Thursday, March 20, 2008

Books—to shun or not to shun...

Not the first time, won't be the last, someone accused me (and all unschoolers, kind of) of shunning books. I responded with a link to articles and Pam Sorooshian wrote
LOL - most of our homes are overflowing with books. Sandra's house even has a real library, to say nothing of books in the bathrooms, bedrooms, common spaces, and every other room. Nothing in Sandra's response said: "shun books."

I said I'd make a video, which I did within moments. The long one isn't uploading to Photobucket, so after several attempts, I tried again and went to sleep. No go. I woke up and put it on YouTube. That's why these don't match (in case anyone wondered or cared)—they reside on different sites, out there wherever videos live.

There are some writings on my site about books for unschoolers, and why I don't think my kids need or love books as much as I did, and other things about the written word that most people haven't considered (and might not want to, but only the brave come to my blog, right?).

When people say "Do you use books?" and they're talking about unschooling, the answer to match the question might be "no," but they're using a very narrow school-minded vision of "books." When a structured homeschooler asks an unschooling "Don't you use books?" they mean "You have a third grader, so don't you have a third grade math book, a third grade science book..." (etc.) and the unschoolers make them crazy by simply saying "I don't have a third grader. I have an eight-year-old son."

"Yeah, but..."

But nothin'—when children are people and books are books and learning is for everyone, whenever, however, everything changes.

When we "use books" it's in whole, real-world ways. It's not "using schoolbooks" to create the illusion that the children have learned all that third graders should/must/need to learn.

I notice I said "houses." Because those two big white shelves are from our old house (which Keith still owns), I was thinking about which books I'd had a long time and it confused my tongue. I think I was trying to say something about other rooms. I don't know...

More about unschoolers and books:

Joyce's page on "Do unschoolers use workbooks and textbooks?"

Unschooling and Parenting Books

I resort to workbooks sometimes when I get panicky about unschooling


Stephanie said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing :)

It's hard to explain to people that we don't use curriculum but we have lots of books.

Heather said...

s many books as we would if I had the money to buy all the ones I wanted. And we have way more books than my husband would have if he had a choice--we have books EVERYWHERE, every room and in on and and under everything. We even have lots of textbooks (my parents are both teachers and they can't resist) but we don't treat any of them AS textbooks. We read what we are interested in and usually the others end up in yard sales or at the thrift shop. :) People look at me cross-eyed when I say we homeschool but don't use curriculum--then when I say I used to be a public school teacher they jump to the conclusion that I am making up a curriculum. I don't bother trying to explain that we let the kids interests guide what we read and who reads it.

Anonymous said...

That video could be useful in a LOT of ways. Not only does it prove your love of books, I enjoyed seeing the guest room where I've stayed, I learned more about what your family is interested in, and it would be helpful if (goddess forbid) you ever have to make an insurance claim ;-) THANKS for sharing! Lori

Sandra Dodd said...

I made a typo correction in the text up above. It was one of those embarrassing typos that make a person seem like a liar. I'm really sorry. It said "I said I'd made a video, which I did within moments." but should've been "make"--"I said I'd maKe a video, which I did within moments."

Duh. Sorry. I told you guys I made a video after I had already said I'd do that. Not in this lifetime. I have that over-developed truth-thang. And an increasing number of typos.

Thanks for the comments, all.

Kunoichi said...

You know, I've never had anyone ask me, "do you have books?" It's always been something closer to "do you use a curriculum?"

Then there was the first time my mother, who is staunchly against my home schooling because schools are so much better than me, telling me I had too many books. Say wah???

Thanks for sharing your videos. :-D

Melissa said...

Yay Sandra, I love this. I'm feeling the urge to take pictures of our books (no library yet, but dh just promised me one for mother's day) and share on my blog. Our books are spread out through the house in shelves and such.

JJ Ross said...

Looks like our house too. Love it!

Always-unschooled Favorite Daughter turned 18 this week and her favorite family gifts were (as usual) books. Shakespeare-themed books this birthday, because she's recently set her sights on life as a poet and English professor -- her favorite so far is the scholarly yet VERY un-schooly, "Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Most Outrageous Sexual Puns" by Pauline Kiernan.

It tickles me to imagine what schoolbook snobs would think if they loved Shakespeare as she does, for what he really wrote rather than what school taught them to believe he wrote . . .

Sandy Feet said...

Thanks for a lovely and interesting tour. It made me want to set up our old turntable and get our albums out of the attic. My husband has some great stuff up there.

Oh, and I loved the Happy Hollisters.