More parents choose to 'unschool' kids - FOX Carolina 21

More parents choose to 'unschool' kids

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It is estimated by education experts that 1.5 million children are home-schooled each year in the United States.  A small number of them are considered "unschooled."  That means their parents do not follow a strict curriculum or give grades or tests.

Recently, the Halldorson family visited the Upstate. They are originally from New Hampshire, but have spent the past year living on a converted school bus. Parents Jeff and Kelly Halldorson decided to make the transpiration from home-schooling to unschooling. 

They asked their children, Xoey, Griffin, and Wolfgang what they wanted to do. As a family, they decided to travel.  They have driven their bus to thirty-four states, visiting places of interest or events like political debates. They say life is the best education for their teenage children.

The word "unschooling" was coined by an author in the 1970's. The idea is to allow young people to pursue their passions. That means if a child is interested in gardening, the parent gives them the opportunity to garden. 

The mother or father would be a facilitator in the child's life; providing seeds, soil, time, and expertise to the child. Other lessons would follow. The child would likely read about gardening, do math related to the planting of the seeds, or follow the science of growing vegetables.

Kelly Lovejoy is a Columbia, SC, mom who is a state-wide advocate of unschooling. A decade ago, she pulled her son, Cameron, out of a private school and started unschooling. Her younger son, Duncan, never went to a traditional school.  

Together, the family has traveled, learned about everything from raising chickens to politics, and the boys have grown into young adults.  Cameron is interested in travel, farming, and writing. Duncan is interested in computers.

There are few regulations related to unschooling.  Lovejoy told Fox Carolina that parents are required to show their children learned 180 days of the year. She keeps records of what they have learned through a daily log or blog.  But she says it is rare for anyone in authority to ask about their schooling.  She told us, only the Department of Social Services might inquire if there was a claim of educational neglect.

Lovejoy believes unschooling is growing in popularity as parents look to slow down their lives and spend more time with their children. She also says many families are tired of the standardized tests and structured environment found in a traditional public or private school. 

Conventions and other events for unschooling families are held throughout the year, and Lovejoy says they are well-attended. Online groups are also seeing more interest, as parents inquire about the option of unschooling.

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