fact or fiction redux

Someone was "asking about non fiction stuff like news or science stuff" with regard to when children start to "realize that some of the stuff on T.V., while not physically present in the room, could indeed directly involve them?" This was my reply:

Do you have a young child who likes to watch that sort of thing? If so, it may
be more helpful to observe the reactions of your own child than to look at
out-of-date studies of children living a different lifestyle with a much more
limited access to programming than your own child ;) Most little kids don't want
to watch the news unless it's the best way to spend time with a parent - and
"science stuff" is often too dry for a young child unless it's pretty heavily
jazzed up.

And then there's the whole issue of relativity in "non fiction" - endless
arguments are held on how this incident or that has been portrayed to change the
perception of "news" or "history". In the US there's an ongoing debate about how
to use our Constitution which stems in part from a disagreement over history,
and how to interpret history.

And science... ye gads, there are whole competing paradigms of scientific
thought in more than one area! What's real and what isn't on the subject of
(hmmm, which hot topic to pick...?) obesity? vaccination? evolution? climate?
electromagnetism? psychology?

On top of that, there's a little matter of human nature which adults share with
children - we Learn from a Variety of sources, including fictional sources. I
know gobs about the Napoleonic wars from reading cheesy fiction. I've learned
all sorts of things about science watching Star Trek - and so have my kids. My
daughter learned a lot about tidal waves by reading a book full of
fire-breathing dragons, and a whole lot about animal behavior from a series
about werewolves. Is everything she learned about animal behavior True? You
might as well ask if everything you read in a non-fiction book on dog training
is true - some of it will be repeated by other sources, some not, some
verifiable by direct experience, some not. That's a big part of how people
decide what kinds of information is trustworthy and which is not - not true of
false, because so much of that is relative, but worthy of consideration as fact.

Schools promote the idea that there's A history, A body of science, A cannon of
literature - but none of those things are true and people who are interested in
learning more will find that out, by looking for other sources of information.
Unschoolers get to do that from the start, not on the sly or for extra credit,
but whenever a subject intrigues them. Tv gets to be part of that process - part
of how they learn and explore the world - and it doesn't Have To Be categorized
by someone else as fact or fiction to do that. It's just one more source of

resources for dads

2/23, Brie wrote:
> For Michael, my husband, the biggest step he made toward unschooling was recognizing that he didn't have to be a hard ass to be a good dad and that he could, with every choice, STOP being the asshole dad his father had been.

That could so easily describe George. It's such a relief for him to know he doesn't have to be an asshole to be a good dad.

It might help to think about all the baggage that comes with the expression "a good mother" - men have just as much baggage about being fathers, although of a slightly different sort. They can sometimes need a lot of reassurance that all this kindness and softness isn't going to "ruin" their kids in some way. Connecting with other unschooling dads can help, but gosh its hard to get dads together and talking about something touchy-feely like parenting - even the touchy-feely dads can struggle to put it all into words until they start to feel competent about it.

> Sandra's the Big Book of Unschooling is great too, especially as a planted bathroom read, because it is mostly short one-page essays.

Also consider printing out parts of Joyce's website - her logical, organized style is reassuring to a lot of men.

Some unschooling dad blogs:
(Jeff Sabo - lots of mom appeal, too)

(Frank Maier, doesn't write a ton about unschooling, but devoted to it. He's both cynical and wittily articulate, which will appeal to some more than others.)

(John Gold - mostly older posts, and a wild, wicked sense of humor)

(Rob in BC - mostly a photo blog)

(Alex Bradstreet - includes several recent essays on "deschooling society")

( Tim Gutteridge - Breakfast with diamonds. Another smarty pants dad - well written and articulate. Gosh these unschooling dads are clever fellows.)

(Arun's blog - they're not unschooling at the moment, due to health issues, but some very good posts over the years)

Bob Collier's "Parental Intelligence Newsletter" doesn't only focus on unschooling, but does explore a wide range of issues related to learning and parenting, including a great deal about natural learning: