Holt regard as "essential" education. That's right-- nothing was important enough to make sure that kids learn it unless they choose to do so themselves.

    I'll also add that I have very little respect for Holt and Hull's work as social scientists-- because it was essentially an extended self-congratulatory exercise in anecdata and ultimately became the basis of Holt's evolution as an ideologue. He did NOT want counterexamples to interfere with his pet theory. A look through the Growing Without Schooling archives (or at Patrick Farenga's reconstituted materials) demonstrates ample devotion to that pet hypothesis, as do the links I posted above. I don't say that it's necessarily incorrect with respect to motivation and learning efficacy (though my personal opinion is that it likely is on a statistical basis)-- merely that it is entirely untested, unsupported by anything but anecdote, and therefore should not be such a broad assumption, but open for debate. IS it detrimental to say to a child "No, I know that you disagree with me, but you should spend some of your time and energy right now learning _______"?

    He was a tireless school reformer, which is probably to his enormous credit. He was also a child-rights activist, and an extreme one, even by the standards of most of the parents on this site. (NO voting age? NO employment age?) That latter quality ties in to Holt's firm belief that no adult has the "right" to interfere with a child's self-selected, self-determined educational arc.


    Illich and Gatto are similarly radical in their philosophy about education and pedagogy, by the way. It's not that they don't all make some excellent points about the WAYS in which schools can be harmful to children... but I disagree with the idea that schooling MUST be harmful to children, simply by virtue of the mechanism of adult guidance and evaluation of the process of learning.

    I say that as someone who began homeschooling fully embracing much of Gatto's work, by the way.



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