I’m not going to go into any details, but it’s safe to say that all four of my amazing and wonderful children went through stages of thinking they were wiser and more capable of making choices and decisions than they actually were. Once upon a time I did the same thing. But hey, that’s the nature of a teenager, isn’t it? Of course it is! That’s why the article I read yesterday was so troubling to me…and I hope to you, as well.
The article was about ‘unschooling’ your children—a supposedly up-and-coming method of education. So what is unschooling? Unschooling is letting your children discover the world on their own terms by following their instincts and doing what they feel passionate about. Oh, and if they happen to learn how to spell, construct a proper sentence, and know the significance of December 7, 1941 and October 29, 1929, well then, that’s just the icing on the cake!
Please, oh, please, tell me you see how ridiculous…how wrong this is! If I had taken that approach to my children’s education, two of them wouldn’t know how to read a price tag because for a few years they were convinced math was from the devil, another one of my kids would most likely have stopped reading once they got past the Dr. Seuss stage, two or possibly three of them would have spent most of their waking hours in the barn or playing outside, and I’m almost certain none of them would have bothered learning about the table of elements or how and why your heart beats and your food digests.
In case there’s any doubt about how I feel about unschooling, let me just say this: unschooling is poor parenting. You may as well call it “unparenting”. Unschooling cheats your child out of learning things they are incapable of accessing on their own. Unschooling puts your child in danger because they don’t always have the ability to make sound, rational decisions. Unschooling removes boundaries from children; boundaries they will test, but boundaries they want and need to feel secure and loved. But most of all, unschooling sends the message that you don’t feel your children are worth the effort it takes to invest yourself in them and to give them every opportunity to learn all they can about a variety of different things.
Instead of turning your children out to fend for themselves, provide structured education, clearly defined boundaries and expectations, and give them the opportunity to discover and use what they are passionate about and explore the world on their terms by giving them play time. Did I just say playtime? Yes, I did. I said it because raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children is all about that balance…all about that balance….
Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.