'Unschooling' removes tests, traditional curriculum from school

Students who are 'unschooled' tend to pick how and when they want to learn. Photo: CNN

(CNN) - Teachers nationwide are always looking for innovative ways to teach students and fresh techniques to help kids retain and learn new information.

One school in Atlanta, though, is turning that concept upside down. At The Sudbury School in Georgia, children are choosing where and when they want to learn.

It's a concept called "unschooling," and it works on the basis of children taking charge of their educational path. The concept disregards traditional testing or curricula; rather, adults stand by and watch their students cut their own schooling path.

Lauren Snow, the founder of The Sudbury School, says that unschooling is a non-traditional path to success from primary school all the way through college.

She describes students merging their interests to learn necessary skills in their own way. In one instance, a student wanted to make a comic book, and they were able to pick up tasks such as spelling, grammar and artwork.

"You will see how they kind of come to it based on what they want to do when they have an interest," snow said.

Because Sudbury is a private school, its founders say that its not held to all of the same requirements as public schools. It's an unconventional approach to education that is catching on for many parents who believe that the world is the best classroom for their kids to learn.

"We learn written language in the same way that we learn spoken language, so when we're babies, no one teaches us how to speak per se," Sudbury parent Kelly Limes-Taylor said. "We just have to remember that it happens naturally, in that when a young person wants to and understands that he or she needs to, then he or she will."

Many remain skeptical though and call the technique a risk. Parenting expert Dr. Erik Fisher says that the risk of unschooling lies in children "not gaining the range of skills that are necessary to succeed."

Limes-Taylor says that it's an experiment worth trying.

"While this may not be the definitive answer for our society, it's a way to try it out," she said.