Unschooling Badly

...which is also "not unschooling"

Sandra Dodd, in response to people complaining about a discussion:

Here's part of the deal about unschooling. People need to DO IT. They cannot fart around for a few years; not legally, not practically, not morally. IF a family takes a child out of school and doesn't really know what they're doing well enough to DO IT really well, and to defend it if questioned, it's better for them to use a curriculum or leave the kids in school. Although some people seem to think unschooling is doing nothing, doing nothing is neglect, and that's illegal everywhere that school is compulsory.

So if someone doesn't want to unschool, I never see or hear of them. I don't care; it's not my problem, it's not my deal whatsoever on this earth.

But if someone DOES want to unschool, and they come where I am, and they're botching it up, I'll say so, because they came where I was involved in a discussion of what helps and what doesn't help.

People can't casually deschool, stretch, fart, snooze, yawn, deschool another year, scratch, burp and then look around and notice that their child has been out of school for two years and they have no earthly idea how to provide a rich, busy unschooling environment that's so impressive that social workers say "Thanks for letting me visit, this is very cool; if I ever have kids I'm going to do this."

If a family does not want to create an environment that is better for their child than school is, then I'm just as happy that they go away angry and vow never to unschool, because they will be making unschooling look terrible if they use the term and live cluelessly or harmfully.


But most of the people who come to unschooling discussions honestly do want to do it and do it mindfully and thoroughly, and I do enjoy helping them. Their successes outweigh the whiney rants thrown by people who only want to do it if they don't have to be inconvenienced, and if they don't have to change.

Sandra Dodd

The original writing, on Facebook, February 2012, in one of those roiling discussions with 181 comments. This link should go right to my writing, if you're on a computer, but I think that from a phone it might go to the top post, so you might not want to do that from a phone.

Do it!

Help for beginners


How to Screw it Up —fun list of things NOT to do