Name That Unschooler

I spent several evenings last week with an intelligent, articulate woman. We agreed on many topics.

For example, she spoke of the natural refinement which nothing but home influence can teach.

She explained her belief that a young mind should not be tasked with long, hard lessons, parrot-learned, but instead should be helped to unfold as naturally and beautifully as sun and dew help roses bloom.

When asked what her hopes for her children were, she replied that she would be satisfied if they are honest men.

She described one of her boys discussing his field of interest with an older man, the two of them talking in a corner, forgetting the differences of age, culture, and position, in the one subject which interested both.

She told me about how she consoled a child who felt inadequate among other children his age by telling him, You know a good many things which they don’t . . . you can keep your temper, and Jack, who is quick with numbers, cannot.

Who is this unschooling philosopher, you may ask? Sandra Dodd? Joyce Fetteroll? No, dear reader, she is fictional. She is one of the famous quartet from Little Women, all grown up and with a book of her own. She is Jo March of Little Men, a book written in 1871.

But with an Internet connection, she could be one of the many thriving unschoolers of today. So, I beg of you: find a copy of the book, and read it with an unschooler’s eye. Ignore the part where Jo ties a little girl to a chair on a long leash to teach her not to run away. (At least she explains to the girl why she’s doing it!) Look for the unschooling philosophy, and I promise you’ll find lots of it. Quite inspiring. No hitting. Just lots of love and trust and good, healthy food.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    IndianaJane said,

    I definitely need to reread Little Men. I find that after 13 years of unschooling very little looks the same to me as it used to!

  2. 2

    Denise said,

    What a fun post! Thanks for reminding me of a good book that I haven’t read for too long. Off to dig around on my shelves…

  3. 3

    Kimmie said,

    The March family is quite extraordinary, in all they do and all of their conversations. Simple, but complex-ordinary, but extraordinary by far.
    Excellent values and excellent examples of family life and home at its best.

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  4. 4

    Jena said,

    Very nice. I love how you wrote this.

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