Monday, March 22, 2010

Child Development and the School Factor

A recent email conversation with a friend who works in child psychology clarified some thoughts I have about following a rational approach to my children's education. Here's what I wrote. I added a link to the article we were discussing.

"For obvious reasons I'm interested in education, development, and what the evidence really tells us. My frustration has been that, as highlighted in [this post on the Freedom to Learn Blog at Psychology Today], most research about childhood learning assumes traditional school structure as a given instead of deriving it as a preference.
For rational homeschoolers, research about child development would make a lot more sense if it treated the institution as a variable instead of a given. Well, not just for homeschoolers, but for anyone interested in fundamental change in our approach to education, which might be considered if the research net were cast further. What I find instead are polarized views - the school-based view (of what is observed in/works best in schools) and the anti-school view (which is light on evidence and heavy on "common sense" rhetoric and emotional appeal)."

So that's where my head is lately. I'm seeking validation of (or real evidence to challenge) our unschooling methodology, and I'm not totally satisfied with the resources available.


  1. I think what you are doing is rad! I learned so much from just driving around the country, so the fact that you are doing that plus hitting up anything "educational" is super cool. What do your boys think?

  2. Hey, Ashlynn! I'm so glad you say you learned a lot while traveling. I feel that way, too, and without traveling extensively or tried to make a geography lesson of it -- learning just happens if you're curious and free to notice things, right?

    The kids mostly love our lifestyle, and only occasionally speak wistfully of the farm and house we no longer own. They don't really know a rooted life. We never stayed put more than a couple of seasons at a time. And we plan to return to our adopted hometown (Joe's birthplace) in Kansas every summer, to reconnect with dearly missed friends and enjoy a taste of small-town living.

    We'll probably be out your way next winter - you can ask the kids what they think then. They'll have plenty to say. They always do! ;)