ABC News, "Unschooling: No Tests, Books or Classes" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/...ry?id=10410867

First, the headline says no books, which is completely wrong.

Second, I'd like to hear what others think. Does this article fairly represent unschoolers?

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#2 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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Seemed definitely negative to me.

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#3 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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I think the article is trying to be as dramatic as possible.

No books? That doesn't even make sense, it sounds like the kids have never learned to read.

They said the boy had never been exposed to many sports because he's not forced to take PE. I'm not even sure what to say about that.

This quote...
Quote:
Shaun's sister, 15-year-old Kimi, doesn't even know what grade she'd have been in if she had remained in school, and doesn't feel prepared for college.

"I haven't done the traditional look at a textbook and learn about such-and-such," she said. "If I wanted to go to college, then I would pick up a textbook and learn."
They totally took that out of context! She didn't say she wasn't prepared for college, she said if she decided she wanted to go then she'd get text books and learn what she needed to know to succeed. It would make sense for the article to ponder whether that is a reasonable thing to do, or even possible...but I'm pretty sure she didn't say she was unprepared for college meaning she just hadn't learned anything ever like the article implies.

I'm interested to see what other people think of this article!

The comments actually have some intelligent notes in them, just from skimming.

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#4 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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I dont feel that there was enough research done on the this piece by GMA. Different styles of unschooling, background and theory should have been presented and were not.

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#5 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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I think it's a pretty terrible piece designed to shock. No books is a ridiculous comment. I think they meant to say no textbooks. They made the parents sound very flaky and shared comments about kind of goofy details. It would have been nice if they talked to the parents about why they chose to unschool and what the philosophy is, rather than who eats what for breakfast. Who cares? You're clearly supposed to think that this is an outrageous choice, what with kids eating Pop Tarts, watching TV and playing video games all day and parents who don't "discipline."

I bet the parents they interviewed will not be happy with the piece.

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#6 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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This has been raging over on Weight Watchers Online. LOL I watched the piece online, and I think this - they purposely put a sensationalist spin on this, otherwise they wouldn't get as many people to stay tuned and watch as they obviously did. My 16 y.o. watched it with me, and thinks that the reporters treated it as if "it was unnatural" to be educated outside the system. I think it would've been nice if they'd spent the time focused on one family instead of snips of both, since they managed to make both families seem like kooks, instead of really giving us a glimpse into what makes it work.

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#7 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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I read the article but didn't view the video.

I've reconsidered my opinion. However, I don't have time to type it now, so I'll just delete what I said before.

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#8 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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ntm, why is she so aggressive towards that poor teenager in the video? She was totally on the offensive towards him. I made the mistake of reading the comments, too.

Why is it so difficult for people to think outside of the box?
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#9 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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What a disgusting piece that was. She had a preconceived idea and went about trying to prove it. And I have to wonder how she went about finding the families she found - there's so much more going on among most of the unschoolers I've known both online and in person, and there are so much more articulate ways of describing how unschooling can work. I hope it doesn't create such an uproar that it ends up causing tighter restrictions. I've long felt that unschoolers should use a lot more restraint and common sense articulation about what they say publicly - it can end up sounding so different than what it is.

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#10 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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Lame.

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#11 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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The video was exactly what I expected from a short piece on GMA.

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#12 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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It's clearly a biased piece. I made the mistake of reading some of the comments. You've got to wonder about the people shouting in their comments to get the government involved in this - and I quote - "child abuse".

Yes, I'm abusing my kids by choosing to learn right along with them and taking responsibility for their education myself. Come get me.

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#13 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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I think it was sensationalized and biased but likely not entirely inaccurate at the core. I wasn't impressed with the kids' or the parents' ability to express themselves or get the idea of unschooling across to an audience that likely has little knowledge of or affinity for the idea.

I am always baffled by people who choose to do this. I am sure they probably thought they would be able to portray homeschooling/unschooling in a positive light. I think in general however these sorts of things do more harm than good.

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#14 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 07:28 PM
 
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I just watched the video and it made me very angry. I thought it was an unfair representation of unschooling and portrayed a clear bias from the start. I wasn't very impressed with the parents interviewed, but I wonder how much was taken out of context. I've never given my son a choice about brushing his teeth, nor have I presented it as a rule - it is just something he learned by watching us and having our help with it over many years until he did it himself. I think modeling is really important and kids learn so much from it, and while I unschool I believe some direction is extremely beneficial at times - I know unschooling families vary across the board on this issue but my point is that the story did not represent any kind of variety. I think parents unfamiliar with unschooling would draw a lot of incorrect assumptions viewing this piece. Ugh, it made me really angry.

Oh, and all the clips showed the kids lounging and watching tv all of the time - that is so far from the daily life of most unschoolers!
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#15 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I wasn't impressed with the kids' or the parents' ability to express themselves or get the idea of unschooling across to an audience that likely has little knowledge of or affinity for the idea.

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#16 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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Re: the kids and parents (in)ability to express themselves -

I have to wonder if perhaps some of what we were seeing is the discomfort with lights and cameras, being interviewed. I am perfectly capable of holding rational sounding conversation, but lose track of what I'm saying if someone approaches me with a pointed question. You have the answers, it just takes a little bit to marshal them all into coherent proper form, so you don't sound like a rambling idiot. I can only imagine how much worse I'd be if someone pointed a camera and lights at me, and then sat there asking questions in her biased tone.

Not saying this was indeed the case, just something that struck me.

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#17 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I think it was sensationalized and biased but likely not entirely inaccurate at the core. I wasn't impressed with the kids' or the parents' ability to express themselves or get the idea of unschooling across to an audience that likely has little knowledge of or affinity for the idea.

I am always baffled by people who choose to do this. I am sure they probably thought they would be able to portray homeschooling/unschooling in a positive light. I think in general however these sorts of things do more harm than good.
I agree. Unschooling is a big idea-- its more than GMA could possibly really explain in a normal piece, even if they wanted to. I think that the farther you get into unschooling, the more normal it feels (because it is such a wonderful, healthy way to live and learn) but it requires a paradigm shift to understand, coming from a mainstream perspective.
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#18 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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Most children will always choose television over reading every time, but Yablonski said that "the key there is that you've got to trust your kids to ... find their own interests."
Really? "most children will always" seriously? A statement like that cannot even be backed up. It is drivel that shows a serious bias.

I watched the video earlier and just now read the article. One thing that really jumped out at me was the way the reporter treated the children. She didn't (at least as it was edited) give them a chance to really answer any of her questions thoroughly. Her incredulous dismissal of their lives was obvious and odious.

As to the family not being prepared, they were probably interviewed and filmed for hours. But the family had no control of how all that footage was edited.

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#19 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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several of my friends on fb put this video on as their status and then described how effed up the future of america is if people continue to "unschool".


I keep politely mentioning that while i don't unschool i think it's great that we have the free choice to do so and it's not really anyone else's business to judge how others "school" their children (except in cases of abuse obviously).

I don't want to unschool but still these comments annoy me!

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#20 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FeingoldMomma View Post
Re: the kids and parents (in)ability to express themselves -

I have to wonder if perhaps some of what we were seeing is the discomfort with lights and cameras, being interviewed. I am perfectly capable of holding rational sounding conversation, but lose track of what I'm saying if someone approaches me with a pointed question. You have the answers, it just takes a little bit to marshal them all into coherent proper form, so you don't sound like a rambling idiot. I can only imagine how much worse I'd be if someone pointed a camera and lights at me, and then sat there asking questions in her biased tone.

Not saying this was indeed the case, just something that struck me.
Perhaps.
However the former PR person in me says that if you are going on national TV to "sell" a movement you had better have your act together. They were definitely unrehearsed. Unfortunately they also came across as unprepared at best or incoherent/inarticulate/flaky at worst.

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#21 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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No comment. However you are more then welcome to come look at our books LOL

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#22 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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As to the family not being prepared, they were probably interviewed and filmed for hours. But the family had no control of how all that footage was edited.
That same thing occurred to me after my initial reaction. I really don't think some of them are among the most articulate unschoolers around - and I don't think they should have accepted the invitation to represent unschooling - but the brief shots shown were probably picked out to best represent the spin ABC intended to put on it. - Lillian
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#23 of 100 Old 04-19-2010, 11:46 PM
 
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wow, just wow, wow, wow... I found that so incredibly offensive... and to think I could've just continued about my happy day, but no, foolish me, I had to watch that, and I'm not sure if I'm more shocked at those two people (and that guy having to get his word in there for his kids not to get any ideas... what kind of sicko control freak is that obnoxious *$**##!!!) or my not so kind calm reaction, argh!

Oh, someone mentioned about the teeth brushing here... yeah, something seemed weird about that to me, I don't know if they were just going out of their way to obnoxiously make a point (which I am absolutely not above myself!) or that's really how it is, but I found it odd, and the mom checking on how much money the little kid had... I don't know, it was like they considered their children separate entities somehow rather than a part of the family, maybe? I don't know, it was just very peculiar to me all together.

And god forbid children should ever be allowed to play hooky.... gotta keep 'em busy, busy, busy with pointless busy work all day long! And, yes, I have not a single doubt in my mind that psycho woman's children would rather watch television than read a book (what is the deal with people's obsession with reading anyways? have they even read any of those recent books on the children's reading lists? not exactly brilliant -just saying)... it's people like her that give children a bad name. Evil, evil, evil.
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#24 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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And another thing (can't believe I'm still steaming about this, haha!), as if asking the girl if she feels prepared for college means anything... does any sophomore in HS feel prepared for college? This was actually a BIG motivator for me to unschool my own children so they would be prepared for the real world and college unlike myself and my other top of the class, gifted and talented, straight A, honor roll, high IQ, etc. peers that found themselves experiencing a serious wake up call when we got to college and realized how completely unprepared we all were. Ugh! Clearly these people are not spending any time checking out what's happening with freshmen and sophomores in college (in addition to not reading popular children's literature).

'kay, I think I'm done and can move on... one can only hope! I am feeling a need to form my own country though....
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#25 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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I thought it was funny when they said they disagreed with it because it felt like "playing hooky." They're not supposed to be anywhere, so they're not playing hooky.

We're always out of our house. We barely have time to do any sit-down learning. My kids definitely don't think that they're the center of the universe. Our rules are rules for the family in order to help our home-life flow. We really avoid arbitrary rules. Brushing teeth is not arbitrary and the kids know exactly why they have to brush.

It's funny that they talk about school exposing you to things that you may like. The truth is that school is sooo limiting. Would you like to play football or volleyball? Paint or draw? And if you want to do those things, you have to do them AFTER school...after homework, after dinner, etc. The interviewer doesn't seem to get how ironic her statement was. She was so condescending to the kids in the interview. I think the kids realized that there was no "right" answer and it made them reluctant to answer.

These "doubters" can't imagine that you could pick up a textbook and just read and learn what's in it. They've probably never had time to actually get interested in something and then learn it. My kids did chose tv or computer over other stuff for awhile, but then got bored (as people tend to do) and have been much more interested in creating things.

But, what can you expect from an ABC segment, really. It's just a reminder that people don't get it. I'm surrounded by so many home and unschoolers that I completely forget that people don't get this

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#26 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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I won't even watch this because I am so jaded as to mainstream media and what passes for "news" in our society. It is sensationalist, pure and simple. This has happened many times. Didn't Oprah interview a lovely unschooling family years ago and totally duped them into thinking they were truly interested in presenting their perspective and then turns out they just made them look like idiots, edited the heck out of everything, etc.

Mainstream society is threatened by any questioning of what it assumes to be "the Norm". People, IMHO, don't want to be challenged to think differently. And media contributes to this greatly.

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But, what can you expect from an ABC segment...I'm surrounded by so many home and unschoolers that I completely forget that people don't get this
This is exactly how I feel. And I like it that way.

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#27 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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So they brought the parents back and had them respond to some of the comments. Still not great, but a slight improvement over their first segment: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/...ry?id=10422823

And here's a blog written by an unschooling mom who's a friend of theirs and started her blog as a result of the GMA segment: http://radicalunschooling.blogspot.c...ica-piece.html

This whole GMA was such a fracas. Ugh.

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#28 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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So they brought the parents back and had them respond to some of the comments. Still not great, but a slight improvement over their first segment: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/...ry?id=10422823

And here's a blog written by an unschooling mom who's a friend of theirs and started her blog as a result of the GMA segment: http://radicalunschooling.blogspot.c...ica-piece.html

This whole GMA was such a fracas. Ugh.

I just started to watch the clip...and right away, I'm struck with this statement by "Juju" (not exact quote but close enough): Our family takes it one step furter, extending the unschooling philosophy into parenting???

CLEARLY, they do.not.get.it and re-invited the family for further ridicule...

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#29 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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I don't think it was awful. Maybe I have watched too many "Wife Swaps" and was expecting worse, lol.

I thought the parents with the teens did an adequate job. Really, I think they could have discussed love of learning more and showcased how USing led them to be able to delve further into interest - but they probably are not in control of what gets aired.

I think the female reporter was very hard on the teens - borderline disrespectful. As usual, I think there is a double standard at play- do they ever go up to schooled teens and ask them if they feel they missed out by being in school? The sort "we are trying to prove you are cracked in the head" questionning would not have happenned with typically schooled teens.

As the mother of a 14 yr old, though, I got to wonder what the parents were thinking. I would not ask my children to explain or defend our lifestyle choice - and I wonder why they did so? Maybe they felt the need to be the poster children for USing? Even if the kids were onboard with being poster children, they should have been better prepared and knew what they were going to say and point out going in.

I am less happy with the family of the younger kids - not brushing teeth? doughnuts for breakfast? If these are one-offs then they should not have done them in fornt of the camera as they can be and were totally misconstrued. Alternately they should have pointed out the yes, little Donnie does eat a doughnut if he wants, but we usually do not have donoughts in the house, and 4/5 of the time he eats oatmeal or bacon and eggs for breakfast.

The teeth thing is just baffling. There is no way I would do that on TV (or IRL) What were they thinking?
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#30 of 100 Old 04-20-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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Our family takes it one step furter, extending the unschooling philosophy into parenting???

CLEARLY, they do.not.get.it
I'm confused. I hear RUers describe it exactly this way. Why is it wrong for GMA to describe it that way?
I thought the discussion was pretty fair. I don't know that unschooling is suited for a sound bite kind of discussion so I don't know that it makes it much better but I thought it was fair.

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