Uyboco: The Freedom Academy (Part 8)

HOW is the Freedom Academy different from homeschooling and unschooling?

Let’s discuss homeschooling and unschooling separately. First is homeschooling. It’s like school but you do it at home. There is usually still a curriculum which one gets from a homeschooling provider that may or may not be accredited by DepEd. One or both parents act as the teacher, helping the child along with their lessons which they basically go through at their own pace. The parent(s) may also opt to throw in additional lessons not in the standard curriculum but which they think will be interesting, helpful or meaningful for their child (e.g. painting, dancing, stargazing, cooking, carpentry, etc.).

Many homeschooling parents have also formed support groups to help each other and they sometimes plan activities where their kids can interact, play and learn together.

The difference between Freedom Academy (FA) and homeschooling is mainly the absence of a curriculum. We do not pretend to know what is best for your child. We do not force any curriculum on them. Rather, we trust that your child will naturally pursue what is interesting for them, will learn in their own style and in their own pace and in their own way. We provide the necessary support and resources for them to maximize their pursuit of their interests. But the rest is up to them. They are free to decide how they want to spend their entire time at FA. They can play, read, talk to friends, build things, sit and reflect, and even do academic stuff like study math if that is their desire.

Unschooling is more unstructured and free -- it is as the name itself suggests -- the absence of school or the removal of school. Unlike homeschooling, there is no fixed curriculum. In practice, parents would usually try to fill in the child’s schedule with what they think is important for them to learn, not necessarily academic in nature, or if the parents are more liberal, they will just allow the child to do what they want the entire day. Some unschooling parents also join homeschooling support groups and activities.

Unschooling is closer to the FA philosophy and belief that every child has a natural capacity for learning, self-development and self-determination. The difference is that FA provides a community for the child that is run by a democratic process. The idea that their voice matters, that their opinions can be heard, and that their vote counts is a powerful experience that will enhance their sense of social responsibility and morality.

Being in FA also allows the child to develop away from the constant supervision of parents, which is important in letting them exercise independence and building their own social and interpersonal skills in order to thrive in the community.

These are important skills that they will carry all the way to adulthood.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.


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