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when regular life takes up the whole day/week/month - Page 2

post #21 of 80
I am totally in favor of HSing but don't most states require some sort of proof that a child is learning? The math thing would worry me, I can't imagine how difficult it is to catch up 5 or more years of math.
post #22 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cukup View Post
Yes it does sound lovely but I think this:

"Cooking/baking usually involves measuring, typically in fractions (1/2 cup; 1/4 tsp). Even if you don't use actual measuring cups or measuring spoons, you're eyeballing amounts, estimating the serving size. That counts as math. For x amount of pasta, you need to boil y amount of water. Or feeding the animals--x amount of food per animal."

is a bit misleading. Yes it maths but it's what kindergarten kids for maths. It's also something that really takes no skill. Most people can easily measure out half a cup of flour. To me that is not an acceptable maths experience.

Your daughter sounds a wonderful girl, enjoy her and equip her for her future.
That really depends on if you ever do any modification of recipes. My son is working on a 3rd grade math curriculum and he's just now able to double a recipe without a lot of help from us. Estimation was also covered in his math class this year, as was elapsed time, and more than one digit addition and subtraction.

I'm not unschooling. But when I read that the OPs daughter was only doing math at a second grade level I wonder if she has a real idea what is covered in a 2nd grade math curriculum. They haven't done much on distance, they don't do any multiplication or division yet (other than skip counting). If she's doing much day to day stuff such as helping with cooking and shopping she likely knows more than an average 2nd grader. Does that mean she's at the same math level as other kids her age who do school? I don't know. But math is pretty basic up through middle school.

It sounds like you do lots of educational stuff in your average lazy day. Perhaps at this point you just need to be narrating a bit more. To fill in some of those gaps or maybe even just to help yourself realize the skills you are using in your daily life. Why do you feed the animals X amount?, Why do the cages need cleaned?, 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup = 1 cup so would you go grab that measuring cup for me? Let's see I want 3 of these at $4 each so $12 wow that's steep, lets just get two. etc. etc.
post #23 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthMamaToBe View Post
I am totally in favor of HSing but don't most states require some sort of proof that a child is learning? The math thing would worry me, I can't imagine how difficult it is to catch up 5 or more years of math.
I think it really varies by state.

Some states have no reporting necessary, some insist parents show portfolios or test results, submit outlines, etc. This is do-able within the scope of USing (although a PITA to most parents, I am sure).

The math thing might worry me.

I would need to ascertain 2 things to reduce my worry:

1. is she OK with her level of math? Some kids would be, and some would be deeply affected by the fact there math skills were so much lower than their peers. If she was worried, I would problem solve with her onhow to get her skills up to par.

2. Do I feel she can't do math? There is a difference between can't and doesn't. If I felt at all that she had dyscalcula - I would check it out.

Assuming she was Ok with her math level, and no math LD seemed to be looming, I would relax somewhat.

I believe fairly strongly that most people could learn the arithmatic that counts as life skils in fairly short order. I do beleive everyone should be able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and do basic fractions, decimals and percentages. But really - how long is that going to take? 1 year at the most. I suspect most people who get to age 12 in our culture have some knowledge of these through living life, so there is a base to build on. Because USed kids are not usually tested, they often have skills we do not know about.

I do think parents have a responsibility to their children to ensure they have mathematical life skills, but there is an excellent chance the DD's desire for these skills will kick in on its own in the next few years. her DD is going to want to be able to figure out tip and tax, to make a budget. These are things adults need, and as teens often want to grow up, and worry about the future, she will seek out these skills.

If it doesn't (which I think is highly unlikely), the mother could problem solve with her DD and work on a way to get her skills up to par, but I don't think that needs to happen until the DD is 16 or so.

FWIW - I used to hand wring over my DS's (age 14) writing skills (oh, the posts I have written!). He is taking a geography course now which has a fairly large writing component, and he has had few troubles with writing. He caught up almost instantly. This is despite the fact that at age 12 I would have placed his writing skills on a grade 2 level. I know math is different than writing, and I do think math would take a little longer to catch up, but the core belief that people can catch up amazingly quickly when they have to is still the same.
post #24 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
FWIW - I used to hand wring over my DS's (age 14) writing skills (oh, the posts I have written!). He is taking a geography course now which has a fairly large writing component, and he has had few troubles with writing. He caught up almost instantly. This is despite the fact that at age 12 I would have placed his writing skills on a grade 2 level. I know math is different than writing, and I do think math would take a little longer to catch up, but the core belief that people can catch up amazingly quickly when they have to is still the same.
I remember your hand-wringing posts! Thanks for the update.
post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Really? Because my experience is that every last unschooler I know has indeed, when motivated and engaged (rather than coerced by well-intentioned parents or schoolteachers), been able to catch up to an early-to-mid high school level in less than six months. I don't doubt that there aren't a few out there with fairly profound learning disabilities that prevent them catching up ... but assuming there are no LD issues with the OP's dd, I don't doubt she could gain a pre-algebra level of proficiency in short course.

Miranda
Maybe she could. Who knows? The problem is that by 16, 17, 18 it's too late if she's one of the ones who can't catch up in 6 months.

OP - is she around grade level in all other areas?

I am a bit confused though. Now, bear in mind I have a toddler and haven't done any schooling as yet but I thought that unschooling was child-led learning - the child expresses an interest in a subject and you provide the resources (or in the case of an older kid assist them in finding their own resources) to enable them to explore that subject (and around it) in depth. Because if I'm right, I don't see much of this going on in this particular situation, unless the mom simply hasn't mentioned it?

However I don't think baking cakes or measuring dog food cut it as education at age 12, that's the kind of 'learning' I do with my toddler.
post #26 of 80
I don't see unschooling as child-lead in the sense that the kid says, "Wow, I love this dinosaur movie!" and the parent goes out and gets dinosaur books, and maybe the Dino Math game, and finds some biographies of paleontologists for the kid to read, and maybe an explanation of Carbon 14 dating, just to "cover" science through the kid's interests. That's more of a unit studies approach, which is fine but not my cup of tea..

Unschooling is not schooling. If a kid expresses an interest in something then yes, of course, share what you know and what you may come across. For example, I noticed yesterday that my kid's facebook profile pic was of her at a dinosaur exhibit somewhere, so I sent her a link to a brand-new dino exhibit here in Paris asked if she wanted to go. She said yes, she loves dinosaurs. News to me, but cool. That's the same kind of thing I've always done.

As far as cooking as math... that is sort of a "classic" answer to the "how will unschoolers learn math?" question, and I think in general it's sort of overdone. I do think, though, that stuff like doubling and halving recipes is a nice hands-on way for kids to be introduced to multiplication and division of fractions, since a lot of kids (and adults) just seem to know the algorithm but have no real sense of why it works. If you realize that 3/4 divided by 2 is 3/8 and 1/2 of (times) 3/4 is 3/8 because you've had to halve a recipe, you understand *why* the algorithm works.

Math is everywhere, though... K-6 math especially is fairly intuitive and even if you don't know the common algorithms or terms, most kids will understand the concepts without much without much (or any) formal study, IMO. I do think there's a developmental reason that a lot of kids delve more deeply into formal education at 12-14 or so... I really noticed my kid begin to think *differently* around that age, in a Piagetian sort of way.
post #27 of 80
If you are concerned that she is so very far behind other 12 year olds in math, then teach her math.

The prealgebra, geometry etc that 7th graders are learning are much more valuable than the actual ability to solve for X, or to graph a data point. They are will enable her to determine what information she needs to solve a given real life problem, and disregard extraneous/irrelevant data.

My own mother, who dropped out of conventional school in jr high (age 13,) is sadly lacking in the ability to assess a problem involving numbers of any kind, figure out how to solve it, and then do so... this includes the geometry needed in basic carpentry, the basic accounting needed to budget, and the estimation skills needed to plan for projects.

If the situations do not present themselves, you may need to create them, even if your philosophy does not allow for any formal "teaching."
post #28 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessie View Post
Maybe she could. Who knows? The problem is that by 16, 17, 18 it's too late if she's one of the ones who can't catch up in 6 months.
Too late for what? If there was something one needed to know at 16, 17 or 18 why couldn't they learn it at that time--regardless of whether it took a month or 6 months or a year or whatever? There is no deadline for learning--we do it all of our lives.

The unschooled teens I've known haven't had a problem learning what they needed to--even those that did virtually no writing, or formal math in earlier years. Once they decide what direction they want to go in, they were able to fill in any gaps. Some obtained a GED, some went on to college. I honestly don't know any who were not able to do what they wanted to do once they set their minds to it.


Quote:
I thought that unschooling was child-led learning - the child expresses an interest in a subject and you provide the resources (or in the case of an older kid assist them in finding their own resources) to enable them to explore that subject (and around it) in depth.
Loosely, I'd say "yes." But this is not limited to "school subjects" and has nothing at all to do with grade levels or keeping up with schooled peers.

Quote:
Because if I'm right, I don't see much of this going on in this particular situation, unless the mom simply hasn't mentioned it?
In her original post, she mentions animal care, cooking, hiking, sports, reading, theater, art classes, trips, and craft fair projects. I'm guessing that this doesn't cover absolutely everything they've ever done, so there's probably more to it. If this is what my child was interested in doing, then to me, unschooling would involve my helping her to have lots of opportunities to do that. It sounds like the op has done that.

OP-I'd be interested in knowing how you determined your dd's math level. it seems to me that many of the activities you listed would involve math skills. Is it possible she knows more than you realize?
post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
In her original post, she mentions animal care, cooking, hiking, sports, reading, theater, art classes, trips, and craft fair projects. I'm guessing that this doesn't cover absolutely everything they've ever done, so there's probably more to it.
I'm guessing so too. For instance her explanation of a day doing "nothing but real life" included listening to "This American Life" podcasts. I just listened to a couple of TAL podcasts, and learned incredible amounts about collateralized debt obligations and hedge funds, economic risk regulation and evaluation, manufacturing and organizational behaviour practices in the U.S. as contrasted with Japan, and Panamanian politics and US foreign policy tactics in the 90's, just to name a few.

One of the things about unschooling is that it is incredibly easy, in moments of worry, to overlook the incredible richness of learning in what seems like mundane daily life.

I too suspect that while the OP's dd may indeed have some significant gaps in arithmetical skills, her conceptual understanding of things like measurement, two- and three-dimensional space, percents, ratios, probability and so on is probably much more advanced than would be typical of a 2nd grader. Perhaps she would have trouble adding 139 to 972, or multiplying 6 and 9, but she might very well understand that 30% off is a good deal, representing almost a third off the regular price, meaning a $15 shirt will cost $10-12, and thus have a pretty decent conceptual understanding of per cents and fractions and how they inter-relate. All of which is difficult to quantify as a grade level, but is definitely way beyond a 2nd-grade level of understanding.

I think this is why math gaps are typically very easy to fill in older unschoolers -- the conceptual context is already firmly in place. Learning the computational algorithms is simple rote-learning if the mathematical understanding is already in place.

Miranda
post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Too late for what? If there was something one needed to know at 16, 17 or 18 why couldn't they learn it at that time--regardless of whether it took a month or 6 months or a year or whatever? There is no deadline for learning--we do it all of our lives.

The unschooled teens I've known haven't had a problem learning what they needed to--even those that did virtually no writing, or formal math in earlier years. Once they decide what direction they want to go in, they were able to fill in any gaps. Some obtained a GED, some went on to college. I honestly don't know any who were not able to do what they wanted to do once they set their minds to it.
I only have time to respond to this part as it's late here. I totally agree that learning is life long but I do think you're at a disadvantage if you're years and years behind your peers. There was a poster not so long back whose children are hugely behind (Rainbowmom?) and she was seeking advice so it does happen.

As an aside, I also wonder how people fund this extra long education? I know in my family there was no way I could have been supported financially past 18 and I imagine it's the same for many families. Is unschooling a mostly middle class phenomenon? ETA. I'm using middle class in what I think it the American sense, meaning those with a little money?

For the record, I'm not rabidly anti-unschooling. I do however think that unschooling means that kids could miss out on important areas of education, such a learning a foreign language, if it's not something in which they show an interest. How do you get round this?

Gosh, I'm full of questions about u/s. I guess this is lifelong learning at work.
post #31 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessie View Post
As an aside, I also wonder how people fund this extra long education? I know in my family there was no way I could have been supported financially past 18 and I imagine it's the same for many families. Is unschooling a mostly middle class phenomenon? ETA. I'm using middle class in what I think it the American sense, meaning those with a little money?
The idea that kids need to leave home and be self-supporting at 18 is pretty common in the U.S.A., but in many parts of the world it's seen as unnatural and cruel. My kid at 18 will be no more of a financial burden than she is at 17. I'm a grad student single mother, so nowhere near middle class financially.

Some unschooled kids leave home at 16, others stay until 20 (all of the grown unschoolers I've known personally have been moved out by 20 - well, one is 20 now and at home). There's nothing magic about leaving home at 18, just like there's nothing magic about learning to read at 6. It's about meeting the needs of your kids.
post #32 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessie View Post

As an aside, I also wonder how people fund this extra long education? I know in my family there was no way I could have been supported financially past 18 and I imagine it's the same for many families. Is unschooling a mostly middle class phenomenon? ETA. I'm using middle class in what I think it the American sense, meaning those with a little money?
We are not middle class. It costs me no more to have my 19 year old at home than it cost when he was 18 or 17. Plus, my teens both are money earners and they contribute to the household in many ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
The idea that kids need to leave home and be self-supporting at 18 is pretty common in the U.S.A., but in many parts of the world it's seen as unnatural and cruel.
Yes, and the funny thing is that lots of 18-22 yr olds are out of the house because they are away at college, NOT self-supporting. The loss of multi-generational households is a fairly recent thing. I know my parents and I lived with my grandmother for a while and my aunt and uncle lived with her parents when they first got married. It actually makes more sense financially than everyone having separate households when you think about it. I would have no problem sharing living space with my kids and their families if everyone was agreeable. There are a lot of advantages to having a multi-adult household when there are kids to be cared for and maybe older relatives who don't drive, etc.

Quote:
For the record, I'm not rabidly anti-unschooling. I do however think that unschooling means that kids could miss out on important areas of education, such a learning a foreign language, if it's not something in which they show an interest. How do you get round this?
I think this presupposes that there is a single body of information to be had. I mean, kids who are schooled "miss out" on lots of the stuff my kids have done because they're busy in school. And, if someone has no desire or need to learn a foreign language, then I'd have to question what, exactly, they are missing out on.
post #33 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post

I think this presupposes that there is a single body of information to be had. I mean, kids who are schooled "miss out" on lots of the stuff my kids have done because they're busy in school. And, if someone has no desire or need to learn a foreign language, then I'd have to question what, exactly, they are missing out on.
Opportunity.
A potential passion for an alternate culture.
A more solid understanding of the structure of their own language.
A broader perspective on the world.

There is plenty that they could be missing out on.
I don't think there is a single body of knowledge to be had. However I disagree with the premise that there aren't cultural components that should be common to a good education, or that there aren't skills which important to at least have a predisposition to in order not to limit ourselves or our children.

The OP's dd may have a strong contextual understanding of math from a rich, intellectually stimulating environment. Or she may not. Math was only one of the list of things that the OP was concerned about. Math, science, foreign language, writing skills, etc.

I part company with the unschooling philosophy at the point that parental instincts are pushed aside in favour of the standard answer Don't worry if they haven't learned it, because if they haven't then they don't/won't need it. and where parental guidance is akin to interference.

I think if the OP is concerned then she should listen to her instincts and not the edicts of any educational philosophy.
post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessie View Post
I only have time to respond to this part as it's late here. I totally agree that learning is life long but I do think you're at a disadvantage if you're years and years behind your peers. There was a poster not so long back whose children are hugely behind (Rainbowmom?) and she was seeking advice so it does happen.

As an aside, I also wonder how people fund this extra long education? I know in my family there was no way I could have been supported financially past 18 and I imagine it's the same for many families. Is unschooling a mostly middle class phenomenon? ETA. I'm using middle class in what I think it the American sense, meaning those with a little money?

For the record, I'm not rabidly anti-unschooling. I do however think that unschooling means that kids could miss out on important areas of education, such a learning a foreign language, if it's not something in which they show an interest. How do you get round this?

Gosh, I'm full of questions about u/s. I guess this is lifelong learning at work.
I've been reading along, and I think that your underlying worldview may be just so different from that of a typical unschooler that even though you may be using the same words, you are likely meaning very different things.

A significant and far-reaching example of this would be your use of the term 'peer.' It isn't technically possible to be behind someone's true peer. A true peer is someone that shares competence/interest/ability to a very similar degree, to the point of being considered 'equal'. I am assuming you mean age-peer, which is a very different thing and, although colloquially accepted, an improper use of the term as regards education, imo.

So saying, my children's peers tend to be several years older than they are. My six yr old's peers tends to be in the range of 9-12 yr old; my five yr old, between 8 and 10; my four yr old, between 7 and 10; and my 28 month old is most peer-related with 4 yr olds.

This is also somewhat dictated by culture and especially mass-schooling because schooled children tend to develop overall, and in general, at a slower pace than free-learners, across the board, ime, so that my children's true peers may be their own ages, if the majority of children were free-learning.

Along the same lines, I question your meaning of the descriptor "behind." What does it mean to be behind and what is the measure of this? How do you prioritise your child's learning such that it is even possible to determine if s/he is behind? How do you decide that it is more important that a child learn that sometimes the letter 'e' is silent and other times it is not, than that s/he discovers that s/he can affect the openness of the pupil of the eye by changing the level of light in the room? If s/he only formally knows the latter, has not demonstrated any understanding of the former, s/he's 7 years old and school curricula require that understanding, is that behind?

If you decide based upon potential global application, then you are also stuck making grand, sweeping assumptions not only about the future of the child, but also the world in general. School curricula are posited on this mentality, and school boards too; they administrate according to what they assume is most relevant and speculate on the future potentials of the child and the world, or nation. Why they assume this place and why people resign it to them is really a serious question, but perhaps not for this thread. They have been disastrously wrong in many ways, and for me, when someone/an institution has shown a level of incompetence that surpasses my patience for it, I am certain to seek out and find a better way to accomplish what matters to me.

Your assumptions about what constitutes an education are not at all aligned with mine and many unschoolers, which is likely why you are not finding agreement with your conclusions. It seems that you are concerned that us'ers won't receive the so-called 'education' (the bucket-full) that mass schooling requires. In my opinion, if my children did receive an equivalent to a ps 'education', I will have failed them miserably and set them up for a lifetime of shedding inauthentic impositions on their characters, intelligences, and abilities among other equally important aspects of human life.

As an important aside illuminated by the op's concerns, I am amazed and saddened at the very, very, very backseat that familial primary bonding being nurtured throughout childhood takes in arguments about the education of children.

In what way is it more important that op's daughter do long division on worksheets than to cultivate relationships with her family? It's easy for a free-learner to do what is natural- to learn according to necessity and desire, at any age. It isn't easy to 'catch up' on a distant and disconnected relationship, which is the result of children and parents being separated for the majority of their waking hours. I realise that most people would disagree with this, but it is self-evident that even though a ps'ed child can have primary bonds with his/her parents, the more time they spend away, being forced into choosing other children or strangers to meet their needs for attachment and bonding, the more this will wear on the relationship between the child and parents.

I only bring this up to illustrate that the op's choice to spend their days just being together is not in any way deleterious to the well-being, future, or education of the child. To prove otherwise, it would have to be shown that relationship is a lower form of human expression than the regurgitation of random bits of trivia. The parameters for determining such a standard would be precarious at best, and plainly inhuman.

You could argue that she could do both- even at home-, but perhaps for them and definitely for my family, the imposition that this would be on the flow of family life and relationship would begin to take precedence over the relationship because it is not natural but imposed, and impositions tend to snowball as a matter of course, ime. It's not necessarily the case, but it is likely enough for me to default to one of the myriad proven beneficial things that are available to us than to risk that.

It's sort of like giving my children peanuts when I know that I have a very serious reaction to them, when I could just feed them any other of the myriad foods that are available to us; why take that risk? The other foods we eat are nourishing and don't pose the risk that we can surmise peanuts may or do.

I am raising humans who, like every other living being on this earth, have the capacity to learn everything essential to being one of their species, and adapt to their environment according to their intelligence, ability, and to a very large extent, their connection with others of the same species. I am using 'connection' in the sense of relational/familial bond, not simply physical proximity.

Have you considered that human beings are the only mammals to send our young away to 'learn' how to live? This is not a function of higher intelligence either, as may be supposed, but of a fundamental misunderstanding of the human being's needs. Relationship is paramount for us, no matter our intelligence, and if something is going to truly hold a person back from achieving, it is likely going to be relationally-rooted rather than a lack of stored facts or synthetic skills- anyone can acquire those at any time, if necessary.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'funding this extra long education' mostly because I think I understand 'education' very differently, but also because it is the same question as how will I provide food/shelter/love for my children until they are ready to carry on autonomously away from the home of their childhood.

I am not certain of the future in a step-by-step way, of course. I adapt to the needs of our family and trust that I will continue to be capable of doing so. Financially, I also am not certain, but in any case, I would live in a shed or a tent if that were the only financially viable way to provide my children with what they truly need. I'll do what I have to for my children. I don't exclude their education from life in general, so its a distinction that doesn't exist for us.

I want to express that I am passionate about this topic as it is integral to my whole worldview and way of life, but my passion doesn't deviate into a lack of respect for you or any other negative thing at all. I know that my writing can come across that way at times; I'm not an emotionally-driven person and tend to prefer 'concise' over 'polite' but I do care about people and love that others are willing to discuss difficult subjects. I hope that in explaining this, you will continue to write boldly and not feel pressured to 'fight back' or especially to back down on expressing your views. Rarely does nothing useful come from a discussion (even when polemic) between people expressing differing perspectives, so I hope you will continue.
post #35 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
...going only as far as "doubling a recipe" in math seems a bit of a real-world disservice to a child. If you'd like to incorporate more practical math, how about some financial education? Budgeting, checkbook balancing, figuring out the interest on a loan, miles per gallon, etc.
I didn't realize that I was arguing in favour of using ONLY COOKING as a way to learn Math. I was just trying to point out that cooking can incorporate many advanced math concepts beyond that of kindergarten level.

Math and mathematical concepts are encountered so often during daily life that it's hard for me to imagine how a child could NOT acquire more info than this by age 12 (this is assuming a home environment where a child's curiosity is allowed to be carried as far as the child wants, by providing resources, experiences, etc). My guess is, as with reading, the 12 year old has accumulated enough understanding of basic concepts that if she applied herself she could catch up to her peers in no time. We as a culture are so ignorant of how Natural Learning happens that I believe we strongly underestimate what unschooled children know and are learning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthMamaToBe View Post
I look at it like this: How would you react if your daughter was public/private schooled and only doing second grade math at 12?
Well that's why they aren't in school. ;-) Because I truly would not be bothered in the slightest, unless 1) there was evidence of a learning disability or 2) my child was concerned about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Opportunity.
A potential passion for an alternate culture.
A more solid understanding of the structure of their own language.
A broader perspective on the world.
And gaining this observation at age 25 is somehow worse than gaining it at age 12? Why? Plus, I might point out that "Passion" is not something that you can teach. I spent 11 years of school learning French (Canadian system) and could have cared less about the culture or history of either French Canada or France. Ditto with the "broader perspective on the world". That, IMHO, cannot be taught either.

Quote:
There is plenty that they could be missing out on....However I disagree with the premise that there aren't cultural components that should be common to a good education...
The idea that there is a set of facts, skills, or perspectives that constitutes a "good education" is, as I practice and understand it, not consistent with unschooling.

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I part company with the unschooling philosophy at the point that parental instincts are pushed aside in favour of the standard answer...
I agree that parental instinct is very important and should always be a priority. But there is a difference between a parent feeling deeply that "something is not right with my child" and falling victim to the cult of mainstream education (which every one of us has been immersed in since preschool age).

There's no way to assess the quality of the OP's daughter's learning experiences in one post or even one thread maybe, so I (and likely others) are assuming that she has been leading the same sort of unschooling lifestyle as our children do, and therefore her worries are normal but most likely unfounded. We all have our days of doubt, and days where we underestimate the power of children's natural ability to learn.
post #36 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessie View Post
I do however think that unschooling means that kids could miss out on important areas of education, such a learning a foreign language, if it's not something in which they show an interest. How do you get round this?
Everyone misses out on some things, at least when you look at it from a short- or medium-term perspective, say "up to age 18." You can't fit everything into the first 18 years of your life. Whether the things you miss out on are important as in "time-limited and crucial to a happy productive adult life" or important as in "enriching and worthwhile if you're given the opportunity to learn them" is really the question. My eldest is not literate or fluent in a foreign language. On the other hand she's had incredible, life-changing experiences that teens sitting in high school French classes can only dream of: performing concertos with symphony orchestras, backpacking through Myanmar with adult friends, canoeing through the Canadian wilderness, singing at an international choral festival, holding down a steady job for more than a year, traveling on her own, producing a radio show, living away from home part-time.

Who is to say that learning a foreign language is more important than these things? She does sing beautifully in Portuguese, French, Zulu and Yiddish, as well as this non-language. She has a great ear for languages and a strong interest in linguistics. I'm sure if she wants to learn a foreign language she'll do a great job.

How do I ensure that my children will have the ability to learn whatever turns out to be important for them as they grow up in a changing world? I nurture their love of learning, their patience, their work ethic, their confidence and their ability to research, investigate and problem-solve as they pursue their current interests.

Miranda
post #37 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Opportunity.
A potential passion for an alternate culture.
A more solid understanding of the structure of their own language.
A broader perspective on the world.
I only read this after I wrote my post (above). As you know my eldest has traveled extensively in rural SE Asia, has traveled on her own to several large Canadian cities including spending time in Quebec, and is a linguistics buff obsessed with words, literature, etymology and writing. Despite not studying a second language she hasn't missed out on these things at all.

Miranda
post #38 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
And gaining this observation at age 25 is somehow worse than gaining it at age 12? Why? Plus, I might point out that "Passion" is not something that you can teach. I spent 11 years of school learning French (Canadian system) and could have cared less about the culture or history of either French Canada or France. Ditto with the "broader perspective on the world". That, IMHO, cannot be taught either..
There are plenty of opportunities I can think of which are closed to people because they lack a certain set of skills beyond a certain age. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where there are educational expectations for our kids if they want to access certain opportunities and as a result I would never deliberately handicap them in multiple areas. I'm researching high school opportunites for my oldest right now. There are so many really interesting opportunities - exchanges, apprenticeships, working with NGOs, etc and in order to access some of those he will need to have certain skills and be able to demonstrate a body of knowledge by a certain age. Because many of those skills and knowledge sets are common to those sorts of experiences, I think it's important to at the very least make sure he has a contextual understanding of them so that he has the foundation he can use to "catch up" should he choose to take advantage of those opportunities.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
The idea that there is a set of facts, skills, or perspectives that constitutes a "good education" is, as I practice and understand it, not consistent with unschooling.
And I disagree (eta - I agree this is the unschooling philosophy - it's the philosophy that I disagree with, not the definition). I absolutely see value in child led learning and it plays an integral part of our philosophy, but I disagree that an eduation directed and defined only but child led learning is always appropriate or sufficient. I think parental guidance is crucial to helping children construct an understanding of their world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
I agree that parental instinct is very important and should always be a priority. But there is a difference between a parent feeling deeply that "something is not right with my child" and falling victim to the cult of mainstream education (which every one of us has been immersed in since preschool age).

There's no way to assess the quality of the OP's daughter's learning experiences in one post or even one thread maybe, so I (and likely others) are assuming that she has been leading the same sort of unschooling lifestyle as our children do, and therefore her worries are normal but most likely unfounded. We all have our days of doubt, and days where we underestimate the power of children's natural ability to learn.
I agree about instincts and that they need to be discerned from the noise around us. My point was the standard unschooling response is the same kind of noise as the schoolish definition of learning and I find both, to some degree, to be dismissive of parental instincts. The pat answer of "it's all good" disregards what could be more than a momentary blip on the screen, without doing the work of clarify and offering true support to the parent.
post #39 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I only read this after I wrote my post (above). As you know my eldest has traveled extensively in rural SE Asia, has traveled on her own to several large Canadian cities including spending time in Quebec, and is a linguistics buff obsessed with words, literature, etymology and writing. Despite not studying a second language she hasn't missed out on these things at all.

Miranda
The list was a suggestion of the things children could miss out on. Exposure to a language could be the spark that may lead them to the same kinds of things your daughter has experienced. With all due respect, not all homeschoolers/unschoolers are able to offer their children the same opportunites your daughter has enjoyed.
post #40 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
The list was a suggestion of the things children could miss out on. Exposure to a language could be the spark that may lead them to the same kinds of things your daughter has experienced. With all due respect, not all homeschoolers/unschoolers are able to offer their children the same opportunites your daughter has enjoyed.
But if my child attended school, think of all the opportunities they would miss out on then! This argument goes both ways. It's not like not having teachers around means that children are not exposed to things that could be beneficial or fascinating for them. Plus, this way we get to relax about it. The benefit of creating internal motivation is more important to me than a potential lack of accomplishments. My goal is confident children, able to do what they love because they love it. My goal is not measures of success based on arbitrary societal dictates.
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