Question: Would it be helpful to have a learning partner to plan your nontraditional learning adventures as unschoolers, homeschoolers, DIY etc? If so do you think it is a job that is worth paying for.
As Teachers working inside or outside the system, Would you join a network of other teachers to help create learning plans for non-traditional students or students who are wanting to do passion/project based work outside the class. In both an online capacity and a face to face role? How much would you want to be paid?
I’m envision a cooperative of teachers, mentors, parents, students and/or facilitators who would help students, families, or small groups follow their passions outside of the normal school system or to extend the current school system.
They would help find resources, create individual learning plans, make connections, provide guidance, build relationships and provide an short term or long term partnership with a student or a family. It would be a job and would provide teachers and nontraditional teachers a way to work with students without working in a school day to day.
Love your input!
Thanks in Advance.
-Adventures in Learning
10 months ago, I quit school to get a Real Life and Education.
In School, I….
- was constantly stressed.
- didn’t have to time to relax or be with my family.
- was told I was stupid by teachers and their grades.
- wasn’t really learning.
Now, I …
- am happy and helathy.
- have control over my time.
- know I’m smart.
- feel good about myself.
- am learning, living, and loving it!!!
I OCCUPY EDUCATION!
I Occupy Education… by HOME EDUCATING! Our kids are kept out of a conventional classroom, where their natural boyish traits are too often pathologized. We provide out BOYS with an environment that is safe, FREE and VALIDATING so that they can DO and LEARN they way nature intended - CONFIDENT to TRY (and fail) ANYTHING again and again…..
Yay Yay Yay!!! Exactly!! thanks for completely validating my son and I. YEAH!!!!!
Chuckie: Are we gonna have a problem here?
Clark: No, no, no, no! There’s no problem here. I was just hoping you might give me some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the southern colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War, the economic modalities, especially in the southern colonies, could be most aptly described as agrarian pre-capitalist.
Will: Of course that’s your contention. You’re a first-year grad student; you just got finished reading some Marxian historian, Pete Garrison probably. You’re gonna be convinced of that ‘till next month when you get to James Lemon. Then you’re going to be talking about how the economies of Virginia and Pennsylvania were entrepreneurial and capitalist way back in 1740. That’s gonna last until next year; you’re gonna be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood, talkin’ about, you know, the pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization.
Clark: Well, as a matter of fact, I won’t, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social…
Will: “Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth”? You got that from Vickers’ Work in Essex County, page 98, right? Yeah, I read that too. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us? Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter? Or do you, is that your thing, you come into a bar, read some obscure passage and then pretend - you pawn it off as your own, as your own idea just to impress some girls, embarrass my friend?
Will: See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a fuckin’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!
Clark: Yeah, but I will have a degree. And you’ll be servin’ my kids fries at a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip.
Will: That may be, but at least I won’t be unoriginal. But I mean, if you have a problem with that, I mean, we could just step outside - we could figure it out.
Clark: No, man, there’s no problem. It’s cool.
Educate. Latin: educere—draw (or lead) out.
I am a mother of unschooled kids, offering alternatives—now!
• live in the world
• follow your bliss
• learn from friends of all ages
• play your strengths
• love your family and friends
With my family, I OCCUPY EDUCATION!
This video of Dan Pink’s Ted talk never gets old and now it inspired NPR to try something new: A day to let managers step away and developers play » Nieman Journalism Lab)
I have been thinking a lot about how this would work in elementary schools…I know unschoolers and free schoolers have been doing it for years…but I not sold that they figured it out completely… Like it is noted in the NPR piece…their is something that happens when there is a little bit of structure and also a group working together… how to make it unconditional while also providing a framework that helps children uses their idea to move to something bigger…. still pondering….
either way it becoming part of my frame work for my future school… just finding the least about of structure for the maximum amount of learning and freedom.
Patrick Farenga worked closely with the author and teacher John Holt until Holt’s death in 1985. He is the President of Holt Associates Inc. and was the Publisher of Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until it stopped publishing in Nov. 2001. GWS was the nation’s first periodical about homeschooling, started by Holt in 1977.
David Loitz invited me to write for the Catalyst a “pragmatic suggestion on how to encourage parents/teachers to use some of the wisdom of unschooling to help subvert the traditional mindset of a lot of schools.”
First, to both parents and teachers, I advise you to focus on childrens’ strengths rather than their weaknesses. We spend too much time worrying about what our children and students don’t know and not enough time figuring out how to engage them with what interests them in their lives and then build upon their existing curiosity.
The reality of learning is that the learner must want to learn, and no amount of requirements and expectations can create this interest. Requirements and expectations can create fear and compliance, but the chances of them creating learning that is remembered and used once the class ends depends totally upon the learner and how they perceive their learning experience. Illich defined education as “learning under the assumption of scarcity,” but, as anyone watching an infant or a preschool-age child can see, learning is abundant. This is why education is not the same as learning.
Questions from young children abound; in fact, many people complain about kids asking too many questions. Encourage children to ask questions and talk with you, make them active participants in their search for answers rather than passive recipients of your knowledge. In short, work with children and not on them.
I also suggest that parents and teachers consider that learning is not the result of teaching, but the result of the activities of learners. Unschooling is not antithetical to asked-for teaching at all; but education appears to be antithetical to free will.
However, most of you who read this blog probably work in schools and must make children learn what the curriculum says they need to know in any week. Here are some ideas you might want to try to help you create bonds of trust and human connection with students so they may ask for your help and teaching.
- Grade as little and as lightly as possible. Focus more on providing feedback about their work rather than evaluation. Emphasize how important the process of learning is to your students, and show it by your demonstrated concern for the process and not the test.
- Involve yourself in activities you enjoy doing with children outside of school. This way you can appreciate the other strengths and ways of learning that children cannot display easily in class. Indeed, once you connect with a child this way they may open up to you and reveal a great many other hobbies, interests, and concerns they have that, for any number of reasons, they shield from others in their lives.
- Publicize the unusual or non-curricular activities that you do with children in and out of school. This is not just self-promotion—it is a school survival skill for non-conformists. John Gatto told me that the reason he wrote his essays that earned him his teacher-of-the-year awards was so his school couldn’t fire him easily. He knew the things he wrote about were important and inspiring to others, but he also knew that he was rocking the school boat by helping one of his students learn to draw comics (by providing the student with “cover” so he could go to the NY Public Library during school hours to read and draw), and another to make and sell homemade sweaters during school, and so on. These are treasonable offenses to school officials but, because John covered himself with awards and publications, he could withstand the attacks (and they were attacks—just ask John about his school’s efforts to fire him and you’ll be amazed at the lengths people will go to quell new efforts and ideas). Don’t overlook outside activities, awards, and publications to build support for your unconventional work in school. They may also help you attract others who share your passion for helping others learn in ways school doesn’t permit.
None of this easy, I know. John Holt got fired from some of his teaching positions because many teachers and parents felt his students were having too much fun, even though he could prove his students’ grades improved in his classes. Ironically, as Holt notes in Instead of Education, while some of his fellow teachers complained how their students wanted their classes to be more like Holt’s, it was ultimately the parents who demanded that Holt stop making his classes so engaging and be “more like school.”
It isn’t educational techniques that will ultimately help children learn, but rather sincere relationships with other people. As my friend Aaron Falbel said in an interview several years ago, “Indeed, it is a great joy and privilege to help someone do something that he or she wants to do, if you are asked to help. It’s when that help or teaching is not wanted that the ambiguities and unequal aspects of our relationships come into play … We don’t leave young people in a vacuum; rather, we put within their reach those activities, those ways of life that we believe in ourselves, and then we wait for them to take advantage of those opportunities. And mostly they will. Remember those babies, dying to get into everything. There are no guarantees, of course. When we try to guarantee an outcome, no matter how good our intention, that’s when we get into trouble.
As my friend John Holt knew so well, and exemplified so well in his life, it all boils down to trust. That he (and Illich) believed in: trust, not education.”
Posted by johntspencer
Christy and I are hanging out with Julia when Joel asks, “Could this grape turn into a raisin?” Joel asks. I could send him to Google. I could show him a YouTube clip, perhaps. However, I want him to see for himself.
“What’s your hypothesis?”
“I think it could turn into a raisin,” he says.
“Any other possibilities?” Julia asks.
“It could turn moldy.”
“What are some of the variables that can affect it?” she asks.
“How hot it is,” he says.
“Or how much moisture is in the air,” she explains.
We’ll see how it turns out. It’s an impromptu science lesson in our backyard.
Click through to read the full post. This is a great example of the simple way we can all bring Unschooling into our lives. It more of a philosophy of life than a curriculum or a lesson plan… it about helping each other play with the wonder of the world, not to be tested or graded, but to find more ways to enjoy and live life! The discussion also adds a rich selection of comments on Unschooling!
A great resource for people interested in alternatives to the traditional transmission model of school including unschooling, free schools, holistic education, human Scale education, progressive education, Waldorf and Montessori.
also of note (Issac Graves the co-director unschooled himself for years… is currently 23 years old, and I would consider him on of the leaders of the education transformation revolution)
How far can unschooling get you? After you learn your life experiences, do you go to college, can you go to college, do you want to go to college? How can a career develop from this, if you want one? When you research what you want do you feel the need to look into the basics of math, science and history? When you say life is your classroom, are you just waking up, sleeping going out and learning from that ooooor are you going out LOOKING got adventures and such to learn from. I’m not going to lie this sounds skeptical to me for some reason. But I’m really curious….
I would check out his/her blog… but also unschoolers learn math, and science…they learn history and art…they just do it in a more meaningful way than reading it from a textbook (though maybe they use a textbook), some learn it when they need it, others do intense passion driven work to learn everything one can learn about math….Math for example as been shown to stick better,if you learn it all at once and not fragment it over 12-15 years. Unschooling is not unacademic…it just does not limit schooling to sitting in desks or having knowledge given to you by a “teacher”. A good friend of mine, unschooled himself, and at 23 has done more in his short time on earth than most adults…. He has not chosen to go to college, because he currently running AERO (http://www.educationrevolution.org/)…but in my research I have found that most if not all unschoolers have the same or in a lot of cases more options when they’re 18.
College is suppose to help you figure out what you want to “be”…. if you already know…you can just get on with it…. though college is often what they want to do…
Unschooling is not about religious indoctrination, or sheltering, but seeing the world as a classroom. Dewey famously said, Education is not preparation for life; but life itself. ….
So, what is unschooling, anyway?
I feel like several different explanations, all equally accurate, just from different angles, are in order:
Version #1: Unschooling (usually considered a type of homeschooling) is student directed learning, which means the child or teen learns whatever they want, whenever they want. Learning is entirely interest driven, not dictated or directed by an external curriculum, by teachers, or by parents. For an unschooler, life is their classroom.
Version #2: Unschooling requires a paradigm shift, one in which you must stop looking at the world as a series of occurrences/resources/experiences etc. that can be learned from, and a series that can’t. The world doesn’t divide neatly into different subjects, and you can’t tell right from the outset what a seemingly unimportant question, interest, or TV show obsession will lead to. I learn from: wandering, wondering, listening, reading, watching, discussing, running, writing, daydreaming, searching, researching, meditating, hibernating, playing, creating, growing, doing, helping, and everything else that comprises the day to day happenings of my life.
Version #3: Unschooling, at its heart, is nothing more complicated or simple than the realization that life and learning are not two separate things. And when you realize that living and learning are inseparable, it all starts to truly make sense.
What?? You can’t be serious. You’re ruining your life!
I most certainly can be serious, and I’m most certainly not ruining my life. As a 19 year old unschooler, I’m now generally considered “grown”, and I’m not only doing fine, but am also incredibly grateful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to grow and learn in freedom!
This is something I seem to see parents worrying about sooo often… Parents of four and five year olds (both in and out of school) wring their hands and tear their hair out over the fact their children can’t read. When I see this, I just shake my head, and feel bad for those poor kids!
There is such an industry built up around teaching kids how to read. So many programs, flash cards, DVD’s, computer programs… I can’t help but think that an awful lot of money must be wasted annually on something that really doesn’t need any “teaching” at all, something that children will learn simply by spending time with literate adults.
I suppose my own family bought into this at first, as well. When I was first pulled out of kindergarten (my only experience with traditional schooling), my mother bought a program called Sing, Spell, Read and Write, and, though my memories of that are pretty foggy, I know I did it for a while, and managed to sound out words, but never finished the program. I don’t remember ever being *forced* to do it (and my mothers memories match up with mine), no tears were ever shed over it, and it was simply forgotten about.
Now, I should point out at this point that my family is VERY big on reading. Bookshelves line every free wall in our house, filled with everything from sci-fi and fantasy novels, to cookbooks, to locomotive repair books, to encyclopedias, to natural health books, and a thousand other things. From the time I was tiny, the people around me, my parents, were regular readers. And from the time I was tiny, they read aloud to me. Poetry, the newspaper, picture books, you name it. Words were something I appreciated from a young age.
But I had no interest in reading myself for several years.
I don’t remember precisely what age I was when I started to read, although I do remember feeling embarrassed in Brownies when I couldn’t read. I also remember (or at least I think I remember-as I said before, a lot of these memories are rather cloudy) my mother calmly assuring some other mothers that I would read when I was ready to.
And, sure enough, she was right! When I was something like age eight or nine, my mother was reading the first Harry Potter book aloud to my sister and I. But, well, she had things to do other than read, and if she read too long, her voice would get hoarse. So, being quite frustrated at how slow a process this was, and really wanting to know what happened next, I picked it up and began to read.
I haven’t looked back since!