5 Biggest Misconceptions About Unschooling
by Bohemian Travelers: 10
Things You May Notice About America When Travelling Abroad
decided to homeschool and eventually unschool our boys, I get asked
a lot of questions. It's understandable, as the lifestyle
we have chosen definitely goes against the grain of societal norms.
Even I had a lot of trepidation and found myself asking some of
the very same questions.
It took me
over five years to fully settle in the ideas and, truth be told,
I still question myself at least once a year. Over the eight years
plus since we started to homeschool, my perspective through research
and experience has grown considerably. This perspective has allowed
me to address the most commonly asked questions.
This is probably
the most commonly asked question. The short answer is YES, homeschoolers
can go to college. So can unschoolers. And they do! Millions of
them in fact! With the advent of online college courses one can
simply continue with a homeschool model even in college. Otherwise
a student can take tests like GED and SATs, put together a transcript
or examples of their work and apply, same as anyone else does. Prestigious
universities such as Yale, Stanford, and Harvard accept and even
seek out homeschoolers. Oftentimes they are MORE prepared then conventionally
schooled children to tackle the pressures of a higher education.
answer to this question will be covered in the next installment
of this series, so check back next Monday for my rather unconventional
(but gaining more momentum) ideas regarding college and if it really
is the best path anymore.
the best education!
they socialize and learn to work with others?
actually argue that our kids won't be prepared for the real world
because they aren't socialized in school. Pardon me for any typos
from here on out, but I can't help but laugh out loud at this common
misconception. As if herd pressure to look, dress, or behave a certain
way is required to function in the world. Or that facing daily bullies
is necessary to toughen somebody up for the "real" world. Or that
learning about sex or relationships is better taught by confused
pubescent middle-school peers who claim to be experts because they've
gotten to second base. It's nonsense.
And just because
we homeschool doesn't mean we stay home like hermits. Even before
adopting a travel lifestyle we were on what seemed like a permanent
field trip. Hikes, waterfalls, skiing, surf lessons, science centers,
museums, and play dates of all kinds, etc. Most homeschoolers use
the world as their classroom and spend lots of time exploring and
engaging with people. Additionally, our children have taken numerous
classes outside of the home from karate to cooking, Spanish to gymnastics
where they have met many of their friends.
most importantly, they learn to respect others because we respect
them, not because they are forced to at the threat of detention.
We spend everyday out in the world interacting with and observing
people of all ages. Our kids have MORE time to interact with people
and observe the differences. Being cooped up all day in forced silence
with 20-30 similarly-aged kids is not what anyone should call proper
socialization that translates into the real world. Homeschooled
children typically gain a tolerance, empathy, and understanding
of all different age groups including adults. Ultimately, I would
argue the socialization that homeschool kids experience is beneficial,
while what passes for socialization in school is, well, unnecessary
to put it kindly.
fu class with all their best friends!
you know they are "on par" with others?
I guess the
best answer is WHO CARES? Do you realize that the mathematics concepts
taught in the first seven years of school, drilled into children's
heads day and night under intense pressure to perform, can be learned
by a 14-year old in a single day? Many of those concepts can be
learned by playing card games or by managing an allowance.
"On par" with
others? I don't want my children to be like anyone else, and I fundamentally
disagree with putting them in a box called "on par". Because par
or even above par becomes the accepted level. How many of us bragged
that we barely paid attention in school and still got As and Bs?
As if that's something to be proud of.
developmentally diverse and have different interests just like adults.
One of the most amazing things about being human is it's beautiful
diversity. The LAST thing I would want for my children is to see
them morph into being the "same" as everyone else. We should celebrate
our children's differences and help to ensure that they follow their
own path in life! How else can we cultivate the self esteem that
so many schooled children seem to be lacking?
It seems to
me that if children have the basic tools to learn (reading and mathematics)
and are encouraged to pursue their inquisitive nature, they'll likely
excel at being happy and enjoying life no matter what a book says
they should be like at age x,y, or z. Part of home-or-unschooling
for the parent is to be okay with where your child is at developmentally
and to unconditionally love the person that he or she is.
par" for happiness
you get any free time as a parent?
is most often asked by people with young children, and it's the
hardest to answer. I understand the need for a break as much as
the next person, but 8-10 hours a day? Come on, no one needs that
type of break from the things they love most in this world. That
is just an excuse! It can be a challenge, don't get me wrong, but
most moments I just prefer to enjoy the precious time with them
while they're young. Frankly, I have never understood the parents
with the "yeah, thank goodness the kids are back in school" mentality.
Is that the message you want to convey to the people you love the
that I have less free time than most parents I know, but I do have
free time, whether its a short walk, long bath, or just when the
kiddos are in bed and I can snuggle up with hubby or a good book.
In my opinion, the thing that really needs to change to make homeschooling
a success, is to change the way you view your child-parent relationship.
Re-access what you want out of your relationship with your children
and question if you are doing all you can as a parent. You need
to take care of yourself, but making an excuse that you "need" 8-10
hours a day is just plain silly. No one said parenting was easy,
but it should be the most amazing and important thing you'll ever
do. Enjoy it, soak up their giggles and messes....it won't last
forever and you will most certainly miss it when it is gone.
would anyone need a "break" from this?
they be prepared for the real world?
does anything about a school resemble the "real world"? Unless you
are planning to be in prison, or landing a brainless job with a
dress code shuffling paper all day, then I do not see a correlation
at all. My boys are IN the real world everyday while schooled kids
are stuck in one room, with the same age children, segregated from
the "real world" and their family. Homeschooled children are well
prepared for the world they will face because they have been preparing
first hand their entire lives.
When you see
what goes on in school you wonder what part that plays in real life.
A family member of mine actually said that kids need to be bullied
and picked on to be able to handle it later in life. Really? I just
cannot remember when I was bullied anywhere but in school. As an
adult it just doesn't happen unless you're conditioned to invite
it. Likewise, when, in adult life, are we so distrusted that even
going to the bathroom requires permission. No job I have ever worked
has declined my right to use the bathroom. Finally, how much of
what you learned in school applies to your happiness and success
now? Think about it and be honest. It's probably very little.
training, who needs the "real world"
In addition to
these 5, I want to clarify that homeschooling IS legal in all
50 states, homeschooling is NOT expensive or only for the wealthy,
homeschoolers DO have friends, and finally you ARE smart
enough and more than well equipped to teach your own child. Society
likes to tell us that we are not a good enough option for our children,
but we know and care about our children most, making us the best option.
In the end
we all need to do what works best for our families. But if you're
considering homeschooling, be sure to research it well to clear
away any of the common myths before deciding. Or, better yet, try
it for a year, the worst case scenario is that they go back to school
if it is not working. If you go into it with flexibility, love,
and encouragement then it will be a success.
with permission from Bohemian
© 2012 Bohemian