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Comments by YACCS
Friday, February 03, 2006

Who needs school?

I'm studying, go away

No school, no books, no teacher's dirty looks

By Traci Tamura and Thelma Gutierrez

Thursday, February 2, 2006; Posted: 6:18 p.m. EST (23:18 GMT)

(CNN) -- It's a child's dream. Wake up whenever you want, with nobody telling you what to do and when to do it. And here's the kicker: No school to rush off to.

Welcome to the world of "unschooling" -- an educational movement where kids, not parents, not teachers, decide what they will learn that day.

"I don't want to sound pompous, but I think I am learning a little bit more, because I can just do everything at my own pace," said Nailah Ellis, a 10-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, who has been unschooled for most of her life.

Nailah's day starts about 11 a.m., her typical wake-up time. She studies Chinese, reading, writing, piano and martial arts. But there's no set schedule. She works on what she wants, when she wants. She'll even watch some TV -- science documentaries are a favorite -- until her day comes to an end about 2 a.m.

The expectation is that along the way they will get an education.

There are no mandatory books, no curriculum, no tests and no grades. Nailah's parents are in touch with the local school district and she takes the district's required tests.

While "unschooling" could be characterized as the ultimate indulgence by a parent, Nailah's stay-at-home mother, Barbara Ellis, doesn't see it that way.

"When you get to travel around, that's education to me. That's learning. You're doing it firsthand. You're not reading it from a book. You are not hearing it from a teacher," Ellis said.

But proponents of the public education system suggest these children may be missing a key part of the educational experience.

"There is nothing like the texture of kids having contact with each other, making friends and relating to different adults in a school setting," said David Tokofsky, a longtime educator and member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.

"I actually don't know what I'm learning," Nailah said. "I think I'm just having a good time."

Jen says:

One day, ONE of these kids will win some big academic post/scholarship/whatever.

Many more will open fire in assorted public places.

Most will never have a real job and wind up becoming chronic potheads/religious freaks/groupies because they will not know what "structure" is.


That is a skill it took me years of schooling to learn. This blog is not spontaneous, I have to pick, and write and I told you all that a couple of days ago.

You can be very bright, but without focus, deadlines and expectations, how do you function in the real world.

There are two problems here: one, the child has no sense of expectations. When you can do what you want, when you want, dealing with the demands of other people is difficult You assume the world centers around you and your concerns.

You also avoid the difficult tasks, because your instinct is to choose the easy way out, even if it seems tough at the time. Good teachers can raise your expectations and abilities. This way, the child lives an unstructured life in every way possible, from bedtime to study habits.

And no, going to a museum isn't always learning. Sometimes you need to sit in a room and be lectured, so you can concentrate.

posted by Steve @ 1:24:00 AM

1:24:00 AM

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