I recently came across a video about “free range children.” I know what you’re thinking…do I mean “chickens”…no, I actually mean “children.” And I know that this is only one example but I found it shocking. I’ve actually never heard of free range children before. These are children who are left to learn about the world on their own. They do not go to school and are not homeschooled. They are unschooled children. The one example looked at a family who let their children learn on their own, didn’t have bedtimes for the kids and didn’t have strict schedules for them. It makes it seem like they let their kids run wild in their home. The children seemed very undisciplined and chaotic.
I researched a bit about what becomes of these unschooled children and they actually end up with pretty good futures. It all depends on their parents’ engagement on their “unshcooled” education. This article (How do unschoolers turn out?) describes a study that was conducted on 232 parents who unschooled their children. They only received 75 responses from the study. The survey showed that the majority of the children benefited from unschooling. The disadvantages, they felt, were social isolation and being behind in math. Math, I think, is a pretty important skill to learn. Even with school, individuals still have trouble with it. Apparently none of the individuals who were unschooled ended up in finance field. So what happens if the majority of the people living on Earth are horrible in math? What if the majority of the people on Earth are unschool in this way? I feel that the world would change drastically. Not saying it would be bad, but life would be very different.
There is this video on TEDx featuring Callie Vandewiele and her experience being an unschool child. If you are interested in listening to her accounts click here: Learning Through Unschooling. Her video was very interesting and it even made me think hard about how we would want to teach our unborn child. There was one thing that didn’t sit well with me. It was when she said: “…nobody ever sat me down and said, this is what an ecosystem looks like and if you fail this test next week you’re bad.” There is nothing wrong with being strict with your children. But also, we should balance that with encouragement.
The total opposite of unschooling is telling your kids exactly what you want them to learn. This isn’t completely bad either but it does take away the fun of childhood. I don’t think there is anything wrong with moms wanting their children to learn certain things. But there are times that I think that some moms go too far. I’m sure you guys have heard of Amy Chua. She wrote a book called, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” In it she tells us how she raises and teaches her children.
I know it is easy to talk about how other people are teaching their kids. I know that it will be a challenge when Zoey eventually gets older. I’m already thinking that I want her to do music, dance and martial arts and she isn’t even 1 year old yet. I don’t want to be too strict but I also want her to be well rounded because I know I had trouble choosing what I wanted to do when I graduated high school. I don’t want her to have the same inner struggles I did. So we’ll see what happens when the time comes.
What do you guys think? What do you guys do with your kids? I’m curious to know 🙂