The latest trend in education is “unschooling”.  It’s an extreme form of educating where students have no classes, no teachers, and no grades. Instead, they’re free to decide what they want to study, and when they want to study it. That’s why their motto is: “living is learning”, they believe kids learn more by say, cooking a recipe – than doing drills on fractions in a math class.

Until recently, an estimated 200,000 kids were being unschooled at home. But today, a growing number of private schools are jumping on the unschooling bandwagon. Why? Many parents say the traditional education system doesn’t work, because it forces every student to learn the same information at the same time. And several studies show that kids learn more effectively when they’re allowed to learn at their own pace.

The unschooling schools don’t have grades or teachers. Staff members are there simply to guide students in their individual pursuits. And, some kids will spend an entire school year playing video games – and they’re allowed to do that. One kid we read about did just that, until he finally wandered into the music room and started learning about the music of other cultures.

He ended up graduating from Harvard. And get this: 90% of students who graduate from an “unschooling” program do go on to college.

As you might expect, not everyone’s a fan of unschooling.  Psychologists say it’s unhealthy, because kids’ brains are still developing, especially in the reasoning and decision making areas.  So they don’t know what’s best for themselves and they do need structure, rules and teachers.

However, if unschooling is something you’d like to explore, check out SudVal.org. That’s the homepage for Sudbury Valley Schools. There are 20 of them in North America, and the first is opening in Canada this year.