It was a public education officer by the name of John Holt who championed an educational system that rejected traditional schooling where pupils were dictated to by a teacher. Unschooling children would learn at their own pace and discovered education through experience of cookery, playing, personal hobbies, work experience, social behavioural methods and group classes. Unschooling encouraged children to explore interact and indulge in activities they wished to.
The belief is that the more personal the learning structure is, the more meaning would go into the child’s learning method. Unschooling argued that the standard curriculum lacked usefulness and standard grading marks were brought into question by the philosophy. The phrase “Unschooling” was first used around 1966. Home schooling and tutoring from home has had much attention in the media, but Unschooling has had little mention. Critics of Unschooling argue that children may suffer undeveloped social skills and without the motivation and direction that would normally come from teachers and/or peers, a child may end up lacking in direction.
But the philosophy behind Unschooling determines that children learn naturally and without the need or guidance from peers. Often a child that is taught in a school shares their schooling with a number of other children within a class. The procedure that would normally be adopted is that one size fits all children in that class. The child is therefore not allowed to move at a pace he or she could move much faster in, should the Unschooling method be applied.
Holt’s concept was to endorse the love of learning. He felt that learning a specific subject like Maths, Geography, Chemistry or Art and Crafts had less impact that learning the crucial methods of how we learn. The principles that Holt believed was that children all learn at different paces and adopt different learning styles.
The idea of learning in the Unschooling method means a child is far more likely to retain the information if he or she enjoyed the activities when they were being taught to them. An example of this could be that a child would struggle to remember calculus lessons or Latin classes because a lack of interest in the subjects would mean the child struggled to remember vital knowledge. Whereas learning English literature from books like Treasure Island or Tarka the Otter, often had children mesmerized by the book’s contents and information was subsequently much more easily retained.