Friday, December 12, 2008

Unschooling is...

...French class and morning tea.

....hanging out with friends and guests of all ages.

...watching film clips on YouTube.

...reading about Our Lady of Loreto. up and lunch out.

...these are some of our unschooling adventures today. Hanging out together.

Sarah Schira, who maintains, a website for “sassy secular homeschoolers,” says that simply hanging out is one of the best routes to consciousness building. “One of the strengths of homeschooling is the incredible amount of time we spend together,” she says. “We listen to the news on the radio all the time, and they hear our reactions, the political discussions it raises. We talk a lot about societal institutions and the role that larger, almost invisible factors play in shaping events and free choice.”

Creative. Fun. Faith-filled. Feminist.

Feminism and unschooling?

As challenging and rewarding as homeschooling may be, some don’t see it as real work. A slew of recent books, including Leslie Bennetts’s bestseller The Feminine Mistake, argue that while stay-at-home moms, like homeschoolers, may believe they are choosing to leave the workforce, their decisions are actually influenced by insidious patriarchal forces. Many homeschooling moms counter that removing themselves from the marketplace means freeing themselves from its many sexist influences. If they have the financial means—or the ingenuity—to opt out, they’d rather live outside the workforce. Schira says that by rejecting the idea that success is all about money, she’s reconceptualizing what happiness means. “I have come to recognize that I don’t want the kind of life being offered by our culture,” she says. “I don’t want things. I don’t want status. I want interdependence, harmony, new solutions to old problems.”

Of course, resorting to one income brings out the five-ton mammoth in the room: most homeschoolers are women and most of their income providers are men. Packebush, who was married when she began homeschooling, says that even in her “hip, alternative, feminist marriage,” she was the one doing most of the childcare and teaching. “The vast majority of the people doing homeschooling are women,” she says.

Often, that’s because moms want to be their family’s primary teachers. But raising radical, revolutionary children isn’t feminist if the mom’s individuality is getting lost in the lives of her kids. It’s tough for homeschooling mothers to maintain their free time. Forums for homeschoolers abound with tips for dealing with burnout. The workload can be overwhelming, and even with a “fuck money” attitude, it’s natural to feel undercompensated at times. Homeschooling mothers must negotiate a fine line between protesting capitalism and becoming unpaid labor.

Interesting to consider. As Edith Stein, St Teresa Benedicta, wrote, women's role in education is important. We are different from men and that difference should be applauded. But different does not mean unequal. Neither does not earning money mean unequal. And neither should we make generalisations for all based on gender...Or occupation..I unschool, I am a Christain woman, a feminist, I work, I have free time and yet I also love the time with my kids and dh. Radical and conservative. Yep, that's me...P.S. I also like money, even though money doesn't define me! And I am a small business owner, therefore a capitalist in one sense. A social justice leaning, Catholic capitalist?

.....Above excerpts in italic from Learning Curve ~ Bitch magazine

1 comment:

Hopewell said...

Another good, thought-provoking post [both yours and the one quoted.] As a single parent choosing to homeschool I buck nearly every convention. I often think back to radical feminist days in college when I assumed a career, marriage, family [in that order] would be mine. Today I'm a single parent by adoption, the sole breadwinner for the family and head of a successful homeschool. Now THAT's radical! I'm also humbled and greatful to be the child of Christ. I knew back in college something was missing. Grace. Love. Truth.