Sunday, August 25, 2002

Accelerated Unschooling

I have always equated unschooling with simply living one's life in a mindful way, free from the shoulds, oughts, tests, timetables and other prescriptions and proscriptions of the schooling world. So when a concept like accelerated unschooling comes along, I am truly dumbfounded.

Why would anyone want to accelerate life? I snarkily wonder if that would mean you'd end up dying younger. Ha!

Sure, if you or your children are bored, it might be nice to find more interesting things to do. And if you're just not managing to get things done that you really want to do, then arranging some sort of support or schedule to help you focus more on that could be just the ticket.

But the notion of a parent taking over the "motivation" (read "compulsion") aspect of learning because their unschooled child's interests just weren't quite varied enough, and their natural learning pace wasn't fast enough to suit the parent, is altogether different. Not a lot of trust involved there. The only remnants of unschooling in accelerated unschooling appear to be a nod to the child's interests, and maybe a lack of textbook type materials.

More often than not, I find my family wanting to slow down and take everything in, rather than find ways to amuse ourselves more and faster. And the risk is ever present that we might, in our excitement over something, sacrifice depth, understanding, mindfulness, and real connection, for speed and distance traveled.

Accelerated unschooling implies that living and learning is a race. It's not. That concept is totally foreign to our family's unschooling way of life.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

California home-school fight goes public

Homeschooling father and attorney Will Rogers sent this heartfelt letter to the Washington Times in response to their coverage of California's intimidation of homeschoolers. His closing paragraph says it all:

"The fundamental right of a parent to direct the education of his or her child is older than the United States Constitution; it is older than recorded history. It is so deeply woven into the fabric of what constitutes a family that to deny this right is to do violence to the sacred bonds that unite a loving mother and father to their beloved child."
Homeschooling off the grid

I recently had occasion to explain how homeschooling works with our family's traveling lifestyle. Because laws regarding homeschooling vary from state to state, trying to comply with them could easily become a nightmare if we let it. Next time you go out of state on vacation - if you're lucky enough to get to do that - take a peek at how quickly your destination state requires children to be enrolled in school. Most states give you only a week to ten days, and a permanent residence somewhere else isn't any excuse for not complying!

Usually we find ourselves in a situation where it would take longer to comply with the homeschooling law than we would actually be living in the state. A ridiculous predicament, to be sure, and a sad demonstration of the burden homeschoolers in so many states have to bear.

Because we have the great good fortune to live in a free state homeschooling-wise, and can flee oppression elsewhere if the need arises, we have chosen a simpler route. We just go on living our lives, learning as we go, and ignore the legal hoops and chains that would only waste our precious time. In the past I have said that we homeschool underground. But how can I call it that when what we do is so deliberately out-in-the-open, and brings so much joy and light into our lives? We're living blissfully "off the grid" when it comes to school.

Friday, August 23, 2002

A slew of recent articles about homeschooling:

San Antonio Express-News

Home schooling today reaches beyond the house

The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

Home schooling

Storytelling family brings legends to life around nation

National Center for Policy Analysis (originally from WA Times)

California prepares to attack home schooling

Insight Magazine

Homeschoolers arrive on campus

Pioneer Press

Plan would shield home-school information

Hendersonville Tribune

'Battle Bots' attack apple festival

USA Today

As home schooling rises, districts fail to meet needs

Peninsula Daily News

Clallam: Homeschool band to help open Clallam County Fair

Sun Herald

Standing room only at homeschool seminar


School district reaches out

San Diego Union-Tribune

Family finds success with alternative education plan

WXIA TV Atlanta

Home-Schooling Growing as Option

Washington Times

State eyes reducing home-school filings

Wellington Daily News

Bringing in home-schoolers

St. Petersburg Times

Young clogger hoofs her way to Brazil 

New York Times

If School Is Home: Web Help for Age 5

Tampa Tribune

At Home With Science

The Ledger

Disabled Child Home-Schooled With Voucher

Nashua Telegraph

Parents bring award home

Associated Press

Surf's up

Bakersfield Californian

Do-it-yourself school

Computer User Magazine

No place like home

NHEN contributed lots of contacts and info for this one. There's a link to NHEN and a quote from me in it.
Middle of the night is the best time for starting new projects, don't you think? We shall see how it goes.