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How do you explain unschooling to neighbors, friends, and family?

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I live in an area that is not homeschooling friendly .  It is a BIG stretch for people to wrap their mind around the idea of homeschooling, not to mention unschooling.  I know I'm walking the right path for my kids, it's just kind of a confidence breaker when I'm surrounded by naysayers.  

Questions I hear all the time.

"how are they ever going to get a job?"

"how are they going to ever learn responsibility?

I could go on and on :( 

by on Jun. 26, 2013 at 2:39 PM
Replies (21-23):
LindaClement
by Group Owner on Aug. 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM
2 moms liked this

I don't think I need to go through being enslaved and transported and sold to understand all of what is wrong with the slave trade. I think, much more than Erik might guess, that the pervasiveness of the indoctrination within and surrounding the moral necessity of schools means that going through it makes it nearly impossible for most people to even think about the system objectively, much less how much of an impact the system has on people's sense of 'normal' in all kinds of unrelated areas of life.

I believe that people who have never been in that culture will be the who create the real change in that system, starting by taking apart the whole idea that it's natural, inevitable, or necessary ... much more able to challenge the immutability of the system's foundation assumptions and structures.

Bureaucracies like the school system exist --by the time they're big enough-- to exist, pure and simple. Making changes from within is virtually impossible, for a whole lot of reasons, not the least because they all know you are just passing through. They are 'within,' YOU are outside. You are talking about interfering with a professional's full-time job. 

But even from the inside (for admin and teachers) it's virtually impossible to make any kind of meaningful change, because the whole system is too diffuse, and any local agreement or cooperation they get for surface changes around them will evaporate when the leader changes jobs, retires or ends up working under someone who has a different philosophy.

That school-within-a-school was pretty much what I lived (I got tested in grade 4 --long story)... and I still 'got' to study the stuff that no one in that system has any autonomy about --stuff that I understood, on average, 2-6 years earlier. The mandatory hours were unsuitable, the questions 'they' thought were reasonable were (to my mildly opinionated mind) moronic and irrelevant.

Linda is a great name :D

Quoting mamavalor:

 Thanks for sharing, Linda.  I can see where you are coming from and it's unfortunate that you found very little stimulation from your school experience.  I agree with all you said about school.  But not all schools are stifling and limiting.  It's all in one's perspective and having the ability and courage to do something about it.  Mediocrity is all around us in the real world, too.  Adults are promoted undeservingly every day while some bully their way to the top.  Everything in life has its good and bad components.  IMO, being a self-educator is the key to success in any form of schooling.  I believe it was Erik Satie who was given the advice about having to go through school to fully understand it before going about to change it.   You have so you are changing it for your children as I have and am adjusting for mine.

My high school had a school within a school deptartment, for those students who prefered an independent program of study.  It gave one the freedom to choose their interests, held off campus or on campus lawns or in-house couches.  You may have liked it there, as those who preferred an eclectic, non-traditional, non-conforming route did.

BTW, my name is Linda, too.  Hi.  :)

Quoting LindaClement:

I can see how you've thought that way.

For me, there are too many artificial structures that limit freedom so much that it bears virtually no resemblance to real life, from the age segretation to the idea of being promoted by doing the bare minimum required in a genuinely mediocre way, to the lack of freedom of association and personal choice in fields of 'employment.'

As a child, I unschooled outside school and I think I can say without any hesitation that I learned a great deal more outside than in ... but my parents had no idea that homeschooling was even an option, without getting into whether or not it was a legal option. For me, personally, school was a massive waste of time, even with the few bits of interesting stuff that happend rarely.

mamavalor
by Member on Aug. 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM

True.  One doesn't need to be a slave to know that slavery is wrong.  The longevity of slavery was economic, and economics has always taken precedent over everything.  This basic fact eclipsed the moral judgement of the people of that time, even of the people of the current time.  Lincoln was a slave to his father.  He had the opportunity to abolish slavery and did because he was one.  While it was secondary to uniting the two sides, he did it, nevertheless.

But who is to say what is right and what is wrong and if anything needs changing about a culture?  Especially for an outsider to say?  The Hawaiians had their own culture until the Christians came along to take them out of their "barbarism."  And wouldn't one's opinion be more respected, if not considered, if one went through the system and then to other systems to reflect?

Anytime when you have a system, people will either be for it or against it.  Schools are of no exceptions.  Families, included.  Mom and Dad are like bureaucrats, inflexible, complex, and unfair, and inefficient with their ways at times.  Mom dies and Dad remarries, setting up for a whole new system for the kids.  Granddad moves in and there goes the private bathroom.

Change won't be overnight.  And it certainly won't be in four years or even in eight.  But if we can maneuver our way around the red tape of bureacrats of any kind of system and still retain our sense of self, then we have survived what is called life.

People can change things if they are willing to do it, from the inside or from the outside.  In discretion or in your face.  Change is made in favor of children all the time. 

Quoting LindaClement:

I don't think I need to go through being enslaved and transported and sold to understand all of what is wrong with the slave trade. I think, much more than Erik might guess, that the pervasiveness of the indoctrination within and surrounding the moral necessity of schools means that going through it makes it nearly impossible for most people to even think about the system objectively, much less how much of an impact the system has on people's sense of 'normal' in all kinds of unrelated areas of life.

I believe that people who have never been in that culture will be the who create the real change in that system, starting by taking apart the whole idea that it's natural, inevitable, or necessary ... much more able to challenge the immutability of the system's foundation assumptions and structures.

Bureaucracies like the school system exist --by the time they're big enough-- to exist, pure and simple. Making changes from within is virtually impossible, for a whole lot of reasons, not the least because they all know you are just passing through. They are 'within,' YOU are outside. You are talking about interfering with a professional's full-time job. 

But even from the inside (for admin and teachers) it's virtually impossible to make any kind of meaningful change, because the whole system is too diffuse, and any local agreement or cooperation they get for surface changes around them will evaporate when the leader changes jobs, retires or ends up working under someone who has a different philosophy.

That school-within-a-school was pretty much what I lived (I got tested in grade 4 --long story)... and I still 'got' to study the stuff that no one in that system has any autonomy about --stuff that I understood, on average, 2-6 years earlier. The mandatory hours were unsuitable, the questions 'they' thought were reasonable were (to my mildly opinionated mind) moronic and irrelevant.

Linda is a great name :D

Quoting mamavalor:

 Thanks for sharing, Linda.  I can see where you are coming from and it's unfortunate that you found very little stimulation from your school experience.  I agree with all you said about school.  But not all schools are stifling and limiting.  It's all in one's perspective and having the ability and courage to do something about it.  Mediocrity is all around us in the real world, too.  Adults are promoted undeservingly every day while some bully their way to the top.  Everything in life has its good and bad components.  IMO, being a self-educator is the key to success in any form of schooling.  I believe it was Erik Satie who was given the advice about having to go through school to fully understand it before going about to change it.   You have so you are changing it for your children as I have and am adjusting for mine.

My high school had a school within a school deptartment, for those students who prefered an independent program of study.  It gave one the freedom to choose their interests, held off campus or on campus lawns or in-house couches.  You may have liked it there, as those who preferred an eclectic, non-traditional, non-conforming route did.

BTW, my name is Linda, too.  Hi.  :)

Quoting LindaClement:

I can see how you've thought that way.

For me, there are too many artificial structures that limit freedom so much that it bears virtually no resemblance to real life, from the age segretation to the idea of being promoted by doing the bare minimum required in a genuinely mediocre way, to the lack of freedom of association and personal choice in fields of 'employment.'

As a child, I unschooled outside school and I think I can say without any hesitation that I learned a great deal more outside than in ... but my parents had no idea that homeschooling was even an option, without getting into whether or not it was a legal option. For me, personally, school was a massive waste of time, even with the few bits of interesting stuff that happend rarely.


 

LindaClement
by Group Owner on Aug. 16, 2013 at 12:48 AM
2 moms liked this

The Lincoln story is a lot more complex than that, he was never, personally opposed to slavery --it was a political choice to keep the money in the North onside.

I don't think parents are necessarily inflexible or unfair. I believe both are best kept to a very intentional minimum...

And, frankly, I have no more interest in disrupting the system from the inside of school than I do of foster care. I had, and exercised, the legal option of walking away (and no one could compel me to become a foster parent) because whether or not the school system is 'better' in a generation, or collapses under the weight of its own failures is genuinely none of my business.

I speak openly of my opinion about its failures, and of the legal options available to anyone who would like to protect their children from what is, ultimately, a system primarily operating as inexpensive babysitting to increase the number of GDP-contributing jobs for adults.

That, I believe (in addition to protecting my children from what I believe is fundamentally detrimental to them) is the end of my responsibility in the matter.

Quoting mamavalor:

True.  One doesn't need to be a slave to know that slavery is wrong.  The longevity of slavery was economic, and economics has always taken precedent over everything.  This basic fact eclipsed the moral judgement of the people of that time, even of the people of the current time.  Lincoln was a slave to his father.  He had the opportunity to abolish slavery and did because he was one.  While it was secondary to uniting the two sides, he did it, nevertheless.

But who is to say what is right and what is wrong and if anything needs changing about a culture?  Especially for an outsider to say?  The Hawaiians had their own culture until the Christians came along to take them out of their "barbarism."  And wouldn't one's opinion be more respected, if not considered, if one went through the system and then to other systems to reflect?

Anytime when you have a system, people will either be for it or against it.  Schools are of no exceptions.  Families, included.  Mom and Dad are like bureaucrats, inflexible, complex, and unfair, and inefficient with their ways at times.  Mom dies and Dad remarries, setting up for a whole new system for the kids.  Granddad moves in and there goes the private bathroom.

Change won't be overnight.  And it certainly won't be in four years or even in eight.  But if we can maneuver our way around the red tape of bureacrats of any kind of system and still retain our sense of self, then we have survived what is called life.

People can change things if they are willing to do it, from the inside or from the outside.  In discretion or in your face.  Change is made in favor of children all the time. 

Quoting LindaClement:

I don't think I need to go through being enslaved and transported and sold to understand all of what is wrong with the slave trade. I think, much more than Erik might guess, that the pervasiveness of the indoctrination within and surrounding the moral necessity of schools means that going through it makes it nearly impossible for most people to even think about the system objectively, much less how much of an impact the system has on people's sense of 'normal' in all kinds of unrelated areas of life.

I believe that people who have never been in that culture will be the who create the real change in that system, starting by taking apart the whole idea that it's natural, inevitable, or necessary ... much more able to challenge the immutability of the system's foundation assumptions and structures.

Bureaucracies like the school system exist --by the time they're big enough-- to exist, pure and simple. Making changes from within is virtually impossible, for a whole lot of reasons, not the least because they all know you are just passing through. They are 'within,' YOU are outside. You are talking about interfering with a professional's full-time job. 

But even from the inside (for admin and teachers) it's virtually impossible to make any kind of meaningful change, because the whole system is too diffuse, and any local agreement or cooperation they get for surface changes around them will evaporate when the leader changes jobs, retires or ends up working under someone who has a different philosophy.

That school-within-a-school was pretty much what I lived (I got tested in grade 4 --long story)... and I still 'got' to study the stuff that no one in that system has any autonomy about --stuff that I understood, on average, 2-6 years earlier. The mandatory hours were unsuitable, the questions 'they' thought were reasonable were (to my mildly opinionated mind) moronic and irrelevant.

Linda is a great name :D

Quoting mamavalor:

 Thanks for sharing, Linda.  I can see where you are coming from and it's unfortunate that you found very little stimulation from your school experience.  I agree with all you said about school.  But not all schools are stifling and limiting.  It's all in one's perspective and having the ability and courage to do something about it.  Mediocrity is all around us in the real world, too.  Adults are promoted undeservingly every day while some bully their way to the top.  Everything in life has its good and bad components.  IMO, being a self-educator is the key to success in any form of schooling.  I believe it was Erik Satie who was given the advice about having to go through school to fully understand it before going about to change it.   You have so you are changing it for your children as I have and am adjusting for mine.

My high school had a school within a school deptartment, for those students who prefered an independent program of study.  It gave one the freedom to choose their interests, held off campus or on campus lawns or in-house couches.  You may have liked it there, as those who preferred an eclectic, non-traditional, non-conforming route did.

BTW, my name is Linda, too.  Hi.  :)

Quoting LindaClement:

I can see how you've thought that way.

For me, there are too many artificial structures that limit freedom so much that it bears virtually no resemblance to real life, from the age segretation to the idea of being promoted by doing the bare minimum required in a genuinely mediocre way, to the lack of freedom of association and personal choice in fields of 'employment.'

As a child, I unschooled outside school and I think I can say without any hesitation that I learned a great deal more outside than in ... but my parents had no idea that homeschooling was even an option, without getting into whether or not it was a legal option. For me, personally, school was a massive waste of time, even with the few bits of interesting stuff that happend rarely.




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