Dr. Phil Unschooling Show Today

24 11 2006

Just watched the whole thing with Favorite Daughter , ho-hum anticlimactic I thought, still, here’s the comment I posted:

Radical Unschooler of Mensa Minds

Aside – “BUTT paste” is the sponsoring product for this episode???

Never heard of such a thing and we don’t even use that word in my family, although we love the Broadway smash “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” in which one lyric goes “pouring out my ass” — context counts not just in word choice, but in schooling and also unschooling.

I’ve been teacher-certified for 30 years, lots of public school experience and a well-used education doctorate. Yet my own kids have been radically unschooled at home with no regrets (theirs or mine.) There is no one best way, and no one should be able to decide for other people’s children, absent real abuse or criminal endangerment.

An education is something each child creatively constructs, not some standard dose of something inflicted on the child by law or social pressure in one-size-fits-all form. And education freedom is not about unions, political parties, conformity or opinion polls, wild guesses or personal prejudices. I feel for the couple on today’s show who does not agree about education and each so “adamant” about what to require of the children. They are doomed to fail as parents no matter what they do — in my opinion, but then I’m just a professional public school educator, what do I really know about them? 🙂

I wish the show’s producers had chosen to feature older kids who were always unschooled and academically brilliant, like mine (now 16 and 11). Was it intentional that only these very young unschooled children were shown, so results could be debatable? At 15, my always unschooled daughter chose to

start taking college courses in the things she loved most — English, literature, forensics, theatre and humanities, etc – and has a perfect 4.0 average. (No SAT needed.) Her professors love her. She was not in school because she wanted not to be, and now she is on campus (all the time!) because she wants to be. I couldn’t be prouder of her choices and accomplishments and who she is, then OR now.

Bottom line is that kids who do well, do well no matter what. (And society should “butt” out or deserves to get pasted!)
Those who don’t do well are not being well served, no matter what. It’s not about what we make them do but what we inspire them to do, how we help them learn to be self-sufficient as productive community members who make good choices. America needs all kids to learn and grow as is best for THEM, neither submitting to socialism nor forcing others to submit. Families are the alpha and the omega. Government is second best, a safety net but not abundance for anyone, much less for all.

Who else saw the show, and did you watch with your kids? What did you think?



11 responses

24 11 2006
Nance Confer

I didn’t see it. I didn’t even try! 🙂

I’m glad you had the patience to send in this reply, though. I hope a lot of smart unschoolers write in.

And Laura posted about a poll on Dr. Phil’s site — http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/796/ — for those who are interested.


24 11 2006

Oh yeah, his poll!
It was running about 66% who said either unschooling or homeschooling was best choice, compared to public school at about 20% and private school the balance. There were just a few thousand votes when I saw it but still – considering that schoolaged children are a minority of households with home education less than five percent of school-aged children, and unschoolers a mere sliver of THAT fraction . . . I guess we all hang out online a lot? 🙂

24 11 2006

Still bemused about that pharmacist-developed Butt Paste being advertised to parents by Dr. Phil –
I see at wikipedia the stuff has boric acid in it, which this article from the American Academy of Family Physicians says is not good:
“Don’t use creams that contain boric acid, camphor, phenol, methyl
salicylate or compound of benzoin tincture. These things can be harmful.”
Wonder if the the lady school principal-turned-NASCAR-driver and other famous athletes supposedly using it by the gallon jar for crotch itch would care to hear this decidedly educated opinion?
Thank goodness I only have to decide what’s best for my own family!

25 11 2006

I planned on watching the show, but would have forgotten and missed it, if it weren’t for my mother calling to tell me that they were going to talk about unschooling on Dr. Phil. It will be interesting to find out what she thought, since she really doesn’t know what unschooling is, just that we do it. {:O

The show was less “combative” than I anticipated, based upon the pre-show conversations I have read on-line. I agree with you JJ, and I thank you for writing such a well-thought out response for me so that I don’t have to! LOL

Oh, and the Butt Paste———–leaves me speechless!

25 11 2006

Hi Deanne! Let us know what your mom thought when you can. 🙂

25 11 2006

After the show Dr. Phil (in a warm-up suit) did a little backstage videoclip of his own thoughts, concluding with this: “Find what works best for your own kid.” 🙂 That’s pretty much what my response said! . . .
See his stream of consciousness here.

27 11 2006
Dr. Phil’s Unschool-Friendly Principles « Cocking A Snook!

[…] As a Thinking Parent and education policy professional, it’s obvious to me (whether Dr. Phil himself can see it or not) that his own core parenting principles are very unschool-friendly. These five principles–from a separate part of his website, not from the unschooling show debate–clearly support sovereign parents and family autonomy, intellectual and academic freedom, mindful unschooling, attachment parenting and child-led learning environments, much more so than they would support any form of compulsory schooling, high-stakes standardized testing, public-government funding, public control of private education and family life, or public regulation of anyone’s political ideas, choices, thoughts, beliefs, relationships and personal power of story. […]

27 12 2006

I still haven’t seen the Dr.Phil episode (‘life’ has been Busy since Oct.), but I have seen that … um … ‘product’ in a local grocery store. Gives me a turn every time I spy it near the end cap of the baby section.

I’m glad to see that I’m not the only person in the country who finds the name unappealing. (and thanks for mentioning the ingredient caution — I didn’t know that one, but then, I have no need to buy such a product, so who looks?)

27 12 2006

What, you don’t drive a race car or shower in pro football locker rooms?? Well, there’s still Depends rash to keep our product awareness keenly honed to handle, I guess — ho ho ho!
And did you catch your own pun, about spying butt paste on the end caps?

13 12 2007

Did a whole year go by already?? 🙂
That Bitch Magazine column on feminist unschooling is on newsstands now, the one FavD and I were interviewed at length for last summer — but we aren’t mentioned in the final version. It’s a lot shorter and less in depth than I’d hoped, like the regular newspaper features we read online all the time. But at least it’s positive, and it tries to focus on the question of integrating “feminist” with “unschooling” which is a theme I haven’t seen done much yet.

The website hasn’t updated for the new issue (on my computer anyway) but maybe it will soon.

18 04 2008
Legislative “Nutz” Scraping “Bottom” of Issues Barrel « Cocking A Snook!

[…] will they be banning this Dr. Phil Favorite in Florida […]

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