Nachdem sie eine Befragung von Eltern durchgeführt haben, in denen die Eltern überwiegend euphorisch waren, wurde ein weitere Befragung durchgeführt:
Diese Mal erwachsene Unschooler und wie es ihnen geht im Leben.
-Die Gruppe der "Immer-Unschooler" findet überwiegend ihre Jobs in Kunst und Kultur (sogar signifikant gegenüber den anderen beiden Gruppen)
-Es gibt einen sehr überragenden Trend auch die eigenen Kinder "unschoolen" zu wollen
-Unschooler ergreifen später jede Art von Beruf (mit dem erwähnten Überhang bei Kunst und Kultur)
-ein sehr großer Teil war unternehmerisch tätig (Entrepreneurs) - in der "Immer-Unschooler"-Gruppe am höchsten (dieses Mal aber nicht signifikant)
-Ein hoher Prozentsatz ist in den MINT-Gebieten tätig (Mathematik, Ingenieurwesen, Naturwissenschaften, Technik). Bei Männern ein signifikant höherer Anteil als bei Frauen - der Unterschied in diesem kleinen Sample bildet interessanterweise das Verhalten der durchschnittlichen Bevölkerung in diesem Punkt nach.
-Finanzielle Unabhängigkeit wird oft in einem sehr frühen Alter erreicht.
Ich würde gerne über die Karrieren und Berufslaufbahnen der Unschooler schreiben, aber ich verweise lieber auf den Teil der Studie, der sie selbst zu Wort kommen lässt. Es sei nur so viel gesagt: vom Zirkus-Trapez-Artisten, der später selbst einen Zirkus mit einem Freund besitzt und dann Schiffskapitän von Ozeanriesen wird, bis zum Polymath, der praktisch alles macht was ihn interessiert.
Im Folgenden will ich auch die Meinungen der erwachsenen Unschooler zusammenfassen, die sich gegen ihr Unschooling aussprachen. In dem Sample waren 3 Personen, die sehr negativ gegenüber Unschooling waren.
Ich finde es sehr wichtig, dass wir uns mit diesen negativen Dingen auch beschäftigen und daraus lernen - insbesondere welche Erfahrungen man als Eltern seinen Kindern ersparen will.
Und auch die Rolle der Gemeinschaft ist hier gefragt - in Frankreich z.B. finde ich es sehr gut geregelt. Diese Regelung wirkt allen Kritikpunkten entgegen (so weit im Rahmen des Möglichen), jedoch bietet sie auch die Freiheit um alle pädagogischen Möglichkeiten auszuschöpfen (auch Radical Unschooling) - entgegen dem österreichischen Modell, das eine Reproduktion des Lehrplans verlangt.
Die Hauptkritikpunkte waren von 2 Unschoolern, deren Müttter depressiv waren oder zu einer extrem religiösen Gruppe konvertierten, und einer der anscheinend in einem wirklich kleinen Kaff aufwuchs, das mit starken sozialen Problemen kämpfte:
Unschooling bringt Probleme:
-wenn die Nachbarschaft schlecht ist (Drogen, Armut, Alkohol-Probleme)
Schulerfahrungen sind dann auch nicht besser. Auf der anderen Seite bringt Homeschooling gewisse finanzielle Einschnitte mit sich. Wenn diese Einschnitte bedeuten, dass man wirklich in eine schlechte Gegend ziehen muss, dann sollte man sich das überlegen, ob es nicht andere Lösungen gibt.
-wenn die Umgebung keine kulturellen Einrichtungen bietet ("middle of nowhere")
Dies deckt sich mit der statistischen Tatsache, dass Homeschooling am seltensten in kleinen Dörfern ist
-wenn Eltern selbst depressiv sind, oder Probleme haben mit der Außenwelt (z.B. soziale Welt) Kontakt aufzunehmen
Dies kann in sozialer Isolation münden und Kinder in einer sehr traurigen, einsamen Welt aufwachsen lassen. Auch sagt einer, dass durch die soziale Isolation mehr Missbrauch durch seine Eltern möglich war, als wenn er nicht so isoliert gewesen wäre.
-Lernerfahrung bei depressiven Eltern
Die eine Person mit der depressiven Mutter sagte auch, dass sie praktisch nichts gelernt hat. Sie muss sich seitdem als Kunstlehrerin (das sie studiert hat) durchschlagen.
-Die Meinung anderer Leute
Dadurch, dass Unschooling /Homeschooling noch relativ selten ist, ist man in permanenter Erklärungsnot. Oft gilt man auch als "weirdos" (engl: "Seltsamling")
-Einschränkung in den Inhalten
Wieder in dem depressiven Fall hat die religiöse Mutter praktisch nur Religion gelehrt.
Andere klagen darüber, dass sie sehr wenig Mathematik/Naturwissenschaften hatten (der Fokus liegt sehr oft auf Kunst und Musik) und insbesondere für ihr Studium oft "Remedial Math"-Kurse machen mussten.
“My social life was not very good, mainly because of our location. It was a very small town with very typical middle-of-nowhere problems. Drinking, drugs, poverty and the like. I realise in retrospect that most of the children who were my neighbours had grown up in a bad situation and didn't know any better, but I didn't understand that at the time and I was miserable. By the time I was a teenager and we had moved to a new province, I found that I just couldn't break into the social groups of the local homeschooling community and, in the end, I wasn't really interested in doing so. My family did things differently, even from an unschooling standpoint, and social experiences usually have an element of culture shock for both parties.”
“I actively disagree with unschooling because I believe that it is a very easy way for unwell parents to bring their children up without those parents needing to actively participate/integrate into society…. Because of my mother's poor mental health she found it difficult making friends and generally disliked attending social events, etc. I think this was the main reason she decided to unschool us.” This person went on to say that she felt incredibly isolated socially and didn’t study anything during her unschooling years. She went on to higher education in fine arts, and a job as an art teacher, not because she was interested in art or enjoys teaching, but because she didn’t feel qualified for anything else. In response to our question about the disadvantages of unschooling, for her, she wrote: “My experience of unschooling was negative in every way. I have been bullied as an adult for being 'weird' and for working in low status, low paid jobs. I have also had difficulty finding long-term boyfriends, as although I'm an attractive and intelligent person, there aren't many people who actively want to date people who have huge chips on their shoulders about the way they were brought up (without formal education).”
The second respondent, a 35-year-old woman, was Christian homeschooled through third grade and then was unschooled, not because of a deliberate decision, but because of her mother’s psychological and physical disabilities and consequent inability to manage homeschooling. This person also wrote that her mother kept her out of school “to be able to control the kinds of information we were exposed to, including sex education, science, or health, as well as control the kinds of people we interacted with.” She, like the other two, was never presented with a choice about her schooling. She felt deprived of school, not privileged to avoid it. As an adult she has worked mostly at temporary jobs such as cleaning or house painting, but, at the time of the survey, was enrolled in a bachelor’s program in industrial design. In response to our question about the disadvantages of unschooling, she wrote: “Disadvantages would be not having the groundwork of basic knowledge and social skills! I am also uncomfortable with most people and prefer to be alone, which may be from my experience growing up alone and unsupervised, but also might just be my nature, I don't know. As a kid the main thing was knowing that I was not fitting in anywhere, always being the "weirdos" in the neighborhood, always missing rites of passage and being alone too often. It was a very lonely and isolated life, rather oppressive given the strict religious upbringing. I also feel now that I learned more about religion than I did things that would be of any use to me later in life.”
The third respondent, a 29-year-old Ph.D. candidate studying archaeology, wrote that her mother wanted her to have a Christian education, but pulled her out of a Baptist academy in fourth grade because of the mother’s conflicts with the staff. The mother intended to homeschool her, using a Christian curriculum, but failed to follow through because of her own psychological depression. In this respondent’s words, “Her personal struggles with depression, which led to her inability to function in running a house and supervising my homeschooling activities, was the reason for the switch to unschooling.” She wrote further: “In my opinion, I was ‘unschooled’ simply because my mother could not tolerate the anxiety of having me in public or private school -- where other non-Christian people could ‘negatively influence’ me. She needed me at home to do chores and take care of her, because she was a non-functional depressed person. She preferred me to have a socially isolated existence from age 9 to 18 than risk a secular education. My father clearly did not want me homeschooled or unschooled, but he never did anything about it and let my mother do as she pleased.” Concerning her social life, she wrote: “My ‘social’ experiences as an unschooler were restricted to interactions with my parents, my brother, occasionally more distant family members, and going to the grocery store or doctor when I was sick.”
This person was not entirely negative about her unschooling. In response to our question about advantages, she wrote: “As an adult looking back, I think being in school while dealing with my dysfunctional and abusive parents at home probably would have led me to make some poor social decisions that could have had long-lasting impacts. So, as painful and traumatic as being kept at home in an isolated manner was, I feel it was preferable to the other options. I had a lot of time to myself to think about things. I developed my own secret meditation practice. These habits of self-sufficiency and self-reflectiveness helped me transition toward adulthood, particularly in cutting loose from my mother's controlling grasp.” She also wrote, in response to an earlier question, “I was also a self-driven learner as an unschooler, and much of my employment now requires self-driven education—whether for my dissertation research or for the development of my teaching pedagogy.”
In response to our question about disadvantages of unschooling, she wrote, in part: “As an adult looking back, the main disadvantage was that the social isolation allowed my parents to get away with more abuse and neglect than they otherwise would have. I suffered severe abuse and neglect during the time I was unschooled. Lacking a formal education did chip away at my self-confidence as I transitioned toward adulthood. I carried a nagging sense of unworthiness for quite a while; I still feel permanently damaged in some way, like I am a freak who was kept in a cage and not educated formally. As I prepared to begin formal college education, my unschooling experience hindered me by having failed to provide standard levels of math and science knowledge. I had to tutor myself to pass the GED. I had to tutor myself remedial math and science skills to keep up in introductory-level college courses.”
It is worth adding that the only other respondent, in the whole sample, who commented on the role of religion in her upbringing was also very negative about the fundamentalist influence. Her parents became extreme Christian fundamentalists when she was 15. She wrote, “At that time, my role shifted to full-time caretaker for my younger siblings. I was expected to get married and have lots of children rather than having any type of career, so further education was viewed as superfluous in that subculture. … After my parents became involved with the fundamentalists, we were cut off almost completely from interaction with others outside the tight-knit religious setting. Interactions were mostly centered around child-care, chores and religious meetings with no free time to simply socialize.” This person, nevertheless, went on to become a very successful writer and noted that she will unschool her own daughter. She is not against unschooling, but strongly against the social and intellectual isolation that occurred in her home when her parents converted.