According to a philosophy called "Radical Unschooling," children shouldn't be forced to study -- not to mention brush their hair, eat their vegetables, or keep their clothes on. A homeschooling mother decides to take a closer look.
In the beginning, much of education came easily to my daughter, Alice, as it had come to me. I started reading at an early age and it came to pass that Alice, too, read on her own before she set foot in a formal classroom. But sadly, the universe isn't made up of only letters and words. Whatever distaste Alice felt for addition, subtraction, and multiplication was dwarfed by her loathing of long division and its hellish spawn, remainders.
Eventually, her reading and mathematics levels were several car lengths' apart, and I saw her academic future. Something told me we'd try school after school and Alice would be the first person to ever graduate from high school without finishing elementary school math. Or we could homeschool Alice, trusting the transformative power of her parents' deep love, a curriculum tailored specifically for her and certain indifference to math-related emotional outbursts.
When September rolled around again, we were in the education business. We galloped through English, talked a couple of decades of history and did some art. After lunch, I brought out the math workbook and opened to the second section: fractions. Alice scowled.
Ten minutes later, I found her in her bedroom with a cat on her lap, reading.
I stood there in the doorway, completely flummoxed. I had made a terrible mistake. I walked into the laundry room and sat on the floor. After a minute or so, there was a knock on the door.
"Do your mother a favor. Please shut the door and go back to the kitchen. Get a small paper bag from the cupboard and slide it under the door to me."
So when you're me and you've spent the past several weeks accounting for every second of your child's intellectual development, what starts to sound damned good? Unschooling! That's what.( Collapse )