Criticism of Unschooling

Sandra Dodd's commentary unless otherwise noted

It's good to know what the critics say. It's not always a moment of joyful happy-dance, but it is useful.

The charge of "unparenting":

Amy Milstein's excellent and brief defense of the term "unschooling": What’s in a name?

Exploring Unschooling
"I will sound one warning - when I started to explore unschooling, I ended up on some Yahoo groups out of curiosity -and found that there are families that subscribe to this philosophy in a bit of a different manner - instead of unschooling they do more of what I would call unparenting - allowing children to dictate their diet, bedtimes, television and movie viewing, etc."
"DICTATE"? It's just not a word I think, let alone use. My children don't "dictate." They choose. They think. They decide. —Sandra

The page linked and quoted below builds up quite a while before getting to the dire and misguided point, but they quoted Pam Sorooshian in there, and other people.

Early Academics and Unschooling

Quotes from it in case you don't want to go there (I would not blame you a bit):
[W]e would like to make a statement, for the record, regarding the false but persistent notion that we advocate some form of unschooling before age ten. From the way some people talk, you could get the impression that we believe children should be left to wander about aimlessly, foraging in the forests for food, suffering from a dearth of discipline, until their tenth birthday.
* * * *
But in neither the training nor the teaching do we advocate leaving the child alone to explore his own interests. Children are not little adults.

Train on Time

On the basis of Scripture, we thoroughly reject the notion of unschooling — in principle and in practice — especially before age ten. The Scripture doctrines of original sin and total depravity should forever end the discussion.

Two new sins I learned from that site: the Sin of Hasty Conclusions, and "intellectual misbehavior"

Another quote:

The first half of this verse tells us that a child must be disciplined with the rod and reproved for his misbehavior. Misbehavior may be manifested in a multitude of ways, including intellectual misbehavior.
So whether or not they unschool in their own families, they're assuring all readers that unschooling involves leaving children alone, one way or another. I don't see anything in their quotes and examples that says "leave them alone" at all, but they seem to saying to be with them, explore with them, let them do real things.

Praise and positivity (mostly)