|If she is lucky -- very lucky -- Michele Darr-Babson can get from one end of a sentence to the other uninterrupted.
Mornings in her Salem, Ore., home are slightly, shall we say, chaotic.
"We're able to give our children ... Louis! Don't stand on that!" she tells ParentDish (and Louis).
What Darr-Babson is trying to say is that unschooling -- a movement where children get no education and basically teach themselves what they need to know -- gives kids more choices. Apparently, the choice for Louis to stand on whatever "that" is, is not one of them.
Darr-Babson has 10 children in her blended family. She used to unschool most of them, and it's a good idea, she says. In theory, at least. Most of her children are in traditional school these days. That's because attending school was one of the choices they were free to make. Darr-Babson's ex-partner didn't share her enthusiasm for homeschooling.
But when unschooling works, Darr-Babson tells ParentDish, it can work magnificently.
"It enables children to focus what they're interested in," she says.
A growing number of parents are unschooling their children. ABC News reports there are 56 million American children in traditional schools, with another 1.5 million being homeschooled.
Of those, according to the network, about 10 percent are unschooled.
Unschooling is not homeschooling. In homeschooling, children get the same structure, discipline and curriculum they get at school. They just get it from their parents.
Darr-Babson explains that unschooling has no rules. It is all organic.
"It really promotes how learning is accomplishing in real life -- through experience," she tells ParentDish.
Her two oldest children, ages 18 and 20, are in Egypt. "Now that's a learning experience," she says.
But does visiting the Sphinx teach a person algebra?
Children can take care of that on their own, unschooling parent Christine Yablonski of Massachusetts tells ABC News.
"If they need formal algebra understanding, they will find that information," she tells the network.
She knows her kids will do what they need to do, she adds.
"They might watch television. They might play games on the computers. The key there is you have to trust your kids to find their own interests," she tells ABC News.
It doesn't bother her, for example, that her 15-year-old daughter Kimi Biegler stays up all night.
"She's getting everything done that she wants to get done," she tells the network.
What about Kimi? Does she feel prepared for college?
"No, not really," she tells ABC News. "I haven't done the traditional look at a textbook and learn about such and such."
When such and such becomes important, she adds, she'll study it.
"If I wanted to to go college, then I would pick up a textbook and I would learn," she tells the network.
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, there are no laws regarding homeschooling or unschooling in Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut or New Jersey.
All you have to do in those states is notify the school district that your child won't be attending classes. There is no testing or other requirements.
The rest of the states vary in the amount of notification parents must give and how much student testing is required. Colleges can set their own requirements for the admission of homeschooled and unschooled students.
"We find that we don't need a whole lot of rules," Kimi's father, Phil Biegler, tells ABC. "They will do what they need to do whether or not they enjoy it because they see the purpose in it."
Ann Pleshette Murphy, the former editor of Parents magazine and the current parenting expert on ABC's "Good Morning America," is doubtful.
"This to me is putting way too much power in the hands of the kids -- something that we know kids actually can often find very anxiety producing," she tells ABC News.
"And it's also sending a message that they're the center of the universe, which I do not think is healthy for children."
For starters, what a disservice to the kids! "Oh, I'll let them learn what they need to learn. I'll let them learn what they want to learn. It's better that way." Excuse me, woman (I just replaced "woman" with a far more appropriate term that I probably shouldn't put here), there are far more qualified people designing the curriculum and standards that children should learn. You think that some of the things on there are useless for your children and that they shouldn't have to learn them? Tough. Deal with it. That's another part of education that children need to learn and deal with. You may be forced to learn and memorize things that you'll just forget next week. But that's a life lesson.
Secondly, what a disservice to society! How will these kids turn out? To me, it looks like a couple of her ten kids (I'm against overpopulation... especially when there's an overpopulation of people like this), will end up raping the welfare system and effectively becoming drains on society...
This is, yet again, another source of evidence supporting my opinion that homeschooling should be illegal except under extreme situations and that the parents that do home school their children should be required to take classes.
Agreed that homeschooling can easily be abused. This is probably not the ideal way to go about it, but then the article is referring to "unschooling" and seemed to have a good outcome in that the children made a choice to attend traditional schooling in the end. Perhaps they may appreciate schooling more now?
|Darr-Babson has 10 children in her blended family. She used to unschool most of them, and it's a good idea, she says. In theory, at least. Most of her children are in traditional school these days. That's because attending school was one of the choices they were free to make. |
I think traditional schooling is the best choice for most children, it's not just about formal education, it's the experience of being in a society with similar people. Unless the kid is obviously different and has different needs than what traditional school offers, in that case it may be better for home schooling.
Unschooling sounds like a excuse lazy parents made up to not have to bring up their kids. I remember when I was a teenager I certainly wouldn't have studied on my own.
Going to public school is not about studying only. It gives another huge benefit of teaching the skills of socializing which we lack a bit now a days.
My Dad was the Head of the Science Department of a so-called "magnet" school in Boston, MA, USA. He was a very successful teacher because he knew how to motivate the kids. Still, just before he retired he said, "Public schools have an impossible job. The children's needs are too varied. There is no public consensus as to what the children should be taught or how they should be taught."
That was a long time ago. It has got a lot worse.
Starting during World War II there was a vast shortage of scientists and engineers and a desperate need. There was also a great need for just about anyone who seemed smart enough to help build the new industries that were springing up, and graduating from college was a generally accepted proof of intelligence and motivation.
The shortage no longer exists! We have let people from all over the world attend the best colleges in the world and they now staff excellent universities in the formerly undeveloped countries, which are turning out engineers, scientists, managers, and whatever else is needed. The demand is pretty much satisfied. High paid jobs are getting scarce. Wages are leveling globally. That is healthy for the world, but it means we need to stop trying to get every kid into college. We finally have to acknowledge that the kids' needs are varied, no size fits all, and learning things a kid will not need is a waste of the kid's time and the school's resources. Home schooling can be more flexible than the traditional schools, especially since the teachers' unions will fight tooth and nail to keep their members teaching the same old stuff, and inappropriate additional material as well, if possible.
As for unschooling, ther cost of food is rising, all over the world. We are going to need farmers, of all things, after centuries of schools trying to turn farm kids into factory workers. You can't be a farmer unless you grow up on a farm and learn by doing and watching your parents. (Yes, being a farm wife is every bit as skilled a job as being a farmer.) The teachers' unions would say growing up on a farm, learning to to do farm work and not going to school is "unschooling", but we will need a lot of kids to do just that.
Then there are the kids that don't have the talents that traditional schooling calls for, but can learn to do useful things nonetyheless. I know a family that runs a sewer cleaning service, and their retarded son is a very useful and productive part of the business. The time he spent in school did not prepare him for what he does. It was an expensive waste.
I have friends who have home schooled their kids, and they have done better than the kids in the traditional schools. One thing I noticed about their kids is that they dare to question authority. They are used to being free to argue with their parents because their parents have time to discuss alternative theories, and won't be overwhelmed by arguments from a whole classroom full of children.
As for social skills, traditional schools prepare the children to socialize in an artificial society where one person is totally dominant and all the others are the same age and status. Home schooled children learn to operate in a normal society where each person has a different age and social status. That is a better preparation for life in the natural world.
Excellent posting palciere. Really enjoyed reading it.
I thought American children are outspoken in Public Schools as well? In fact, they are educated to speak up as their constitutional right of free speech?
|palciere wrote: |
|One thing I noticed about their kids is that they dare to question authority. They are used to being free to argue with their parents because their parents have time to discuss alternative theories, and won't be overwhelmed by arguments from a whole classroom full of children. |
I thought school was a normal society, and home schooling abnormal? There are certain stresses at school that children are experiencing and learning to confront and grow with, that children with home schooling are missing out on, which would ill-equip them for dealing with people later in life. I think home schooling is good for kids who have health issues, or psychological issues, or are just too brilliant to come to their own in a public school. But since all of us will be ending up out in the public, there are some valuable social lessons at school that children will be missing out if they were to receive home schooling when they are normal and healthy children.
|palciere wrote: |
|As for social skills, traditional schools prepare the children to socialize in an artificial society where one person is totally dominant and all the others are the same age and status. Home schooled children learn to operate in a normal society where each person has a different age and social status. That is a better preparation for life in the natural world. |