Self Directed Learning
If adults do not direct children’s education, then what role do they play in children’s education? A major role of adults is to provide the environmental conditions that maximize children’s abilities to assert and learn from their natural educative drives.
Research suggests that the following conditions are key:
- Social expectation (and reality) that education is children’s responsibility
- Unlimited time to play, explore, and pursue one’s own interests
- Opportunity to play with the tools of the culture
- Access to a variety of caring adults, who are helpers not judges
- Free age mixing among children and adolescents
- Immersion in a stable, supportive, respectful community
Excellent article by Peter Gray on the difference between self directed education and progressive education:
Agile Learning Centers
“Some things are central to what ALCs are about, while other elements are flexible and may vary between communities. We use a metaphor of a tree to illustrate this aspect of the ALC educational model more clearly.
The soil we grow from is trust: in students, in each other, in you. The four assumptions—roots—which ground us are as follows:
Learning: Learning is natural. It’s happening all the time.
Self-Direction: People learn best by making their own decisions. Children are people.
Experience: People learn more from their culture and environment than from the content they are taught. The medium is the message.
Success: Accomplishment is achieved through cycles of intention, creation, reflection and sharing.”
STREWING (this is what the Open Studies setups are)
The Art of Strewing: Instilling the Love of Learning by Piquing your Child’s Natural Curiosity, Aadel Bussinger writes extensively on how to go about strewing. She suggests that strewing involves:
Opening doors to new ideas and opportunities
Feeding the flames of interests and hobbies
Providing resources, structure, and information
Showing examples of how to research
Sowing seeds of potential
Parents can help create space by setting up comfortable stations (OPEN STUDIES) for kids to work, setting out materials for creative work, books. Parents can work on their own projects in the space and have extra materials available for the children to get involved in a similar thing.
Project Based Homeschooling
Helpful resource for observation skills for parents, how to support the child’s interest and sustain it. We’ll have to adapt this method to working in a real self directed learning community without coercion.
Books about Unschooling and Self Directed Education:
- John Holt’s writings
- Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald
- Free to Learn by Peter Gray
- Learning is Natural, School is Optional: The North Star Approach to Offering Teens a Healthy Start in Life by Kenneth Danford
- The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn