__Due to ongoing health issues, the Special Needs Homeschool site has not been updated. The resources here are timeless and I hope you continue to visit and share! I am hoping to get back here as soon as the dust settles to update and revive SNH. In the meantime, the SNH Facebook page and group are hopping with resources and support.
Concerns over college run deep when discussing unschooling. People are under the impression that unschooling means unlearning and as such, there is no future for secondary education. How can a child deal with deadlines, routine, and teachers if they never had that type structure growing up?
Contrary to popular belief, unschooling teaches many values that are desperately needed in today’s power hungry world. Here’s a story to illustrate my point:
My Hubby went back to school after a work related injury. Imagine going to college after 20 years of being out of school! Not too mention he did not attend college in the first place. He completed a 6 year program in 4 years out of pure motivation. One day he was talking to the Dean of his course (Transportation Engineering) and telling him the concerns Hubby had about college because our boys are homeschooled. The Dean questioned Hubby if our boys were unschooled or homeschooled! Hubby explained that we have done both over the years and the Dean was ecstatic!
The Dean commented that too many kids are drilled on what the topics are to learn instead of *how* to learn. Unschooled kids fly through college because they have the tools needed to succeed. Independence in their studies, the ability to research in all avenues, formulate an outline, put it all together into a format that is easily presentable. Most unschoolers at some point will do bulletin board projects, essays, slide shows, videos etc...just to put their research together for contests and things of that nature or just for fun! Unschoolers tend to learn to be strategic thinkers, problem solvers, out of the box collaborators with peers, but there was one negative.
The Dean commented that unschoolers don’t do well with deadlines because they are use to going at their own pace. Since college is a public school facility, there are deadlines. I have noticed this with my eldest too. He hates having deadlines and not diving into the topic as deep as he would like because there's not enough time. He often will continue a topic the school gave him on his own time. He is in high school now after years of unschooling. Deadlines seemed to be the only real adjustment he had difficulty with but is fine now, even tests and exams! He loves it and I believe his enjoyment stems from the fact going this route was his choice. He choose to attend high school and it’s his choice every year to stay. It will be his choice for college and what goals he pursues there too.
Instead of being told what to do, unschoolers have learned to take orders and give orders. A child in charge of their own education has the ability to become an expert in a field of interest. Unschoolers learn *how* to learn, not just the facts. Children can learn to be power driven by their interests and motivated by praise. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Quote by William Butler Yeats.
How does this fit with special needs? Glad you asked. All children have strengths and weaknesses. I find children with special needs tend to be more aware of these strengths and weaknesses. They don’t have false ideas like those people that show up on American Idol and can’t sing at all. Unschooling teaches trial and error naturally. Finding yourself and your abilities within the educational world and pursuing your own field of expertise is just like college. It allows a child to experience the freedom of exploration learning. Creativity has no boundaries except within ones own imagination.
Isn’t that what post-secondary education is all about? Taking classes within a field of interest, pushing the boundaries to succeed, and developing the self-motivation to get things done like a grown-up has to do everyday?
Whatever path your family has taken to home learning, including unschooling, may your child grow to fulfill his/her FULL potential. Even in the post-secondary field of college.