Unschooling Documentary - Mothering Forums
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Unschooling > Unschooling Documentary
annakiss's Avatar annakiss 02:10 PM 09-15-2010
Check it out. http://vimeo.com/14975153
What do you think?

SagMom's Avatar SagMom 03:58 PM 09-15-2010
I like that the professor made the reference to Rousseau--pointing out that unschooling is not a new idea. His later comments make me think that he might not really know any unschoolers, (his comments about worrying about the families hsing in isolation and without any guidance, specifically.) He also made a comment that led me to believe that he'd rather reform schools so that more kids would attend, rather than being okay with kids not attending. Still, his comments (or the editing!) were overall positive.

I would have liked to see the issue of college addressed by someone with kids who were older. The mother who spoke to that was right-on, but it would have been more credible from someone who had btdt (I think her kids were 7 and 9 or something?)

But, for a short intro to the idea homeschooling, I thought it was good.
hotmamacita's Avatar hotmamacita 07:28 PM 09-15-2010
subbing to view later.
annakiss's Avatar annakiss 08:11 PM 09-15-2010
That mom was me. I unschooled, but got a diploma through Clonlara.
SagMom's Avatar SagMom 10:58 PM 09-15-2010
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
That mom was me. I unschooled, but got a diploma through Clonlara.
Ha! Well, I'll amend that then and say that they should have included that the MOM herself had unschooled (or was that included and I missed it?)
greenthumb3's Avatar greenthumb3 03:50 AM 09-16-2010
Neat-o! I am just happy to see something like this video out there.

Anna Kiss, way cool to "see" you and your boys!!
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WCM's Avatar WCM 12:31 PM 09-16-2010
LOVED it! Thanks!

I don't think the professor was being ignorant, I think he was speaking about immersion in our culture (whatever that may be for each) as being an important part of unschooling/homeschooling, and that living in isolation without any chance to be exposed to our culture would be limiting. That was my take anyway.
annakiss's Avatar annakiss 03:12 PM 09-16-2010
I mentioned in my interview that I read The Teenage Liberation Handbook when I was 15 and that it fundamentally changed my life, but I think the part saying I dropped out to unschool was left out. Not sure if it was pertinent.

My sister made this film and she has hopes to seek funding to turn it into a full-length feature.

The professor was there for the other side of the argument, essentially, so he was sort of allowing for unschooling, in a way, but interjecting his own ideas. He was there to be an "expert."
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 05:04 PM 09-16-2010
That was great, your sister did a nice job and so did you and the other interviewees. Cute haircut too!
Nani's Avatar Nani 06:44 PM 09-16-2010
I love your sentence about " giving them the world instead of breaking it down into worksheets..."
midnightwriter's Avatar midnightwriter 07:51 PM 09-16-2010
I love the animation of the chair falling and the kid flying up.

I found the sound too low. In any case I couldn't hear much with the kids around me. I will need to use headphones, or watch it at night. From what I got, I really liked it. One not really relevant part that bugged me a bit was that all interviewed were shot from the same angle--this kind of stood out for me and felt awkward, but probably because I couldn't hear everything they were saying

I think that the fact that the professor wasn't 100% supportive of unschooling (I gather from the comments above) makes the film more dynamic. Everything that he was saying seemed to have been nicely countered by the unschoolers featured.

What a great project for a film workshop!
amyjeans's Avatar amyjeans 09:00 PM 09-16-2010
Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 12:41 AM 09-18-2010
That.....was simply fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. Anna - you were awesome. Loved it, loved it.
rumi's Avatar rumi 01:29 AM 09-20-2010
Glad that you are doing this and hats off to your sister. Alas, I could not view it - maybe due to poor connection. I tried to let it fully load before pressing play but that was not working either - it still kept stopping. i will try again. but i thought i would let you know in case something could be done.
Theoretica's Avatar Theoretica 02:37 AM 09-20-2010
Subbing to watch later, thanks for sharing!
purslaine's Avatar purslaine 11:52 AM 09-20-2010
I thought it was good!

I am not sure I agree with the father interviewed that it is my job to place resources related to interests, at least not to the degree he seemed to take it.

Ex - he said his daughter was interested in vampires, so it is his job to find vampire related stuff (even grammar) and place it in her way. I think a little too much of this can be a turn-off. If my DD were interested in vampires, I would not try to turn it into a grammar lesson. I would go so far as to say trying to introduce grammar to Twilight (unless the child specifically asked) is not USing - or at least it was not an USing moment, lol.

I thought the interview was blessedly without interviewers asking children trick questions - and I loved that!
annakiss's Avatar annakiss 02:09 PM 09-20-2010
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I am not sure I agree with the father interviewed that it is my job to place resources related to interests, at least not to the degree he seemed to take it.

Ex - he said his daughter was interested in vampires, so it is his job to find vampire related stuff (even grammar) and place it in her way. I think a little too much of this can be a turn-off. If my DD were interested in vampires, I would not try to turn it into a grammar lesson. I would go so far as to say trying to introduce grammar to Twilight (unless the child specifically asked) is not USing - or at least it was not an USing moment, lol.
I thought that too, but I think it may have been more a method to explain it and the "academic" ways in which children learn and we help them find materials than really him going out of his way to teach grammar. I took the grammar thing in particular to be a result of lots of reading rather than trying to trick her or force her into doing a grammar workbook. Perhaps she writes her own vampire stories and they talk about word use. Or maybe they discuss Stephanie Meyer's terrible writing as a good example of what not to do. lol

I think that a lot of unschooling families do what he describes or maybe it was just semantics. Maybe he intended it for an outside audience. I do in fact find other resources about the things my kids are interested in that do have to do with history and culture and all manner of other academic subjects. The difference, perhaps, is that it's all about delving further into their interests and they're free to take it or leave it.
mary3mama's Avatar mary3mama 02:36 PM 09-20-2010

bass chick's Avatar bass chick 07:13 PM 09-20-2010
Great video! It is encouraging and empowering!
I am starting my first "official" year of unschooling with a school board and am having a hard time filtering out people's comments and my own expectations about what my 6 year old son *should* be doing.
I think I will have to watch this video every day this year!!
It is a good reminder.
ankh's Avatar ankh 02:59 PM 09-25-2010
Loved it
rumi's Avatar rumi 01:47 AM 09-29-2010
Saw it at last. It is fantastic to have something like this available. Just the other day when someone emailed me with an unschooling-101 question I sent her this link and she saw it and thanked me. So thank YOU and thank your sister for making this. Now whenever I read your posts I can see your face and hear your voice saying the stuff, and that is just too much fun!

Since you mention that she is planning to work more on it, I would like to offer some suggestions.

1. The professor is a nice man and it is helpful that he mentioned learning through play etc. His concerns about unschooling may stem from not knowing unschoolers - but there may be unschoolers who would confirm his fears as well. So I would not necessarily be out to refute his arguments, but I would want to see different perspectives presented on some issues (while acknowledging that the concerns are valid).

2. For example math - right now the film seems to say that math poses a problem and "many people unschool everything but math" (or something like that). It would be nice to talk to people who dont share this view of math (sometimes inspried by fear) and who can speak to the joy of learning math in non-curricular ways. (as opposed to the ones who don't school math because "who needs math," etc, a view that one also encounters in unschoolers)

3. It would be nice to see people of color.

4. The connection btw unschooling and breastfeeding is hinted at but I think that it can come out in a more articulate way (not to say that one requires the other, but just explaining the common threads).

5. Perhaps one could allow for different views on the TV issue - not making a big issue or debate, but right now only one example is there.

Incidentally I meet the above criteria, so your sister is welcome to interview me ;-)

one suggestion from the film-making angle - the wonderful scene of the kids in the puddle ends abruptly and the next moment talks about the law, almost like one is worried about what will they think of such antics ...

maybe a little fade out at least? or other transition?
kitty waltz's Avatar kitty waltz 10:26 PM 10-08-2010
Loved it. Thanks for sharing!!
LauraN's Avatar LauraN 09:10 AM 10-09-2010
Great documentary. As I was watching, I was thinking in terms of showing it to my parents (who support what we do, but ask a lot of questions and don't really "get" it) and I'm not sure that it would add much to their understanding. I hope that if your sister gets funding, she will be able to delve a little deeper and really explore how unschooled children learn, what sorts of things they do. In other words, the philosophy is clearly laid out in the documentary, but the specifics are missing. Even the fact that it looks different in each family is an important topic to explore.

I would have loved to hear more about your experience, a BTDT view, for example.

Also, I think the professor brought up a lot of common objections/concerns about unschooling, and they might have been better answered with stronger rebuttals. I think people who don't "get" unschooling have a difficult time accepting that children might actually be interested in delving deeply into a subject. So to have a good strong example of just that --perhaps hearing more about the vampires and what about them draws the girl in so much and where that interest has taken her--would make a stronger argument against the professor's comment that school is necessary to teach kids how to use books and computers to find information.

Also, one perhaps controversial comment--I would have preferred to avoid the comment about feeling sad for people who send their kids to school. In fact, that comment is what's stopping me from sending the link to my parents. Those kinds of comments are polarizing and put viewers on the defensive who might otherwise at least be open to learning from the documentary. I think unschooling already stretches people's closely held beliefs, and expressing pity for them is just a bit too much, IMHO.

But with all that said, I think the documentary was well made and does lay out the philosophy more clearly than I've seen in the media lately.

Thanks for sharing!
mumofboyz's Avatar mumofboyz 11:49 AM 10-17-2010
Thank you for posting this. I am not an Unschooler but because of another post I saw in a different room, I became curious. This helped answer some of my questions.
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee 04:55 PM 10-29-2010
This video expresses MY idea of unschooling almost to a T. I really enjoyed it. However, it seems in discussions and such that I am not an "unschooler" so I have stopped using the term.

I loved that it showed/discussed some variety in the philosophy. Maybe could have explorered Radcal Unschooling more, but I think it presented unschooling in a very good light and made it clear that it is as "credible" as any other form of schooling/education.

She did a great job.
bonjourmama's Avatar bonjourmama 08:55 PM 03-28-2011

This was awesome! Cool project to be apart of, I imagine. 

mama_ness's Avatar mama_ness 01:25 PM 03-29-2011

very very cool!


thanks for sharing!  

starling&diesel's Avatar starling&diesel 02:29 PM 03-29-2011

Love it!  Immediately forwarded it to a bunch of folks. 



ETA:  The Teenage Liberation Handbook changed my life too!  I still have my original copy nineteen years later.  It survives my ruthless book cull every time.

vegetalien's Avatar vegetalien 07:16 AM 03-31-2011

I think this documentary is great and has a lot of potential. But I do have one criticism. The other mother that is interviewed is way too "radical unschooling" it will turn many ppl off the idea and perpetuate the idea that unschooling parents let their kids eat as much candy as they want, go to bed whenever they want, and never set down any limits or rules. Maybe the docuementary was meant to be about Radical unschooling but what that woman described is NOT "unschooling" in my books. I hate to say it but she fits the stereotype too well (breastfeed as long as the child wants, etc) - now of course I have nothing against that I think that's great but many mainstreamers will listen to that and think "oh unschooling is one of those crunchy parenting things that 'those' type of mothers do" (hope you understand what I'm trying to say) - she was just a bit too much. If this doc is meant to educate ppl about the idea of life-learning, child-led learning and 'convince' ppl that it's an option that many different families can consider, I would caution against going to the extreme with radical unschooling.


That's my two cents!

freestylemama's Avatar freestylemama 11:20 AM 04-01-2011

I watched the video and thought it was interesting.  As a non-unschooler who is interested in unschooling and the philosophies behind it, I would offer the following critiques if this is turned into a full feature video:


- do not mention feeling sorry for children at school.  This is a huge turn-off and also very assumptive given the diversity of schools.

-find more diverse families

-don't get stuck on semantics

-show the kids dressed and not just in pajamas (the fact that all of the kids were shown in expensive Hanna Andersson pajamas makes it seem like unschooling is only for privileged people)

-interview some adults who were unschooled as children (not just teens) and talk about what they're doing with their lives

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