I have already written a whole page about education, so I’ll pause here while you go read it if you haven’t already.
What Nicole is doing here is called a “straw man fallacy.”
She sets up a supposed conversation/argument and puts words in the “critics'” mouths, totally misrepresenting our position. She then comes to totally false conclusions and sits back claiming victory.
You are saying that my children are uneducated?
I am saying that Nicole and Joe are not educating their children, at all. If the Naugler children learn anything, they do so on their own, without help of any sort. It shows in their writing. I won’t post it now, because these are minor children, but I have samples of the oldest child’s writing and I am saying that these are uneducated kids.
That they aren’t smart?
Notice how she conflates “education” and “intelligence”? And then has the “critic” clarify? She does that so she can lead up to her super-califragilistic retort.
So, you’ve interacted with them long enough to come to the conclusion that they are uninformed and unskilled?
Victory! The critics come back with the lame answer that it’s impossible for children to learn if you don’t “school them” (whatever that means).
And that, of course, is not what the critics say at all.
My position, as a critic, is that the Naugler children are not being exposed to much of anything beyond a filthy environment and some scrubby woods with some scrawny animals that come and go and survive on their own, along with one Kindle Fire shared between all of them, and a few books that fit on one bookshelf. In addition, they get to go to a dog grooming salon periodically and help wash dogs, or file papers, and mostly babysit their younger siblings.
Are they learning a good bit about survival in harsh living conditions? Probably. It’s for certain at least one of them has learned to cook some very basic food on a campfire.
But they are not being prepared to earn a living in the world as they will find it off that weed, trash, and shit-strewn “homestead.”
Nicole brags constantly about “unschooling.” She uses that as a hashtag for nearly every activity the kids engage in. Little kid finds a bug: unschooling. No, it’s not, Nicole. It’s a little kid finding a bug. Bigger kid cuts up goat heart: unschooling. Nope. It’s simply a kid sawing up a heart without knowing anything about what he is doing and without any guidance whatsoever.
But here’s a larger point.
When I was in school, I had to take classes that I had no interest in taking. Some of them were classes that I not only wasn’t interested in—I actively hated the subject matter. I had to take them anyway.
Why make people learn stuff they don’t want to learn?
Hell, why make somebody study that damned drivers manual and take a test to get a drivers license? Who actually wants to learn all that?
The answer is obvious. We do it because we want to make sure that somebody behind the wheel of a car is competent to drive it. We want to be sure he’s literate enough to read the signs, so there is a written test in addition to the practical test. We have a right to do that as a society because he’s going to be putting the rest of us in danger if he’s allowed to just drive any way he likes.
That’s why we make children learn stuff they aren’t necessarily interested in learning. A high school diploma is supposed to illustrate that the person who has it has mastered a minimum level of skill doing basic things. He can read, he can write, and he can do basic math. He also has rudimentary knowledge of history and science, etc.
That, by the way, is how students find out that they like math and hate history, or vice versa. They often discover that they love history, which they thought they hated, once they are exposed to it by “force” and “coercion,” and they’d never have known that if they’d just been allowed to do whatever they wanted, when they wanted.
The fact that you can whip out videos and statistics showing that American schools often fail to a greater or lesser extent is actually proof of my point, rather than a refutation. We know when our schools fail because the kids are tested and they fail.
From there, we try to improve the schools.
What do we know about the Naugler children? Not much. I know that the oldest Naugler child writes terribly, doesn’t understand basic punctuation and has no idea what a run-on sentence is. He also swears. (So do I. It’s not a criticism, just a fact.)
I know that one of the other children has no idea what the difference is between an artery and a vein, nor any clue how the heart functions. And he was instructing his siblings.
I also know that the role models they are exposed to consist of a mother who grooms dogs (which is a perfect legitimate way to make money, but nothing very lofty), and a father who is a complete dead-beat.
This is tantamount to appearing at the DMV and saying, “Oh, I already taught myself to drive and I don’t need to take your tests. It’s my right to drive any way I like so fuck you.”
I personally have no problem whatever with people homeschooling, or unschooling, or doing anything they like, provided there is some accountability in the form of annual testing, possibly combined with an in-person evaluation of the child by a professional.
I also believe strongly that once these children (not just the Naugler kids, but any homeschooled children) grow up, they should have the right to sue the hell out of their parents if they realize they are educationally deficient.
But when people begin using force and coercion to spread their ignorance and fear, and it then encroaches on others, it becomes an issue.
See how she concludes that it’s “ignorance and fear” on the part of the critics that motivates us. And we’re using “force and coercion” (which are the same thing—look up “synonym”). Bad, bad us.
Yes, we’re ignorant. We’re ignorant (meaning we do not know fully) about how the Naugler children are being educated. The stuff Nicole posts would indicate they are not being educated at all, in any meaningful way, and that what little they pick up is done entirely on their own.
I’m not “afraid” of this. I just don’t like it because I am a Kentucky taxpayer and I am going to have to help foot the bill if these kids get out on their own and become dependent on welfare. I have a right as a citizen to expect that they meet minimum educational standards. And the children have rights too, as American citizens, to an education.
That’s not “fear” or “ignorance.” That’s the bare minimum that a civilized society demands.
If those children ever decided that they wanted to go to school (something Nicole has already declared she will not permit), they would find themselves seriously handicapped if they cannot test at an appropriate grade level for their age.
So if they are in fact educated, Nicole, show us. Have them tested. Show us the scores. Brag. Prove “unschooling” is so marvelous. Show us what dumbasses we are. Just think: you could be the poster family for the glories of unschooling. I bet you could make money out of it if you thought hard enough. We want to know more than “they know how to make bows.”
NOTE: Please be careful with your comments. No children’s names. No dire predictions of doom and gloom and jail and all that.