Bless your words and education.

[Version 20.0]

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Okay, so I tweeted about this and posted this on my Facebook, but I just have to rant about it here.

Basically, I was on Google News and I found this article: Unschooling: Homeschooling with no tests, no books, no bedtime

To sum it up, these kids just go around and learn basically through osmosis-- or at least are meant to. Or, in reality, they spaz around all day and don't learn anything that people just need to know in general. The founding fathers, algebra, who Shakespeare is. And all of this is totally cool with their mom who questions if we really even need to know who George Washington, JFK or James Joyce are. Oh, and did I mention that they don't have bedtimes and are allowed to basically run the house? They made pasta with peanut butter sauce just because they can.

My opinion?

This is a bullshit way to get out of educating your kids. Not only are you creating kids who feel entitled to do nothing and feel like they should have their way 100% of the time, you are also creating children who are so far behind other kids their age it isn't even funny. There are just some things that as an American citizen -- hell, even just as a person -- you should know or be able to do. Know who founded out country? Pretty important. Doing simple math? Pretty important. How can you even work at a fast food joint if you can't do simple math? And how will these kids ever GET out of service sector jobs if they can't pass a GED test because they have never been made to learn any of the things they learn in a school?

And also, how will these kids every know what they want to learn/study if they aren't exposed to it? I would never have known that I wanted to study religion if I wasn't exposed to religion classes in college. How will these kids ever find an academic field they will want to study if they aren't exposed to literature, language, math, history, science, etc? About the only thing they can do with their piss poor education is cook and do music because those are the only two things I can think of that you don't really need an education for but can teach yourself. These kids are so disadvantaged in almost every aspect of their lives and they don't even know it. They have no idea what the real world is like and that's just sad.

I'd like to know what other people think about this "unschooling" idea. I know that some of your on my Flist are teaching or studying to be teachers, so your opinion would be very interesting.

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I didn't see the one last night. The 8 minute video was more than enough for me. In that they go to a weather station, and yeah, they couldn't remember anything at all. I think there's a place for school and education in a kid's life and it can't be replaced. School for kids that young also builds social skills and teaches them how to learn (in a classroom setting). It's important for their minds and their socialization.

The mom seemed to have this attitude that she didn't feel like she got a very good education (or she felt like the system played her or something because she wasn't very smart?) and wants her kids to have a different experience. :/

Just.. wow. These kids are being screwed over for life - I mean, can they even read? The whole world is closed off from them and as soon as they have to stand on their own two feet (which they won't ever be able to do) they will be completely screwed over by the fact that society has RULES. GAWD. I saw it on your FB yesterday and this infuriates me so much.

AGREED. I watched this video and was shaking my head and saying, "Oh. My. God. No!" the entire time. It just seems SO backwards to try to educate your kids that way.

I actually really like the idea of un-schooling. But, obviously, these people are doing it wrong.

I have a friend who has un-schooled all her kids up until middle school, but her thing is the entire world is for learning, not just the classroom. She turns everything into a learning experience. Her kids raise chickens and learn about biology and reproduction, they go hiking and dig swimming holes to learn about geology and nature, their TV-watching is almost all documentaries, they go to different religious gatherings to learn about culture, etc, etc. And when her oldest daughter started public school, she got the highest standardized test scores in her county.

So it can definitely be done right, and I like it in principle, because it doesn't create the dichotomy of "okay, NOW we're learning, and... NOW we're not." It shows that every thing in life has intellectual value.

See, I think that makes sense, what your friend does. There are actual learning experiences involved but without a "sit down and learn for three hours" mentality. It's a more natural way to learn and is effective. But the way it was featured on Nightline shows a family who takes a laissez-faire approach to education and is setting their kids up to failure. That family was definitely doing it wrong. Taking your example into consideration, I think Nightline probably just found the most radical family to show instead of a more normal one, like your friend's. Go figure.

I don't think that what your friend does is unschooling, I think what she's doing is the best way to homeschool kids, just without using books and tests. She actually teaches her children things, which is not what unschooling is. I know I'm arguing semantics, but your friend should NOT be in the same category as that family. Your friend is being responsible and creating a good learning environment for her children, the woman from that video is definitely not. I feel bad for her children because there is no way that they'll ever be productive members of society unless they actually start learning something.

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