Monday, April 19, 2010

Unschooling

Unhousekeeping.
Unbudgeting.
Uncommunicating.

We all have things in life we don't enjoy doing. But we do them because it's the right thing to do. Can you imagine the world if we only did what we "felt like" doing? A world where children are asked if they would like to brush their teeth? A world where they are allowed to basically run amok?
I heard a story on the few minutes of GMA that I watched today. The story amazed me. And not in the good way. Apparently, 10-20% of homeschoolers are "unschooling". I think that the term is kind of vague but it describes varying degrees of allowing your children to teach themselves-with no text books and no direction really. I think that some "unschoolers" do provide some object lessons (such as math lessons snuck in at the grocery store and other natural teaching moments) for their children, but I didn't realize there was a more radical form of this going on. The families they had on the show have no structure, no form of discipline

These parents say they have "no hierarchy, no punishment, no judgment". Some of that sounds all sweet and fine, peaceful if you will. But there are no boundaries. No lessons on following rules. No teaching your children to deal with following society's rules. They are in for a rude awakening.
The statistics, to me, are staggering! There are approximately 55.7 million school children. Of those, 1.5 million are homeschooled (we represent 2 of those right now! and eventually will represent 4!). Of the 1.5 million homeschooled, there are an estimated 150,000 that are UNschooled.(those stats were taken from the video link above) My question is this: how do we know that's accurate? Would those parents, as a rule, report what they're not doing? Or would that be too taxing?
That might sound a little judgmental, but if you are unparenting and unschooling....why would you bother to report it? Just a thought.
It scares me for those poor children. The ones that aren't getting the opportunities that they might have had if they had any formal learning at all. I don't believe every kid needs or wants to go to college. Some just don't have that desire, that drive. And for the record, if my kids choose not to go to college-if my daughter's stay home and take care of their family, if my sond choose to drive a trash truck or dig ditches-I'm fine with that. I want them to be happy. I want them to love God, love others and do what makes them happy. I'd rather have a child that enjoys his or her life and choices than one that is so driven they miss out on life. But, I'm sure not going to have them get to the age of 18 and realize I robbed them of the opportunity to choose. The opportunity to know what they want to do and have the ability to go after it-or not. It's our job as parents to provide them with the opportunity-*gasp* even the requirement-to learn.
It also scares me for the rest of us who call ourselves homeschoolers and do actively teach our children. Yes, the mainstream media is highlighting that which is radical and not mentioning the parents who go through a lot of research and work to make sure our children learn and have every opportunity possible. We do without any tax relief or funding (which is fine with me because I don't want the regulation that would come with it). Even though the media is pointing it out, it's these parents that I believe are irresponsible and putting at risk our right to parent and school our children in the way we believe is right for our families. We live in Texas which is very unregulated as far as homeschooling goes. For us, that just means less red tape to deal with and more time to teach my children.
Do I think it's the government's responsibility or right to come in and make new rules and laws? To require more reporting in? No. Parents should take the responsibility without anyone coming in.
With that said, we must go and "do" school now.
P.S. I asked my kids about this and their response? Negative! They would not want this freedom. To them it indicates a lack of concern for those children.

3 comments:

squirrelgirl said...

At the risk of seeming judgmental, I am HORRIFIED by that video clip. I'm a firm believer in letting kids make choices, but within a structured environment. These people seem to have pitched any sort of structure. "No family hierarchy"??? What is THAT all about? Of course there's ahierarchy - my kid isn't my equal; I'm her parent and as such, I'm responsible for teaching her, not letting her decide what she "needs" to learn. All I can say is that these kids are in for a rude awakening when they go look for an actual J-O-B.

Jules said...

Don't even get me started. Before this even aired I was on a blog where an "unschooler" professed the superiority of this system. I remained unimpressed.

carebear7951 said...

I totally agree (obviously) ladies! It's ridiculous to think that children do not need parenting. Ummm, that's why God made kids need us. Because that's the plan. We have a job to do...

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