Monday, January 21, 2013


I have sometimes posted my thoughts about the public school system, or (often) said or implied that I think unschooling is better than other options for raising or educating children. In posting these things, I have hurt many people who either teach or work in the public school system or who choose to send their children there. I understand that it feels like an attack to those who feel differently than I do. So this is where I apologize to those I've hurt, and explain my thoughts to those who want to understand where I'm coming from.

I'm sorry. The last thing I want to do is to hurt anybody's feelings, especially the feelings of those I care about.

I am not anti-school. Some of my closest family and friends both teach in and send their children to schools. My own mother and brother and step-mother are teachers, and I have often gone in to work in their schools and other schools, myself! And it's because of the teachers in my family that I know that most teachers teach from a place of deep caring and love for their students. They are good people, who give more than many other professionals give in both time and effort to do everything in their power for the communities they work in.

But it is my opinion that they work within a system that is far too big to be as individualized as children need, or as sensitive to the community and changing world as I would like it to be. I feel that teachers (including me, when I taught for public programs) spend too much time having to jump through regulatory hoops and fulfilling the demands of a system that does not necessarily serve all of its students. Teachers come up with ingenious ways of coping with the system; of reworking the system to better serve the kids, and of managing their time to do as much as they possibly can for the children in their care. But I still feel that the system, at its root, is incapable of serving my needs. This is not a comment on those who either want or need to work within the system, but it is my opinion. And because that is my opinion, I choose to unschool my own children, and to keep this blog as a means of communicating to others who seek support or inspiration on the same journey.

So if you are reading this blog, please know that these are my thoughts, and of course I understand that they are neither representative of everyone, nor interesting to everyone. And I respect your opinions, too, whatever they are.


  1. Seems quite reasonable to me, especially as someone who has been through the public school system myself, albeit some years back. I also have friends struggling with the way the systems (for it isn't quite as monolithic as it may seem, although the federal government does impose some monolithic requirements) are run.

  2. Great Post. I have often admired those who take on unschooling their kids. My brothers family have taken an "alternate" route to the early years of schooling their kids. I've got a mix of kids, one about to graduate from WV secondary, and two in the early stages of BICS. I believe all the kids are doing well in the public school, yet I also believe that the public system is a big system that doesn't fit all. But given tax $$$ restraints could we expect it to fit anything other than the center 60% on the capability scale? I believe the main focus as parents is to help our kids to end up as life-long learners within a big monolithic system. We may have to do a bunch of work to assist with this, but being at a school with their peers is a good thing, IMHO. Take the lessons as they come (both kids and parents), supplement as necessary, be mindful and aware of where everyone is at. And do things to counteract the negative impact a monolithic system can cause. All this said, I admire your boldness in speaking your mind. It is often these voices that initiate a needed change.


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