Bill in his Tempered Radical blog writes with insight and passion. This week he is writing about students asking questions and he is asking some very good questions.
I deeply agree with his point that a great education has students asking beautiful questions. I could quibble when he says that it’s only this generation where students in school feel socially inhibited and so don’t show genuine academic curiosity. From a homeschooling point of view, schools are intimidating to many.
But more importantly, I’m going to ask him the bigger question about being a “tempered” radical. Now this is a question in good faith by another person (ie me), who the truth be known, moderates his own convictions and radicalism enormously. My question is not an accusation that he should be a ”committed” radical or anything else. I’m asking a genuine question about how he as a tempered radical feels about some, especially the homeschoolers, who have chosen to pursue their radical visions.
Bill is earnestly and publicly discussing the question of how education can become educational so that students are free to formulate questions and seek answers to them. He contrasts this with the current school system which discourages any question-posing by students and says instead, it is designed to train students to respond to answer high stake test questions (he has some wonderful wording about this, you should definitely read his blog. I do. I’ve subscribed for awhile).
Presumably, Bill knows about “unschooling” aka “interest driven learning” and he knows that some percentage of US students are being educated this way (It’s said that 3-4% of the K12 population is now homeschooling but we’ll all admit that these numbers are hard to verify. And of course, the unschooling segment of the homeschool population is small. I’d guess low single digits as a percentage. Still, it’s probably tens of thousands of US students).
What do you think of the radical homeschooling approach of unschooling? Obviously, homeschooling is not for everybody but is there a way to institutionalize such an approach? How much can a teacher do within the school systems to provide meaningful education to students who are programmed a certain way? What do you think about the homeschoolers and all their crazy experiments?