Tiger Mom versus Unschooling Dad!

Such is the sensational premise of tonight's episode of Extreme Parenting on the Dr. Drew Pinsky Show.

A TV producer called me at 1:15 PM yesterday and asked if I could be a guest on the Dr. Drew Pinsky Show at 5:15 PM to discuss unschooling. It turns out that the segment is titled Extreme Parenting and juxtaposes a “Tiger Mom” family with an unschooling family. I taped my short bit last night via a remote hookup. I couldn't see anyone I was addressing; I just had an earphone to let me know what the panel was saying and I looked into two white lights, a camera, and a sound booth. It was a very shallow "conversation" and I had to be encouraged by a director's voice in my ear to "jump right in" and start talking since the others were talking over me and I was being polite and listening. The panelists were pretty clueless about unschooling and uninterested in learning more about it. Of course, that didn’t stop them from expressing strong opinions against unschooling.

Lisa Cottrell-Bentley and her family were the subjects of a video that is shown during the segment, but it isn't clear to me if the entire video will play on the show or just the short bit I heard through my earpiece last night (about a minute long). From what I heard, at least this video segment is objective. It will be interesting to see how much of the video is shown.

The producer also asked me for family photos, and I sent some I had on my computer ASAP. Now I'm wondering how they'll be used during the segment. My family may carve me up for Thanksgiving tomorrow if they feel the photos and show put them in a bad light!

I have over thirty years of helping people unschool and unschooling our family, yet unschooling is still being presented by the media as a recent "crazy" idea where the children rule the roost and hapless parents do nothing but provide benign neglect. Not one question about John Holt, the educational basis for unschooling, or about other data about unschooling. As I learned again last night, TV is more interested in generating heat than light on a subject.

The Dr. Drew Pinsky Show airs tonight, 11/23/11, at 9PM EST on the HLN network