George Washington


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Unschooling.com's Message Boards: What's on Your Mind?: George Washington
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By Chuck Korb on Thursday, January 15, 2004 - 04:17 pm

I am a long-term lurker on this board. I posted once, a few years ago, about a Science Fair from hell. The responses I received helped me to gather the courage to leave school and unschool my son (now 12), despite the less than enthusiastic support of my spouse and family. Mostly, however, I visit this site to read about other's adventures in unschooling.

My son's intelligence and personality make him a perfect unschooling candidate. He has had many "real world" achievements in his year plus of unschooling. If I look at the big picture, unschooling has been an undeniable success, but...
I always have that nagging doubt that I am doing him a disservice by keeping him out of school. I suppose much of my concern stems from family pressures - you know,the "but what is he missing?" crap. Anyway, the following story made me feel a whole lot better and I hope it can help someone else out there as well.

Last week, while we were driving in the car to a VERY COLD Patriots' game, a commercial came on the radio that mentioned George Washington. My son kidded about the commercial, and I asked him if he knew who Washington was, fully expecting to hear the 1st President, father of our country answer, yada,yada. (An aside: my qualms are quite evident thru my quizzing...gotta stop that). Anyway, I was flabbergasted when he told me that G.W. was the 7th or 8th President of the USA!!! Oh my God, what have I done to my child...he doesn't even know who George Washington is - a disaster - I thought, "they all were right, I've taken this child with an incredible mind and destroyed his life." I told him he was wrong, that GW was the 1st president, and he disagreed with me! "Nah Dad, some guy named Hanaford, or Hanson, or something like that was 1st president - Washington was later." I got angry and corrected him, but he just ignored me. I let it go, but decided to talk to my wife about more traditional homeschool options, or, gasp, school, when I got my thoughts together on the subject.

Anyway, we froze at the game and spent the next day thawing out. Timing is everthing in life and, the following morning I happened to notice a blurb in a magazine. The title of the article was, "George Washinton was the 1st President, Myth or Fact." Hmmm, I read with great interest that George Washington was NOT the first president of the United States. He was the 1st president under the Constitution of 1789, but in 1781 "Congress ratified the Articles of Confederation and elected John Hanson 'President of the United States in Congress assembled.'" In fact, there were seven presidents before Washington. I never knew that...

Gulp. I apologized to my son and told him he was correct about George Washington. He shrugged, confident and happy like all 12 year olds should be. He said he had read that years before and was surprised I didn't know it. I told my wife the story, and she didn't believe that GW wasn't the 1st President. A quick Google search convinced her otherwise. I have yet to relay this saga to my mother, the mega-doubter, but will relish the opportunity too do so.

Chuck


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