do you need 'proof' that unschooling works?
In homeschooling circles, someone will invariably share that their 8 year old is at a 6th-grade reading level already, and everybody gushes approval because they're "ahead".
They want to hold up stats and measurements as ‘proof’ the unschooling is working.
Or worse - they highlight moments where their kid is naturally interested in doing worksheets or math apps, and call that proof of unschooling...
“Hooray, they jumped thru the hoop labeled ‘academia’ all on their own! Isn’t unschooling great?” 🤨
If you only think unschooling is ‘working’ on the days your child decides that worksheets and lectures are fun, and not on the days where they’re binge-watching pokemon or playing video games … you’ve still got some de-schooling to do.
Just because they enjoy numbers, doesn’t mean they want or need to “study math”.
Just because they enjoy journalling, doesn’t mean they’re going to spontaneously start writing in 5-paragraph essay format.
Back to the ‘good’ schools with high test scores…
Here’s the thing:
Test-taking is itself a skill, and while it’s very useful to produce metrics and data that ‘prove’ things you’d like to say are true … that skill has very little value outside of classroom learning.
If a school has high test scores, I think it’s more likely a sign that they allow little room for things like arts, physical fitness, and music in those educators' classrooms, because there is so much pressure on them to 'produce' kids who are good at test-taking.
I’m not sure why anyone would think that’s an indication of a great learning environment.
Performative hoop jumping is continually mistaken for educational value and critical thinking skill -
…and frankly, it’s a little disturbing when people can’t tell the difference.
When it comes to ‘reading level’, I confess that I have no idea offhand what grade my children would be in, if they were in public school.
So of course I don't know what ‘reading level’ they're at - and I have no interest in knowing, either.
Because they enjoy books and reading, and ask deep questions about the content they consume.
They ask questions about spelling and grammar.
They read and write for pleasure.
They read quickly and efficiently, much like any adult who also loves and values reading.
All those things indicate critical thought and true learning.
THAT kind of proof is what we really ought to be looking for.
Read more on unschooling here:
- The Unschooling Collection -
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