Thursday, 31 January 2013

An evolving story

I read the original writings of A.S. Neill a few years ago, and had mixed views about the Summerhill School that he founded.  I especially don't agree with his view of sidelining the parents, except maybe he was reacting against 'Tiger parents' of his days and the post-Victorian era discipline imposed on English children.

As we gravitate increasingly towards the autonomous approach in our homeschool, I am finding the following 12-part film rather refreshing in terms of clarifying how that school works.

I was surprised to find the atmosphere of the school (as portrayed by the film) to be very similar to that of our homeschool on most days.  More interestingly, the sign-up sheet that the children in the film use to decide what they want to learn is almost identical to what we use at home.

Without consciously thinking about it, we have arrived at a very similar approach towards educating children.  It is very interesting to see the similarity between the school's education philosophy and what is broadly known in homeschooling circle as 'unschooling', autonomous, child-led, or delight-directed education.  Summerhill's environment is as close as any Ofsted-registered school can hope to get to what many autonomous homeschooling families around the world are already giving their children -- the freedom to be themselves and to know themselves.

I found a 1964 interview with A.S. Neill here, so you can watch it for actual school footage and listen to what he said.

We don't usually see or hear about pioneering homeschooling families in the UK, but I found one here whose views sum up the general idea in this country.  Got to love that woman's quiet, determined defiance.  Things haven't changed very much since then.

This post is linked up to:
1) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #2
2) Homeschool Mother's Journal: February 1, 2013
3) TGIF Linky Party #61
4) Share it Saturday
5) The Sunday Showcase - 2/2/13
6) Hip Homeschool Hop - 2/5/13

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting. I never knew the history!

    Thanks for linking to The Sunday Showcase


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