When talking about ‘Education’ in the political world the spot light is currently on Common Core. Sometimes we talk about School Choice, but mainly we are on the topic of Common Core. Let’s be honest, it can all be rather boring! Talking about new standards and content in textbooks has been scientifically proven to be the most boring topic. Think about it, if textbooks are the most boring books ever created by man then arguing about what should be in the textbook has to be the most boring topic. What if there is no reform that will help our current school system? What if we are spending all this time, energy and money on a system that doesn’t work? Why don’t we start talking about real innovation in education? Let’s start talking about the exciting movement of Unschooling.

Unschooling is a philosophy that advocates for a child’s freedom in education. In the current education systems (public, private, or homeschooling), children are given a textbook and told to memorize. If they are struggling with the content they are given extra study time. If they are still struggling or resist this form of education then they are given drugs to make them more compliant. Unschooling does the complete opposite of this approach in that it allows the child to be the one to choose what they learn. The idea is that children are only going to learn what they want to learn. We cannot force a person to learn or accept something; they have to want to do it on their own.

It is true that if you threaten or make a group of people afraid, that some will do what you want out of fear. They will ‘want’ to do it, because they are afraid. In Unschooling, we remove the force and the fear. As human beings we are naturally curious. We want to learn about the world around us. Parents who unschool their children facilitate the learning. This means that a parent has to be heavily involved in their children’s lives. They have to care about what the child cares about. If your child is into history stories then you take them to a museum, give them a book on the specific time period, or take them to the location where these historical events actual happened. Unschooling is about enriching a child’s education. If a child is into cosmetology then help them learn about the products, how they interact with our bodies, where they are manufactured, how to sell the products, create a business, etc. Whatever a child is interested in they will grow and learn in that subject all that they need to know.

In our current education system we have subjects: Mathematics, history, science, and literature. If we really think about it doing school this way is silly. Nowhere in the real world do we have these subjects isolated from each other. What we are doing is allowing our children to have a surface level understanding of these subjects. This skimming of the surface usually results in a child being confused or not caring. They do not understand the importance of what is being taught, because they have no context. In Math they are learning about imaginary numbers, in biology they are learning about cell structure, in literature they are reading the Great Gatsby, and in history they are learning about the revolutionary war. It is all disconnected.

Let’s look at an example of how an unschooler might do this (the possibilities are endless). A child watches the movie Pearl Harbor and becomes interested in World War II. They study the different governments and conflicts. They find that the atomic bomb was created then and start learning about the chemistry of how an atomic bomb works, which leads to nuclear power. In studying nuclear power a child would have to learn how to calculate the power of electrical forces. You doubt that a child would look that far into it? You underestimate the powers of freedom. When people are exposed to something unknown they start to develop a curiosity that is rarely satisfied by a classroom textbook.

Unschooling a child is about exposing them to the real world. We all know the common phrase, “Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for a life time”. In reality, we should teach our children how to learn. We live in a revolutionary time. All the knowledge of mankind is within our grasp. I have no idea about the Chinese Civil War, yet in 0.46 seconds google can tell me that it started in 1927. This is amazing! Everything in our lives should be changing. The way we eat, communicate, governor (lack thereof), and educate should all be radically changing. There is no longer an excuse of not having the credentials to educate our children ourselves.

Resistance to this movement is inevitable. There are far too many people that have power and money in the current education system. The power and money is so great that trying to reform of the current education system is impossible. That battle was decided long ago when compulsory schools were formed. The movement of Unschooling is being taken by parents and educators all over our country. The only successful form of changing is opting out of the current system. Allowing children to explore and innovate. In schools children are currently doing the bare minimum to pass a class. In Unschooling there is no failing there is only life.