Unschooling with Human History in Mind
Why understanding how we learn can ease fears and increase freedom
The term “unschooling” came onto the scene in the late 1970’s based on the work of John Holt. He believed that living and learning were inseparable and the idea that children must go away from home to learn in a different location was not only an inaccurate assessment of how children learn, but “nutty”.
"It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life."—John Holt
Holt, a teacher, writer, and lecturer understood that children were born to learn and believed schools and the typical (top-down) classroom style of teaching were impediments to real, lasting learning. He has written extensively on this topic with books like Learning All the Time, Teach Your Own, and How Children Fail, so if you want a deep lesson in unschooling and how his ideas came to be, I highly suggest you spend time reading through his impressive collection. You can also visit The Natural Child Project to read a concise interview he did with a homeschooling mother for the publication, Mothering. He played in the garden with her children while he answered common questions about homeschooling including, but not limited to, his philosophy, how children learn, how children socialize, and the parents’ role.
What I’m reminded of each time I read his words is that learning at home is not the experiment, going to school is.