Time for School Again, Even for Real Unschoolers Like Favorite Daughter

29 08 2011

I saw always-unschooled Favorite Daughter’s FB status update this morning:

First day of graduate school! Still chasing the “when you get to [your next degree program] other students will take things seriously and the professors aren’t largely apathetic” unicorn. Here’s hoping I catch it today!

When I say she was always unschooled, I mean she never suffered K-12 compulsory attendance schooling or its curriculum/credits/testing, at home or anywhere else.

So to date I’ve been her guide to All Things School and the teller of inspiring if fanciful tales, the elusive unicorn evoker at each stage of her thrilling headfirst plunge into Education as Schooling By Choice starting at age 15:
1) homeschooler dual enrollment in the local community college general population, moving after faculty recommendation into
2) the college honors program until at age 18,
3) readmission as degree-seeking college student until her graduation with AA and transfer to
4) university upper division in her dream major, then
5) adding a second major when her first wasn’t fully satisfying.

Now graduate school for the master’s she needs in one field before the doctorate she dreams of in the other.

I think she’s starting to suspect there is no literal Education Unicorn! — but I hope she won’t ever conclude I was lying about the value of the chase and where it can take her. Around here we appreciate Santa Claus as real in spirit and great fun to embody ourselves, always the most generously with children otherwise deprived of dreams both down-to-earth and magical. When Favorite Daughter understood the Santa Claus Story as not the real Giver but the real Gift, she became an even jollier purveyor of that spirit.

As star religious studies scholar, she finds a happy sort of truth in yet needn’t take literally, any myth or inspirational characters from any sacrosanct tradition. She can appreciate and enjoy sharing all tales that inspire and enrich real lives. At the same time she can and does condemn as dangerous lies, any that spoil the spirit of good will toward all.

That’s how I told her the Education Unicorn story through the years, no matter the words used to separate various programs and set them against one another. The truth is in the spirit of it and in how generously we share it, not in beating out the other guy with fantastical lies but in finding and celebrating real human connections.

A close friend with a decade and a master’s from the same university on her, just added this on her FB page:

Grad school = “A Different World”. Good luck!! You will do great. From what I know about you, I suspect that you were born for graduate school. 🙂 🙂 ♥

I guess I’d have to agree. She’s the quintessential unschooler and also the quintessential scholar — shouldn’t these be the same thing?? She seems born to learn and keep learning, meant to celebrate her learning choices by sharing her own real, good, chosen life as both pro-life and pro-choice and most of all, “pro-life-choices.”

It might not be for-profit but isn’t that a real, good name for the elusive Education Unicorn?



2 responses

12 10 2011

(unschooling cock of the snook to Chris O’Donnell for finding this)

A Homeschooler Goes to College:

She wanted us to share a memory of our own music teachers from kindergarten and first grade.

. . . “Actually,” I said, “I didn’t go to school. But my dad is a jazz pianist.”

He played every day when I was a little kid. I used to sit under the piano and he’d ask if I could remember the melody, or he’d teach me how to play a few notes. Sometimes I sat with him on the couch in the darkened living room and we listened to Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” together, talking about how scary Mars was, and how big Jupiter was. We were almost never not listening to music.

But before I could say any of that, Mrs. Grimini interrupted me. “Home-schooled?” she said tightly.

“Yes,” I said, offering my politest smile.

“OK, you don’t need to participate.” And she moved on.

I was home-schooled. Unschooled, really, because my brothers and I didn’t follow a formal curriculum at all. But home schooling sounds radical enough, so I usually use that term to describe how I grew up. . . .

12 10 2011

What a cow! You don’t need to participate? Well that’s okay, I don’t need to pay you for your non-participatory class. I hope that if this matter was not resolved, that the young person involved filed a complaint with the appropriate department?

And I suppose all these PS kids many who graduated from schools that had small, underfunded music programs or none at all–that made it okay?

Talk about short sighted. Sometimes I wonder how closed minds are able to gain a college degree. How many time to you have to shred the information in order to fit it through the teeth of their steel trap mind that is rusted shut?

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