Unschooling or Relaxed Homeschooling

The idea of letting children follow their own inclinations in their education has been called unschooling. The philosophic ideas behind this approach are most often associated with John Holt, author of numerous books such as How Children Learn, How Children Fail, Instead of Education, and Teach Your Own. Holt’s books are available from libraries and bookstores, especially from Holt Associates/Growing Without Schooling at www.johnholtgws.com. A true unschooler would allow a child to determine what, when, how, and even “if” a child learns anything. But few people go to that extreme. What seems closer to reality in most unschooling situations is a much greater consideration for each child’s interests and the timing of when they tackle various topics and skills. Also, unschooling parents often ask for their children’s opinions about resources and learning methods. This approach is also sometimes called “relaxed” homeschooling. Hallmarks of an unschooling approach are likely to be a very loose schedule, emphasis on developing a love for learning, rare use of traditional textbooks unless selected by the child, more hands-on projects and more field trips.

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