Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Unschooling; accepting your child's learning path
As parents, it is sometimes difficult for us to see the value in what our kids are interested in.
Where will it lead them? we wonder anxiously.
But following an unschooling philosophy often means accepting that you might not always like or approve of the 'educational path' your child might be on!
For instance, my daughter watches hours and hours of America's Next Top Model. I get seriously annoyed with her; I get to see too much of the back of her curly hair! I can't help worrying that not only is she 'wasting' good time, she is filling her head with nonsense and being exposed to an unhealthy models of womanhood that are harmful to a growing girl's body image.
So what do I do? I want to stop her but then I take a moment to think this through:
She is obviously gaining something of value from this. But what? I listen and look at the program over her shoulder and see that indeed there are things that are worthwhile.
The models visit Paris, London and exotic lands- so she gets a glimpse of the landmarks of the country as well as some cultural exposure (beautiful Indian saris, foreign animals etc).
Competing models get to test their mettle, are challenged by being photographed with snakes, dropped off dizzying heights, buried in the earth.
Then there's the actual grueling competition which I find degrading to the competitors: but it shows the stress that modeling really is-how much you actually have to put into attaining a thing if you really want it. The pettiness of other wannabee models! Is this what any sane person would really want to put themselves through, we ask ourselves?
They have to endure extremely uncomfortable physical situations; they have to conquer fear they have to persevere. It is a lot of self-discipline; and too be self-disciplined is a good thing isn't it?
We get the chance to discuss other issues that are important to me as well: cancer causing cosmetics, slave labour, exploitation of women, consumer culture etc etc .
Obviously it's more than the fashion-which is after all fun, and colourful and artistic. I value traditional art forms, she appreciates art in fashion and design. To each her own, I guess.