I realize I am probably one of maybe 100,000+ people who are going to blog about this today, but what can I say?…OCCASIONALLY I fit in with the crowd.
If you even vaguely keep your ear to the grindstone of the homeschooling world, you probably heard about the Good Morning America story this morning on unschoolers. I actually watched it in real time because a friend called to let me know it was coming on. So I got ready to watch. I even called in Uber to watch with me.
And we sat there excitedly waiting – - in awe that they were doing a feature piece on unschooling on morning television! Then, our awe slowly turned to confusion, and then basically to disgust as we realized that not only were they profiling the two most radically “unschooled” families in the universe, but that they were actually generalizing that all unschoolers looked like that. Even worse, the commentators decided to drop out honey-soaked judgmental condescensions every chance they got. (“well-meaning”, “crazy” (thanks George!), “playing hooky”)
What bugged me the most was that the piece really had very little to do with unschooling at all. I’m guessing GMA edited out all the parts where the parents outlined the benefits of this form of education, the parts where they quoted liberally from Holt, and the parts where they show the children actually able to put two sentences together that make some semblance of intelligent sense. At least I HOPE they edited out those parts.
Instead, they decided to focus on the ridiculousness of parents who don’t really make their children do chores, or have house rules, or even attend to personal hygiene. If that’s the case, then I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s basically just natural selection at that point, right? The universe is bound to weed out those whose teeth fall out before they are 12 anyway, and leave behind the strong, publicly educated children who eat the healthy foods from the school cafeteria and ALWAYS follow the rules. It will all work out in the end.
GMA is doing a follow-up on this story tomorrow where all the crazed teachers whose egos this story threatens can call in and ask questions of these model parents. I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing that these two will be speaking for me and all my unschooling friends as they field questions about the legal and societal implications of their decisions.
You know those teachers who have been out of work since the economic downturn? The ones who have been struggling to find some meaning in their life since their time in the classroom? The ones who have time to sit around and watch GMA in the mornings while they scan the want-ads. Whatcha wanna bet they may have just found a cause they can all rally around and start campaigning against in their spare time??