Originally Posted by Tigeresse
Also, when Holt defined unschooling and described how children naturally learn, it was before the proliferation of computers, internet, Nintendo, and TV's with 27,000 channels, not to mention way more "options" (overstimulation) for kids outside the home. I really think this has changed the face of "natural" learning.
I hope no one minds me jumping in late in the discussion here. (I haven't had much time to visit the boards lately so I just saw this tread and the title peeked my interest.)
I agree that things have changed enormously since the 70's and the beginging of the modern day homeschool movement. There is so much more information and resources that my younger children have at thier fingertips that my 3 oldest (adults now) did not. They grew up without a computer in the home and a simpler life, but because of the unschooling mindset that they all have, they eagerly, and easily, learned the skills they needed or wanted to know when they needed, or wanted to know them. Isn't that really what unschooling is all about?
My younger 4 children (7-16)are growing up with the internet as a part of thier lives and have naturally learned how to use it for their own interests, just as they have naturally learned to benifit from our garden, the beach, the woods, and the park's nature centers.
In my experience, unschooling is more of a way of approaching life, than a method of teaching, or learning. It involves looking at everything in life as an adventure or oppertunity to understand something. This takes the pressure off of the parent to "teach" and frees the parent to simply enjoy life with the child.
I find that there are times when I teach something to my children, such as when Heidi wanted to learn to crochet. It was natural for me to show her how to hold the crochet hook and yarn and explain how to read a pattern or improvise with her own ideas. The key is that we enjoyed this experience, she gained a skill she wanted to learn, and I had a great time watching my child blossom in this area.
It works the same with more academic areas such as math, reading and spelling. I've found that trying to have "lessons" rarely acomplishes what I had hoped for. When the child has the need to know, they are ready to learn in a very short time, and the information will be readily internilized.
I have found that the technology available to us now does not hinder unschooling, but rather makes it even simpler. Now we go to the web instead of the stack of encyclopedias, however we still maintain a large library of books that are refered to just as frequently.
One draw back I have found, is that, unlike my older children who are avid readers, my younger children are more inclined to want to see a video than to read a classic. Perhaps this is simply a sign of the times. We continue to expose them to the classics through theater, videos, and the many books on our shelves which we talk about endlessly.
In the end, we can only hope to expose them to all the world has to offer and encourage them in thier journey. Ultimately they must find their own way in this brave new world in which they find themselves. The child or adult with an unschooled mind will be able to excell in any enviroment.