Unschooling Rules

April 25, 2011

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It does.

But I’m referring to the book.

Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education

This book doesn’t start the way many pro home and unschooling books do.

It doesn’t start with the premise that School Is Broke.

It makes no attempt to convince you that what many view as a normal education (public or even private school) is best.

This book begins with Why We Don’t Want To Fix Them.

I loved it.

And it’s one of those books whose brevity is misleading. The short chapters are easy to consume in a few minutes each, but to digest? It may take weeks, months even.

I’ve put off reviewing this book for weeks because I wasn’t sure I would do it justice. Let me quote something from the Afterword:

The paradigm that children are widgets, little more than raw material for a conveyor-belt education designed to shape and for them, is misguided…

It is a system that is as morally flawed as it is ineffective.”

School is a relatively new experiment, but it’s already outdated. The school model simply won’t work for the kids in our time. Clark Aldrich gives parents and others 55 guidelines on how we need to think about education now.

In my own homeschooling journey, I have habitually leaned more towards the unschooling side of things. It makes little sense to me to reject an idea for my children but then to recreate that same idea in the home.

The implications of some of these 55 guidelines, I think, will take months and maybe even years for me to fully “get”. And unschooling isn’t always “easy”. It’s sometimes hard as a busy parent to ignore the siren song of the worksheet and prepackaged curriculum.

But, our kids are worth it.

A few things you’ll get from the book:

  • Why animals are better than books about animals
  • What a person in a classroom learns (Ok I’ll tell you: they learn how to be a person in a classroom)
  • The 25 critical skills not taught in school
  • Anything you “learn” but don’t need or love is lost within weeks

If you’re a homeschooling parent (or if you’re not, and sense that something is terribly wrong with school) I highly recommend this book. (You would also enjoy Clark Aldrich’s blog.)

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