Originally Posted by LeftField
Am I the only person who never learned much from group projects other than the principle of social loafing? You know, one person basically does all the work while most others hang out in the security of the group/herd and contribute virtually nothing? I identify as an introvert so I realize this is a factor. But honestly, group work is highly overrated, IMO. I could learn and accomplish twice as much in the same period of time if no one made me work in a group. Also, and I say this as someone who has a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development (i.e. I've studied a lot about group work methodology), the final product of brainstorming is usually the most stale and "safe" solution rather than the most ingenious one because it requires many diverse individuals to sign off on it. I'm glad that my kids won't be forced to do silly group projects, to be completely honest. That's a homeschool bonus for us, IMO.
[...] I will say that I learned the most meaningful things in school when I was ignoring the teacher and reading under my desk. I learned the most when I read the "wrong" chapter and skipped through the book to find interesting things, while ignoring lectures. Even in high school, it was clear that many of my teachers were only a few chapters ahead of us and that most lacked deep knowledge in the subject. They were subject generalists but if I asked deeper questions, they would have to get back to me with book titles and such.
Even my AP History teacher had to redirect me with book suggestions for my free time. We didn't have time to go into more depth in African American History and I was asking a lot of questions. He recommended I read, "Native Son" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". I read those for information and pleasure, not for credit. So basically, he did what a homeschool "teacher" would do, which is he redirected me to resources so that I could educate myself. When I was in school, I learned the most when I was reading other things rather than paying attention to the lecture. I know I'm not the only one.
[...]I will preface this by saying that my child is very young (he would have been in Kindergarten this past year). But for us, whenever I've attempted to play the teacher role, I've seen him quickly lose at least some of his enthusiasm. Even when he's chosen things that he wants to learn about, when I present it in neat little packages, he just loses some of that light in his eyes. It's like he realizes that I'm invested in it and he's either humoring me or feeling some obligation to me. OTOH, when he directs his own learning, not only does his exude high levels of enthusiasm, but he's incredibly self-motivated and he learns so much. With unschooling, which looks very haphazard to others, he's learned so much in this past year that he is head and shoulders above most of the K curriculum. One of the most important outcomes of unschooling, for my family, is the development and preservation of an amazing degree of self-motivation. And that quality, in my personal experience, is one of the most important things in the workplace and the thing that so many people lack. Creativity and critical thinking are the other two things that are hard to come by in the workplace, in my personal experience. For us, I see unschooling as strongly developing self-motivation, creativity and critical thinking.