Friday, April 23, 2010

UNschooling for Dummies

I wasn't going to dignify the ridiculously biased GMA segment on Unschooling with a response. But the more I read the more furious it makes me! I have long held the belief that "News" in the traditional sense is worthless. Tuning into Larry King (on CNN mind you, News is right there in it's name for goodness sake) you end up with gossip rag fodder. Who cares about what unsavory women Tiger Wood's is screwing behind his wife's back or what misguided young actor overdosed. That may be newes for Entertainment channels, but if I am turning on the news, I want just that, news. I want the facts, not the opinions of the biased media.

The GMA segment was edited beyond recognition, that poor family was crucified and Unschooling given an unfair portrayal. I have often said you can tell how much someone knows about homeschooling by their first question to you (or your kids) upon finding out that is your method of unstruction. If the first question is "What about socialization" than it is clear they have learned everything they think they know about homeschooling from Wife Swap.
Most of you dear readers I have the pleasure of knowing in real life. You have been to my home, you have met my children and you have seen our family in action. If you have had a 5 minute conversation with my 6 year old you probably have gone home to find a dictionary. Her vocabulary exceeds my own sometimes! My son's knowledge of geography and trivial minutiae is astounding, he can tell you facts about countries I didn't even know existed. Last night I was telling a friend (yes, we have lots of those!) that my oldest child diagrams sentences for fun. She finds it relaxing, and she enjoys Algebra they way other enjoy Sudoku or Crosswords.
Unschooling is a choice, and a lifestyle. The kids learn because they are curious. They are curious because they were born that way and they have not had their love of learning bored out of them by mundane repetition and memorization. They play and explore and discover new things because they have never been told they can't and they are not ridiculed or penalized for getting an answer different than what is historically accepted. They have beautiful social skills because they are in the world every day, in real situations with lots of different people. Because they have loving adults in their lives to model generosity and kindness, and they have never been bullied.

As loving parents we want to give our kids the best possible foundation to have a joy-filled, satisfying life. Unschooling is not unparenting; just because our life doesn't look like your doesn't make it crazy.

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