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Topics: Arizona,books,education,empowerment,homeschooling,interview,mindful parenting,photographs,television,Tucson,Unschooling,video,Wright on Time

Our interview with KGUN9 about Radical Unschooling

On Friday, July 16th, Jennifer Waddell and her cameraman Jimmy came to my family’s house to interview us about our Radical Unschooling lifestyle. Since it’s been asked: Opening our home to the interview was a big decision that my family made together. If even one of us had decided not to, the answer would have been no. So long as Unschooling is accurately portrayed, we’re happy to see many reports on this pioneering lifestyle.

Bentley Family with KGUN9

Bentley Family with Jennifer Waddell & Jimmy from KGUN9, July 2010

The report aired on July 22, 2010, on the 10PM local Tucson news. The four and a half minute long report can be viewed here.

Due to popular demand, here are my family’s impressions:

Overall, we’re quite happy with the report. Our family was portrayed accurately and for the very short amount of time we were shown, everything we said was taken in context and used appropriately.

Lisa: “It was a very positive and fun experience. Jennifer and her cameraman were both very nice, answered all of our questions (Zoë had a lot of questions for the cameraman, and I had a lot for Jennifer), and treated my family and house with great respect. As a longterm unschooling advocate, I enjoyed being given the opportunity to introduce people to this hands-on and interactive type of homeschooling.”

Zoë: “It was a bit overwhelming having them at our house for slightly longer than I was expecting, but it was also really exciting. I was surprised at some of the clips that were used, like the one of me walking to my room. While the questions were expected, I was surprised that I was asked some of them instead of my parents. I was happy to show off my rocks and Exogeology ROCKS! website, and it was great to be referred to as a “blogger for NASA“. It was so exciting to see that I actually recognized all of the video transitions that were made during the final report, as they are transitions that I’ve been using in my own video creations. It was fun to learn that they do their editing just like I do mine.”

Teagan: “It was so awesome! I really liked seeing myself on television!” [Teagan is hoping to have fellow Rubik’s cubers send her videos of themselves doing the Rubik’s cube while doing other things–jumping on a pogo stick, swimming, dancing, singing, sitting on a Sit ‘n Spin, etc.] “I also loved sending Jennifer Waddell a favicon for the KGUN9 website.” [Be sure to check out Teagan’s favicon creation business.]

Greg: “I am very pleased at how positively unschooling was shown.  You never know for certain which clips will be used or what will be emphasized, so I was happy to see that they showed an accurate picture.  It’s good to have a story to balance out peoples’ misconceptions of unschooling parents as being lazy or naive.”

Three quick (and minor) clarifications to the report:

  1. Unschooling is homeschooling. “Homeschooling guidelines” do not exist; Unschooling is just a specific type of homeschooling which is legal in all 50 U.S. states. There are hundreds of types of homeschooling methods. Those include, but are certainly not limited to: Charlotte Mason, Eclectic (a mixture of several), Distance learning (including virtual academies), Classical, Montessori, Waldorf, Thomas Jefferson, Enki, various religious types, Unit Studies (very similar to unschooling except the parents do the choosing), and Unschooling (an interest-led form of learning, where the children’s interests are top priority).
  2. Getting into college is often found to be even simpler than reported. I’m certain the standard answer is that all homeschoolers need a portfolio and SAT/ACT scores, but our experience (and those of hundreds of unschoolers and homeschoolers that we personally know) shows that this is not the case 100% of the time. If nothing else, getting into a community college is much simpler. Many homeschoolers choose to do this during their early teens, and then easily (with very minimal paperwork) transfer to four year institutions after a year or two–often still much earlier than age 18. There are no special requirements for homeschoolers that all new college students do not have to provide. We’ve also found that many colleges seek out homeschoolers and unschoolers since they are very knowledge-driven individuals.
  3. There are plenty of resources for unschoolers (we consider everything in life a resource); they just don’t focus on unschoolers.  In particular, there are lots of children’s novels but they don’t usually have homeschooling (let alone unschooling) characters. Since this disappointed my children, and all the homeschoolers and unschoolers we personally know, I wrote my Wright on Time series of children’s chapter books and started my own publishing company, Do Life Right, Inc.

Thanks to KGUN9 for giving Unschooling an accurate and unbiased representation!

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