Make some time to watch “Astra Taylor on the Unschooled Life" presented at the Walker Art Center:
Really, for me, this is a must-watch. Hopefully it will have you reconsidering all that you hold as given about education. Taylor speaks about the disappearance of “radical” educational philosophies from the mainstream, the experience of not going to school, the addictiveness and comforts of following others’ rules when she did go to school, the value of boredom,the importance of interdisciplinary learning, the way some students unschool within traditional institutions of education, the absurdity of credentials, the definition of success, the obsessions of today’s parents, the frustrating “more of the same” solutions to school problems, etc… She goes on to speak about her doubts and concerns regarding unschooling and free schools — they have the potential to grow race-based inequality and social segregation, there can be a skewing of “the relationship between the individual and the collective, between the private and the public,” it can reinforce social hierarchies, etc.
Also, don’t miss the Q&A at the end. The story she tells about her youngest sister learning to read through a desire to research vintage Barbies on Ebay is remarkably similar to the way Enzo learned to read — he wanted to understand his neighbors in Animal Crossing: Wild World. She also answers questions about what she thought about Surfwise and about whether blue-collar families can be equally “successful” unschoolers. I like the distinction she makes between homeschooling as a being more like coddling or helicopter parenting and unschooling as being very hands-off. Her recollection of her mother lying about unschooling in public to avoid getting into an argument or unintentionally making others feel judged rings true to my experience as a parent.