Further to discussions in comments here
, I'm making a start with some bullet points attempting to show the difference between autonomous learning and educational neglect.
I'm drawing the following from my own thoughts and experiences, brought about from observing the results in my children over the years, and also from my children's ideas - especially Ali's, outlined here
. Looking back through blog archives, I see there's a previous post
from two years ago, which might also be useful.
Input from other autonomous learners & facilitators on the following points will be invaluable. Please post thoughts & ideas in the comments box and we can hopefully use them to tweak/rewrite/extend the list into something that might be useful. I'm going to try to keep the points as simple and uncluttered as possible, to make it as easy as possible for someone unfamiliar with the learning style to be able to absorb the relevant info at a glance.
What does autonomous education look like?There's at least one adult parent/facilitator who is available to help the child with learning at all times, on child's request. Learning is completely child-led, so the adult is responsive to the child's interests without demanding a set result. Child's expressed educational needs are met. This means access to books, internet, software, equipment, libraries, museums, courses, tutors etc., as and when child requests them. Child is aware of the above points and options, as much as possible. Learning can take place any time, anywhere, in any form and is not restricted to one area, room, house or building. It happens in all the child's waking moments, so it really is 'full-time' in every sense.* Education is therefore uniquely personalised to suit each individual child. Child learns only according to his/her interests, so is always fully engaged and working to full potential.Child's wish to learn can be damaged by being held to account over issues like output and progress.*Learning isn't usually divided into subject skills: these develop as and when the child requires them.*Learning naturally ebbs and flows, so periods of rest and passive thinking or processing usually follow more active phases.Low adult:child ratio enables constant assessment and feedback, so 'work' on paper (or any other format) is not an essential requirement of autonomous education and therefore may or may not result from learning. The learning process is fully owned by the learner, and as such any work (should any exist) belongs to the child and not the parent/facilitator.*Progress is not usually as predictable or regular as it is in schooled learning. It can be sometimes very fast and sometimes very slow, depending on the child and his/her stage in the process.*Child is offered opportunities to socialise and is free to choose how and when this takes place.*
*Edited after input from comments