As you can tell by the title of this blog post, I’m going to be having a new posting schedule. I have decided to blog three times a week instead of two, and now I will be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
You may be wondering why I’m increasing the amount of blog posts I do per week. The answer is that I am going to be blogging about a new topic, but I don’t want it to interfere with my normal routine of posting about writing and knitting.
Starting tomorrow (January 22nd), I’ll be blogging about homeschooling, unschooling, and self-directed learning, and I will be doing posts about that topic on Mondays only.
Wednesdays and Fridays will have my usual mix of writing, knitting, and art themed blog posts, with occasional dips into other topics.
In case you don’t know what homeschooling, unschooling, and/or self-directed learning are, here are some explanations.
Your definitions may differ, and that’s okay. These styles of education are often used together, and so their meanings can be difficult to differentiate. Note that in these definitions, an external source can be anyone from a parent to the school system itself.
My definition of homeschooling is this:
Homeschooling is a form of home education where students follow an externally set curriculum in the structure of their homes, rather than the structure of a school.
In my experience, homeschoolers still follow the standardized curriculum, but they learn at home, usually through online courses. They are helped along by textbooks, schedules, exercises, and tests that are provided externally.
Often times, homeschooled children don’t learn entirely through that kind of structure. Similarly, children enrolled in the public school system don’t learn entirely through the structure of school.
Children will often find that they have their own interests, and will pursue the knowledge and experience that they feel they need, in order to get fulfilment out of those interests. Because of this, a child may seek education outside of a set curriculum.
This leads me to the next style of home education.
My definition of unschooling is this:
Unschooling is a form of home education where the child is given control of what they learn and how they learn it. The structure that they create is entirely their own, and void of external deadlines and requirements.
The philosophy behind unschooling is that children have an inherent desire to learn, and the imposed structures of a school system stifles that curiosity. Because of this, unschooled children are encouraged to learn through play and to seek out the resources needed for learning.
One of the major criticisms of unschooling is that children are not learning what is ‘required’ to function in society as adults.
While this is a valid criticism, the cases in which children are not learning what they need to are often caused by the child not having access to the resources that are necessary.
For example, an unschooled child may take a great interest in mathematics, and may want to pursue that interest to the best of their ability. If they do not have access to the proper resources they will likely not be able to figure out complicated mathematics on their own.
I feel that it is the parents responsibility to provide the necessary resources for their children to learn, in the case of unschooling.
The final style of education that I want to talk about is what I think is a hybrid between unschooling and homeschooling systems. It’s what I call self-directed learning.
Here is my definition of self-directed learning:
Self-directed learning is a style of education where the student decides what they want to learn, but they will still have externally set goals, requirements, and deadlines.
Self-directed learning is a style of education where an external source determines what they learn, but the student chooses their goals, routines, and deadlines.
Because there is a combination of the student and an external source deciding on the subject and method of the education, I call it self-directed. The student gets to direct their education, but does not have full control of it.
The way I have been learning has been through a combination of the three styles of learning.
Sometimes I’ll learn a subject through more traditional homeschooling methods, other times it’s through unschooling methods that I learn. Occasionally I’ll learn through a mix of both, making it self-directed learning.
It also depends on what my father (the main facilitator of my education) and I feel that I need to learn.
As an example, I have a drive to write, and I want to pursue writing as a career instead of a hobby. Because of my drive, my writing studies are primarily done through unschooling methods.
However if I had no drive to write, my father would still have me learn it, probably through homeschooling or self-directed learning methodology.
I feel the need to write, therefore I do not have to be forced to do so.
On the other hand, my father wants me to learn C++, which is a programming language. I don’t have the drive to learn C++, but he feels that it would benefit my education, and so I learn it in a more structured way, a way that aligns more with homeschooling methodologies.
When it comes to art, I was primarily doing self-directed learning. The choice to study art was entirely my own, but the way I chose to study it gave me external goals and deadlines.
Because of my experience with homeschooling, unschooling, and self-directed learning, I feel that I am qualified to provide advice, tips and tricks, and resources.
My first blog post on that topic will be a list of resources and my experiences with them, and it will be posted tomorrow, so stay tuned.