Too Cool for School
Child neglect by any other name: Give me a goddamn break! A mother who lets her kids run wild for 18 years with no formal education is worthy of some sort of praise? ("Wild Child," by Glenna Whitley, October 27.) She should be in jail for neglect or abuse! Let's see, she's got a daughter who is "financially independent" and a son who's trying to be a male model. What happens if we all try to "unschool" our kids? Do we end up with a society full of Zoolander male model wannabes? I'm not suggesting that every child needs to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer, but saying that a child should be able to "choose" their education is absurd. I chose not to take piano lessons as a child, and it's something I've regretted ever since. I would be a much better guitar player now if I had learned the basics of music back then. This article illustrates why the hippie movement was such a failure the first time around. It consisted of a bunch of lazy-ass folks sitting around doing nothing while the rest of society was forced to take up the slack! Let's outsource all our skilled professions to India, Asia, Mexico, etc. Maybe we can set up a job exchange and send them all of our "unschooled" male models!
Take it from Einstein: I just wanted to thank you for your excellently written article on unschooling. I am an unschooling parent of a nearly 11-year-old boy, and we have been unschooling since the get-go. If I had been wrestling with a decision of whether to unschool or not, I think your article would have helped me reach a good decision. I especially liked your use of quotes from Einstein, Emerson, Edison, et al.; they're good quotes, and they will certainly help folks look deeper into the truth behind them.
Florida, New York
Irresponsible and selfish: Unbelievable! Parents who are proud to have raised three (three?!) admittedly uneducated kids. And Barb was "worried" when one of them didn't express interest (excuse me, INTEREST?!) in learning to read until the teenage years. And that ridiculous quote about there not being any one thing that everyone needs to know...hogwash! There is at the very least one thing, and it is basic reading! What the city of Dallas did NOT need was three more illiterate and unemployable adults. It appears that with Dad's high-paying job, it seems unimportant to the Eakers for their children to develop the requisite skills for survival beyond the childhood home. Quinn seems to have adequate funding for trips to Hawaii to "dumpster-dive" with homeless people (perhaps his future peers?). Wow--that's a powerful argument in favor of child-directed learning.
I am appalled and disgusted that any family would take such an irresponsible and selfish approach to child-rearing. My consolation comes from knowing that if any of these three young adults ever succeeds at becoming employable, their minimum-wage incomes (Wal-Mart greeter? Street peddler?) will never be adequate to allow them to become MY neighbors! Thank goodness for the laws of "what goes around comes around" and "you reap what you sow." Sorry, Hawaii. You guys might need to consider a bond issue for a new homeless shelter.
Best article on unschooling: Thank you so much for the absolutely stupendous piece on unschooling. It was literally the best I've read on the subject. I've been blogging homeschooling stories for 3.5 years, so I've read a lot. Bravo!
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Radical and loving it: Well, that was just badass! We are radical unschoolers of younger kids (2 and 4) and have met Barb Lundgren and Quinn Eaker at the Rethinking Education conference. Your story was so well-written and shed the most positive light on our lifestyle. I really appreciate it. Thanks for getting the word out so eloquently.
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Itchy in My Foil Thong
Dissing the draw play: Mr. Whitt is certainly entitled to lash out at Bill Parcells ("Tuna Meltdown," by Richie Whitt, October 27). After all, I'm sure that Mr. Whitt's coaching experience is quite extensive, but he should at least take a modicum of time and effort to report the facts thoroughly. Billy Cundiff wasn't released because of his financial impact. He was injured--a severely torn quadriceps muscle, as a matter of fact. Otherwise, he would have left camp as Dallas' kicker. And as for his "shoving" receivers coach Todd Haley--that issue was discussed at length in his press conference. Whitt also wants to criticize a draw play on third and 13. Fine. But also mention that it gained nearly 12 yards. True, that is still not a conversion, but it was close enough to qualify as a smart call. So perhaps he can take a little time out from wearing his foil thong (thanks for sharing, Mr. Whitt) and dig up a few facts on the Cowboys. There's enough irresponsible journalism out there these days without you adding to it.