TG Murray on Elon Musk Unschools His C… Screen Time Mitigate… on Unschooling To University Marilyn Rowe on Government Oversight is O… Judy Arnall, BA, DTM… on Unschooling to University Friendship is magica… on Socialization: It’s More…
Welcome to Unschooling to University!
Many unschoolers often get asked the second most common question (after the one about socialisation) which is “What about university? Aren’t you messing up your child’s chances of eligibility?” This blog’s sole purpose is to assure you that unschooled children can go to college, universities and trade schools (or any post-secondary schools) if they choose to go. When the time is right for them, they will often choose self-directed learning to help themselves earn the requirements for admission acceptance. Parents do not have to be the teacher and “catch them up” unless they really want to. (Not possible in my case – my “math skills” end at grade 8!) Parents do not need high school subject matter expertise. They just need to hang around and help the child find the resources if asked. Most unschooled children reach an age that they wish to learn more and seek out tutors, online courses or simply teach themselves from the internet, Kahn Academy, and their jurisdiction’s textbooks. Whether they learn the entire high school program, or just the final year courses to prove previously acquired learning, or even challenge the leaving or entrance exams, children that are motivated are serious, focused learners and nothing will stop them.
As Peter Gray outlines in his 2013 study of 75 grown homeschoolers, those children with the least number of formal schooling years (either in a classroom or homeschooled), were more likely to go on to post-secondary learning. That has been our experience in the homeschooling community as well. The more time children had for play and self-directed learning, the more likely they were to continue learning and became motivated for greater stimulation outside the family.
The other myth is that unschoolers tend to choose more arts and humanities fields when applying to post-secondary institutions. STEM options are also available to unschoolers. Many unschoolers find that the years of experiential learning from play, projects and travel help round out a solid background of understanding that numbers and formulas can build on when the child reaches their teens and acquires their abstract thinking skills from the development of the brain’s pre-frontal cortex. They have real world applications for problem-solving with math and science tools.
We know that not everyone aspires to go to post-secondary schools, and that is fine. We know that some families do wish to plan for that type of education and we aim to help them navigate the waters from unschooling and self-determining their learning during the “school-age” years to a more formal learning environment during the adult years.
Many of these insights come from our family of 5 children, in which we unschooled the children anywhere from 8 to 12 years that they would have been in school. We live in the most homeschool-regulated place on earth and have managed to secure adequate credentials for university acceptance. All three older children (the two youngest are not of age yet) were accepted into 7 different universities and programs across Canada. We hope you enjoy our experiences, thoughts and insights to help you make informed education choices. We also welcome your questions. Yes, unschooled children can go on to post-secondary education and they are excellent learners. #anyonecanhomeeducate
Judy Arnall, BA, CCFE, DTM
“Wait until they have to get up early for a real job; then they will by in shock by the real world.”
So my son started his first day of school. His first experience of agendas, exams, deadlines, and a structured class. He has been unschooled for grades 1-12 and taught himself various high school classes through online and self-directed in preparation for a career in STEM. Last week, he began a 4 course load at university in sciences. He has to get up, take the bus, and attend a campus of 30,000 other kids. He has 4 courses and each has a lab which is a pretty full schedule. He went from sleeping in until 1 or 2 pm and playing video games with studying 1 or 2 courses at a time, to a full schedule outside the home.
You are probably wondering how he is adapting. Well, when kids need to do something that they want to do, they learn and adapt. I can’t say it was easy, but last week was okay and this week is hard with all the labs starting, but he is stepping up to the plate. He sets his alarm, gets to the bus stop on time and puts in a full day.
That is the key point in unschooling. I can’t tell you how many times people would say to me, “Wait until they start school (or work) then they will have to get up at 6 am and won’t they be in for a shock.” Kids step up to the plate when the time is right and it is required of them and they are motivated to do it. We don’t have to “train” kids in a work ethic when they are young, so they will have it later when they are older. This is the whole point of homework in schools, which is so misguided. Kids can learn when they need or want to learn and the time is right for them.
It’s always interesting to me that society, school administrators and the government feel the need to provide educational oversight in home education. They insist that parents must provide an education “equal to the education children would get in school.” Many home education parents provide an education that is not the same, and is far superior to what children might get in school.
That might include “unschooling,” which is so different from the classroom model and in many ways is so much better. It provides freedom, passion, choice, control, personal responsibility, creativity, determination, motivation and unequaled absorption of learning for the sake of learning, rather than learning to get marks. Children can’t get much of that in a classroom dictated by government rules and oversight.
The most important years for brain development is from 0-6. Children need 3D experiential learning to develop brain cell connections for healthy growth. Does the government intervene in parenting in order to provide children with the optimal conditions for development in those years? No. Why then for the school-aged years? If there is no government oversight in parenting, then there should not be for education either.
The other reason society wants to regulate home education is the theory that a teeny tiny number of children may be maltreated, and will occur under the daily oversight of teachers, coaches, bus drivers and school nurses. Yes, that may occur. But it also occurs to children in school. Abusive parents are good at hiding their child’s bruises in school. Many school staff people are too busy to notice the hidden signs of abuse. The percentage of children abused at home and attending school is far higher than the percentage of children that are home schooled and may be abused. We don’t make laws based of the .000000001 percent that might be affected by them.
Besides, the vast number of abused children are toddlers and preschoolers, not school-aged children. Young children have very little executive function (self-control) abilities and parents who don’t understand that their children’s “not listening” is a development issue and not a discipline issue, tend to use punishment to correct what they perceive as a defect. It’s wrong, it is misguided, and we have no government oversight for those children. They are essentially abused on a daily basis and nothing is being done for them. By the time children are school-age, they listen better and the rate of abuse goes way down. Just as for parenting, government oversight is not required for homeschooling, anywhere, anytime.
After his less than wonderful childhood in public schools, futurist Elon Musk opts to unschool his 5 boys. Read more here:
UCA: 2nd Annual Un-Conference: Family First
Our second annual online Un-conference will be held online on March 18 and 19th, 2017. Reserve your seat now! Our special guests so far are Pat Farenga, Carlo Ricci, Judy Arnall, Linda Clement, and Pam Laricchia!
Know someone who would like to attend? Have them join our association for only $11 and they can attend too. Or purchase a non-member ticket for just $22. Sessions will be recorded so if you can’t attend the live presentation, you will still have access to them and the Q and A sessions.
Saturday March 18, 2017
8 am to 11:00 Mountain Time
Speakers: Pat Farenga, Pam Laricchia, Judy Arnall
Sunday March 19, 2017
10 am to noon Mountain Time
Speakers: Carlo Ricci, Linda Clement
Register at http://www.unschoolingcanada.ca/events.html
My son was 2 years old and loved those door stoppers that went twang. You know those coiled thingys with the white rubber cap. They drove me crazy! I wanted to remove them all. But I didn’t, because my son seemed to love the resultant noise.
Here is the email he sent me last night. (He is an unschooler that is now taking engineering.) “Hey Mom, These days I’m doing analysis on oscillating machines, like a door stopper. You know the spring ones where you pull it to the side and it goes dwawawwawanngg? Who’d have thought I’d be doing the same thing today in school as I was doing 22 years ago….”