If you haven’t been following the series, I’ve written several articles on unschooling, our experiences with it and how it can work. But just like not all of the 2 million home schooling families in the United States have phenomenally educated children so do some unschoolers give unschooling a bad name.
You’ll notice that the majority of my experiences with unschooling have been very positive but I have met one family in my years as a support group leader that I think might make anyone question the validity of an unschooling method.
They begin their day whenever they want. The children can sleep in as late as they want. (This isn’t unusual to me, my children do the same.) Likewise, they are allowed to stay up as late as they want. . .even the babies. Consequently mom is always tired because she lacks sleep. . .even though her ‘babies’ are 4 and 5 years old. Breakfast is optional. The kids are allowed to eat whatever they want for breakfast. Unfortunately though, there isn’t a choice of healthy foods but rather sugar coated cocoa puffs or sugar coated vanilla puffs.
The kids have no chores nor are they required to take responsibility for their things. So mom starts the day by making the kids’ beds, doing their laundry and doing the household chores while the children are left to their own devices which hopefully include learning. In fact, this is one of the justifications that Mrs. Green uses for unschooling her children. She would never have time to do all the household chores AND actually teach lessons on top of that.
Unschooling Gone Wrong?
I would say not. I would say it is the parenting that has gone wrong in this scenario. The Green’s children are horribly lazy and although they do learn some ’academia’ on their own, their days are filled with television, video games, and lack of parental interaction. This type of environment is NOT ideal for children to learn in.
But children can easily have an education where child-led learning, good literature and trade books, field guides and self-guided investigations lead the way towards a confident and inquisitive self-learner. The ‘tricks’ seem to be high parental involvement, a rich learning environment, and lots of good literature.