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Topic: 257 – Home-schooling:Homeschooling Laws
Limiting State Control Over Education
The 1920’s stood witness to the leading major court cases limiting the power of government to control education.
Nebraska
A Nebraska statute forbade teaching of foreign languages before completion of grade eight.
The rule was changed by the Supreme Court, declaring that a teacher had a right to teach and a student had the right to learn, and the parents had the right to determine what their child should be taught.
Oregon
The Oregon state required by law that all children attend public schools.
Private or home schooling was illegal.
In 1925, the Supreme Court changed the rule.
‘The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations’
Supreme Court Ruling
After these rulings, people in other states also started challenging the power of the state and acquired rulings of their own allowing them to have power over the education of their children.
Topic: 258 – Home-schooling: Common Homeschooling Laws - 1
Most commonly addressed issue by the governments in cases of homeschooling are subsequently discussed.
Notification
Many countries require families to notify their local department of education or the local authorities of their intent to homeschool their children.
Some countries or states require notification only for children who are leaving school, rather than ones who have been homeschooled from the beginning.
Parent Qualification
Some countries require no qualification other than being the child’s parent or legal guardian, others require them to have a specific level of formal education, or to work with certified teachers.
Attendance
Attendance in some form or the other is required in all countries that enforce education.
Some require compulsory attendance at schools, others specify number of days required of homeschooled children to be studying at home.
Topic: 259 – Home-schooling: Common Homeschooling Laws - 2
Proficiency
Children are expected to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in a variety of subjects to be considered educated.
Different states and countries have different laws regarding proof of a child's academic aptitude.
Evidence Presentation
Homeschooling parents need to present this proof to the local authorities in order to be allowed to continue educating their children at home.
Standardized Testing
At various grade levels, in different states, in order to prove their academic proficiency, homeschooled children are required to take state prescribed standardized tests.
The frequency and format of these tests varies from state to state in the USA, and in other countries that require standardized testing.
The most frequent subjects tested are reading, writing and mathematics.
Topic: 260 – Home-schooling: Common Homeschooling Laws - 3
Private School Status
Some states or countries consider homeschools as private schools, thus homeschools fall under the private school regulations.
Subjects and Curriculum
Countries may or may not list specific subjects for homeschoolers to study.
Some countries require the same curriculum as public schools.
Contact with Local School District.
Many countries require homeschoolers to maintain some sort of contact with the local school district personnel.
Record Keeping
Some countries require homeschoolers to maintain records of attendance, progress reports, summaries of curricula and textbooks, reading logs, test results, sample writings etc., while other don’t.
Special Needs
Some countries specify homeschool guidelines for children with special needs such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Topic: 261 – Home-schooling:Socialization - 1
One of the biggest issues prospective homeschoolers face is that of socialization.
Homeschoolers always have to justify their children’s academic achievement in contrast with social adjustment.
Socialization
The word socialization holds a different meaning for different people.
By socialization, some mean social activity, others mean social influence, and yet others mean social exposure.
Socialization is often defined by homeschoolers as the process whereby people acquire the rules of behaviours and systems of beliefs and attitudes that equip a person to function effectively as a member of a particular society.
Natural Phenomenon
Homeschoolers argue that this process of socialization is a naturally occurring phenomenon as children take part in daily routines which immerse them directly in the values of their community.
This process largely involves parent involvement and interaction with other family members, peers, neighbours, friends of the family, books, television, coaches, counselors, religious leaders, etc.
Individual Understanding
Children themselves actively participate in this process as they interact with others in a reciprocal way, and as they form their own unique understandings of the social world around them.
Importance of School
Homeschoolers argue the importance of in the presence of these plentiful agents of socialization.
Topic: 262 – Home-schooling: Socialization - 2
Homeschooling parents often criticize the effects of negative socialization that schools have on the behaviour of children.
Passive Conformity
They describe conventional schools as rigid and authoritarian institutions where passive conformity is rewarded.
Hostile Peer Interactions
Homeschoolers also criticize the hostile or often manipulative peer interactions that take place in a school environment.
Ideological and Moral Climate
Another point of criticism that homeschoolers find is the moral climate of the school environment, which often does not match with the family ideology and morals.
Individuality and Self Esteem
Homeschooling parents argue that such social interactions can often stifle a child’s individuality and harm his or her self-esteem.
They argue that such an environment can very easily make children dependent, insecure, and even antisocial.
Social Environment
In fact, many homeschoolers make the social environment of the school the very argument to shift from traditional schools to home schools.
Classmates as Teachers
Moreover, homeschoolers argue that if the goal of socialization is to produce adult social skills, it makes little sense to use classmates as teachers.
Topic: 263 – Home-schooling:Political Environment
Another major concern that educationalists and socialists have regarding homeschooling is its power to affect the political environment.
Opponents of the homeschooling movement have voiced concerns over its growing acceptance in the popular culture, and how its expanding voice on the political front.
Home schooled Citizens
Critics fear the kind of citizens that homeschooling would produce.
Democracy in danger?
They argue that homeschooled children may very well grown up to be anti-democracy, as their familial political ideology would be predominant.
Religion
They worry that these homeschooled individuals may turn out to be religious fanatics which may endanger the social fabric of the community.
Pluralism
Critics fear a pluralism that may not allow the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions and lifestyle of these homeschooled individual in a community.
Topic: 264 – Home-schooling: Career
Critics often argue that homeschooled individuals have very limited career prospects.
Mainstreaming
However, many homeschooling parents wish to mainstream their children after their grade school education is complete.
Many of these homeschooled children go on to study in colleges and universities and acquire formal education at a higher level, thus making them ‘market worthy’.
Acceptance
More and more universities accept applications from homeschooled students, as they find them to possess a passion for knowledge, independence and self-reliance which makes them excel in intellectually challenging programs.
Other Career Options
There are other work options that do not require a college or university degree, and many homeschooled individuals opt for such career choices as well.
Business
Homeschooled individuals can become very successful entrepreneurs as having your own business does not require a qualification; it requires skill which is often learned through experience and understanding rather than at school.
Vocation
Homeschooled children can learn skills for a particular profession in addition to the traditional curricula and go on to adopt that profession in their adult lives.
Topic: 265 – Home-schooling: How to Home-school?
Homeschooling is a flexible pedagogical philosophy.
Parents can choose what approach to take while educating their children.
Since schools rely so heavily on text-based instruction, we tend to forget that there are plenty of other ways to acquire knowledge.
A homeschooled child who has not yet learned to read can watch TV and videos, have informed conversations with family members, ask questions, and acutely observe everything surrounding them.
For younger children – those about nine or ten years old – the emphasis is usually on gaining the skills fundamental to further learning: reading and writing, computation, finding information, whether it be in books, on the internet, or from individuals on a personal basis.
Formal vs. Informal
There are two major kinds of homeschoolers, ones who believe in starting formal learning as early as possible, and ones who believe that formal learning is best delayed until the child is eight or ten or even older.
Formal Learning
Advocates of formal learning believe that very young children can learn far more quickly and capably than is usually expected of them and to delay such instruction is to deprive them of opportunities to perform at their best.
Informal Learning
Advocates of informal learning believe that young children are not physiologically ready for formal learning until age eight to ten.
They suggest that waiting allows children to gain the maturity and logical skills necessary for formal work and prevents them from becoming frustrated and discouraged by attempts to handle material they are simply not yet ready to understand.
Topic: 266 – Home-schooling:The Formal Approach
School-at-Home
This school-at-home, or formal approach means that the education process is the same as at school, except that it is taking place at home.
Parent-Teacher
The parent or parents who are responsible for the education of the child act as a traditional classroom teacher during the study hours.
School Rooms at Home
Homeschooling parents employing the formal approach often specify a room at home to act as a traditional classroom.
School Schedules
Homeschooling parents using this approach also prescribe schedules for their children to adhere by.
Curriculum
Homeschooling parents using this approach strictly follow a school like curriculum in the process of educating their child.
Summer School
Often, these parents incorporate summer school (at home) in their children’s schedules as well.
Extracurricular Activities
Like at a traditional school, extra-curricular activities are also an important part of the formal approach to homeschooling.
Topic: 267 – Home-schooling:The Eclectic Approach
School-at-Home
This is a ‘finding what works’ approach.
It is a more relaxed form of education some homeschoolers opt for.
Combination Approach
It is often a combination of school-at-home and structured unschooling.


Teaching Methods
Parents play around with different teaching methods, discarding the least effective ones, and employing the ones which their children respond to favourably.
Course Books
Often, these parents follow course books, but skip around the parts of lesser interest to their child, or try to teach them using a different method.
Schedule
Schedules are often structured, but can be flexible based on the interest level of the child.
Learner Centered
The parent and the child discuss the curriculum and decide mutually what needs to be learned.
Topic: 268 – Home-schooling:Freeform Learning
Freeform learning or unschooling is an approach used by parents who are severe critics of the traditional schooling.
Curriculum
There is a complete lack of a structured curriculum.
It develops as the days go by, based on the inclinations of the learner.
Schedules
Unschooling homeschoolers completely do away with a structured schedule, believing that learning can happen at all times, thus it should not be limited to a set number of hours a day.
Classroom
For unschooling homeschoolers, every place is a classroom, as they believe that their child is learning something or the other all the time, whether it be t the zoo, a museum, or the neighbours house.
Extra-Curricular Activities
Extra-curricular activities like sports, plays, etc. are often used as a means to make curricular learning happen.
Skill Development
If the child shows interest in developing a particular skill, it is considered a vital part of his or her education.
Topic: 269 – Home-schooling:Education Law in Pakistan - 1
Constitution
The constitution of Pakistan provides that free education be given to all children of the school going age.
The State shall provide free and compulsory
education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be
determined by law
(Article 25-A, Chapter No 1: Fundamental Rights)
Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2012
This bill passed by the National assembly articulated how education should be delivered to children between the ages of 5 and 16.
Educationalists contended that the provision of a compulsory education was a fundamental right of every children and the bill would ensure better education to the children.
The bill provides education for all children of the age 5-16 in schools established by the federal government and local government in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
Under the bill, every child, regardless of sex, nationality or race, shall have a fundamental right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school.
Implementation
This bill is intended to signal an official commitment to universal literacy, however it is quite useless as the government does not take any further action to implement it.

Topic: 270 – Home-schooling:Education Law in Pakistan - 2
Quality of Education
To ensure the quality of education, uniform syllabus and curriculum across the country must be established, however, provincial government’s syllabus and curriculum varies from the federal government, in practice.
Private School Status
No school, other than a school established owned or controlled by the appropriate government, after the commencement of this Act, be established or function, without obtaining a certificate of registration from the prescribed authority.
Private Schools
The private education institutions, according to this law, are also bound to reserve 10 per cent quota for poor children.
Imprisonment and Fine
Parents who would refuse to send their children to schools would be fined with penalty of 25,000 rupees and three month imprisonment.
Child Labour
Addressing the issue of child labour, the bill stated that people who would employ children for labour would be fined with the penalty of 50,000 rupees and six months imprisonment.
Implementation
This bill is intended to signal an official commitment to universal literacy, however it is quite useless as the government does not take any further action to implement it.
Homeschooling in Pakistan
There is no law regulating homeschooling practices in the country.
Topic: 271 – Unschooling: Introduction
John Holt
The term unschooling was coined by the American educator John Caldwell Holt in the 1970’s
Holt is widely regarded as the father of unschooling
Unschooling
Holt’s unschooling philosophy stemmed from his observation of 1-2 year olds and 10 years old children, and the differences between them.
Holt advocated learner chosen activities as a primary means for learning.
He believed that children learn more through their natural life experiences.
Holt believed that learning happens through:
Play
Household responsibilities
Personal Interests
Curiosity
Internships
Work Experience
Travel
Books
Elective Classes
Mentors
Social Interaction

Topic: 272 – Unschooling: John Holt (1923-1985)
Educated at a boarding school in Switzerland and an academy in Massachusetts
Graduated from Yale University
Served in the United States Navy
Joined the World Federalist Movement
Left it to become a fifth grade teacher
He observed that there was a marked difference between the behaviours of non-school going children (1-2 years) and the school going children (10 year olds)
Behaviour of 10 Year Olds
He noticed that the 10 year olds, despite their rich backgrounds and high IQs, were, with few exceptions, frightened, timid, evasive, and self-protecting.
Behaviour of Infants
The infants at home, on the other hand, were bold and adventurous.
Boston
He went to Boston.
Bill Hull (colleague of John Holt)
Started a classroom observation project.
One taught while the other observed.
This observation project became the basis of Holt’s research and the resulting philosophy of unschooling.
Topic: 273 – Unschooling: Works of Holt
Wrote some of the pioneering literature on unschooling based on the journal entries and observations of his teaching experience.
How Children Fail
1964
Based on his observation that children love to learn but hate to be taught.
How Children Learn
1967
Writes of his experiences with young children, making an attempt to understand how and why children to the things that they do.
Escape From Childhood
1974
Writes of his experiences with young children, making an attempt to understand how and why children to the things that they do.
Instead of Education
1974
Argues that learning happens naturally through the doing things practically.
Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story
1979
Argues that various abilities of humans are limited, but not as much as we believe.
Teach Your Own
1981
A guidebook of sorts for parents to unschooled their children based on his research and experience.
Topic: 274 – Unschooling: Education
Holt’s argued that self-directed, purposeful, meaningful life and work go against the traditional schooling.
Defining Education
Holt defines education as something that some people do to others for their own good, molding and shaping them, and trying to make them learn what they think they ought to know.
Education
Holt portrays traditional education as an evil which cuts students off from active life and is normally done under pressure of bribe, threat, greed or fear.
Skills
Holt criticized the attempt of traditional schooling to separate skills from acts.
Education
Holt believed that education itself was authoritarian and dangerous.
Education as Incurable
Holt argued that the trying to reform the traditional schools only makes them worse rather than more effective.
Topic: 275 – Unschooling: Learning
‘Doing’ as Effective Education
By doing, Holt includes actions such as talking, listening, writing, reading, thinking and even dreaming in addition to.
Holt describes doing as a way of making education more effective, as education’s ineffectiveness was a dilemma of his time, as it still is today.
Learning Experiences
Holt criticizes the commonly held belief about there being two kinds of learning experiences, i.e. experiences from which we learn, and experiences from which we don’t learn anything.
Holt believes that there is no experience from which we don’t learn.
We learn something from everything we do, and everything that happens to us or is done to us.
Interest in Learning
Holt believed that we are unlikely to learn anything good from experiences which do not seem to us closely connected with what is interesting and important in the rest of our lives.
Curiosity
Holt also maintained that curiosity is never idle, it grows out of real concerns and real needs.
Learning Environment
Holt suggested an environment where children are not taught, rather they are facilitated.
There should be no rules, no mandatory attendance, and no structure – just uninhabited learning.
Topic: 276 – Unschooling: Knowledge as Action
Knowledge
Holt give knowledge a new definition, insisting that ‘bodies of knowledge’, ‘fields of learning’ or ‘academic disciplines’ are inaccurate ‘nouns’ assigned to knowledge.
Knowledge
Holt views knowledge as ‘verbs’ which people do.
Hence, he claims that knowledge is action.
Knowledge is a process in the minds of the living people.
Division of Knowledge
Holt rejects the traditional ‘divisions’ of knowledge, and urges people to view it as a whole.
Subjects, or fields are simply different ways in which we look at parts of the wholeness of reality and human experience and ask certain kinds of questions about them.
Questions
History, for example, is the act of asking questions about the past.
Physics and Chemistry are ways of asking different questions about the non living world about us.
Topic: 277 – Unschooling: Resources for Do-ers - 1
Holt talks about various resources for people who wish to learn through action.
He talks of resources that already exist, and about resources that don’t exist, but should.
Free Schools
Free schools that offer courses on a number of different topics that learners may take on their own discretion.
Beacon Hill Free School, Boston.
Free schools are a lot like traditional centers of adult education, except that they have the least bit of administrative structure and more diversity.
Free schools are not built around a political ideology.
It gives them a broader base in the community.
Free schools charge no money, therefore they do not need to guarantee anything to students.
This arrangement makes them the perfect centers of unschooling.
An important thing to consider is that free schools are not at all costly.
Students don’t pay, and teachers aren't paid.
Criticism
Critics say that such it is human nature to be selfish and no teacher would want to teach without getting paid in return.
Topic: 278 – Unschooling: Resources for Do-ers - 2
The Learning Exchange
Established in 1971
Illinois
Started by Dennis Detzel and Robert Lewis, then graduate students at North Western University.
The founders believed that the city of Chicago was filled with people of varied skills, talents, and knowledge to share.
They believed that every member of the community had something to teach.
They also believed that many places could serve as ‘classrooms’ or learning environments, or‘meeting places’.
They believed that even a telephone could be a meeting place where people could answer questions or have discussions over the phone.
How the Exchange Worked
A person phones if,
He or she wants to learn.
Has some knowledge or skills he or she would like to teach.
Wants to meet other people sharing the same interests.
The exchange filed all these phones calls and served as a catalogue for learners and teachers.
Topic: 279 – Unschooling: Resources for Do-ers - 3
Libraries
The most obvious resource for do-ers is the public library.
Unlike schools, it does not say we must use it, or that bad things will happen to us if we don’t or wonderful things if we do.
It is simply there, for us to use if, when, and how we want.
If we want to use it, it does not test us at the door to see if we are smart enough, or claim it is better than other libraries because only the smartest are let in.
Limitations
Right now the number of things that libraries can help us do is fairly limited.
This is partly because libraries don’t have enough money.
Though they serve all the people of a community, they have only a tiny fraction of the money given to schools, who serve only a few.
Until recently most librarians took a rather traditional and limited view of their work.
Libraries were a place to store books and other written records.
Problems
Most people, having learned to dislike the things (including reading) they were made to do in schools don’t do them any more after they leave school, and so don’t use the library.
Holt believe that libraries should be developed more so they could become an excellent resource for Do-ers.
Topic: 280 – Unschooling: Resources for Do-ers - 4
Commercial Publications
Holt believed that most commercial publications were, to a greater or lesser degree a resource for do-ers
Magazines, Do-it-yourself books, etc.
Sports Resources
Holt believed that sports resources were also essential for a persons education, as we are, by nature, active, playful, and game loving creatures.
Among outdoor sports resources, Holt has mentioned running, bicycling, skating etc.
He believed that such activities are an important part of ones learning process as they are also an important part of one’s daily routine, e.g. getting from one place to another through walking or bicycling.
He also mentions many indoor sport resources such as gymnastics, tumbling and squash.
Board games such as chess also help develop a person’s mental capacities, thus becoming another source of learning.
Topic: 281 – Unschooling:Criticism of Schools
Holt heavily criticizes schools for various reasons, their cruelty to children being the chief amongst them.
From his observation, he deduced that a large number of children he knew suffered at school in some form or the other.
Time
Holt argued that schools take more and more time of the children, leaving them with little time of their own.
When schools take up so much of a child’s time, he or she is left with very little time to pursue his or her own interests, or perhaps find time outside of the school to make up for their failure at school.
Judgments
The judgments that schools make about children follow them much further in life.
School records of children are full of the most gossipy, malicious, damaging pseudo- psychological observations and diagnoses, often about the parents as well as the children.
Demands
Schools nowadays make many more, larger, and vaguer demands on children.
Topic: 282 – Unschooling:Howard Gardner
1943
American developmental psychologist.
Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Gardner, himself doesn't’t proclaim to be a die-hard ‘unschooler’, however his theory of multiple intelligence suggests that school are unable to cater to the individual needs of children.
Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Humans have several different ways of processing information, and these ways are relatively independent of one another.
The theory of multiple intelligences allows for the idea that there is more than one way to define a person’s intellect.
Gardner opposes the idea of labeling learners to a specific intelligence.
He argues that each individual possesses a unique blend of all the intelligences.
Criticism of Schools
Gardner’s book, How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach is an open criticism of schools, thus adding more evidence to the unschooling philosophy.
Topic: 283 – Unschooling:Early Age Learning
Early Age Brain
During the first years of life, youngsters all over the world master a breathtaking array of competences with little formal tutelage.
They develop powerful theories of how the world works and how their own minds work.
Intuitive Learning vs. Scholastic Learning
The same children who develop complex theories of the universe or intricate theories of the mind, often experience the greatest difficulties upon their entry in school.
Scholastic Learning
Research shows that even well-trained and academically successful students often do not display an adequate understanding of the materials and concepts with which they have been working.
Gardner argues that it is the nature of the scholastic method of teaching that fails to develop a concrete understanding in the minds of the students.
Unschooled Mind
Gardner believes that in nearly every older student who has gone through the rigorous schooling experience, there is a five-year-old ‘unschooled’ mind struggling to get out and express itself.
Failure of Schools
He argues that it is an extremely difficult and challenging task to transition children’s beliefs into the reality, and it is this at which the schools often fail.

Topic: 284 – Unschooling:Kinds of Learners
Gardner talks about three kinds of learning styles that are prevalent in his observations.
Intuitive Learner
Natural Learner
Naïve Learner
Universal Learner
Intuitive Learner
The young child who is superbly equipped to learn language and other symbolic systems and who evolves serviceable theories of the physical world and of the world of other people during the opening years of life.
Scholastic Learner
Traditional learner
The youngster from age seven to age twenty, roughly, who seeks to master the literacies, concepts, and disciplinary forms of the school.
It is these students who, whether or not they can produce standard performances, respond in ways similar to preschool or primary school youngsters, once they have been removed from the context of the classroom.
Skilled Learner
Disciplinary Expert
An individual of any age who has mastered the concepts and skills of a discipline or domain and can apply such knowledge appropriately in new situations.
Included in the ranks of the disciplinary experts are those students who are able to use the knowledge of their physics class or their history class to illuminate new phenomena.
Their knowledge is not limited to the usual text-and- test setting, and they are eligible to enter the ranks of those who “really” understand.
Topic: 285 – Unschooling:Learning Constraints
Gardner, in his research, talks about several constraints that each learner is subjected to:
These constraints are either intrinsic, or extrinsic factors that limit a learner’s behaviour in specific ways.
The Intuitive Learner
The Intuitive learner reflects neurobiological and developmental constraints which are purely genetic in nature.
All human beings are subjected to these constraints.
Traditional Learner
These learners are often subjected to historical and institutional constraints that are embedded in schools.
Schools have evolved over the centuries to serve certain societal purposes in certain ways.
These goals are often reflected in the school policies and pose as a constraint to deep understanding and learning.
Expert Learner
Expert learner faces certain disciplinary and epistemological constraints that comes to operate within any field of expertise over the years.
Topic: 286 – Unschooling:Multiple Intelligences
Criticism of Existing assumptions of Intelligence
Gardner found the general notions of intelligence and cognition held by most investigators to be unduly restrictive.
He found that most traditional philosophers held the view that:
Human cognition is basically unitary.
Individuals can be adequately described and evaluated along a single dimension called ‘Intelligence’.
Gardner talks of seven criteria for a behaviour to be considered as intelligent.
According to his research, all human beings develop at least seven forms of intelligence to a greater or lesser extent.
The 7 Intelligences
Linguistic
Logical-mathematical
Spatial
Musical
Bodily-kinesthetic
Interpersonal
Intrapersonal
It is based on the presence of the portions of these intelligences in an individual that decide the kind of learner that individual would become.

Topic: 287 – Unschooling:Multiple Intelligences & Unschooling
Gardner asserts that his theory of multiple intelligences should empower learners, not restrict them to one manner of learning.
Unique Minds
His observational research suggests that all humans posses some measure of these seven intelligences.
He also asserts that each human being is unique in possessing the varying amounts of these intelligences.
Gardner believes that each human being combines and uses these intelligences in different ways, which is obvious in a display of different personalities and behaviours.
Traditional Schools
Based on this research, Gardner criticizes the emphasis of most traditional schools on a certain combination of linguistic and logical intelligences.
By ignoring or minimizing the importance of the other intelligences within and outside of schools, many children who fail in the traditional manner of education, are assigned the label of stupidity.
Education
Gardner argues that an education built on multiple intelligences can be more effective than one built on just two intelligences.
Unschooling
With unschooling, children aren't expected to have the same sort of intelligence. They can be taught in accordance with their unique combination of intelligence.
Topic: 288 – Unschooling:Criticism of Schools
Gardner has repeatedly talked about the dangers that traditional schools pose to the learnability of young children.
Early Schools
An institution in which a group of young persons, rarely related by blood but usually belonging to the same social group, assemble on a regular basis in the company of a competent older individual, for the explicit purpose of acquiring one or more skills valued by the wider community.
Current Day Schools
Gardner observes that not many schools have evolved for the purpose of inculcating literacy, and that in essence, they remain the same institutions whose purpose is the acquisition of skills and knowledge useful to the community at large.
Burdens of School
He believes that schools have become the logical site for the transmission of rapidly accumulating wisdom as well as for the inculcation of skills that will permit further discoveries to be made and deeper understandings to emerge.
Burdens of School
In his opinion, this puts much un-needed burden on such young children.
Assessing Learning
It is often left up to the operators of the schools whether the students are learning anything or not.
Tests
Tests, standardized and others, are the most important ways of assessing what and how much a student has learned.
Gardner criticizes this method of assessment, as it fails to take into account all forms of intelligences.
Topic: 289 – Unschooling:Later Learning Constraints - 1
Gardner also believed that as children continue attending schools or even other forms of informal training, they are introduced to certain biases and constraints.
Kantian-Einsteinian Constraints
Gardner believed that schools cultivate a necessity of conceptualizing the world in terms of objects, space, time, causality and to the impossibility of even conceiving of the world in other than these terms.
Kant’s philosophy emphasized the importance of these categories of knowledge.
Einstein’s scientific approach on the other hand reminds us that these built-in limits on knowledge can be revised, although very rarely, and at all times remaining within the existing theories of the world.
Ontological Constraints
These constraints come in when defining particular objects and their categorization.
Young children do not put objects in categories of tangible, intangible, living, non-living, feeling or non-feeling etc. until they are taught to do so.
Topic: 290 – Unschooling:Later Learning Constraints - 2
Strengths, Tendencies, Styles
These constraints or biases vary from person to person.
They serve to differentiate human beings within and across cultures.
An example of these constraints includes those biases in information- processing strength and style that can be observed in early life.
Children exhibit different kinds, arrays, and degrees of intelligence, even as they evolve characteristic ways of approaching problems and challenges.
These cognitive tendencies are often evoked as youngsters approach the school going age.
Sometimes, they can cause problems, while at others, they present opportunities.
Schools are unable to always turn these tendencies into opportunities.
Whether these constraints become trouble or opportunities depends upon the compatibility between the child’s own cognitive and stylistic profile, the demands of the subject matter, and the presentation of the material.
Topic: 291 – Unschooling: Later Learning Constraints - 3
Constrained Theories
These constraints occur whether a child attends school or not.
These are a consequence of his or her personal experiences.
A child would formulate theories in response to his or her interactions with particular objects in theworld.
Not derived from formal study or from any preexisting disciplines, these naïve, folk, or intuitive theories, nonetheless achieve considerable potency.
Contextual Constraints
This constraint reflects particular contextual elements in the child’s personal background.
These would include ethnicity, social class, parental styles, and values.
These constraints affect the way a child would interact with and understand materials presented to him or her.
He argued that children find it extremely difficult to master the agenda of the school, particularly to the extent that its mode of operation clashes with, or is irrelevant to, the biases and constraints that have emerged during the first half decade of life.

Topic: 292 – Unschooling:Difficulties Posed by Schools
Most of Gardner’s research about the principles of human learning and development conflicts sharply with the customary practices of schools.Initially, schools were concerned with a small and privileged minority of the population, and the materials to be mastered in schools were relatively unchallenging, and the performances counted as evidence of success have been limited in scope.

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