I was born way too late, or, Unschooling, no fooling…

I was reading MSNBC.Com last night (at Portland Brew, and yes, we’re still NOT online in the hutchmo household), when THIS headline caught my eye:

A controversial chapter in education: unschooling

Seems the latest in education is taking home schooling to an entire new level (personally I think the level is the basement, but I’m no home educator – if I homeschooled my kids, they’d know a whole lot about the history of rock and roll, baseball, and how the Williams sisters could have been the greatest forces in the history of women’s tennis but they frittered it away by lack of focus, and despite the influence of the French, Jerry Lewis is NOT funny, and deodorant is a hallmark of advanced civilization)..I digress.

This new trend is to let the KIDS decide what they want to learn. As if the little bastards aren’t narcissistic enough..

Actually, I’m thankful that my parents were wise enough to insist on a more formal education. My field of study would have looked something like this:

Age 6: Learning how to hold it in so that I didn’t have to go the bathroom anywhere but my home.

Age 7: Hot wheels. How you can build really cool ramps with common household objects AND hit your sister in the head with the small, but solidly metallic cars.

Age 8: Chuck Berry and baseball. My parents, in one of their weaker moments, gave me a transistor radio. We didn’t have a TV in our house because they thought it was a great time waster. Instead, I listened to WLAC at night until 1:00 AM every morning with the earplug wire hidden beneath my pillow. They played what was called ‘race’ music back then, and it sure beat the hell out of my church of Christ a capella musical experience. I also discovered Micky Mantle and the Yankees, leading to a lifelong love of pinstripes.

Age 9: Muddy Waters

Age 10: whiffle ball. I learned how to make that sucker sink. We had a large backyard, and my friends would all come over every afternoon after school if the temperature was above 40 degrees. We played LOTS of W. Ball.

Age 11: The Ronettes, the Crystals and Darlene Love

Age 12-15: totally NOT being the master of my domain

Age 16: cars and figuring out ways to get girls to ride in them’

Age 17: riding around with my friends in cars after finding little success in the second half of the Age 16 item

Age 18: Lots more riding around. One night, my friends all piled in my parents Pontiac station wagon with squirt guns and we went around town blasting people in convertibles. This led to a meeting with the police. It was not pretty, but I did get educated.

So, If the SATs were comprised with questions and essays on Chuck Berry, Micky Mantle, Muddy Waters, Whiffle ball, wanking, failed attempts at impressing girls, and aimlessly driving around, I would have qualified for Harvard.

Actually, I’m glad my parents ‘schooled’ me. I’m the proud owner of a B.A. in Political Science..a degree I have not used in any form or fashion in my entire adult life.



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7 responses to “I was born way too late, or, Unschooling, no fooling…

  1. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

    So when they grow up and start demanding social programs because they aren’t prepared for adulthood…

    I can hardly wait.

  2. Question #6:

    A certain 16 year-old white kid didn’t discover Muddy Waters until they found out he was playing with Johnny Winter. Then he died within six months of this discovery, just as the aforementioned pimply faced punk was beginning to acquire his back catalog.

    Comic or tragic? Discuss.

  3. “I listened to WLAC at night until 1:00 AM every morning with the earplug wire hidden beneath my pillow.”


    Have to admit that an earplug and a transitor radio back in the day is the equivalent of web surfing. Vast worlds were out there.

    If today’s SATs were provided in a videogame format, our educational system would reveal a nation of Super Geniuses. No Game Platforms Left Behind!

  4. Gary Self

    Surely you are kidding!

    My father let me choose one course in high school and that was a mistake. I chose mechanical drawing and immediately had to unlearn all my bad habits when I had to take the real thing in freshman engineering the next year.

  5. Ha ha… useless college degrees strike again!

  6. Thanks for the comment at the Home Education Magazine blog, John. 🙂

    I know that unschooling looks controversial-to-the-point-of-irresponsibility if you haven’t experienced it, but when I described it to nurse-friend (who is published — just so’s you know where _she’s_ coming from), she said, “Oh, it’s like adult ed.”

    Fwiw, the way that part of our relationship worked for me and my kids was more along the lines of ‘active sensitive parenting without formal structure.’

    Describing unschooling is kind of like trying to put the flavor of wine into words: “a frisky bon mot with a hint of summer contrasted with snowball fights.” ;>

    Thanks again for the comment.

  7. Ugh! Don’t even get me started on home schooling. I’m not saying it never works, but I think part of school is building relationships and learning to deal with pressure, bureaucracy, people you can’t stand, etc. You know, like as opposed to the quantum theory, things you might actually need in life. Even the best home school parent probably sells their kid short in these areas.

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