School and beyond – do we need it?

09 Aug

I am a father – of two kids. I have been thinking about the need for schooling in life and what we might do if we didn’t send our kids to school – because there are a lot of people doing this. So here are a few thoughts for, thoughts against, and some alternative ideas to this “school” idea.

For schooling:

School is an essential institution in society that provides a structured and organized environment for students to learn and acquire knowledge and skills that are necessary for their personal and professional development. While some people may question the necessity of school, it is important to recognize the many benefits that it provides.

First and foremost, school is primarily designed to provide students with formal education. This includes knowledge in various academic subjects, such as math, science, history, and literature, as well as practical skills such as writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Education is critical for personal growth and development, as it equips individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions, solve problems, and achieve their goals.

In addition to formal education, school also provides a platform for students to interact with their peers and develop social skills. Socialization is a crucial aspect of personal growth and development, and school provides an opportunity for students to learn how to work with others, develop relationships, and engage in meaningful communication.

Furthermore, school helps students prepare for their future careers. Through exposure to different professions, students can learn about their interests, develop new skills, and acquire the necessary qualifications to pursue their chosen career paths. By providing practical and hands-on learning opportunities, school enables students to explore different career options and make informed decisions about their future.

School also plays an important role in personal development, promoting responsibility, discipline, and self-motivation. By setting expectations and providing a structured learning environment, school helps students develop the skills and habits that are necessary for success in life. Moreover, school encourages creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning, which can translate into lifelong learning and personal growth.

Finally, schools contribute to community building, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting social cohesion. Schools provide a common space for individuals to learn, share ideas, and work together toward common goals. By fostering a sense of community, schools help to build strong and resilient societies.

In conclusion, while some people may question the necessity of school, it is clear that schools play a vital role in personal and social development. By providing education, socialization, career preparation, personal development, and community building, schools enable individuals to reach their full potential and contribute to society in meaningful ways.

Against schooling:

There are several arguments that some people make against sending kids to school. These arguments often focus on issues such as the lack of individual attention, standardized education, safety concerns, limited life experiences, and financial burden.

One common argument is that schools are overcrowded, and teachers do not have enough time to provide individual attention to every student. This can result in students feeling neglected and not receiving the necessary support to succeed academically. Furthermore, schools often have strict curriculums that do not allow for individual creativity or personal development. Some argue that schools focus too much on standardized education, which can lead to students feeling like they are not able to express themselves or explore their interests.

Another argument against schooling is safety concerns. Some people argue that schools are not safe places for children, and there is a risk of violence or bullying. This can create a hostile learning environment and negatively impact a child’s mental health and wellbeing.

Additionally, some argue that schools limit a child’s exposure to the real world and different life experiences. This can result in a lack of understanding or empathy for people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Some people believe that education outside of school, such as travel or apprenticeships, can provide a more comprehensive education and help students develop real-world skills.

Lastly, some people argue that schools can be expensive, and not all families have the financial resources to send their children to school. This can create inequalities in education and limit opportunities for some children. Moreover, the financial burden can also lead to stress and anxiety for parents or guardians, which can have a negative impact on the entire family.

Despite these arguments against schooling, it is important to acknowledge the many benefits of education and the role that schools play in society. Education is essential for personal and social development, and schools provide a structured and organized environment for students to learn and acquire knowledge and skills that are necessary for their future success. While there may be different opinions on specific aspects of schooling, the importance of education and the role of schools in promoting it is widely accepted. Ultimately, the decision to send children to school is a personal one, and parents and guardians should carefully consider their options and the potential impacts on their child’s future.


Unschooling is an educational philosophy and practice that emphasizes student-led learning and self-directed education. Unlike traditional schooling, unschooling allows children to learn at their own pace and follow their interests and passions rather than following a predetermined curriculum.

The term “unschooling” was first coined by educator John Holt in the 1970s and has gained popularity among parents who want to provide their children with an alternative form of education. In unschooling, children are encouraged to learn through real-world experiences and pursuing their interests, rather than sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures.

Unschooling advocates argue that this approach to education is more natural and effective because it allows children to develop their own learning styles and pursue subjects that they are genuinely interested in. Unschooling also emphasizes the importance of play, socialization, and experiential learning.

Proponents of unschooling argue that traditional schools can be too rigid and limiting, and that standardized education can stifle creativity and curiosity. They also argue that traditional schools may not adequately prepare children for the real world, as they do not provide opportunities for real-world experience and practical skill development.

However, critics of unschooling argue that this approach to education is too unstructured and does not provide children with a well-rounded education. They also argue that unschooled children may lack important social and academic skills that are typically taught in traditional schools.

Despite the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of unschooling, many families have found it to be a successful and fulfilling approach to education. For those who choose unschooling, it is important to provide a supportive and stimulating environment for children to learn and grow, and to ensure that they have access to a wide range of resources and experiences to support their learning.

    • is a website that provides information and resources about unschooling, including articles, a directory of unschooling groups and organizations, and a discussion forum.
  2. Alliance for Self-Directed Education:
    • The Alliance for Self-Directed Education is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports self-directed education, including unschooling. Their website provides information about self-directed education, resources for families and educators, and a directory of self-directed learning centers.
  3. The Natural Child Project:
    • The Natural Child Project is a non-profit organization that promotes natural learning and parenting. Their website includes information about unschooling, as well as articles and resources about other alternative approaches to education.
  4. Unschooling Mom2Mom:
    • Unschooling Mom2Mom is a website run by a group of unschooling moms. It provides articles, resources, and support for unschooling families.
  5. Unschool Rules:
    • Unschool Rules is a blog run by an unschooling family. It includes articles about unschooling, as well as resources and ideas for families who are interested in unschooling.

Other alternatives to traditional and unschooling:

In addition to traditional schooling and unschooling, there are several alternative approaches to education that offer a unique and individualized learning experience for children. Each of these approaches has its own philosophy and methods, and may appeal to families looking for an alternative to traditional schooling.

One such approach is Montessori education, which is based on the work of Maria Montessori. Montessori education emphasizes hands-on learning and self-directed exploration, and allows children to work at their own pace and choose their own activities from a range of prepared materials. In Montessori schools, children develop social skills and respect for others, as well as practical skills such as cooking, gardening, and carpentry.

Another alternative approach to education is Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education. This approach emphasizes a holistic approach to learning and the development of creativity and imagination. Waldorf education uses a curriculum that integrates academic, artistic, and practical activities, and emphasizes the importance of storytelling, music, and art. Children in Waldorf schools also participate in activities such as gardening, cooking, and woodworking.

The Reggio Emilia approach is another alternative approach to education that emphasizes child-led learning and collaboration. In Reggio Emilia schools, children are encouraged to explore their interests through hands-on activities and projects, and teachers act as guides and facilitators rather than lecturers. This approach also emphasizes the importance of social and emotional development, as well as artistic expression.

Online and distance learning have also become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional schooling. Online and distance learning programs provide flexibility and individualized learning opportunities for students, and can be especially helpful for students with special needs or those who live in remote areas. These programs often offer a wide range of courses and resources that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Homeschooling is another alternative approach to education in which parents or guardians take on the responsibility of educating their children at home. Homeschooling can provide a highly individualized and flexible learning experience, and allows families to tailor their child’s education to their specific needs and interests. Homeschooling also provides opportunities for children to learn in real-world settings and to develop strong relationships with family members.

Each of these alternative approaches to education has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of which approach to pursue will depend on the individual needs and preferences of the child and their family. It is important for parents and guardians to carefully research and consider their options when deciding on an alternative approach to education.

  1. Montessori education:
  • American Montessori Society: The American Montessori Society is a non-profit organization that provides resources, training, and support for Montessori educators and families.
  • Montessori Foundation: The Montessori Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides information and resources for Montessori educators and families, including a directory of Montessori schools.
  1. Waldorf education:
  • Association of Waldorf Schools of North America: The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support for Waldorf schools and educators, as well as information for families.
  • Waldorf Today: Waldorf Today is an online resource for information about Waldorf education, including articles, news, and a directory of Waldorf schools.
  1. Reggio Emilia approach:
  • North American Reggio Emilia Alliance: The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support for educators and families interested in the Reggio Emilia approach.
  • Reggio Children: Reggio Children is an organization based in Italy that promotes and supports the Reggio Emilia approach worldwide. Their website includes resources, research, and information about training opportunities.
  1. Online and distance learning:
  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that provides free online courses and resources for students of all ages in a wide range of subjects, from math to history to coding.
  • edX: edX is a non-profit organization that provides online courses and degree programs from top universities around the world. Many of their courses are free to audit, while others require a fee for certification or credit.
  1. Homeschooling:
  • Homeschool Legal Defense Association: The Homeschool Legal Defense Association provides legal assistance, advocacy, and resources for homeschooling families.
  • Home School Facts: Home School Facts is an online resource that provides information about homeschooling, including state laws, curriculum resources, and support groups.

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