I have been meaning to blog about this for the last few days but my fantastic job provided to me via my Public school and College Education has kept me a little too busy to do more of what I enjoy.
Since the firestorm that started after the Beigler family appeared on Good Morning America Monday morning, there has been a lot of press given to Unschooling. Other than the first piece that GMA did, most of the press has been much more positive and done in a way to better understand what unschooling actually is.
A lot of the comments from uninformed people responding to these shows has really been comical in many respects. Two of my favorites:
Q - How will your kids deal with bullies when they get into the real world if they don't go to school to learn how to handle those types of situations?
A - Bullies? Really? Maybe it's just me, but I can't remember the last time I had someone picking on me in the office, stealing my lunch, giving me wedgies, or calling me names. Could be I'm just one of the fortunate ones, or it could be this is one of the dumbest arguments for why kids should attend school EVER.
Look, I get that there are assholes of all ages and sizes. As an adult you will and do encounter these people. However, pranks such as what occur in a school system are not something that happens when you live in the "real" world. When exposed to a situation where someone is being an ass, you have the ability to remove yourself from the situation. Unlike in school, I don't have to stay somewhere I don't want when this type of ignorant behavior occurs. I also don't keep friends that want to steal my lunch, give me wedgies, or call me names. It's just not my thing.
Q - Without being in school, your kids won't learn how to socialize with others (insert "real world" here again for effect). How do you expect them to function productively when they get out into the "real world?" (I want to know where this real world is that some people are living in that my kids are not yet a part of.)
A - This is such an old dead belief regarding homeschooling as a whole. Going to a public school and spending your entire day with kids your own age and socio-economic status is not socialization, but more like sheep herding. The one individual that is somewhat different than the other students is the teacher (because of their age), but please don't expect to be able to socialize with them, because they are there to be your superior away from home.
In our world (which apparently is not the same world that most others live in), our kids spend every single day socializing with kids of varying ages, race, color, economic status in addition to regular adult interaction. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me how amazing it is to watch my kids speak with adults....well I would have left this day job a long time ago.... I mean, imagine that, they actually look the adult in the eye and hold a conversation. They do this because they are human beings and they have no reason not to expect the same respect from an adult as they would from another child. I'd love to take credit for it when complimented, but it really just feels normal. I'll hold off on patting myself on the back.
A common reaction I am seeing from a lot of unschoolers is whether they should be excited about this press or scared? To me this is absolutely exciting. Since I know what we do is so right for our family and so many families, how can it not be a good thing? It is important for us to show our support for what we do because we have nothing to hide. I will not shy away from telling people I care enough about my kids to not just send them to public school because it is what everyone else does.
Get out there and keep telling people what you do! There has never been significant change in this world without an individual or group standing up for what they believe in, even when it may not have been the popular thing to do.
Well, got to go for now. I'm off to smoke a cigarette in the bathroom stall before my boss realizes I left my desk without a hallway pass.