the network for radical unschooling families
> And maybe to offer a different perspective on tv, sugar and > all the other things we consciously or unconsciously limit.If you want to see the rest of that thread it's here.
I don't doubt that people who limit sugar and TV and access to other
religious beliefs and so on have what they believe are good reasons
for the limitations they impose.
But sometimes those reasons don't have a foundation of thought
beneath them. They might be doing what has always been done because
they assume there's a good reason someone decided to do it that way.
(School, imposed bedtimes, 3 square meals a day, brushing twice a
day.) They might be going along with what they've heard because it
sounds sensible and imposing limits is a lot easier than delving into
research they're not confident they can interpret objectively. (It
*does* sound reasonable that exposure a lot of ads will cause kids to
want a lot of things, and that candy will make them ignore more
nutritious food (we can even see that happening if controls are
lifted at Halloween and kids pig out.)
And sometimes those reasons are based on fear. Sometimes fear can
cause people to research to support their fear rather than understand
what they fear better and see the situation more objectively.
Sometimes the information itself is skewed because the only ones
writing and researching are those who are afraid.
For instance, it's much easier to find research on the negative
effects of television than on the positive effects. It's much easier
to find articles on how bad sugar is than to find articles on why you
shouldn't worry. It's much easier to find the negative effects of
secularism than the positive effects.
It's much easier and more comforting to build protective walls
against what we fear than to face the fears and find out the truth.
I think when unschoolers start arguing against limiting TV what
people believe we're saying is that our opinion is better than yours
and you need to keep your opinion to yourself about TV and sugar and
But what we're doing is reporting what *really* happens when kids are
free to explore the world in a supportive home, and free to use and
refine their own internal guides in an environment where parents are
there to help them make decisions. (Not make the decision we want
them to, but make their own decisions.)
What we pass on about TV and video games and candy isn't what we
guess will happen. It's not what we hope will happen while we look
through unschooling rosy glasses. It's what actually does happen. And
then also our best guesses at why unschoolers get different results
than what conventional parents fear will happen (and sometimes see
There are vegetarian parents who help their kids explore the world of
food without forcing them or guilting them into becoming vegetarians.
There are parents who dislike TV who find a way to see TV through
their kids and see the benefits of it. (And their kids don't end up
watching porn at 6!)
I remember at least one fundamentalist Christian who said she wasn't
forcing her beliefs on her kids and was allowing them to make up
their own minds about religion.
Fear is not a good mix to add to unschooling. Even fear of school is
not good. It narrows the world when we need to open doors for kids.