Monday, April 24, 2006

Do-It-Yourself Education

I'm sure that right about now, many of my students would find this to be an absolutely brilliant idea. I, on the other hand, finished the article and was left with the eloquent question, "Huh?"

"Learning on Their Own Terms" (from the front page of today's Washington Post)

Fairhaven School, in a wooded nook of Prince George's County near the Patuxent River, challenges the assumptions of every public and private school that measures success with test scores and prizes academic rigor. It is an educational anomaly in the super-competitive Washington area: The school day here is unscripted.

Seventy-two students ages 5 to 20 run the school with a staff of eight adults. Students follow no curriculum other than curiosity and whim. Sometimes they seek out a class or workshop, but they are not compelled to take English, geometry or any other subject. Often they just hang. For this, their parents pay $6,680 a year per student.

Is Fairhaven even a school? What is a school?

"The question, too, is what is an education?" replied staff member Mark McCaig. "What is an educated individual?"

Good question.

Odd answer.


Blogger Megan said...

I saw this article as well, and while I'm all for alternate methods of teaching and learning, this alternative doesn't recommend itself much. I also ended the article with "Huh?" Encouraging students to follow their curiosity is a marvelous thing, but some contextual foundations need to be set in place first.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Katherine said...

Sounds like self-centerdness run amuck!

10:11 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

HA! I don't even know how to comment. How can "schooling" like this even be allowed?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

This idea seems to have surfaced before, and I believe it was called "unschooling." No doubt it has many attractions, but I can't help thinking that it's based on a flawed premise: that men are basically good, and that left to themselves they will spontaneously improve. The Bible teaches otherwise: men are basically bad, and need God's help and correction to improve. If the whole idea is based on a flawed premise, then we are certainly right to question the conclusion. Is it such a great idea? I wouldn't do it.

In Christ.

11:06 PM  

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