A recent MindShift article about how “unschoolers” turn out has sparked a lot of debate among readers. Unschooling is a category of homeschooling in which kids have the freedom to direct their learning based on their interests, not by any set curriculum. In a recent Outside Magazine article Ben Hewitt explains in detail what unschooling looks like for his two children, why he chose it and what has convinced him that he and his wife made the right choice for their sons. He writes:
“This is what I want for my sons: freedom. Not just physical freedom, but intellectual and emotional freedom from the formulaic learning that prevails in our schools. I want for them the freedom to immerse themselves in the fields and forest that surround our home, to wander aimlessly or with purpose. I want for them the freedom to develop at whatever pace is etched into their DNA, not the pace dictated by an institution looking to meet the benchmarks that will in part determine its funding. I want them to be free to love learning for its own sake, the way that all children love learning for its own sake when it is not forced on them or attached to reward. I want them to remain free of social pressures to look, act, or think any way but that which feels most natural to them.”
In early September, in a clapboard house situated on 43 acres just outside a small town in northern Vermont, two boys awaken. They are brothers; the older is 12, the younger 9, and they rise to a day that has barely emerged from the clutches of dark.