Wow, unschooling hasn’t gotten this much attention – maybe ever.
After over 30 years, thousands and thousands of families from almost every walk of life and across multiple generations, I do not see that unschooling needs any need defending. In fact, unschooling has a more proven track record than say, 1994 Educate America Act, Outcome Based Education, Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind. These reforms have come and gone, or are their way out with a new round of reform to take their place.
Yet, after a tightly edited 5 or 6 minute segment on GMA we now have expert critics on the subject:
I often advocate that parents “trust their instincts.” But if you are one of the small but growing number of parents “unschooling” their kids — I think you should start doubting!
Enter unschooling, a new movement that takes kids out of school and let’s them do whatever they want at home.
The popularity of homeschooling has been skyrocketing. As most people know, teaching your kid at home isn’t easy; it takes time and patience. Maybe that’s why a small faction of renegade parents have turned to “unschooling” their kids. It’s easy enough: All you have to do is … well, nothing actually.
Here is a review of the journalism behind the original GMA piece:
My primary job is that of a homeschooling father. But my other job -– the one that I actually get paid for –- is in media analysis. Both of these sides of myself were deeply troubled by a feature on ABC’s “Good Morning America” earlier this week that set itself up to be a news report on radical unschooling. It featured the close-knit, intelligent family of Phil Biegler and Christine Yablonski and their teenage children. But rather than offer a fair and detailed portrait of these individuals, the ABC story was a hatchet job from the start.
Frankly the GMA piece is a throw-away. It was run for ratings and the news/entertainment cycle will move on to the next big outrage or oddity. A few people will be convinced one way or other but mostly positions will just be hardened – pro or con.
My bigger concern is the division within the homeschool community. Over the years a tremendous amount of virtural blood has been spilled and ill will has been generated for political ambition and ideological purity, and, those divisions were reflected in comments and on email lists over the last few days. We had better figure out how to reject the leadership that fueled these divisions and start working together or homeschooling – as fits your family – will be swallowed up in the next round of reform.