The implication of saying that there are things
children must learn to study is that the children may not
want to learn them, because they won't know that they are
valuable until later. But if you can't enumerate them all,
then how do you know, when you are forcing your children
to do one of them, that you are not preventing your children
from doing another? Also, if you can't enumerate them all,
how do you think the children are going to learn the ones
you are unable to enumerate? In fact, I believe that not
only can you not enumerate them all, but you can't KNOW
Mary Ann points out that if a friend knocked over a cup, we would help clean it up, so why not do so for our children too?Posted on the Radical Unschoolers' List on Fri, 18 Dec, 1998, at 23:31:48 -0500
by Mary Ann Baiyor
I used to be a big advocate of natural consequences. After unschooling for 2 1/2 years, I'm beginning to question a lot of the reasoning behind the idea of natural consequences.
Did you hate being bossed about by your parents and teachers? Have you developed a life strategy of “my way is the only way” to prevent others coercing you? The problem is that in applying this to your children, you do to them the very thing you hated as a child – and you cause them to grow up to do the very same thing to their own children.
TCS parents do not force their children to study. They do not try to manipulate them into it. They do not push them. They do pay attention to what seems to interest their children and facilitate their exploration in that sphere, and in any related spheres the parent thinks the children might find interesting. But if children are not pushed, how could they ever become, say, a mathematician? What would this process look like? David Deutsch paints a word picture that may help.
Unschoolers have an aphorism, “Never offer, never refuse”, and think of that as being at one end of a continuum, and school or “school at home” being at the other. In this 1995 post, I explained why this continuum misses the point. I was rather delighted to be told that TCS education is somewhere other than at the extreme end, though. ;-)
It is often asserted (usually by school teachers) that if children are not forced to go to school or, at the very least, to study an externally-imposed curriculum, there will be big gaps in their knowledge at the end of their education. Is this true? Is it any less true of children subjected to a standard curriculum? Is it a problem? And if so, which children will be better able to fill any gaps later: those who have been subject to a curriculum, or those who haven't? Mike Fortune-Wood has the answers.
Don't be misled by the title. This discussion is not just about what to do in a case where a child heates wearing an eyepatch, it is about how to think about problems in such a way that you can solve them.
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