Not a textbook education: Welcome to ‘unschool’
Six-year-old Karina Ricci rolls out of bed around 7:30 a.m. She gets dressed, brushes her teeth and makes her bed before eating a leisurely breakfast in front of the TV. She gives her fledgling sunflower and snowpea plants a drink. Then she might play piano, or make something out of play dough. Perhaps she’ll help clean up the house or call a friend to hang out later in the day. Anything goes, really.
What sounds like a carefree Saturday morning is everyday life for the young Torontonian. She’d rather not go to school and her parents like it that way, they being proponents of a radicalized brand of homeschool called unschooling — a concept that offers no curriculum to conquer, no grade levels to pass, no rules to follow. While homeschool brings the classroom to the homefront, unschooling ditches the formal studies altogether.
“Living life is learning,” says Karina’s dad, Carlo Ricci, a professor of education at Nippissing University and staunch advocate of this kind of learning. “The advantage of unschooling is that the world becomes your learning space.”
Photo: Carlo Ricci reads with his two daughters Karina Ricci, 6, (left) and Annabel Ricci, 8. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim for National Post)