Thursday, April 26, 2007

Turn off school week

This was posted by my sister, Ren, on her blog. I just had to re-post it, I just thought it was really good!! Sorry, Ren, for being a copycat, you just say it so well.

"You know all about "turn off tv week" right? How mainstream America seems to think this is a grand idea and everyone thinks it's so positive to limit a child's access to something in yet another coercive manner.I looked at the points being made and couldn't help but replace the word "tv" with "school". So here ya go:

School cuts into family time, harms our children's ability to read and succeed in life, and contributes to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.

Here are just a few of the facts:On average, children in the US will spend more time in school, than interacting in their families and community this year.

Americans frequently or always let school interfere with family time and true, rich connections with their passions.

As Anne Ohman, unschooling advocate says, "Real, natural learning is in the living. It's in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY. It's in the joy."

Who Participates?Anyone and everyone. Millions of people all over the world have participated in School-Turnoff Week since it began in 1995. Children and adults, rich and poor - people from every background and all walks of life - take part through schools, churches, or community groups, as families or individuals.

What's So Great about School-Turnoff Week? Turning off school gives us a chance to think, read, create, and do. To connect with our families and engage in our communities. To turn off School and turn on life.So turn off your school, turn off that schooled mentality and LIVE!! I proclaim next week, school turn-off week. Maybe after a week of living without school, a month or a year or a lifetime of it will seem completely natural.:) But hey, then you'd be an unschooler. Cool!"

Ironically, my son, Kev, has decided he is going to highschool full-time next year after being an unschooler his entire life. I've struggled, inside, trying to figure out why he would want to since he has the freedom to pursue anything he wants outside of school. I've already mentioned on this blog that a lot of it has to do with curiosity. I'm beginning to see other reasons emerge, and it is really neat to see his perspective on it. For him, it is a tool, simple as that. It is not an end-all, be-all where grades and fitting in with your peers are important. He sees things there that fit in with some of the things that he wants to do and has decided to use those things to his advantage. He knows if he doesn't care for it that he can walk away at any time so there isn't that same pressure there that most kids have to contend with.

The difficult thing now, for me and the rest of the family to deal with, is that it is messing with our lifestyle. We no longer have the freedom to come and go when we please, and have the schedule of our choosing so it is going to be an adjustment. In real life, even if you have an 8-5 job you still get to choose when you take your vacation time. With school, that is not an option..........they tell you when you can take vacation and when you can't. Ohhhh, even typing that is painful, that box again- it is suffocating!


Heather said...

I love it! Your sister is so clever!

The kids and I were just having the "TV Turn Off Week" discussion in the car yesterday. There was some ad on the radio and they had all sorts of questions...which of course they all thought was "Stupid!"

Next year will be a change for you guys...but I think it will be a great experience for Kevin. He's lucky he has the luxury to choose to go or not. Most kids don't have that.

zenmomma said...

Qacei wanted to go to school a couple of years back. She went to one week of 5th grade. She fit in fine, got 100's on the quizzes, did all her homework and made lots of friends. She then decided it wasn't all it was cracked up to be and happily "dropped out."

Good luck on your journey into the schools.

sonnier tribe said...

This is great - thanks for sharing!

Laura said...

I have a son who is considering high school for next year too. Maybe we can start an unschoolers-trying-school forum where we can discuss the transition, the angst, the curiosity, the joys - hopefully we can manifest tons of joy no matter the path! Hmm, this is a possibility!?! I know my feelings about it are all over the map, and my son even told me yesterday that I'm making him nervous about it - not my intention. So I could certainly use the sounding board. Everyone I have to discuss it with it is either totally pushing for school (the majority) or totally trying to talk me/him out of it (fellow local homeschoolers). I feel like we're wandering a bit aimlessly and we aren't feeling supported in the way we'd like. Ah well, didn't mean to dump that here. It just came out!

I'm just grateful that because of unschooling, our relationship is strong. Last night my son and I had a two-hour car ride to talk, and it was wonderful and clarifying and we honed in on a few concerns, ideas, and options.

Best wishes to you that wherever this journey takes you, it is filled with love.

Laura (who got here in a roundabout way of visiting some super-cool unschooling blogs :)