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Boston educator John Holt first came up with the ideas behind unchooling in the 1960's. His approach was basically "don't do what the schools do - stifle natural learning impulses, force intellectual activity to be subject to a rigid timetable, and so on." Today, many parents simply take this to mean "Don't do anything academic unless your child initiates the interest."
Most families that follow the unschooling approach do not allow television, video games, or other activities prevalent today in their homes or in their children's lives. To create an unschooling environment in your home, have lots of stimulating books around and read them as a family. Whatever your kids show interest in is what you should teach them, albeit in an academic way! Take a cooking class together. Listen to all different kinds of music. Learn to play an instrument yourself. Play board games ( like Scrabble, Uno, chess and Set). Put things in front of your children that will stimulate their interest in the three R's. Then you can teach them –without sitting in a classroom at a desk.
This method has no absolute hoops to jump through, but be sure to check the laws of your state before heading down this road. Many states require certain curricular items to be taught and ask for evidence of such items.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|