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What if your child had no interest in math? - Page 3

post #41 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
I'm arguing that it is more difficult to acquire certain skills once a person passes a certain age. Not hopeless, just harder. I'm suggesting that something may be stopping adults from easily acquiring certain skills regardless of their educational background, and that it's easier to build up neurological pathways for certain skills when a person is younger. Obviously, many skills are acquired over time, but I think people benefit from an early introduction to certain concepts.
The newest discoveries on the subject is that the brain has great neuroplasticity. It isn't incapable of forming new pathways after a certain age.

Math concepts can be developed just fine without memorizing math facts. My ds understands the concept of telling time, adding, subtracting, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, simple algebra, simple geometry, and more. That doesn't mean he can fill out worksheets on the subjects or answer people who quiz him with math problems. Most people wouldn't even realize my ds understood those concepts. I'm just with him many hours of the day (more so than even most SAHMs because ds prefers to not be alone) and I pay attention to these things since I find the workings of my ds's mind very interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
I think Tigresse's experience with her ds points out that traditional-schooling-induced math anxiety is not the only possible source of difficulty.
No one said it was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
But in general, what do you think all 10 yo should know? What things does your ds do that reassure you that he is progressing well and is completely capable of learning anything he wants?
I don't think there is much that ALL 10 year olds should know. The things that come to mind aren't academic in nature.

The things my 9 yo does that I find reassuring include being inquisitive, trying new things, increasing his ability and desire to do things independently, continuing to progress with reading skills, developing writing skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
It's really hard to deal with long division, factoring, and fractions if you don't know your multiplication tables. It's a handy basis for algebra. I don't really care that much about spontaneity. My concern is that my child is developing the skills she needs to pursue her passions, even if that development isn't spontaneous. And that's really why I'm interested in this question. I'm interested in the implications of this question beyond unschooling - how do you decide that a child is progressing well and when they aren't progressing well and intervention is needed?
Sure, having the multiplication tables memorized is handy especially if you are taking math classes, especially ones that don't allow calculators. The main use of it is speed, particularly handy for taking tests in a timely fashion. But this isn't something that needs to be learned at age 8 or 9 or 10. I could argue it isn't necessary at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
As per how to decide if a child is progressing well - I think you need to look at frustration levels. If a child is frustrated by their inability to do something, intervention may be in order.
I use frustration levels and happiness in general as a way to gauge how my ds is doing and whether he needs help or ideas from me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiderMum View Post
I think the issue is that people think of unschooling as an alternative means of getting an education....and unschooling is really an alternative education...not just means.

We want to hit the same milestones we've come to expect from schooled children and then worry when that doesn't happen. I don't think we can expect that at all...nor should we freak out. The whole idea is that they'll learn it when they need it and that may be at 6, 10, 15, or 25....and that's okay.
Except I don't expect my ds to be hitting the same academic milestones as his schooled peers. That's likely why I'm so comfortable with the idea of unschooling. I'm not assuming it is preparing him for college.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
But is it really?

Are illiterate 25 year-olds who can't make change OK?

Objectively speaking, there is a point where a lack of basic skills is a serious problem. I think it's well before 25. Obviously, I have my own biases. But from what I've seen in this forum, illiterate, innumerate 25-yos are not the end goal of anyone's process. So there's a point before that when those things become a problem. When is it?
Of course that is no one's ideal for their child. But no one here has managed to produce an actual 25 yo illiterate who can't make change. I must say, I don't think I could manage that if I tried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
For me, it's around age 8. If my 8yo couldn't read signs, menus, and books on topics of personal interest, I'd be deeply concerned. If my 8yo couldn't add and subtract numbers up to 4 digits, tell time, make change, and explain the process of multiplication, I would see that as a problem. That's probably early for most un-schoolers. But I'm guessing that 25 would be very late. What's the point where you become concerned? Why then?
Yes, that would be early for many unschoolers. Maybe knowing kids who have learned those things at ages 10-12 makes me more comfortable with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
I know I seem really stubborn, but I have some strong personal concerns (that I cannot discuss) driving my interest. It would really help me to see a bunch of perspectives on exactly specifically where the balance point is between "this is just fine" and "OMG, there's a problem."
Can't really help you with that.... It's so variable. I know a lot of people would react with OMG but they don't understand my ds or how he is doing. They can't get past comparing him with schooled peers and their preconceived ideas.
post #42 of 130
Honestly, it's not something on my radar screen. I don't live my life preplanning the possible responses to the inifite situations I am very unlikely to encounter. I'll deal with it IF it actually ever happens. Because I've never encountered a child personally that doesn't explore basic math in their day to day life.
post #43 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigeresse View Post
My 18 yo unschooled son is struggling w/remedial math at the cc. He grew up playing legos, video games, encountering all kinds of real life math, but does not have the skills necessary to get easily through the classes he needs to get to the one class that will count toward the degree. He is not happy about being so far behind. I wish I had spent more time working with him when he was younger.
Tigeresse, I'm sorry to hear that your son is struggling and that you're feeling bad about it.

It disturbs me that this post was completely ignored by everyone except stik. About five different unschoolers posted after Tigeresse making some variant of the claim that unschooled children will easily learn math when they wish to do so.

I originally planned to unschool, before deciding that I'm temperamentally unsuited for it. I still have a lot of sympathy for the theory, and I enjoy reading blogs by unschoolers who I think are doing it very well. I'm not a Hater or a Troll.

But I am increasingly disturbed by the way that posts about failures of unschooling seem to roll serenely off the backs of the posters in this forum. Tigresse is not by any means the only person to post here about an unschooled adult or older teen with significant educational gaps which they have difficulty remediating. Those posts seem to be either ignored or discounted, and people go on assuring doubters that "unschooled children have no trouble catching up when they want to."
post #44 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5 View Post
Tigeresse, I'm sorry to hear that your son is struggling and that you're feeling bad about it.

It disturbs me that this post was completely ignored by everyone except stik. About five different unschoolers posted after Tigeresse making some variant of the claim that unschooled children will easily learn math when they wish to do so.
Thanks, Rivka5!

The worst part about it is that my ds is so unhappy about where he is wrt math. What could have been prevented with about 1/2 hour a day of practice is now proving to be a costly, time consuming endeavor that makes him feel somewhat "less than" his peers.

I know I probably didn't do it right and somewhere or other didn't properly respect him or trust him, or offer enough alternatives, but I did everything I could to facilitate his learning *except* teach him anything (unless he was receptive or asked). He did not want to do math, so I let it go and read forums like this to convince myself it was OK. Now we pay the price.

I consider myself a "recovering unschooler"
post #45 of 130
Does your son have a LD? I'm asking because dyscalculia is far less known (and accepted) than dyslexia so it's not caught as readily. The two people I know with it both had to self-diagnose and then educate their universities about it to get any help.

They literally went through years of being told they just needed to work harder and practice more.
post #46 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Does your son have a LD? I'm asking because dyscalculia is far less known (and accepted) than dyslexia so it's not caught as readily. The two people I know with it both had to self-diagnose and then educate their universities about it to get any help.

They literally went through years of being told they just needed to work harder and practice more.
Just wanted to echo the suggestion for Tigeresse (or your son) to look up diycalculia
post #47 of 130
This is one of the things I'm most concerned about wrt my own personal interest in this. At what point should one become concerned that a persistent lack of interest conceals a learning disability?
post #48 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5 View Post

It disturbs me that this post was completely ignored by everyone except stik. About five different unschoolers posted after Tigeresse making some variant of the claim that unschooled children will easily learn math when they wish to do so.


But I am increasingly disturbed by the way that posts about failures of unschooling seem to roll serenely off the backs of the posters in this forum. "
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigeresse View Post
.....

OTOH, he aced the English placement test and went straight into college level writing. He really took to that but math is just not his thing.
I am not sure an adult struggling in math at the college level equals a failure of USing. I do not for one minute expect everybody to be good at everything. It does not matter the educational system - some people struggle or plain old do not like certain subjects.

I did indeed remember Tigresses' post - and I particularly remembered the last part where she said her son was doing really well in English. See quote above.

I am not trying to negate Tigresses experience - if she says it was a failure of USing, then so be it in her case. But I do not want people to think simply because an adult is weak in an area means USing itself is a failure.
post #49 of 130
I think there's a fundamental difference between "not excelling at math" and struggling with the remedial math courses that a community college requires that students be able to pass before being admitted to an associates degree program.

Community college programs don't require people to excel at math as a pre-requisite.
post #50 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
This is one of the things I'm most concerned about wrt my own personal interest in this. At what point should one become concerned that a persistent lack of interest conceals a learning disability?
I do not know. I think it is a good question though.

It is almost a math thing , hyperfocusing on your "child should do this by this age" could be harmful to most children who will get it in their own good time; but beneficial to those kids who really will not get it in their own good time.

I googled percentage of people with LD, and came up with a low of 6% and a high of 20%.

There are also risk factors for LD - including genetics, low premature birth and birth trauma. I think all parents should keep this in mind.

I am not sure a system that works well for many people should be discarded due to the possibility of a LD.

On a personal note, I was worried my son might have had a visual processing issues, as he was limited in what he would read and claimed his eyes wandered off the page. I took him to a developmental optometrist and there is no visual processing issue - just a teen who prefers magna to novels, lol (but is starting to really love nonfiction).

The bottom line in all things is you have to do the best you can for your kids with the information you have. This supercedes any system or philosophy.
post #51 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
I think there's a fundamental difference between "not excelling at math" and struggling with the remedial math courses that a community college requires that students be able to pass before being admitted to an associates degree program.

Community college programs don't require people to excel at math as a pre-requisite.
I took a remedial math in University (I needed a math credit and wanted an easy credit). The class was full of people who needed to be there, and had never been HSed.

edited to add: I changed "not exceling at an area" to "weak in an area". It is more what I meant
post #52 of 130
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5 View Post

But I am increasingly disturbed by the way that posts about failures of unschooling seem to roll serenely off the backs of the posters in this forum. Tigresse is not by any means the only person to post here about an unschooled adult or older teen with significant educational gaps which they have difficulty remediating. Those posts seem to be either ignored or discounted, and people go on assuring doubters that "unschooled children have no trouble catching up when they want to."
They roll so serenely, so to speak, because one can't really predict how things would have gone if they were done differently. I don't want to dismisss Tigresse expriences, but it is easy to blame anything which isn't the mainstream. It is hard to hear that her son is unhappy, but none of educational approaches guarantee happiness.

Let's imagine she did insist on 30 min of daily math with her son, at the time when he was against it. Chances are he would still struggle. It is equally easy to theorise that years of struggle in math would not have created a math competent adult. It is also quite possible that if someone struggles with math and is frustrated and unhappy, he might not be as interested in English. It is possible that Tigresse's son could have ended up being incompetent in math, and equally incompetent in English, and resenting his mother for forcing him to do math. One just simply can't know.

I embrace unschooling with full understanding that it is not a guarantee for anything. My kids might blame me later. But I realise that they might blame me for a bunch of other things as well. At least I'm doing what I believe in.
post #53 of 130
Quote:
Let's imagine she did insist on 30 min of daily math with her son, at the time when he was against it. Chances are he would still struggle. It is equally easy to theorise that years of struggle in math would not have created a math competent adult. It is also quite possible that if someone struggles with math and is frustrated and unhappy, he might not be as interested in English. It is possible that Tigresse's son could have ended up being incompetent in math, and equally incompetent in English, and resenting his mother for forcing him to do math. One just simply can't know.
I think the point is, though, that at that time there would have been time for tutoring, switching up approaches, possible diagnosis of a learning disability (if there was one), and all kinds of creative solutions to learning math that there is not time for now.
post #54 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
I think there's a fundamental difference between "not excelling at math" and struggling with the remedial math courses that a community college requires that students be able to pass before being admitted to an associates degree program.

Community college programs don't require people to excel at math as a pre-requisite.
I went to public school K-12. I took Algebra I and Geometry in high school. In college I didn't have the required high school courses or ACT score in math to take a class I would get credit for. I needed to first take two remedial classes. I ended up with an incomplete in the first one and didn't take the second. Later, I tried a distance learning math class that I didn't finish. I was finally able to earn the required math credits (years later-- after some serious deschooling!) but it was definitely costly to have paid for classes I didn't finish. Oh well, life went on.

I've always thought I would have fared so much better if I'd left high school and unschooled for the most part and went to a learning center a couple times a week for math. I would consider some kind of tutoring or program for my son if he felt he was lacking skills that he would later need and was in agreement to try something like that. I wouldn't feel I've failed him by not forcing it on him though. Needing to take remedial math isn't fun, but it hardly signifies failure.
post #55 of 130
I feel like these conversations (and ones like them) seem to be circling around the question, "When is unschooling really educational neglect?" rather than "How do I make sure I'm meeting my own child's needs?" These are such different questions--are you worrying about an unschooled child other than your own, or are you trying to homeschool/unschool your own child?

In my experience, most homeschooling parents are actually quite attentive to making sure that their children are learning and growing the way that they should be. Sure, we all make mistakes, and I have no doubt that I will look back and see places that I will wish I had done things differently. But isn't that true for all parents? The (mostly unschooly) homeschooling parents I know spend a lot of time reflecting on their homeschooling life and tweaking it and trying new things with their kids.

I guess the difference for schooled families is that there are other adults in the picture who are keeping an eye on a child's progress. And for families that use a formal curriculum, the child is at least being walked through a program that tries to cover all the academic bases. But kids slip through the cracks in the school system ALL THE TIME. I just think it's a fallacy to assume that there is any one system that guarantees academic success for all students.

It just doesn't seem that complicated to me. If I felt that my child were lacking a skill that she needed to function successfully in the world or to meet her professed goals, I would talk with her about how to gain that skill. If she were resistant to something I thought was important (like basic math), we'd talk some more, and I'd reflect on what I thought was going on. I'd consider all this in the context of this particular child that I know so well.

It's not just a matter of "I decide" or "She decides." We're a team, and we figure it out together.
post #56 of 130
One thing this thread made me think of is all the things that are important to me that happen in our lives because of homeschooling, but that would be iffier in a school setting. I was imagining these questions turned on their head...

What would you do if your schooled child

wasn't learning critical thinking skills?
spent a lot of time on busy work?
didn't like learning new things anymore?
was under a lot of social pressure?
didn't have enough time for free reading?
didn't get p.e. every day?
no longer had time and attention for her younger siblings?
didn't spend much time outside in nature?
wasn't learning basic life skills (sewing, cooking, gardening)?
didn't regularly get enough sleep at night?

(these are complaints I hear from friends/family who have kids in school)

I'm not saying that homeschooling is a perfect solution, it's just that there are a lot of things about our homeschooling life that are more invisible in the home vs. school conversation, and that I think are central to my children's development as humans and as learners. At least as important as basic math!
post #57 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
I think the point is, though, that at that time there would have been time for tutoring, switching up approaches, possible diagnosis of a learning disability (if there was one), and all kinds of creative solutions to learning math that there is not time for now.
Well....sure there is.

We learn all our lives. So someone learns something is adulthood....so what? Brushing up on skills may postpone their career by a year or two (may being the operative word), but in the course of a lifetime that is not so much.

As per young adult getting to college with low level skills - if they chose not to tackle math in adolescence, and choose to go into a program that needs math, they must know they are going to have to eventually tackle it. I think this is a consequence an adolescent is capable of understanding. LD or no.

Edited to add: Pinky - nice posts!
post #58 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
I think the point is, though, that at that time there would have been time for tutoring, switching up approaches, possible diagnosis of a learning disability (if there was one), and all kinds of creative solutions to learning math that there is not time for now.
Some extra one-on-one tutoring might be really helpful to get him through the cc courses he's taking now. It might not be creative, but having someone to explain the homework/concepts vs. just trying to understand it and getting frustrated would have helped me for sure.
post #59 of 130
Quote:
Well....sure there is.

We learn all our lives.
Of course. But not for the kid who is in community college NOW, presumably by choice, and is distressed and upset to learn that he does not have the required math skills to pass the remedial classes.

I agree with the PP that there is time for tutoring now, and he should receive it. But I think it would have been ideal if someone who is choosing to go to college, a time for choice and exploration of what you really want to do in life, does not have to waste that time (and money) on remedial classes.
post #60 of 130
yes, life is generally easier for people who know what they want to do well in advance and have a chance to prepare for that.

But, y'know, it doesn't always hurt things to not have things go exactly as you hoped. For instance, if I would've done more exercising in highschool, I would've gone to the Air Force Academy for college and never met dh.
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