View Full Version : GMA Piece on Radical Unschooling This Morning

04-19-2010, 04:15 PM
Don't know if any of you saw the piece on Good Morning America today about radical unschoolers, but it was a doozy. I in no way consider our style of unschooling to be radical in the least, but I was reminded again how the media seeks out the MOST radical aspects of something to make generalizations about. Ridiculous. IMHO, of course.

Here is the link (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/video/extreme-parenting-radical-unschooling-10413158), in case you missed it. (we've been discussing this on the FB page, as well)

Just adds more fuel to the fire for the general public and what they think unschoolers are like....sigh. :(


04-19-2010, 06:36 PM
(oops. I thought she was Julie Chen but she's Juju Chang, sorry!)

I am definitely not an unschooler (although learning to relax a lot these past few weeks!) and there is NO WAY I could be a radical unschooler. But hey, even I, with all my rules, let my kid decide what he wants to eat for breakfast, although he eats it at the table because that's his dad's rule. Guess what? He even decides what he wants to eat for lunch and, gasp, makes it himself! And he eats it wherever he darn well pleases! And I would say that he eats healthier fare than the typical public schooler. So is that going to earn me the scorn of Juju Chang too? She doesn't allow her kids to eat ANYTHING without her prior approval, I take it? I call bull.

So how judgmental was that piece of "reporting"?! It was NOT reporting, as a matter of fact, it was a highly biased and alarmist feature on ONE family (the 2nd one barely got any airtime at all), of course disguised as a piece on radical unschooling, but did you notice that they closed the segment with a map of HOMESCHOOLING requirements by states? So what do you think will stick in the viewers' minds after seeing that? Why did Stephanopoulos and Chang even do that piece if they are so against it, if not to purposefully denigrate unschoolers? Can you imagine him prefacing an interview with any political figure he doesn't like with "Let me say beforehand that I think that guy is a total wacko!"? That type of so-called reporting really pisses me off.

And then let's discuss the lack of substance of the interview. So Chang thinks that without going to school, kids will never know about volleyball? What a freaking moron. I agree (as noted in a recent post about "forcing" my older sons to take up band in middle school) that with some children, you need to make them experience other things that they might not be willing to experience on their own, and personally I don't see that as a negative. But it doesn't work for everyone and certainly a lot of kids who've not been pushed into doing an activity pick it up on their own and do great at it. And she was insulting the kids as she was "interviewing" them. Arrgh. I can't believe that those people agreed to be portrayed like this on national TV. Did they really expect they'd get a fair shake? So ALL they do all day is pretend sword fights in the yard and watch TV, really? They cut that piece about them showing what plants they were growing very short. Why not ask them what they had learned that year? What they were reading? What other experiences they had (volunteering, holding jobs, etc...). Arrrggghhhh.

And I think they should have an episode of Wife Swap with Juju Chang and a radical unschooling mom... and let's ask Juju's kids on camera: where did you have the most fun? Don't you wish your mom cared about you enough to stay home and raise you instead of carting you off to your private school and nanny? We'll see how she likes those questions!

04-19-2010, 06:56 PM
The thing that bothers me about this is the people who go on these shows should know that they aren't going to get a fair shake; it always ends the same way. There's someone in my local homeschool group who has played the part of "crazy" unschooler on wife swap twice. They've complained on the e-mail boards that they weren't represented fairly. Well, then why go back for more a second time?! And why put your kids through that. O.k., wife swap is a bit of an extreme example.

Personally, I'm anti-media to the point I would not want to represent any cause until I thoroughly vetted the interviewer. It's rare that anything is presented true to form.

04-19-2010, 07:07 PM
Holly, I totally agree with you. I'm sure the people you're talking about have been lied to and editing has made them look like lunatics, however, how naive of them to think that MSM would actually fairly represent their position and lifestyle!

04-19-2010, 11:27 PM
I already commented on your blog entry for this but I agree with Nathalie. I thought it really start leaning toward not only generalizing all unschoolers in that "crazy" way but also all homeschoolers. I did check out their message board, and aside from one long, well informed post. It was mostly misinformed bias, and to prove my point most of them were making generalizations about homeschoolers as a whole.