I was channel surfing this evening and came across a story on Nightline about something called “unschooling,” a theory of “education” espoused by a woman named Dayna Martin.
As nearly as I could tell, her approach consists of doing nothing — nothing! — about educating her kids. She gets away with it because somehow it gets classified as home schooling. But she is not teaching her kids anything. She thinks learning is driven by one’s desire and that her kids will learn for themselves whatever it is they want to know. How will they get into college? Maybe not all kids need to go to college. What will they do for jobs when they grow up? Shrug. What if they need to know algebra? Not everyone needs to know algebra. (That was the one thing she said that I could half way agree with.)
The kids have no rules. They go to bed whenever they want and get up whenever they want. The 11-year-old son stays up till 1 or 2 a.m. Mom thinks it’s great because it means he’s had 3 or 4 hours to himself to do whatever he wants. There are no family meals. The kids eat whatever they want, whenever they want. The only “rule” is it has to be something that’s in the house. (Well, duh!)
Martin has several “broadcasts” posted on YouTube that I’m not going to waste your time with. (I didn’t waste my time watching them, either.) But they’ll come up if you search for her name and “unschooling.” I noticed comments were not being allowed on them. I’ve never seen that done on YouTube. Just a wild guess, but I’ll bet the flaming and abuse got too intense for her.
Can you say “crackpot”? I really feel sorry for her kids and for the others whose parents she’s managed to influence. They are going to be totally unprepared for life in the real world. And if her kids decide they’d rather stay home with her than ever move out, she’ll have earned it.