A discussion got started on Facebook, as they often do, about schools. There was a post listing the statistics of educational grades in science across the country, ranking through some system or another. All I did was mention I wondered how homeschoolers and unschoolers stacked up, and boy was that a mistake! I got an earful about how many homeschoolers and unschoolers don’t teach anything, and when they teach science they apparently don’t teach anything other than basic levels.
We got into a little debate to which she couldn’t provide any proof at how incredibly uneducated homeschoolers and unschoolers were in science, or any proof that parents of these children don’t educate them in science. I’m willing to bet that’s because those statistics don’t exist and she was only making them up to feel better about her decision to put her children in school. I should have known better than to try and put my foot in it to educate her because you can’t educate someone too stubborn and bull headed to learn. She refuses to believe that children who are raised without school are going to be well adjusted, yet I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary to believe that. Her school track record really doesn’t inspire me either considering she said she and her friends from school got into a lot of drugs. All I wondered how homeschoolers and unschoolers would stack up, not looking for a debate. All I can imagine is it’s because of some underlying self-doubt in putting her child in an institution of learning for 13 years.
While I was going on about all of this, Corde asked what I was writing about. I told her the basic overview of the conversation, not wanting to take the time to read off all the comments and go into detail. Corde didn’t need every word to get the general idea of it. I figured the recap would get some simple comment, but I didn’t at all get what I expected, well, not quite.
“She said what?” Corde asked, her face all contorted into a mask of total disgust, “She must be completely dumb. I mean, I know lots of things. I know so much more than the kids that go to school. They don’t even study science, not like I do. How can she know that? Does she even know any unschoolers?”
Corde had to go on and on about all the benefits of unschooling from her perspective. She can actually learn what she wants whenever she wants. Everything is a lesson. She never gets bored of learning. She’s got the freedom to explore whatever she wants. Most of what she does is so much more fun anyway. She loves science, as most kids do, and doesn’t feel like she’s got to fit in a box. She’s even taught me a lot about science and I used to study it for fun. It’s not that she knows more than I do, but she’s come up with questions I hadn’t even considered. She’s inquisitive, something you don’t find much in school kids. It’s sadly bred out of them. Much like our problems with Maddy, if she hasn’t heard about it, it can’t be real.
The discussion went on and on, Corde feeling she needed to prove herself and me just going along for the fun of it. She talked about physics, chemistry, and biology. Beekee jumped in and had to share his information on microbiology that he learned from studying germs and diseases. They were both shocked to hear that most kids don’t learn about this stuff until high school. Beekee carried it all on with talking about disasters, his favorite subject.
All of this made me realize how much school really doesn’t teach things in any way my kids don’t already know, aside from math and equations. Corde knows so much about Monsanto and GMOs, and she understands it better than most Americans. She gets concept like high school level sciences, and even if she doesn’t have the math to go with them, she understand the concepts. You don’t need to know the formula for gravity to know how gravity will effect an object. You don’t have to have the equations to prove when two objects are going to collide because you watch them traveling and can make a pretty good guess. Professional pool players don’t sit there and calculate the physics required for each shot. They just take the shot because the physics is in their head. They don’t need the math to learn and understand the concept. It’s something the internalize.
So much of what I’ve learned in school I haven’t used since. I’ve never used anything resembling calculus or trig. I haven’t even used algebra and anything beyond a basic level of geometry. I haven’t used any of the science. I haven’t used pretty much any of the information I’ve learned in high school beyond a little bit of the history, and that’s just because I’m interested. I haven’t used any of the robotics classes I’ve taken, though I have used a good bit of my knowledge from biotech. Why did I have to fill my brain with all of that stuff that I’d just spend most of my life trying to forget.
Corde has been able to go on and on about how school is also not a good simulation for life. Some of that’s because of things I’ve told her, but even she can see it. Oz doesn’t work in a classroom full of people exactly his age, fighting for the best scores at work. No one lives that way, so why should she? Why should she fight to be just like everyone else? She doesn’t want to be like everyone else. She wants to be unique. She doesn’t want to conform to what other people tell her to be. In the real world that doesn’t happen. In the real world everyone has a different set of skills and learns different things, so that way they can work together and get things done. She can recognize that Oz and I wouldn’t work so well together if we had learned only the same things. I know how to budget. Oz is horrible at it. Oz is good at social networking, but I’m really timid and shy. Oz loves playing video games and has no problem sharing those games with the kids. I’m more partial to board games and watching documentaries with the kids. He’ll run around with the kids in the yard and I physically can’t. At the same time, I have the patience to teach them to cook and to do crafts. Oz doesn’t have that kind of patience and gets easily frustrated. Those are the things that balance us out. On top of that, if age group were a requirement I never would have ended up with Corde and Beekee’s dad, nor with Oz! “And that would be sad because then none of us would be born.”
I’d spent plenty of time thinking how I feel about unschooling, but until now I never realized that my kids were such staunch supporters of it as I am! I’d always thought they just went along because it’s what they know, but Corde can go on and on about the reasons unschooling is better. For example, “I don’t like boys and I’m not old enough to have a boyfriend. I don’t know why the kids in school are so obsessed with it. Boys are good friends, just not like that. I’m just a kid!” She says she enjoys wearing make-up but she thinks it’s only for fun stuff, like girl’s day out with her aunt or a special occasion with me. She doesn’t see why kids wear make-up to school. She doesn’t see the point. “It’s only when you’re doing fancy things or just for fun.” She doesn’t exactly look down her nose at the kids in school, but she certainly doesn’t envy them. Sometimes she feels a little bad for them because they’re cooped up in the classroom and told what to learn. She doesn’t think school sounds very fair or very fun.
These are all thoughts coming from a kid, all because someone said homeschoolers and unschoolers don’t learn science. As if it wasn’t bad enough that it’s an uneducated comment, my kids kind of feel insulted because of all of this. They think that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. I guess now wouldn’t be a good time to tell them considering homeschoolers and unschoolers to have less of an education is a common misconception. They might start a crusade for homeschooling and unschooling across the nation! I wouldn’t put it past them. They are some seriously determined kids.
Random Beekee funny of the day: I think Baby Bear’s made out of playdoh…super playdoh that never breaks. (Um…what Beekee?!?)