Posted by: whimsigal | August 16, 2007


The other day a comment was made to me that made me realize some people still don’t get what we’re doing. Or maybe they do get it and don’t approve, I don’t really know. It was innocent enough and I don’t think there was any bad intent behind the comment but still, it gave me pause. The boys were asked if school was getting ready to start back up again to which Iain responded,”I’m homeschooled.”

“Well, yes, I know that but don’t you still have to get out your books?” Ok, at this point I’m thinking, Really?? Don’t you know we don’t do school-at-home? Iain left the room and then the comment directed at me was, “Someone I know works at a private school and they said that homeschoolers often come in behind everyone else.”

Ok, I’m not going to lie. For some reason the comment just rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not holding my boys to some arbitrary standard established by someone else. At this point it’s not necessary for them to learn facts that have no relevance to their lives. Yes, IF they went back to school it’s possible that they would be behind in some areas but even kids in school are behind in something. It just makes me feel tired. I didn’t bother to explain my feelings on the philosophy of unschooling because what’s the point? If the message hasn’t been heard by now then another explanation isn’t going to hammer the point home. I just get exhausted by the “helpful” comments some people make. At this point I choose not to react to them but when the comments start coming in Iain and Ryan’s presence I will respond and said response may surprise some folks. Unschooling is not about using some kind of measurable guideline to gauge their intelligence. It’s about celebrating the natural learning process and all the benefits that branch off from it.

This weekend there’s going to be an article in our local paper about unschooling and we were interviewed for it a couple of months ago. I’m a little nervous about it because, as evidenced by the above story, unschooling is not an easy concept for people to grasp. People are offended when you go against the norm because they interpret it as a judgement of what they’re doing or what they’ve done. I’m curious about what the reaction of the community at large is going to be. When the article comes out, I will post a link to it here so anyone may read it.

This has been a very long week for some reason and I will be glad when the weekend rolls around!



  1. Makes me tired, too.

    My first thought probably would have been “Really? I’ve heard just the opposite! That colleges and universities are eager to accept hs kids, and that they are often well above their peers.” Which hsers do hear often, not that it matters a hill of beans.

    The thing is, to any Dear Doubters… that it doesn’t matter! Another’s (school)TimeLine doesn’t matter. It’s arbitrary. It has nothing to do with the evolution of one’s intelligence, or the emergence of it. Only with the “get it all in in 12 grades” program.
    Shall we judge all formally taught (hs or public or private) students by those that are allowed to learn on their own? Shall we judge all six year olds by Trev’s knowledge of dinosaurs, and another six year old’s knowledge of cars, and anothers fascination with Shakespeare or space or bacteria or molecules or geometry and numbers?
    I think not.
    We’re all different, for heaven’s sake.
    Just because it’s “normal”, or “usual” doesn’t mean that it’s “better”.
    Garbage on the side of the road is normal, and it still isn’t pretty.
    – I’m not calling formal education trash, just saying that just because something “is” doesn’t mean that we have to accept it as “best”.

    It’s so funny (really, it makes me laugh when I’m not all bent about it) When people that know us comment on how bright the children are (and know of their freedom) and then say something like “Just think when you really start teaching them!” Or “What have you learned lately?” I think it would be humorous if my children innocently answered them, then asked them what THEY had learned lately.

    Maybe 🙂 to the response of “don’t you have to get out your books?” you could reply “Oh, we don’t hide them away, ever. They’re right there. Whenever we find an interesting spider. For our discussions about Antartica during dinnner. While we make shapes out of the cumulus clouds. Whenever we’re trying to find Hercules or Draco in the nighttime sky.”

    “It’s about celebrating the natural learning process and all the benefits that branch off from it.”
    Psh. Yeah, like “being inquisitive their entire lives instead of relieved when they finally get released from the controlled institution at 17 or 18!”
    I think unschooling parents are quite possibly raising natural life-long scholars. Or at least adults that will know the entirety of their lives that they can do and learn anything they wish.

    Sorry to run away with it, Evie. This was mostly in support for you (only a bit for me) you don’t need to publish it!
    Just wanted to agree with you.

    signing off!

  2. How could I not publish that? Eloquent as always and I appreciate your support. You have a way of expressing things that I would love to say but have no idea how to get them across.

    “get it all in 12 grades” program! I really loved that!

    Thanks for your comment, Steph!


  3. I have been mulling over this post all day. Each time I think about it, I get a little more ticked, but couldn’t put my finger on why (other than the normal stuff). Then, I was laying on the couch listening to my kids play and I pinpointed exactly why. So here goes, it’s utter nonsense! It’s not based in fact, and that person had no clue what they were talking about, period! No evidence to back them, just pure conjecture.

    Do you know what a year in public school did to my daughter? Her reading level fell three grades, her self confidence diminished, and it quickly killed the “spark” that I love to see in my kids when they get excited about something. However, it in all fairness she does know how to bubble letter in a test, so I guess she did learn something.

    I guess my point is,how can you battle the ignorant? They will believe what they want, think what they want, and do what they want no matter what blatant fact is staring them in the face. There is nothing that suggests that public schoolers and or privates schoolers do any better than homeschoolers. The only difference is we refuse to cram our kids full of rote rhetoric that they don’t understand. Sit down with any homeschooled kid and ask them what they feel passionate about and they will be able to tell you at length about the topic.

    There will always be critics and there will always be ignorance. Keep on doing what you’re doing, enjoy your children and don’t give those people a second thought.

    Brightest Blessings Evie!


  4. Well, Sheri I can tell that you’ve been thinking about that all day! That was a very passionate comment! 🙂

    You’re right of course that I need to ignore it but sometimes that is so HARD. LOL

    My own speculation is that the person who made the comment to me feels a need to defend my choice to people they encounter who don’t understand unschooling. Does that make sense? I’m trying not to assign any ulterior motive because I just don’t believe there was one.

    Also, I believe the person who runs the private school probably feels threatened by the homeschooling movement. I mean, come on, if everyone did it he/she would be out of a job. It’s easier to dismiss something out-of-hand and hope that by ignoring it you won’t give it any importance and it will go away.

    At any rate, I sure do appreciate your comment and your passion!


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