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Can You Unschool if Both Parents Work?

By Leo Babauta

Unschooling might be seen as a luxury -- usually at least one parent stays home to homeschool their younguns.

Eva was a teacher when we decided to homeschool our kids, but we made the conscious decision to scale back our lifestyles so that she could quit and focus on homeschooling. It was something we both wanted, and so we figured out a way to do live on one income.

We are lucky, I'll admit. But lots of other families could probably do this if they wanted. Others can't. So in this post, I thought I'd start a discussion of some of the options.

Here are some possibilities (not exhaustive obviously):

What About Learning?

On Tynan

Right now I'm staying up with my cousin who's a senior in high school. It's midnight on Sunday, and she's busy finishing up her homework for the weekend. There's a roll of tape on the coffee table, along with pink ribbons, a glue stick, cutout pictures from glamour magazines, and a bunch of construction paper. For her weekend psychology assignment, she has to make a book using a vocab word as the header for each page.

I rant about school every once in a while here, but the truth is that it had been a long time since I'd really experienced what school was like. I dropped out in 2001, twelve years ago. Usually I visit my cousins during school vacations, but they're in school this time, so I've had the chance to live vicariously, help with homework, and remember just why I disliked school so much.

My cousin's project, as best I can understand, and as best she can understand, is essentially busy work. She had to spend an hour or so writing some paragraphs that were related to psychology. Then she spent four or five hours finding pictures, cutting them out, printing the paragraphs, cutting them out, arranging construction paper, pasting, and binding. It's insane.

Her younger sister, a sophomore in high school, asked for help with biology. Some of the material was really relevant and useful stuff, but that material was buried in a bunch of cruft. Some questions were so ambiguous that you would have to read them two or three times just to understand what they wanted you to answer. Some questions were made difficult not to simulate real-life situations, but just because the underlying material was too intuitive and basic in its natural useful form. Then others covered material that was so insignificant that it is guaranteed to be forgotten within a week, and would have to be relearned from scratch if my cousin ever were to become a biologist.

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