Natural Learning, also known as Unschooling, is a range of educational philosophies and practices centred on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences - including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction - rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximising the education of each child.
The term "unschooling" was coined in the 1970s and used by educator John Holt, widely regarded as the "father" of unschooling. Popular critics of unschooling tend to view it as an extreme educational philosophy, with concerns that unschooled children will lack the social skills, structure, and motivation of their peers, especially in the job market, while proponents of unschooling say exactly the opposite is true: self-directed education in a natural environment makes a child more equipped to handle the "real world."
A fundamental premise of unschooling is that curiosity is innate and that children want to learn. From this an argument can be made that institutionalising children in a so-called "one size fits all" or "factory model" school is an inefficient use of the children's time, because it requires each child to learn a specific subject matter in a particular manner, at a particular pace, and at a particular time regardless of that individual's present or future needs, interests, goals, or any pre-existing knowledge he or she might have about the topic.
Many unschoolers also believe that opportunities for valuable hands-on, community-based, spontaneous, and real-world experiences are missed when educational opportunities are largely limited to those which can occur physically inside a school building.
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