Unschoolers learn what they want, when they want

By Jacque Wilson, CNN (CNN) -- Six-year-old Karina Ricci doesn't ever have a typical day. She has no schedule to follow, no lessons to complete. She spends her time watching TV, doing arts and crafts or practicing the piano. She learned to spell by e-mailing with friends; she uses math concepts while cooking dinner. Everything she knows has been absorbed "organically," according ...

The Danger of Back to School

by Peter Gray Children’s Mental Health Crises Plummet in Summer and Rise in the School Year Imagine a job in which your work every day is micromanaged by your boss. You are told exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. You are required to stay in your seat until your boss ...

Children Need to Play Outdoors, but We’re Not Letting Them

Evidence shows children are getting less unsupervised time outdoors. Credit: Brian Yap (葉)/Flickr, CC BY-NC Earlier this year, an American mother was arrested for allowing her nine year old daughter to play unsupervised in a park while she finished her shift at work. Even though this story got a lot of press, it is not a standalone event. Recently, ...

7 Awesome Discoveries Made by Kids

Credit: Pavel L Photo and Video | Shutterstock.com Paleontologist, biologist, astronomer: These might sound like job titles for grown-ups, but adults aren't the only ones who fill these important roles.   Children — with their endless curiosity and tendency to wander off the beaten track— are also engaged in quite a bit of scientific research and exploration. ...

Five Myths About Young People and Social Media

by Peter Gray A new book exposes widely-held beliefs about new technology. Teenagers have always been attracted to public spaces where they can hang out with friends, find new friends, and talk endlessly with peers about matters that concern them, away from parents and other authority figures. Such gatherings are crucial to human development; they are how teenagers expand their ...

The Reading Wars: Why Natural Learning Fails in Classrooms

by Peter Gray The best practices for teaching reading in school do not mimic natural learning. Progressive educators have always believed that methods of classroom instruction should be based on children’s natural ways of learning, that is, on the ways that children learn in life outside of classrooms.  This has led to a variety of meaning-centered ways of teaching, ...

What Do Grown Unschoolers Think of Unschooling? IV in Series

Most were very happy to have been unschooled, but a few were not. Why? by Peter Gray This is the last in a series of four posts concerning a survey, conducted recently by Gina Riley and me, of 75 adults (age 18 to 49, median age 24) who were “unschooled” during much or all of what would ...

Survey of Grown Unschoolers III: Pursuing Careers

by Peter Gray When people opt out of K-12 schooling, what sorts of careers do they go on to? This is the third in a series of four posts describing the results of a survey of grown unschoolers that my colleague Gina Riley and I recently conducted.  It is about the career choices of these people, who skipped all ...

Survey of Grown Unschoolers II: Going on to College

by Peter Gray Can people with no K-12 schooling go to college and do well there? If so, how? Can they go to college?  If so, how do they get in and how do they adjust to it? Can they do the work?  Can they follow the rigorous schedule?  Such questions are often asked by people who ...

A Survey of Grown Unschoolers I: Overview of Findings

by Peter Gray Seventy-five unschooled adults report on their childhood and adult experiences In a study that preceded the one to be described here, my colleague Gina Riley and I surveyed parents in unschooling families—that is, in families where the children did not go to school and were not homeschooled in any curriculum-based way, but instead were ...