Friday, December 30, 2011

Favorite Unschooling Posts (On This Blog) of 2011

The last couple of years I've done something like this, and it's a tradition I'd like to keep going.  I've chosen my favorite post on this blog from each month of the past year. It's always interesting looking back on what I've written over the year, and if you missed any of them the first time around, I hope you'll find them an interesting read now!


Growing Up Unschooled...With Siblings
"To me, one of the greatest benefits of unschooling is the relationships I've developed with my family, which I definitely attribute at least in part to unschooling.  When in school, siblings spend every day appart from each other, in separate grades, classrooms, and even schools (though seeing as you're not supposed to be socializing in class, I suppose it wouldn't make much of a difference if siblings where in the same class, anyway).  Evenings are usually spent doing homework, or spending time with other friends.  There's a stigma attached to hanging out with people of different ages, and I've definitely also encountered a stigma to liking family members.  To many young people, actually liking a sibling enough to spend time with them just isn't cool."
Blame Unschooling!
"By unschooling, I had the time and space to become my own person.  Unschooling gave me freedom.  The rest I did myself.  Or, myself, with the help of the world, my community, and life in general...  Unschooling didn't create the aspects of myself that I'm proud of, and neither did it create my less than stellar qualities.  My achievements and mistakes are thanks to me and the circumstances I've found myself in."

Why I Use "Labels"
"Some people eschew anything they see as labels, and that's fine.  But as a word lover, I kind of like walking around with a string of words attached to me.  I picture them trailing out behind my head, fluttering a bit in an imaginary breeze as I move around: a banner of pride.  Yeah, pretty fanciful mental image, I know.  But anyway, I choose to attach these words to my person because I identify strongly with them: they make me happy to use, I feel like each one describes me well, and I just like them.  Those words are my friends."

I'm going to cheat a bit on this one, since I didn't really write any real posts this month, and instead share two podcasts I did during that time, one an interview between me and my sister, the other an interview with Kelly Hogaboom.  Neither of them are especially "professional," but I was really happy to try creating stuff in a new medium!


A Parental Right
"Unschooling isn't about parental rights.  It's about children's rights.  A childs right to choose their own path in life, with the support and assistance of parental or other care-giving figures in their life."

Teenage Rebellion: An Unschooling, Respectfully Parented Perspective
"When the subject of "teenage rebellion" comes up now, my mother is fond of saying "why would you rebel, since there wasn't really anything to rebel against?"

Now, I think there is an important distinction to be made here: some parents proudly brag about how their teens aren't "rebellious," and what they really mean is that their children are obedient to their parents wishes (or, possibly more likely, are simply very good at hiding the aspects of their life that their parents would disapprove of).  When I say that most unschoolers I know, myself included, don't or didn't "rebel" against our parents in our teen years, I don't mean it's because we fit the perfect-child model of some narrow-minded authoritarian-parenting suburbanite."

I only wrote one post in July, so this pick was an easy one! Insecurities and an Anniversary: Three Years Blogging and Writing from the Heart
"Okay, I'm just going to come out and say it: I don't think, especially right now, that my life is a good example of unschooling.  I feel like I've somehow put myself on this pedestal, with lots of people looking up at me, and I'm just going what?  How did this happen?  I'm not the person you think I am!!"

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

Breaking News: Unschoolers Not as Good at School as Schooled People
"Schooled kids and schooled-at-home kids practice tests all the time.  They get good at taking tests, because they take tests.  Young, unschooled children who are not used to tests obviously will not be as good at taking tests, regardless of how much knowledge they have in the areas they're being tested on.  Unschoolers don't generally aim to be "successful" by being good at tests: they aim to be successful by being good at living life!"

Unschooling: Are We Teaching Ourselves
"Virtually every time unschooling is covered in the media (such as the newest segment on MSNBC's Today Show) people, either in the segment itself or in the comments, refer to unschooling as an educational "method" where kids "teach themselves."  And that's always struck me as being way off the mark.  Unschooling isn't about unschoolers "teaching themselves": it's about unschoolers choosing how and what and with whom they want to learn."

Guest Post: The Future of Unschooling by Jeff Landale
"If we find ourselves engaging in radical modes of alternative education which don’t inherently challenge and disrupt crucial aspects of the world, then we should be concerned that we are actually reproducing the same structures which Unschooling was originally supposed to allow us to escape from. Thus, rather than having Unschooling be that thing which isn’t school or homeschooling, we should have Unschooling be something which, while growing out of critiques of industrial schooling and its sibling, homeschooling, defined in terms of what it allows us to become, and how it allows us to change the world."

Unschooling and Trust
"Trust is hard, and learning to trust yourself is a continuous journey, full of learning and re-learning your own strength and capability, while learning to accept weaknesses and mistakes.  A great strength of unschooling is, I believe, the gift of being confident in the innate ability of children to learn.  Giving them trust.  And in so doing, breaking a cycle of teaching dependance on authority, breaking the cycle of teaching children that they're incompetent and incapable of having a major say in their own lives."
And with that, I will wish you all a very Happy New Year, filled with joy and health and, of course, lots of learning!  I'd like to publish a post in the next couple of days with my favorite unschooling/radical education posts of the last year from all over the internet, and hopefully I'll find time to do so!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your article a lot. It is inspiring. I'll be looking forward to more of your post. :)