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-=-I have a question. My son's friend told him about an experiment

using bleach and kerosene. I told him it was too dangerous.

-=-Is this unschooling?-=-

Is telling him it's too dangerous unschooling?
It's parenting.
Is it the best parenting you could do?
I don't think so.

Neither do I think buying him some kerosene and handing him the bleach would
be good parenting.

<< Thanks for the advice. My son is not interested enough right now to

do the research on his own. >>

I don't think that's a good solution either.

If it were me, I'd ask the boy who gave him the advice what happens. If it's
a dangerous explosion or toxic gas, or if the answer is "I don't know" I
would tell him not to ever tell anyone else to mix those chemicals again, ever.
If he seemed receptive, I'd leave it at that. If he were defiant, I'd talk to
his mom.

But as to finding out what happens, I bet a quick google search would turn up
some interesting information, which you could share with your son, and all
would be happy and positive.

Making him look it up is punitive and doesn't teach joy in research.
Telling him "It's too dangerous" doesn't teach him anything except "maybe
mom's right, maybe mom's wrong." You don't want him mixing the chemicals later
to see, do you?

"Because I told you so" wouldn't be on my top-200 messages for unschooling

Now that google makes research so easy, I feel about this the same way I feel
about making a kid look a word up instead of just telling him how to spell
it, or telling him "it's in the encyclopedia" if he asks something about history
or geography.

It's here,
but it's short [quote to the end]:

Never tell a child "Go look it up." Parents, teachers, friends and
countrymen, how would you like it?

When a child wants to know why flowers have a scent, they want someone to say
"To attract bees" not "GO LOOK IT UP."

"Go look it up" tends to mean "I don't know" or "I know but I'm not going to
tell you." What's the advantage of that?

Either a child will opt NOT to look it up (and the trust in the parent will
erode a little) or he will, under duress, perform this task which might be
difficult for him, or might take so long that he doesn't care anymore (and the
trust in the parent will erode a little).

I'm NOT saying to discourage kids from looking things up. I never said not to
show kids how to look things up. I mean don't treat it like something parents
won't do, parents don't have to do, but that kids do, or that kids have to
do, because they are powerless kids.

Encyclopedias should be alluring, not forbidding. Dictionaries should be a
playland, not a dark, scary place you dart into for one thing and slam shut
behind you. If you believe they ARE fun, you should look things up in front of
your children, often, and with enthusiasm. That will teach them how to use
reference materials, and will make them want to do so, because they will see it as
something useful and enjoyable that adults do. If you believe dictionaries and
encyclopedias ARE dark, scary and forbidding, why on EARTH would you send your
children there?