Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Ignorant Commenters Strike Again: "But You Have to Learn to Get Along With People You Don't Like!"

"But you have to learn to get along with people you don't like!" Says yet another commenter on the latest mainstream media piece on unschooling (and Sudbury Valley Schools, in this case).

I'm baffled by just how nonsensical (to borrow one of my sister's favorite words) the reactions people have on first hearing about unschooling often are, but this might just be one of the most baffling.  Because it seems to imply that unschoolers never see any people.  Ever.  School is obviously the only place where children and teens can find and interact with other human beings.  Obviously.

The people who make such statements must believe the above.  Otherwise, how could they possibly think that I, or other unschoolers, never meet (or met) people we don't like?

I can think of plenty of people I don't get along with, or don't particularly like.  The kid who used to be one of my sister's best friends.  The guy who derails the conversation at every workshop he attends.  Multiple people I had to work with when I went to Cadets.  Various extended family members.  Hell, a few people I've met at Not Back to School Camp and conferences!

Sadly, life is filled with people who, to put it bluntly, are assholes.  People who treat others poorly.  Bullies.  People who don't seem to realize that working respectfully with others is even an option.  You can (and will) definitely find those people in school.  But, even if you never set foot in a school, you'll still find those people.  The whole thing with living and learning in the real world is that, well, you tend to run into the things commonly found in, you know, the real world.

All sarcasm aside, people definitely do need to learn how to work with people whom you don't particularly get along with, but you definitely don't need a special place to do that.  You just need to live.

Now, I also think it's important to note that what I'm talking about is just "not getting along," or not particularly liking someone.  Dealing with low-grade assholes.  I wonder if some of the people who question whether unschoolers will ever learn to get along with people they don't like, are actually just making a softer statement to the effect that Kids Need to be Bullied to Get Tough.  'Cause that's a whole different issue!

And it probably won't surprise anyone when I say that abuse, no matter what form it takes, is never something hat should be considered "good" or "character building."  Just picture me saying NO in the most forceful possible way.

Comments on internet articles are often a toxic place to read, but they can be useful (they've sparked many posts before, for instance!) in seeing what a lot of people actually think, and can be used to call out ignorance and bigotry, and share some actual truth and experience instead.

I feel like I've said most of what I say in this post before, but I've decided to take hold of any spark of blog-writing inspiration that comes along, and to let go of an attempt at perfection, because otherwise, i won't end up writing anything at all!

So there you have it.  And now I'm wondering what you thought of the latest mainstream article on unschooling and Sudbury schools?  Did you read the comments, and if so, did any thoughts or posts (share the link!) stem from doing so?


  1. This was a great post, as always! I actually did write a brief post inspired by the comments on that article.

    You can take a look at it here, if you like: http://beneathceruleansky.blogspot.com/2011/08/thank-you-naysayers.html

    I didn't talk much about the actual article in that post, but I found the article to be better than what that news outlet has previously posted about Unschooling. Of course, it wasn't perfect, and it wasn't exactly what I would've said, but I definitely think it was more fair than past articles have been.

    ~ Vanessa :)

  2. Great post! To answer your question, I find that I no longer read comments on any articles in the mainstream about homeschooling or unschooling, because more often than not, it's the ignorance and venom of anti-homeschooling people which shine through in their comments.

    Believe it or not, as a homeschooling parent, I have indeed heard the sentiment that "Kids Need to be Bullied to Get Tough". (Don't you ever get the impression that the people who say this are often bullies in life, in general?)

    Anyway, thanks for writing a great blog. Looking forward to reading more.

  3. I enjoy reading your thoughts and what you say is completely true about how you will find people who will be unpleasant whether you are in school or not. But honestly. I love that having been out of high school now for 13 years, I meet a LOT less of them than I ever DID in school. School social atmosphere brings out the asshole in the otherwise tolerable human. And I CAN't see how it did me any good to be thrust into their sphere of horridness then, now or any time. :)
    -Andrea thisrednecklife.blogspot.com
    ps, I stole your button.

  4. I like your posts, they are always topical and your thoughts refer to the nowadays problems! I like writing too and I still dream of my personal blogs. Still, several years ago I hated writing assignments in my college. That's why I usually applied to essay writing service UK in order to get a reliable writing assistance!

  5. I had to read the article you linked and I was nodding my head the whole way until I got to the professor's comment about how will an adolescent brain know that To Kill a Mocking Bird is a good book. I wanted to throw something. FIRST OFF calling something a good book is a matter of opinion and teaching children what their opinions should be sounds terrifying and very 1984. Secondly, adolescents can determine what they do and don't enjoy. There's no time limit for when someone has to read a certain book or enjoy an activity. Just because someone else enjoyed reading at a certain point in life doesn't mean everyone else has to. We're not manufacturing people! And finally, what does that even have to do with living life? How is knowing (having the opinion that...) TKAMB is a good book going to enrich your life or help you in your chosen profession? Does a herpetologist need to know about that bit of American subculture to dig through the Everglades in search of invasive Burmese pythons? My eyes rolled so hard into the back of my head I'm pretty sure I created enough energy to power a lightbulb...