I wanted to cover a number of compelling reasons why one should unschool or homeschool their children. Every family is different, with different values, likes/dislikes, and lifestyle. Because of our being unique in more ways than imaginable, sending our kids to school puts them ( and us) into a suffocating box that is hard to get out of.
1.) Children sent to ‘school’ are away from home more then they are at home.
Kids go to school up to 6 or more hours a day, and in Korea they continue in the evening until about 10. When not confined to a classroom, kids are incessantly gone to school related activities, such as sports, day care, homework with friends or tutors, music, and possibly theater or camp. When they are at home, they are working on homework, watching television or are online, or engaged with their peers. This model makes very little room ( almost none) for family, and shows that family in modern society is not as important as friends and academics. It is easy to argue that in most countries, the academic part of this equation is a farce, as kids don’t really learn in schools, they memorize what they are told and repeat ( if they don’t forget) what they are told or read. There is little room for them to discover life and their talents. Teachers have too many students to assist, too little time for each class, and have a lesson plan they ‘must’ get through, even if most of the students are not fully understanding it.
Unschooling offers children the right to be with their family, to pursue their interests and to question life. They are able to choose their friends, instead of being forced into a group of kids they may not get along with ( and when this happens, the group mentality overruns the individual and he/she conforms to what their classmates are saying/doing). They are stuck with kids their own age, instead of befriending kids and adults of all ages. As is obvious, the way of choosing one’s peers regardless of age is far more social than one’s child only having friends they are forced to choose from, and that are the same age.
Homeschoolers and unschoolers allow their kids to learn at their own pace, and in ways that encourage the child to ask questions and seek answers. They are given more attention than if they were in a small room cramped full of kids.
2.) Compassion and kindness are not taught in schools.
I personally have never received any class or lecture on either of these two integral topics. Once or twice, when I was in Catholic school, a guest priest would come and talk about it, but it was rare and not really talked about afterwards. The children in this school were incredibly cruel as well, which is sad because from what I have now read of Jesus’ message, kindness was a focal point. This was not taught, and in fact completely ignored.
Now that I live in a Buddhist country, with statues of Kuan Yin abundant, I still see the same thing: rampant apathy or unkindness. That is not to say there are not wonderful humans here or anywhere else, it is simply that kids are learning cruel or apathetic memes ( thoughts, ways of doing things that are spread like a virus from one mind to another) that can easily override one’s heart. Nonstop violence on TV, video games, with friends, on the Net, and with family is trending in our world, and if we could end this cycle by teaching and showing kindness, we would start to get somewhere. For this very reason, it should be taught in school nonstop, but isn’t.
3.) Schools harbor drugs, violence, rape, sexism, racism, hate crimes, homophobia, religious persecution, depression, anxiety, and many more serious issues.
Even in a ‘great’ school, these horrendous issues and crimes are rampant. I went to two boarding schools and both had all these issues, despite their ‘academic standards’. This was in two countries as well. One was on 60 minutes for being one of the top schools in the nation for sexual harassment. It cost over 20k to attend, and with that price kids went through hell, in many different respects. Sometimes it was great, but more often then not it was a daily struggle. I have many friends who have attended public schools and they went through varying issues as well; the overriding goal of most kids is just to survive and get out of school, which is why University attendance is low. Kids hate school because they really don’t learn; they memorize, test, and then forget, meanwhile enduring harassment from different students and/or faculty.
Schools are breeding grounds for unhealthy memes and trends and because of this, Big Pharma and psychiatrists are making a killing prescribing antidepressants and ADHD medication to make children able to survive…or not emote.
4.) Learning does not occur in schools.
The most difficult thing for parents to grasp is that children do not actually learn in schools, even in secondary school. There is an illusion of learning, as parents and faculty see children ‘studying’ and sometimes memorizing, but the memorizing ends soon after the test is taken or paper written. I call it the memorize test forget system. It is not educational in any respect, as how many dates, events, equations, and such are remembered years after school? The vast majority is forgotten, even after the student attends University ( which uses the same system, but with more information memorized). The teacher/professor-student hierarchy is more about a power struggle and submission then it is about learning and verbal sparring, although we all know there are a few amazing, inspirational professors and teachers that treat students more like peers that they can learn from. A real academic is the ultimate student, devoted to constantly learning, not just defending their outdated, archaic opinion. They want the truth, not an ego trip. They are humble. They want to engage students.
But this is not all teachers, and is not promoted by the system currently used.
Students are expected to learn a certain way, and at a certain pace and if they fail to keep up or ask too many questions, they are left behind to be a sub par student. How sad is this? How much of a disgrace is this?
Students, parents, and teachers usually don’t know the authors of the textbooks they use, which means that all could be taken advantage of by an inaccurate, untruthful education. History books are often marred by opinion and not fact.
Learning and curiosity are natural, they should never be forced, nor impeded. Children mimic their parents, but this doesn’t mean you have to be a scholar or saint to be a homeschooling or unschooling parent. Absolutely not. The main thing is that you encourage your children and help them whenever you can. The key is to not impede them ( which schools do all the time). Individuals and families have absolutely impeded learning as well, because not everyone is kind or intelligent. This is the common argument anti homeschoolers tout as being why one should not homeschool. But for God’s sake, that certainly makes a lot of us parents seem like maniacs and child abusers, which is obviously not the case. If anything, schools have worse statistics for daily abuse, and cause these cycles to keep repeating.
5.) Many important subjects are not taught in schools.
Etymology, philosophy, archaeology, anthropology, memetics, metaphysics, quantum mechanics, natural medicine, business, marketing, finance, and an array of other incredible subjects are not taught in most schools, or not in depth. One may learn about some in University, but not all: metaphysics and natural medicine are frowned upon in West. The mechanics of propaganda are not really taught, thus kids and parents are unaware of corruption by governments and corporate greed, repackaged to look inviting. We are all vulnerable if unaware of how we are marketed to, how unethical labor can be used to make products we buy or harmful toxins used to grow our food. It takes rogue teachers who care about their students to teach this, as it is well outside the normal curriculum.
Health is not taught either, although a supposed health class usually exists, teaching about the inept food pyramid. The school lunches reflect how schools ( and governments) view health and wellness, and worldwide it gets worse every year. I read an article on Oprah when we lived in Korea, and the author reviewed school lunches worldwide. She or he completely lied about the current lunches in Korean public schools. They are not any more the traditional Korea diet but an Americanized fast food version, meat and sugar heavy, but with a side of kimchi. Hence, obesity is on the rise in Asia and everywhere else that continues to believe the standard American diet should be adopted.
In boarding school in France, we had a really poor breakfast, lunch and dinner as well, and it did not reflect the traditional French diet. Though I am a brit, I did not attend school in the UK, so I cannot say what it is like there; I can only say that jamie Oliver has mentioned how poor it was before he got parents active in the quest for healthy lunch.
6.) In many public and private schools, art and creativity is not taught as an equal to academics, or as a means by which subjects can be taught to students.
In Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Class Act, a veteran acting teacher and his former students divulge the necessity of schools having an arts program. Even though some of them did not go on to become artists, their acting experience helped them in various respects. The doc also covers the lack of funding for arts programs ( such as orchestra) in America’s public schools.
There are a growing number of learning institutions opening up to cater to artistic children, but many are private and costly, and cater to children who already know they want to pursue art. What about the other few millions of kids who may have never picked up an instrument, or had a chance to write a story, or perform a play? How would they be able to find out if they wanted to be an artist?
I had an opportunity to study at one of the world’s most respected artistic schools ( for a summer program; I was accepted into the conservatory but my grades did not allow me to skip a grade, so I went to another boarding school instead). The program was wonderful, but it was rigid, and drugs were a popular habit. The actual academy had an intense ( to say the very, very least) curriculum, followed by an even more intense practice schedule. It sounded more like agony than enjoying my craft. I’m glad I didn’t go to the academy, and wouldn’t want my kids going there, despite its devotion to the arts.
As a homeschooler, one can use art to teach subjects such as math and science. The Enki program does exactly this, and is very family oriented. As a musician, I know from experience that instruments are expensive, and so are lessons, but I rented my bassoon for a reasonable cost, and we hired a bassoonist at the local university to tutor me when I was in middle school. It was not too costly.
Unschoolers and homeschoolers have the time to expose their kids to music, theater, and various other arts by renting movies, going to an arts center, speaking with artists about their craft, going to book signings to meet authors, attending an opera, etc.
7.) Spirituality in general is not emphasized and if it is, it is generally a mainstream religion.
In Pagan Homeschooling, Madden explains how the school her son attended forced the children to watch Christian religious films, even though some of the children in the class were of other religious backgrounds or atheist. The kids were not taught various religions, only one, and it was almost behind the parent’s backs.
So what if you are Pagan, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, or not a fan of religion at all, and your kid’s school is just teaching about one religion that you are not a fan of? If your Faith or lack of is important to you, then this is in conflict with your beliefs. Or what if you are in a same sex marriage and your child is in a school pushing how you are unethical for your being gay? This is not a healthy environment for anyone, regardless of if religious or not, and it certainly doesn’t promote spiritual depth.
Anti homeschoolers I have conversed with often surmise that its only for religious obsessed people. I respect the religious beliefs of others, and know people who do teach their kids because their Faith is important to them. Some of those folks may do things I do not agree with, such as not being a fan of other religions or ways of living, but that is their right. As long as no abuse is going on, then let them. Take a gander at the abuse going on in schools on a daily basis…now there is something we should start doing something about…by removing our kids from this toxic environment.
How deranged are those who defend this corrupt, defunct ‘educational system’ known as school, despite teenage suicide on the rise worldwide and grades declining at a staggering pace.
Ultimately, your children are yours, they do not belong to a government. They are not a number.
And they most certainly are not second class citizens, and therefore should not be treated as such by society, who gets irritated by their curiosity and inability to act like drones.