April’s Awesomeness!

Hey people who actually read this blog, this month is quite interesting! In this marvelous month of April, there’s not many changes from last month. But, Thursdays, the students will be choosing whether to go to The Temple on 2300 McKinney st., or to stay and hang out at the building, on a week to week basis. Keep up with what’s going on on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/therealschoolhoustontexas/ . As for what’s happening this month, here are some details (Not much different from last month really):

 Open House

Open house for visitors, Wednesday, April 9th, 11am to 1pm. Please call or email if you wish to attend: unschool@therealschoolhouston. org, 713-523-0066. Hope to see you there!

Game Night Fundraiser!!

This monthly event will be happening on Saturday April 19 from 6-10 pm. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their favorite games, whether table top, card game s or video games. More specific information can be found out by calling our school phone. All ages, small donation($5-10) requested, and there is always some great food available as well as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes soda. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks! It is always a fun time filled with lots of laughter and different types of games! Donations help us maintain our building and do more fun activities!

All Ages Karaoke

Join us on the first Saturday of the month for some laid back Youtube Karaoke! You can perform any song you want and we have all the equipment needed! Snacks and beverages welcome! Small donations encouraged! This will be happening on April 5th from 6-10pm.

Writer’s Group

Evening writer’s group will be going on every other Thursday, on April 10 and 24 from 6 to 8:30pm. We hope you will join us and give a small donation. It is a fun, accepting, and relaxed group!! Invite your friends, too! This is an all ages meet-up!

Archery Classes

Join us at 19407 Park Row, Katy, for some all ages archery classes. In these classes, we will be taught how to properly hold and use a longbow. These classes cost $10 to join and we also suggest wearing clothing you can move in. We hope to see you in the classes on April 1, 15, and 29 from 2-3 (Although it takes about 45 minutes to get there from the building, so you should probably leave early or you’d miss the class)

Acting Classes

Ohohohoho! Acting classes! In these classes, we aim to be able to perform a play confidently in front of our friends and peers. The play has yet to be decided, but it will definitely be worth watching when it’s performed. So come and join us in the acting classes or watch the play when it’s performed, maybe even both! These classes will be happening weekly on Wednesdays from 11-1:30

Serving with Food Not Bombs Houston

This month, every other Wednesday, in the evenings, we will be helping the other volunteers serve food. We are joining a local group that serves home cooked meals to hungry people downtown 4 days a week. We want to practice cooking healthy meals and to support others in our community. We will be serving on April 9th and 23rd from 8-9. Please feel free to join us to either serve the food you make or help others serve theirs.

Please check our calendar or contact us by phone if you are looking for more events! Our building is also available to host events for a small fee. We can be contacted at 713-523-0066. All events that take place at our building will be at: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004. We can also be reached by email at:unschool@therealschoolhouston.org

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Photos from some of our field trips last month

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March Mayhem?

Mayhem in March? We’ll see how it turns out….

This month, our organization has decided to merge with Solidarity Houston. With this merging we hope to create a space that shares resources and ideas to the mutual benefit of multiple groups with similar goals. In other words, we hope to bring more diversity to our cooperative. On another note, we will continue on a Tuesday through Thursday, 10-4, schedule, with Thursdays at The Temple at 2300 McKinney st. Houston TX., 77003.  We also plan to partake in more outings. As for what’s going on, here are some details:

Music Classes

These classes are filled with a variety of instruments and a variety of people. Our musical teacher plans to continue to teach us how to read music and play it. We plan to learn many songs over the course of the month.  These classes take place at 2300 McKinney st. Houston TX., 77003 on Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30. So come on over to learn music or just to jam with us!

Cooking for Food Not Bombs Houston

This month we are joining a local group that serves home cooked meals to hungry people downtown 4 days a week. We want to practice cooking healthy meals and to support others in our community. We will be cooking every other Wednesday at 2:00 pm, the 12 and the 26, and food serving occurs downtown at 521 Lamar St. at 8:00pmIf you want to join us or donate dry goods or vegetables, please get in touch! More information on FNB here:  http://houstonfoodnotbombs.org/fnb-gallery/

Game Night Fundraiser!!

This monthly event will be happening on Saturday March 15 from 6-10 pm. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their favorite games, whether table top, card games or video games. More specific information can be found out by calling our school phone. All ages, small donation($5-10) requested, and there is always some great food available as well as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes soda. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks! It is always a fun time filled with lots of laughter and different types of games! Donations help us maintain our building and do more fun activities!

All Ages Karaoke

Join us on the first Saturday of the month for some laid back Youtube Karaoke! You can perform any song you want and we have all the equipment needed! Snacks and beverages welcome! Small donations encouraged! This will be happening on March 1st from 6-10pm.

Writer’s Group

Evening writer’s group will continue at 6-8:00 PM every other Thursday! We hope you will join us and give a small donation on Thursday March 13th and 27th It is a fun, accepting, and relaxed group!! Invite your friends, too! This is an all ages meet-up!

Archery Classes

Join us at 19407 Park Row, Katy, for some all ages archery classes. In these classes, we will be taught how to properly hold and use a longbow. These classes cost $10 to join and we also suggest wearing clothing you can move in. We hope to see you in the classes.

Please check our calendar or contact us by phone if you are looking for more events! Our building is also available to host events for a small fee. We can be contacted at 713-523-0066. All events that take place at our building will be at: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004. We can also be reached by email at:unschool@therealschoolhouston.orgIMG_20140304_143628106IMG_20140304_135840635IMG_20140304_130607233

Photos from our first archery class and free pancake day.

December Announcements!

hukmarket

December 14th: HUK Craft Market at The Real School from 2-4pm. $1-5 donation suggested. Everyone is welcome! Please come support some crafty Unschooled kids!

Welcome to December!! We had a very busy month of November full of art, parties, reading, and our fair share of fresh air! We said goodbye to two of our founding members, Krenie Stowe and Issac Taylor, as they are continuing their Unschooling journey in Oregon and passing the torch to our younger generations. We plan to continue growing, changing, and learning together, and we sincerely hope you all will join us!! We will be closing a few days for the holidays this month but please keep in touch and come to the events we will have scheduled!

Game Night Fundraiser: Saturday the 14th, 6-10pm, following HUK craft Market!

We will have food and drinks available! Everyone is welcome to bring their favorite table top or video games, or join on to a game here. We regularly play Bananagrams, Werewolf, Apples to Apples, and various card games! $3-10 suggested donation. 

Like to sing?

Join us for karaoke every other Friday(Dec. 6th &20th) from 7-10pm. Small donation suggested. Bring your own drinks and snacks!

Do you knit or crochet?

So do we! We have all levels or knitters and crocheters here and we look forward to any chance to sit around together and get crafty! If you would like to come by and crochet or knit with us please contact us to schedule a day and time! 

Writers:

Specific workshops aimed at improving different areas of our writing will be happening this month. This is aimed at less experienced writers but more experienced writers are welcome to join! Tuesdays at 2:00pm.

Our Thursday Evening writing group has now been going for several months! We encourage people of all ages to bring their work to share, bring questions and/ or ideas and be ready to listen to and discuss with others! Happens every other Thursday this month at 5:30pm. $1-5 Donation Recommended.

Please check our calendar or get in touch with us for more events and information! We are constantly adding events!

All events will take place at the ACT building which houses The Real School: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004.

Contact us by email at: unschool@therealschoolhouston.org or with more immediate questions at: 713-523-0066

We hope to see you soon!

August Events! (Edited*)

Get ready for lots of fun and learning this August at The Real School!

Check out our Workshops, Craft Days, Game Nights and more!(descriptions below) 

Event Calendar:  

Workshops: We have started hosting regular workshops(or you could call them study and discussion groups) on a variety of subjects. They are all non-coercive, relaxed, and donation-based! Here is a list of the current workshops:

Writing Group: Thursday 5-8pm August 8th (we will be in Dallas on the 22nd this month)

All ages. Bring something to discuss (either a question or a piece of writing)!

Spanish: Monday 11-1pm on August 5,12, 19

Beginners welcome. All ages. Will work on grammar, vocabulary, speaking, reading, etc.

Science: Monday 1-3pm on August 12, 19

Do some simple science experiments with us!

Knitting/Crochet:

We will have beginners Knitting and Crochet classes this month. Facilitated by Abbie!

Knitting: Monday the 5th and Tuesday the 13th at 5:30pm

Crochet: Tuesday the 6th and the 20th at 5:30pm

Arts and Crafts Days: Friday the 9th, 11am-3pm; Wednesday the 14th and 28th from 1pm-4pm and Craft Night on Saturday the 17th from 7pm to 10pm

Come with your arts, crafts or instruments or join in on our planned art activity!

Baking: Tuesday the 13th at 1pm with Marie (and more dates TBD)

Beginner’s baking classes are open to everyone!

Note: Math days are currently canceled but we hope to resume in the future!  Also, we are currently working on scheduling Beginner Yoga classes!

SPECIAL EVENTS!!!

Karaoke Nights: Friday August 9th and 26th from 7-11pm 

All ages Karaoke fun with snacks and drinks provided. $5-10 Donation greatly appreciated.

August’s Game Night FUNdraiser! Saturday the 10th 6-10pm 

This has been a lot of fun in the past 3 months and we are happy to host it again! Come for  tasty food, beverages, video and table top games, and more mischief! Bring your favorite games if you wish! Bring drinks or snacks if you want! All ages! $5-10 donation.

Community Potluck for Unschoolers and Allies of Community Education: 

Wednesday August 28, 6-9pm

Join Real Schoolers for a monthly(veg-friendly) Open Potluck to socialize and discuss Un-schooling/Alternative Education models, and work on growing a Community Education project! This is open to our friends, allies, and anyone interested in our project or learning about Un-schooling, Adultism, or related philosophies. Come hang out, discuss, learn and grow with us! All ages of people are welcome! Please bring something to share if possible and donations to TRS are always appreciated!

August’s Open Dialogue:  The Problem With School *

Join us this month on SUNDAY the 18th from 1-4 pm (date was changed due to scheduling issues, sorry!)

We will be discussing the issues surrounding schools and authoritarian learning structures. Possible questions to address could be:  the history of compulsory schooling, the criminalization of children, how schools interfere with real learning, the need for critical thought, the rising police presence and surveillance of kids, the myth of dumbness, corporations and schools(meds, advertising,etc),  and the idea of learning vs schooling. We seek not only to show how unschooling can work but how schooling does not work and is detrimental to young people! General questions on Unschooling and The Real School are also welcome for discussion! Hope to see you there! Donations always appreciated!

For some reading on this topic we suggest The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto:  http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm

(Note: more events may be added and/or dates or times changed, so keep checking back!)

All events are at the ACT building at 2805 Wichita St. and are sliding scale donation based(almost free!).  People of all ages are always welcome as long as they respect others and respect our space(see handbook if you need further clarification).

Hope to see you there!!!!

– The Real School AKA Dragon Valley

P.S. Here is our most recent picture of a delicious learning experience! Baking is great for math and teamwork lessons!

Baking Banana Bread!!

Baking Banana Bread!!

JULY EVENTS!!: Workshops, Art, Karaoke, Soccer, Games, Cooking and Potluck!

Welcome to July!!! We have lots of great events planned for this month!

Workshops: We have started hosting regular workshops(or you could call them study and discussion groups) on a variety of subjects. They are all non-coercive, relaxed, and donation-based! Here is a list of the current workshops:

Math: Wednesdays from 2pm -4pm : July 10, 17, 24, 31

with Jeff as the facilitator/ resident math teacher. All ages and levels welcome!

Writing Group: Thursday 5-8pm July 11 and 25 (bi-weekly)

All ages. Bring something to discuss (either a question or a piece of writing)! 

Spanish: Monday 11-1pm July 8,15,22, and 29 and Thursday 6-8pm July 4 and 18

Beginners welcome. All ages. Will work on grammar, vocabulary, speaking, reading, etc.

Note: We are working towards creating science, art, and cooking workshops on a  regular basis as well; check out our calendar for our art, science, and cooking events this month. 

SPECIAL EVENTS!!!

Karaoke Nights: Friday July 12 and 26 from 7-11pm 

All ages Karaoke fun with snacks and drinks provided. $5-10 Donation greatly appreciated. 

 

July’s Game Night FUNdraiser! Saturday the 13th 6-10pm 

This has been a lot of fun in the past 3 months and we are happy to host it again! Come for  tasty food, beverages, video and table top games, and more mischief! Bring your favorite games if you wish! Bring drinks or snacks if you want! All ages! $5-10 donation. 

Futbol/Soccer Games: Monday the 15th(more dates TBA) @6pm 

Come play some non competitive soccer with real schoolers and our friends!!! 

Gaming Meet-up: Tuesday, July 23 @ 1pm-6pm

If you like games, come on by! We’ll bring some snacks and play until dinner time! Video games and table top games welcome!! Small donation appreciated. 

 

Open Dialogue: Coercion, Punishment, Corporal Punishment and Child Abuse

(pt. 2) on Saturday, July 20th from 1-3 pm 

We will continue our discussion from last month on the issues of structural violence against children and creating healthier communities and families. Please come to join our discussion and add your voice on ways to intervene against abuse. Kids always welcome!!!

Description: “Members of The Real School Houston will be discussing the issues around corporal punishment, punishment of children and child abuse/domestic violence in regards to fighting the oppression of young people and the large scale issues of systematic and interpersonal violence which plague our society. We will also be discussing strategies for intervening in situations where violence or other abuse is present for the safety of children in our community. The discussion will focus around oppression of children and the damage that these systems cause to us on a societal wide level. We seek to provide a radical analysis of these issues and provide strategies for a community based resistance to violence, abuse and oppression.”

Donations strongly encouraged. 

Community Potluck for Unschoolers and Allies of Community Education: 

Wednesday July 31, 6-9pm 

Join Real Schoolers for a monthly(veg-friendly) Open Potluck to socialize and discuss Un-schooling/Alternative Education models, and work on growing a Community Education project! This is open to our friends, allies, and anyone interested in our project or learning about Un-schooling, Adultism, or related philosophies. Come hang out, discuss, learn and grow with us! All ages of people are welcome! Please bring something to share if possible and donations to TRS are always appreciated!

Calendar: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=mtudi6kdp2u970p9flrqqg2gv0%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America%2FChicago

(Note: more events may be added and/or dates or times changed, so keep checking back!)

All events are at the ACT building at 2805 Wichita St. and are sliding scale donation based(almost free!).  People of all ages are always welcome as long as they respect others and respect our space(see handbook if you need further clarification). 

Hope to see you there!!!!

– The Real School AKA Dragon Valley

 

 

Upcoming Events: Un-Graduation party, Open Dialogue, Community Potlucks and More!!!

Un-Graduation Party:

Join members of The Real School / Dragon Valley for our very first…Un-Graduation Party!

Isaac, Chandler, Justin and Jared are beginning new chapters in their lives. 

Come and celebrate with us on: 
Saturday June 15th, 2013, 6:00PM until…
2805 Wichita, Houston 77004 PH#713-523-0066

Snacks and beverages will be provided. Feel free to bring an instrument to play.
All ages welcome!
Gifts to The Real School are welcome but not required.
We hope to see many of you there!!!

June Open Dialogue Topic: Corporal punishment, punishing children, abuse, and intervening against violence. 

**Join us Saturday June 22nd at 4pm

at East Side Social Center, 4202 Canal St. Houston, TX

Members of The Real School Houston will be joining with members of East Side Social Center and discussing the issues around corporal punishment, punishment of children and child abuse/domestic violence in regards to fighting the oppression of young people and the large scale issues of systematic and interpersonal violence which plague our society. We will also be discussing strategies for intervening in situations where violence or other abuse is present for the safety of children in our community. The discussion will focus around oppression of children and the damage that these systems cause to us on a societal wide level. We seek to provide a radical analysis of these issues and provide strategies for a community based resistance to violence, abuse and oppression.

Donations to The Real School and/or East Side Social Center are strongly encouraged!! All ages welcome!

Contact: Marie at 713-523-0066
eastsidesocialcenter.com

Community Potluck for Un-Schoolers and Allies of Alternative Education:

Weds, June 26th at 6:30 pm

Join Real Schoolers for a monthly(veg-friendly) Open Potluck to socialize and discuss Un-schooling/Alternative Education models, and work on growing a Community Education project! This is open to our friends, allies, and anyone interested in our project or learning about Un-schooling, Adultism, or related philosophies. Come hang out, discuss, learn and grow with us! All ages of people are welcome! Please bring something to share if possible and donations to TRS are always appreciated!

At 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004

 H.E.A.L. Workshop:

Redefining Parenting: Arguments Against Punishment, Coercion and Rewards

Sunday June 30th 1-3 PM, 2805 Wichita, Houston 77004 with Dr. Krenie Stowe

More Events in June: 

See our calendar for workshops including: Math Thursdays, Monday Morning Spanish, Writing Workshops, Crafts, Ice cream,etc.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1V8qy-3PpIAxXu2cykquWNAtheFACSqPyVayrkaIjoKM/edit?usp=sharing

Open Dialog- Sunday, December 16th

Join members of The Real School Unschooling Co-op for our next Open Dialog on Education
Sunday December 16th, 2pm
2805 Wichita, Houston, 77004.
Open Dialogs are an opportunity to learn about our co-op, to discuss philosophies of unschooling and to debate other educational paradigms.Going forward, we will continue to have Dialogs monthly on the 3rd weekend of the month. We will alternate Saturdays and Sundays.

This month’s focus will be:

freedom v. license

I hope to see many of you on Sunday. Feel free to email with questions. There is no fee for Open Dialogs, although donations are much appreciated. All ages are welcome. Those with and without children are encouraged to attend. In the eyes of The Real School, we are all students.

Open Dialog – Saturday, November 17th


We welcome you to join members of The Real School Unschooling Co-op for our next Open Dialog on Education on Saturday 11/17, 2pm located at 2805 Wichita, Houston, 77004

Open Dialogs are an opportunity to learn about our co-op, discuss philosophies of unschooling, and to debate other educational paradigms. Going forward, we intend to have Dialogs monthly on the 3rd weekend of the month. We will alternate Saturday and Sunday, so December’s Dialog will be the 3rd Sunday. All ages welcome.

As we move forward, we will offer Dialogs focusing on such topics as:

  • ‘adultism’
  • creating/sustaining a de-institutionalized space
  • race, gender, class and unschooling
  • freedom vs. license
  • how can we have economically sustainable cooperative learning spaces?

What is Unschooling?

What is Unschooling?
by Earl Stevens

It is very satisfying for parents to see their children in pursuit of knowledge. It is natural and healthy for the children, and in the first few years of life, the pursuit goes on during every waking hour. But after a few short years, most kids go to school. The schools also want to see children in pursuit of knowledge, but the schools want them to pursue mainly the school’s knowledge and devote twelve years of life to doing so.

In his acceptance speech for the New York City Teacher of the Year award (1990), John Gatto said, “Schools were designed by Horace Mann … and others to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population.” In the interests of managing each generation of children, the public school curriculum has become a hopelessly flawed attempt to define education and to find a way of delivering that definition to vast numbers of children.

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”  – George Bernard Shaw

The traditional curriculum is based on the assumption that children must be pursued by knowledge because they will never pursue it themselves. It was no doubt noticed that, when given a choice, most children prefer not to do school work. Since, in a school, knowledge is defined as schoolwork, it is easy for educators to conclude that children don’t like to acquire knowledge. Thus schooling came to be a method of controlling children and forcing them to do whatever educators decided was beneficial for them. Most children don’t like textbooks, workbooks, quizzes, rote memorization, subject schedules, and lengthy periods of physical inactivity. One can discover this – even with polite and cooperative children – by asking them if they would like to add more time to their daily schedule. I feel certain that most will decline the offer.

The work of a schoolteacher is not the same as that of a homeschooling parent. In most schools, a teacher is hired to deliver a ready-made, standardized, year-long curriculum to 25 or more age-segregated children who are confined in a building all day. The teacher must use a standard curriculum – not because it is the best approach for encouraging an individual child to learn the things that need to be known – but because it is a convenient way to handle and track large numbers of children. The school curriculum is understandable only in the context of bringing administrative order out of daily chaos, of giving direction to frustrated children and unpredictable teachers. It is a system that staggers ever onward but never upward, and every morning we read about the results in our newspapers. Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge.

But despite the differences between the school environment and the home, many parents begin homeschooling under the impression that it can be pursued only by following some variation of the traditional public school curriculum in the home. Preoccupied with the idea of “equivalent education”, state and local education officials assume that we must share their educational goals and that we homeschool simply because we don’t want our children to be inside their buildings. Textbook and curriculum publishing companies go to great lengths to assure us that we must buy their products if we expect our children to be properly educated. As if this were not enough, there are national, state, and local support organizations that have practically adopted the use of the traditional curriculum and the school-in-the-home image of homeschooling as a de facto membership requirement. In the midst of all this, it can be difficult for a new homeschooling family to think that an alternative approach is possible.

One alternative approach is “unschooling”, also known as “natural learning”, “experience-based learning”, or “independent learning”. Several weeks ago, when our homeschooling support group announced a gathering to discuss unschooling, we thought a dozen or so people might attend, but more than 100 adults and children showed up. For three hours, parents and some of the children took turns talking about their homeschooling experiences and about unschooling. Many people said afterward that they left the meeting feeling reinforced and exhilarated – not because anybody told them what to do or gave them a magic formula – but because they grew more secure in making these decisions for themselves. Sharing ideas about this topic left them feeling empowered.

Before I talk about what I think unschooling is, I must talk about what it isn’t. Unschooling isn’t a recipe, and therefore it can’t be explained in recipe terms. It is impossible to give unschooling directions for people to follow so that it can be tried for a week or so to see if it works. Unschooling isn’t a method, it is a way of looking at children and at life. It is based on trust that parents and children will find the paths that work best for them – without depending on educational institutions, publishing companies, or experts to tell them what to do.

Unschooling does not mean that parents can never teach anything to their children, or that children should learn about life entirely on their own without the help and guidance of their parents. Unschooling does not mean that parents give up active participation in the education and development of their children and simply hope that something good will happen. Finally, since many unschooling families have definite plans for college, unschooling does not even mean that children will never take a course in any kind of a school.

Then what is unschooling? I can’t speak for every person who uses the term, but I can talk about my own experiences. Our son has never had an academic lesson, has never been told to read or to learn mathematics, science, or history. Nobody has told him about phonics. He has never taken a test or been asked to study or memorize anything. When people ask, “What do you do?” My answer is that we follow our interests – and our interests inevitably lead to science, literature, history, mathematics, music – all the things that have interested people before anybody thought of them as “subjects”.

A large component of unschooling is grounded in doing real things, not because we hope they will be good for us, but because they are intrinsically fascinating. There is an energy that comes from this that you can’t buy with a curriculum. Children do real things all day long, and in a trusting and supportive home environment, “doing real things” invariably brings about healthy mental development and valuable knowledge. It is natural for children to read, write, play with numbers, learn about society, find out about the past, think, wonder and do all those things that society so unsuccessfully attempts to force upon them in the context of schooling.

While few of us get out of bed in the morning in the mood for a “learning experience”, I hope that all of us get up feeling in the mood for life. Children always do so – unless they are ill or life has been made overly stressful or confusing for them. Sometimes the problem for the parent is that it can be difficult to determine if anything important is actually going on. It is a little like watching a garden grow. No matter how closely we examine the garden, it is difficult to verify that anything is happening at that particular moment. But as the season progresses, we can see that much has happened, quietly and naturally. Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.

Parents come to our unschooling discussions with many questions about fulfilling state requirements. They ask: “How do unschoolers explain themselves to the state when they fill out the paperwork every year?”, “If you don’t use a curriculum, what do you say?” and “What about required record-keeping?” To my knowledge, unschoolers have had no problems with our state department of education over matters of this kind. This is a time when even many public school educators are moving away from the traditional curriculum, and are seeking alternatives to fragmented learning and drudgery.

When I fill out the paperwork required for homeschooling in our state, I briefly describe, in the space provided, what we are currently doing, and the general intent of what we plan to do for the coming year. I don’t include long lists of books or describe any of the step-by-step skills associated with a curriculum. For example, under English/Language Arts, I mentioned that our son’s favorite “subject” is the English language. I said a few words about our family library. I mentioned that our son reads a great deal and uses our computer for whatever writing he happens to do. I concluded that, “Since he already does so well on his own, we have decided not to introduce language skills as a subject to be studied. It seems to make more sense for us to leave him to his own continuing success.”

Unschooling is a unique opportunity for each family to do whatever makes sense for the growth and development of their children. If we have a reason for using a curriculum and traditional school materials, we are free to use them. They are not a universally necessary or required component of unschooling, either educationally or legally.

Allowing curriculums, textbooks, and tests to be the defining, driving force behind the education of a child is a hindrance in the home as much as in the school – not only because it interferes with learning, but because it interferes with trust. As I have mentioned, even educators are beginning to question the pre-planned, year-long curriculum as an out-dated, 19th century educational system. There is no reason that families should be less flexible and innovative than schools.

Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s mentor and friend, said:

I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less “showily”. Let him come and go freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself… Teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences.

Unschooling provides a unique opportunity to step away from systems and methods, and to develop independent ideas out of actual experiences, where the child is truly in pursuit of knowledge, not the other way around.