Homeschooling As A Method of Child-Proofing

I've recently discovered Peter Gray's Freedom to Learn Blog and I enjoy reading his perspective on learning. His most recent post, ADHD and School: The Problem of Assessing Normalcy in an Abnormal Environment makes the case that problems resulting in ADHD diagnoses may have more to do with the schools than any actual "problem" with the children diagnosed.

This topic is interesting to me because I've encountered it in different situations (on a purely anecdotal basis of course).

As a homeschooling parent, I met many families over the years whose children were having great difficulty in the school environment and were told their child had ADHD. Yet when they removed their child from school, those problems either went completely away or were lessened so tremendously, there was no need for any medical intervention.

Then when I worked in a private reading clinic for 8 years, I encountered many, many more children who were diagnosed with ADHD, some on medication, some not. And as I worked with these kids, I could not really see any big "problem" other than that they were active, curious kids who simply required more energy to work with than others. This was not a problem at all for me because they were just so much like my own son.

One other interesting comment I heard more than once had to do with parents saying they did not give their kids ADHD medication during summer and other breaks. These parents said their child did not need them when they were not attending school.

It certainly appeared to me than many of these kids were just trapped in situations where they were being forced to learn something at a specific time set by others with no regard to their individual interests, needs and desires. And I was more grateful than ever that I decided to take my kids out of school and give them the freedom to learn in their own way, on their own time.

So it occurred to me after reading the above post from Peter Gray that maybe homeschooling can be considered as a way of child-proofing. After all, isn't putting children into institutional schools and working hard to "train" them to learn about the world with such constraints kind of like putting vases on low bookshelves and then working hard to "train" a toddler to not touch them?

Neither case is necessary is it?

Life can be a whole lot easier if we just get rid of, not only the vase, but the school situation too.

Then both parent and child have much more freedom to enjoy living and learning with each other.


Susan Ryan said...

I saw that article too, Deb. Peter Gray gets it, and I've enjoyed his articles.

I'm glad he has a voice out there, and I hope families can 'hear' his perspective a bit.

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