QUOTE=thekimballs;10234284]My argument "against" it (and I'm not really against it) is that it's the HARDEST way to homeschool well. Many, many parents seem to think that it's easy, and it's not. You have to be constantly aware of what holes are in the child's education and constantly gently pushing to fill them.
I think you also run into some serious problems with fact-banking, especially once the child is in the upper grades. It's easy to make sure that a first-grader is basically getting enough information, but when you rely on spontaneity and teachable moments for a sixth-grader there are going to be very few moments when the function of a gerund in a sentence, or the capitals of ALL the countries in South America, instead of just her favorite, is a natural topic.
I also worry about the responses that many unschooling parents have to the worries of others. They tend to fall in the area of "Well, she's never going to have to know the function of a gerund in a sentence" or "He's going to function just fine without being able to prove that if a number is odd, its square will also be odd." [I]Those parents are making choices about the eventual professional life of their child without the child's permission.[/I] As a professional editor, I make a decent living that absolutely requires that I understand the function of a gerund, and I didn't know I was going to do this as a kid. If you'd asked me at age 15, even 25, whether my paycheck was going to depend on gerunds, I would have laughed. But there it is--because I had a tough grammar course in high school and had to diagram several thousand sentences, I can stay at home with my kids and still contribute to the family income.
So I am very concerned when I see parents rejecting the idea of a necessary fact-bank or of acquiring knowledge that "seems" to have no relevance. Again, that is what makes unschooling so hard. You don't have the fact-bank available in a textbook; the child isn't obligated to master the knowledge. You have to keep the "holes" all in your head and find ways to make it a topic of interest, and that can be really tough.[/QUOTE]
The bolded part really struck me as odd. I see it as the complete opposite. If I were to homeschool, using a curriculum, or send my kids to private or public school, there would be many, many limitations on what they learn and to what extent they are given opportunities to master anything that interests them. (Believe me, I came upon many a frustrated student while teaching)
As an unschooler, I am able to help my kids grow the skills, talents, interests and desires they hold dear.
Here's a good example of why I disagree with what you said...My DH is in the computer field. He is completely self-taught, no degree, very little schooling beyond high school, and almost *none* of it is pertinent to his career. He pushed himself to learn everything he knows because *he loves the world of computers*. In fact, as a student, he will b e the first to tell you he sucked at math!
I think the only valid argument against unschooling is the person who admits they cannot get past their fears/concerns to let go and let their child learn. I definitely feel that is valid,a nd a parent should be honest with what they are comfortable with.