You may have heard about home schooling, where parents opt to teach their children outside the mainstream education system. Now a new educational movement is growing across the world - unschooling. And what makes this different is that the children have no formal education and are trusted by their parents to teach themselves what they need to know.
Here's a report from ABC News in America explaining how it all works:
It's estimated that in the US, around 10-20% of children who are being home schooled, are actually being unschooled. Supporters say that this is an organic style of parenting, responding to the needs of children where appropriate. There are no rules. The children choose what they want to do - and that includes staying up all night. I guess since they don't need to get up for school in the morning, an early bedtime is less important.
As a parent I am unconvinced by this. Children positively benefit from boundaries, and can become anxious if they have too many choices. If a child's education is self-directed, how will they ever find out about new things that are beyond their current experience?
Also, the benefits of schooling go far beyond the stuff that is taught in the classroom. Children learn valuable social skills from mixing with their peer group that they simply wouldn't get at home by themselves.
What do you think of unschooling? Can you see why these parents think it's a good idea? Would you ever try it? Leave a comment and have your say
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