Press Kit Contact Buy Clark Aldrich Designs Bio Books and Articles Blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Unschooling Rules Reader Email

I receive some emails from readers of Unschooling Rules that are so beautifully written and powerfully stated. Here is one that the author kindly allowed me to share:


I took my children out of a Waldorf school three years ago. We have been detoxing from that situation ever since. I took my daughter out in the middle of 7th grade, as she was being bullied beyond belief, while continually referred to by everyone (even the bullies!) as the "sweetest girl in the class." My son was taken out from the same school at the end of fifth grade. He was at the top of the social pecking order, unlike his sister. It astonished me how wonderfully well-behaved he was at home, during travel, at high tea in Dublin, or in the Senate Chamber in Washington. Yet, he was being fussed at for disruption every day by the end of fourth grade. He loved his friends, and he was interested in many things, but he couldn't bear being lectured to all day. And at Waldorf schools, even the art is so prescribed. He had so little time to be himself. And he admitted to me that staying at the top of the social totem pole meant, in his words, "being a prick."

For the last three years, my kids have both been able to pursue a passion they both share: theater. They are both in many productions every year. My daughter loves to read and write. My son loves to film and edit. They get along with each other, with their parents, their grandparents, their mentors, directors, fellow cast members, etc. They are well-rested and happy. Neither of them have that classic, sleep-deprived, shoulder-slumped look of the average American adolescent. They look people in the eye. They notice the elderly and infirm and are moved to help out. They ask lots of civic-minded questions.

They do not do work sheets, read things that don't interest them, take classes they would be prone to try to escape mentally. They don't know if they want to go to college or not. They don't want to rule anything out. My son talks of film school, but he quickly says, "I'm only fourteen. I don't want to prepare for the future. I want to live my life now." My daughter is convinced she wants to go to a theater conservatory program, such as CAP 21 in New York City. She is enthralled with the idea of performing but equally so about directing and writing and taking over the local non-profit theater for children here in our hometown, as her mentor retires. But she is only sixteen and knows she may change her mind a dozen times.

We as their parents have been blessed with the ability to enjoy our kids and not constantly think about the assembly line of grades and college. We have not forced an at-home curriculum on them and at times, we've wrung our hands, questioning this and that. Your book has made so much click for me. I have always thought that going to a museum, then coming home and requiring the kids to write about it would be a good thing. Now, I see why it never really feels right. One of your rules talks about exposure that "requires a ticket" as being a last resort. Well, for theater nuts, it's a bit different -- but I loved the idea of shaking that up a bit. My kids are older but they still love to be read to. My reading them "To Kill a Mockingbird" last year is a cherished memory for all three of us. They could still gain so much from being outside more, walking more and so many of your suggestions.

I wish your book was required reading for everyone who looks at me like I'm crazy when I say my kids don't go to school.

Thank you so much for helping me feel less like a floundering, apologetic hand-wringing home schooler and more like a proud unschooler.

No comments:

Post a Comment