or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › How Does Unschooling Work?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How Does Unschooling Work? - Page 5

post #81 of 90
I think the "just living life" thing can be confusing, because on one level it seems to imply a lack of advance planning or putting forth intense effort to learn things. In unschooling families, "just living life" can encompass a lot of things that really don't look like what most people think of as just living life, like pulling out the SAT prep book and making biology flashcards...

One things that has struck me during our years of unschooling has been that I was trained to think of more academic-looking learning as very separate from "just life", and it doesn't necessarily have tp be. It is surprising when an unschooled kid says, "Okay, now, get me an algebra textbook." I almost hesitate to say this, though, because I think a lot of wanna-be unschoolers expect that after a few months of chasing rainbows this is exactly what kids will say: "Okay, enough of that, let's start on those math goals." And really, usually it's not like that at all, especially with the little ones. I've seen a lot of unschooled kids shift a bit at 13 or so, but definitely not all of them.

I guess if kid who has lots of experience with different ways of learning and knows darn well that textbooks and academic curricula are just one tool, and not always a very good one... if *that* kid wants a textbook, I feel differently about it than I do it, say, a parent stocks the shelves with books and answers most questions by referencing them, and rarely says instead, "Let's email Joe and ask" or "call Mary" or go to this place or this website, or go outside and look, or think about what the answer might be, or scartch some stuff on the back of an envelope.

I'm blathering... but I think schools teach that textbooks and formal curricula are the usual (and best) way of gaining knowledge, and therefore it's important for unschoolers to get out of that mind set... but I also think that at times these things can be useful tools, and we also don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater...

Yep, that ice cream sugar high is kicking in just fine....
post #82 of 90
I think that the "intense effort" you speak of comes (mostly) later, Dar. The thing with young unschooled kids is that while they may enjoy challenges when they're interest is really caught, and thus delve into some deep thinking and intense effort to some extent, eventually they get bored or stuck or whatever and move on until it makes sense. Which I think, as an adult, is an excellent way to learn things, really.

As an unschooled teen, I loved doing algebra for fun. I enjoyed Algebra before when I was in school as well, but it was a great deal of fun to work on equations once there wasn't someone forcing me to do it. That's kind of like going ot bed at a reasonable hour or not drinking too much or obeying laws or eating right or exercising though - there are so many things in our lives that are not precisely top of our list for activities we'd love to do, but which we know benefit us so we stick to it and get through it anyway. Other examples are work output or cleaning the house. The outcome is so enjoyable, or...we feel virtuous or accomplished, that the process isn't sooo bad. Or maybe work just isn't that bad to begin with.

And imagine growing up feeling that work was just a part of regular life. No better or worse than taking out the garbage or reading a book...just some of the stuff we have to do. So in that sense, doing things that are challenging in order to get us to a desired end is just...inevitable really. You need to bathe now and then, and cook meals and clean up and run errands and poop, for god's sake, which takes all sorts of time out of the day, but oh well.

Maybe my two beers are kicking in...
post #83 of 90
I am thinking about offerring my youngest a 'program'. She will read a whole book in a morning, cook something, feed her neopets, take care of the animals, play with her playmobil folks, play guitar hero, let me read to her, and then come to me and want to go to the library yet again.

The other day I had her do copy work, then sent her for a 2 mile walk with her sister (to get her out of my hair, I admit) and she still had plenty more hours in a day. But she seemed extra happy. She ended up outside playing for a couple of hours afterwards

It seems there are so many hours in a day to do all kinds of things. There is plenty of time to be free, to play with friends, to work on the computer. She doesn't watch TV, although she could, and she does like movies. Oh, she is very drawn to watching PBS history programing with me at night. She has watched the new Lincoln ones a couple of times, and often asks me if they are on.

I just feel that she may need 'more', but a lot of my feelings lately don't 100% jive with what I think of as unschooling, so I am thinking we aren't going to even be on the unschooling spectrum any longer. I just don't know.
post #84 of 90
You know, I still picture her as like 8, but I think she's really older now... whch kind of goes back to the earlier posts...

What does she want to do? I mean yes, you could fill in the gaps in her schedule for her and give her more to do, but I would see this as more as a sort of regrouping time, during which she's gearing up to burst ahead in some direction... maybe she does need "more", and maybe if you resist the temptation to provide it she'll come up with her own plans and ideas for filling her time.

Just a thought... I also with I had a tenth of her energy... maybe you could send her out here for a bit?
post #85 of 90
Quote:
Just thinking about myself here as an example. It's hard for me to imagine myself as a young teen wanting to learn, say, algebra. I can't imagine acing the SATs, which are required for many colleges, without this integral knowledge. It's hard for me to imagine myself studying science in detail either had I not been forced to do it. It truly is hard for me to picture someone learning the specific, painstaking things that I learned in school just by living life. I'm not saying that other people didn't do it, or that it's difficult to do it, or anything like that. I am just trying to explain why for me specifically it was hard to understand, that's all. I was not trying to say that I thought it was "different" than other aspects of unschooliing.
I wanted to go to college. I saw it as important to go to college. It became a life goal. Therefore, I found out which classes would bear prepare me for college, which classes would give me the best chances for getting into college, and then I took those classes, and did well in them.

No one forced me to take Physics, or AP Chem II, or AP Calc, or AP English Lit. All of that was way above and beyond what what I was "forced" to do. I didn't have to take Any science, or Any math senior year at all, because I'd already fulfilled the requirements, already taken as much in those areas as the typical high school kid did, and still I chose to take two sciences, and calc. Plus the other classes I had that year too.

Kids can have a lot of motivation to make things happen, when they have a goal or generally think something is important or just good or useful. Of course Algebra is useful. I needed Algebra just to be a shift manager in a pizza shop at 17. One of the other 17 year old shift managers had a harder time with Algebra. Guess who ended up getting closing shifts, and who ended up Not getting closing shifts? Me, I'd taken Algebra in the summer school between 8th and 9th grade. I'd researched the math classes I needed in high school for the path I wanted, and realized I was "behind" where I wanted to be. So I signed up for summer school, so I could take the class after Algebra, right away in 9th grade, and be on the path to having AP Calc, senior year.

I had information, and I had a goal, and I made it happen.

Unschooled kids have information, and they develop goals too.
post #86 of 90
I'm glad I found this thread, I was curious as to what unschooling meant, still not sure how it is different that homeschooling.

I see how this could be great for younger kids, but when it comes time to needing certain courses to get into a unveristy, do you then switch to corespndance courses? Maybe it is different now, but when I went to Univerity you needed to have certain high school courses to apply and a lot of these high school courses had province wide exams, so do you just learn the material on your own and challenge the exam, or do you take an online course? What if you do not know the material yourself? I was very very bad at math and barely passed algebra, how would I get a child to learn calculus or so other require thing that was beyond me?

Also do you think there is a place for an unschool philosophy in your day to day life when you do put your chidlren into the school system?
post #87 of 90
Babymommy, here's a post from an unschooling mom about going to university in Canada.

She also has a blog, in her signature, so checking that out might explain a lot. I also saw an older article about a 13-year-old who went to college in Canada after unschooling. It seems there are ways to achieve it with an unschooling approach.

In the US, the qualifiers for entering university are different and have been discussed at length above. As for material you don't know, most unschooling parents and teachers for that matter, don't presume to know everything, but are quite adept at finding desired information. Teaching is really about providing access to information more than it is about actually imparting knowledge. In that sense, really you could do anything and everything to find any and every resource available to help a child find what they want to do.

There are lots of folks who feel that they use an unschooling philosophy outside of education, but for whatever reason send their children to school. I think that's fine and good, but I wouldn't necessarily call them unschoolers. I very much view unschooling as more than an educational choice/philosophy though and it extends to the rest of our lives. We just can't help it. Why let children learn on their own then attempt to control them in other ways? We practice anarchism at home.
post #88 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by babymommy2 View Post
Maybe it is different now, but when I went to Univerity you needed to have certain high school courses to apply and a lot of these high school courses had province wide exams, so do you just learn the material on your own and challenge the exam, or do you take an online course? What if you do not know the material yourself?
We're going through some of this right now, as my 16 year old unschooled daughter just took two SAT II subject tests... exams that test the mastery of certain bodies of knowledge that high school students might learn. They're not necessary for admission to every college, but many of the more competitive colleges do require some of them.

For the literature one, she basically looked through a prep book and taught herself a few terms she didn't know, and that was it. She loves literature and had apparently already learned to do literature analysis just through reading what she loved.

She also did biology, and for that one she took a class at the community college and then studied on her own afterward, because the the class wasn't all that great. I tried to help, but honestly, I took biology over 10 years ago and there were large chunks that I either don't remember or never learned.... so really she did it mostly on her own..
post #89 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
You know, I still picture her as like 8, but I think she's really older now... whch kind of goes back to the earlier posts...

What does she want to do? I mean yes, you could fill in the gaps in her schedule for her and give her more to do, but I would see this as more as a sort of regrouping time, during which she's gearing up to burst ahead in some direction... maybe she does need "more", and maybe if you resist the temptation to provide it she'll come up with her own plans and ideas for filling her time.

Just a thought... I also with I had a tenth of her energy... maybe you could send her out here for a bit?
She recently turned 10! Crazyness. Sometimes I write 9 still. It's hard to believe the time has flown by so quickly. She is very energetic, and in a focused determined way. She (and my older dd) do more in a monring than a lot of people do in a week.

She really doesn't need anything from me...she is very self-starting and self-determined. She is very much like her Dad. She's very creative and playful. I really don't need to do much. She has her own ideas, but she is also very open to mine. She does some copywork now and seems pleased with it. She has also 'done math' with her Dad. He's a math lover, and more traidtional about how to do math. They use a book. Anytime we've done tradtional book learnin' with her, she's been like a sponge, with no downside to her creativity or freedom. So we will see. But I won't call this unschooling...maybe on the spectrum, maybe no.

So. We are going to do school-y lite this summer. She picked out a copy work book on line that I bought, and I ordered the ancient Greece activity book Chfried mentioned in another post (thread?). She's so open and there are so many hours in a day.

I'll let you know how it goes. But i wanted to be upfront, even though I post a lot in the unschooling forum.
post #90 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by babymommy2 View Post
I'm glad I found this thread, I was curious as to what unschooling meant, still not sure how it is different that homeschooling.

I see how this could be great for younger kids, but when it comes time to needing certain courses to get into a unveristy, do you then switch to corespndance courses? Maybe it is different now, but when I went to Univerity you needed to have certain high school courses to apply and a lot of these high school courses had province wide exams, so do you just learn the material on your own and challenge the exam, or do you take an online course? What if you do not know the material yourself? I was very very bad at math and barely passed algebra, how would I get a child to learn calculus or so other require thing that was beyond me?

Also do you think there is a place for an unschool philosophy in your day to day life when you do put your chidlren into the school system?
The tradional school route still "requires" you to go through this process - but there are a number of Universities which accept homeschoolers using other yardsticks to assess educational readiness for university. McMaster is a good example of a university which is willing to see beyond the OSSGD to the whole person. I've heard Brock is good too.

In Ontario there is also Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition PLAR in Ontario which allows homeschooled students to request credits for work they have done.

My oldest isn't highschool age yet and I am hoping that things will change a bit by that time, but at the moment we are planning on using PLAR, AP courses, the SAT, apprenticeships/internships and non traditional learning opportunities like Shad Valley as a way to build a comprehensive high school program to get him where he wants to go which at the moment is Engineering at University of Waterloo.

Friends of ours who were homeschooled til grade 10 and then entered into an alternative environmental/social justice education program has just been accepted at Pearson College - which is an IB school and looks amazing. A non-traditional route can and does lead to university.

HTH
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › How Does Unschooling Work?