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# Regrets - Page 7

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightropeÂ

If you wanted to just have some fun math resources around, and you're ok with computer games, Singapore Math has cd-roms that do a very good job of illustrating things like multiplication and borrowing.http://www.singaporemath.com/CD_ROMs_s/26.htm

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I didn't realize that they had computer games too! Thanks!

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Regarding "number sense" and making sure you're kid learns it... I once read a really interesting article that seemed relevant, but now I can't find it. I'll see if I can summerize it. There was a teachter--his name was something like "Bennet"--who felt that math shouldn't be taught at all in elementary school because teaching them all these abstract math concepts before they understood the logic behind it was keeping them from being able to understand the logic behind it. He convinced someone in charge to experiment with the kids in a an underpriviledged school (parents would complain if they took math out of a richer school). They didn't teach the kids math until sixth grade, but they did have the teachers in lower graders do counting and measuring exercises with them, just to make sure they knew what numbers were and all that. When they tested the kids at the beginning of sixth grade, the experiment kids had better math logic than the kids in other school but did bad on the math test. They were taught math in sixth grade and tested again: they got as good of a math score as the other schools this time (especially impressive since underprivledged schools normally perform worse), but they kept their improved math logic.

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So that could explain why some people don't have good number sense. Not sure it explains the OP's son though.

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I started thinking about fractions last night. Fractions, I think, were the beginning of my following rules without really getting what was happening or why. Â I mean, if I have 1/2 a pie and want to *divide* that, I have 1/4 of a pie. Â Right? Â Only in English. Â If I mathematically divide 1/2 by 1/2, I get 1. Â To get to that 1/4 figure, I need to *multiply* 1/2 by 1/2. Â And if I divide the pie in half, lets see, that's 1 divided by 1/2, right? Â (I can't find the math functions on the keyboard) Â Oh, but that's 2. Â That's even bigger! I get it now, mostly. Â I remember the "tricks", and I always translate into decimals to check my work but if I don't talk myself through it every time, I get confused. Â Apparently this weirdness happens with numbers less than 1, so it's almost like working with negative numbers. Â Ugh! don't get me started on negative numbers.....

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One of my elementary school classes had a brief segment on translating from English to Math and vise-versa, but it seems the terminology isn't too consistent for division. If you think "I want to turn a half-pie into half of a half-pie" the "into" corresponds to the equal sign. e.g. 1/2pie ...do something to it... = 1/2 of a 1/2pie. And "of" means multiplication. So... 1/2pieÂ Ă· 2 = 1/2 * 1/2pie = 1/4pie....

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The fact is, in my life I've rarely encountered the need for more than a basic use for fractions, so it all kind of gets lost and muddled. Â If I get stuck adding fractions in baking, I simply convert to Tbsps or something like that. Â In fact, I had an easier time than my math-major-teacher sister when it came to that. Â I was halving a recipe, and was jabbering on the phone and came across 3/4 of a cup. Â What's 1/2 of 3/4? Â While she was doing it in her head, I quickly converted the amount to Tbsps (12 T, 4 in each 1/4 C) and had a more useful answer (6T) than she had (3/8). Â (Then I think I finished mixing the cake and baking it halfway before I realized I left the sugar out-- of my daughter's birthday cake! Â She was nearly in tears while I was trying to convince her I could start over again.... this time no jabbering on the phone!)

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Here's a shortcut: When you want to half a fraction, you can just double the bottom number (which will get you the 3/8 your sister got) OR you can just halve the top number. What's one half of three quarters? One-and-a-half quarters!Â Â In that situation I'd just fill up the 1/4 cup scoop, dump it in the bowl, then fill the 1/4 cup scoop up halfway and dump that in. I don't even own a 1/8 cup scoop, and I don't know tablespoon conversions either. Well, the "halve the top number" thing works better if the top number is actually even, e.g. half of 6/7 is 3/7. This shortcut works with other 1/x.

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I do find myself using fractions in daily life, besides baking, but that may be partially because I handle them more easily than decimals (smaller numbers). I feel like ratios make more sense in fraction form. For example, at my data entry job, one of the types of forms we would have to enter was usually very short, so we were supposed to average about 69 documents per hour, but sometimes they'd be crazily long and it wasn't fair to hold us to the 69-per-hour standard. So the (somewhat stupid) rule was that they'd be counted in a different production category if it took us more than 2.5 hours to key a batch of 90 documents... but sometimes we got batches that had less than 90 documents, so I'd need to figure out how much time it would have taken me to key it at the same pace if it did have 90 documents. x/(time I took) equals 90/2.5, so if x is greater than 2.5, it counts.

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Here's something crazy: 0.999~ (as in "point nine repeating") is equal to 1. They are literally the exact same amount.Â

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyllyaÂ

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Here's something crazy: 0.999~ (as in "point nine repeating") is equal to 1. They are literally the exact same amount.Â

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I remember a high school math teacher trying to tell us (an AP-type math class) this. Â None of us believed him, lol.

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I haven't had a chance to read through this whole thread, though I plan to. I wanted to address a couple points in the OP:

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The suggestion that the unschooled 19 year old suffered now because he had "never learned to study" struck a chord with me. I never learned to study either, despite 12 years of school. I learned how to cram information into my head long enough to regurgitate it on a test page. I did the minimum I needed to do to get the grades I needed for University (which, in those days, were far lower than they are now). I had always been a "good student" in that I was "smart" and got good grades.Â

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Imagine my surprise when, after my first term at University, I was failing half my courses.Â

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Thankfully, I found a professor who recognized my "symptoms". I had never learned to study, because I'd never had to. School wasn't about understanding so much as memorization of facts long enough to pass tests. School forced you to do the work, they didn't allow you to take responsibility for your learning. And so I didn't know how to do that. The University courses I took did not assign homework, rarely tested (except at mid-terms and finals) and most definitely did require understanding that built upon itself lecture after lecture. I had to learn how to study, to take charge of my learning, it was hard work but eventually I was getting good grades again.Â

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I myself place loose faith in the concept of "windows of opportunity" that may close. It's easy to suggest that had you done things differently your son wouldn't be struggling now. It's equally possible that had he been in school other struggles would now be presenting themselves. Because you cannot go back in time and do the experiment on your son, you will never know. I think it is fruitless to question what you did because you cannot undo it, and you will never know the answer to "did I do this wrong?". It's impossible to say that unschooling got him in the pickle he is in now. I think your questioning of yourself is a universal trait for us parents (smile) but what good can any of us do with the information? We parents have no other options but to do the best we can, what we feel we should do, at that time. We can't predict the future, nor can we say for certain that another path would have been better. If we have regrets, I guess the most important lesson to learn may be to forgive ourselves. <hug>

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Okay, I've read the entire thread now. Thanks, Tigresse, for sharing and stimulating such a great discussion!

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One point I wanted to make that hasn't been brought up is that whether to "insist" on certain things being done (subjects, workbooks, etc) depends so much on the child and how they will respond to that.

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My kids are extremely sensitive to any suggestion that I have an agenda for their learning. Giving a math example: my 7 year old regularly, but not frequently, will out of the blue announce some number relationship he has apparently been thinking about. It started a couple years ago when he would suddenly say something like "hey mama, there are 11 DVDs [in this series] and we have 8 so that means we still need to get 3 more!". This past summer as we were leaving a fairground he announced that 4 + 4 twice is 16 and then asked me if he did it "twice again" would that make 32? God only knows how he knew that or what thought process led to it, but he does seem to have a gift for understanding numbers. The only time I see him use math of any sort is adding up coins or points in a video game!

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So one day I decided to sit down and show him a worksheet I'd created years ago for DD that explained multiplication using pictures of images drawn in shapes (3 circles, 3 cats in each circle) that are then translated to equations. He grasped the concept immediately, but after the second example was done he freaked out, told me this was all "stupid" and refused to do anymore. So its not that it's too hard for him, or that he isn't interested in number relationships, he's just not interested in doing it on my agenda or for reasons that aren't intrinsically motivated.

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Which leads me to my main point: perhaps Tigresse's son was the type of kid who could handle a bit of "pressure" from his mama to do things he may not have wanted to do. A recent poster mentioned that they require their kids to do some schoolwork. One of my dearest friends, a mama I greatly admire, does this with her homeschooled kids as well. Their relationships are certainly not damaged by this at all and the few hours a week they do "sit down work" is overshadowed by a lovely, free, and adventurous lifestyle.

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However, I know with absolute certainty that were *I* to decide that my kids need to be "made" do some some "schoolwork" it would lead to chaos in our family. The battles, the defiance, etc. would tear us apart. My relationship with them would be damaged in a significant way.

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Perhaps the right question is "Could Tigresse have actually succeeded in trying to get her son to do more math even though he was resistant to the idea and insisting it was not necessary?". Could she have won that battle without damaging the relationship she had with him at that time? If the answer is "no" then it was never an option, regardless of present circumstances.Â

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My kids are simply not the type who respond to coercion, and while the youngest may grumble and complain about bedtime being imposed on him I'm not afraid it will lead to a lifetime of hating sleep. On the other hand, coercion in his learning could lead to hating certain subjects. Sadly, I have learned this by experience with DD who used to be way ahead of her peers in math (she was doing Hands-On Equations starting at age 5), and now thanks to my getting anxious about the lack of math in the last couple of years (we have to take a required assessment test this year for kids her age) she has decided she "hates" math, that she sucks at it, and the slightest mention of the subject, however diplomatic, sends her into a frenzy of anger and tears. I've had to let go completely and hope that one day she finds her way back to it because there is no way on this Earth I can "force" any math into her life without causing real damage to my relationship with her.

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My point is this: it is perhaps moot to talk about whether parental control should be exerted to ensure that kids don't end up with gaping holes in their education if one doesn't take into account the child in question. I know from my friend that one can do this and not damage either the relationship with the child or their natural curiosity and drive, but that's not true for all children. Any time I get the "unschooling jitters" (and it happens to all of us) I know that there's no point in wondering if I "should" be pushing math (or anything else) because it Â simply. wouldn't. work. Not with my kids. If it works for your kids, the relationship remains intact, the child thrives...then how can that be the wrong thing to do? Isn't all of this - unschooling, attachment parenting, gentle and respectful parenting - first and foremost about the Relationship?Â

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That's why there is no one answer for everybody, so long as a conscious parent is at the helm.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68Â

Okay, I've read the entire thread now. Thanks, Tigresse, for sharing and stimulating such a great discussion!

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One point I wanted to make that hasn't been brought up is that whether to "insist" on certain things being done (subjects, workbooks, etc) depends so much on the child and how they will respond to that.

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My kids are simply not the type who respond to coercion, and while the youngest may grumble and complain about bedtime being imposed on him I'm not afraid it will lead to a lifetime of hating sleep. On the other hand, coercion in his learning could lead to hating certain subjects. Sadly, I have learned this by experience with DD who used to be way ahead of her peers in math (she was doing Hands-On Equations starting at age 5), and now thanks to my getting anxious about the lack of math in the last couple of years (we have to take a required assessment test this year for kids her age) she has decided she "hates" math, that she sucks at it, and the slightest mention of the subject, however diplomatic, sends her into a frenzy of anger and tears. I've had to let go completely and hope that one day she finds her way back to it because there is no way on this Earth I can "force" any math into her life without causing real damage to my relationship with her.

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My point is this: it is perhaps moot to talk about whether parental control should be exerted to ensure that kids don't end up with gaping holes in their education if one doesn't take into account the child in question. I know from my friend that one can do this and not damage either the relationship with the child or their natural curiosity and drive, but that's not true for all children. Any time I get the "unschooling jitters" (and it happens to all of us) I know that there's no point in wondering if I "should" be pushing math (or anything else) because it Â simply. wouldn't. work. Not with my kids. If it works for your kids, the relationship remains intact, the child thrives...then how can that be the wrong thing to do? Isn't all of this - unschooling, attachment parenting, gentle and respectful parenting - first and foremost about the Relationship?Â

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That's why there is no one answer for everybody, so long as a conscious parent is at the helm.

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Ooooo....thanks Piglet for all you posted and what I have highlighted aboveÂ here.Â Â I know your kids are a bit younger than mine---mine are almost 12 and 9 Â (and I admit, sometimes when *I* get unschooling doubts I get all annoyed that the happy-dreamy-ooo-unschooling is GREAT sites I come across are by parents with REALLY little ones, like a 6 yr old!Â  I think maybe they haven't had enough experiences yet LOL!)

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This thread really hit home for me.Â  I came across it yesterday during a discouragement phase for me, and with some of the same haunts in my mind as the original poster about whether I am / have been making a huge mistake. worriesÂ about the future and OMG what if I am hit by a bus or something tomorrow!Â I read the whole thing and feltÂ in a tailspin all day as it hit a raw spot.Â  Â

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I know my dd well, I respond to that look in her eyes, or the openness/excitementÂ she seems to have in the moment, andÂ try to collaberate withÂ her as unschooling is NOTÂ just letting them go all willy nilly to the wind.Â SheÂ came across the term "algebra" and was curious, and out and out stated she wanted to learn more about it.Â  In Stenmark'sÂ Family Math, thereÂ are some "bean salad" games that involve that kind of thinking, but not the formal notation.Â She's really good at it....but, Â here I am doing this with a kid whoÂ has to count on fingers sometimes and has never done a math worksheet of addingÂ 2-3 column numbers but is starting to mentally doÂ that or reason it out...sigh!Â So, Hands on Equations would only cause her grief.Â  The math understanding seems to come much slower for her than her brother.Â

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I can set a time to do some activities fromÂ Family Math with her (one thing she does respond to positively) and if she responds to that, or it is meaningful to her,Â great.Â  We'll just keep goingÂ at it...I see myself asÂ the resource person and tour guide.Â  Â Unfortunately I have been lam-blasted on some more radical unschooling lists for even doing that!Â  Tha't's where I get confused sometimes as to if I am "really unschooling"....now I am old enough to ask if I really have to follow an official "unschooling police list" or look at my own kid.Â

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Â If I assigned and required her do do "x" pages in Singapore now (beyond us just "playingÂ with it"on the couchÂ forÂ a half hourÂ this week in a spare moment)Â because I see her number sense improving and thought this would help her or appealed to her, nagged her to do it, etc, then sat with her withÂ MYÂ mentalityÂ being "we

areÂ NOT leaving this table until you finish this" or we have to finish this whole book this year, then that's where the line is for us and our dynamic.Â  I know other homeschoolers in real life who's kids are more advanced with math, have this mentality and like Piglet said have a good dynamic with thier kids and their kids seem to respond well, but I know others who it has totally torn them apart.Â  And in not ONE of those several families have the kids been willing to stay at home and continue homeschooling...by late jr high to high school age they were in school, just to get out of the house.Â

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I think overall it's deciding what crossing the line is for you personally as an unschooler.Â  It's times like mine (and Tigress, the original poster) where you wonder if you coulda/shoulda done more (or you are having one of those panics-compare-to-other-kids spells and see kids who do math more conventionally and "school like" be more advanced), or if it would have made a difference, that are the real struggle...>>!!!Â

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68Â

My kids are extremely sensitive to any suggestion that I have an agenda for their learning. Giving a math example: my 7 year old regularly, but not frequently, will out of the blue announce some number relationship he has apparently been thinking about. It started a couple years ago when he would suddenly say something like "hey mama, there are 11 DVDs [in this series] and we have 8 so that means we still need to get 3 more!". This past summer as we were leaving a fairground he announced that 4 + 4 twice is 16 and then asked me if he did it "twice again" would that make 32? God only knows how he knew that or what thought process led to it, but he does seem to have a gift for understanding numbers. The only time I see him use math of any sort is adding up coins or points in a video game!

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So one day I decided to sit down and show him a worksheet I'd created years ago for DD that explained multiplication using pictures of images drawn in shapes (3 circles, 3 cats in each circle) that are then translated to equations. He grasped the concept immediately, but after the second example was done he freaked out, told me this was all "stupid" and refused to do anymore. So its not that it's too hard for him, or that he isn't interested in number relationships, he's just not interested in doing it on my agenda or for reasons that aren't intrinsically motivated.

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I'm thinking this same example could be interpreted in a very different ways. Perhaps he's lacks the experience to have developed the skills to handle his feelings when he tries something new or doesn't immediately know how to do something. Perhaps shutting down isn't proof of his intrinsic motivation but instead of a lack of coping skills. Maybe he hasn't learned to be empathetic enough to understanding mom is interested in helping him. Maybe regular math would have a reaction nothing like the response to mom's self created math worksheet presented due to fears of standardized testing.

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Folks can disagree with me but a kid calling new ideas "stupid" and being totally shut down doesn't really say to me that unschooling is producing a desirable result. Let's just say for a minute he believed the ONLY value in this was that it was important to you and you rarely ask such things of him. Is it appropriate that the main reaction if something is important to mom is to call it stupid and refuse to participate? I'm not seeing how this scenario reflects something positive about the unschooling process or about a child's self determination to be intrinsically motivated.

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Originally Posted by RoarÂ

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Folks can disagree with me but a kid calling new ideas "stupid" and being totally shut down doesn't really say to me that unschooling is producing a desirable result. Let's just say for a minute he believed the ONLY value in this was that it was important to you and you rarely ask such things of him. Is it appropriate that the main reaction if something is important to mom is to call it stupid and refuse to participate? I'm not seeing how this scenario reflects something positive about the unschooling process or about a child's self determination to be intrinsically motivated.

I don't disagree with you, Roar! Having a nearly adult kid who never had to do math now saying he hates it tells me that it not having to do it did *nothing* to make it more palatable now.

My younger kids, who are now required to do math among other things, don't necessarily like it, but they know they importance of putting in some effort now to spare them difficulties later on. This is not causing any issues in our relationship, in fact the time we now spend together doing some "homeschooling" has turned out to be quite valuable time for all of us. Lot more valuable than my spending time online trying to convince myself that I was doing the right thing by letting them sit in the basement all day gaming. My 8 yo dd who is working on math at the same grade level she'd be in school (the boys are behind as they were unschooled longer) just calculated with delight how many ice cream sandwiches each kid will get from the package we just bought. This despite the fact that she is required to do math each day. She also just told me she likes the idea of having to do schoolwork each day, it keeps her from getting bored.

Don't get me wrong, there is still very ample free time around here and still plenty of gaming. I just don't think in terms of unschooling as something we began so I would never have to bust heavies on my kids, I hoped for something that would result in a superior education because that elusive intrinsic motivation would be cultivated. The way we did things may have brought about many good things, but a superior education is not one of them.
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Originally Posted by RoarÂ

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I'm thinking this same example could be interpreted in a very different ways. Perhaps he's lacks the experience to have developed the skills to handle his feelings when he tries something new or doesn't immediately know how to do something. Perhaps shutting down isn't proof of his intrinsic motivation but instead of a lack of coping skills. Maybe he hasn't learned to be empathetic enough to understanding mom is interested in helping him. Maybe regular math would have a reaction nothing like the response to mom's self created math worksheet presented due to fears of standardized testing.

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Folks can disagree with me but a kid calling new ideas "stupid" and being totally shut down doesn't really say to me that unschooling is producing a desirable result. Let's just say for a minute he believed the ONLY value in this was that it was important to you and you rarely ask such things of him. Is it appropriate that the main reaction if something is important to mom is to call it stupid and refuse to participate? I'm not seeing how this scenario reflects something positive about the unschooling process or about a child's self determination to be intrinsically motivated.

Bolding mine. Â This is a long thread - did someone say this?

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Lots of kids say things are stupid. Â They often mean something else, but have less communication skills than adults, so it is a bit of a catch phrase. Â I do think you should probe further to figure out Â what they mean by stupid.

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You are coming across to me, Roar, as quite critical of USing. Â Fine - I think it is fair to critique any system of education - there are no sacred cows in figuring out what works for our kids. Â But I also have to wonder if your expectations Â are unrealistic. Â I am positive that if I asked on both the more traditional learning at home board as well as the learning at school board if they had ever heard their kids say "this is stupid" in relation to something academic that the answer would be "yes!". Â You made a good point earlier that success should not be judged next to the lowest acceptable standards (they can read and do basic math or the stereotypical worse experience at public school) but nor should the expectations or ideal of USing be so high as to be unrealistic.

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Edited by purslaine - 1/6/12 at 6:09pm
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Originally Posted by RoarÂ

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I'm thinking this same example could be interpreted in a very different ways. Perhaps he's lacks the experience to have developed the skills to handle his feelings when he tries something new or doesn't immediately know how to do something. Perhaps shutting down isn't proof of his intrinsic motivation but instead of a lack of coping skills. Maybe he hasn't learned to be empathetic enough to understanding mom is interested in helping him. Maybe regular math would have a reaction nothing like the response to mom's self created math worksheet presented due to fears of standardized testing.

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Folks can disagree with me but a kid calling new ideas "stupid" and being totally shut down doesn't really say to me that unschooling is producing a desirable result. Let's just say for a minute he believed the ONLY value in this was that it was important to you and you rarely ask such things of him. Is it appropriate that the main reaction if something is important to mom is to call it stupid and refuse to participate? I'm not seeing how this scenario reflects something positive about the unschooling process or about a child's self determination to be intrinsically motivated.

I don't know what's going on in anyone else's house, but it took me far too long to figure out that 95% when my oldest strongly declares that something is "stupid" or "boring" it really means that something about the task is making her uncomfortable (when she really thinks something is stupid or boring, she tends to be pretty calm about it). Â Usually, it means that she's confused or stuck. Â A tough thing with kids is that they can misuse emotion words, because they haven't got them entirely sorted out. Â

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I'm curious, Roar, how unschooling is going in your house. Â You mentioned Miquon Math being popular. Â Your kids sound like they are enjoying it. Â Tell me about your experiences with academic work, unschooling, imposed work, how you deal with struggles if any. Â I'm interested in what an unschooling family with a strong emotional core *looks* like and *sounds* like.

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I really am curious, and it is not just because it annoys me when you take one example we have shared out of the rich tapestry of our lives and declare that something is terribly wrong when resistance is encountered.

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Originally Posted by onatightropeÂ

I don't know what's going on in anyone else's house, but it took me far too long to figure out that 95% when my oldest strongly declares that something is "stupid" or "boring" it really means that something about the task is making her uncomfortable (when she really thinks something is stupid or boring, she tends to be pretty calm about it). Â Usually, it means that she's confused or stuck. Â A tough thing with kids is that they can misuse emotion words, because they haven't got them entirely sorted out. Â

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Yes, that.

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I guess part of what concerns me in this thread, and in some others, is that where are the relationships? We hear that various learning activities if not appropriately child led can lead to damaged relationships. They can damage the relationship between the parent and the child. They can damage the relationship between the child and learning. So, the answer is: parent stop whatever you are doing, stop it.

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What I'm not hearing in all of this are two things. One, an acknowledgement that the parent plays some role in the relationship other than dancing around their kids and hoping that they see those glimmers of academics that suggest it will be okay. Where's the part if a kid says "that's stupid" and refuses to participate in what sounds like the one activity the parent has requested, that isn't evidence of a relationship in which both parties are not working with each other? It seems like again and again the choices are presented as forcing a child to do worksheets or stepping away and hoping for the best because you fear any suggestion on your part will set your kids off. I'm just wondering when unschooling lost the gigantic zone in between these two places? To me when we hear again and again variations of my kids are the kind of kids that can't ever have me make a suggestion, what does that say about what is happening in those relationships?

I have to get off the computer (16 year old loitering around, a hint to get off, lol!) Â but I will come back....

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Roar, do you or did you US?

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I am sensing negativity (with little acknowledgment of the positives) and even an attempt to save us from ourselves in regards to USing, and it does not sit well with me.

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I am just wondering what dog you have in this fight (to borrow an expression)?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilverÂ

I'm curious, Roar, how unschooling is going in your house. Â You mentioned Miquon Math being popular. Â Your kids sound like they are enjoying it. Â Tell me about your experiences with academic work, unschooling, imposed work, how you deal with struggles if any. Â I'm interested in what an unschooling family with a strong emotional core *looks* like and *sounds* like.

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I really am curious, and it is not just because it annoys me when you take one example we have shared out of the rich tapestry of our lives and declare that something is terribly wrong when resistance is encountered.

We talked about this before. We are in a different place - you've got young kids and I'm retired (at home from k-12). To me a functional unschooling relationship involves an actual give and take with respect and communication for both parents and kids. It isn't "all about me" on either side. Parents and kids can work together to set goals and help each other along the way. Areas of development and maturity that would include: communication, empathy, goal setting, coping with frustration, making meaningful and increasing contributions to the home, being comfortable with asking for and accepting help, independence, trust, time management - not in a working at McDonald's way but in the way of learning to be thoughtful about making sure there is some attention to being mindful that the way time spent is leading to a person growing and feeling happy.

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Little snippets might sound like this.Â  "this is really important.. and here's why... I need your cooperation, how can we address this and make it work for both of us..."Â  "Life feels out of balance to me right now.... it feels different than last spring do you notice that... ? "Can we brainstorm some ideas for solving this problem?"Â  "My top priority for today is..." "Let's set up some learning goals for this fall..." "I notice you are struggling with... how can I help you?"Â  What a functional relationship doesn't look like: kid rudely shuts down all parental ideas if they have the slightest whiff of academics and then plays video games 8 hours a day while mom worries and feels guilty for even thinking something different should maybe be happening.

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As far as the one example, I didn't at all get the impression the mom felt it was unusual, but rather I believe she said it was illustrative of the response that occurs if the parent has an idea about the child's learning.Â  Would you consider the response illustrated here to reflect some normal, inherent characteristic of the way children respond to any parental direction?

I guess we know the discussion has gotten heated when instead of focusing on the ideas it turns to evaluating if a person has a right to express ideas.Â  Personally, I've not ever seen a lot of good come from the who discussions of what are the boundaries of unschooling and who is allowed to be a member of the club.Â  It also seems to me that what defines unschooling is shifting pretty significantly over time. Endless years of video games and entering adult life without even minimal competency in basic academics really doesn't seem like it has a lot to do with John Holt for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoarÂ

We talked about this before. We are in a different place - you've got young kids and I'm retired (at home from k-12). To me a functional unschooling relationship involves an actual give and take with respect and communication for both parents and kids. It isn't "all about me" on either side. Parents and kids can work together to set goals and help each other along the way. Areas of development and maturity that would include: communication, empathy, goal setting, coping with frustration, making meaningful and increasing contributions to the home, being comfortable with asking for and accepting help, independence, trust, time management - not in a working at McDonald's way but in the way of learning to be thoughtful about making sure there is some attention to being mindful that the way time spent is leading to a person growing and feeling happy.

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Little snippets might sound like this.Â  "this is really important.. and here's why... I need your cooperation, how can we address this and make it work for both of us..."Â  "Life feels out of balance to me right now.... it feels different than last spring do you notice that... ? "Can we brainstorm some ideas for solving this problem?"Â  "My top priority for today is..." "Let's set up some learning goals for this fall..." "I notice you are struggling with... how can I help you?"Â  What a functional relationship doesn't look like: kid rudely shuts down all parental ideas if they have the slightest whiff of academics and then plays video games 8 hours a day while mom worries and feels guilty for even thinking something different should maybe be happening.

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As far as the one example, I didn't at all get the impression the mom felt it was unusual, but rather I believe she said it was illustrative of the response that occurs if the parent has an idea about the child's learning.Â  Would you consider the response illustrated here to reflect some normal, inherent characteristic of the way children respond to any parental direction?

Bold passages: excellent ways of beginning a conversation with kids.

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Italics: Â Hyperbole. Â You make wonderful arguments, and then ruin it by doing this.

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Underlined:Â yes, I do feel that it is perfectly normal that some kids do this, and I don't think it's necessarily indicative of the strength or health of the relationship. Â So, yes, I would say for many kids, it can be inherent. Â Note that I didn't include the word "any", because I don't know of any child who responds this way to "any" parental direction. Â

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In one of my earliest posts, I gave many examples of how some days, in our house, I suggest many activities. Â My husband draws a bike maze, not because he is trying to find some magical entrance into their lives, but because it is a sunny day, he looks at the very clean patio, and thinks, "I want to draw them a bike maze. Â What fun!" Â I tried to illustrate that not all our activities are child led, not all suggestions are ignored, but all very unschoolish.

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I hesitate to offer you any examples to illustrate because every time I've tried, you've suggested that something must wrong, "if..."Â

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You ask "where are the relationships?" Â Well, in the interest of sticking to the topic, I avoided bringing up everything that happened in our house and lives. Â You know one tiny piece of my life. Â Did you know about taking down the family tree, all of us together? Â The bicycle rides through our gigantic puddles outside, rain pouring down and giggles aplenty? Â The brilliant cuddle we just had on the couch, reading Harry Potter? Â Brushing the cat? Â Getting a long-hoped for phone call from a busy friend? Â No, because this thread is about: unschooling, expectations regarding that, regrets regarding that, math and comprehension.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoarÂ

I guess we know the discussion has gotten heated when instead of focusing on the ideas it turns to evaluating if a person has a right to express ideas. Â <snip> Endless years of video games and entering adult life without even minimal competency in basic academics really doesn't seem like it has a lot to do with John Holt for example.

You can express what you want. Â However, wanting to know if you have ever USed is relevant. Â I have never had kids go to a Waldorf school. Â I can express opinions about Waldorf schools, but they are hardly as likely to be as expansive or deep (be it positive or negative) as someone who has actually had kids in Waldorf.

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Your last line, once again, is about negative stereotypes. Â No one here has said they had a kid enter adult life with minimal competency in basic academic skills (and honestly - not only directed at you - Â I am getting tired of that thrown around - it is quite uncommon as far as I know in USing and hardly the domain of only the USed). Â Yes, the OP's son is struggling in college math. Â College math - not basic academic skills.

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Edited by purslaine - 1/7/12 at 6:22am
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoarÂ

I guess we know the discussion has gotten heated when instead of focusing on the ideas it turns to evaluating if a person has a right to express ideas.Â  Personally, I've not ever seen a lot of good come from the who discussions of what are the boundaries of unschooling and who is allowed to be a member of the club.Â  It also seems to me that what defines unschooling is shifting pretty significantly over time. Endless years of video games and entering adult life without even minimal competency in basic academics really doesn't seem like it has a lot to do with John Holt for example.

Agreeing with kathymuggle. Â As helpful as your comments have been to the OP, for me I simply feel as if you've misrepresented yourself. Â I am not about to hop onto the Learning at School board with sometimes wise, sometimes hyper-critical and exaggerated comments, and never let anyone know that I'm actually a homeschooling mom. Â I think at the end of a long thread on which I've held up a substantial chunk of the debate, the regular parents there might feel resentful to learn that not only am I am unschooler but I have never even sent my kids to preschool, let alone public school. Â

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I would more heartily welcome your perspective (or anyone visiting the unschooling board) if 1) you admitted up front that your knowledge of unschooling is second hand and academic, not from your own experience raising unschooled kids, and 2) you didn't pepper your arguments with the kind of comments like "endless years of video games and entering adult life without even minimal competency...." which illustrates to me that, while you've clearly done some homework on what unschooling entails, you don't know in the day to day sense, of knowing families who have unschooled their kids for long stretches or throughout childhood and what that might look like for each family. Â

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Be mindful that the OP has been most welcoming of (at least some of) your comments. Â You raise some very intelligent points, and then you let slip some hyperbole and the value of all you've written is diminished.

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Roar has been here a long time, both on MDC and in the unschooling threads (even before there was an unschooling board). We used to argue a lot, too, but I think we're really in agreement and probably always have been - we were just talking past each other. Or, to use I statements, I was more focused on winning an argument than understanding Roar's point.

It really is all so individual, and so based on the relationship one has with one's individual child/ren. Piglet68 (who also has been posting on these threads forever) said it well. What my child means when she says something is stupid may be different from what your child means - and what my child meant at 5 may be different from what she meant at 10 or 15. There's a balance in unschooling between not inflicting one'e own agenda on one's children and giving them the information and guidance they need to carry out their own goals, and the younger kids are, the more heavily the balance tends to be weighted towards the former, I think.

Rain was making college plans seriously from the time she was 15 - as in, taking community college classes that she could use to demonstrate mastery on a high school transcript of subjects that she didn't think she could otherwise demonstrate mastery in. For example, she spent a semester taking a Bio college class but just took the SAT II in Lit cold, because she already knew a lot of lit but very little bio. And yes, I talked with her about these choices, and joined email lists for homeschoolers hoping to get into college, and when she talked about how fun an art class would be, I agreed but reminded her of the big goals she has said she had.

On the other hand, her year in Russia messed up a lot of her planning - she couldn't taking the PSAT her junior year, for example (well, technically she could have, but it would have been a major PITA) or a lot of the courses she meant to take, and I floated the idea of taking a gap year before college and thought she agreed with that plan, until the summer before her senior year when she said she really, really didn't want to wait another year. I told her that would mean a really tough semester, trying to cover in one semester what we had planned to do in a year and a half, but she wanted to do it, and did it - not as well as she could have with an extra year, but well enough for her to get into a college she liked with a really good financial aid package, which was her goal.

All of that is really just to demonstrate what I was saying in the second paragraph, I guess I'm not saying I did this perfectly - Rain has said that it would have been great to have more guidance during her teen years from a professional admissions counselor, which I agree with, and I think if she hadn't gone to Russia we might have done that. And when she was 10, things didn't look at all like they did when she was 15, but she was learning and growing and happy.... so it seemed to be enough. And it was.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggleÂ

You can express what you want. Â However, wanting to know if you have ever USed is relevant. Â I have never had kids go to a Waldorf school. Â I can express opinions about Waldorf schools, but they are hardly as likely to be as expansive or deep (be it positive or negative) as someone who has actually had kids in Waldorf.

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Your last line, once again, is about negative stereotypes. Â No one here has said they had a kid enter adult life with minimal competency in basic academic skills (and honestly - not only directed at you - Â I am getting tired of that thrown around - it is quite uncommon as far as I know in USing and hardly the domain of only the USed). Â Yes, the OP's son is struggling in college math. Â College math - not basic academic skills.

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It says a lot to me when rather than discussing ideas of unschooling, the discussion is made about who deserves to be in the club and who doesn't. For myself, and I'm guessing quite a few of the people reading here, some would define them as unschoolers and some would not as unschooling doesn't have a single universally accepted definition. The uniting element is that all of us feel drawn enough to the ideas of unschooling that we've in incorporated into ourlives and the education of our kids. Starting from that point, to me it would be interesting if we could actually discuss the ideas. Is that a reasonable hope?

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As far as negative stereotypes, the original poster said her son needed help with 4th grade math when he started college. That wasn't lacking college competence, it was lacking an elementary school foundation. She unschooled, that was her experience. And, from what I've seen IRL and online this is not an isolated situation by any means. Is that to say every kid who unschools won't learn math? Of course not, because that brings me back to my first paragraph above. There are many definitions of unschooling. I don't see a lot of John Holt in kids who play PS2 day after day, week after week, while not developing core competency. Do you?

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