Sunday, April 25, 2010

More commentary on my children from strangers

Bold and footnotes are mine. The rest is someone with more opinion than knowledge who read my account of my children's unschooling (maybe) and wrote this:

Well, this is deep water. I happen to believe that for all its ups and downs, a formal education solidifies a person’s credentials educationally, but will not gauge how much a person truly learns. BUT…”unschooling” is a good supplement to a formal education at some point in life. If for no other reason, there may be many semi-success stories with this concept (the author’s children don’t seem successful at anything other than defiance to me right now)1, the world has and will continue to shun people without a formal education. In my household, this would simply be another barrier in my child’s future, considering he has other challenges. In essence, how can a child who is already disadvantaged expect to be received into society without a credible foundation? If I were to “unschool” my child, I can guarantee that he will NEVER get a job.2 He may be intelligent enough to start his own business with all the inovative ideas he learned on his unschooling quests, but his lack of education would only be a drawback to potential investors or others who may be instrumental to the success of his ventures. In summary, let’s be honest: if I were trying to purchase a home and I had NO credit at all, a bank would not loan me $500,000. An educational record is a lot like that credit record: it doesn’t tell everything about a person, but it may highlight some highs and lows that would give insight into what a person is like to someone who does not know them personally. As a manager, I would NEVER, under any circumstances, hire a person who has never been formally educated. Not on my formal payroll, anyway.3
1. Nothing in the article pointed to defiance in any way.
2. Doesn't that seem like a curse!? He will never get a job. HOW can she "guarantee" that? Not everyone believes as she does.
3. Her loss.

(The quote is from page 2 of comments on the interview at http://www.momlogic.com/2010/04/why_i_unschooled_my_three_kids.php?page=2#ixzz0m4eop2W4, but I was tired of putting comments there.

Oh! Glenda wasn't too tired, and did respond:


Glenda APRIL 23, 2010, 10:31 PM
===As a manager, I would NEVER, under any circumstances, hire a person who has never been formally educated. Not on my formal payroll, anyway.===

So it’s a good thing there are plenty of college graduates in need of a job right now! And what the heck would an informal payroll be, anyway???

There’s room in this world for people who think traditionally, such as yourself, and for people who think outside the box and focus on the individuals who work for and with them.

I’ve worked for the traditional thinkers — most boring jobs I’ve ever had. I’ve worked for out-of-the-box thinkers — most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had. The out-of-the-box employers have also been the most successful in terms of “having it all”.

===the author’s children don’t seem successful at anything other than defiance to me right now===

We read the same article, right??? And you somehow managed to read in it that her kids are defiant??? Wow.

===If I were to “unschool” my child, I can guarantee that he will NEVER get a job.===

But you know what? You would not be successful at unschooling the way you currently think. You think in limitations; unschoolers don’t.

I’ve never heard an unschooler, even those who have kids with disabilities, say anything remotely along the lines of, “I guarantee my child will NEVER get a job.” There is more than one path to happiness and success (though it’s pretty obvious you and I define “success” quite differently) — that’s what I love about unschooling parents in general, their desire to help their kids explore whichever paths their kids desire.


Ronnie too. Glenda and Ronnie, THANK YOU!


Ronnie APRIL 23, 2010, 11:00 PM
Defiant? As in, people who are defying something? What exactly are they supposed to be defying?

I am baffled as to what has given you this impression, so I’ll just set about correcting it. I have met all three Dodd offspring and cannot think of an adjective more inappropriate to use in describing them. They are warm, gracious, fun, and friendly people.


Jenny Cyphers, just the part about defiance:

“the author’s children don’t seem successful at anything other than defiance to me right now”

One child has been employed since the age of 14 and now works in a job he enjoys. Another child has worked on and off in various jobs that he’s chosen and has been well regarded by his employers. The youngest child has been travelling around helping with other families children, one could see that as experience being an “au pair”, if nothing else. Three children, who visit home, live at home, or call home frequently, maintain contact with their siblings and parents, and still help each other out willingly. Where in there is defiance?


My kids didn't have anything to defy. We were on their side, helping them out!

4 comments:

Happy Campers said...

At first, when I read your post, I thought YOU were adding the bolded sentence that the COMMENTER'S children were defiant.

Then I read further & re-read, and when I figured out she was calling your kids defiant, I laughed! I admire the relationships you have with your children & how they have grown. Defiant? Are you kidding? I challenge her to give ONE example of being defiant.

Defiant to whom? Society because someone has pink hair? School because they don't go? Parents, because...well...I don't see that ever!

Some folks....

Laura said...

The whole thing is just silly! So many people getting upset over the choice of parents to help their children love to learn in the way that works best for that family. If all those who are ranting over the unschoolers' choices spent more of that energy on more productive things (spending time with their children perhaps?) they'd have happier families all around.
I have to wonder what the commenter read in the interview that led to the decision that the Dodd children are defiant. I've read the article - twice; once for me, and then again out loud to hubby and sons - and nowhere in the article did I see anything that would lead a reader (pro-schooling or not) to such a conclusion!

Perhaps the defiant label is supposed to allude to the Dodd children never demanding that their mother get her head on straight and send them to public school so they can sit in class all day like everyone else?

I confess to be terribly confused.

Rebecca said...

Isn't it interesting what people will deem is appropriate to say online that I suspect they'd never say if they actually had met your children (or you).

Today, I spent a good chunk of time listening to the Good Vibrations teen/YA panel from last fall. Your kids factored heavily into the conversation. Although I often lost track of who was saying what and when, I could tell that your kids positively ooze with confidence and charm and intelligence (big predictors of future success, in my book). I believe it was one of your kids who said that in the adult world, the fact that he was "unschooled" wasn't really a big deal (that's a heavy paraphrase but I think I'm on track). I thought, right on. He's been able to just slide on in to where he wants to be and fit according to his personal merit. How he got to where he is shouldn't really matter to anyone else there... the fact that he *is* where he is does.

I was somewhere else online recently (perhaps Peter Gray's blog) and some classroom teacher was defending the almighty diploma for hiring purposes and made some snide comment about how if I'd ever had a chance to hire someone, I'd know how important that diploma was. I didn't bother to tell her that for the past four years prior to this one, I've been hiring up to 250 contractors to provide community-based support for children with special needs for an online school. Yes, some of them had to have specialized skills and professional accreditation in order for me justifying paying them with government money. Others needed to either have relevant training or (wait for it) relevant experience. I didn't care if someone had high school or not. If they had spent 10 years caring and supporting children with needs (and the parents felt they were the right person for the job), then, in my book, this was more important and relevant than a piece of paper that says nothing but that the person showed up and completed some theoretical assignments.

I'm tired of arguing with such ridiculousness and blatantly bad manners.

I echo Happy Campers' "Some folks..." and add a pffft.

Sandra Dodd said...

-=-Isn't it interesting what people will deem is appropriate to say online that I suspect they'd never say if they actually had met your children (or you).-=-

Yes. And that ignores the additional in-person existence and effect of Holly's big, hairy, long-haired, intimidating father!

Near the bottom there are two pictures of him holding baby Holly:
http://sandradodd.com/duckford/gunwaldt

In her entire life I can never remember her threatening to tell her daddy on anybody, though. She could, and still can, take care of herself. And still it wounds my soul for ignorant monkeys to hoot at her.