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I was incredibly uncomfortable with this approach, and a year later, I still am. But this is just a feeler post, so I'm going to close here and pose some questions to the board. Does anyone here unschool? Any strong feelings about it one way or the other? Any data to back up those feelings?

Hi, kazim. Welcome to the board.

My children aren't yet of age for a formal or rigorous homeschooling (oldest is not quite three), but I have read a bit on homeschooling, and that appears to be where we're headed for our children. I have no particular experience with unschooling (beyond reading about what it is and why it should work), but I do have opinions (and hey, if the internet wasn't invented so you could be privy to my opinions, then what was it invented for?). ; )

Put me in the extreme skeptic category, wrt unschooling. Strike that, put me in the category that believes that unschooling is probably the worst thing imagineable for children.

I'm all for not dogmatically following a given curriculum just for the sake of following it. Children will have interests, talents, weaknesses, and learning styles that must be accommodated for optimal learning to occur. All conceded. Children are not, however, small adults. They are small, and will gradually develop into adults and should be treated with respect and allowed gradually more latitude in decision making, fair enough. At 12, however, I don't believe that they possess the reasoning ability and life experience necessary to determine which portions of their education are necessary & useful and which are not. They also generally lack the ability to see why a comprehensive and well-rounded general education will allow them to be more well-rounded individuals and allow them to explore things which, if they were left to their own devices, they might not have otherwise done but which they find they enjoy. Further, life isn't about always having it your way and only doing what you want. There are trade-offs and unpleasant things which must be done. Better to teach them the discipline to face up to these things and work through them, even if they don't necessarily enjoy them, imo, than to pretend that because it doesn't interest them it's not important.

I like the flexibility offered by homeschooling. It allows children who are gifted or truly interested in an area to develop their passion beyond what traditional schooling would and frees them from the significant shackles (cultural and institutional) of public education. However, I think the final arbiter of curriculum and general referee should be the parents, and that parents ought not to abdicate that responsibility to children. Much like eating greens at dinner, some educational choices will be unpalatable to children, but they are necessary for a well-rounded worldview and in order to equip the child with the knowledge necessary to make adult decisions.


I would talk to your wife about your concerns and try to find evidence you can both objectively evaluate of either progression or retrogression in her academic performance over the past year. Maybe make a list of such changes in your daughter, dividing them into pro and con groups and see if her stagnation (or retrogression) is a real thing or just an outgrowth of your skepticism wrt unschooling.

In any event, I would definitely take steps to reign in her tv/sleep habits. Getting into a worldview where you think it's ok to crash at 0200 is not a recipe for success, imo.

Best of luck with whatever option you end up pursuing, and hope to hear back from you on this board.
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