Unschooling has been a hot topic in the Australian media lately and it really got me thinking. Not everyone learns the same way and yet our schooling system is set up to be taught the same across the board. Even if you home school your children there is usually a set curriculum you have to follow. The question that I pose is, should we expect our children to all learn the same or is this just setting them up for failure? The other question is should we be judging those who choose an alternative method?
We are so quick to judge those that don’t go to a traditional school, but did you know an article from the Sydney Morning Herald last year stated that home-schooling in NSW alone has grown by 65% in just 4 years. I understand that in a classroom of 20-30 children that it is hard to customise to the individual style of learning, but shouldn’t we allow those who struggle in mainstream schooling look at alternative options. Isn’t taking an alternative approach the way so many things have been invented, the light bulb, car etc.? As a parent we always want to do the best for our children and this doesn’t always equate to the same thing. However, is it really our right to judge the choices of others.
I have heard this last week and people questioning as to whether unschooling is classed as abuse. I personally would class abuse as a child being hit, not being fed or living in an unsanitised environment. However, simply choosing a different way to learn does not really come under that criteria. I would agree that home schooling or unschooling is not for everyone, but neither is mainstream schooling.
Jacob Barnett for instance, suffers from autism, he was in mainstream schooling and his parents were told he would not be able to do even the simplest of things like tie his shoes. His parents made the tough decision to take him out of school and allow him to learn in his own way. At 14 he is well on his way to winning a Nobel Prize and has an IQ higher than Einstein. I have a brother who suffers from dyspraxia who struggled learning at school as it always took him a little longer. My mother was always in constant battle with the school. The school wanted to put him in a special class, but we knew this would place a label on him, affect his confidence levels and ultimately affect his learning. He dropped out of school to pursue what he enjoyed which was cooking. He is now a qualified Chef and has an amazing job in the beautiful Yarra Valley region.
So in conclusion you will find plenty of information out there that shows that people learn in different ways and that is perfectly fine. However, rather than judging and condemning those who don’t follow the norm, maybe we should learn to be more open and accepting of other peoples’ choices. I find as a society we are too quick to judge without knowing the whole story. Share this post and start spreading more acceptance and understanding.