There’s an interesting article from the AP News today by Leanne Italie (here’s a link to one from the Tulsa World) about an alternative method of childhood education currently called “unschooling.” According to this article the premise behind unschooling is to allow children the freedom to explore whatever subjects are of interest to them whenever they care to, without the constraints of a specific curriculum or teacher (unless they want one). Parents are seen as learning facilitators, but not necessarily teachers. Proponents of the method say that the children thrive when they can study topics that matter to them at their own self-motivated pace. Others feel that this method of learning is haphazard and leaves gaps in a child’s education. Clearly, there is room for a lot of debate on this subject.
However, no matter what method of education parents choose for their children, the truth is that parents are the first and the most natural “learning facilitators” for their children. A parent’s involvement in their child’s learning early in life can do much to shape a love for learning and a desire to learn in their children. One of the best ways to nurture that love for learning is to read together with children and to talk about what was read. In this way, a parent can ask questions and interact with their children in ways that will help their kids become active thinkers instead of passive listeners…a very desirable quality in both today’s unschoolers and more traditionally educated children.