So I’m sitting over here trying my hardest to be as non-judgmental as possible – because we should support each other – and then my SIL tells me she’s “unschooling” her kids. Unschooling? Not homeschooling, but unschooling. She’s decided that at the ages of 10 and 8, her two oldest kids have learned enough basic reading and basic math to go through life without school. Her three younger kids she doesn’t plan to school at all. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME!?! Apparently there’s a school of thought (intended) that says that kids learn more by exploring the world and experiencing rather than being taught through a traditional approach. What my SIL failed to realize in her wise approach to parenthood is that this unschooling trend doesn’t advocate not teaching your kids the basics…it advocates teaching by using their natural curiosity and interests as a backdrop. So instead of preparing her children for a world where they’ll need to do basic things like read drive-thru menus, her children will be living as if they were born in the 1920’s and have to help maw and paw in the field and ain’t got no time for no fancy learnin’…
Maybe We Haven’t Been Critical Enough Of Our Fellow Moms…
There are so many parenting theories out there. So many books to read (if your mom didn’t unschool you, that is), and websites to click on that all tell us different things about raising our children. We literally live in a Burger King world of child rearing – doesn’t matter how asinine your idea is, have it your way! So we’ve got parents not schooling their kids, parents not vaccinating their kids, parents feeding their kids raw milk despite serious FDA, CDC, and food safety expert warnings that it can kill them. There are so many other examples, but I’m sure you have your own and at this point you totally get what I’m saying.
And here we are trying not to be judgmental. Each parent has a right to make the right decisions for their own kids, right? So if their child is acting like a hooligan in a restaurant, hitting patrons, throwing things and breaking things, we should hold our tongues because we don’t know what that child is going through. Or that parent. Or, maybe, just maybe, that parent should go ahead and scoop up little Damien and take him home for the night…because obviously eating out isn’t working.
But they don’t. They’ve got a ‘free range’ approach to parenting. Their child is learning through social interaction and experience rather than having their lil’ feelers hurt by mom or dad telling them to knock their shit off. And we’re supposed to support these parents.
I’m not talking about the parents with children who have legitimate disabilities. I’ve got enough friends with kids who have autism or various other spectrum disorders to know that sometimes things are gonna go a bit wild. I get that. But there has to be a point where we accept that not all parents deserve the same love and support, right?
I think we’ve reached a point where it’s safe to say that some parents choices aren’t choices, but rather systematic neglect. Laziness. Abuse. When you choose not to raise your children, or teach your children, or prepare your children for living in an adult world you are no longer parenting. You are neglecting that child and someone should tell you.
So while there are truly some children who can’t be vaccinated because of health issues, if that isn’t your child, vaccinate your kid!
There are some children who are unschooled and live amazing lives, but if you aren’t teaching them the basics as they go, you need to find someone else to teach your kid!
There are plenty of parents who believe in a more natural, holistic approach to feeding their children, and that’s amazing and wonderful, but if the FDA, CDC, and a multitude of doctors have all begged you to stop giving them a certain food item, stop feeding it to your kid!
There are so many parents who are free range raising their kids and doing a phenomenal job of balancing the line between letting their children make choices and letting their children become monsters, but for those who take this as an opportunity to sit around while their kids roam the world confused and unguided, you need to STOP!
There are parents who are trying their best and who genuinely want to do the best for their kids…and I support that. But if your best means your child is getting hurt, or is going to suffer great disadvantage in life, you need to do what is RIGHT for your kids, not your best.
What sucks is that there are a lot of people who are going to only glance at this and they will feel judged. And they will lash out, defending themselves instead of looking at the scope of what I’m saying. What I am saying is that if we don’t tell our friend or our family members that their choices should be reexamined, we are part of the neglect. Sorry, but I’m not sorry about this. When we see kids suffering, we SHOULD speak up. Forget about being non-judgmental, because those kids don’t have a choice in any of this and if their own parents aren’t advocating for them, SOMEONE should.
Monday 10th of October 2016
The point of unschooling is that the kids lead the way - if they decide to do a project on computers then they'll find ways to teach themselves coding (and reading, if that was required.) Unschooling relies on a child's inner curiousity to make learning "boring" subjects relevant. It's not about keeping the kids ignorant, but rather letting them take responsibility for their learning.
I have a child with hidden disabilities that you would probably label as wild, and myself as lazy. I've been the recipient of comments and judgy expressions.
We don't need more people judging us. Perhaps if you sat down with your relative and asked how the kids feel about this move you might get a better idea of what it's really like.