On Being Academic (Or Not!)

Here's the thing: I'm not a very academic person.  And by that I mean, quite simply, that I'm just not very into academics.

I read this post recently, by a grown unschooler who states that "many grown homeschoolers are wide-ranging academics on the side, but most people are not. That’s a problem."

I'm inclined to agree with him that many older and grown unschoolers seem to be pretty into academics, though that might just be my perception. Because there have definitely been times when I've felt a bit out of place, or really self-conscious at the very least, because of my lack of interest in more academic pursuits, when among, or in discussions online about, older unschoolers.  It does sometimes seem like most unschoolers hit a certain age, and go all academic suddenly, and like maybe I just missed that.  Was it supposed to happen?  Am I lacking something?  Will people think less of me??  So says my insecure self, though I know it's unlikely either that I'm missing anything or that people will think any less of me for it!

And when I say it could quite likely just be my personal perception, I say that because as recently as yesterday, an unschooling friend commented that she's felt left out at times because she's really into academics, and it seems to her that most grown unschoolers are going on grand adventures instead!  Which says to me that it really just is a matter of perception...

However, I do take issue with is the author's assertion that not being an academic is a problem.  I'm really not an academic: you won't find me "sourcing obscure books, visiting research libraries, conducting experiments or doing field research."  What you will find me doing is dancing around barefoot; reading fantasy novels; writing blog posts; daydreaming; having really long and interesting discussions about oppression, patriarchy, anarchy, control, and similar jazz; reading books and articles and posts on unschooling and freedom-based education; drinking tea at cafes... 

I'd much rather read about dragons than Renaissance history. (Source)

I think one of the most important aspects of the unschooling philosophy is the realization that no one type of learning is more valuable than any other.  There isn't a hierarchy of value, with the most academic subjects at the top, and the least academic at the bottom.  And choosing to delve deeply into a subject is no better than choosing to look only briefly into it (the point should be sating your interest, however in-depth or not that interest turns out to be).

Sure, sometimes I let insecurity creep in (well, okay, a lot of times), but I really do believe absolutely and completely that all learning has value.  And that whatever I (or anyone else) decide to do with my time, be it studying biology, hiking, learning Latin, watching bugs crawl up stalks of grass, or (even!) playing video games, it all has value.

Now I think it's time for me to go read the fantasy novel I'm in the middle of...

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