Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Virtual School, Unschooling vs Boarding School

Hi Everyone!

I hope that everyone has gotten off to a wonderful new year for 2008 and all those routines settled back into nice and comfy like. I can say that with the new year change has come our way. My 17yo dd is off and running at the Fire Academy. My 15yo dd is continuing her tenth grade studies via Florida Virtual School. And my 10yo ds (my baby!) is happily unschooling.
Why you ask is the youngest the only one unschooling? Well, by choice of course! The 15yo wanted to leave the option easily open for her to return to high school and her friends there. That required she continued her course work in a way that allows her to simply show them her transcript.

So today at the polls, one of the volunteers started a conversation with me about homeschooling. When I told him we actually unschool, he started asking more questions so I explained our situation reference our youngest and how he learns. It turns out that this volunteer is a teacher and he felt that we were doing our son a disservice as there are special schools for kids like him.
Now what I don't get, is if my son is doing as well as he is, and extremely advanced, and extremely happy with his unschooling life, why would I need to put him in a school to make him brighter? I could see pursuing something like this if he was unhappy, or really behind in his development, but that isn't the case. I sort of feel insulted that this teacher feels we would be incapable of keeping his life filled with learning.

Just yesterday, my youngest wanted to know all about the thyroid. So I pulled out my college A&P text and looked it up. We read it together and reviewed all the other questions that came out of this. He now has a very thorough understanding of the thyroid! This is how he learns. He is constantly exploring and researching all types of topics. With the elections so in the news, many conversations have been held all about how the system works. So does that mean my son won't know anything about our government because he heard it from dad and not a textbook? How absolutely silly!

Unschooling sounds odd to many but it really is a viable way to live and learn. Personally, a very happy and rewarding way to live and learn. My son would be fourth grade by the age division but he is way above that level so why would I slow him down by forcing an age level curriculum on him? And no, I won't be looking to stick him in some boarding school for the gifted either. Home is where he belongs.


jugglingpaynes said...

Am I the only one that hears "special schools" and thinks "padded cell?" :o)
You and Appleleaf are really starting to nudge me toward full blown unschooling. That and my extremely independent 5yo.

Peace and Laughter,

appleleaf said...

Great post. I really hate getting into conversations like that with people so bound up in the traditional education system.
Thanks for the thoughts,

The People History said...

I must admit I had never heard of unschooling before reading your post , and have just spent a little time doing research on the net , very interesting not sure if I would have chosen that route with my children but I suspect if I had chosen unschooling for my son he would have enjoyed learning more, he is now 21 and most of the time we spend together now could be considered as unschooling

thanks for the post as it nice to learn something new which makes an old gi? like me think outside of my normal realm of thinking