O The Unschooling Unmanual reúne 11 ensaios de entusiastas do aprendizado livre, em que contam experiências pessoais e compartilham seus pontos de vista em relação à Escola e à liberdade do ensino. O The Unschooling Unmanual é uma espécie de manifesto; um bom ponto de partida para quem tem interesse em saber um pouco mais sobre o tema do Unschooling, ou Desescolarização:
⇢ “We don’t believe that repetition is necessary or that there is a list of things that every person needs to know. We believe that turning the relationship of parent and child into a relationship between teacher and student is detrimental. We want our children to own their learning and to learn for their own reasons, not to please a teacher.
⇢ “The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, and do what he can see other people doing. He is open, perceptive, and experimental. He does not merely observe the world around him. He does not shut himself off from the strange, complicated world around him, but tastes it, touches it, hefts it, bends it, breaks it. To find out how reality works, he works on it. He is bold. He is not afraid of making mistakes. And he is patient. He can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance, and suspense. … School is not a place that gives much time, or opportunity, or reward, for this kind of thinking and learning.”
⇢ “Children who are good at fantasizing are better both at learning about the world and at learning to cope with its surprises and disappointment. It isn’t hard to see why this should be so. In fantasy we have a way of trying out situations, to get some feel of what they might be like, or how we might feel in them, without having to risk too much. It also gives us a way of coping with bad experiences, by letting us play and replay them in our mind until they have lost much of their power to hurt, or until we can make them come out in ways that leave us feeling less defeated and foolish.”
⇢ “Children learn by asking questions, not by answering them.”
⇢ “When a one-year-old falls down while learning to walk, we say, “Good try! You’ll catch on soon!” No caring parent would say, “Every baby your age should be walking. You’d better be walking by Friday!”””
⇢ “Our boys also love to play board games, especially Monopoly. We play it a lot, and because they enjoy it so much, they’re eager to learn the math. For example, players can choose whether to pay a fixed amount of tax or ten per cent of their assets, so the boys wanted to learn all about percentages.
⇢ ““If I had to make a general rule for living and working with children, it might be this: be wary of saying or doing anything to a child that you would not do to another adult, whose good opinion and affection you valued.” John Holt”
⇢ “As John Holt once observed, children are not trains. If a train does not reach every station on time, it will be late reaching its ultimate destination. But a child can be late at any “station”, and can even change the entire route of the learning process, and still reach every area of learning.
⇢ “In an age of “information explosion”, it is no longer meaningful or realistic to require rote memorization of specific facts.”
⇢ “Unschooling isn’t a recipe, and therefore it can’t be explained in recipe terms. It is impossible to give unschooling directions for people to follow so that it can be tried for a week or so to see if it works. Unschooling isn’t a method, it is a way of looking at children and at life. It is based on trust that parents and children will find the paths that work best for them — without depending on educational institutions, publishing companies, or experts to tell them what to do.”