Thursday, April 22, 2010

The post that must be made

If you're part of the homeschool community you have probably heard by now of the hatchet job Good Morning America did on unschooling. If you haven't seen it, you aren't missing much. It was of  the low quality that we have come to expect from the mainstream media. Of course unschoolers have, as you would expect, reacted with all kinds of posts about, and defenses of, unschooling.

I have heard that GMA did a bit of a backpedal show the next day, but I have no desire to see it, so I won't address it here. And since I just wrote four posts last month more-or-less about unschooling, I am not going back over all of that ground.

There is one thing, though, that I keep seeing in attack after attack that I felt the need to address. I quote from the Sun-Times piece:
                      "In contrast "unschooling" means no textbooks, no curriculum, no tests, no grades."
Um. No. Not even close.

Maybe, in some families, but certainly not in all. In many, like ours,especially as our children get closer to adulthood, they choose to use textbooks. Our sons have chosen to use some curriculum. They have chosen to take some classes in which they are tested and graded. This has all been their choice in pursuit of their goals and interests. My two oldest took the SAT. Last time I checked that "T" stands for "test."

The knee-jerk negativity to the outside-the-boxness that is unschooling is not surprising. But you'd think that if people are going to criticize they would at least get their facts straight.


Elephantschild said...

::stands, cheers:: Thank you, Jane.

Susan said...

But it's so much easier to criticize when you don't know the facts and make up "facts" that reinforce your preconceived notions.

Jennifer said...

The facts are usually such a disappointment to those hell bent on criticizing something that makes them feel threatened for one reason or another. Facts just muddy the waters of a good tirade. ;-)

rebelliouspastorswife said...

We attempted the more structured approach with my son, though I focused more on living books, rather than textbooks. Even then, things that would catch his eye led the way. He loved the show "Liberty's Kids," so we went to the library and got biographies on every character they covered. (Except Phyllis Wheatley, there needs to be more done on her).

With Maggie, I relaxed more. A lot of our learning is done through discussion. But in reality, I set the stage, and she goes with it. I taught her the sounds the letters make when we learned the alphabet, and she taught herself to read. She figured out a lot of math on her own (she's seven. Because she's interested, she's basically figured out addition, subtraction, time (and adding and subtracting time) and multiplication on her own. She learned her times tables because SHE found fun flashcard games online. She wanted to take communion, and while I catechized, she knew when she knew the six chief parts, and could confess them, she could go to communion. She worked her butt off. She's learned anything and everything about birds, because she loves them.

This is all just by giving her a few resources to work with AND time.

I just really sat down and figured this out last week. She knows HOW to learn, and at a very young age. If anything, I get in the way more than I help. :)

Lauren said...

I'd love for you to stop by and join our link-up of Christian unschoolers at

Amber said...

Jane can you please email me more information on "unschooling"..I have a 5 year old boy and 7 year old hasn't been "fun".I want fun and relaxed but I am just lost..thank Amber