Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that has been written about Catholic unschooling today. In fact, the only real book that has been written about this topic was written by Suzie Andres and is entitled “Homeschooling with Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschooling.” Fortunately, this is a very clearly written book.
This is probably because Andres has the benefit of being married to a philosophy professor who has written his own book on logic. According to Andres, Catholic unschooling “is a form of education in which the child is trusted to be the primary agent in learning what he needs to know to lead him to happiness.”
There isn’t any teaching authority whenever it comes to unschooling. In fact, this is why a lot of people are critical of it, saying that it is the complete absence of order. Nevertheless, Andres still calls it a type of education because there is plenty of room therein for discovery, even though there is no such thing as formal instruction therein.
Herein the student has the responsibility to properly abstract universal concepts from matter. He also has the responsibility of presenting the right material before his sense. Since the student studies whatever appeals to him at the moment, there isn’t a connection or relation between the elements of this education.
The Warren Survey On Catholic Unschooling
According to the Warren Survey, the majority of Catholic Homeschooling leaders didn’t consider unschooling to actually be a true form of homeschooling. They felt that schooling or education had to involve instruction or teaching. Therefore, any method that relies solely upon a child’s discovery simply cannot be called schooling. This is something that they felt that the name “unschooling” itself implies. Take this a step further and they feel that unschooling is not actually a type of “homeschooling.”
They still say that it isn’t instruction even if the student is free to ask questions and get answers. The reason for this is that instruction involves imparting knowledge in a methodical fashion. So, while it may be possible for a student to have some method whenever it comes to seeking knowledge, there’s nothing methodical about the imparting of this knowledge whenever it comes to unschooling.
Another thing that should be noted is that many, if not most, parents who claim to be unschoolers are actually only partially unschooling their children. Even when Andres was interviewed by a Catholic parenting website said that she actually has some type of minimal curriculum that she chooses for her children to use and then enforces the use of it.
She went on to say that each school year they choose what type and how much school-type work they want their son to accomplish. For instance, this year they agreed that their son would complete a set of algebra workbooks and use a computer program to learn how to type.
In Conclusion To Catholic Unschooling
It is obvious that most Catholics believe that a system of complete and total child-direction, which is what radical unschooling actually is, fails to account for man’s fallen condition. They believe that man, in specific children, has an inclination to do what is wrong. This is especially true whenever it comes to sufficiently forming virtues. Catholics believe that it takes time to develop the prudence that is needed in order to know what is best for themselves.
They feel that this is something that these children would be better off learning in school, even if this was homeschooling, and that unschooling simply doesn’t have the necessary parameters to teach these things to children. While this may sound harsh, it is the opinion of the church and those who want to strictly adhere to their church’s opinion truly need to understand what their stand on unschooling is. What you decide to do with it though, is of personal preference.