I've just learned about a controversial new trend in education called "Unschooling". An MSN Health article on this method of homeschooling describes it as an unstructured way for children to learn what they want, when they want, however they'd like to learn it.
Unlike homeschooling, there's no curriculum & parents don't use any format to teach kids. The child is the architect of learning by being allowed to explore whatever they want.
Where I come from, this is called parenting & has nothing to do with school. Parents are supposed to do these things regardless of the type of school a child attends.
School isn't supposed to teach you every last little thing in the world. Your parents are supposed to fill in the blanks.
But the casual attitude of unschooling is a welcome change from the parents that schedule every second of a child's day, from Kaplan kindergarten prep to no-score "everyone's a winner" soccer.
When I hear the term homeschooling, I can't help but think of the old adage "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
I wish I could feed my dog a t-bone from free-range, organic black angus with no hormones that's infused with all necessary nutrients every day. But I don't just stop buying dog food & start screwing around in the kitchen.
How will a child ever fully realize their own personality if there's no seperation from mom & dad? Nobody wants their kid to come home from first grade demanding platforms & a belly shirt "like Xtina's" because everyone else has them.
At what other point are you going to get an opening to teach the kids about sleaziness & how there's no place for it in a little mind full of self-respect? Or, if you're of another school of thought, this is your chance to instruct little Bambi on using what nature's given her to get ahead.
Hey, our future generations of pole dancers & trophy wives have to come from somewhere.
Sure some of the teachers are impatient, mean or unqualified. But someday your child will work for a big dumb idiot somewhere & they'll have no way to cope if their only reference point is mommy & daddy's unconditional love dashed with sprinkles of constant encouragement.
The frank sexuality among America's youth is disturbing at times. Nobody wants their child to be a pimp daddy or hoochie mama. But blinders are temporary. You can't shield your child from society forever.
Would you rather a tween have an identity crisis in 9th grade when Tommy breaks her heart by dumping her for Sally (because Sally makes out behind the gym)? Or a socially inept college sophmore blow an ivy league scholarship chasing booty?
The clique-ish torture of American schools are a right of passage. If you take that away from a child's scope of knowledge, they'll never be able to deal with catty coworkers, backstabbing colleagues or the management that flourishes through nepotism alone.
At that rate, your child won't even be able to fathom the candidates on a given ballot in an Allegheny County election.
And don't ignore the fact that the darker childhood experiences often make the most accomplished adults. If Bruce Wayne hadn't fallen in that bat-filled well because of his overprotective mother, where would Gotham City be today?