Saturday, May 15, 2010

Public School is a lazy parent’s idea of education

Public School  is a lazy parent’s idea of education could have just as justifiably  been the title of the prejudicial and biased editorial The Sun Herald Board wrote May 12th (‘Unschooling’ is a lazy parent’s idea of education). Homeschoolers are a diverse group and use many different methods to homeschool . Unschooling is ONE of the methods that some homeschoolers use.

The various homeschool methods:
  • Charlotte Mason Method - The Charlotte Mason method doesn't require much formal "seat work" for children under about 6 or 7. Instead it mostly requires reading aloud for short periods of time, music, nature, and much play outdoors.
  • Classic Education Method - The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (first published 1999 by W.W. Norton and now in its third edition) offers a step-by-step, grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject guide to the classical pattern of education called the trivium.
  • Eclectic Homeschooling Method - An Eclectic Homeschooler is one who looks at the different approaches and methods of homeschooling and takes from each forming his own unique philosophy, this is the one I used.
  • Montessori Homeschooling Method - According to Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), learning is a natural, self-directed process which follows certain fundamental laws of nature.
  • Unschooling - or Natural Learning Method - Unschooling or Natural Learning is a philosophy of child-led learning. IT DOES NOT MEAN NO SCHOOL.
  • Waldorf Education Method of Homeschooling - Waldorf education is based on the spiritual-scientific research of the Austrian scientist and thinker Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf education balances artistic, academic and practical work educating the whole child, hand and heart as well as mind.
  • Traditional Homeschool Method aka School at Home 
  • Unit Studies - Unit studies or thematic units take a topic and "lives" with it for a period of time, integrating science, social studies, language arts, math and fine arts as they apply.
Homeschooling, no matter which method you choose to use is hard work. It requires the parent to put forth time preparing the lessons, working with their child and then grading or evaluating the work. Homeschool parents even in states with 'no regulations' must maintain transcripts or portfolios once their children reach the high school years in order for them to get into college.

Having successfully homeschooled my two sons I can say that homeschooling is well worth the effort. My eldest son started college at 16 and received a full ACT scholarship. He has completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and is currently working on his Masters while working part time. My youngest son has just completed his Freshman year at the Community College and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, he too works part time.

It is a pity that before doing a hatchet job on homeschoolers the Editors of The Sun Herald didn't engage in a little old fashion research instead of basing their 'opinion' on a TV Show.  


    1. The Editors of The Sun Herald had no intention of publishing a well researched, objective and non-biased article. After all, they aren't 'Fox News' .

      One sees, more and more often, a return to attention grabbing, ratings oriented journalism in this day and age of 'reality tv' and similar garbage.

      Additionally we need to keep in mind which part of America 'The Sun Herald' serves... Enough said... fill in your own opinions and thoughts here LOL.

      It seems, Alasandra, that quite a bit of news lately ruffled your feathers. I always look forward to visiting your site, thanks for running a great, informative blog.

    2. A lazy parent might use "unschooling" as an excuse for educational neglect, but that's not true "unschooling". Whenever I ask the "unschooled" children in our HS support group what they've been up to lately they always answer with really interesting projects they've done, books they've read, field trips they've taken, etc. It strikes me like a fair amount of work for the parent to help facilitate these things, even if the child's interests are dictating what exactly they are.

    3. bravo! I am so tired of what passes for journalism these days. Echoing opinions of a 30 second television show spot does not equal research. I do not unschool, because frankly I do not have the time to organize and plan around my student's passions- I find it easier to follow a scope and sequence. some of the brightest parent minds are homeschooling genius children, the Sun Herald could have found them if they had looked.

    4. It seems to me that parents who send their kids to public school run the gamut from doing little more than putting them on a bus each day to being highly involved with their children's educational progress. This spectrum is not newsworthy unless we make a point of sensationalizing and scrutinizing someone's particular approach over another.

      At least at home I can choose and know if something is working on a daily basis. Those who send their children to public school will not discover problems until it is too late and have little power to change things for the better. Unfortunately this is a common scenario that is newsworthy and will not be reported.

    5. I think unschooling does mean no school. It certainly doesn't mean no learning, though! LOTS of learning; no school.


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