Monday, March 24, 2008

Teaching Unschooling?

There has been some talk lately about teachers of unschooling. Can you teach someone how to unschool? Is it somewhat of an oxymoron to even say that?

I have been unschooling for 14 years now, never even knew it had a name until I stumbled upon the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference. I have to think back, was I taught about unschooling? Well not unschooling certainly because I had found my way to natural learning very naturally myself, it seemed like just an extension of who I was, who my children were and how we were living. They seemed to be learning all they needed to know all along, without any "formal instruction" so why put an end to that.

There are people I really appreciate, for letting us into their lives, showing us how they live and learn together, share what has worked and not worked for them. Some of these unschoolers were unschooling when I was still in diapers myself. Such a zest for life, living, and sharing the world around them with their children. These people were unschooling before unschooling conferences, and before the internet. Many still choose not to engage in much internet activity, they prefer to be out there living life. Does that make these people pioneers in the area of unschooling (or even homeschooling for that matter). I believe they would say no. These people would say, there were families unschooling before the creation of schools. People were living, no thought was given to the learning part, it just happened. It didn't happen because they lived as if schools didn't exist, it happened and schools didn't exist.

So can anyone say they are pioneers of unschooling because they have better communication tools now? Certainly it makes it easier to connect with people who are more like minded. That didn't seem to stop the people I know. They searched and found people of like minds. Now all we have to do is "log on" and "google" to find what we are looking for.

When my children were younger I thought a lot about the words teach and learn.

teach
–verb (used with object)
1. to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in: She teaches mathematics.
2. to impart knowledge or skill to; give instruction to: He teaches a large class.
–verb (used without object)
3. to impart knowledge or skill; give instruction.

learn
–verb (used with object)
1. to acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience: to learn French; to learn to ski.
2. to become informed of or acquainted with; ascertain: to learn the truth.
3. to memorize: He learned the poem so he could recite it at the dinner.
4. to gain (a habit, mannerism, etc.) by experience, exposure to example, or the like; acquire: She learned patience from her father.
5. (of a device or machine, esp. a computer) to perform an analogue of human learning with artificial intelligence.

The word teach, to me, is something done to another person. It is teacher driven. A teacher teaches, does that mean a learner learns by what the teacher is teaching? Just because a teacher is teaching doesn't mean learning is going on. I can attest to that, LOL. I try to live a joyful life, myself. My boys see that, have access to everything I can share with them, and experiment with the world. They learn, I do not teach. In that same token, those "radical unschoolers" who started 30 years ago, were they teachers, did they teach me about unschooling? No,there was no effort placed on imparting unschooling information. They lived a joyful life, and allowed me a glimpse into that, they shared everything they could with me, but in the end I had to experiment with the world and find my own path to life and living. No teaching was going on, just lots of living.

So I personally don't feel that unschooling is something that can be taught. Everyone is so different in their own personal journey. I share my life with those that are interested, but they have to go experience the world for themselves and find what fits and is right for them. My "right" is not their "right".

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Great post :)

I don't think you can teach unschooling either but it can be learned by those seeking it. Those who have gone before can help others find what they are looking for.

I appreciate you sharing your journey.