Did you know there is a world-wide facebook group for Unschooling STEM?
Why did you unschool?
I wanted my children to get an education and to love lifelong learning. I value education but not necessarily having it delivered by an institution.
We kind of just slid into unschooling. My two oldest boys hated school and everyday was a battle to get them there. After two years, we pulled them out to homeschool. We took the school model and brought it home. That was a disaster. We were homeschoolers that never really got around to homeschooling. When we did manage to do some seatwork, by November, the kids wouldn’t listen to me. I had a baby and a preschooler underfoot and was very busy as my partner worked out of the country for 24 days away and 10 days back on rotation. More and more we let the workbooks go and had fun. We played, visited places, traveled, and had played for 10 more years. By the time the kids were about 15 or 16, they did a more structured self-directed learning environment to get course credits in high school and applied to 10 universities across Canada.
In one sentence, what does unschooling mean to you?
Unschooling is education whereby the learner determines what he learns (content, pace, depth), when he learns it (any age, or not at all), where his learns (home, community, online or school) and how he learns (self-taught, teacher-taught, facilitated, classroom, apprenticeship, online, correspondence, book, video, game, experiential, lecture, volunteering, project, job, or travel).
Did unschooling work for all your children?
Yes, unschooling can work for any child.
However, if a child gives up too easily due to temperament, I can see how unschooling might not work. But institutional schools are not going to work either. The child has to want to learn.
Why did you write the book, Unschooling To University?
Education is in crisis and the industry is in need of disruption. Just as every other industry faced new models, school today no longer serves a purpose other than employment support. Students today need a personalized education and human relationships. Parents and teachers. For example, publishing houses used to be the gatekeeper to publishing ideas, just as schools used to be the gatekeepers to learning. Neither is no longer true. With the internet, students can learn anything, anywhere, anyhow, and from anyone, including self-taught. They can use the skills and knowledge to obtain credentials.
When my unschooled children started going off to university, and 30 of their unschooled friends and the children of my unschooling parent friends started going, I decided that the world needs to know about this excellent form of education. And there are thousands of others we don’t know about. In the book, our Team of Thirty, had 12 kids in STEM careers (4 of those in engineering), 9 in humanities and 9 kids in the arts. 20 have already graduated with degrees, and diplomas from university, college and tech schools.
Why did your children write exams if you are against standardized testing?
We treasure what we can measure. I asked politely and they agreed. I needed some “measurement” to ensure objectivity in their educational attainment. They had the choice to say no.
Tell us about the book?
This book has three key themes:
- Adult relationships are more critical in this digital world than curriculum that is at one’s fingertips.
- Play is key to children’s academic success.
- Every person already owns their education from birth, and continually know best what/when, and how they need to learn. When a curriculum is forced on a person, without consent, they may act-out, tune-out and eventually drop-out of institutional schooling.
The book outlines what is unschooling, why it is a beneficial choice, and how to do it, as well as how it fits with different stages of childhood development.
The book is written for skeptics! It is written for the naysayers, in addition to families already unschooling.
The book focuses on post-secondary from unschooling and especially STEM careers, because there are already many books out there on how to unschool. I wanted to add how unschooling fits with brain and child development information. When people find out one unschools, the second most common question (after the first most common one about socialization) is, “What about University?”
One does not need to go to post-secondary to be successful. There are many unschooled children who have began businesses and enjoy careers outside of higher education, but if children choose to take a post-secondary career path, I wanted to assure parents that it is certainly doable.
3 Benefits of Unschooling for kids – learning sticks when engaged, there are no bullies, and academic enthusiasm ramps up during the years that counts.
3 Benefits of Unschooling for parents – no stress, inexpensive, and family closeness.