Right off, the interviewer, Rebecca Ryan, remarked that Trunk can be counted on to say things that sound outrageous, such as:
Kids who are unschooled are going to kick ass and kids who go to traditional factory school are going to be left in the dust.
That statement sums up Trunk's definition of unschooling. She said: "I'm kind of new to the trend, which is why I'm dying of happiness to talk about it." She defined unschooling in two pieces:
- The antiquated school system is set up to keep kids out of trouble while the parents work in factories and to teach the kids to follow rules so they can become good factory workers. That's not what we need. We need people to learn to think and run their lives in complicated ways.
- In the workforce, she sees a gulf between people who are constantly learning and people who think that school is for school. "So," she said, "unschooling is the idea that there's this way of learning in the world which is actually learning to be good productive engaged people and it never ends."
Trunk said that unschooling is starting at the college level. For example, she sees parents buying a franchise instead of a college program for their children. The general public, she said, is saying that college is a complete ripoff. They're not there yet saying no to 3rd grade, but the trend is trickling down.
About the next generation: Over the next ten years, Trunk predicts that we'll have two classes of kids: one set who knows how to run themselves in this world and another set who needs to be told what to do. Unschoolers, she said, are happier, more independent people. What does she most want for her sons? Engagement. The people who are the most unhappy can't figure out how to be engaged in anything. It's about finding out what they're interested in.
Getting Unschooled: An interview with Penelope Trunk (free version)
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