Monday, November 27, 2006

Unschooling in the New York Times

I don't have too many quibbles with this article about unschooling in the NY Times, though a correction to the concluding statement wouldn't go amiss:

"But it can be tough,” said Mr. Kowalke, a magazine writer who is married to a woman who was also unschooled....“It’s always harder to forge your own path without someone telling you what to do.”

Who says an unschooled child can't be helped to find their own path? Whilst we aren't in the business of forcing children to spend a lifetime doing something they don't want to do, we are also certainly also not in the business of abandoning them when they need help and advice.

HT: Joanne


Schuyler said...

But Peter Kowalke was an unschooled child. I liked the idea that unschooled children get to forge their own path, take the road less travelled kind of thing.


Carlotta said...

Wow...looks like an interesting link, Schuyler...thanks. Will check it out asap.

Anonymous said...

I think that's the bad unschooling concept Jan F-W criticises in her book, right? The ones too afraid to interfere with the natural process of learning.

If a child wants to be told what to do, a parent should tell the child what to do.

Carlotta said...

yes, that is exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of. I think it is an easy problem to slip into, almost without noticing, due to the fact that children can just get on with things so effectively, that an adult may not see when a child is actually having problems.

Gill said...

Hmmm thats food for thought. How do you know if your child is having problems if they aren't telling you?

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't children tell their parents? Also, parents should observe and if you spot that their children seem to have difficulties they should ask "you need help". Throughout their children's lives. I think if an adult child is shy to ask their parents for help, something is wrong.

Just my idea.

Carlotta said...

I think a child not telling an adult could potentially be a problem in almost all relationships....I mean, we almost all sometimes don't even realise when we do actually have a problem, or what the exact nature of the problem is, which makes the telling of it all the more difficult, but having said that, (and as Leo suggests,)it also seems to me that it is possible to create parent/child relationships of the kind that makes it very easy for a child to tell a parent of their problems.

Some of the qualities of such a relationship would be that the child feels safe to reveal problems, (the parent won't be too shocked, or withdraw love, etc), and that the child feels it is worthwhile, (the parent will actually help the child solve the problem one way or another), and even that the parent is on hand to try to help the child identify and describe a problem in the first place.

Gill said...

Ah ok, yes I agree with you both then.

I was just getting a bit worried for a sec there that there might be some commonly known phenomena of autonomously educated children struggling with problems and not communicating them with parents, that I'd missed. Phew!