Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Left to their own devices

I see this phrase a lot on unschooling lists, usually it is by new unschoolers who don't really get it. They say *if I leave my child to their own devices* then ____ might happen, or how will they ever learn ____. On occasion I'll see someone use that phrase when relating to someone as in *when I left them to their own devices* _____ happened.

I don't really know where this came from in regards to unschooling. In my mind leaving a child to their own devices sounds neglectful. I don't even know people's motivation for saying it.

I'm thinking that you the parent locks herself in her room with head phones on all day and leave your kids to fend for themselves? How does a parent leave a child to their own devices and still be there? I have no idea, I am with my kids all day, every day, sure we all do our own thing and we all do things together. Nobody is left alone to fend for themselves.

My kids *choose* what they do each day, they are free to do what they want as long as it doesn't involve hurting themself or someone else. I am here, I am available, I answer questions, I watch, I help, I listen, so I am baffled as to how you leave a child to their own devices.

That sounds like pure neglect and it isn't unschooling.


justjuls said...

You tell 'em girl!
I don't get it.
Then there are parents who don't unschool and leave their children to their own devices. Heck - if sending your kids to swim around in the cestpool of the public school with their peers as their main influences isn't "leaving them to their own devices" - I don't know WHAT is.

Jenny said...

I actually remember using that phrase a couple years ago when I first came to RCU.

What I was thinking was that I keep reading to "trust the children" to make their own choices. So to me it sounded like people were saying, Kids already know what they need, just trust them and they'll take care of themselves just fine.

Stephanie said...

I appreciate your comments Jenny, it gives me a little perspective. I think we (RU'ERS) need to be really careful with how we word things. Yes we trust them to make choices but not just out of thin air. They live in an environment cunducive to learning and freedom and we talk and model and guide and facilitate, this is a very hands on job. At the same time they are making decisions and choosing what to do and how to learn. Kids know when they are ready to learn but they still need us to facilitate and be the example. I believe this goes for reading, and math as much as sleep and showering,it's all related, I don't break anything up into subjects it's just living but I suppose I could if I had to. Clear as mud I hope :)