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'Unschoolers' Let Interests Dictate Studies

At a time when schools are fixated more than ever on standardized tests and accountability, more parents are turning to alternatives, saying their kids need less structure and stress. The idea behind unschooling is that children will learn faster if they choose what they want to learn instead of a teacher choosing for them. The parent's role is to facilitate learning rather than to teach or direct.

Some educators warn that the approach isn't right for every child. Children who aren't self-motivated may not function well because no one makes them do the work. Likewise, students who flit from topic to topic within a few minutes won't benefit as much as those who focus and are persistent, said Thomas Hatch, associate professor at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York City.

This article, written by Anne Ryman, appeared in the May 8th, 2006 publication of The Arizona Republic.

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