Headline, October 01 2020/ ''' SCHOOLING - '' HOME '' - SCHOOLING '''


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THE ''UNSCHOOLING'' MOVEMENT MIGHT help us deal with the problems posed by remote learning. 

TIERSA MCQUEEN vividly remembers the morning she woke up and found her four-children teaching themselves geometry. She discovered them standing at the whiteboard, measuring angles and studying shapes they had traced.

''They wanted to know what the shapes were, so they looked them up, wrote down the names, then started going down the rabbit hole of online information,'' she told me.

The McQueens are unschoolers. The children - a 14-year old, and a 13-year-old and 9-year old twins -learn at home, but with far more flexibility than traditional home-schooling families.

Their parents spurn curriculums, textbooks, tests and grades. Instead they do their best to follow the children's natural curiosity, their impulse to drop what bores them and investigate whatever captivates them, engaging in ''self-directed education'' at their own pace.

During this long season of involuntary at-home learning, what parent hasn't dreamed of moments like Ms. McQueen's morning discovery?

As parents struggle to keep up with their own jobs while kids work through packets of worksheets and iPad apps in the next room, it is tempting to hope for a silver lining : the emancipation of children's impulses to explore the world independently, to find ways to answer their own questions.

Unschoolers, who have long occupied an obscure corner of the home-schooling community, have suddenly become intriguing, less like alien life-forms and more like your cool neighbor who managed to stay relaxed through the monthslong shortages of toilet paper and child care.

Unschooling is a pedagogy premised on letting your kid sleep in, read whatever they like [or not] and learn much [or not] through baking, elaborate Lego creations or wandering the Internet rather than working through a text book.

This approach is unlikely to work for most families. Even some who believe wholeheartedly in the idea of unschooling struggle with it in practice. But unschoolers' choice to take on that struggle should compel the rest of us to face big questions about motivation, coercion and the purpose of education during the unusual school year and beyond.

It's easy to assume that teaching children at home requires economic privilege, a stay-at-home-parent who can afford to focus full time on education. In our new, quarantined Gilded Age, wealthy families are hiring private tutors just like their Victorian forebears.

Yet unschooling families are economically diverse. When the psychologist Peter Gray and Gina Riley published a 20123 survey of about 230 unschooling families, they found a ''wide range in terms of socioeconomic strata.''

''There's a narrative that makes people feel, if they don't have resources, they can't do it, and that's not true,'' Ms. McQueen said. ''I'm doing it, and I'm not affluent.'' She works 8 to 5 at the headquarters of a retail chain in Bradenton, Fla. Her husband works two jobs, nights and weekends, at a convenience store and a grocery store.

Fear of school shootings and concern over ''the racial bias in schools, the school-to-prison pipeline,'' as well as many schools' stunted curriculum in Black history drove the McQueens to being their experiment with a home learning in 2015, she said : ''We wanted to educate our children based on what we value, versus what the school was teaching them.''

Ms. McQueen also wants to preserve her kids from the kind of traditional education that, she says, sapped her own-self assurance. 

''If you're taking orders all the time, your confidence is based on what someone else says, not what you say. That's one of the main reasons I decided I could do this. I didn't want them to turn out like me,'' she said. ''It has taken a lot of unlearning to trust myself.''

Covid-19 has thrown families back on their own resources, and many parents and children have had to learn to trust themselves.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Schooling and Home Schooling, continues. The World Students Society thanks Opinion author Molly Worthen.

With respectful dedication to the Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and 

Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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