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Unschooling: The Ultimate in Lazy Parenting

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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.

Christine Yablonski and Phil Biegler of Massachusetts are part of the movement. The couple's children -- Shaun, 13, and Kimi, 15 -- do not attend school (and haven't since first grade). They have no textbooks or lessons to get in the way of whatever they want to do -- which is to watch TV, play video games or maybe (but only if they feel like it) read a book. How do they get an education, you might ask? Christine explains it this way: "If they need formal algebra understanding ... they'll find that information," she says. Yeah, right.

Sounds like this kind of hands-off training should be illegal, right? It isn't. According to ABC News, most families who engage in this unorthodox approach register their kids as being homeschooled... then give them no rules at home.

The Beigler kids, for example, don't have bedtimes or chores. And their parents, it seems, don't have any common sense.

What do you think?

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105 comments so far | Post a comment now
Patti June 23, 2010, 2:52 PM

“too old” and Barb Desmarais: You have NO idea what you’re talking about. Get the FACTS before shooting your mouth off——it just shows how ignorant you truly are!!

Well said, Amber, Frank, & Shay—-I agree with you on every point because I live the life. Lazy parents send their children to the public schools so they don’t have to parent. I can’t even count the number of “public school parents” I’ve heard say, “GOD! I can’t WAIT until school vacation is over so I can have MY life back!!” That’s not just lazy, but selfish and neglectful, as well. Why have kids in the first place?

I started as a traditional “school at home” homeschooler and quickly saw the futility of that decision. As unschoolers, my son and I have so much fun learning together——whether it’s exploring the tidepools at the local beach or searching for (and drawing/labeling) shells, enjoying a picnic (or camping trip) and long walk in the Redwood forest while indentifying the plant life we see, spending the day at one of the many museums/art galleries in our area, curling up on the sofa and reading to each other for hours, attending “Arts Alive!” or one of the numerous local seasonal festivals, or taking a sketchbook to the marsh so we can “draw what we see” (and then go home and research it on the internet)——my son leads a full life and is learning something every minute of every day. Just because he isn’t learning what some “expert” says he should be learning at a particular time doesn’t mean he isn’t learning! It saddens me to know that children in my state don’t get introduced to REAL history until 6th grade——my son has been learning about history, a real passion in our home, since he was a little guy.

As far as “School is their job. Make them do it”——my son’s job is being a kid!!!! A happy kid!!!! A kid who IS NOT punished for being wiggly, or too loud, or inquisitive!!!! A kid who LOVES TO LEARN!!!! When was the last time, “too old” or “Barb”, you met a child who actually loves learning—-not because he has to or to get a grade or because he knows he’ll be reprimanded or held in at recess or sent to the principal’s office if he doesn’t, but one who learns because he finds joy in doing so??!! I’ll answer for you—-NEVER!!!!

I have three sons who were/are homeschooled/unschooled. My oldest chose to serve his country by enlisting in the military——his contract is up in just a few weeks and he’ll be on his way home. He will be attending the Police Academy in the Fall. My middle son is working FULL TIME at a local natural foods store (another passion in our family) while attending college FULL TIME, as well. He is also editing a 500 page novel he wrote and is hoping to find a publisher by the end of the year. My youngest son is happily unschooled and FULL OF LIFE! He is learning and living and growing in the REAL WORLD!!

Anonymous June 24, 2010, 1:40 PM

Home schooling, unschooling, public schooling, I honestly don’t care. It clearly works for some people, and it clearly doesn’t work for others.

What I do care about is this stupid attitude running rampant throughout the comments. Home schooled children are not smarter than public schooled children, and publicly schooled children are not more socially proficient than home schooled children. I know a lot of dumb home schooled kids, and a lot of socially awkward public school kids.

So get off your high horse.

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