Tag Archives: school

Is “Unschooling” About the Parent or the Child?

I never felt part of the mommy wars. If anything, I was jealous of my stay-home mom friends. But alas, I married a teacher—need I say more?

So my children began child care early and, today they are both in elementary school. (They do get a bonus that most kids don’t—they get daddy 24/7 all summer long.)

I firmly believe that there are benefits and negatives to both full-time child care and staying at home full-time. That said, most of us make our decisions based on what is best for our child given the circumstances in which we live.

Which leads me to what I want to talk about. I stumbled on a blog by Joanne Rendell about “unschooling.” The unschooling.com website explains it like this:

Have you ever described ‘red’ to a person who is color blind? Sometimes, trying to define unschooling is like trying to define red. Ask 30 unschoolers to define the word and you’ll get thirty shades of red. They’ll all be red, but they’ll all be different. Generally, unschoolers are concerned with learning or becoming educated, not with ‘doing school.’ The focus is upon the choices made by each individual learner, and those choices can vary according to learning style and personality type. There is no one way to unschool.

Although they do offer multiple definitions.

Frankly, what I really struggled with was Rendell’s closing. She writes:

But un-kindergarten for us means Benny can sleep late so I can write. It means we don’t have to worry about bedtimes and can go out on the town with friends any night of the week. We can go to Europe and visit my family when the flights are cheap. Un-kindergarten also means we can pick and choose how we spend our days and who we spend them with. Benny can go to free classes at the Metropolitan Museum in the week when it’s less crowded. He can read a book on sharks when he feels like it. He can experiment with bungee cords while eating his breakfast at noon.

The decision seems to be about what’s most convenient for the parents, rather than what may be best for the child. John J. Edwards III addresses the issue in his blog on the Wall Street Journal. He says, “Maybe I’m hopelessly square, but I think early-childhood education—like education in general—provides structure and discipline while not necessarily stifling creativity.”

What do you think?


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One of Life’s Mysteries

Can someone please explain this to me?


All summer long, my 6-year-old hopped out of bed in the wee hours of the morning ready to start to his day.


Now school has started. The alarm is set for 7 AM. He sleeps until it goes off (and sometimes through it), groggily climbs out of bed, and complains about having to get up so early. Huh?!?!? The weekend comes, and bam, back up with the sun.


Does anyone else have this experience?


If you have older kids, I just heard about this cool new wake-up service—they can get celebrity wake-up calls. Here’s what was written up in PEN’s Weekly News Blast (an excellent eNewsletter on education issues, BTW):


To help teenagers get up in the morning and get themselves to school, the Ad Council and the Army have teamed up with Cellit, a Chicago-based mobile marketing company, to enable parents and peers to send the kids free wakeup messages recorded by professional athletes and celebrities, reports Business Wire in the Wall Street Journal. A website, www.boostup.org, allows visitors to preview and select the messages, which can then be sent to specified cell-phone numbers at a given time. The basketball star Amare Stoudemire helped start the program. In one message, he says, “Good morning. This is Amare Stoudemire from the Phoenix Suns. Just calling to remind you it’s time to get out of bed and go to school. Don’t make me call you twice!”

Read more.

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