Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Educationby Clark Aldrich is the perfect book for parents who are curious to find out what unschooling is, have a kindle and a few bucks. It is written a bit like a manifesto, with a numbered list of chapters explaining why traditional schooling doesn’t work and why unschooling is the most natural way for human beings to learn.
We all unschool ourselves. When we either need to know something or love a topic so much that we desire to know more, what do we do? Do we sign up for a collage class at the local collage that will start in 7 weeks? No, we use our resources (internet, people, experts, books, inquiry) to find the information we seek. We are more likely to remember what we learn because it applied to something that was important to us. Unschooling is exactly this, but for kids. Instead of shoving a bunch of coursework infront of them that we think they will need or use, we let them decide what interests them and be their guide to learning what they desire to know. Children are able to explore the world through their own interest, which keeps their hunger for knowledge alive.
If you have a child in school who comes home with hours of homework to do, doesn’t like school, is feeling depressed or pressured by school or is not supported in her interests by school, this book is a must read.
Sending our kids to school is a relatively recent invention of glorified day care for working parents. Aldrich does a great job explaining that traditional school is a waste of everyone’s time and actually serves to squash the excitement of inquiry and learning. Unschooling gives children a chance to learn things that interest them and keeps the hunger for knowledge alive in them. They learn how to learn. They remember things they learn when they are exploring topics that interest them. They are not pressured to memorize useless information to regurgitate it onto a test. Traditional school has become really good at teaching kids how to memorize and take tests. But these are not skills that are useful in their daily lives, nor will be they useful skills in their future lives.