Cut the Calculus Teacher

Syllable notesHow much like school does school need to be for kids to learn reading, writing, math, and science?  Tell me.  How many square feet do we need?  Are bricks required?  How about double doors?  A gym, even?

No.  No.  Those things aren’t necessities!  Heavens to Murgatroyds!  Desks are.  Can’t learn without a desk, right?  Wrong, silly.  It’s not the desks.  It’s the teachers and the ratios.  When you have one teacher to 27 kids, then real learning can happen.  Forty to one is probably too high.  Twelve to one is not economical.  We can’t afford to have a calculus class with only ten kids.

Oh, wait!  Let’s not forget the computers.  As long as we have computers, we can ditch the books and the calculus teacher, even!  Yes!  Yes!  YES!  Ditch the books!  Ditch the calculus teacher!  EVERY KID NEEDS A TABLET!  They don’t cost much!  No, stupid.  Not a cheap, lined paper tablet.  A mind-sucking tablet.  A teacher-replacing tablet.  Then, they can teach themselves and get college credit for it.  College credit makes you smart!  Guarantees a job, they say, even!

Oh, stop!

If it’s not the desks, gym, books, or teachers, then what is school?  What’s the fuss against unschooling?  Can traditional topics be taught without a curriculum?  Without a teacher?  Today we continue on in exploring unschooling through the kind writings of unschooler Corinne Jacob and the Snagglepuss comments of me (in blue).  Heavens to Murgatroyd!  Let’s get on with it, even!

How Does an Unschooled Child Learn Traditional School Topics?  Can they, even?

Reading: Unschoolers typically learn to read in order to follow their passions – whatever it may be.  (Students with passion?  Is that allowed?  Is that possible, even?) One young unschooler learned to read when he saw his elder brother reading a horror story and he thought it would be cool to spook himself out. Another polished his reading skills as he looked up and read instruction manuals on how to play his favorite video game.  (I’ll bet you could do that on a school tablet, even.) Yet another learned by reading movie subtitles as she and her mother watched movies with the volume turned down while her father slept.

Math: Now this is one subject that most school-going children learn to hate.  (What happened to that passion?  Did it get sent to the principal’s office for PDA?  Did it get squashed out in first grade being forced to tell time and dates over and over–something any reasonable person will learn without formal education, even?)  Unschoolers, on the other hand, learn math as they adapt recipes in the kitchen, calculate player stats and analyse player performance in their favorite sports, play with duel decks, look for bargains, and go shopping.  (Doesn’t this require independence?  I wonder should we foster independence, even?)

Writing: In some cases, unschoolers learn to write out of an interest in writing stories. In other instances, they learn to write in order to communicate with a grandparent through letters (Are they in cursive?  You know cursive isn’t common core.  Exit stage, left!), share information on a topic that interests them or write fan-fiction for their favorite online role-playing game. As for writing form, that is learned not through writing but by having meaningful conversations, reading good material and developing good thinking skills, all of which are fostered in unschooling.  (It’s not fostered by sticking 14 year-old boys and girls in the same classroom?  Smoochie.  Smoochie.)

Spelling: Unschooling parents report various kinds of experiences when it comes to how their children picked up spelling.  (Spelling?  Color?  Colour?  Fiber?  Fibre?  Is it necessary, even?  Do those tablets have spell chek, even?  Gotcha’!)  Some children have a natural flair for spelling. Others seemed to take a long time to develop good spelling skills, but then learned them incredibly quickly when the need arose, such as when they wanted to use big words in their writing or when they wanted to be taken seriously by others in online forums.

unschooling2

Unschooling Architecture” by Shan Jeniah Burton is licensed under CC BY 2.0

(Be careful with those costly school supplies.  Heavens to Murgatroyd!  You might break them, even!)

As for subjects like science and social studies, kids learn them through visiting museums, zoos, and planetariums, exploring nature, reading relevant books that interest them, and playing educational online games…TO BE CONTINUED

Conclusion

Over the last year, I’ve been noticing that I sometimes get in the way of my daughters’ learning.  I help too much.  I micro-manage too much.  I’m practicing butting out.  Cutting out.  Going to cook dinner or something.  School is about education and learning, not about the process.  When school gets in the way of the potential and motivation to learn, it has failed the individual and the society.  And for the record, a live calculus teacher is worth having if for only one student, even.

My apologies on the Snagglepuss humor.  Or is it humour?  My spelling is a little rusty.  Stale, even!  Next and final unschooling post (Thank you, Corinne) we will briefly discuss unschoolers getting jobs, socially interacting, and stigma.

What do you think of unschooling?  Lazy?  Brilliant?  Ineffective?  The tops?  Scary?

Terri

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