Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Unschooling? What the Hell?

I recently heard of this thing called "unschooling".

So basically, how it works is--the kids don't go to school. I don't mean that they're homeschooled. I mean that they aren't formally educated.

"Now wait a minute!" I can hear you shouting. "Just wait a minute! A child doesn't NEED a formal education!"

And I agree with you. Really, I do. I don't think that EVERY child in the world needs to get up at six fifty, bolt down a Pop-Tart, drag themselves to the bus stop, ride to school, and sit at a desk from eight thirty to three thirty every day. I agree with you wholeheartedly that in and of itself, a formal education in that sense isn't the best idea for every child in the world.

But I also cannot believe that there are some people in the world who get up and say; "Know what? My child can learn perfectly well on their own."

The families that I have heard of that employ this method of education have no alarm clocks, had no bedtimes, typically allow their children to decide what's for dinner, and don't even make this children sit down to their workbooks to learn anything.

"They pursue what they're interested in! It works fabulously!" the mother's coo while the camera crew pans the house. The kids are bouncing off the walls, sitting up past midnight, eating cookies and fruit punch, and lolling on the floor babbling to themselves.

There are a good amount of them who can read, write, and do some simple math. But all I can think is; "What if they want more? How in the world are they going to support themselves?"

Maybe it's because I'm American, or maybe it's because I grew up dirt ass broke, but I don't understand how the vast majority of the population will be able to find employment that will, you know, make sure they can eat more than a packet of Ramen a day with a glass of tap water.

Yum yum.

And you know, I can see this working for older children. I went to school (which was a nontraditional school in and of itself) with some children who just did not do well in that sort of environment. They did better off on their own, studying at their own pace and reading what they wanted to....

But even they were homeschooled.

I mean, school doesn't just teach you how to count, how to read, or what year Chris Columbus sailed. School also teaches you how to get along with other kids, listen to instructions, sit still for more than twenty five seconds at a time, how to follow a schedule.

And these are tools that are needed in adult life! Does anyone else remember that one really awkward kid in school who was constantly interrupting? Do you remember how much you hated that kid? For the most part, I don't see unschooled kids being too much better. I mean, you can give me the whole "Weeeeeell, plaaaaaaygroooooups," line all you want. But when you get down to it, I really do think children need to learn how to function amongst their peers on their own.

Not that I like the minimal supervision that goes on in most schools, either. Go, go budget cuts. -.-

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