[permaculture] is unschooing effective? responsible?

Kathy Evans evansdk at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 20 08:28:33 EDT 2006

Dear Jenny,
	Homeschooling began as a movement of people who decided that rather than
trying to steer the giant ocean cruiser, they would just jump into their
own small boats and take their own children the way they thought best. It
is grassroots, bottom up action, and that is often what changes the world.
Homeschooling has grown tenfold or more in the past ten or fifteen years.
If you feel a calling to change the institutions, more power to you and you
have my vote, and you can spend a lifetime, say, getting pop machines out
of the cafeteria. But if you just do your thing with your own children, you
are still changing the world. Homeschoolers score very high as a group on
standardized tests, when forced to take them, compared to 50th percentile
of public school students. Many people are starting to pay attention to
this and a) leave homeschoolers alone or b) consider it themselves or c)
look and see why it works so well. It is no tiny change! It can be done by
rich and poor, working or not working, single parents or two parents, and
change begins at home.
	Also, regarding the post about the hands off approach to raising children:
I sort of did that by necessisity, and my kids thus had huge amounts of
time to create and solve their own problems and to make their own games and
decide how to use their time, and to my surprise they learned. With no
evaluation at all on my part, except once in awhile I'd holler out the back
door, "Hey, has anybody done math lately?" It wasn't quite that bad, and we
had a learning community, but honestly we didn't do much that would look
like school. If you have a school, which is Kathyann's situation, you might
have to evaluate, and that will be one interesting computer model if she
finds/creates it. Sudbury Valley turned the institutional model on its head
and manages to get away with no evaluations or testing at all, except what
naturally occurs in real life...i.e. if I want to learn to speak Spanish so
that I can communicate with Hispanic non-English speakers, then the
"evaulation" is do we communicate, and it will be obvious and I can fill in
the blanks in my learning on the spot.
	I think your friend underestimates what is happening in homeschooling and
the growing effect it is having on education. Same with permaculture...we
could try to change standard farmers' minds about farming methods, or you
can just start doing it your own way and pretty soon, if it works, it will
have energy and power and people will start paying attention.        Kathy

> [Original Message]
> From: Jenny Katz <jennykatz at sbcglobal.net>
> To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: 7/19/2006 4:37:44 PM
> Subject: [permaculture] is unschooing effective? responsible?
> Everyone,
> Thanks for all your insight and wisdom about these questions of
education. I
> just had a conversation with a fellow I know who teaches political science
> and education at Stanford University; we spoke about the structural
> with schooling as it's currently practiced, questions of ecological and
> economic understanding and accountability, issues of compulsion, the
> to try and create an institution that can shape a responsible and active
> public, the complicated question of children as citizens, and so on. His
> take boils down to this: Since the problem itself is systemic and
> structural, in order to have the best chance of affecting the system we
> ought not to withdraw--thus effecting a tiny change with a small number of
> people--but to stay invested, acting politically to elect people (or
> ourselves) who will change things. I see the strength of his argument,
> particularly the point about building a common institution to shape a
> story... but I don't know. In a lot of ways, it still _feels_ wrong
> thinking?). Ultimately, he suggested I just have to follow my conscience
> my temperament.   
> What would permaculture say about this? Make slow and small changes in the
> system? Or what? I'd love your opinions.
> Jenny
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