Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Should Unschooling Be Illegal?

The blogosphere is all a buzz, both positive and negative, because ABC put out an obviously biased and heavily edited piece on "unschooling." Many who spoke against unschooling in various comment sections worried about about whether the parents thought through the consequences of their "lazy parenting" and whether these poor children were going to get into college or get hired. MomLogic sums up the negativity when she opines,
"Sounds like this kind of hands-off training should be illegal, right? It isn't."
Just as some may believe the parents in this clip haven't thought through the consequences of this, I don't believe many who oppose them have thought through the logical consequences of making this illegal.

How do you make unshcooling illegal? Do you write a statute into each state saying "unschooling" is illegal. Well what is unschooling? Is it those who don't use textbooks but are guided by the family's interests and the parents' principles? Or is those who don't use textbooks and the children select all the activities based on their interests alone? Or what if it's a combination of the two would that be acceptable and legal? Who decides?

And if we ever come upon a legally acceptable definition, how do we enforce it? Do we allow state officials to come unannounced to a parents home and search around to see what the kids are doing and that they're getting the proper training? Can't do that without a search warrant, so that won't work.

I know, let's test the unschooled kids to make sure they are thinking exactly what the state thinks they ought to be thinking. Well that's a possibility, but what if they flunk because the parent doesn't teach to some arbitrary standard set by some politician. Do we make them go to public school? Well then what do we do with all the kids who are in public school who flunk the state test? Make the parents homeschool because the state failed to adequately train them? But for some reason we can't call the teachers lazy; no, instead we blame the parents and everything else but the teachers and the public school system.

Honestly, what's going on in many inner city schools should be of more concern than what's going on in the small minority of homes who unschool. These kids are at least play fighting in this video, it's real and it's deadly in the Detroit Public Schools and the graduation rate is less than 30% last time I checked. And they are doing it all with taxpayer money. This family is footing their own bill for their "folly."

Can these unschooled kids turn out any worse than Dylan Klebold who was an excellent student but became one of the Columbine killers? He even wrote an essay just weeks before the shooting displaying utter contempt for his school mates. It was read and graded by his teacher. A huge massacre and yet no one is calling for public schooling to be illegal! Why not?

In fact, violence in our schools is become so common it rarely makes headline news anymore. And it's not just violence but all sorts of behavior. Just yesterday I read about middle and high schoolers sexting at school. Where's the outcry against too much free time and activity in the public schools?

Yet, let a parent exercise a little more freedom than what other parents find acceptable and we demand government intervention and a ban on unschooling.

ABC puts out an EDITED clip of what THEY want you to think and right on cue they get exactly the response they desired. George Stephanopoulos and the accompanying reporter set up the bias from the very start and most viewers lost all objectivity.

But look at the clip and the update again and you'll see normal teenagers actually enjoying each others company in the same house. That's POSITIVE. You'll see two teenagers making eye contact with the reporter and responding well in a pressure situation. That's POSITIVE. You'll see a home filled with activities, plants, games, and parents who love them. That's POSITIVE. It's not the perfect home, but it's much more pleasant than many other homes with two teenagers.

It may not be what you or I want for our home or our child's education, but it is far from criminal and most certainly should not be illegal.

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