Readers write: unschooling's labor of love; cheers for 'Finest Hours'

Letters to the editor for the Feb. 22, 2016, weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
The Martin family of Madison, N.H., uses the unschooling method to educate all four children at home. Devin (clockwise from top left), parents Dayna and Joe; Tiffany, Ivy and Orion pose in their living room.

Unschooling is a labor of love
Regarding the Feb. 15 cover story, “Unschooled”: We successfully unschooled our two boys through the 1990s and mid-2000s when the idea was still considered “out there.” Both of our children were very successful in college and succeeded in establishing themselves in careers in which they are very happy.

However, your article refers to one researcher’s comment: “That’s the dark secret at the core of progressive pedagogy. It takes a great deal of work to create and maintain conditions under which children can be their distinctive selves.”  From my point of view I would not frame it as a “dark secret.” Rather it is a wonderful privilege to undertake all that “work.” At the heart of our choice to unschool is the commitment we made when we chose to have children. Putting the effort into creating an environment for them to learn through self-discovery is simply an important part of fulfilling that commitment, part of what went into loving our children.
It is no different than parents who are likewise committed to their children but rely on institutional schools, giving enormously of themselves at PTA meetings, band fundraisers, sports boosters, and the myriad other things that they feel help their kids to develop and learn.
Mark Catlin
Rochester, N.Y.

Five stars for ‘The Finest Hours’
Regarding the Feb. 8 movie review of “The Finest Hours”: It’s too bad that Peter Rainer missed the main theme in this thrilling drama of the courage, tenacity, and unselfishness of the four Coast Guard seamen. We applaud Disney’s focus on these outstanding characters when movies are too often dominated by violence and immorality. We live in Chatham, Mass., and found Disney did an amazing job of making our town and people look old-fashioned circa 1952. We found the movie far from “boring” but emotionally engaging throughout, giving us new respect for our Coast Guard servicemen. Five stars for “The Finest Hours.”
Steve Carlson
Chatham, Mass.

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