History and usage

The term "unschooling" probably derives from Ivan Illich's term "deschooling", and was popularized through John Holt's newsletter Growing Without Schooling. In an early essay, Holt contrasted the two terms: GWS will say 'unschooling' when we mean taking children out of school, and 'deschooling' when we mean changing the laws to make schools non-compulsory...[15] At this point the term was equivalent with "home schooling" (itself a neologism). Subsequently, home schoolers began to differentiate between various educational philosophies within home schooling. The term "unschooling" became used as a contrast to versions of home schooling that were perceived as politically and pedagogically "school-like," using textbooks and exercises at home, the same way they would be used at school. In 2003, in Holt's book Teach Your Own (originally published in 1981) Pat Farenga, co-author of the new edition, provided a definition: When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world as their parents can comfortably bear.[16] In the same passage Holt stated that he was not entirely comfortable with this term, and that he would have preferred the term "living". Holt's use of the term emphasizes learning as a natural process, integrated into the spaces and activities of everyday life, and not benefiting from adult manipulation. It follows closely on the themes of educational philosophies proposed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paul Goodman, and A.S. Neill. At Holt's death the newsletter GWS ceased. Thereafter a range of unschooling practitioners and observers defined the term in va ious ways. For instance, the Freechild Project defines unschooling as: the process of learning through life, without formalized or institutionalized classrooms or schoolwork.[17] New Mexico homeschooling parent Sandra Dodd proposed the term "Radical Unschooling" to emphasize the complete rejection of any distinction between educational and non-educational activities.[18] Radical Unschooling emphasizes that unschooling is a non-coercive, cooperative practice, and seeks to promote those values in all areas of life. Catherine Baker and Grace Llewellyn emphasize unschooling as a process initiated and controlled by the learners (as opposed to their parents).[19][20] These usages share an opposition to traditional schooling techniques and the social construction of schools. Most emphasize the integration of learning into the everyday life of the family and wider community. Points of disagreement include whether unschooling is primarily defined by the initiative of the learner and their control over the curriculum, or by the techniques, methods, and spaces being used. [edit]Complementary philosophies Radical unschooling families may incorporate the following philosophies into their lifestyles. Unconditional Parenting and Punished by Rewards, parenting and education books by Alfie Kohn. The Continuum Concept, Attachment Parenting, and Attachment Theory, theories and practices attempting to encourage the child's development. Voluntaryism: the idea that all forms of human association should be voluntary, as far as possible. Consequently, voluntaryism opposes the initiation of aggressive force or coercion.

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