or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › I am no longer a supporter of unschooling :( (BIG vent, dont read if ur going to be offended)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I am no longer a supporter of unschooling :( (BIG vent, dont read if ur going to be offended) - Page 6

post #101 of 455
While I do believe that unschooling can work for most kids but I don't think that all parents can successfully unschool...

I am OK that my kids may not be with their peers on some subjects just as I am OK that they may know more than their peers on others...

My 8 year old had the stereotypical video game obsession and played for hours and hours on end... he taught himself how to read through it. Now he hardly plays anymore and instead devours books... He may not have memorized his "times tables" and answer questions on paper at the moment but he understands the concepts and knows how to work the answer out which is as important if not more than memorizing IMO...

If he was to go into grade three, he might not be at the same level as his peers in everything but it is not my goal for him to be either... If it was I wouldn't be unschooling.
post #102 of 455
I haven't read all 6 pages of the thread-- yikes-- but to help you feel better, I just wanted to point out that your kids (who are still very young! no need to panic!!) might have struggled and been academically behind even if they had been in school, or even if you had been a structured homeschooler.

I have done one or both (school + homeschool, usually structured) with my kids. While they are very good at certain things-- like reading-- they REALLY struggle with other subjects and probably would be failing those subjects if they were in school.
post #103 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post
I just wanted to point out that your kids (who are still very young! no need to panic!!) might have struggled and been academically behind even if they had been in school, or even if you had been a structured homeschooler.
I agree. I was public schooled my entire life, but we switched schools quite a bit on account of our moving. Every time we started a new school there were adjustments to be made because different schools and teachers did things differently. I'd be behind on some subjects and ahead on others. Sometimes I was tested to see where I should be placed and a few months into school they'd realize they had placed me in the wrong class. These kinds of issues are very common when switching to a new school no matter what kind of educational background you come from.
post #104 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by railyuh View Post
I agree. I was public schooled my entire life, but we switched schools quite a bit on account of our moving. Every time we started a new school there were adjustments to be made because different schools and teachers did things differently. I'd be behind on some subjects and ahead on others. Sometimes I was tested to see where I should be placed and a few months into school they'd realize they had placed me in the wrong class. These kinds of issues are very common when switching to a new school no matter what kind of educational background you come from.
That is a great point... I moved through a lot of schools and had to adjust each time... The biggest moves were from the BC system to the Quebec system. They didn't have the goals for the same age groups so there were things that I had never done yet and things that I had already done...

Going from the English system to the French system was another hard move. I failed Math because the teachers didn't understand my work even though I had the right answer...
post #105 of 455
Thread Starter 
Im an RN and our work schedules are different than "regular" FT workers...we mainly work 12s so that means I am home more than I am at work. MANY MANY nurses homeschool their children, a lot of women go into nursing so that they can kinda have their cake and eat it too so to say, as far as being a working mom AND a SAHM...as a nurse, you basically can do both. I have more than enough time to take my kids to the zoo every week, the science museam, the park, hiking, park, etc etc etc. But I also am able to get *me* time and adult/professional time, something that a lot of "typical" HSing moms dont get and burn out on. I am in a very fortunate position.

But really, none of that is an issue. My husband doesn't work FT and is home with the kids when I work.

I just wanted to make that clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Ok that is a whole lot of missing information that is important. Personally I can't even imagine trying to work full time overnights at the same time I'm HSing my kids, let alone USing them. I don't see how that is going to work unless my husband is staying home with them. I'd need my sleep. I thought from the OPs post that she was forced into a situation where she could no longer stay home and do this and was forced to put her kids in school.
post #106 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by marilynmama View Post
I feel I have done my children a disservice by unschooling them.

I have been unschooling my children for 8 years now. I have a 12 yo and an 8yo. This year, for various reasons, we decided the 8yo would start school (3rd grade). She was so VASTLY behind the other kids in every subject it was embaressing, overwhelming for her, a NIGHTMARE for both her and us. It was so bad we had to pull her out. The only part she had no trouble with was socializing lol.

Never will I unschool again! I dont want any flames for this because I have a right to my exerience and opinion.

I am very upset with myself. I feel I have been duped and lied to by the unschooling community honestly.

I still firmly support and believe in homeschooling, but no longer can I support unschooling for my family.
HUGS Momma, I have no statement to make on school at home vs unschooling ... but i hear the pain and frustration in your voice and i am so so sorry
post #107 of 455
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Lisa1970;15839440] I don't see how any 8 yr old could be behind unless they have learning disabilities and would have been behind anywayQUOTE]

Wow.....that is a very ignorant statement to make.
post #108 of 455
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for the wonderful support and this great discussion that has evolved. I just now am logging in after a day or two of being gone from this site and am shocked at the response this has got!

There is just so much to read and think about right now from your posts.

I am feeling much better and more confident, this whole experience has been quite a blow to me. We are trying to figure out things right now for our family.
post #109 of 455
OP, I'm sorry for what your DD and you are going through. I would also like to thank you for such an honest post about it. It may help someone else avoid a similar situation.
post #110 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
What I thought was interesting about the study is that it suggests that the practicing was actually interfering with understanding, and that by allowing kids to mature until they were ready to understand, and with 6 months of practice, these kids were more competent than kids who'd had years of practice, but had been forced to begin before they were able to understand what they were practicing.

In other words, while practice is important, it cannot replace understanding and does not necessarily result in understanding.

I suspect that often "practice" gets credit for an increase in skills when greater maturity actually is responsible.


Agreed.
Yes, I agree that people say "look at what a difference all this work made in getting my two-year old to read" when really the reason so much work was required is that two-year olds aren't developmentally ready to read. I think that is a major issue in public schools too, and the study in question suggests that it is a serious issue issue with the way math is generally being taught. But to say that math practice that is developmentally on target gets in the way of learning math isn't really addressed at all by that particular study. So I think it is wrong to use that study to conclude that practising math will get in the way of learning it.

I have a certain personal experience that leads me in that direction. As a high school student I was sooo into John Holt, and wanted to be unschooled. And while I understood the concepts we learned in math, I did not see the necessity to practice by doing the homework, and I never bothered to learn my multiplication tables either. It was a poor decision on my part. Not only did I later find that I couldn't do the operations with any reasonable speed, and that I had to re-think procedures every time I wanted to do them, I was stunted in my ability to get to a deeper understanding of the concepts because I hadn't spent enough time absorbing the medium. I'd compare it to a person who learns colour theory, but never gets to mess around with actual paint. Time spent messing around with the paint not only improves your facility and understanding of the colour mixing theory, but you begin to see the deeper relationships of space and colour that you simply can't learn theoretically.

Facility is also an issue too - speed and making things second nature. When I was a soldier, we had to learn all the rifle drills for loading, saftey, and clearing stoppages, in this way. Someone had calculated how often one had to practice this before it became an automatic reaction (it was a large number, over 1000 times I believe). Understanding the theory helped at the beginning, but making it an automatic process simply took time. Now, not all skills need to be learned in this way, and it is worthwhile to think about what they are, but they do, I think, exist. Fixing a stoppage in the middle of a battle (for a soldier), writing in one's native language, and basic math operations (for most people) are good candidates for things that one can benefit from accomplishing without having to consciously think it through.

Understanding before practice is to my mind a given, but I don't know of any school either that says it is a good idea to practice things one doesn't understand. They may mistake when that is (like the math students being moved on to abstract operations too early) but they are still thinking that the students understand the concepts they are teaching.
post #111 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrycrisis View Post
OP, I'm sorry for what your DD and you are going through. I would also like to thank you for such an honest post about it. It may help someone else avoid a similar situation.


Thank you for sharing your story and feelings with us.
post #112 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I missed this before-- "unschooling" is an idea, and is therefore unable to "address" anything. It's not an idea that has single author like the Charlotte Mason, Waldorf or Montessori approaches.

As someone who tends towards the unschooly end of the spectrum, I would argue that unschooling can lead to a better understanding of history, science, and other information related to cultural literacy. Unschoolers have the opportunity to hear about something in context, and then pursue greater understanding. Using a language leads to better fluency than simply studying a language in a classroom, and learning about and applying knowledge in the real world can similarly lead to better and more complete understanding.

This isn't just theoretical for me, I've had my 9 year old explain how momentum and buoyancy are responsible for the way a toy was behaving in her brother's bath. My kids would probably struggle some if they were put in school, right now because there are classroom-related skills they haven't been practicing, but I have every reason to believe that they will be uniformly well ahead of "grade level" by the time they are of graduation age.
Unschoolers are a community with a POV about education, just like other groups. And they do have their gurus, John Holt comes to mind (though like Maria Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and others, he isn't saying a lot at the moment). There is an unschooling sub-forum here, where people talk about the benefits, and presumably the limitations, of unschooling. So I don't see it as any different that any other group of people interested in education.

All I am saying is that what are the basic or fundamental knowledge that one needs to be considered educated is a good question for unschoolers, as it is for other groups. Unschoolers are perhaps unique in having an element that at times seems to deny that there is any such set of basic knowledge.

Kids taught in even formal classroom settings can often relate their learning to real experiences - I am not sure if you are saying this is somehow unique to unschooling. In the end, if kids get a high quality education, either in school or by unschooling, they will likely do well. But one can get a low quality formal education, or low quality unschooling, (that is, in both cases, not enough care and attention really) and one simply won't learn or be able to apply it. I think it is not useful when talking about theory to compare good unschooling with poor formal learning, or vice versa.
post #113 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
So yes, of course parents take their schooled children to museums and zoos and botanical gardens and such. But I suspect in many cases that they don't really know how very much they're missing by going on the weekends or after school. Were I to do school again, we'd take as many "sick" days as allowed and go to these kinds of places at non-crowded times when we can learn vastly more and spend more time at a more leisurely pace.
sure. i agree with you. there are obvious advantages to homeschooling (thus...why we've always done it). my point in agreeing with that poster's comment was that i believe families that choose public school can still have rich lives that involve the same values & attributes of homeschooled families. do they experience it differently? probably. but that wasn't my point. i feel like the tone can sometimes be, "poor poor schooled children ...what uninvolved parents they have"... and honestly, that is not my experience with my 3 sisters and many friends that choose to utilize public school. they equally love their kids and seek to enrich their lives vastly, just like me. they also have playtime, baking, messy experiments, bug collecting, camping trips, museum visits, etc. perhaps my experience is reflected in the kind of people i have in my life & they're the minority, but i am optimistic in saying i don't believe that. we may parent differently, but the underlying motive is the same, which is to love our kids and give them the best experience we can.
post #114 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post
what I think is missing from this discussion is that unschooling our children takes alot of work on the parents part. US parents need to expose their children to a wide variety of the real world. Visit museums multiple times a year, travel, watch documentaries together, have a vast home library on a variety of subjects. I have never understood quality US to be that you stay home all day and let your child play video games while mom reads and cleans the house. I have seen it written here on MDC over and over again how US can be more work than school at home. And even with a US parent who provides all of these experiences and opportunities for their dc, if their dc aren't absorbing all the info or showing motivation to explore knowledge further, than it is the US parents JOB to say "US is not the right choice for my dc". I feel that if a child is truly exposed to a quality US lifestyle, they should naturally learn the basics of an elementary education, basic math skills, reading, writing, history ect.



Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
When I took my kids to a museum, we were there for 2-3 hours, and with massive crowds, which made it hard for them to really see the artwork close up. We certainly didn't see any of the special exhibits or take the time to really study anything. We did afterschool classes, about 1 per child, but YMCA level classes so if we missed one due to the child being exhausted and falling asleep, it wasn't too costly.

Since we've been homeschooling, we go to the museum or zoo a minimum of once a week, usually for 5-6 hours, and we leave when it starts getting crowded. We see a ridiculous amount more than we do when we go on the weekend to meet a schooled family. We now do an audition-only dance class, and we can schedule to make it work. We also do a few more classes per kid for the social aspects of them.

So yes, of course parents take their schooled children to museums and zoos and botanical gardens and such. But I suspect in many cases that they don't really know how very much they're missing by going on the weekends or after school. Were I to do school again, we'd take as many "sick" days as allowed and go to these kinds of places at non-crowded times when we can learn vastly more and spend more time at a more leisurely pace.
This only makes sense to me as an argument if homeschoolers don't take their child to museums and zoos for all of summer, or school vacations (which take up about a total of 5 weeks during the Sept-June months that school is in session). And you'd be missing all of the special events that these places hold specifically for children, which they schedule at the point when most children can attend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
My son will be 3 in Feb next year, and I am quite sure he will not be figuring out the square root of anything (I remember reading about an unschooled child who was doing that at age three).
Not to change the subject, but how on earth can a three year old be "unschooled"? Being an unschooled is just called "being a three year old" in a three year old. Where i live, preschool doesn't even start until 3 (state licensing... although there are a handful of toddler programs out there they are licensed as daycares and usually run out of someone's home 1x a week) so schooling them isn't even an option even if you really really wanted to. And I can't imagine forcing a 3yo to sit through any sort of lessons that he doesn't want to sit through unless you actually tie them to the chair. There are probably some totally out there parents who do it, but I'm in overachievement central, and I've certainly never heard of anything like that. I'm really not sure that any academic achievements accomplished by a three year old can be attributed to a parent's academic philosophy, and I'd be dubious of any such claims. The child sounds profoundly gifted, and there's not really much a parent can do to influence that level of giftedness.
post #115 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrycrisis View Post
OP, I'm sorry for what your DD and you are going through. I would also like to thank you for such an honest post about it. It may help someone else avoid a similar situation.
I agree, thank you. This dialogue is sooooo important! I am so thankful this thread hasn't been closed. Our stories are important.
post #116 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
A pp mentioned that her unschooled 9yo can't write his name. Another mentioned that her unschooled sister at 10 was illiterate. I imagined from the OP's description that it was something quite obvious like that: that her 8yo didn't know letter sounds, couldn't write or do simple computation. I don't see why any "convincing" from the school would have had to take place. Either the child had these skills or she didn't.
My below post was originally directed at something removed. I'm just quoting zinemama's because it refers to my 9 yo and I wanted to share our experience. But it is interesting that a child can be labeled as behind, at level, or ahead depending on who is doing the looking. My friend was considered gifted in one school and learning disabled (of course he could have been both) in the next school. I've been accused of educational neglect by random internet strangers, yet I have a bright inquisitive child who is thriving. He is developing asynchronously, which alarms some people although it is far from uncommon.

I'm the one with the 9 yo who has never demonstrated being able to write his name without someone telling him the letters. Note that this doesn't mean he can't, just that he hasn't. Well, I know he has no clue about his 12 letter last name, lol. And he could definitely do a 3 letter shortened version of his first name but we don't use a nickname. Like I mentioned, I suspect perfectionism issues. He likes to be 100% sure and confident in something first. We just took the training wheels off his bike yesterday although he has been balancing nicely with the wheels bent up for 2 years. Unschooling is perfect for his temperament.

Interestingly, he did absolutely fine on the third grade standardized test he was required to take, last spring. His first test ever and he did just as well as all the kids who have been in school since the age of 4. But I do think he would have had trouble actually being in school all day everyday and completing the volume of work. But hey, that's why we homeschool.

I know enough kids who have started reading and writing at older ages (8-10) to be even vaguely concerned about his writing. He has started typing on in game chats. Small words for now, 2 to 5 letters. But that will grow just as his sight words increased until he was reading fluently. I have seen how my child learns and have no doubts he is going to be one awesome well educated adult. Our path will get there although it is wildly divergent and bushwhacking through to the more conventional path at this point would be difficult. I'd certainly take another path that is a bit closer to the conventional path if I thought we'd have to get over there quickly.
post #117 of 455
I still believe that you can be child led, unschooled while gaining basic knowledge- this to me doesn't mean a set course of study, but a foundation on which to build.

Knowing and trusting that a child can learn in their own time, in their own way is an essential belief in my version of unschooling.

We cover math, science, reading, history, music, art, phys ed but how we get there and what we use is up to us. I am not divorced from the learning process, I am involved and aware of what they are learning. I document, observe and take notes all the time. The kids create portfolios that document their learning and reflect on their learning.

Unschooling to us doesn't mean we do what they want all the time, because we are a family of 5 and each of us has needs. We do our best to balance. Honestly, today was just one of those days where the kids did what they wanted all morning. It is what they needed to do today and I had to follow their lead. I had an idea of what we might do based on what they said they wanted to do, but guess what- they changed their minds.

I have some basic requirements- we need to do math and reading daily. What they read is up to them. How long they read is up to them.
Math is a little more "set" as we are studying geometry. Yes, we are using a textbook and yes, they need to do math before the end of the day. Do we use the textbook all the time and exactly as perscribed? Nope. In fact, they will probably chose to play a game.

To me, it isn't important where we go, or how we get there, it is the process and the involvement that is important.
post #118 of 455
A very interesting read!!

I'd like to preface this reply with we now do public school but we did homeschool in years previous with a major leaning to unschooling..I really hate labels lol

Our experience was much like the op's we believed that the kids did not need formality, we visited museums we did outside nature stuff, had a huge library of books at their disposal..we engaged them as much as our budget would allow..my 7 yr old (6 at the time) THRIVED he self taught himself to read because he wanted to play world of warcraft and knew that he needed to be able to read the quests

My daughter on the other hand..not so good. She's now 9 (8 last yr) and could barely write her name, or any letters without a model..and reading..not happening..you can prob look back at some of my posts on this forum where I was FREAKING because she was not learning at all.

So life threw us a major curve-ball we HAD to put them in public school.

Long story short, My DD ended up being diagnosed with a cognative disability..she is in a self contained room most of her school day and just now starting to learn sight words. DS is thriving at school, top of his class etc.

But the point I wanted to make with this post is that often-times as parents we overlook the not so good things about our kids, we need an outsiders POV to say hey something isn't right here..

Our Dr's never paid that much attention to DD to find anything wrong with her..shes fine physicaly..maybe because we are low income and don't exactly have the best care around, who knows..and I dont blame the Dr's honestly they have 50 people to see without insurance. so its bound to happen that things they arent neccesarily going to look for things and everthing isnt going to be evident to them in 1 yearly visit. (and I will shut up before my health insurance rant kicks in lol)

We did associate with other homeschoolers, but my gut tells me most people didn't pay that much attention to her (as most adults don't) to see there was an issue, or they were to kind to discuss it with me..My degree is in Marketing and DH in computer science, neither of us has any education background whatsoever..So we went to the public school system with our tail between our legs saying we are at a loss..its all our fault etc..Yes there was a whole lot of guilt and frustration and *clears throat* debates over wether we just screwed up or if there was something wrong. And now even after shes getting all the services she needs we still feel guilty that we didn't send her to school earlier because she lost out on a few yrs of services.

I can completely understand where the OP is coming from, its a very hard slap in the face when everything you believed to be true turns out to be not true for you..I'm not at all saying unschooling or homeschooling doesnt work, but it doesnt work for ALL kids,even in the same family. There are certain milestones that every kid should meet even unschooled kids (ie writng their name) should hit at some point in the younger years, not only because of a possible disability, but because NONE of us knows what the future holds..and for parents like us who denied all the signs there was any issue other than shes just not ready. like alot of people and the OP we got swept up in the hype and by doing so totaly failed to acknowledge her needs.
post #119 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
Not to change the subject, but how on earth can a three year old be "unschooled"? Being an unschooled is just called "being a three year old" in a three year old.
School at 3 really is the norm, now. And the daycares are all busy being educational, quizzing toddlers on their colors, teaching the alphabet and numbers, teaching names of body parts... Unschooling 3 year olds would be letting them be, letting them explore, letting them learn. It can only be called unschooling because schooling is now the norm for that age. What unschooling is to me is just continuing how I parented ds as a toddler, facilitating him as he learns. It's really just parenting and an absence of school and externally directed learning, just like when ds was 2. So I agree that the idea of unschooling a 3 yo is odd but I totally understand why people use that term with that age.
post #120 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
(I remember reading about an unschooled child who was doing that at age three).
I'm responding to this in case it's my comment your are remembering, as I've mentioned something similar a couple of times on these forums. My ds is unschooled and at age three he was building with blocks and made some observations about square numbers. He told me that 1, 4, 9 and 16 were all square numbers. He had just built a lovely pyramid of cubic blocks where the bottom array was 4x4, on top of that was a 3x3 square of cubes, then 2x2 and a last cube on top. He counted the blocks in each level. He was an excellent counter for age 3, and obviously had an eye for visual-spatial patterns, but he was simply counting and expressing his observation of the real world, not doing complicated arithmetical computations.

So if that's my comment you're recalling, you're putting a much more intimidating spin on it than there was in reality.

Miranda
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › I am no longer a supporter of unschooling :( (BIG vent, dont read if ur going to be offended)