[permaculture] is unschooing effective? responsible?

Rhonda Baird rhonda.b at insightbb.com
Thu Jul 20 09:24:15 EDT 2006

I've been watching this exchange with a lot of interest, since my husband
and I have been struggling with this very decision for a year.  Two factors
have really influenced my decision.  

First, this is MY daughter. She is my responsibility and I'm not willing to
compromise her education by coping with the public school and its culture.
When I think about what kind of education I want for her and what it could
look like, I feel alive and exhilarated.  When I think about sending her to
public school and the lottery of teachers that work well with her and those
that don't compounded by the structural limitations imposed on the system I
feel limited, confused and upset.  

Second, I know from doing activist work for quite a while how consuming it
is to fight against an institution or to try and change it.  Some people
feel called to do that.  It is necessary work and I'm glad to count some of
them as my friends.  I also firmly believe that failing institutions are
those that are running into natural limits that will continue to challenge
and change them.  Whether the existing institutions succeed or fail, other
institutions/structures/processes have an opportunity to succeed and
contribute to a dialog.  This work is also necessary and to be applauded.  I
don't think we're in an either/or situation right now.  

Rhonda Baird
Bloomington, IN

-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Kathy Evans
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2006 8:29 AM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] is unschooing effective? responsible?

Dear Jenny,
	Homeschooling began as a movement of people who decided that rather
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
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

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