Free range schooling
Sun reporter Joe Burris wrote today about an offshoot of homeschooling, "unschooling," in which all of the child's experiences are incorporated in the learning process. Taking a trip to Patapsco State Park can have as much value as following, say, a Hooked On Phonics lesson plan, its proponents say.
There are skeptics. Teri Flemal, whose company helps parents find home teachers, is one of them:
"I'm reading e-mail from unschooling parents who think having their kids remodel their house with them is 'school.' I'm sorry, but it's not," Flemal said. "Painting, hammering, measuring - hey, that was great in primary school. I love that stuff.
"But I can tell you that it will not hold these kids in good stead as they compete with home-schoolers who are creating model video games, requiring them to know the ballistics of how fast and at what angle the bullets need to travel to create an impression of a certain size on the wall, or perhaps the home-schooler who has written a symphony."
I'd have to agree. There's something to be said for letting children be themselves and thrive in an open learning environment, but kids also need some structure. But I don't have children. Let us know what you think about unschooling. Do you think it's a viable learning method?
Baltimore Sun photo / Algerina Perna