Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Uh, boss . . . I think I'm going to unwork today

Uh, boss . . . I think I'm going to unwork today

Just in time for 'un-back-to-school' this sarcastic and rambling article by an obviously disgruntled writer makes you wonder if she's none too pleased with her own education. She belittles unschooling and feigns concern for children who partake in this form of education for not being exposed to the likes of Shakespeare or F. Scott Fitzgerald in twelfth grade. She needn't worry because many life-long unschoolers whiz through Shakespeare and many other famous authors before they even hit their teen years.

I remember well my own 8 year old daughter shopping for books to read. She wouldn't settle for the water downed kiddie book versions of many of the best known classics and instead reached for the full text. I still have her 562 page paperback copy of Little Women she read at that age to remind me of what young minds are capable of if adults would just get out of their way so they can learn freely in an unfettered environment.

Our son on the other hand didn't bother to read until he was ten years old. He kept telling us he couldn't read but one day I saw him with a thick copy of Harry Potter. Within two weeks he finished the novel and was ready for the next one. Learning to play the piano and using the computer helped him learn to read without any help from his parents, although we did try to teach him phonics early on. Like most boys he simply wasn't developmentally ready to retain what he needed for reading skills so it was useless to continue to grill him with phonics. Meanwhile, he kept busy with hands-on activities where he excelled at robotics, jazz piano and agrarian self-sufficiency. He eventually started college at age 16.

Reading Shakespeare or Fitzgerald is no gauge for learning. Many times even a college degree is subject to interpretation. Just look around at all the pompous Ivy League graduates with no common sense. Heck, I've been out of high school for over 38 years, plus I have a college degree and I STILL haven't read 'The Great Gatsby'!

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