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Curriculum and Instruction News

UW-Madison's Apple quoted in Capital Times report on 'unschooling'

May 04, 2017
UW-Madison's Michael Apple was quoted in a recent article from The Capital Times about an educational philosophy called "unschooling."

Apple is the School of Education's John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Policy Studies. In the article, Apple provides some context on the topic of families who choose to home school (or unschool) to allow more autonomy for children to learn at their own pace and discover their own interests. 

Michael Apple
Apple is the author of a book titled "Educating the Right Way." In his research on religious home schooling, he estimates about 50 to 80 percent of home-based education includes a conservative, religious course of study. 

He explains that even though unschooling falls under the umbrella of home-based private education, unschooling has a different history and foundation. 

“Unschooling, by and large, has its roots in progressive schooling, with student interests guiding what the learning should be,” Apple told the Capital Times. “A good deal of home schooling, for the majority, is much more cautious about that. It is a much more conservative sense about parental authority and the authority of churchly wisdom. ... Both of these groups are widely varied, but certainly, the home-schooling movement tends to be much more conservative in its pedagogy.”

Apple explained that the challenges in the current state of public education- such as lack of funding and the demands on teachers to focus on standardized tests- make it difficult for schools to meet the needs of families that desire a different experience.

“Many teachers are under immense pressure to teach to the test,” Apple said in the article. “But one of the things unschooling parents are saying is, ‘The tests don’t measure what my kid is interested in. We want to teach values, skills and knowledge that kids can learn by doing a lot of things that are not measurable.’ ”

To learn more, read the full Capital Times article: "A different tune: Unschooling families pursue their own educational path."
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