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Unschooling Is A Different Approach To Learning
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Story By: Larry Stine



  Originally Published on: 12/8/2013

Teachers often look for innovative ways to teach students. But one lesser-known method of educating and inspiring young people is referred to as "unschooling." George Howell reports. What looks like another day at the park for these school kids, is actually a real learning lesson. On this day, they choose the playground as their classroom. And tomorrow, it's wherever else they want to go. The concept is called "unschooling." Where children lead the way, with no curriculum or tests, and adults watch as kids decide exactly what they want to learn, and when. "With some students at this school, they want to make a comic book," says Layren Snow, co-founder of The Sudbury School of Atlanta. "OK, so how do I spell these words? I want these characters to be saying this, and how do I draw this? So you will see how they kind of come to it, based on what they want to do when they have an interest." A co-founder of Atlant's private Sudbury School, Lauren Snow describes unschooling as a non-traditional path to success from primary school, all the way to college. "Colleges are starting to realize that students are just like, 'Is this going to be on the test?' What am I going to be graded on this? And they aren't engaged in learning. And they don't seem to know how to learn." Kelly Limes-Taylor taught high school for seven years. But even she thinks unschooling is a perfect fit for her four kids. "I just have a lot of confidence in talking things over with my kids and my kids exploring," she says. So confident, she's optimistic that her five-year-old will learn how to read, on her own. Because, as of now, she can't. "We learn written language in the same way that we learn spoken language. so when we're babies, no one teaches us to speak, per se, we just have to remember that it happens naturally, in that when a young person wants to, and understands that he or she needs to, then he or she will," says Limes-Taylor. But some aren't so certain. Parenting expert Erik Fisher tells CNN, "the risk of unschooling is that children may not gain the range of skills that are necessary to succeed. Still, it's a risk parents like Limes-Taylor believes is worth taking. "The pocket of people who are unschooling are exploring one way of change, so while this may not be the definitive answer for our society, it is a way to try it out," she says. Because Sudbury is a private program, its founders say it's not held to all of the same requirements as public schools. An unconventional approach towards education that is catching on for many parents who believe the world is the best classroom for their kids to learn.
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