As a 25-year-old who was raised in the “free-range” style, I have to voice my concerns about what Edgy Mama had to say about “free-range” parenting [“Free-range Kids, Local-style,” Aug. 18 Xpress]. It is not the idea of parenting in that way, but of schooling in that way that has me angry.
My sister, the eldest of three, went to public school (by choice) in 7th grade and I remember her coming home every day in tears; [I thought], “I’ll never do that.” So while she learned to like [public school], I never made that same choice. (And at 7 or 8 [years old] can you blame me?)
This left me at home with my “free range,” “home schooling” parents (at the time it was called “unschooling”). I ask you, what 7-year-old, given the choice between math and playing in the woods, is going to choose math? I know there are some, but not very many.
I was given plenty of time to socialize, but never made to learn anything. To some of you this may sound like a good thing, but as a 25-year-old just learning long division I can tell you first hand that it is not! My dream was always to be a Veterinarian; my parents always said, “you can do what ever you put your mind to,” but [they] never gave me the tools I needed to achieve that dream.
I am now in the process of getting my GED, which brings up a lot of feelings that I feel would have been easier to deal with when I was 15 and my friends where going through the same things. But that is beside the point. I am now an adult and have no choice but to put my mind to it and get my diploma.
The point is that for a lot of the people that I grew up with, unschooling was a way for our parents to be lazy. There is no reason or excuse for not giving your children the education they are entitled to as Americans. Allowing your children to do as they please when it comes to school is not a good thing. As someone who has been through it, I ask you, please, put your kids in school, or at least teach them what they need to know, not just what they want to know.
My life would have been a lot easier if I had learned to read in first grade and had been given some idea of what college would hold for me (I have never been inside a class room). So all I ask is that you think about all of this before you keep your kids out of school.
— Hannah Layosa