Monday, November 09, 2009

Unschooling is for parents too

Cedar Basket"... we are currently on the fence about sending our child to public school in a very small rural town or homeschooling ... One of my biggest concerns is wondering if I have the ability to teach my children. I don't feel like I remember/know everything and also don't know how to teach."

If the teaching/learning equation were really about the teacher knowing it all and passing her knowledge on effectively to the student then clearly the public school system failed you (since you don't remember everything!) -- and why the heck would you entrust your child to the very system that failed you?

But really, I think that's a rather misguided educational paradigm. Children are not empty vessels into which 'experts' pour their knowledge according to some pre-ordained system or method. Children are people, and incredibly capable learners at that! Given a reasonably nurturing environment and a bit of freedom they create, they invent, they question, they respond, they engage, they explore, they infer, they grow, they learn. They don't need you to know everything and dispense it to them according to a time-tested system. They will show you or tell you what they need. Because you as their parent are in love with them, you will listen to their needs. And because you are a human being too, you will do your own exploring, creating, learning and growing in order to give them what they are asking for.


(who can now ice-skate [backwards!], understand a fair bit of Japanese, weave cedar baskets, conjugate Latin verbs and dye wool thanks to the impetus her children have provided her with)


  1. Nicely said, Miranda.

    Basket weaving - very cool!

  2. Do you mind if I print this and put it up on my bulletin board? lol

  3. That's an interesting thought. I guess my list would include rock climbing, gardening, jewelry making, poetry writing, sign language, and an understanding of human anatomy. It's amazing to think that if it hadn't been for my daughter's near-obsessive interest in caves, I'd never have met the man who became my husband, or any of a number of now-treasured friends.

    And we're not even (really) homeschoolers!

  4. This is one of the glorious things about unschooling. It not only gives parents permission to follow their bliss, it practically requires it since teaching your children to follow their bliss is best done (like most behaviours) by example.


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