Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Something I never knew existed

Unschooling.

Now, I never knew this existed.

I know nothing about this other than what was represented in this report. I know that it doesn't make me happy. It makes me sad for the kids, as my husband and I feel that a formal education (we're speaking of public/private/homeschooling . . . ) is necessary. We have a child who is in need of boundaries. She needs to have a firm, but loving hand. This style of learning would not work for her at all. Given the choice of how to conduct her life on her own, she would live in a too small Hannah Montana shirt with a Tinkerbell skirt, leopard print Halloween socks while eating dry cereal and living on PBS kids all day.

I admit that children that are left to their own devices without structure make me worry that they will grow to be extremely flaky and unreliable adults. I worry that they are missing the chunks of education that they might not find appealing, but in a more formal setting (this includes homeschoolers as in many cases, they do many things to socialize their children) opportunities, experiences and whatnot are required of the children-- even for a limited amount of time.

Experiences with their peers is just invaluable. While Hubs and I certainly agree that we don't want K- to be picked on, learning to stand up for yourself and your friends is necessary in life. Learning to do so within the confines of a school or a school type atmosphere is essential. Life isn't always going to be a bowl of cherries. It is up to us to shelter K- to a certain extent while young, but to have her use the skills that we have given to her to advocate for herself. School provides the opportunity to do this in bits and bites.

Children learn with and from each other in a school setting. In homeschooling settings, the younger children learn from their siblings, as they advance in their paces in learning. It is important to learn from their peers, as not everyone learns the same. Learning from peers gives an opportunity to help to problem solve. "This isn't working for me this way, but Zoe works these problems out like this. Let me try to do it her way."

We absolutely love K-'s elementary. We bought a house in the area that we did for several reasons, including the quality of schools. We wouldn't change our choice for anything in the world, but we know that our choice is not a choice for everyone.

How do you feel? I am aware that the news piece is biased. I know that I don't have the full scoop. Honest opinions are always appreciated.

Smiles in my day:
- My friend, Laurie, was able to tweak on my purse so that it stops falling off of me. She put some grommets on my bag to secure the strap. Hooray!
- K-, Hubs and me doing a play with the McDonald's Madame Alexander version of the Wizard of Oz. K- remembers the details much better than us.
- Hubs found the source of the cat smell in our basement. Smudge is mad at us for leaving her down in our very nice, very clean and very spacious basement. She is in a fit of disobedience and we are letting her know who her "pack leader" is. (Thank you, Caesar Milan.)
- The doctor called my mom and confirmed that her test results came back fine. Hooray!

4 comments:

Rach said...

Jessie posts to a number of moms' boards and is privy to all sorts of alternative life-style choices. I have to say, the first time she told me about unschooling, I was HORRIFIED! Of course, this is coming from a teacher, but I can see SO much potential for failure on SO many levels. Jessie told me of children who still weren't reading at the age of 10 because they just weren't interested. OMG! That hurts my head!!

The whole thing feels wrong wrong wrong to me. But, again, I'm a school teacher so of COURSE I see the need for some sort of formal schooling.

Kassi said...

I had never heard of this concept in a formal way either. I do know of some homeschooled children who aren't taught, but I didnt' think it was 'accepted' practice.

I'm not an educator, but I don't think that this is the way to go at all. I think that they are undermining their children's future. It's sad, and these parents are misguided. It is likely that either one or both of the parents were burned by the school system some how.
I would have been interested to learn what type of education the parents have, if they attended college, etc. And what their motivation was for giving up on giving their children a formal education.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Kassi,

You pose many different questions that would be valuable to know.

Wow.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

To me, these parents seem lazy. Instead of dealing with schooling and teaching there children, they'd rather just let them be and "whatever happens, happens". Sure, there are days I'd like to not fight with my kids about brushing their teeth, or doing their homework, but that is called "parenting". We aren't taking care of pets here people, we are supposed to be raising children. The key word is "raising". I don't see how these children are getting any sort of enrichment in their lives by sitting around watching TV and playing video games all day. The first family seemed much more "hands off" than the second family. This is a free country and every one has a right to do what they feel is best for their children, but this doesn't even seem the best way to run a kennel let a lone a family. Do we put TOO MUCH emphasis on school in some cases? Sure. But let's find a happy medium.