|Homeschooling vs. Unschooling||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Michael Mariner (maikanoidcomm.com)|
|Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 13:15:03 -0600|
Replying to David & Scott's comments on homeschooling being primarily a right wing phenomenon. In general, I feel homeschooling is an excellent opportunity to take back our lives from huge, depersonalizing institutions. Of course, there are dangers that it can allow extreme folks of all persuasions to become more insular in various ways. But I'm optimistic that the longer term trend will have the opposite effect.... The media have often portrayed homeschooling as the exclusive province of Christian Rightists, but that's the overdrawn media-cartoon version of reality. Firstly, there are quite a few moderate Christian homeschooling parents who are not into rote indoctrination about creationism, anti-abortion etc. There are even "new age" or pagan folks who want their kids to see different perspectives than the schools provide. Then there is a significant portion of the homeschooling movement who are very progressive -- who encourage open-ended learning as opposed to indoctrination. Some use the name "unschooling" to describe this approach. Unschoolers are frequently inspired by the ideas of John Holt and other alternative thinkers who starting in the 60's and '70s kicked off the alternative school movement which persists in many places today. As with any other progressive movement, there's considerable diversity within unschooling. Many practitioners are *not* wealthy -- they practice voluntary simplicity or downsize their lifestyles and luxuries to be able to have time to provide a quality learning environment for their kids. Some parents work out of their homes and some involve children in their businesses as they get older and show interest. Unschooling can serve to strengthen families and integrate more aspects of their lives, rather than fragmenting them per the soccer mom syndrome. In a cohousing situation, homeschooling could serve to bind the community together. Re the possibility of cohousing getting too insular: homeschoolers and unschoolers network via the internet and have local gatherings for sports, arts, and other social activities. True, extremists do tend to stick together, but not always. Cohousing in the US is in its infancy. I personally hope it moves in the direction of helping people integrate and take control over *more* aspects of their lives by leveraging what small groups of people can undertake together. Unschooling in a cohousing context could be shared among several sets of parents to where the learning and available adult role models are far more diverse. And, moreover coho adults can (and do) learning from each other, frequently tempering extreme viewpoints from having to rub shoulders with other viewpoints. Phew! That got kinda far afield! Ah, well, ever the idealist.... Michael
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