Dr. Carlo Ricci is a graduate studies professor in the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University in Ontario Canada and dad to two daughters, ages 11 and 13, who have both unschooled and chosen to go to school over the years. His research focus and teaching includes unschooling, self-directed learning, reading, free schooling, and democratic education. He founded and edits the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, is the author of The Willed Curriculum, Unschooling, and Self-Direction: What Do Love, Trust, Respect, Care, and Compassion Have To Do With Learning, and co-edited both The Legacy of John Holt and Natural Born Learners.
In this episode, Carlo shares his perspective on learning to read naturally, how he approaches his daughters choosing to go to school, some of the differences between unschooling and democratic schools, how he would re-envision childhood in our society, and much more.
It’s a fun ride!
Quote of the Week
“A number of parents, perhaps half a dozen or so, have written to me to say that one or more of their children have chosen to go back to school. They sound a little apologetic about this, as if they thought they had betrayed “the cause.” But there is nothing at all to feel apologetic about. In the first place, unschooling is not a “cause.” Our interest is not in causes but in children and their growth, their learning, and their happiness.” ~ John Holt
Questions for Carlo
1. Can you share with us a bit about your background and your family?
2. How did you discover unschooling?
3. A few years ago you spoke at the Toronto Unschooling Conference about learning to read naturally. Can you share some of your thoughts behind how people learn to read on their own, at different ages?
4. One of the phrases I’ve heard you use regularly over the years is, “children are capable.” I love how it so concisely conveys the idea that children aren’t blank slates that need to be taught everything, but are born curious, creative, and able to learn. Can you talk about the inspiration behind it?
5. One of the unexpected but wonderful things about unschooling’s wider perspective on lifelong learning is how often we learn from our children. Can you share a couple of things you’ve learned over the years from your children?
6. What has your daughter’s choice to go to school looked like? How do you continue to bring your unschooling perspective on living and learning into your days with school in the mix?
7. Over the years I’ve seen democratic schools described as “unschooling schools” any number of times, yet I think there are some distinct differences between the two environments. What are some of the differences you see?
8. You’re the editor of the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, published through Nipissing University, which is coming up on its ten-year anniversary! Congratulations! Through it, you publish a wide range of peer-reviewed articles from around the world. What’s been your favourite part of that experience? What kind of feedback do you receive from readers?
9. If you had a magic wand, how would you re-envision childhood in our society?
Links for More Info
Carlo is the founder and editor of the Journal for Unschooling and Alternative Learning
Here’s my paper, from the first issue of JUAL: Unschooling Passions
Carlo’s talks from the Toronto Unschooling Conference can be found here: TUC Talks (scroll down to his name and you’ll find his three talks)