Today I read an article on opensource.com called "Unschooling is the open source way". I'm fascinated with the subject of alternative approaches to education. I think that humans are naturally curious. We are driven to want to explore and create. Somewhere along the way that behavior is either rewarded and nurtured or discouraged and discarded.
In my youth, people who cared very much for me tried to help me to focus my curiosity in specific directions. Some of the things that attracted me were considered "not productive" and I was discouraged from pursuing those things to some degree. I was never a very good follower– sort of a lone explorer– so I never fully grasped onto the so-called "important things" and I never got a complete foothold on what I was naturally wired for. Needless to say my formal education process was a bit of a struggle. Now, in the "real world" I find myself embracing my genuine curiosities and not simply trying to do what I am directed to do. The result? I'm having a better time than I ever have in my life and applying skills to my job that no one would have thought to suggest.
I think our future world demands that we stay curious. We have moved far beyond the Industrial Age's need for a person who will spend their entire career performing a set of menial tasks. Technology can and should step in for those things because humans are too valuable for them. Unschooling specifically cultivates the curiosity that is natural to children and helps them learn how to learn. Once you know how to teach yourself things then you can go where need takes you.
Here is a brief TED video by Gever Tulley, discussing his approach to teaching life lessons through tinkering:
There is also a transcript of some Q & A with Gever which covers some of this in greater depth.
Our future society demands people who have multiple skills with the ability to gain more when the situation demands it. They need to be driven to move forward despite the obstacles that are thrown at them by their forebearers. Perhaps a healthy dose of unschooling is just the right way to make it happen.