is unschooling illegal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've mentioned unschooling to a number of people, explained the philosophy and why people are doing it and they all say that it sounds like child abuse, and must be illegal. Point blank, is it?
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#2 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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where? I live in BC Canada and we are enrolled with an idependent school that receives funding throught the Ministry of Education that is completely unschooling friendly and strongly encourages "child led learning" check it out if your interested self design so definitely legal here! I even get $ per kid per year and got to buy things like model rockets and meccano because we don't really use "cirricullum" I am not sure about in the states tho...

Jen Wife to Jason and Mom to Cassidy 10y Malcolm8y & Lucas 5y
living in Canada and Costa Rica and slowly exploring the world
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#3 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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I've mentioned unschooling to a number of people, explained the philosophy and why people are doing it and they all say that it sounds like child abuse, and must be illegal. Point blank, is it?
Ok, so I've taken a deep breath, and I'm assuming you don't mean to be offensive.

I can't speak to the laws everywhere, but we follow all the homeschooling laws of our state.

I can't help but think that if your description of unschooling sounds like child abuse, either you don't understand what unschooling is, or they're misunderstanding you.

ZM
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#4 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:16 AM
 
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hmmm, interesting take.
I live in CA, and I am registering as a private school. I have a mult. sub. credential, so even if our laws change (and they may, thanks to some dumba$$), I should be fine.
So, not illegal here...

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#5 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Ok, so I've taken a deep breath, and I'm assuming you don't mean to be offensive.

I can't speak to the laws everywhere, but we follow all the homeschooling laws of our state.

I can't help but think that if your description of unschooling sounds like child abuse, either you don't understand what unschooling is, or they're misunderstanding you.

ZM
Totally. I think unschooling is about as involved as one can get in a child's education (particularly the younger years).

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#6 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:25 AM
 
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I've mentioned unschooling to a number of people, explained the philosophy and why people are doing it and they all say that it sounds like child abuse, and must be illegal. Point blank, is it?
Good grief, no!

But they don't understand what it is, or they wouldn't feel that way. I'll try to skip the righteous indignation on this, because I know their reaction is based on an obvious lack of knowledge.

Here are some good threads that lead to other good ones:

Misconceptions about unschooling
So tell me about unschooling

Lillian

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#7 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:26 AM
 
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Totally. I think unschooling is about as involved as one can get in a child's education (particularly the younger years).
And it's an evolved way of looking at education and learning. Lillian
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#8 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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If unschooling is being done "right" then it's not neglect. It's about being there for your kids, keeping lots of interesting, educational things lying around for them to explore, dropping what you're doing to help a child delve into something they want to study, etc.

Are there any people who neglect their kids and call it unschooling? Probably. That doesn't change what unschooling actually is though.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#9 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 02:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
I've mentioned unschooling to a number of people,... and they all say that it sounds like child abuse
Wow, how are you explaining it?

It's not illegal where I live. I too get government funding for a non-curricular child-led approach to learning.

Miranda

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#10 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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For us a big part of unschooling is about being totally present to our children's needs, interests, and feelings.
I can't imagine a less neglectful way to live as family than the way we choose to now that we're unschooling/life learning. It isn't illegal (we know our local homeschool laws) and certainly is not abuse. The opposite!
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#11 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 02:21 AM
 
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Nope, not at all. At least not here, I haven't researched the laws for other countries, or even other states for that matter.

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#12 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 08:58 AM
 
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Actually, I think making my kids sit at a table all day rather than playing outside and having to continuously bug/yell at them to do their "work" would look more like abuse.
I don't see how anyone can say that trips to the farm, playground, library, etc are child abuse. It makes you wonder if people truly know what goes on in our schools. I had a pretty good school experience and I still got threatened every day by an older girl who rode my bus when I was 11, had my @ss grabbed by some guy who's locker was next to mine in 9th grade and did biology worksheets down at the baseball field because our AP Bio teacher was the baseball coach and he needed to get the field ready for games. Ahhh... our tax dollars at work!
Where is the abuse really? At home or at school?

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#13 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 09:33 AM
 
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I just have to laugh! Abuse? Okay... People who know me IRL on these boards and who know my kids are radically unschooled please feel free to chime in.

I understand that it's not the OP who thinks this, but people she has talked to about unschooling have said this... but what was the definition of unschooling that led them to this conclusion?

Child-led learning is in no way abusive or neglectful. Unschooling is about being your child's partner in learning all about the world through organic experiences, being an involved parent . . . none of that is harmful. On the contrary, many kids thrive in this setting in a way they wouldn't at school.

The homeschooling laws do vary from state to state, but as far as I know there is no law in any state that says you have to buy a curriculum and follow it to the letter. As long as any homeschooling family meets the requirements for their area (usually either a portfolio, a test, or assessment by a credentialed person) then they are allowed to take whatever approach works for their family.

If you want to talk sheer numbers, I am certain that the small number of homeschooled and/or the much smaller subset of unschooled kids who actually are abused or neglected is much smaller than the number of schooled kids who are either mistreated by their parents or their teachers or their peers. So would anyone say that schooling is abusive or neglectful in a blanket statement like that? So why say that about unschooling?

-Vijay
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#14 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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Well, I have to say I completly understand what the OP is saying. I don't think unschooling is neglect, but it is such a radical idea that most people who have never heard of it, who have not had time to consider the idea and to work through ingrained, outmoded ideas of what education is and what it is for react with shock. What!! How will children ever learn if you don't force them to? How will they get into college? What, you don't actually TEACH your kids, just let them play video games all day!!!!??? That must be neglect! Again, I do not agree with them, but it can be a huge idea to wrap their heads around, especially if they have never encountered it before no matter how careful or thorough you are when explaining it. People just don't trust kids that much.
That said, although I am not an expert of any sort, I think it is absolutely legal, so long as you are meeting the requirements of your state/province or whatever.
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#15 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by urpedonmommy View Post
Well, I have to say I completly understand what the OP is saying. I don't think unschooling is neglect, but it is such a radical idea that most people who have never heard of it, who have not had time to consider the idea and to work through ingrained, outmoded ideas of what education is and what it is for react with shock.
It's like all the people who think you can't teach without an education degree or think everyone ought to be required to report in states that don't require it. It is just too big and new of a thought for some people to react to other than with "there ought to be a law," no matter how thoroughly it is explained.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#16 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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Well, I have to say I completly understand what the OP is saying. I don't think unschooling is neglect, but it is such a radical idea that most people who have never heard of it, who have not had time to consider the idea and to work through ingrained, outmoded ideas of what education is and what it is for react with shock. What!! How will children ever learn if you don't force them to? How will they get into college? What, you don't actually TEACH your kids, just let them play video games all day!!!!??? That must be neglect! Again, I do not agree with them, but it can be a huge idea to wrap their heads around, especially if they have never encountered it before no matter how careful or thorough you are when explaining it. People just don't trust kids that much.
But unschooling is NOT about letting your kids play video games all day, any more than sending your kid to school is about teaching them to submit to peer pressure.

I think every unschooler has heard the accusations of neglect and been told what they're doing can't be legal. That doesn't make it a kind or polite thing to say.

ZM
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#17 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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wow, I love MDC, even though there are those who find every post to be a cause for war, there are always those who can see it for what it is intended for. A mere question, wondering if in fact it is illegal. I didn't want to beat around the bush and all, I just want to know, point blank, since I am considering it for my family.

Thank you to all those of you posters who were nice for explaining how unschooling is viewed by the gov't/legal community where you live.

for those who see indignation and rudeness in posts that have none, just a simple question/statement, trolls I guess is what they are called...what gives...:
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#18 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
But unschooling is NOT about letting your kids play video games all day, any more than sending your kid to school is about teaching them to submit to peer pressure.
But what if gaming is your child's passion? When does allowing them to pursue something that gets such a bad rap cross the line from unschooling into "neglect"?
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#19 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Pinky Tuscadero View Post
Actually, I think making my kids sit at a table all day rather than playing outside and having to continuously bug/yell at them to do their "work" would look more like abuse.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#20 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Pinky Tuscadero View Post
Where is the abuse really? At home or at school?
hey there Pinky

I was talking to my mother who works in the schools and she is concerned that it could be considered as abuse since you HAVE to teach your children or give them the opportunity to learn certain things or the gov't will come and get them, and then you will be in trouble...I don't really know all what she means, I'm just mentioning a few main points of hers. I explain that taking them places, even just where you have to do errands and letting them play outside or helping you in the garden is teaching them - while not actually sitting them down to see it in a book or worksheet or with 30 of their peers...

I said that it was a movement and that there are many families who practice it - her argument is this: are there any children who are adults NOW that were unschooled and are active participants in the workforce, went on to higher education. How do they learn to read, do math, if they don't have the foundations (my mother is a school teacher) and how do they learn to write and everything if you don't teach them... so that to her is abuse since they aren't being taught...but they are, just not in a in your face direct way on someone else's schedule...right? or do I have it backwards?
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#21 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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Yep, it's perfectly legal here (Ontario).

I've had people ask "Wow. Is that legal?" after explaining unschooling... but not necessarily because they think that it should be illegal, but because they've always been told that school is mandatory, and thus any understanding of home-education presumes still following a school model: it's surprising to them that the level of freedom entailed in unschooling is an option. In our world/society of compulsory education, and where "education" is often used synonymously with "school", most people don't realize that they have that much freedom of choice.
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#22 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:01 PM
 
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But what if gaming is your child's passion? When does allowing them to pursue something that gets such a bad rap cross the line from unschooling into "neglect"?
IMO, it becomes "neglect" when the child is bored and turns to gaming because there's nothing else to do, no other creative resources to explore, and his or her parents aren't available to answer any questions or interact with the child.

If there are a wealth of resources available and the child still chooses gaming, it's not neglect.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#23 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk;
are there any children who are adults NOW that were unschooled and are active participants in the workforce, went on to higher education. How do they learn to read, do math, if they don't have the foundations (my mother is a school teacher) and how do they learn to write and everything if you don't teach them... so that to her is abuse since they aren't being taught...but they are, just not in a in your face direct way on someone else's schedule...right? or do I have it backwards?
Yes, there are formerly unschooled children who are now productive adults and who have gone to college.

They learn to write by being read to and by playing with pencils and paper, or even by having formal lessons if they request them. They pick up the foundations for math, science, reading, etc, through normal daily life and by following their interests. It's hard to live and learn and grow unhindered and NOT pick up the foundations for everything that's needed in adulthood.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#24 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Pinky Tuscadero View Post
Actually, I think making my kids sit at a table all day rather than playing outside and having to continuously bug/yell at them to do their "work" would look more like abuse.
oh, I agree with you there. I loved being in school one year with a great teacher and then the next year with someone who was in a bad mood all the time...I guess if you're that kind of parent, then it's not a good idea to US/HS...but when you send your kids to school it's always a crap shoot who they will get, and EVERY year it's different...I went to 13 different schools (military brat) it was always different
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#25 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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her argument is this: are there any children who are adults NOW that were unschooled and are active participants in the workforce, went on to higher education.
Yep, there are plenty. The unschooling movement's been around for quite a while now: the first generation of unschoolers are all grown up now and leading their own productive and 'successful' adult lives. Ask Lillian J, for one: her son's in college right now.
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#26 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, how are you explaining it?
for some people you can explain in in the best light possible and they still hold fast to their beliefs. I just wanted to know if in fact is WAS illegal...I don't like doing things that are illegal, don't have a record...don't want a record type of thing. The gov't always tries to be more involved in your life than they really have to be/should be, so I really wanted to know more.
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#27 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:12 PM
 
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I'm seriously considering this for my nearly 13 y.o. son.
You are so right about sitting at a table. He has ADHD and they keep thinking he needs more study time and taking away his electives and adding time to his day. It's too loud for him there to focus and come to find out the class where he's supposed to get help he says the teacher sits there grading papers all hour and helping him for 2 minutes, just the amt. of time it takes to prove she "helped" him for that day. So yeah he's being neglected and abused at school to the point that I feel it's a betrayal to his precious being to send him back next year. He's actually developed an anxiety disorder because of how he feels about school!

I just need to convince dh that this is the answer. So I'm thinking we try this alternate for the summer and hopefully see how ds likes it and does.
I'm sure in the quiet enviornment I can provide he'll do great.
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#28 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:34 PM
 
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I have an unschooled 20 year old who is in college and works in the workforce.

Some of the comments about doing unschooling the right way, playing video games all day, etc are really ......ahhh, interesting.

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#29 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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I just wanted to know if in fact is WAS illegal...
Homeschooling laws vary depending on where you live, but the laws don't distinguish between "unschooling" and "homeschooling." There are unschoolers in even the most restrictive states, finding ways to work within the law. How it's done will depend on where you live.

If you're in the US, you can see the state-by-state regs here:
http://www.nhen.org/leginfo/state_list.asp

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#30 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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I imagine that if you are keeping a log book and examples of work being completed then it's not illegal.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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