Re: Illiteracy (an old topic)


Because I have a new computer, it has had some things pop up that I hadn't seen for a long time.  This e-mail was flagged, from a year ago, and I think it's very interesting.  

It's teresa/treesock responding to something:


--- In AlwaysLearning@..., "keetry" <keetry@...> wrote:

> I tell people that I'm amazed every day by what my kids know and learn. It seems miraculous. It's not, really. It's normal. I see it as miraculous because I was indoctrinated to believe that none of this could happen outside of school and without teachers.

I so relate to this. I was on Sandra's new Reality page recently (, and this response, where she is talking about how parents handled their kids' education historically, jumped out at me:

"Nobody kept their kids home for 18 or 20 years just discussing life with them, hanging out, playing games.

We probably wouldn't be either, if it weren't that we're biding time until the clock runs out on compulsory education."

This blew my mind. My first thought was, geesh, what else *would* we be doing with them? I had never stopped to consider that unschooling is a product of/reaction to the culture that we all live in, that the time will come when unschooling is irrelevant because the whole concept of education is different. Who knows what people will be doing with their kids in 100 or 200 or 1,000 years? It was very helpful for me to see that unschooling was the *method* that some folks are currently using to allow natural ways of learning emerge in this present cultural moment that happens to privilege compulsory education. It was also fun to think about ways some people have probably always tried to work around or away from whatever system or custom or laws happen to be in place at the time in order to learn what they want in the ways that are best for them.

But! Also, I thought, wow, what a perfect expression of humanity in this day and age unschooling is! We can get our hands on so much information, we can get to so many places, we can access so many people because of this very cool moment in history of the Internet, fairly easy transportation, and enough leisure time (versus time spent focused on surviving) to explore ideas and try skills and make friends and connections. 

People have a lot of resources these days, and they are mostly very accessible; of course it makes sense that some of them would seek to use what's available to them when they want it, not just what the schools offer between 8 and 3. It possibly has never been easier to learn about as many different things from so many different sources as it is right now.

I'm with you that what seems to those of us coming from a different paradigm as "miraculous" may well be the most logical outcome of trying to make the most of living in the here and now.

mama to Woody (6 1/2) and Fox (3 1/2)


It was a little deep for newcomers or for those stressed about taking kids out of school, I know.    But try not to talk about unschooling as an eternal universal.    Sometimes people say that unschooling is what people did before there was such a thing as compulsory education, but I really don't think so at all.


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