Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Maybe Some Day Everyone Will Unschool

It seems like a cultural shift is taking place from the educational methods and mindset of the Industrial Revolution to a whole new way of thinking and doing things in the Information Age.

Everything from the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us to articles on Psychology Today talking about intrinsic motivation. It seems like there's been a growth in books/websites to help entrepreneurs or people who just don't want to work the 9-5. A growth in people rejecting the "go to school, get good grades, so you can get a good job, work your whole life and retire" mentality . People who want to do more to make the world a better place and do what they love , even if that means less money. Or people who want to make more money in creative ways without doing the 9-5.

There seems to be a rise in employers who don't look so much at a college degree, as your experience and your attitude toward learning new things (like Google, for example).  Plus the internet has opened up a whole new world in entrepreneurship with sites like Etsy, Hyena Cart and even Ebay and Amazon, and it's also easy to set up your own.  It seems like there is also a growth in MLM/home businesses like Scentsy and Origami Owl.  Now there are dozens of them, where it used to just be Tupperware parties.  More and more people are using charter schools as a kind of middle ground between public school and homeschooling.

I don't have any hard data, these are just personal observations, but it seems like people are dissatisfied with the status quo, we are firmly in an era of technology and information, and the things that worked during the Industrial Revolution, just don't work any more.  It's tough to prepare kids for an ever changing, fast-paced world where information is at their fingertips using the methods designed to give kids the knowledge and skills to be factory workers. 

I read stories from parents who started unschooling their kids 20 years ago, and they kept what they were doing pretty quiet then.  They only knew a handful of other homeschoolers, let alone unschoolers, and the other homeschoolers were often quite appalled at the idea of unschooling.  Unschooling, especially radical unschooling, is still pretty fringe, but it's not at all uncommon to see at least some form of academics only unschooling to be given a nod if not outright approval in homeschooling websites, books and magazines.  It seems to be becoming more and more accepted as just another method of homeschooling, even if people are just trying to "unschool some subjects," (which misses the whole point of unschooling, but the point I'm making here is that it's no longer totally taboo).

I think what is changing is that people are realizing that *forcing everyone* to memorizing the same things isn't nearly as effective as people learning the things they need to learn to do the things they want to do, which is different for every individual.  I don't think people are going to rush out and start unschooling en masse, but there are positive changes that are being implemented in schools and workplaces.

Of course, on the other side of the coin, compulsory school age is getting younger and younger, kids are getting arrested for things that were previously school discipline issues (in what they are calling the School to Prison Pipeline), and government intrusion into home schoolers' lives is increasing.

So maybe I'm being too optimistic.  The title of this post certainly is. Or maybe the shift I'm seeing is in opposition to the increase in control.   But it is interesting to watch, none the less.

Just thinking and noticing things.  What do you think?

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