Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unschoolers in the News (again)

Very brief article in the Health Section of the Washington Post online. As it might not always be available, I'll quote it here. If it's still at the link above when you read this, that has live links to several mentioned lists and sites.
How do unschoolers learn what to eat?

A segment aired on Good Morning America last week raised a buzz over "unschooling," the practice of keeping your kids out of school and allowing them to live an unstructured life without offering any formal academics -- or really much guidance at all.

The idea is that kids freed from the fetters of formal schooling (or even traditional home schooling) can explore the world on their own terms, learning what they need, when they need it.

That philosophy applies to all aspects of the unschooled life -- including what kids eat.
Of course, parents buy the groceries. But according to the unschooled way, kids are allowed to make their own food choices about what and when to eat.

Proponents argue that kids left to follow their own compasses are likely to make (mostly) sound food choices and, better yet, they won't be saddled with the weight of the food- and diet-related anxiety that plagues so many of us.

Sandra Dodd, a New Mexico mom who runs a Web site and blog devoted to unschooling, maintains a page on her site featuring anecdotes from unschooling parents about their kids' eating habits. Not surprisingly, most of the tales are of kids' making good choices.

I'm not eager to leap into the fray over the merits of unschooling in general. But it has me thinking about whether following our natural instincts would lead us all, kids and grownups alike, toward a more healthful diet. Or do we really need to be told what to eat?

It's a compelling question, especially as we await delivery of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That document, the product of myriad meetings, discussions and hearings, will be full of information about how we should manage our diets, and Americans will be urged to follow its advice. Of course, the guidelines are one of the weapons in the battle against the food industry's incessant advertising and other efforts to convince people to eat their products, whether they're good for us or not.

But before 1980, when the first Dietary Guidelines were issued, we somehow muddled through without them. And, as I blogged last week, it's increasingly confusing to sort through all the food-related advice that's floating around the world these days. I find myself wondering whether there exists a purely instinctive, natural approach to eating that I've completely lost touch with? If so, it sure would be great to connect with it.

Maybe those unschoolers are onto something, after all.

The Good Morning America article to which they referred was a video shown Monday, April 19 with a follow-up live interview Tuesday, April 20. Ronnie Maier made a collection of links to those her favorites of the subsequent writings on her blog here:
(And in case Ronnie's blog disappears, here are those links; notes are Ronnie Maier's:)

The original Good Morning America piece
The follow-up interview with the Bieglers this morning

Unschooler responses to the GMA content and to the subsequent huge wave of negative comments about unschooling:

Good Morning America: Don't You Love Your Children?
Jeff addressing the "they're lazy" theme.

Unschooling on GMA
Child's Play point-by-point rundown on the original piece.

Unschooling Stephanopoulos: Good Morning America Fail
Heather explaining what unschooling is rather than what it isn't.

Unschooling: How Good Morning America Got It All Wrong
Filmmaker Lee Stranahan cuts through the hyperbole.

Inspired by the Good Morning America piece
Ren talks about her priorities.

Unschooling Gets Publicity...In a BIG Way
Idzie on what all this publicity might mean.

23 Facts About Unschooling
Brianna lays it all out.

Good Morning America - Featuring Unedited Unschoolers
Humans Being commentary on how the second piece today may have been too little too late, plus general commentary on the short attention span of your average American TV viewer.

The Uproar Over Unschooling
Tara theorizes about why people are freaking the hell out.

My Thoughts on the Recent Unschooling Hub Bub
Amy writes about why quickie descriptions of unschooling don't cut it, and more.

Tori's response to the comments on the GMA feature
Grown unschooler Tori shares her opinions.

And my personal favorite ;-) ...
A Modest Proposal (a la Swift but not as draconian)
Frank suggests better use of the word "unparenting."
Bad Press
Holly talks about why unschoolers should speak out.

Wild Week
Sandra shares some quotes from the continuing flow of ooze and joy the GMA piece has spawned.

So Today I Hear I'm a Neglectful Parent
Kelly advises gentle discourse and keeping things in perspective.

Unschooling and Unjournalism
Media analyst and homeschooling dad Peter J. Orvetti critiques the original GMA piece

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