"you have to trust that the child will learn"

A nice article on unschooling making the rounds:

'You have to trust that the child will learn', Rosalind Rossi, Chicago Sun-Times

Unschooling is rooted in the ideas of education reformer John Holt, who said children are innately curious and will learn what they need to know when they need to know it.

That doesn't mean unschoolers won't ever take conventional classes.

Art enthusiasts may take art classes. Teens who want to go to college may take community college classes first.

Unschoolers figure out what they want to do in life and then learn what they need to get there. Advocates say they absorb material better by learning it when they need it.

One unschooling Web site calls the approach "delight-driven learning." Author Pat Farenga, a student of Holt's, calls it "the natural way to learn."

"This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work," Farenga writes in Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Unschooling.

One Northside Unschoolers mom was seeking an alternative to the test emphasis and heavy homework in her public school. Other unschooling parents may want to avoid labels schools put on especially active kids or late readers.

"The hardest thing for most people ... is that you have to trust that the child will learn," said Mary Griffith, author of The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom.


And, the token banal warning (do all these writers work with the same stock formula?):

"We don't know that children are innately curious. The question is open," Schubert [professor of curriculum studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago] said.


Could a person possibly be any more out of touch with the reality of childhood? And how sad that to even be able to consider the possibility, his own original desire to learn must have atrophied so much that he can only speculate about its existence as an innate human trait.