I went to a school. My parents went to school, and became teachers. I’m an unschooling mother. This means I field a lot of incredulous questions about how it works. As I talk to people about how unschooling works, they often tell me why they send their children to school. They find my reasoning very interesting, and I know more than a couple of them have felt a little bit more confident about their own abilities after chatting to me.
1. So they learn to do unpleasant things.
You pay bills, you clean the toilet, you wash the dishes and plenty other mundane tasks. Is that because you went to school? I just do it because it needs doing and I’m an adult. The fact that many of us live so irresponsibly when we leave school is proof that schools don’t teach kids to do unpleasant stuff, they are just unpleasant – and kids tell us that all the time! Furthermore I’m not sure it takes 30hrs a week (plus homework time) for thirteen years to learn one lesson.
“Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.” ~ Alfie Kohn
2. So they can be bullied, and learn resilience (when I say I pulled my daughter out to protect her from bullying).
If bullying at school is such an important rite of passage, and it yields so many crucial lessons, why is domestic violence and child abuse not credited the same benefits? Lots of kids see that, are they all well balanced, high achieving individuals? When was the last time you heard a strong admirable person say that they owe all their success to the bullies from school? They might offer them their middle finger as they board their private jet but not one famous person has ever said “And I’d like to thank Johnny for the wedgie he gave me in year 5 because it REALLY gave me the inspiration I needed to get rich and happy”
“To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night” ~ Gabourey Sidibe
3. So you can have a break from the kids.
While you’re driving them to and from school, washing and ironing their uniforms, scouring the playground looking for lunch boxes or hats, and arguing about homework. Thats not really a break, it sounds like a second job to me!
“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~ English Proverb
4. Because you couldn’t teach them maths.
If you went to school to learn maths and you don’t think you can teach your kids maths ….. do you think your kids will learn enough to be able to teach your grandkids maths? How will our children succeed where you deem yourself to have failed? Maybe schooling maths isn’t as important as maths teachers would have us believe.
“Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater.” ~ Albert Einstein
5. So they can be socialised.
Because there’s nothing quite like spending 30hrs a week with a bunch of people who are all exactly the same age to create well socialised children. And if you don’t like some of those people or they bully you? Extra points for good socialising. Check out the dictionary meaning of socialisation, it’s not pretty. Also we need to cast our minds back to school for a moment to remind ourselves of something we probably all heard when we were chattering in class “You’re not here to socialise”.
“Schools have not necessarily much to do with education…they are mainly institutions of control where certain basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school.” ~ Winston Churchill
6. So they don’t miss any opportunities.
Because there are so many opportunities found in classrooms than can’t be found in any other part of the world ever. Opportunities to peer over classmates shoulders at textbooks or ipads, to meet all different people to experience new things like camping or cultural events …. only happen at school, because the whole world (where my unschooled kids live) is one giant opportunity void.
“It’s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It’s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.” ~ John Holt
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