What is education?

At the 4 real learning forum, we have been discussing unschooling.

What is unschooling? Is it another form of education, of homeschooling?

To a certain extent, one could say that our family is a family of unschoolers. Especially if one uses the quote below from educator John Holt, to describe our unschooly homeshool.

However, I do hate labels – we never quite fit the parameter of any one particular box, be it the unschool box, the homeschool box, the Catholic box… I suspect this is true for most.

The quote ~

Any child who can spend an hour or two a day, or more if he wants, with adults that he likes, who are interested in the world and like to talk about it, will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school. ~John Holt

This quote describes part of our homeschooling life and our philosophy of homeschooling.

So, what is education?

A poster at the 4 real board posted a link to this article ~ What Does It Mean to be Well Educated?

This article makes me cringe .The example used by the author – his wife – is the example that causes me to grimace. The author points out that his wife does not know literature, for example, but is a deep thinker, a physician, well educated, etc. I am sure she is all these things.

So, why does this make me cringe? I think because the author does not give us the impression that his wife is continuing to learn – to realize “Hey, I know a lot about some things and I enjoy thinking about them and contributing to society. But when people talk about literature I have no idea. Maybe I’m missing somethng here? I’ll continue with my self education and read literature and broaden my horizons.”

There is a self satisfaction promoted by the article, a postmodern view that all learning is equal, all things are good….

To me, education and to be educated implies having a thirst for knowledge and for thought and/or discussion, self learning, never stopping learning…throughout life.

In part, that is why I like unschooling – it tends to encourage and feed this thirst for self learning.

And in part, that is why I am no longer a radical unschooler – I wanted to add to our life, to add some “let’s do” to our days and weeks – rather than just an reliance on strewing.

For me a “let’s do” has a bit more emphasis than strewing. It has a stronger encouragment for areas for which my sons may not naturally feel an attraction , even when we strewing and set examples as role models.

Areas that are important, that we parents see as having value ~ areas that are noble and good.

I like this essay ~ C. S. Lewis on a Liberal Arts Education.

Lewis describes a liberal arts education as an education that makes one free. Free from the slavery of appetite and free to choose to be self disciplined. To learn from the past, to think , to fulfill one’s humanity, to become a better person and a better citizen.

“Most of all, perhaps, we need an intimate knowledge of the past.” C.S. Lewis

Perhaps we are liberal arts unschoolers?

2 thoughts on “What is education?”

  1. Leonie –You always have the best articles referenced. This one is definitely saved and will be forwarded also to my dh!THANKS for helping my home continue to learn!

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