'Unschooling' Gives Kids Choice in Studies

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After a summer of no homework and choosing their own schedules, children across the country are getting ready to go back to school.

However, some parents in Arizona are trying out a new teaching method that allows their kids to have that summer break mentality all year round.

The method, known as "unschooling," allows children to remain in control of their own studies.

Instead of sitting down with an English or Math book, the kids go to museums or watch educational television.

Diane Targovnik is an advocate for unschooling. She says that children can learn many fundamentals from real world experiences.

"Because if you've ever tried to build a fort, you'll realize geometry comes in, carpentry comes in there, life sciences and thinking comes in there," she explained.

Targovnik and a group of parents founded the Phoenix Rising Free School.

They have a list of courses for kids to take that include typical topics like math and history. But there are also options like tree climbing.

"Will they know the capitals of all 50 states? No, maybe not, unless it interests them. But they'll know how to get the information, and in today's world that's what really counts," Targovnik said.

Some psychiatrists caution that kids need structure. They say that pre-adolescent brains can't reach higher levels without help.

But parents involved in the new school disagree.

"They learned to walk and they learned to talk when they were ready. And I thought why should that stop at five or six?" said parent Marty Lamb.

Targovnik says that as a private school they can issue diplomas and as long as students choose to take the SATs -- college is an option.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.