Video Games Give Kids A Bigger Academic Edge Than Homework

Excerpted from Unschooling To University, by Judy Arnall

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Games are just another food on the buffet of learning

Children love their technology and parents know it. If you treat screen time like any other educational tool, it will not be elevated to “treat” status in the eyes of the children, and they will naturally find a balance between that and other activities. Leave lots of other play options lying around. Everything kids are curious about is educational and contributes in some way to their development.

Educational benefits of video and computer games

Are video games educational? Of course, they are! Any kind of toy or game is educational in that it teaches children knowledge and competencies. Not every game has to be labeled “educational” to be educational. Other than volunteering, travel, and reading, video games have been the biggest “curriculum” in our home education and have been very valuable in keeping the children engaged in learning, over textbooks and worksheets.

As a parent of five gamers of both genders, I learned early that my children hated the “educational games” that have primitive graphics, poor logic, clumsy interface, are non-multiplayer, and are just plain lame. These educational games seem to be marketed to parents who aim for productive use of time rather than plain fun.

When my kids immersed themselves in games like World of Warcraft, Nox, Spore, Gizmos and Gadgets, Age of Empires, Graal, Lacuna Expanse, Civilization, Garry’s Mod, Crusader Kings, Runescape, and League of Legends, they learned not only reading, writing, and math skills, but also social studies, mythology, history, and science. They learned the valuable social skills of cooperation and conflict resolution with other in-game players, and with buddies in the same room playing the same game. In (World of Warcraft) WOW, League of Legends, and Overwatch, they learned the personal skills of resilience during adversity, perseverance and the commitment to continue and finish for the team, even when they were discouraged. They learned how to deal with challenges, problems, team members, and competitors under time pressure. They learned how to win gracefully, and how to face losing with dignity—and without throwing a keyboard across the room.

Indirectly, games and toys teach some academic concepts in ways that are compelling to children, aided by the focus that is essential for gaming success. Parents who don’t play video games may not even realize how their children have learned these competencies. Have a look at the following impressive list of competencies that video games can help to develop:

Academic competencies

Executive function planning and working memory skills: Games teach critical thinking, analytical thinking, strategy, and problem-solving skills. Think about the scientific method. Most games give clues but not directions. So, a player has to hypothesize to find a strategy that might work. The game developers withhold critical information, so players must use trial and error to discover what they need to know. The games are giant puzzles that stretch executive function and working memory and develop skills. Further, gaming teaches problem solving under duress because many of the tasks they have to perform have time limits!

Multi-tasking: Players learn to manage many forms of information and options, usually under the stress of time limits and encroaching competitors. Just memorizing the number of items one can obtain in a game is an amazing feat. Some games make a player battle in order to stay alive, providing a great training ground for the workplace! When juggling competing interests, players also learn about time management and setting priorities.

Literacy: Games that require reading, writing, and spelling build literacy skills both on- screen and in game manuals that are often written at a high school level, telling gamers how to play and offering insights for getting over rough spots. Children who can’t read certainly try to learn! Our kids learned to read, write and use grammar from playing Graal, Animal Crossing, Sims, Sim City and many other games. Children who hate workbooks and seat-work can practice literacy skills in a format that really motivates them.

Math skills: Games develop pattern recognition and use math operations, reasoning, and logic to solve problems. The kids were motivated to learn how to tell time. They wanted to know exactly how long a half an hour was and how many more minutes until Neil gets off and they get their turn!

Computer programming skills: They learned coding, Perl, C++, CSS, HTML, scripts, and many other useful computer programming skills by playing user-modifiable games. My son learned how to use Java scripts by playing Lacuna Expanse.

Art, History and Science: Games initiate interest in many topic areas in history, art, culture, and science that spur research and reading. My kids also learned much of elementary school Greek history from playing Age of Mythology, and science from Gizmos and Gadgets and Magic School Bus. Civilization and Crusader Kings were great for learning history. Kerbal Space Program was excellent for learning orbital mechanics, space travel, physics, and engineering.

Knowledge: Gaming allows the elderly, poor, isolated or confined person access to in- formation and communication that might otherwise be inaccessible.

Creativity: During our children’s heavy video game-playing years, they continued with their self-motivated art representations: they played mostly the Mario series, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Pokemon, and Kirby. They painted hundreds of pictures of the characters. In fact, the characters were represented in every medium possible—play-dough, Lego, wood, watercolor, markers, homemade costumes, stuffed figures, and many others. The handwritten stories of the adventures of Kirby and Mario, done by all the children, were equally impressive. They even made homemade board games featuring the characters. When Burger King ran a promotion handing out Pokeballs with characters inside along with their kids’ meals, we ate at Burger King four nights a week and acquired an immense collection of figurines! Although they wouldn’t touch those kids’ meals today, the figurines still represent many cherished memories of their imaginary play in which they set up scenes, built habitats, and invented stories and games with each other and with their characters. I am still amazed at the creativity that those video and computer games inspired. As the kids got older, their creativity moved from physical objects to a screen. They generated art, music, writing, and videos onscreen. The creative process was still there; it just changed formats. Once children reach school-age, mainstream parents tend to get rid of traditional creative items such as arts and craft supplies, paints, dress-up clothes, and drama props because “the schools can deal with the mess.” However, the schools become more academic from Grade 4 on, so very few children have creative outlets at home or at school. Hence the appeal of being creative on the computer, with games like the Sims, Sim Theme Park, and Animal Crossing, where children can create their own worlds. It’s not the children’s need for creativity that has changed, but the medium.

Social and emotional competencies

Connection: Children can easily stay in touch with family and friends around the world by playing games, talking, and socializing in real time over communication channels such as Discord or FaceTime. Grandparents love to connect with their grandchildren, regardless of how far apart they might be. My kids often would game with their siblings who were away at university or had moved to another city to work.

Entertainment: The internet and gaming provide limitless sources of entertainment in video and audio format. Name your genre and it’s available.

De-stressing skills: Gaming helps players to zone out, de-stress, escape into fantasy worlds, and relax. My friend is 45 years old and works as a realtor. To de-stress, she comes home and plays computer games with her daughter.

Delayed gratification skills: Players have to work their way up by levels and cannot shortcut without others’ help. Studies show that children who learn to appreciate delayed gratification at an early age tend to do better in life.

Executive function focus skills: Especially difficult in a background of music, noise, chattering, and distractions, gaming demands total focused concentration. This is a useful practice for many children. Often, children are diagnosed with attention deficits in school, yet can focus for hours on gaming.

Self-esteem: Games build self-esteem and confidence in skills that are admired by peers. This is especially important for children who don’t excel in academics, sports, or the arts. Being accepted and respected for a special skill builds self-confidence in other areas of their lives.

Executive function inhibitory control: Games provide a method of teaching and practicing emotional intelligence. Games give children practice in handling anger, frustration, and setbacks—especially when they lose an acquired level because they forgot to save!  It even teaches natural consequences and how to problem solve to fix a situation. Of course, children need an adult around to help them deal with those strong emotions, or else a controller will go flying against the wall!

Gender neutrality: The internet and gaming enable people to communicate without visual stereotypes. People are judged on their words and actions, not on age, gender, culture, or looks.

Commitment and work ethic: “My son doesn’t commit to extracurricular activities, but he is persistent in mastering a game, committing to a team of five in a game, or learning coding,” says Ellen, homeschooling mom of two.

Cooperation and collaboration: Multi-player games lend themselves to team building, cooperation, strategy formation, and group problem solving with other players both in the game and those watching the game. Players have to work together to develop a plan, achieve results, and cover each others’ backs. They learn to negotiate, compromise, and practice fair play.

Encouragement: As well, when one child plays and another watches, they both learn how to encourage each other to take risks, try another solution, and keep going. It’s wonderful to watch their “team approach,” even if only one child is at the controls. Often, my kids played as a team against other teams in League of Legends and it was lovely to watch how they bonded.

Independence: In a world of helicopter parenting, gaming and social media provide a playground for children that is not micro-managed by adults. Children make the rules or the game makes the rules, but not the parents. When children get together face to face, they speak a gaming language that is not understood by adults, but that bonds them together in a secret world.

Conversations: When my kids would meet up face to face with their friends, they spent non-gaming time engrossed in conversations, bragging about games they had and which ones to go for next, which characters they wanted to play, and what levels they had achieved—much like we used to discuss hockey stats, car enhancements, and movie stars. Teens especially like to differentiate themselves from adults in their form of dress, hairstyles, music, and activities. Gaming is one more avenue that helps them do that.

Family closeness: Many parents play video games with their children from a young age until the kids move out—then come back for Sunday dinner and a round of League of Legends! As a non-gamer, I personally found that taking an interest in my children’s gaming by sitting and watching them and listening to their descriptive adventures in the game brought us closer in communicating and sharing fun times.

Socialization: Minecraft Club! Computer Coding Club! Girls Who Game Club! As kids move into the teen years, they are not well practiced in initiating conversations because they are more self-conscious about what they say and do. They need an activity to focus on in order to relax. Gaming clubs provide that activity.

Social media benefits

Social: Kids can easily connect to other like-minded kids who share their interests.

Writing: They can flex their debating and persuasive writing skills on hot topics in discussion websites, with other really good debaters.

Research: They can learn about people with different backgrounds, religions, and cultures as they make online friends around the world.

Create: They can create and share musical, technical, and artistic projects with others by writing blogs and making websites, videos, memes, podcasts, and webinars.

Collaboration: They can collaborate on projects without ever meeting each other in person. Several books have been published with such collaboration.

Citizenship: They can organize, volunteer, raise collective consciousness, and raise funds for charitable organizations and worthy causes.

Entrepreneurship: They can start and grow a business.

Health: They can access health information on any topic from sexuality to depression and get answers to questions that they would be embarrassed to ask an adult.

Because of the proliferation of smartphones and video games, which 80 percent of Canadian kids play, children as a school cohort are dating at older ages, having sex later, driving later, and moving out later, and have little taste for alcohol and smoking. (McKnight, 2015) These are excellent trends. The trade-off is that they spend more time alone in their rooms, connected to their mobile phones. Thus, inter-personal and socialization skills can take a hit. Family can counteract that by spending time together and scheduling outside family social time. Declare some screen-free zones and times, like meal time, to gather together, socialize, and enjoy each other’s company. Social media can also be brutal to children’s self-esteem, so open communication with supportive parents and siblings is critical in keeping peer stress tolerable and not toxic. Screens have value, but children also need face-to-face relationships in the three-dimensional, physical world. Like all technology, games and social media are tools and how we use them can be beneficial or detrimental. Balance is key.

Excerpted from Unschooling To University: Relationships matter most in a world crammed with content, By Judy Arnall

Available at Chapters, Barnes and Noble and an independent bookstore near you.

Posted in Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

All Children Are Equal But Some Children Are More Equal Than Others

The government war on choice in education shows up in funding:

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ONLINE SCHOOL: This photo shows $1,691.00 worth of resources that a grade 11 student received this past Fall from an online public school and was not required to return in June with continued registration. A laptop, graphing calculator, textbooks, workbooks and additional sports equipment were provided.

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HOME EDUCATION:  This is what the same grade 11 student would receive from registration on a home education program.  Funding is $835.00, enough to cover internet access for 10 months.  There is no additional funding to cover the $1044.47 in curriculum necessary to follow the Alberta Program of Studies outcomes for grade 11 core courses and no funding for art, physical education, or other option course resources. If parents want to direct their child’s education, they pay. Twice. They pay for resources and they pay taxes for schools they don’t use.

 

An unequal funding model shuts down educational choice

Choice in education means every child deserves full 100% funding for their parent’s choice in education delivery program, whether public, Catholic, independent, charter, or home education. The current NDP government seems determined to shut down parental choice by squeezing out the economic viability of home education. Currently, independent school children get 60-70% of the base instructional grant funding compared to a public school child who receives 100%, and a home educated child only gets 12.5%. This funding ratio has not changed in 25 years. Home education doesn’t get infrastructure, transportation, special needs, high school CEU, early childhood education or Kindergarten funding.

Often, home education is a last resort for parents. Children with special needs, mental health challenges, and bullying problems that are ignored in the public school system are left with very few choices. Choice should not be only for parents who can afford to subsidize it. Every child needs 100% instructional and resource grant funding, including home education. Because, as every parent knows, every child is unique, and needs a personalized education delivery.

Children are penalized for their parent’s choices in education. Parents of public schooled children that attend a physical building, have to pay for their child’s laptops, musical instrument rentals, ski lessons, sports equipment, graphing calculators, and textbooks. Meanwhile, parents of online registered school children receive those items for free, and they do not have to return them at the end of the year. Parents of children in alternative programs or independent schools have to pay for busing, field trips, and offsite gym outings, but children in public schools are provided transportation and gyms for free. Parents of home educated children have to buy everything (with no economies of scale) on 1/8th of the budget of a public school child and the reimbursement is highly restricted. Many can’t afford it and do without even though they pay taxes.

Even online schools are not equitable among themselves. As shown in photo A, some online schools gift students with up to $1,600 of non-returnable items. The three public school boards of Christ The Redeemer School Division (Centre for Learning@Home), Golden Hills School Division No. 75 (Northstar), and East Central Alberta Catholic Schools Regional Division No.16 (School of Hope), have online/correspondence schools that have been giving “resources” to registered families for years, which include items such as cameras, CD/DVD players, USB drives, graphing calculators, cases of paper, art supplies, laptops, Ipads, and e-readers. Gifts are ordered from Staples, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Best Buy, Amazon, and other vendors. The schools purchase the items on the school or teacher’s credit card and deliver the items directly to the home address of the parent. Families who register with these public school boards may also choose from a range of services for (non-certified-teacher provided) private music lessons, tutoring, and recreation, as well as computer repair. All paid for by taxpayers. These are children in regular school programs and not home education. These are gifts that stay in the home and are not returned to the school at the end of the year. This is inequitable. In addition, this disparity even contrasts with other online schools, that only provide instruction, such as CBeLearn, and whom don’t even give out headphones for their online courses anymore.

It’s a myth that home education families do not have instructional or resource costs. Parents are not certificated teachers and shouldn’t be paid to teach, however, in meeting their child’s learning needs, many outsource the instructional component to tutors. At an average rate of $50 per hour for tutoring, $835 doesn’t go very far in providing an education to a child whose learning challenges are not addressed in a traditional classroom model. The cost of grade 11 core course textbooks that follow The Alberta Program of Studies outcomes is about $1044.47 when purchased from Amazon.

The government should get out of the “we know best” mindset and give parents a full voucher for their education choice, letting them decide where the funding goes, rather than distributing funding unequally among different school, program and education types.  If the government wants to control education with its regulations, then it must be prepared to provide adequate funding that is applied equally across all delivery methods. The NDP government has been made aware of these inequalities multiple times but requests to fix the concerns fall on deaf ears.

Absolutely no one can say that one type of education delivery is better for a child than another, except for parents, who know their child best. Not the teacher’s union, or the education ministry, or government bean counters, or well-funded public lobby groups. Parents are trusted to know what is best for their children from ages 0-5. That shouldn’t stop when their child has 6 candles on their birthday cake. Home education students received the same funding as public school students in the late 1980’s. Let’s not punish parents who teach for love instead of a paycheque. True choice in education is an equally funded choice. Every child deserves it.

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What If They Play Video Games All Day?

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Eventually, they will get bored and move on to something else!

As someone who never monitored nor put limits on gaming time, I often worried about the hours spent on video and computer gaming. Will my kids ever try anything else? Well, 4 out of 5 kids did.

It finally happened to my last child. It already happened to my other kids and I was waiting for it. 3 of my kids are now in their “career” jobs, are financially independent, and loving what they do. The turning point for them was around age 17 when they became more interested in what they “wanted to do for the rest of their lives…” My youngest child is 16 and on the cusp of 17 and spent the last 3 days moping around the house. I thought something was wrong. He told me that he didn’t want to play non-stop, all day, computer games anymore and wanted to get a job. I don’t know if it is a matter of his peers getting jobs that is rubbing off on him, or it is that great final leap of executive function that happens around age 17 or if it is New Years Resolution time, but it happened. So, we are brushing up his resume. It is all about trusting our kids developmental schedule. We need to let go of our agenda and trust theirs. Kids know what they need when they need it, better than anyone. Change can happen at 6, 14, 17, 26, or 72. Wait for it!  #Unschooling

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Mandatory Online Learning Places Parents as Unpaid School Administrators

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Jill Baker, an online blogger wrote: “With the lingering effects of a summer move hanging over her, one Ohio homeschool mom evaluated her options and decided to try out an online public school program.

“I thought it would be a huge help,” she recalls. Online public schools tout their convenience and flexibility, so it seemed a logical conclusion.

The reality she described was quite different: “I felt I had acquired another job as an administrative assistant in the public school, making sure the kids were simply getting assignments done when there could be more worthwhile assignments they would be learning.”

Now her children were stuck in a program focused on checking off state requirements. One child had six science books so that his curriculum covered all the mandates.

Rather than helping her or the children, “it was so complicated,” she shared.

She and her husband determined it was time to withdraw and resume homeschooling.”

Retrieved from: https://hslda.org/content/hs/state/oh/20181023-online-public-school-equals-easy-not-so-fast.aspx

Education in the home is defined as who controls it, rather than where it takes place.  If the parent or learner controls it, it is called home education.  If the school controls it, it is called distance education, virtual school, distance learning, online learning, or paper-based learning, and many other terms. It is just like school but it takes place in your living room rather than the school building. The school is the “Learning Management System” with brand names such as Powerschool, Moodle, D2L, and First Class. The parent involuntarily becomes the unpaid teacher (who else is the child going to ask a question from at 2 am?), unpaid administrator (who makes sure the child knows how to work the learning management system), and learning strategist, (who teaches the child how to keep track of assignments and where to find them). Most of the “instruction” takes place when the child “reads” content from the screen. Yet, many of these school programs are funded as much as classes in a physical school. Unfortunately, the bulk of the invisible support and administrative work falls on the parent’s shoulder, and it is unpaid.

No thanks. My child can do that under “home education.” That way, we control the learning. We control the pace (take a month or a year), the content (let’s substitute Plato for Shakespeare), the delivery method (not all kids learn from a screen, so lets watch a video instead), the resources, (books, videos, webinars from our choice, not the school’s narrow choice) and the assessment (observation and discussion rather than essay). We don’t have to use the schools’ designated textbook which uses discovery math teaching.  We can choose a back-to-basics math book if that is what we want. If we want an online course, we get to choose it from all over the world, not just our government designated course. Best of all, parents and the learner can assess their learning.  When we home educate, we give the mark, not the school.

Home education is the only program that the learner can truly control and self-direct their education.

 

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The Unschooled Engineer

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How does unschooling work when a child is a teenager and is beginning to choose a career path? Many people are fine letting young children play away their day, but what about when the time comes to start thinking about their life’s work? And what if that passion is a STEM career? Good question!

Many children begin to imagine what they would do for their life work beginning around puberty and may begin the process of informally exploring careers and pathways. Not every child will follow this example, but the seeds of curiosity begin to germinate in the teen years. Let’s take an example from one of the Team of Thirty profiled in the book, Unschooling To University. Josh is 16 years old. He has had no formal schooling and loves spending his days with his cat, meeting up with other unschooling buddies for movies and lunch, reading all kinds of genre, tinkering with game mods and playing Fortnite. By following his passions, Josh has decided on a career. He passionately wants to be a software engineer. He has seen what they do by talking to family friends and people he knows that work in the industry. Let’s say he lives in Canada. Now what?

Josh looks up several Canadian university requirements for engineering and needs grade 12 level English, Social Studies or History, Pure Math, Calculus, Physics and Chemistry for university entrance of a four-year software engineering degree.

What he can do:

  1. Apply to a community college and get his first-year humanities requirements now. They might transfer to his first year at university, depending on the university regulations. He could then enroll in distance education, online, or an adult upgrading school for grade 10, 11 and 12 Math, in addition to Physics and Chemistry. Four courses per year is doable. He could take the calculus requirement in first year university. By 18 years, he would be ready to apply to universities.

 

  1. Wait until he is “mature status” and get his humanities requirements by challenging exams to document what he has already learned. He has done extensive reading and discussions of social issues with his friends and is already quite versed in literature, government and social issues. While he is waiting until he is a “mature status age” (the exact age depends on the school), he can practice writing essays and take the above required math and sciences at an adult upgrading school, online, or distance education.

 

  1. Begin self-study now in all the subject areas. He could do all of number 2 above by working through the textbooks, and/or hiring a tutor, or checking out Kahn Academy online if he needs help. At mature status age, he could write the diploma, SAT or ACT exams for English, Social, Math, Chemistry and Physics.

 

The science behind accelerated learning

When young people choose a career path, many people think that the unschooled kids must catch up on 12 grades of education.  However, we forget that the brain has been working all those years processing, acquiring and synthesizing information. By age 16, the brain is in the final stages (until age 25) of maturing the pre-frontal cortex. The teenager’s neuro capacity to reason, think critically and abstractly, plan, make-decisions and implement self-control (motivation) is ramping to its peak performance. Unschooled kids are not uneducated. Josh has spent 16 years reading, theorizing, writing, learning and understanding science, history and math in the real world through experiential education. He may need some practice applying it to paper, but that is what high school courses are for. That may take 1-3 years depending on the jurisdiction he lives in. It goes by fast. Meanwhile, the love of learning and curiosity has been preserved.

I know what you are thinking…math is linear and builds upon previous knowledge. How can Josh possibly do 10 grades of math in math 10? The answer is that Josh is not starting from grade one. He has acquired previous knowledge. Josh has learned 16 years of math experientially. He has baked, shopped, checked the weather, built a project, mailed a package and played Battleship. He has learned addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, measurement, fractions and decimals as well as integers and coordinates experientially through just living his live and going about his activities. He may need a four-month math 10 prep course to transfer his mental math learning, to working out math calculations on paper, but when he is ready, he will learn fast. It’s hard for parents to look ahead at their child and imagine what they will be like when they are older. Many parents look at their six-year-old child and can’t imagine how capable and smart their child will be at 16 years, without any formal education.

Unschooled kids are not catching up on knowledge but are synthesizing that knowledge by switching to a different track – one that requires more output/demonstration of what they already have learned. Josh knows how to calculate volume of a package but may not have been required to calculate it on paper with demonstrable steps. At age 16, never being in structured education, Josh is excited to try it, when quite a lot of his school friends are burning out from 13 years of coerced learning (possibly including 3 years of preschool). If Josh is motivated and software engineering is his passion, nothing will stop him. Nothing!

For more information about unschooling STEM, join our worldwide facebook group:

Unschooling STEM

 

Judy Arnall is a child development expert and the bestselling author of Unschooling To University: Relationships matter most in a world crammed with content. Visit her at http://www.unschoolingtouniversity.com

 

 

 

Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Unschooling is Growing Across The World

 

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The concept of unschooling as a valid educational alternative is growing worldwide.  Here are some media links of articles that discuss unschooling in different countries.

Canada

Denmark

South Africa

India

Australia

United States

United Kingdom

Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unschooling To University: Book FAQ

Did you know there is a world-wide facebook group for Unschooling STEM?

Join Unschooling STEM

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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:

  1. Adult relationships are more critical in this digital world than curriculum that is at one’s fingertips.
  2. Play is key to children’s academic success.
  3. 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.

Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , | 3 Comments