I don't think we've had a thread lately on alternative education (e.g. homeschooling, alternative schools, different teaching methods, etc.). So I thought it might be interesting for people to talk about different types of educational styles they've read about, or have done with their children.
Way back in another life, I took Early Childhood Education for a year, and it was incredibly interesting learning about the various types of pedagogical styles that are out there. I guess because there isn't much of a public system of day care (outside of Quebec), day care pedagogy isn't quite so standardized as elementary and secondary schooling tends to be.
So there are a lot of different types of day care / nursery school learning styles, from the very structured type like Montessori to the completely unstructured type like open concept learning, and everything in between.
I was kind of promiscuous when it came to picking favourites of the styles I learned about. I really liked the open concept child-led learning style, felt very freeing and child-centric to me, and the mix of ages appealed too. But then, I also thought the Montessori method was pretty neat, too, because of how incredibly well-planned and goal-centred it was, and because a lot of children actually really do thrive on structure.
As someone without much money, my son didn't go to any wildly creative day care centre. He went to a very good one, with a subsidy since we, his parents, were in school, but it wasn't ideologically set to any one teaching style - it was a mish-mash of various methods, segregated by age group.
And now he goes to elementary school, just a normal, mainstream school. He chafes a bit there, because he's moved around a bit, he's had family issues (divorce), and he's bright with a bit of a rebellious streak (can't imagine who he gets that from). But for the most part, he's fine there, and his early years of elementary school were bliss for him - he loved school up until last year.
When he was a baby, I thought about homeschooling, thought about "unschooling". I knew it wasn't realistic, not only because it would be incredibly hard to afford to stay home with him, but also because my marriage was on the rocks, and I think it would be pretty close to impossible to homeschool a child in the midst of a separation. Besides, I didn't know if I was the kind of person who could handle it, if I had the right temperament for it. It's one thing to fantasize about doing something like that, another thing to actually do it!
But I've still always found it fascinating reading about it. I particularly find "unschooling" intriguing. I like the idea of the child learning at his or her own pace, according to their interests, socializing with a wide variety of people instead of being artificially segregated into groups of children the exact same age, etc.
Anyhow, here's an interesting opening to the subject of homeschooling: Unschooling Undefined
And also, when searching for an old thread on homeschooling, I ended up finding this podcast on the RPN about unschooling! I haven't listened to it yet, and I really need to get to bed before I turn into a pumpkin, but I will link to it here so that I can come back to it tomorrow.