Unschooling Rules by Clark Aldrich – Rules 1-5

unschoolrules book

Are you thinking of unschooling? Do you wonder WHAT it is?

There is a great book “Unschooling Rules” by Clark Aldrich that lists “55 ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education.”

Even if you are not homeschooling or unschooling, you may find some of these ideas and thoughts intriguing and thought-provoking. So here is a summary and review…just for YOU.

Well, actually, it’s for me as well. I learn by reading, writing and thinking on something a while. So you are helping me with that process. Cheers!

55 ways is a lot to take in, so I’m going to break this down into some manageable bites.

Rule #1 -Learn to be; learn to do; learn to know – learning to be (who am I, what is my purpose) and learning to do (leadership, innovation, stewardship, practical skills, etc) are not learned in schools.

Rule #2 – Focus on reading, writing and arithmetic – going back to these core subjects, focusing on them, is where children should START. I’m not saying, and neither is the author, that it is the be all, end all. Simply that it must re-establish as the focus of any schooling – unschooling or otherwise.

Rule #3 – Learn something because you need it or you love it – Need to know is fairly obvious (see Rule #2 above) and also includes things such as stewardship, project management, innovation and more. The idea of encouraging your children to teach classes (as &mommykerrie has done with her eldest son – thank you Joel, we love your mammal study!) to others can help with this. And also to help your child explore the interests that truly move them – music, art, history, whatever.

Rule #4 – 25 critical skills are seldom taught, tested or graded in high school – this is a long list, but I’m going to put them here so you can see them and really think on them. Imagine if each of our children had these critical skills in their teens – how different of a world we could have! Here they are: adapting, analyzing and managing risks, applying economic, value and governing models, behaving ethically, being a leader, building and nurturing relationships, communicating, creating or process reengineering new actions, processes and tools, developing security, efficiently meeting complex needs, gathering evidence, identifying and using boards of mentors and advisors, maintaining and practicing stewardship of important systems and capabilities, making prudent decisions, managing conflict, managing projects, negotiating, planning long term, prioritizing tasks and goals, probing, procurement, scheduling, solving problems innovatively, sourcing/buying goods and services, using containment strategies.

Some of those sound very big and very complicated – but really they are not. It reminds me of a Robert Heinlein quote that ends with “Specialization is for insects.”

Rule #5 – Don’t worry about preparing students for jobs from an Agatha Christie novel – Aldrich goes on to state that educators place great attention and ethical value on the jobs of a novelist, musician and professional mathematician. I don’t know that I agree on most of that – although I must say that far too much time was spent on critiquing fiction and poetry for my taste…and I’m a WRITER.

That reminds me, I really need to post on book clubs…

Wait for it…

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