As more experienced homeschoolers/ unschoolers moving in to our fourth year of educating at home, many times I hear the same rhetoric about homeschooling and sheltering. The basic premise is that teaching your child at home is something that we undertake because it shelters children from the real world - and that this is a bad thing. That withholding very young and impressionable children from the institutionalised school environment is unnatural, and will disadvantage them in that they will not experience the harsh realities of life, and therefore will not be able to cope with a harsh adult life once confronted with it.
In reference to an article recently on the Mamamia website about radical unschoolers, I felt compelled to write a reply on behalf of the unschooling and natural learning community. I must preface that I respect much of Mia Freedman's work and the work of Mamamia in empowering women to have a voice on so many issues that are not usually brought up in mainstream media. However I must respectfully disagree with the assertion that unschoolers and natural learners are negligent parents or that our children are illiterate, or not contributing to or participating in society...
I would like to offer a reply or clarification of the issues raised in this article. I run Teen Homeschooling Australia (which is for homeschoolers, unschoolers and natural learners in Australia) in addition to University Tutoring Australia, and my children technically 'unschool'.
Most parents live with the misconception that school is a place where children go to learn and become the best they can be. Somewhere where you can be assured that the educational system is set up so that your child is best placed to become an intelligent and high-functioning citizen in a new and fast-paced world. However, the reality is that our current schooling system is set up to produce two types of graduates - the winners and the losers...more
A few years ago I wrote my very first post about parenting in the absence of television. Those very first days of removing the television for any significant length of time were torture! Our children did not know what to do with themselves. They experienced television withdrawal, insisting on forcing themselves to take naps at odd times, hoping that they would wake to their television plugged back in and safely where it belonged. And finally, their (then, schooling) friends did not want to visit because we had a 'boring' house with nothing to do but stare at blank walls apparently!
It was then that I realised we had a problem. Surely staring at walls when a televison wasn't on, wasn't normal was it?...more