Why is Unschooling so Fringe?

Being both slightly bored and having an urge to write, I asked people on Tumblr and Twitter to ask me questions, and Kelly kindly obliged with this one!  My answer is what follows.

Why do you think unschooling/life learning is so fringe? That is, only about 2.5% of American kids are out of school, and of that percentage, many are traditionally-homeschooled (with curriculum, schedules, etc.). In your opinion, what accounts for so few parents raising their children this way?

I think there are several reasons why unschooling is very much on the fringes.  Also feel free to share your own opinions in the comments, as I think this is a really interesting question to think about and discuss!  Now onto some possible reasons:
  1. Though not the most influential reason, I think that simply because it's so little known unschooling remains on the fringes.  School is such an huge part of our culture that most people don't even realize that there are options other than school: for most, it's never even a question.  You have kids, you send them to school.  End of story.
  2. People seem to believe somehow that, not so much that this is as good as it gets, but that this is as good as people can do at this point in time.  I feel like there's this pervasive idea in our society that this civilization is the pinnacle of human existence: that things have progressed neatly from horrible to steadily better throughout human existence, and thus wherever we are now in every aspect of this culture must be the best thing we've ever seen.  Thus, any other alternatives touted as more natural, more authentic, or imitating a way of living that has been successful in the far past is seen as going backwards: the opposite of "progress," which our culture so highly values.    
  3. It's scary.  I think that's absolutely the biggest reason.  People are positively terrified of being thought strange, of not fitting in, of being an outsider.  To do anything radical is scary as hell, and most people simply aren't willing or able to overcome that fear.  'Cause the thing is, doing anything radical or fringe does make you an outsider to at least some extent (to what extent depends a lot on a multitude of factors).  And the only way something becomes not-fringe is if enough people are brave enough to be on the fringes in the first place...  It's a vicious circle!  
There are many other reasons, I'm sure, but I think I'll leave it there for now...  I'm curious, why do you think unschooling is on the fringes?

Share this

Related Posts

Previous
Next Post »