Normally, the negativity people express about unschooling doesn't really bother me that much. I'll get slightly annoyed, yes, upon reading or hearing stupid comments or ignorant misconceptions, but I'll calmly share my personal (positive) experiences, or send them a link that I think might help them understand unschooling if they wish to do so, then move on. If I wasn't able to easily move past annoyances with people's perceptions of unschooling, then I don't think I'd be able to be as public about unschooling as I am!
But lately, in the last week or so, it hasn't been so easy. In short, I've been kind of crabby. But especially crabby when it comes to unschooling!
I read someone saying that:
"Child led learning is fabulous but 100% child led learning, in my opinion, does not prepare them for most modern day jobs."And I scream internally YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH UNSCHOOLING, HAVE NEVER EVEN MET AN UNSCHOOLER, SO YOU CAN'T SAY THAT! Your statement is based in ignorance. Please be less ignorant before making statements.
And that's just my reaction when the statement is made in complete ignorance. My anger jumps considerably when I stumble across a homeschooling mother who states:
"As the director of a large local homeschool co-op, I've had the opportunity to see first hand the differences between 'unschooled' homeschoolers and 'schooled' homeschoolers. There is a vast difference in their ability to keep up and move forward. The 'unschoolers' also struggle with understanding time restraints. Because they are allowed to 'learn' at whatever they happen to be doing, they struggle to succeed in an environment that is controlled and has direction."Don't you love the fact she adds quotes on "learn" when speaking of unschoolers? Apparently her bossy personality is very annoyed when these unschooled kids are reluctant to drop whatever project they're working on and engaged in, to move onto something else they're not currently interested in ("struggling with understanding time restraints"). Apparently these unschooled kids learn at their own pace, and refuse to follow this seemingly very narrow-minded woman's view of where they should be in relation to other kids ("their ability to keep up and move forward"), and apparently this does not make her very happy.
If I can't help getting annoyed at those who make judgments about unschooling in ignorance, at least I get it. I understand that unschooling is something vastly different from most people's experience, and something that's difficult for many people to understand. So while I might be annoyed momentarily, I don't hold it against the individual at all.
But when a homeschooler thinks it's their duty to explain disapprovingly and condescendingly how bad unschooling is, how incompetent the parents are, how we're totally doin' it wrong and are giving a bad name to the REAL homeschoolers, now that to me is simply unacceptable (and I have come across this type of attitude among homeschoolers a LOT). We're supposed to be on the same side, dammit! I'd never put down homeschoolers in a public forum like that. We're all misunderstood by the general populace: all targeted by restrictive laws and disapproving people. We should be banding together, not attacking each other or getting into petty disputes over who is doing a better job. Really and truly.
So that's how I've been feeling lately. Fed up with dealing with the vast amount of ignorance and disapproval around unschooling, fed up with (though in no way planning to stop) explaining unschooling, time and time again, to people who just don't get it.
I'm not truly angry at the people who don't get it, though. I'm just angered by a culture and system of schooling that's created a situation where something as simple and beautiful as life learning is incomprehensible to most people. And I'm saddened by how many people react in harsh judgment and condemnation to something they simply don't understand.
This mood will pass. In a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, I'm sure I'll go back to being able to brush the negativity off with an easy smile and a patient response. But right now? Right now it just pisses me off.