You can't shake hands with a clenched fist. - Indira Gandhi
Response to the Summer Unschool project has been simply amazing. We now have over 130 participants, mothers and fathers, unschoolers, homeschoolers, public and private schoolers, teachers, and even a day care, representing countries from as far away as Australia, France, Egypt and Morocco. And I get a few more entries every day. Wow, I am overwhelmed! And so giddy to be on this journey with so many of you.
However, it seems I have opened up a can of worms. Not that this surprises me. I have been known to do that before.
You see, a small sect of "radical unschoolers" (their word not mine) have taken offense to our little project. They do not like the name I chose and feel that I have "hijacked" the term unschooling. You can read the comments for yourself here if you wish. I have commented and emailed back and forth trying to establish an open line of communication. Like I said originally, I don't claim to have all of the answers. I am learning right along side my kiddos and you all.
And honestly, it is beginning to remind me a bit of my junior high days when one of the popular 7th grade girls decided they didn't like another less popular girl for one reason or another. Quite possibly it was because she was new to the school. Or because she wore glasses or shoes from the thrift store. And then you know what came next, right? Said popular girl would get all of her popular friends to dislike the new girl too.
I was that new girl over and over and over in every new town we moved to. It was hard being on the outs when I was 12, but now I recognize that popular girl for who she really is. She is scared to death mama who feels like she iscontrol (even if part of the unschooling thought is about letting go of control). That she has it all together. That she had something figured out. And now she is feeling threatened by the new kid who might have something to offer. A new way of thinking about the concept of unschooling.
The way I see it, the benefits are all positive. Maybe some of us choose to eventually homeschool. Maybe some of us learn the value in a tailored education and lobby the powers that be to make changes to the existing public education system. Maybe a public school teacher learns a few new tricks on how to follow her students' lead and how she can incorporate that into her classroom. Who knows where we are headed.
Being that political science was my second major, I have always loved a good, intelligent conversation. Especially over thoughts about educating our little people. I think unclenching your fists, stretching out your hand in peace and friendship is always the better choice.
So, I am making the intntional decision to take the some of their productive parts of their comments to heart. We should learn as much as we can about the concept of unschooling before we dive in head first. I have asked each of the dissenting unschoolers if they would write a guest post for this space or agree to be interviewed. And not one has welcomed the invitation. Go figure.
So instead, for the next several days,I will be interviewing some of my favorite unschooling mamas about how they define unschooling and why it is a good fit for their family and posting their answers here.
How does that sound?
Thank you dissenters for the little bit of conflict you have injected into this discussion. Good things are coming out of your comments as I remember that a grain of sand begins as an irritant to the oyster, but eventually becomes a pearl. I am learning and in turn, over 130 other people are too.
Up next, an interview with Molly of A Foothill Home Companion.