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The Unschooling Rules

Unschooling Rules is being adopted as a guiding manifesto behind rethinking schools and education. Those who have read the book Unschooling Rules may find interesting these examples of The Rules in public discourse.

Part One: Curricula
1. Learn to be; learn to do; learn to know.
2. Focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic.
3. Learn something because you need it or because you love it.
4. Twenty-five critical skills seldom taught, tested, or graded in high school.
5. Don’t worry about preparing students for jobs from an Agatha Christie novel.
6. Avoid the academic false dichotomy of “The Cultural Literacy Track” or “The Vocational Track.”

Part Two: Content 
7. Throughout life, everyone unschools most of the time.
8. What a person learns in a classroom is how to be a person in a classroom.
9. Sitting through a classroom lecture is not just unnatural for most people, it is painful.
10. Animals are better than books about animals.
11. Use microcosms as much as possible in learning programs.
12. Internships, apprenticeships, and interesting jobs beat term papers, textbooks, and tests.
13. Include meaningful work.
14. Create and use periods of reflection.
15. If you care about learning, start with food.
16. Embrace all technologies.
17. Listen while doing.
18. One computer + one spreadsheet software program = math curricula.
19. Have a well-stocked library.
20. Read what normal people read.
21. Is it better to be “A Great Reader” than “Addicted to Computer Games”?
22. Formally learn only what is reinforced during the next 14 days (you will forget everything else anyway).
23. Build more, consume less.
Part Three: Coaching 
24. Teaching is leadership. Most teaching is bad leadership.
25. Expose more, teach less.
26. Biologically, the necessary order of learning is: explore, then play, then add rigor.
27. The ideal class size isn’t thirty, or even fifteen, but more like five.
28. One traditional school day includes less than 3 hours of formal instruction and practice, which you can cover in 2.
29. Homework helps school systems, not students.
30. Every day, adults are role models of learning (whether or not they want to be).
31. Avoid the Stockholm syndrome.
32. Schools are designed to create both winners and losers.

Part Four: Customization 
33. In education, customization is important like air is important.
34. There is no one answer to how to educate a child. There may not be any answers.
35. Be what schools pretend to be, not what schools are.
36. Fifteen models that are better for childhood learning than schools are.
37. Feed passions and embrace excellence.
38. Children learn unevenly, even backwards.
39. Five subjects a day? Really?
40. Maturing solves a lot of problems.

Part Five: Community 
41. Socialize your children. Just don’t use schools to do it.
42. Grouping students by the same age is just a bad idea.

"Grouping kids by age for instruction makes about as much pedagogical sense as grouping them by height!" – Dr. Deborah Ruf, founder of Educational Options

43. Minimize “the drop-off.”
44. Increase exposure to non–authority figure adults.

Part Six: Credit 
45. Tests don’t work. Get over it. Move on.
46. The future is portfolios, not transcripts.
47. Keep a focused journal.
48. Use technology as assessment.
49. College: the hardest no-win decision your family may ever make.
Part Seven: [Day] Care
50. Outdoors beats indoors.
51. Walk a lot.
52. Under-schedule to take advantage of the richness of life.

53. Parents care more than any institution about their children.
54. Children should be raised by people who love them.
55. The only sustainable answer to the global education challenge is a diversity of approaches.
Example of innovative programs:
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