or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › When you have those freakouts about math or writing...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

When you have those freakouts about math or writing...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

What do you do when you have a freakout that your child doesn't know math well, or doesn't write essays, or writes messily?  Sometimes I am totally with unschooling... other times, I freak out that we don't get practice writing paragraphs in neat handwriting, or know the times tables, or whatever.

post #2 of 13

I read about other kids who have blossomed brilliantly in their own good time. I read things I've written in the past, where I was worried about things that turned out to be non-issues in my own children. And most importantly I spend time and energy actively observing my worry-inducing child for what learning s/he is actually engaged in... and writing down all that I notice so that I can see in black and white (or in the case of my blog, in steel blue and off-white) how impressive it all is. 

 

Miranda

post #3 of 13

I have my freakout, take a good, objective look at what is going on and goals, tweek if necessary and move on.

 

In my life, concern over issues is normal.  


Edited by purslaine - 5/24/11 at 10:27am
post #4 of 13
I search on MDC for posts freaking put about the same thing, read all the calm responses, then take a long shower and let it soak in. During my shower I consider what might happen if my child never .... and then think about how we can move forward without whatever it is.

Funny, because I'm a journalist, writing has always been second-nature to me so that's not something I ever worry about in my kids. Math, on the other hand, I worry about constantly... But if I just watch my kid, or even engage him in a conversation about whatever, I find that he's often farther along or more sophisticated in that area than I expected.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
post #5 of 13

Wow, I have been fretting about this intensely for a few days.  Right now my kids are small, so I don't have to worry all that much, but my son WILL NOT learn anything he is not interested in, so I worry about what I might do if he shows no interest in math say.  Which like the PP I am a writer to ( of sorts LOL) but math scares me.  So I don't worry about reading or writing, but math for sure!  So I just have to trust them....

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I like math and writing, so I am not worried about that aspect, I guess.  I think I am a good writer for two reasons: 1) I read a lot and so I absorb the flow of the language; 2) I have studied writing to know how to get my point across economically (though this may be a function of a logical, linear thinking style.)  I think writing well is really important in life, and I enjoy it, and want to pass it on.  I also like math, and think it is fun and useful.  I got through AP calculus in high school, and enjoyed most of it.  I never use calculus, or anything past basic algebra and geometry, though, so I guess it doesn't matter that I studied it for so long, except that it was interesting, and it added to my knowledge.  For me, adding to my knowledge is probably the most important thing.  Learning new ways of seeing the world and understanding it... so huge.  I want my kids to share in this, and sometimes, I freak out that they won't.  I know that most of the stuff I learned in school was pointless, but at least it was exposure to new ideas, which may spark new interests, and new avenues of inquiry.  And college was great, and I don't want them to miss out on that.

 

So there's my train of thought when I have these freak-outs.

post #7 of 13

Every once in a while I worry but for the most part I don't. My kids are still young but even at five years old my boy has started to play around with numbers, doing basic addition and subtraction for the fun of it.  He also loves to play with a calculator.  I smile at this and remember that we were never allowed to have calculators in grade school.  The thought being that you would not learn on your own if you had one.  But he plugs away at it and exclaims "Mom 12 plus 12 is 24!"  And I can see that that is learning too!

post #8 of 13

[i hope no one minds that this is long; I get very fired up & excited about this topic!]

 

I routinely have math freak-outs too but tonight I was reminded (again) that I need to RELAX it will all be fine. First of all, I'm not "pure unschooling," as I've decided to tell my son (8) "look honey, there are some things I am going to read to you, to 'run past you like a river' and you can jump in & swim in them if you want, and if you don't care about it, that's OK too"   So from time to time I sit down with him and "read to him" from the math book and read to him from Story of the World, or whatever, with the attitude that if it sparks an interest, then woo hoo! and if not, then no harm done. I'm not asking him to DO anything other than listen. Well, it's funny-- he just can't restrain himself from jumping in! "Let me try those problems, Mom" he'll say. He never lets me "just read"; he wants to try it. Or he'll hear something in SOTW that sparks an interest and the next thing you know we are looking it up on the internet, you get my drift.

My point being that there are some things in our world that don't naturally pass through our "field of vision" or daily activities, and I just want him to know they're out there. Like certain aspects of history, government, geography....For example, for reading practice, we've been reading together from a children's atlas (we alternate paragraphs; he likes to share the reading that way), and it turns out he loves the stuff that we learn while doing reading practice. Why the reading practice in the unschooling forum, you might ask? Well I do it because he is so bright and verbal, and his printing is SO neat (always has been) and he creates so many stories.....but he's held back because he doesn't feel confident writing from his head. He doesn't know how to spell. He makes endless comics but all the characters' dialog bubbles are empty because he doesn't feel confident writing what his characters are saying. It's holding him back from doing the story writing and comic-book making that he clearly wants to do. And that (in my opinion) is remedied best by reading, and seeing lots & lots of words. (I won't subject him to boring spelling lists & drills.)

But even so, with our successes, I still get wobbly--the perennial unschoolers' panic syndrome. But tonight he really proved to me that I need to relax about the math. He's actually been doing spontaneous math in the late evening hours on his own for much of the past week. "Mama!" he will shout from his bed. "Eight plus eight is sixteen!" or "I've figured out a trick to add anything to 9" (he's figuring out all these math shortcuts) Tonight, he's on the potty...."Mama, come in here; I want to do some math. Ask me some hard questions." Next thing I know we're doing the multi digit addition (carrying the 1) and I'm showing him a web site where you can do these little flash cards. Well the next thing I know, he's trying to earn more gold stars that are tallying up with each correct answer. I'm tired, and my eyes are sick of looking at the screen, but HE is telling me "No, we can't stop, I want to get all the way to 50." Yes, we did 50 math problems at 9:30 pm, at HIS urging! This is something I never expected. Persistence and math adeptness.....and he was so proud of himself!

I remember a few years back when he was fascinated by roman numerals and taught himself (from a chart he had me print out). You just never know when the urge is going to hit them! And it is oh so easy to think "ahhh! if I am not making him do this or that, he won't do it". And frankly it is true that your child won't necessarily ENCOUNTER things like higher-level math stuff in his daily life, but if you maybe try what I did, which is to say "just humor your mother.....let me read it to you, ok?" and see what happens. Math really IS cool, it's very puzzle-like. Like a game that CAN be figured out, which CAN be won. So it's sort of appealing in that sense. So trust that if it's presented, it may very well spark that interest & you'll be off & running before you know it!  :-)

And as for the times tables....everyone acts like memorizing them is dull and boring. Which maybe it can be if it's approached as a chore. But we have one of those wipe-off boards with the times tables on them, so one day I said hey let's see how many of these we already know. And of course the whole 1x column is easy. We know how to count by twos, so there's another column. We know how to count by 5's, so there's another. And we can count by 10's, so that's another. And then of course due to the (um….commutative property is it?), if you know 2x3 then you also know 3x2, if you know 2x4 then you know 4x2 (and so on) so basically you can fill in all those in their respective columns, and then you can get excited and go hey! look how much we already know! awesome!! And then just sort of forget about it until later, and maybe do one column at a time when the time seems right.

For example, one day I decided to teach my son something I dubbed "the ten partners." Those are numbers who "partner with" each other to add up to 10.  8+2; 7+3; 6+4, and so on. Well he just loved that information! He asked me over and over…mama, quiz me on the 10-partners! So I quizzed him back and forth, up and down the list, as we were walking down the street one day, and pretty soon those things were cemented in his head and he was so happy. Happy because now when he wants to add 70-cents to 30-cents, he sees that it's 100 cents or a dollar…..he's starting to see patterns, and when kids see patterns and start to understand their world, they are HAPPY and empowered. I mention the 10-partners to you for a reason--because it taught ME how much joy he has in memorizing a small-ish yet helpful tool. So now I know that I will be able to introduce another time-table someday and it will be met with no resistance because he's learned that these tools help him and are fun, like a game!

The challenging thing with being an unschooling parent is that this learning happens all over the place and at all hours, and half the time (if we are following our kid's lead) we never know what they will want or need to learn and when it will "click" for them. So those of us raised on conventional schooling can get really wobbly about not knowing WHEN our kid will learn. But take heart; they will. In their own individual way.

 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

[i hope no one minds that this is long; I get very fired up & excited about this topic!]

 

I routinely have math freak-outs too but tonight I was reminded (again) that I need to RELAX it will all be fine. First of all, I'm not "pure unschooling," as I've decided to tell my son (8) "look honey, there are some things I am going to read to you, to 'run past you like a river' and you can jump in & swim in them if you want, and if you don't care about it, that's OK too"   So from time to time I sit down with him and "read to him" from the math book and read to him from Story of the World, or whatever, with the attitude that if it sparks an interest, then woo hoo! and if not, then no harm done. I'm not asking him to DO anything other than listen. Well, it's funny-- he just can't restrain himself from jumping in! "Let me try those problems, Mom" he'll say. He never lets me "just read"; he wants to try it. Or he'll hear something in SOTW that sparks an interest and the next thing you know we are looking it up on the internet, you get my drift.

My point being that there are some things in our world that don't naturally pass through our "field of vision" or daily activities, and I just want him to know they're out there. Like certain aspects of history, government, geography....For example, for reading practice, we've been reading together from a children's atlas (we alternate paragraphs; he likes to share the reading that way), and it turns out he loves the stuff that we learn while doing reading practice. Why the reading practice in the unschooling forum, you might ask? Well I do it because he is so bright and verbal, and his printing is SO neat (always has been) and he creates so many stories.....but he's held back because he doesn't feel confident writing from his head. He doesn't know how to spell. He makes endless comics but all the characters' dialog bubbles are empty because he doesn't feel confident writing what his characters are saying. It's holding him back from doing the story writing and comic-book making that he clearly wants to do. And that (in my opinion) is remedied best by reading, and seeing lots & lots of words. (I won't subject him to boring spelling lists & drills.)

But even so, with our successes, I still get wobbly--the perennial unschoolers' panic syndrome. But tonight he really proved to me that I need to relax about the math. He's actually been doing spontaneous math in the late evening hours on his own for much of the past week. "Mama!" he will shout from his bed. "Eight plus eight is sixteen!" or "I've figured out a trick to add anything to 9" (he's figuring out all these math shortcuts) Tonight, he's on the potty...."Mama, come in here; I want to do some math. Ask me some hard questions." Next thing I know we're doing the multi digit addition (carrying the 1) and I'm showing him a web site where you can do these little flash cards. Well the next thing I know, he's trying to earn more gold stars that are tallying up with each correct answer. I'm tired, and my eyes are sick of looking at the screen, but HE is telling me "No, we can't stop, I want to get all the way to 50." Yes, we did 50 math problems at 9:30 pm, at HIS urging! This is something I never expected. Persistence and math adeptness.....and he was so proud of himself!

I remember a few years back when he was fascinated by roman numerals and taught himself (from a chart he had me print out). You just never know when the urge is going to hit them! And it is oh so easy to think "ahhh! if I am not making him do this or that, he won't do it". And frankly it is true that your child won't necessarily ENCOUNTER things like higher-level math stuff in his daily life, but if you maybe try what I did, which is to say "just humor your mother.....let me read it to you, ok?" and see what happens. Math really IS cool, it's very puzzle-like. Like a game that CAN be figured out, which CAN be won. So it's sort of appealing in that sense. So trust that if it's presented, it may very well spark that interest & you'll be off & running before you know it!  :-)

And as for the times tables....everyone acts like memorizing them is dull and boring. Which maybe it can be if it's approached as a chore. But we have one of those wipe-off boards with the times tables on them, so one day I said hey let's see how many of these we already know. And of course the whole 1x column is easy. We know how to count by twos, so there's another column. We know how to count by 5's, so there's another. And we can count by 10's, so that's another. And then of course due to the (um….commutative property is it?), if you know 2x3 then you also know 3x2, if you know 2x4 then you know 4x2 (and so on) so basically you can fill in all those in their respective columns, and then you can get excited and go hey! look how much we already know! awesome!! And then just sort of forget about it until later, and maybe do one column at a time when the time seems right.

For example, one day I decided to teach my son something I dubbed "the ten partners." Those are numbers who "partner with" each other to add up to 10.  8+2; 7+3; 6+4, and so on. Well he just loved that information! He asked me over and over…mama, quiz me on the 10-partners! So I quizzed him back and forth, up and down the list, as we were walking down the street one day, and pretty soon those things were cemented in his head and he was so happy. Happy because now when he wants to add 70-cents to 30-cents, he sees that it's 100 cents or a dollar…..he's starting to see patterns, and when kids see patterns and start to understand their world, they are HAPPY and empowered. I mention the 10-partners to you for a reason--because it taught ME how much joy he has in memorizing a small-ish yet helpful tool. So now I know that I will be able to introduce another time-table someday and it will be met with no resistance because he's learned that these tools help him and are fun, like a game!

The challenging thing with being an unschooling parent is that this learning happens all over the place and at all hours, and half the time (if we are following our kid's lead) we never know what they will want or need to learn and when it will "click" for them. So those of us raised on conventional schooling can get really wobbly about not knowing WHEN our kid will learn. But take heart; they will. In their own individual way.

 


thank you.  you were very helpful.

 

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

 So those of us raised on conventional schooling can get really wobbly about not knowing WHEN our kid will learn. But take heart; they will. In their own individual way.

 

Yes.  This is explained to me over and over when I really watch my kiddos. 

 

I have a daughter who cannot stand to sit and do any sort of math, whether it's drills, or games, or books.  But I know she is so capable of so many other subjects.  She is capable of math, too, but like her mama just doesn't care about it.  We'd much rather read.  When I freak out and request more math out of her (we are very relaxed homeschoolers, bordering very much on unschooling), she CAN do it.  It just doesn't come naturally.  But she'll do it and then scoot off to do what she loves and gets plenty of time to do--observe and participate in nature.  She is the only child I know who climbs a ladder to feed mockingbird babies tiny worms while their parents sit up higher in the tree and watch her.

 

I don't really know where I'm going with this I guess.  I get really wobbly, too, and then someone posts something terrific and I get reminded to chill out.
 

 

post #11 of 13

My big thing to wobble about is that by allowing him to opt-out of things he doesn't enjoy OR isn't instantly perfect at, I am allowing him to be fearful of things and missing the opportunity for him to build his self-esteem re: challenges. For example when his little friend who is 5 and who's studied Suzuki violin happily gets up at church and plays some classical piece at his baby sister's dedication, that's when I can get completely knocked off my foundations. And the fact that my son hasn't learned how to swim OR ride a bike yet (thus missing some REALLY fun things that are key to childhood, but because they are new and foreign to him, he doesn't YET experience them as joyful)

 

Anyway I have to run along. Too much chaos in the background tonight.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

My big thing to wobble about is that by allowing him to opt-out of things he doesn't enjoy OR isn't instantly perfect at, I am allowing him to be fearful of things and missing the opportunity for him to build his self-esteem re: challenges. For example when his little friend who is 5 and who's studied Suzuki violin happily gets up at church and plays some classical piece at his baby sister's dedication, that's when I can get completely knocked off my foundations. And the fact that my son hasn't learned how to swim OR ride a bike yet (thus missing some REALLY fun things that are key to childhood, but because they are new and foreign to him, he doesn't YET experience them as joyful)

 

Anyway I have to run along. Too much chaos in the background tonight.

 

This is a personality thing - I was like this, and I went to school, and got good grades.  Often it comes b/c of being gifted - you have high standards for yourself.  My 2nd son is like this, too, but my 1st is not.
 

 

post #13 of 13

One thing I have noticed is that my freakouts can tend to happen in some sort of a rythym with my moon cycle. So, If/when I do freakout, I check myself first to see if I need something (rest, food,exercise, reconnect time with DH, etc) and go from there.

 

Step two is to see if I've read or heard something about curriculum or a school child that might be the trigger of my freakout. As in, "Suzy is so brilliant. She just won the spelling bee, is the captain of the swim team, and is orgainizing a food drive." 

 

But, as time goes on and I surround myself with other world schooling families so I don't feel so alone, I come back to my center more quickly by reminding myself that this is the choice my family has made and we are sticking with it.  Then I breathe.

 

Good Luck mama! 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › When you have those freakouts about math or writing...