Articles, PSYCHOLOGY (Unschooling)

It is always refreshing to see a scientific study (admittedly based on some philosophical assumptions, in this case, humanistic ones, which are not ones I personally adhere to as a Christian) whose findings challenge the notion that conventional state curriculum-based and total teacher-controlled schooling is the best way for a child to learn. As the reader will have discovered in my book, I personally advocate a mixture of unschooling (up to the age of about 13) and curriculum-based education (after 13) based in a home learning environment and in cooperation with other homeschoolers. I acknowledge also that schooling should be a choice for parents if they believe that to be best. However, I am not only very sceptical of what I see in state schooling today but alarmed - conventional schooling is crushing the creativity and joy of learning in our little ones and doing little more than training them to be human assembly-line robots in factories.

Recently (December 2009) one of my homeschooled children began attending state school for a two days a month which is now (regrettably) required by law in Sweden so that the state can make more "assessments". Quite apart from the fact that I think that this form of assessment is invalid and a waste of time, my own daughter sums up her monthly experience with one word; BORING. She had other comments to make as well - the inefficiency of the system, the lack of discipline, the stifling of creativity and the total absence of joy she experienced for lack of the freedom to make independent inquiries herself - but what struck me the most was the negative psychological impact on her - she was drained, exhausted, dispirited, and totally unimpressed. Though she liked being with her friends (whom she sees out of school time anyway), she would rather have been at home...and she unabashedly told  her class teacher so. (I hasten to add that she likes her class teacher, as do I).

Though the philosophy (humanism) behind these articles is not my own, it is my belief that the scientific observation that children learn best by educating themselves are broadly-speaking correct. It is for this reason that I am including this study on my website - it is not an endorsement of total unschooling or of humanism. Please bear that in mind if you choose to read them.