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? about unschooling and college

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
May I ask why ending up in a good college/graduating cum laude seems to be at the end of every unschooling success story?

Why doesn't the unschooling environment extend beyond 18 years of age?

How does college, especially in the States, differ from the school environment that unschoolers work so hard to eradicate from their children's brains?

Just curious.
post #2 of 11
I know a lot of homeschoolers who end up as college graduates, but of the grown unschoolers I know personally, only about half are college students or graduates. Most are still in their late teens or early twenties, so I don't know what will happen later, but they don't see it as a requirement. Some are just hanging out doing what they like and working jobjobs to pay rent, some are doing what they love and making money at it. One got a high-paying computer job at 18 and moved two states away, and everyone misses him but he seems happy. Actually, they all seem happy, especially when I compare them to my 23 yr old sister and her friends. They are about the happiest yoing adults I know...

OTOH, I do think college is different than K-12 school. You're treated as a competent human being, for the most part, and an independent learner. The further you go, the more true that seems to be. You also have a lot more freedom about what you'll learn, who will teach you, and when and in what format the class will be. It's more like signing up for french lessons, or dance lessons - actually, one of Rain's hsed teen friends takes tons of dance classes at the community college because it's free for her as a high school student. Not all college students are in it for the degree, and I think unschoolers are more likely to be there for the learning, not the piece of paper. If you don't want a degree you can just take what you enjoy...

As unschoolers, we're not against teaching, or formal learning situations. Rain's ballet classes and voice lessons involve both, and she's done some formal biology classes. The difference is that she's in control of the situation, and she can leave the class or lesson if it doesn't fit her needs.

Dar
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dar!

As you may have read, my dd is in a preschool to learn Russian, so I agree that formal classes aren't necessarily not unschooling.

When I think of college I think of all the silly requirements one must wade through, the grading system, the professors who may not like you, the teachers who tell you "this is the way you write this," etc. And just the expectations society places on people: success can come only with a degree. But I agree that it probably gets better as one advances.

Thanks for your perspective!
post #4 of 11
I think that thanks to the necessity of Certifications for many labor fields - you are required to go to college. Many jobs that used to just require knowledge now demand degrees and testing. Unfortunately it is where educational choice gets cut off - We can believe what we believe but if the law and employers say the teachers, engineers, doctors, architects, etc must have this piece of paper to operate then we must conform in order to make a living unitl such time that we can change the entire system (which is not likely in the near future).

Not right but realistic.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
For 4 years I worked in a field where most of my co-professionals have master's degrees. I don't even have a BA. I think it's possible to get around it.
post #6 of 11
A very good question to pose. I have considered this often. Our society is so obsessed with degrees and certifications.

This is an observation I have made from my own children who are in thier teens and twenties, as well as their peers. Unschoolers/homeschoolers are very individual even within similar enviroments, such as siblings. Some are very concerned about the goal of getting into college, getting a degree, etc. Others are more focused on thier goals and look at college as a means to that goal, and yet others are more concerned about simply living and learning on thier own.

I really think that the reason so many choose college is because of the pressure of our society to have that degree to "prove" you are educated and qualified to work in the area of your expertise. Not so much that they believe that college is the best way to educate themselves for such. In fact I see that my sons who chose to go to college are still very much the unschoolers. They approach higher learning in a much different way than their peers and expand thier education beyond the walls of the university. In fact one even chose an alternative type of college to attend. My dd continued to unschool herself without college and is raising her children to be unschoolers also. She is a very educated young woman, with a maturity beyond her years. My teenage dd is exploring the question of if college would enhance her education or simply interfere with the training she is already getting in her field of interest.

It takes courage to go againest the flow of what society is telling us, and I'm finding that most unschoolers have that courage. It is a gift we have given them by daring to unschool them in face of the nay sayers.
post #7 of 11
I agree "It takes courage to go againest the flow of what society is telling us, and I'm finding that most unschoolers have that courage. It is a gift we have given them by daring to unschool them in face of the nay sayers." BUT I can have all the courage I want - I can't call myself a psychologist or psychiatrist without the degree and related certifications. I am not just talking about my kids here but even myself. I love learning and do it for its own benefit but would love to be a psychologist - I just don't have the time and money to go back to school right on "their schedule". This is unfortunatley the world we live in. Yes, there are careers where degrees are recommended but not required - my husband for example is a salesman and yes most people around him do have degrees - he does not and has done very nicely for himself. But this is not true of all professions and one has to be realistic about how much one can change and how much one has to conform to the rules around in order to reach your goal.
post #8 of 11
I agree that our society is obsessed with degrees and certifications. They even have cert's that are beyond a Ph.D now! When I got hired at my last job, they said "Bachelor's degree perferred" (and I didn't even finish high school!) but there were other people with those jobs who had graduate degrees. And the pay was only $20K a year. So now people are getting graduate degrees so they can have jobs which require only undergraduate degrees, and which occasionally hire people without even high school! Degrees are becoming meaningless. I'm sure we all know someone with a graduate degree and no job.

I'm an undergrad student, and I think it's different from conventional school because it's my choice. I could stick with the kind of work I was doing, but I've decided to try for grad school in hopes of making more money. :LOL And it's true in college they treat you like an adult - you can go to the bathroom or eat whenever you want, there are no dress codes, you don't have to come to class if you don't feel like it, you don't get sent to the "principal" for every stupid thing, etc. I've chosen a career where a graduate degree is necessary, and because it was my choice, I'm OK with jumping through all the stupid hoops.

But I do see some problems with it - for example, there are a lot of classes I would like to take just for fun but I can't justify the expense or the time it would take because they aren't in my major. My major has a list of classes I must take; I have to go down the list and sign up for those classes, regardless of what I think of them. Most of them will not be useful to me at all. And the classes are almost all lectures with boring unimaginative books and lame assignments that are given out basically so you can prove you read the book. And, of course, multiple choice tests. The professors don't know their students since they have hundreds of them in every class. Students are given the option of designing their own major and curriculum, but since I've never been given the opportunity to do that before, I'm afraid I'd just sink, so I've decided to go with the pre-packaged one.

I think it's good that kids can get into college without going to school (although I knew this long before it was written about in books) so I wouldn't hold it against someone if they were unschooled and then wanted to go to a "good college." But at the same time, college isn't always necessary and I think kids should be supported in their decision not to go.

Besides, it's never too late to change your mind. If an 18-year-old says no to college, maybe she'll want to go when she's 25 or 30.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I guess my beef lies in the attitude that unschooling must be proven "effective" in some way, including "Honey, look, this kid made it to college, so it must "work."
post #10 of 11
That is true...I'd like it if people said "Look, she is happy and does all sorts of interesting things with her time; wow, unschooling really works!"
post #11 of 11
yeah, i am feeling the pressure even at my unschooling/eclectic playgroup a bit: 'where is she going to college? what does she want to do?' *i* don't know if she doesn't! (personally, i hope she travels for a year!) but whatever, sigh.

suse
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