With so many schools closed due to the pandemic, unschooling has its advocates (“Can We Take the Schooling Out of Home Schooling?” The New York Times, Sept. 25). It shuns curriculums, textbooks, tests and grades, instead lets children learn by following their natural curiosity.
That may be true for some children, but I don’t think it works for most. Most kids want direction from teachers. Left alone to discover what interests them, it’s unlikely they will receive anything close to a full education.
Unschooling is an extreme form of the child-centered approach to education promoted by Maria Montessori and John Dewey. It assumes that passion comes first, and competence will necessarily follow. But that is a huge stretch.
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2 Replies to “Unschooling is tempting, but beware”
Doubt that it would work for pretty much any kid. Might develop some super-geniuses in specific fields, but unlikely that it would provide any kid with a sufficient minimum knowledge in areas that the kid was not naturally interested in. Horrible for democracy — anyone growing up with little/no natural interest in politics, govt, economics, international relations, the military, or history becomes an adult voter who is totally ignorant re these issues. Easy pickings for the demagogues.
Labor Lawyer: There will always be a few kids who learn by following their natural curiosity, but they are outliers. Most kids need and want adult guidance.