Originally Posted by kathymuggle
If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:
-strew. Infrequent or regularly?
Not "strew" so much, as in leave it for them to come across without saying anything. But I do say "look what I got from the library!" Then I leave it out for them to look at, especially if it is a book that is not a good one to sit down and read cover-to-cover, like one of my favorite Rock and Mineral coffeetablebook-sized guide book. I am pretty proactive about sharing what I've brought home and why. I also am pretty proactive about choosing new things to bring home, usually based on their interests (e. g. sharks to dinosaurs to dragons to English myths to monster to Greek myths and on and on.) Or I simply wonder if they are ready for, say "Anno's Math Games", and if they are we might have it around for a while, then some weeks or months later I might bring it home again from the library. That also works with favorite stories we have read as a family that 7yo dd1 might be ready to read on her own.
-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Few or many?
Kids are 5 and 7, so no, not yet. I am not thrilled with textbook-style learning, but that could be because of my girls' ages. We do 4-H, and are following the "Horseless Horse" curriculum, so that should probably count. I also bought a set of wilderness awareness books for the kids with activities, so perhaps that should count, too. Then the girls have their puzzle books from Highlights which come every month.
-ask or model that kids use the above items
I ask if they would like to, and will sometimes suggest at some moments when the girls' motiovation is tanking that we haven't worked on them for a while. But just as often I suggest we all go outside, or come help me with my chores, or at least keep me company while I am doing them, or suggest we read for a bit. And, of course, I do read through stuff myself because I am interested. I have been known to sit down on the couch with, say, a horse encyclopedia and have them come over to see what I am looking at. I don't do something unless I am truly interested in it, however, which includes being interested in their interests.
-insist kids use these items.
No. However, with 4-H I have pointed out that if they want to show chickens in the fair, we need to show up at the meetings, which can be less than thrilling for kids so young. The Horse activities we are doing on our own as a family, so I don't bring that up when we talk about 4-H. The fact is, we need to discuss the 4-H situation as a family because it is resulting in some mild resistance, and I need to know whether to continue through the year and the fair with the group, drop it and try next year, or continue it as a family group, which we can do. (Or drop it entirely and just learn about the chickens and horses in our own way.)
-kids have chores
No. We are working on getting the girls to take on responsibilities without actually imposing chores, and we have had some moderate, encouraging success. (Modeling behavior, etc.) Started a whole thread on that ("The balance between unschooling and chaos") which included the topics of messiness and bossiness. Just to preserve my own sanity, I did start a rule that I don't look for individual lost toys, and after some fussing from 5yo dd2 that seems to be working and she is taking more responsibility for her things.
-kids have bedtimes
Yes. I've tried to lift that requirement, and all hell breaks loose! I sometimes wonder if I had started being flexible from the very beginning I might have avoided this, but I too don't like being "on" all evening, which would happen! Bedtime rules is something I hope to evolve out of.
-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)
Yes, screen time. This is something I have not regretted in the least, though I am not an evangelical about limits for other families. I find TV and computers and video games very addictive, especially where dh is concerned, and the limits extend to the whole family. We have no video games. During illness, we have "extra video days" which early on were hard to wean the girls off of, but now they are simply tired of the TV being on. I attribute a good chunk of their energetic self-motivation from not having the tube on.
-do structured activities out of the house. Any limits on this?
Yes, gymnastics and riding lessons, 4-H, "wolf camp". Finances are a big part, as is travel distances and feeling overscheduled. Plus, even though I don't shy away from the structure, I am mindful of the teaching styles and my girls' continued interest.
I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking. I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.
Oh, and if you can think of something I missed on the above list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.