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Technically, They Were Convicted of ‘Unschooling’

March 30, 2010

From Lifesite News

Despite the fact that his children passed difficult government imposed tests, and even qualified for law school at the ages of 13 and 14, homeschooler Cleber Nunes and his wife Bernadeth have been slapped with fines equivalent to a total of $3,200 for refusing to submit their children to the Brazilian school system.

Although homeschooling is common in many countries, including the United States, and is associated with higher levels of academic achievement, it is completely prohibited in Brazil, the government of which has become increasingly intrusive in recent decades following the establishment of a socialist regime in the 1990s.

Since Nunes began to homeschool his two oldest children four years ago, his family has been subject to repeated threats of fines, imprisonment, and loss of custody.  However, he has resisted steadfastly and his case has gained national attention.

The guilty verdict in the criminal case against Nunes, which follows two negative verdicts in a parallel civil case that ended over a year ago, was given despite the fact that David and Jonatas Nunes had passed a difficult set of tests imposed by the criminal court.

“They had asked the kids to do the tests to check their level of knowledge, and also psychological tests to check their mental health,” Nunes told LifeSiteNews (LSN).  “It seems that the only valid result they expected was the failure of the kids.”

The tests imposed by the court on Nunes’ children were so difficult that one of the teachers who had designed it reportedly admitted that she herself could not pass it.  However, David and Jonatas Nunes both passed the exams by margins of five and eight percentage points.

Nunes says that despite his success, the judge ruled against him because of his style of home schooling, in which the children direct their own learning, with Nunes overseeing the process.

“The judge said we left the children to learn by themselves,” said Nunes.  “He recognized that they passed the university entrance examination and the tests, but said that it was by their own efforts,” he added, calling that a “joke.”

“They want to take control of them, of their minds”

Child Directed learning with parents overseeing the process is unschooling – and I am not in the least bit surprised that it produced children capable of passing the bar at 13 and who are psychologically more healthy that the people who would control them. Unschooling has HUGE advantages that no form of mass schooling can hope to compete with.  This includes:

  • Ensuring that kids are interested in what they are studying,
  • Encouraging them to pursue broader subjects than a teacher can teach a classroom,
  • Promoting learning WITHOUT risk of killing a child’s enthusiasm for learning,
  • Naturally leading to children learning HOW to learn rather than just WHAT to learn.
  • Allowing the individuality of the children to grow
  • Nurturing their self-confidence
  • Letting children fully explore who they are – what their interests are and how they can relate that to everyday life.
  • growing closer with parents by working in partnership with them rather than as adversaries in education.

With all this going for it, it’s easy to see how it can lead to success in education.

Well, easy unless you are a government official in a recently socialized country…


From → homeschooling

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