Yesterday, I posted some thoughts about home educated kids and university. I happened across this link today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201202/the-benefits-unschooling-report-i-survey-231-families?page=2&utm_source=feedburner&ut which is fascinating and is a great comfort to me, especially as I move swiftly (within a week!) from an eclectic home education approach to more of an unschooling one (I’m not going to put quotation marks around the word unschooling every time I use it. It needs to become an accepted part of the English language and not some niche terminology!) I quote from one questionnaire respondent, “My daughters are very creative and artistic, loved college way more (they reported) than their burned-out-about-institutions peers”. I had never thought about how different home schoolers, especially unschoolers, might experience university/college.
Yet again, it’s common sense that those with a love of learning would enjoy university so much more than those who are probably a bit sick and tired of the whole education period of their life. Most young adults enter higher education so that they can get a further qualification in order to do what they really want to do ‘in the real world’. Or else, if they don’t know what they want to do with their lives yet, the time in higher education is a time to try and find this out, but often not through their studies but through time discussing life with other young people in the pub! This is another thing that unschoolers especially seem not to suffer from as much, having had time to discover themselves, their interests and possibly even work in the field. They are thrilled to continue their much-loved learning and probably have a good idea what it’s going to lead to.
The only drawback I can think of for unschoolers is that they might not have much in common with many of their conventionally educated colleagues, finding them rather immature and frustratingly unmotivated and negative. This is something I can vividly imagine happening because it happened to some extent to myself too. I had taken a ‘gap year’ between school and Cambridge, travelling the world, spending months camping in the African bush and in working such incongruent places as the US Senate, a South African vineyard and a London sandwich shop. By the time I started university, I’d matured so much that I found the social side of university rather puerile and these other young adults rather childish with their drunken dressing up and ‘Let’s sleep through lectures with a hangover, it’s cool’ attitude. As you can see, it wasn’t simply because I was a mere year older than most of them! It was because I’d had a chance to see the world and its bigger issues. However, I absolutely LOVED my Philosophy degree and had a mature attitude to study. I can’t say I was a total swot because I did find lots of other interesting people and interesting things to do including learning to be an AIDS counselor for the city (which meant looking outside the institution for further learning, something unschoolers do early on in their educational career). In fact, after one of my fellow Philosophers had had to drop out of the degree course having been found naked up a tree having a nervous breakdown, apparently, I’m quite serious, a result of the self-imposed stress of trying to get ‘A’ grades without the spoon-feeding of his expensive private school, my Supervisor (a Cambridge Fellow who tutors you one-on-one) asked why all the students couldn’t be a mature as me. Apparently a lot of the academic staff’s time is taken up trying to deal with emotional issues faced by students used to being high flyers at school and now finding themselves smaller fish in a very large academically elitist (in the best sense of the word) pool. At the time I thought the answer was a gap year (self-funded through work) but I now think it’s unschooling. I really think my progressive-minded Supervisor would have agreed with me and I think many universities are/must be keener than ever on homeschoolers, especially unschoolers, once they’ve come across these beacons of self-motivation and maturity