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  1. Defining Home Education

    October 9, 2017 by Tunya

    Defining Home Education

    I agree: The term “unschooling” is a bit problematic. Unschooling is like deprogramming. Like you’re trying to decontaminate or undo something. Also the terms “to school” or “schooling” have connotations of indoctrination or training.

    When Ivan Illich first proposed “deschooling” in 1971 he was talking about the “planned process which tools man for a planned world . . . Inexorably we cultivate, treat, produce, and school the world out of existence.” (1971) Deinstitutionalization is also a term he used. His book — Deschooling Society — is free to download off the Internet.

    Increasingly in the literature and research you will see the term “home education” being the preferred term. My article “Home Education: The Third Option”, 1987, is available for download from Academia. The Global Home Education Conference will happen May 15-19, 2018, in Moscow & St Petersburg, Russia. For a quick read on how the movement got rolling with John Holt’s help read:

    [ comment sent to FEE — ]

    [ also posted on my FB — Homeschooling, unschooling, deschooling — What? First see this incredible interview with a 13yr old homeschooled student —  ]


  2. Socialization & political socialization

    November 29, 2016 by Tunya

    Two Kinds Of Socialization

    The question about “socialization” of home-educated children recurs frequently. What we find is that parents will usually give a two-fold answer: 1) The children do participate outside the home in social networks, community service, etc. and are socially comfortable and 2) Negative socialization such as bullying, unhealthy competition, drugs, groupthink, regimentation, etc. are purposefully avoided. These are answers most outsiders would praise.

    However, there is a second meaning to “socialization” not usually acknowledged — the political dimension. Actually, in a roundabout way, this observation has arisen as demographic reports keep mentioning the “uneducated” as a large voting block favoring the Trump campaign.

    I propose that the more specific term “unsocialized” replace the term “uneducated”. This is the demographic that, through lack of extensive “schooling” through the public schools and secondary institutions, has not had the steady barrage of progressive education thrust upon them till they become normalized to that mindset.

    I wrote about this political dimension in my 1987 article (see Home Education: Third Option, saying that parents wished to avoid the “political agenda being foisted on the schools to change society, rectify social ills, alter human nature, etc.” Today, 30 years later, I would add that home educators are dodging the competency movement that aims to diminish the hard skills (3Rs) to be replaced with soft competencies (collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, character, etc.). And, of course, we can add these other agendas that home educators may want to downplay — environmentalism, social justice agendas, massive data collection, “neuroscientific” experimentation, etc.

    The political socialization of Western nations can trace its origins to two authors, a century ago, Edward Bellamy and John Dewey, when the ideas of social reconstruction emerged. Bellamy’s book, Looking Backward (1888), foretold a socialist society where everyone had a good life. After close observation of talents demonstrated at school, everyone was guaranteed equal-pay work according to their abilities. John Dewey, father of progressive education and admirer of Bellamy, through his writings and lab schools helped set the path for our predominantly progressive slant in public education today.

    In his book, Deschooling Society (1970, available for download on the Internet) Ivan Illich wrote: “School has become the planned process which tools man for a planned world, the principal tool to trap man in man’s trap. It is supposed to shape each man to an adequate level for playing a part in this world game.”

    Teachers trained in teacher education faculties in our Western nations are influenced to be activists for social change. No other “profession” sends its graduates out on a social mission to change the world! Our Canadian Deans of Education subscribe to an Accord where one of its 12 principles “encourages teachers to assume a social and political leadership role”. Similar agreements undoubtedly inspire other education faculties around the world.

    If Betsy DeVos does become the new Education Secretary in the Trump cabinet we know that education choice will be a huge priority. Home education will become a more pronounced option. Overall, families will have a greater choice than the near monopoly now existing that has the dual effect of both socializing children for the larger society as well as socializing the young for political agendas parents may or may not ordinarily choose.

    [  comment posted on FEE article — It's a great time to be a homeschooler, Kerry McDonald  —  ]



  3. Education Choice is NOT School Choice

    May 23, 2016 by Tunya

    School Choice OR Education Choice

    Why should education simply be a choice between one institution and another? 12 years of being contained and restrained and induced into an institutional mindset. Deinstitutionalization is what we talked about in the 70s after Ivan Illich did his book, articles and conferences on “deschooling” society.

    Please note, he was not only talking about deschooling schools, but also fracturing the institutional mindset of society as a whole.

    Well, it’s come to pass. Nevada is the education choice model to follow. It is the first actual universal model to put the responsibility back into the biologically rightful holders of the duty for education of the young — the parents.

    While Nevada is still not over the legal hurdles it faces, here is the Handbook for Parents —

    Note page 3 — “ . . . innovative thinkers from all political backgrounds have proposed concepts that turn school choice into education choice — the ability for parents to truly control their child’s K-12 education.”

    Surrey, BC, is experiencing the very same conditions that prompted Nevada’s new model — budget problems, immigration of many new school-age children, disaffection with use of portables. This what I wrote to the Globe and Mail and Vancouver Sun to their coverage:

    New Model For Education Funding

    In announcing millions of dollars for schools construction in Surrey the BC Premier stated that a new funding model may be needed.

    Interesting that in Nevada last year practically the same circumstances were at play — immigration squeeze placed a big demand for school spaces and there was a huge need for portables. Nevada chose to offer an alternative funding structure for parents to choose from: They could apply for Education Savings Accounts. Many parents signed up and would qualify starting after May 1 this year. They could spend the money for private schools or tutors or a whole host of other mix-&-match possibilities.
    The beauty of ESAs is the unbundling of education — it does not have to happen at a full-time school. Flexibility is a great spur to innovation, especially for meeting individual needs and talents of students.

    We did have our foot in the door of such a plan already in Sept 2014 during the teacher strike. Finance Minister’s office paid out $40 a day for 13 days in Sept. For 180 days of a school year that would be $7200. That would be a good incentive for parents to find (or create) education services and probably be able to use already existing community spaces.


    [ comment to SQE Mondauy 23 May, '16 ]

  4. Parent Voice, choice and academies

    May 11, 2016 by Tunya

    Academies and Parent Voice Are Both Good Social Policies In Education

    The UK is following good advice regarding schools being accountable to the Ministry, thereby bypassing the self-interests that dominate schooling. Why this is happening is not peculiar to the UK alone. It is in other Western countries (Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand) that schools have become the captives of self-interests and a dominating political/philosophical agenda generally called “progressive”.

    This post correctly identifies that parents generally have a different agenda for schools: “For progressivism to become a mass phenomenon, most ordinary parents had to be pushed out of educational decision making, because the vast majority of them stubbornly clung to conservative notions about hard work, discipline and knowledge acquisition.”

    Again, I say, this has been the common experience in the aforementioned Western nations. In the USA the response has been the gradual growth of alternative models such as charter schools, vouchers and education savings accounts. But, the opposition is vehement because vested interests are not primarily in the field for the best interests of the child.

    Government is well advised when it pays attention to the academic results the academisation model delivers. Here is a quote that supports the return of voice and choice to parents from Berkeley Law professor emeritus John E. Coons, 2002:

    > "There are a lot of benign effects of school choice but, for me, choice is family policy. It is one of the most important things we could possibly do as therapy for the institution of the family, for which we have no substitute. The relationship between the parent and child is very damaged if the parent loses all authority over the child for six hours a day, five days a week, and over the content that is put into the child's mind."

    > "What must it be like for people who have raised their children until they're five years old, and suddenly, in this most important decision about their education, they have no say at all? They're stripped of their sovereignty over their child."

    > "And what must it be like for the child who finds that his parents don't have any power to help him out if he doesn't like the school?”

    > "It's a shame that there are no social science studies on the effect of choicelessness on the family. If you are stripped of power—kept out of the decision-making loop—you are likely to experience degeneration of your own capacity to be effective, because you have nothing to do. If you don't have any responsibilities, you get flabby.”

    To Anthony Radice I want to say — What a profound post this is. I hope you pass it on to the powers that be in the Ministry and Prime Minister’s office.


    [comment sent to Anthony Radice, The Traditional Teacher on topic of how parent voice was pushed out for progressivism to spread, and how Academies in UK should return more local voice as opposed to establishment, unions, ed faculties, local boadrs, etc. ]

  5. time to talk “alternatives”

    March 20, 2016 by Tunya


    The public education system can not and will not reform itself. The vested self-interests of the players — the “producers” as economists might label — are comfortable with the status quo. Pay, benefits, job security, status are well-assured.

    The parents, students and paying public — the “consumers” as economists would call this side of the coin — are largely kept in the dark about real costs and waste and are cajoled by sweet-talk into accepting a more-or-less seemingly smooth operation of schooling for the young.

    BUT, stories of rip-offs keep hitting the news. Subsidies to unions to pay staff from the public purse are a small part of the problem. We hear stories about administrative padding in school boards that grows at a faster pace than enrollment of students. On on it goes.

    For those not brave enough to home educate their children, or rich enough to buy extra tutoring or private schooling, the choices are few. Those who thrive on a captive, obedient audience are quick to strongly oppose any alternatives parents may entertain — vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, etc.

    Well, there’s “a new kid on the block”, so to speak, about education alternatives that is inspiring both the consumer side of the system and legislators. In the United States at least 5 states have already adopted the model of Education Savings Accounts. Here is a video and more information can be found on the Internet —

    A BIG surprise came in two days ago when Senator McCain introduced a federal bill to provide ESAs to American First Nations Children living on reserves and who might wish to choose private schools instead of Bureau of Indian Education schools. They would get an account worth 90% of the BIE allotment for a school of choice.

    Time to start talking about public education money in Canada following the child to a school parents choose that would best fit the child’s needs. Time to look into the merits and possibilities of Education Savings Accounts in Canada.

    [posted SQE on topic “A Horse That Never Dies”]