But How Will They Learn If There Isn't A Text Book Around?

Posted Jul 20, 2007 by KJ Mullins

We all know what school looks like. Kids sitting at a desk while they listen to the teacher and read along using their text books. What would happen if the teacher is their parent and the text book is a field? Welcome to the world of unschooling.
Unschooling goes by many names some as simple as learning while other names more to the point like child-led learning, discovery learning, delight-led learning, or child-directed learning. What it all boils down to though is engaging children to their interests while those interest are hot on the burner.
It's not easily done in the classroom but for homeschoolers educating a child using their interests in a pretty simple thing. Chances are there isn't a textbook being used in the unschooling house. That's not to say books aren't used. Most homeschoolers have more books than space to put them. Bookcases in the washroom are commonplace.
Unschooling children have more involvement than most kids do in their own education. They are responsible for learning what they are interested in while their parents act as a "facilitator". It makes it seem that they are out on a limb but those facilitators have the daunting task of making sure their children have the means to learn what they need to.
Young children have an infinite amount of curiosity. Given the chance to explore their world they dive right in soaking up knowledge. Unschoolers thrive on that idea. Giving children the time to discover the world around them is key to the experience.
Since we can’t know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned. (John Holt)
The most common concern of the public when it comes to any aspect of homeschooling is socialization. While homeschooling kids do not deal with thirty of so other kids their same age on a daily basis they do deal with people of all ages most days.
Another concern is the what about college question. Homeschoolers have been hitting the Ivy League trail for some time now. Many colleges seek them out.
According to Johnathan Reider, an admissions officer at Stanford university, speaking of homeschoolers in general, "The distinguishing factor is intellectual vitality. These kids have it, and everything they do is responding to it."
From personal experience I can say that my two boys were unschooled for several years. My oldest graduated from high school two years ago and is a songwriter. My youngest in now in public school. He has some learning disabilities, but according to his teachers his love of learning is remarkable. His creativity is top notch also.
If we can instill in our children nothing more than the love of learning we have put them on a wonderful pathway for their lives.