Method of learning places power in students' hands - WKRN News 2

Method of learning places power in students' hands

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ATLANTA -

Teachers often look for innovative ways to teach students, but one lesser known method of educating and inspiring young people is referred to as "unschooling."

What looks like another day at the park for some school kids is actually a real learning lesson.  On this day, they "chose" the playground as their classroom, and tomorrow, it's wherever else they want to go.

The concept is called "unschooling," where children lead the way with no curriculum or tests, and adults watch as kids decide exactly what they want to learn and when.

With some students at this school, they want to make a comic book. Ok, so how do I spell these words? I want these characters to be saying this, and how do I draw this? So you will see how they kind of come to it based on what they want to do when have an interest," said Lauren Snow.

Snow, co-founder of The Sudbury School of Atlanta, describes unschooling as non-traditional path to success from primary school all the way to college.

"Colleges are starting to realize that students are just like, ‘Is this going to be on the test? What am I going to be graded on this?' and they aren't engaged in learning, and they don't seem to know how to learn," Snow explained.

Kelly Limes-Taylor, who taught high school for seven years, thinks unschooling is a perfect fit for her four children.

"I just have a lot of confidence in talking things over with my kids and my kids exploring," she said.

Limes-Taylor is so optimistic that her five-year-old daughter will learn to read on her own because, as of now, she can't.

"We learn written language in the same way that we learn spoken language, so when we're babies, no one teaches us to speak per se. We just have to remember that it happens naturally, in that when a young person wants to, and understands that he or she needs to, then he or she will," Limes-Taylor explained.

Some people aren't so certain, however.  

"The risk of unschooling is that children may not gain the range of skills that are necessary to succeed," stated parenting expert Dr. Erik Fisher.

It's risk that parents like Limes-Taylor believe is worth taking.

"The pocket of people who are unschooling are exploring one way of change, so while this may not be the definitive answer for our society, it is a way to try it out," she said.

The founders of unschooling say it doesn't have the same requirements as public schools since it's a private program.

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