OK, there’s two children, aged 12 and 15 years. They don’t go to public school. They don’t go to private school. Their parents don’t formally home school them. They are, in fact, unschooled in the sense we think about schooling. Their father earned a PhD in physics from Harvard, has authored an economics text book on price theory and several other books covering economics and the law, and he’s an academic economist who teaches at a law school and has never taken a course for credit in either field. Their grandfather, also well-schooled, won a Nobel Prize.
All this academia, and yet they don’t send their kids off to school. Not even to the elite ones. Surely, if anyone sees the necessity of rigorous schooling, it would be their father and grandfather, eh? The father writes in a bog:
There are a number of alternatives to the conventional model. The one
we have chosen is unschooling–leaving our children free to control
their own time, learn whatever they find of interest. I sometimes
describe it as throwing books at them and seeing which ones stick. In
our case the sticky ones included The Selfish Gene (my daughter at about 12), How to Lie With Statistics (both kids), How to Take A Chance
(a popular book on probability theory, of especial interest to my son,
at about ten, because of his interest in role playing games), and lots
of fiction, much of it intended for adults.
No doubt they will
end up not knowing several of the things on the standard curriculum–as
will many of those subject to it. But my son has learned more history
and geography from books and computer games than he would have in
elementary school history classes–and avoided the fatal lesson that
learning things is boring work, to be avoided whenever possible. My
daughter has some catching up to do in math before she is ready for
college–but both kids regard solving two equations with two unknowns
(and integer solutions) as an entertaining puzzle.
In the background, as I write this, my daughter is practicing on her harp. Without anyone telling her to.
I get it. I pretty much loathed school, although I did pretty well academically in high school. In college, I did well in the courses I found interesting and poorly in the required courses I found boring, or of no use. Most courses were of no use.
It was eight years after I graduated college that I really began learning. I learned more in two years of self-motivated study from 1990 to 1992 than in had in total in the previous 30 years of my life.
OK, so who is the grandfather? Go ahead and answer in comments. Here’s a clue, and there are a lot of comments worth reading at that link.