Subject: Unschooling Boy Only
"Wants to Play"
I just read your article: "Nurturing
Children's Natural Love of Learning", and I am so thankful.
I have three homeschooling children. The oldest, who is 10, I have
been "teaching to the test" the IOWA Basic Skills Achievement
Test, because he is in fifth grade, the compulsory grade in my state to
be tested. I'm going to bookmark your web page and digest it for a
while. Today, "TV Turnoff" week is officially over. It brought
a lot of healing into our home. I think some of your wisdom will too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to send me this thank-you note.
It may help you to know that every unschooling parent struggles with
these conflicts. Unfortunately,
we learned at home and at school to see a false dichotomy between
"learning" and "fun". We've come to believe that if
it's "educational", it can't be fun, and if it's fun, it can't
be learning! When there is also a state testing requirement, unschooling
parents naturally worry even more, yet the vast majority of uschoolers
test ahead of their schooled peers, even when not specifically
instructed. They also tend to test ahead of homeschoolers who follow a
You might contact your state homeschooling support groups to see if
there is any interest in working to change the law. Unschooling parents
in many states and provinces have successfully lobbied their governments
to have this type of requirement removed. After all, standardized tests
that are based on a school curriculum can't be expected to be relevant
or meaningful for a homeschooling child who may well be learning the
same subjects, but in a different way, and in a different order over the
In a way, we are the generation with the most difficult task, because
we are truly blazing new trails and gaining new understandings. As I
often say in my workshops, homeschooling should be much easier when
formerly homeschooled children become parents themselves. They will have
little need to "unlearn" old concepts and relearn new ones,
and this process should become easier with each generation.
Given all of this, we should be gentle with ourselves when we falter,
and celebrate our successes. "Attachment parenting" is for our
own "inner child" as much as it is for our children.
"The mind grows by self revelation. In play the child ascertains
what he can do, discovers his possibilities of will and thought by
exerting his power spontaneously. In work he follows a task prescribed
for him by another, and does not reveal his own proclivities and
inclinations -- but another's. In play he reveals his own original
- Friedrich Froebel, Education of Man