None of my Bourke Accounting co-workers were homeschooled. Maybe our parents weren’t very innovative, but we all gained our educations using the regular channels of school and college. In fact, throughout my entire life, I’ve only known one homeschooled person.

Some parents cite that, in what appears to be an increasingly violent society, they can keep their children better protected by homeschooling. There are also parents who believe that secular teaching contradicts their religious faiths. Some extol the virtues of devoting undivided time and attention to the education of their children on a one-on-one basis.

My homeschooled friend is one of the smartest people I know. There was a curriculum provided by the school district and frequent testing was required. Scholastically, this woman outshines me in every subject. However, she is also painfully socially awkward and dangerously naïve. Academically, the homeschooling worked very well. Socially? Eh, maybe not so much.

While I have a few doubts about homeschooling, there’s another type of education that I really question: Unschooling. Unschooling is the practice of “letting the learner choose what, when, how and where they learn” (Theglobeandmail.com). Not clear enough? Okay, what about this: unschooling is the “idea that children can direct their own learning…without the rigid structures of formal education” (Healthline.com). Basically, unschooling is letting little Johnny decide what, if anything, he feels like doing today. The premise is, that through the process of living life, these kids learn (Psychologytoday.com).

Unschooling falls under the umbrella of homeschooling and is legal in all states (Unschoolingmom2mom.com). However, the rules are different for every state; some states require testing, some don’t. If parents don’t test, how can they be sure that their kids are learning anything? According to Naturalchild.org, simply by using “direct observation,” the parents can tell. Naturalchild.org suggests that it’s okay if a child can’t read by age 12 – “there is no need to speed up or measure this process.” If the kids never learn to read, that’s all right, too, since they learned the subjects that inspired passion within them!

There haven’t been many long-term studies done on the effectiveness of “unschooling,” but there has been some limited research. One study showed that “unschooled children scored lower for academic ability” (Universityaffairs.ca) than homeschooled kids utilizing a more traditional curriculum. I think it’s great that kids can study what interests them, but there has to be room for the boring subjects, too. Also, I wonder about the wisdom of allowing a child to dictate what s/he will learn. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a panther – I don’t think I was in any position to tell my mom that I just wasn’t going to learn multiplication because it wasn’t exciting.

I also wonder how these kids will be able to assimilate into the working world; they have never experienced deadlines, schedules or completing dull tasks. Unschooler parents could argue that school is nothing but a training ground for a future in the workforce and, to an extent, that’s fair. But. Unless the kid has a really big trust fund, that training is going to come in really handy (if the kid ever wants to move out, that is).

Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers weren’t unschooled. But our Bourke Accounting experts appreciate that there are many ways to learn and they are always eager to hip the uninitiated to the world of accounting. While our Bourke Accounting pros may have mastered their craft in the old-fashioned way, they never stop learning. I guess it just worked out that numbers happened to be their passion.

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H.