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I am no longer a supporter of unschooling :( (BIG vent, dont read if ur going to be offended) - Page 2

post #21 of 455
Um, why are you upset that by choosing unschooling your kids didn't learn exactly the same things that institutional education kids did? I'm not sure why you would ever expect that they would learn all the same subjects at the same pace.
post #22 of 455
OP

I also regret trying unschooling. We only did for about 2 years and only radical for a short while, but during that time it totally changed our family life-and not for the better. The kids were less happy, our routines and dynamic changed and we are still trying to come back to how it was "before". Not that I am anti-unschooling for everyone, but it did not work out for my family. It's kinda nice to know I'm not alone when everyone seems to assume you're a bad parent or did it wrong if it didn't work for you.
post #23 of 455
I'm not an unschooler, but we tried homeschooling and it just didn't work for us. Then when we tried putting DD in public school kindergarten she was not socially ready to be there and had to be pulled out, so we had to try again this year, and she's doing OK now. I tried homeschooling her a bit during the intervening year and basically failed miserably on the second attempt as well.

Don't beat yourself up! I still feel guilty about that bad couple of weeks DD had, but she's caught up and developmentally ready to be there now and you'll get there with your kids too. Every approach doesn't work for every family, and if you discover that you took a wrong turn for your kids, all you can do is go the other way and move forward from there.
post #24 of 455
Oh and I forgot to say that in the OPs situation, there is no way you could have predicted whatever life change that happened ( which you mentioned in your post) that made it so your kids had to be put into institutional school. None of us knows the future.
post #25 of 455
I am not a homeschooler (as you would define it) or an unshooling parent BUT I have to say you are taking a lot of blame for what isn't a fault IMO. I have children who are in 1st, 5th and 6th grades and I am disgusted with their schooling, and they are all in "good" schools! They each come home with work that is above their grade level or work that hasn't been learnt in class yet so I end up teaching them almost every evening. I know my children are the youngest in their grades, but I hear the same from other parents. What I mean to say is that your dd being a grade behind expected school grade is not such a surprise. It's a reflection on the schools ever increasing demands to do well and produce over acheivers and be at such and such level rather than to educate the children so they actually understand and remember what they have been taught.
post #26 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by zjande View Post
I so, so wish I'd never fallen for all that "let your child follow their joy" trendy unschooling mumbo jumbo. It sounds ideal, but I don't feel it "works".

Please, please don't take offense anyone. I don't mean a bit of personal offense. This is simply one person's opinion. We are all entitled to them. (in other words, feel free to disagree, just don't let me know by flaming me! )
I've never been a card-carrying "Unschooler," but just a proponent of the wisdom I've found and lived within that accumulated body of thought and experience. But I found that it did work, and worked for not only my son but other now grown friends of his. I get together with some of the other parents from time to time, and we marvel over what wonderful lives our kids are living, although all our experiences were very different all along the way. Unschooling doesn't work for everyone; other types of homeschooling don't work for everyone; and schools don't work for everyone - but there are plenty of wonderful success stories among all those lifestyles. Lillian

post #27 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post
What I mean to say is that your dd being a grade behind expected school grade is not such a surprise. It's a reflection on the schools ever increasing demands to do well and produce over acheivers and be at such and such level rather than to educate the children so they actually understand and remember what they have been taught.
Thank you for offering this observation! I'd been thinking it but was reluctant to say it. Seems to me that catching up to 3rd grade level really shouldn't amount to much at all. When my generation was in school, we didn't start letters, numbers, or reading till 1st grade, didn't begin multiplication till 4th grade, and we all steadily progressed in plenty of time for high school math. It's getting crazy out there... Lillian
post #28 of 455


Don't beat yourself up so much. You learned that this isn't working early enough that you can turn around completely to meet your goals for your children's education. I am sure they will do well with a mama who is able to make changes for their benefit even when it means acknowledging she was incorrect about something.



I had a very idealized view of unschooling at first. I'm glad dh balanced me out. Now, we believe strongly that children learn and retain so much more when they are interested and engaged in what they're learning. Especially things like language arts, music, logic/rhetoric/critical thinking, the arts--it is easy to pour these things into children just through daily living and htey soak it up like sponges. However, our philosophy of life and learning just does not mesh with radical unschooling. What we are doing is making sure our children are at or above grade level through formal schooling, and enriching their lives with kid-directed learning the rest of the day. It works very well.
post #29 of 455
hugs mama. there is nothing done that can't be remedied. the good news is your little girl is only in 3rd grade & getting her to the place you feel she'll have her confidence back is totally doable. i'm sorry you went through that & i'm so sorry it brought down her self esteem. i hope this year is a good one for your family.
post #30 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Um, why are you upset that by choosing unschooling your kids didn't learn exactly the same things that institutional education kids did? I'm not sure why you would ever expect that they would learn all the same subjects at the same pace.
I'm not entirely clear about this, either, as it seems to be the consensus here that educating kids such that they will be able to transition to traditional school with the same skill set as their peers there is not a goal of unschooling.

However, clearly the OP had this expectation and also clearly it came from the unschooling community she now feels so betrayed by. So there has been a disconnect somewhere.
post #31 of 455
But then, when should we expect our children to "catch up" to their peers? Should we expect them to attempt to learn all they never did while younger, in college? Should we expect them to do all the work of digging up information & schooling themselves when they are in their 20s? Shall our kids be using elementary level geography workbooks while their peers have gone far beyond that & are now studying the political history of those countries my unschooled DD can't find on a globe? Might our children be quite frustrated at us parents for not teaching them ourselves, but leaving it up to them to spend years "catching up"?

I feel it was my responsibility to teach my DD, but instead she's having to cram to catch up with just the basics her peers have grasped for years.

I would like my DD to be able to transition to adult life- including work & college, without feeling like she doesn't understand what her peers or parents are talking about at times. She traveled to France recently, but had no idea where France is. I should have taught her these things, not left her to fend for herself as an adult.

Again, please don't feel personally attacked.
post #32 of 455
I was never an unschooler, but I had a similar experience with Waldorf, and I totally understand how you are feeling.

Waldorf takes a very whole language/unschooly approach to reading. My dd was not reading really at all at age 8. All the advice from the Waldorf community, and frankly from the unschooling community as well, was "don't worry," and "reading will magically happen when children are developmentally ready." This was, without a doubt, the absolute worst educational advice I ever received. I watched and waited from the time she was 5yo until her 8th birthday, and then I decided I needed to much more research to help me understand why my completely normal, bright child could not read. What I found out left me feeling completely betrayed. All the current research on reading clearly shows that whole language is a complete disaster for about 30% of the population.

To make a long story short, I felt betrayed. I felt I had been lied to. I was given assurances by people who didn't really know what they were talking about. I am largely to blame for taking discussion board advice too seriously, and I too feel guilty about denying my dd the very simple instruction that she obviously needed.

Reading is not magic; math is not magic; history is not magic. Once I got my head out the Waldorf bubble, I realized that if I want my child to be educated it is my job to see that it happens. The good news is, once I started to teach, she really did learn. You can remediate, but you have to take the slow and steady approach and give her the foundation that is missing. Don't worry about grade level, just meet her where she is and help her catch up.

I am glad to see you post about your experience. I think there is way too much support for unteaching and I am not sure everyone who goes that route is fully aware of the implications of their choice.
post #33 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Um, why are you upset that by choosing unschooling your kids didn't learn exactly the same things that institutional education kids did? I'm not sure why you would ever expect that they would learn all the same subjects at the same pace.
I don't think OP is upset so much about what her children has or hasn't learned but the negative effect that the gap has had upon her children. Which I think we can all agree as mothers that when our child hurts, it is multiplied exponentially in our hearts.

To OP: I'm sorry that you've had this experience. We aren't unschoolers. I knew it wouldn't work for us as grade level is something we are concerned about. But that's not to say that there aren't other parenting choices that I've made that I've regretted. I fully agree though to not beat yourself up. Your children are young and there isn't anything that they can't overcome ~ especially with such a concerned momma!
post #34 of 455
marilynmama, I am so sorry you had a bad experience.

What are your plans now?
post #35 of 455
Radical Unschooling was a disaster for us too. What we now do is similar to one of the other posters mentioned...formal homeschooling for the basics (math & english/reading/grammar) combined with as much child led learning that we can do the rest of the day. We are still playing catch-up on some of the basics, and doing 2nd grade work now. He should be up to 3rd grade work by Christmas, and hopefully he will be "caught up" by the end of next summer when he would start 4th grade. He isn't every going to be totally caught up, due to the language delay, but he sure should be able to do more than he currently does IMO. I am glad I pulled my head together in time to be able to catch up as much as is reasonable, but I will never feel good about the mistakes I made before I came to my senses. He was actually ahead of peers in a lot of areas at Kindergarten age, so it is a double blow when I realized that he wasn't going to be able to do 3rd grade work without some serious catch up.
post #36 of 455
I don't feel personally attacked at all, I have an adult child that was unschooled. I'm an untraditional learner myself so I never really had an expectation that my kids even should learn everything that institutional schooled kids do. As a lifelong learner and avid reader I know that I learned things that most schooled kids never spent time on just because it was of interest to me and some things I learned in schools I have forgotten because I've had no need for it in life. Such is life. I don't think that institutional school is the definer of education or life skills.

The only problem here is that there is no way to anticipate lifes journey. You unfortunately have had a change of personal circumstance that has forced your children to have to fit into a system they weren't a part of. I totally understand that it's frustrating for all involved. I just view this as an unforeseen circumstance not a failure of unschooling or parenting. No one can predict that in advance. I'm sorry your family is going through this difficult time. Sure, if you knew this would happen you might have made a different choice, but no one could know that in advance.

On the other I don't make life decisions based on worst case scenarios I can't predict. I wouldn't stop unschooling just because maybe someday I could be in a position where I had no choice but to put my kids in school anymore than I would keep working instead of SAHMing because I might need a job later and I'd miss out on all the career advancement. Other people may make different choices.
post #37 of 455
I'm so sorry it didn't work out how you'd hoped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marilynmama View Post
I love my children and only want the very best for them! I feel like I have failed my children....I guess that is my main point.
My thought on this is that you haven't failed them in the least. You haven't given up on them, you're just changing and modifying your course of action. I think we all do that at some point or another in most facets of life.
post #38 of 455
I'm so sorry things didn't work out for you as planned. I can only imagine how disappointed you must be.

I always look at everything as "what works for one may not work for another". Some people obviously really thrive and do well with unschooling, others probably not so much. Same with homeschooling in general. The key is finding what works for parent AND child.

Try not to be too hard on yourself. You did what you thought was best. It will turn out fine in the end though!
post #39 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by zjande View Post
But then, when should we expect our children to "catch up" to their peers?
For my kid it happened during the teen years, for many things... and for some things she was already ahead. And of course, there are things schooled kids learn that she has no interest in learning and hasn't had a need to learn yet, so she hasn't yet, and likewise there are things she knows that most schooled kids don't, because they're not generally taught in schools.

I guess for us, my kid started to look at where she wanted to be in 2 or 3 or 4 years and think about what she needed to do to get there, and although there were fits and starts and some frustrations, she's done pretty well at getting herself there. Maybe that's because of things I did, without intentionally doing them? I don't know.

I've read about how parents from certain classes just intuitively talk to kids about certain things and in certain ways, and I suppose I did this. Maps have always been around, NPR has always been on the radio, friends came to our house and discussed the political situation in other countries... that's our family culture, and it ties in nicely with the knowledge set usually considered indicative of being an educated person in the U.S. OTOH, my kid learned very little from me about, say, sports, or fashion, and I'm not sure how well-educated she'd be considered in those areas today. On the third hand, our family culture was pretty low on stuff like cinema and literature, and she knows a lot about those...

I'm just sort of thinking aloud here. I think it's a topic that doesn't get explored very often, because people do wind up feeling attacked or offended. Why (or in what situations) does unschooling not work? Is the issue that of unreasonable expectations for unschooling, or are there things some unschooling parents are doing that aren't discussed, but that lead to unschooling working for them? Or is unschooling just not suited for certain kids?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
The only problem here is that there is no way to anticipate lifes journey. You unfortunately have had a change of personal circumstance that has forced your children to have to fit into a system they weren't a part of. I totally understand that it's frustrating for all involved. I just view this as an unforeseen circumstance not a failure of unschooling or parenting. No one can predict that in advance. I'm sorry your family is going through this difficult time. Sure, if you knew this would happen you might have made a different choice, but no one could know that in advance.
I think this is so true, and I don't think you should feel that you'd failed your kids. Your daughter hit a rough spot and you're both understandably upset over it, and if you had known a couple of years ago that she would be going to school at age 8, maybe you would have made different choices... but life doesn't work that way. We all do the best we can with what we know.
post #40 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by zjande View Post
But then, when should we expect our children to "catch up" to their peers? Should we expect them to attempt to learn all they never did while younger, in college? Should we expect them to do all the work of digging up information & schooling themselves when they are in their 20s? Shall our kids be using elementary level geography workbooks while their peers have gone far beyond that & are now studying the political history of those countries my unschooled DD can't find on a globe? Might our children be quite frustrated at us parents for not teaching them ourselves, but leaving it up to them to spend years "catching up"?

I feel it was my responsibility to teach my DD, but instead she's having to cram to catch up with just the basics her peers have grasped for years.
And it might really be years catching up

As much as its popular to say that you can fit years of curriculum into a few weeks, or that you can cram multiple grades of information into a summer, research has shown again and again that expertise and mastery comes from practice. Gladwell's "Outliers" is just one of the most recent books on this, but the one that's been in the news the most, with the factoid that it takes 10,000 hours to become an "expert" in something. Truly adding something to your skill set -- making it 2nd nature to do -- takes time and practice.

http://hbr.org/2007/07/the-making-of-an-expert/ar/1
http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/...acticePR93.pdf

Even if you're not aiming to become an "expert" a la these articles, there's still more to becoming competent in a topic than a quick go-over.
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