A couple of different responses to The New York Times article on unschooling, Nov. 26 -- one ahem, one amen:
To the Editor:
I am shocked and saddened to read about the growing numbers of parents who are joining the unschooling movement.
I consider “child-led learning” to be an incredibly foolhardy philosophy. Not even older teenagers, much less the very young, should be put in the position of making unalterable decisions regarding their future welfare.
Achieving a satisfying and rewarding career is tough enough for those with a mainstream education that encompasses the breadth and depth of subject matter.
Many unschooled children may very well become deeply disappointed when, as adults, they find that the doors leading to exciting endeavors in disciplines like science, medicine and technology, among others, are forever closed to them.
Somehow, tossing precious potential to the winds seems a costly and irresponsible way to provide a freedom-filled childhood.
To the Editor:
We are home-schooling our children. Although we’ve opted to pursue a classical, college preparatory approach to our children’s education, we know many “unschooling” families, including several whose unschooled children have gone on to college and who seem to be well-adjusted adults leading happy, productive lives.
We see no reason to heed the concern and call for regulation expressed by Prof. Luis Huerta of Columbia University. As your article noted, there is little data suggesting that the unschooled population is at risk.
Also, given how many barely literate children graduate from government-run and supervised schools each year, it would be imprudent to divert the attention of our legislators and officials toward unschoolers.
We would rather see our taxes used to address the well-documented and distressing state of our country’s schools and the millions of children who leave them unable to pursue basic college work or to perform skills necessary to support themselves.