Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » UNSCHOOLING = ECLECTIC?

    Filed at 10:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve always thought that “eclectic” meant “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” HSLDA President Mike Smith seems to disagree:

    About 150,000 children are “unschooled” – that is the child discovers subjects on her own and in some instances sets her own schedule. Mike Smith of the Home School Legal Defense Association calls unschooling “informal.”
    “As they go along, mom and dad are imparting wisdom and as they see learning experiences, they use them. It doesn’t mean they don’t have some kind of curriculum, but it probably is not one store-bought curriculum; it’s what they call eclectic.”

    4 Responses to “UNSCHOOLING = ECLECTIC?”

    Comment by
    Bob Heiny
    February 8th, 2006
    at 9:19 am

    This is interesting definition and example of eclectic curricula. I recognize it. My guess is that most people learn most things they know and skills they use through such ad hoc acquisition. I note that Education Development Center has an ongoing study of a cohort of students they call Power Users of technology who are self-initiating and self-directing learners.

    Comment by
    February 8th, 2006
    at 1:25 pm

    I saw that article too. I thought this sentence was also interesting

    Smith believes unschooling is fine for some families as long as the parents can satisfy their state’s requirements for education.

    So now I’m wondering, if the parent cannot satisfy the state’s requirement for education is Mr. Smith suggesting the parents abandon their desire to use an unschooling approach?

    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    February 8th, 2006
    at 1:54 pm

    Spunky, that sentence isn’t a QUOTE from Mike Smith. It’s a journalist’s characterization of Mike’s position.

    I’ve had to defend unschoolers in Massachusetts, where every child’s program has to be “approved in advance” by the local school district every year. Homeschool law doesn’t get much tougher than that, in my opinion. But we’ve defended these families in depth, and successfully.

    Comment by
    February 8th, 2006
    at 2:57 pm

    Thanks Scott. I realized it wasn’t a quote that’s why I said I thought the sentence was interesting and led me to wonder what it suggested. I asked it as a question because I was uncertain. It wasn’t an attack on Mr. Smith. Just a question nothing more nothing less.

    I didn’t use quotes nor did I indicate that Mr. Smith said it. I was looking to see how others might have read the comment.

    I appeciate the clarification and am thankful that you have successfully defended unschooling homeschoolers. My question was what would be suggested should the state deem their approach not up to state standards.

    I realize this may be a hypothetical but proactive thinking is sometimes a helpful exercise to keep from being thrown off guard.

    My comment was asked with these thoughts in mind.