Who Taught My Son to Crawl?

I read an article recently by a homeschooling mother that concerned me a little. Actually, I should say I half-read it, because after reading the premise, I just didn’t see the point in continuing.  And, no, I’m not going to give you the link because 1) I don’t have it anymore, and 2) it would be a waste of your time.

Anyway, the article was about how parents are perfectly equipped to educate their own children. It said something like this:

“Many teachers, including the NEA, do not support homeschooling because they don’t believe parents have the ability or training to teach their own children. To this, I say ‘poppycock.’ You have been teaching your own children their whole lives. Who taught your kids to eat and walk and tie their shoes? You did, of course!’

Hmm. So many misconceptions here, I just don’t know where to start. Of course, I know that many homeschooling parents are just re-creating school at home. And, yes, I do believe that these situations are still better than school because there is (usually) a fair amount more freedom and child-directed learning than is allowed in institutionalized education.  And these parents do put the emphasis on teaching instead of learning.

But, really, do they actually believe that they TAUGHT their child to walk? Can you even teach a child to eat? I don’t understand these points at all. Many parents of infants will have experiences where they tried solid foods or finger foods for a while, and their kid just didn’t get it. Then, one day, they do. It has nothing to do with the parent, other than the fact that they made the food available. There was no training program, no instructional video. The kid learns it on his or her own. In fact, if the parent didn’t make the food available, a child would eventually start eating other things (i.e. fuzz from the ground, the fur of their teddy bear), because, THAT’S WHAT KIDS DO!

In my view, her argument about parental ability is a very weak one and would not stand up to any logical criticism from the NEA. If teaching is how people learn and if that is an ability that requires knowledge and training, then, yes, parents are in danger of being ill-equipped to complete such a task.  But, if a child learns by being free to learn what they want at their own pace in an intellectually stimulating and liberating environment, then the parents’ knowledge and abilities have little bearing on the matter.

As a side note, this is something that critics of unschooling have said: “Well, it would work for those highly-educated parents because they would expose their children to a wide variety of subjects.” But, what does the parents’ EDUCATION level have to do with it? Isn’t it more about the parents’ willingness to trust their child, to give them freedom, and to expose them to the world? It makes no sense to me that an uneducated parent who is pursuing unschooling would then decide to limit their child’s exposure to new information and ideas. It may happen rarely, but it is the exception, not the rule.

Trackback URL

, , ,

No Comments on "Who Taught My Son to Crawl?"

Hi Stranger, leave a comment:


<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Comments
Unschooling Blogs
Powered By Ringsurf