Kerry McDonald lives and learns together with her husband and four never-been-schooled children in Massachusetts, US. She blogs on her website, wholefamilylearning.com, is a founding member of alternativestoschool.com, and is on the board of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. We have fun digging into all sorts of things, including what it really means to learn naturally, the distinction between equal opportunity and equal participation in the workforce, and Kerry’s passion for the intersection of self-directed learning and education policy.
And the podcast is now available on YouTube! The channel is Living Joyfully with Unschooling.
Quote of the Week
“No matter how wonderful the teachers are or how thoughtful the curriculum is, it’s still someone else’s ideas around what a child should know versus a child asking their own questions, pursuing their own interests, and moving along a path that’s meaningful to them.” ~ Kerry McDonald
Questions for Kerry
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and your journey from a Masters degree in Education to unschooling?
I love hearing what unschooling kids are up to! What are your children interested in at the moment and how are they pursuing it?
You recently wrote a blog post that I really enjoyed, “Natural Learning in an Artificial World.” I want to share a quote: “As homeschoolers, I think we have a tendency to seek out classes and educational experiences that foster what we consider to be natural learning. We look for programming that encourages self-direction and child-led learning. We search for teachers who connect with children and ignite their curiosity. But real, natural learning cannot be captured in a classroom or caged in a curriculum.” Can you talk more about what you mean by that?
You co-edited a book, along with Rachel Chaney, called Choosing Home: 20 Mothers Celebrate Staying Home, Raising Children, and Changing the World. Can you share the inspiration behind this collection of stories?
In your essay in the book, you talk about the consequences of society’s pursuit of equal participation of men and women in the workforce, of seeing the rise in stay-at-home moms over the past 15 years as a bad thing. What are some of the consequences you see?
You are on the organizing team of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Can you tell us a bit about the Alliance and its plans?
You’ve been publishing some great articles lately on websites like Intellectual Takeout and Foundation for Economic Education. The thread running through most of them seems to be diving into the consequences of the conventional school system. You write with such passion and I’d love to hear what has drawn you to that aspect?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
The Pioneer Institute, a think tank in the Boston area
Parts and Crafts, a makerspace in Somerville, MA
Kerry’s blog post, Natural Learning in an Artificial World
Kerry and Rachel Chaney edited and published a collection of essays, Choosing Home: 20 Mothers Celebrate Staying Home, Raising Children, and Changing the World
Kerry’s a founding member of the website, alternativestoschool.com
She’s also on the board of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education