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How not to feel guilty?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Dear Unschoolers, we have always been homeschooling, I never have my kids to schools, and we usually are sure that this is the way education should be. Until recently we are beginning to wonder if this is true. 

1-My son refuses to do anything we ask him, schooling or not, just anything, there is always NO. He has become lazy, doesn't want to do anything, has little respect for adults, perfectly bright and talented but just spends his days laying on his back (drawing most of the time). 

 

2-I feel so tired of constant need to supply the activity for my kids. No time for myself, nothing. If they are just sitting there, doing nothing, I start wondering if it is me who is not working well enough to provide them with some stimulus to work. 

 

3-At the end of the day , I feel like none of us is productive. Day ends we barely finish eating/cleaning process. Please any insight? I am really lost..:( 

post #2 of 5

Could it be that you are suddenly expecting ds to be doing school-like work because he is school aged? It's impressive that he spends so much of his day drawing. He's developing fine motor skills which will translate to writing when he's ready/interested in focusing on that. Other than my reading to ds before bed, he didn't do anything academic when he was 7. He wasn't ready to read at that age so I was happy that he was developing sight words and got to the point that he was saying "when I know how to read" rather than "reading is for grown-ups." I just focused on reading being interesting and fun. Because he was bright, it was impossible to find interesting books at his (low) reading level. We had to wait until ds's reading level advanced enough to read what interested him. Meanwhile he practiced his reading when using the computer. He slowly asked me for less and less help as his sight words increased. He never did do phonetics, absolutely hated it.

 

Your other kids are really young. that's just the nature of things that you spend most of your time caring for them and keeping them happy. I'm not sure what else you expect to accomplish.

 

The only times I feel something like guilty (more like I need to do some problem solving or change things up) are when ds is obviously not happy. Usually it means ds needs to get out of the house and interact with other kids. We can't always find as much kid interaction as we'd like.

post #3 of 5

It is so hard to know without knowing your family, but here are some thoughts that came up when I read your post.  I think many Mamas can relate to the feelings that sometimes creep up..."Am I doing enough?"  Learning looks different for every child.  It sounds like your son is really enjoying just laying around and drawing.  Does he seem happy when he is doing this?  Maybe focusing on art right now is the best place. You and he can explore different types of art he would be interested in...drawing books from the library, videos from the library about famous artists (history), etc., a trip to the art store for just you and him to see what kinds of supplies might continue to spark his interest.  Meeting local artists?  Entering drawing contests?   

 

Have you asked him what he would like to do?  It is an open ended question that isn't a yes or (the dreaded) no.  By listening to what he says you could maybe find things that satisfy both of your needs.  We use a lot of games for schooling and fun!  Monopoly, cooperative games, checkers, etc.  Maybe this would help?  I am guessing that with 2 little ones you don't exactly have a bunch of time to sit around and play games with him, but maybe when your spouse is available one of you could set aside some time just for him.  Weekly game night?  You and your spouse could trade off each week. 

 

Like the previous poster said, your children are SO young.  There is TONS of time for the type of learning you may be concerned isn't happening.  TONS, really. 

 

Do you have a connection to other homeschooling families?  This may be a good outlet for both of you.  It would allow him to interact with other children and again, might spark new interests for him.  It would also give you the time to connect with other Mamas and feel more "normal" about the productivity of your days. 

 

I apologize if these ideas are things you have already done/are doing/didn't work, etc.  Just some beginning thoughts.  This is a good place to post concerns like this.  We are here to bounce ideas off each other and give support. 

post #4 of 5

When you ask unschoolers what they think, you are going to get a lot of unschool-ey answers, and mine is no exception.  Generally we will say that your son seems to be acting just like many other normal, unschooled kids his age.  Give him some room and some time and he will blossom in his own way, and it is all good.  I'm not going to repeat the advice of others, but I will add mine.

 

As an unschooling mama (girls 5 and 7) I tend not to *find* activities for the kids.  I have stuff around, I do my chores, they ask for help and I give it where I can.  They are, on most days, pretty good at coming up with stuff to do, and yes, it is mostly play right now, hardly anything "schoolish".

 

We have storytime, of course, and they are increasingly finding themselves in a quiet corner looking at books, something I never thought they would do (it seemed at the time anyway).  

 

I've often worried about not having more schoolish stuff around, but they are learning to read simply from the stories we read together (and Garfield books, graphic novels, Calvin and Hobbes-- all very popular here).  I know they are getting comfortable with some math in their heads, and board games sure help with this.  They write now and then, some self-imposed copywork.  I do wish they would draw more-- I, too, would have drawn all day as a girl if given the time, but they don't.  

 

So, I've decided that for their age, I am simply going to give them more time to deepen the skills that are blossoming.

 

I keep a weekly calender on which I record anything vaguely schoolish.  I don't need to do this--my oldest isn't even old enough to need to be "declared" in my state-- but I do it because when taken as a whole it gives me piece of mind.  For instance, yesterday my 5yo started wanting to divide her dinosaur toys by the age they lived in (we placed the Godzilla-looking one with T. Rex in the Cretaceous).  Being a rainy day with all of us home, we all got involved with this.  Before she has grouped the mammals by continents.  Guess what?  That goes on the calender.  She brushes a dry watercolor paintbrush on the pictures in her beloved guidebooks, and dd1 does the same in her horse encyclopedia.  I record that.  One day dd2 started adding the number of pictures on each side of the page together.  Don't know why.   That got recorded too.

 

So, to summarize, I tend to make myself back off at this age.  Both are busy coordinating their fingers to write and draw, they are practicing their reading in their own way.  They do use some math here and there.  I want them to internalize these things, get comfortable with them before expecting them to load up on one concept after another.  

 

Keep in the background and observe for a while.  Don't jump in when the kids are bored, if you tend to do that.  Do your stuff, but keep available.  Go outside at some point to do chores or gardening out there and announce where you are going.  Very often my girls will follow.  Write down everything you see that is remotely schoolish.  I think it likely you will see more than you do now.  

 

Then again, I am a devoted, faithful unschooler on an unschooling forum, so of course I will answer like this.  The truth is that unschooling is not the end-all of homeschooling philosophies.

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 5


Any chance you're a little depressed?  Generally when I have been feeling the way you describe, I eventually figure out that I am struggling, and if I take the time to take care of myself, the other stuff falls into place.  

 

I don't know if that's helpful at all, but it's what sprung to mind when I read your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ekatherina View Post

Dear Unschoolers, we have always been homeschooling, I never have my kids to schools, and we usually are sure that this is the way education should be. Until recently we are beginning to wonder if this is true. 

1-My son refuses to do anything we ask him, schooling or not, just anything, there is always NO. He has become lazy, doesn't want to do anything, has little respect for adults, perfectly bright and talented but just spends his days laying on his back (drawing most of the time). 

 

2-I feel so tired of constant need to supply the activity for my kids. No time for myself, nothing. If they are just sitting there, doing nothing, I start wondering if it is me who is not working well enough to provide them with some stimulus to work. 

 

3-At the end of the day , I feel like none of us is productive. Day ends we barely finish eating/cleaning process. Please any insight? I am really lost..:( 



 

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