Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Unschooling and freedom debate

Someone responded with multiple comments, and two response videos, to my last YouTube video. If you're interested in seeing the whole, long, discussion, see below!

Hunter part 1

Hnter part 2

My response part 1

My response part 2

The extra points I wanted to add, but forgot to in the video, and then couldn't add to the description box because it was too long!

"1. "The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life"
Well, as human beings, as ever growing and changing creatures, EVERYTHING we do affects us, changes us. That's the process of living. However, you're entirely wrong if you think you can't get into university just as easily later in life, or learn things you need to in the future, when you actually need to know them. I, personally, never plan on going full time to university. I don't like the institutionalized classroom setting, and the thought of spending four+ years of my life in such a setting makes me shudder. Also, the life's work I wish to do does not require a university education. And honestly, for many, many, jobs people may wish to work at, they don't need that piece of paper. For some, yes, it's necessary. You wish to become a doctor, so you need university. I understand that. However, there's a huge amount of people now who are graduating college ad university with honors, and yet are struggling to find a job in their chosen profession, struggling to make ends meet. A university degree does not IN ANY WAY guarantee a job, let alone a job you like. With all that money I would have spent on university, I could instead learn far more about life, get far more education that actually helps me in the real world, by traveling the world. Or, without even spending all that money at all, I could apprentice instead, or take specific classes that interest me, or start my own business, or one of a myriad of other options. ALSO, you seem to think the SAT's are the only way to get into university, which isn't true either. Most (and I do mean most) colleges and universities (and not just your often looked down upon "community colleges", really most colleges and universities), will accept portfolio assessments, or offer to conduct their own tests for a small fee. I know of this happening both in the US and Canada, and I even know from personal experience having contacted a university I once considered attending.

2. Just to add to your whole "No one is capable of decision making until 25" thing, tell me, if that's so impossible, how people under 25 travel the world on their own, live on their own, raise children, starts businesses, work, make great art, start their own communities, and the million other things that young people do! Pretty impressive for people incapable of making decisions, eh?

3. In terms of parents liability, I think we can assume that most parents would request that their children or teens pay for whatever they did. By saying this, I'm working on the assumption that in virtually all cases the offense would be relatively minor (i.e. marijuana possession). Yes, the parents are ultimately responsible. However, I've heard of a hell of a lot of cases of traditionally schooled, traditionally parented kids getting into serious shit, and all I've ever heard of unschoolers getting in trouble for is very minor.

4. I love organic food as well! My family, especially my mother and I, are working at finding good places for buying reasonably priced organic foods (there are actually co-op type places that work to sell organic food at prices the non-wealthy can actually afford!). It's hard to do, but most likely possibly in many places if you do enough searching and are careful not to let food go to waste. But yes, it's still a fairly expensive and difficult task. I highly suggest that you dig around in the food related section of this unschooling site: http://sandradodd.com/food, where you'll find lots of first person accounts. Perhaps then you can actually believe me when I say not controlling food is better!

5. I see in my video I misunderstood, and responded as if you'd said that high school kids DO "fuck like bunnies", when instead what you said was that they WOULD fuck like bunnies were they allowed co-ed sleepovers. I have a couple of points to add here. Firstly, what I said in the video still stands. Kids don't need co-ed sleepovers to have sex, and if you look at the statistics, they'll back me up on this one. Secondly, I've certainly heard of same sex sleepovers where there is fucking involved. People still have way too heterosexual a view of the world!

6. I said in my video that one of my main points is that people should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't harm others, and what I ACTUALLY say in my original video is that everyone has a right to do, or not do, whatever they want with their bodies unless doing so infringes on another person's right to do, or not do, whatever they want with their own bodies. I consider driving under the influence to be infringing on other peoples rights to bodily safety. I also consider smoking around other people to be infringing on their right to clean air! Therefor, what I said originally still stands. Do what you want with your own body, don't fuck with other people's bodies. Wow, that sounded dirty. Didn't quite mean it that way. :-P

7. I already responded pretty thoroughly to your "wealthy" comment in my video. However, I forgot to point out that you, as a homeschooler, ALSO need to pay for any tests you take. What's the difference? Should I now believe, as so many ill informed people do, that you must be "wealthy" to homeschool? Interestingly enough, many of the schooled families I know, the public schooled families, pay more in school fees, school supplies, and ridiculously expensive after school activities than my own family, as unschoolers, does or ever has. Secondhand books, reasonably priced and free activities, and similar things are wonderful! I pride myself in my ability to find free and cheap things. It's actually fun, along with being easy on your wallet, and works perfectly with my plan to live a very simple life, living, by choice, on a small amount of money. Oh, and here, tests aren't that expensive. I don't know about other places. I don't plan to take any, unless I find that I genuinely need to to get where I want, in which case I'll study for a few months, take the damn test, and be done with it. I'm not exactly worried. Nope, decisions are not irreversible. At all! I honestly don't understand why you believe them to be... Perhaps because that's what you've always been told?

8. I HAVE HEARD THIS STUPID STATEMENT SO MANY GOD DAMNED TIMES!! Sorry, that's a bit of an over reaction lol. Like I said, I've heard it a lot. "Unschooling is fine, as long as you're motivated". NO. Unschooling works, because those who unschool BECOME motivated, because they are learning about what they want, what interests them and is relevant to them, when they want and need to learn it. In such a learning approach, each individual's journey is different, because each individual is different. Each individual is empowered, excited about life. As an unschooler, you learn. You just do. It's as natural as eating, sleeping, breathing. And I can actually throw "if you'd ever researched..." at you in this case. Schooling methods that look like modern methods are only a couple of hundred years old. The idea of real control at all is only 10,000 years old (and modern humans have been around about 300,000 years... A society that's based on hierarchy and control is a relatively recent development in our species' history). Before the agricultural revolution (10,000 to 12,000 years ago) humans learned from life. There was no lesson plan, no forcing of learning at all. And don't say there wasn't much to learn. Do some research, read about tribal peoples. They had every bit as much as we do to learn, it was simply different things they were learning! Unschooling is THE most natural approach to learning, because humans are hardwired to learn. They don't need forcing or pushing. You'd have to work hard to make someone NOT learn.

9. "Or else"... So you advocate threatening your child? Punishing your child? Does that sound like good parenting to you? Because if it does, that honestly makes me feel sad.

10. I can certainly make blatant statements like that, when everything I've read and learned and seen backs them up entirely. "You need guidance. You need control. That's just the way life is." I've most often heard the "that's the way life is" comment when people have nothing to back up their point. At no point in your video did you make a strong argument that people need control. Because there is no argument, that I've seen, that makes a strong, GOOD argument for control. I have, however, seen plenty of wonderful arguments AGAINST control. Sure, I'm biased in my opinions, but so is each individual, including the scientists who argue for and against control. All I can do is take in what I learn, both from third party sources and from my own life, and decide FOR MYSELF what's true.

Anyway, no apologies from you necessary, I wasn't insulted. Thanks for starting an interesting conversation! If you want to continue it, I'd prefer to do so over YouTube or Facebook messages, because I don't want to bore my subscribers with the same argument!"

I hope this whole exchange isn't utterly boring to those not involved!



  1. There are days I wish I was wealthy...however, I do live a life of abundance (an abundance that I manifest) & it has served me far more than if I had loads of disposible income.

    I couldn't agree more w/ you about how infantile most people are...children aren't allowed to grow up, because their parents (society) don't want them to. As a result, they can't take proper care of themselves when their parents are done housing them.

    People who react violently to unschooling are afraid of Freedom, because they've never had it & they assume if they did, they'd do horrible things. When they site times when they've acted freely & made poor decisions, it was usually a result of rebellion against over-controlling parents & NOT really a choice made in Freedom. Truly free people have no reason to make rebellious decisions.

    I've said it, Holt & Gatto have said it & I'll say it again, parents struggle at learning to trust their children, because they grew up being taught to not trust themselves, that they can't trust themselves & to rely on "experts" & elders -- those who "know what's best for them". You are right & not exaggerating when you call it brainwashing. It's usually implicit & done by well-meaning people, but it's brainwashing none-the-less.

  2. please excuse all my spelling errors...I was typing one handed and reading a book to E at the same time as leaving a comment!

  3. Thank you Idize for posting this. I find both sides of the debate fascinating and I would love further updates.


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