Unschooling

March 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm 5 comments

I know that I usually just talk about what we do for school, and well, I’d have to say that actually, unschooling is a part of our school day. Obviously, we aren’t true unschoolers, but there is part of the philosophy that I do believe in, passion driven education.

If you’ve checked out our school assignments, you know that we keep our school day short. School is over in an hour or two, though, it does depend on the day’s assignments. They then get to spend their time on what they really want to do. My daughter draws and reads, especially history books. My son experiments and builds computer games. I am fully aware that these activities are probably going to be more important to their lives than what they do during the few hours they spend on “school.” I can’t, however, let go of “school.”

The unschooling philosophy says that if the child needs it, he’ll get it. If he needs calculus for college, then he’ll get what he needs in order to do that. It’s possible, but oh so hard, when you have to start at algebra or earlier. If you need to or desire to learn a foreign language, you can study it, but a knowledge of English grammar is necessary in order to understand the grammar of another language. You could “get it” at that point, but it would be oh so much easier if you had that foundation. Why handicap your child’s future by not building that foundation? Especially when it can be done in an hour or two a day.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UuhfhRLwTB0&w=360&h=250]

I watched this news report on unschooling (here’s another). The mother is asked if she thinks it is important for her children to know about George Washington, FDR, JFK. The mother basically says no. She questions why it is important. And while I don’t stress my kids memorizing facts, I do want my kids to know their history because those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. There are lessons in history I want them to know. I think they need to know them.

I also just want them to be educated. I do cling to a liberal arts ideal that there is a body of knowledge an educated person should have. I also think the idea of a well-rounded education exposes children to things they might not have realized existed or may not have realized they are interested in. I don’t know how my son would have been exposed to chemistry if we hadn’t studied it. He certainly hadn’t shown any interest in exploring it until we came across it in school.

I do recognize that the news report puts a bad spin on unschooling, but I also think it’s completely unacceptable what they do. They have no rules for their children. Their children do whatever they want. Now, this extreme I would hope would be completely erased by just having Christian unschoolers. The Bible teaches us what we already know, that children are fools. They need our wisdom.

We know that our children are sinful, lazy, and more. They need rules and discipline. Rules and discipline can make for a happy home. My kids are productive during their free time because there is no TV, there are no video games. If my son is spending too much time at the computer, I tell him to take a break and go read for awhile. He needs someone to redirect him sometimes. Don’t your kids? Don’t all kids?

Also in life we have to do things we don’t enjoy sometimes. We have to learn things that we don’t necessarily want to learn, like how to do our taxes. The children in these homeschooling news reports do no chores. Would you want to marry someone who’s been taught they don’t have to do any chores if they don’t want to? Would you want to marry someone or hire someone who has been taught that they should be allowed to do whatever they want?

Jesus teaches that we have to die to self. My kids get to practice that every day when they choose to do the school I have chosen for them before they go on to do their own thing.

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Preschool Civil Rights Movement

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. yolie  |  March 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I agree with you. Thanks for the post. I watched the news links and it makes me shudder…I’m so afraid that this radical unschooling movement will ruin homeschooling for the rest of us. No- it is not ok for kids to do whatever they want!!!

    Reply
  • 2. Joy  |  March 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    All well thought through. I also like to give my kids plenty of time to pursue their own interests, but they also need to do the school work and chores that we parents choose for them. I like the idea that I read somewhere that we (educators) need to provide them with a feast of ideas and let the child grasp onto the ones that delight them.

    I also remember that foolishness in the hearts of children passage being discussed in a MOPS group one time. So many of the Moms were nearly angry at that thought, wanting to only believe in the innocence of their children. Seems like so many of the world does not want to recognize the truth of our sin nature.

    Reply
    • 3. The King Will Make a Way  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      While I believe we are all born with a sin nature, I think that is not the same issue. Children are innocents (a baby isn’t accountable for selfishness for example), but that’s different than saying they are not foolish and in need of wisdom. How could a parent not see that their children need wisdom? Do you really want them to get burned to learn that something is hot? Wouldn’t it be better to impart wisdom first to avoid them getting burned?

      Reply
  • 4. Beth Cranford  |  March 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I agree with all of the points you make here. I fully believe in giving a child lots of room to develop their God-given bent. (it says so in Prov.22:6) but we can’t forget that the beginning of that verse is “train up a child”. God never implies anywhere that turning our kids loose into their own desires is acceptable.

    I’ve often raised the same point that you did, asking how will a child even discover a love for certain things if I don’t expose them to it at least on a basic level.

    There’s also the element of just having some common-level knowledge of important things. Not sure her kids need to know who George Washington is? This is how we get a nation of people who will allow themselves to become enslaved.

    And yeah, I’ll counsel my daughter to stay far away from a friendship or a marriage (or a business partnership) with anyone who has been taught what they want is the only thing in life that matters.

    I hate it when we find something good and we take it to such an extreme that it turns very very bad. That’s what I think radical unschooling is.

    Reply
  • 5. Aubrey  |  January 13, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Thank you so much for bringing this issue to your blog. I have recently been exposed to this radical idea and find it alarming.

    I also want to say “thank you” for sharing your online curriculum with the world. It has been a huge blessing to our family. I pray that God will continue to bless you and your family to be a blessing in this world.

    Reply

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