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Feel like RU has ruined my life - Page 2

post #21 of 74


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

This is something I think about a lot. When was the last time that someone who was addicted was helped by someone OUTSIDE that person preventing access to their addiction of choice? It's not possible. I mean, it might help in that it would allow for other passions to take root if he weren't 24/7 on one passion. But as for self-discipline, no one outside the person can develop it for them. They can't tell them when their body feels full of food and it's time to stop eating; they can't tell them what it feels like to get dizzy from too much alcohol and maybe learn to hate that loss of focus & control, they can't tell them when their eyes are bugging out from too much screen time. etc etc.....what I'm saying is the "self-" part of self-discipline really does mean that it's something they need to develop. And that is why I have never fully micro-managed such things, as much as it tempts me.

 

They say that (law of attraction-wise) that you get what you think about the most. You will attract what you most fear. Sheesh. That alone is an argument for letting up.

 

And another thought is, if it IS addictive and what I'm seeing IS addiction, then that ship has sailed. I have nothing to lose by letting it continue to see if (a) it will abate naturally & maybe it wasn't addiction or (b) if help or intervention really ends up being needed. Because seriously, the short-term effects are mostly on us, his parents. As for him, he's fine with it. He's having a blast. The only negative to HIM is US. In other words WE ask things of him and he moans or complains about it. It's we who have problems with worrying about his future because he doesn't do X,Y or Z (we parents SO need to be deschooled!)

 

Maybe I worry too much. So he doesn't do chores or study his ABCs. I am the one with The Waltons in my head; maybe I'm the one with the problem :-)

 

 

 

 

The reason I don't worry about my ds's extensive computer use is that he is generally willing to get off the computer to do something else fun or interesting. No, he won't choose to go help me garden, or ride his bike around the block, and he might be reluctant to go on a family walk, but he's happy to meet a good friend for a nature hike or go to a cool museum or something. He has been using the computer all along so getting to use a computer is a given (he has his own). The kids do need to learn how to moderate their use and balance their lives. Since ds has been using the computer all along, we've been guiding him with that all along, mostly focusing on getting some outside time and some exercise. 

 

And I've head the same experience as you with my own use. The internet is great fun but eventually aspects of it get old and boring and I'm less interested. Then something else comes along, like Ravelry, then Pinterest, and my interest in the computer goes up for a while. Until I start to notice how repetitive it all is. I've had the same experience with TV series. I'll lose interest because the characters keep getting into the same predictable stupid situations. Because my ds has gamed for years, I've seen his interest in many computer games wane. A few are really good games and he still revisits them. Minecraft is new for him, too, and we've had many walks and nature hikes where all he wants to do is discuss it. It seems to not be the main topic as often anymore. But he still plays it daily in rotation with other games.

 

If your ds gets accepted to the Sudbury school, I'd say resolve not to worry until he settles in there. 
 

 

post #22 of 74

I think you could see a lot of improvement by doing two simple things: 1) turn off or severely limit the screens, 2) require that the kids help out with household chores.  Maybe the screens can be the payment for the chores.  You are NOT your children's slave!  They need to experience picking up their own messes.  There's nothing wrong with asking them to pull their own weight.  Even a very young child can put away their own clothes, help wipe down bathrooms, scrub dirty spots on the floor.

 

As far as the screens-- even RU have screen policies.  For one we couldn't afford all those gadgets for our kids so they don't have some of the things you mentioned.  If they wanted a DS they'd have to find a way to earn money to buy it themselves.  If they wanted to run the computers all day long they could find a way to contribute to the utility bill.  Gadgets are not a human right!

post #23 of 74

I don't believe in living my life fitting into someone else's standards. That includes any labels-- such as what defines an unschooler or radical unschooler or whatnot. It sounds to me that you are not happy. That is a catalyst for change right there.

 

I don't care if the world says I am not an unschooler because I teach my children math. So be it. When my children are adults, I am going to have to stand in front of them and tell them that I did the best that I could-- that I did what I thought was right. If I let them sit around and pick their noses all day long and never do math....well....to me, that's not doing MY best. I'm not comfortable with that.

 

This is YOUR life. You are the parent. Nobody else is. You need to make an executive decision on what will/won't work. Sure, you will sometimes fail. Yes, there will be setbacks. Yes, you will probably see a bit of dissension in the ranks.But...you've gotta do what you need to do.

post #24 of 74

One more thing: I agree with the previous poster...my kids have to help out before any screen time.

 

Screen time starts somewhere around 3 in our house. It lasts for 2 hours-- in which they can do a Wii/movie or just movie. They have to do TWO chores before they turn on that screen. Sometimes they are bigger chores, sometimes I'm looking for something tiny that they can do fast.

 

Just wiping down toilet seats is such a help. Bringing down trash cans. Putting laundry on. Unloading the silverware drawer.

 

I didn't help out as a child (didn't have to) and I can honestly say as an adult....you're not doing the kids any favors. It is so much harder to learn these tasks as an adult when you are already set in your ways.
 

post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post

One more thing: I agree with the previous poster...my kids have to help out before any screen time.

Screen time starts somewhere around 3 in our house. It lasts for 2 hours-- in which they can do a Wii/movie or just movie. They have to do TWO chores before they turn on that screen. Sometimes they are bigger chores, sometimes I'm looking for something tiny that they can do fast.

That seems very sensible. A chance for you to have a break and pull dinner together.
post #26 of 74

Update on my last post, for any parent who would find it helpful:

 

The other day, DS(9) and I had a HUGE drama about Minecraft. He was acting out, moaning, curling up in a ball, crying, whining, you name it, because he couldn't spend the day on Minecraft and I put my foot down. He really lost it, the whole "you are totally breaking my heart; you don't love me, you are taking away the most important thing to me; I love it as much as I love you...." Emotions ran high.

 

Eventually they calmed, and I problem-solved with him. I said that when he curls up in a ball on the couch and goes full-on drama with me, that leaves ALL the problem-solving up to me. His voice doesn't get heard. I asked "Do you want me to be like a dictator and make all the decisions about Minecraft or do you want your voice to be heard?" So he got involved. The bottom line was:

 

His position: he wants unlimited minecraft

My position: I want (a) "balance" for him (i.e. a balanced life that involves sunshine, physical play and also helping out around here; (b) peace & no moaning, complaining etc when he couldnt be on Minecraft, (c) dinners where he's not wolfing down half a plate to run back downstairs and play, (d) peaceful evenings.

 

We found our middle ground, which is VERY liberal on the Minecraft time but seriously, if I get my things (above), I don't mind if he spends a long time down there.

 

The deal is:

--He can sign onto Minecraft at 9am as usual (if he has brushed his teeth; we needed to link those two or he'd keep forgetting teeth)

--Between the hours of 11:00 and 1:00 there are no screens (similar to what his best friend has at her house). It will be lunch and/or outdoor time, garden work or whatever.

--He can sign back on at 1:00 *IF* he has done any chores I ask, and by this I just mean picking up the daily flurry of stuff on his floor, or put in a load of laundry, or whatever minor-but-helpful task needs doing.

--Minecraft ends for the day at 5:00pm (it had been 8pm before). It's DH's computer and he needs it at night. DS has been a rotten negotiator; DH often feels like he's begging to use his own computer. So this new earlier cutoff time is good.

 

DS says (smiling) "oh my! That's a possible 6 hours!" I said "Yes, but that's not a guaranteed minimum. If we have errands or whatever, you will have less." (there are frequently errands, needing to pick up DH at work, etc.)

 

I wrote on the whiteboard:

--No whining, moaning, begging when you are not on minecraft.

--No more interrupting our "grownup time" downstairs late at night, which he's been doing a LOT lately.

 

Sound fair? Yeah!!!! he said. And on our first day this has worked well. He went down there and came up at 11am. "Mom, I am in the middle of something right now, can I finish and then come up?" "Yes , if it's brief." Five minutes later "I had to come up; it was going to take too long."   :-)  

 

Later, on the way back from errands I said "Before I sign you back on this afternoon, I want you to pick up your bedroom floor." "OK."

And here's the thing. When we got home, he went in there IMMEDIATELY  to do it. No reminding was needed. woo hoo!

 

So his last hurdle today under the new system is going to be avoiding the moan-fest after 5pm. But the way I see it, if I am left alone all day to do my own work, then by 5pm I am ready to do things with him, like reading books with him, playing games, taking a walk, whatever.

 

This may sound like a liberal, squishy, policy, but remember...my goal wasn't to minimize his Minecraft; it was to have an integrated child who can have lots of Minecraft yet still function in the family. This looks promising!

 

 

 

 

 

post #27 of 74
So when is his "school time"? Minecraft is cool but it in no way replaces the myriad of things a person needs to know in life.
post #28 of 74

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

So when is his "school time"? Minecraft is cool but it in no way replaces the myriad of things a person needs to know in life.

 

"School time?"  This is the USing forum.   

post #29 of 74

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

So when is his "school time"? Minecraft is cool but it in no way replaces the myriad of things a person needs to know in life.

 

I don't think you'll find much "school time" on the unschooling board, LOL!

 

As I see it this kid has up to 6 hours a day on Minecraft. That leaves him at least 8 other waking hours in the day in which to encounter, explore, discuss, practice, experience and learn things that Minecraft doesn't "cover." Not to mention that he has months and years in his future when Minecraft may be less important to him.

 

Miranda

post #30 of 74

Thanks Miranda! Plus, we must remember that within the Minecraft he is learning things too. And reading (he reads the many Minecraft Wikipedia pages I print out for him.) And problem-solving, self-direction, pride in accomplishment, socializing with friends (they share ideas and Minecraft "recipes" and strategies). As well as learning about negotiating and what's valuable to the family during all these discussions!

 

And yeah, it's the unschool board.  :-)   Learning is in the air and is a 24/7 thing. Like today at the playground when a discussion of race and nationality and country-of-origin came up. Or in the car when a discussion cropped up around something heard on NPR. Or at the dinner table when DH talks about history. Or when I read his chapter books to him and we talk about & look up new words, discuss plot twists, concepts like trust, honor, loyalty, deceit, work, and many other things that come up in the story. Yes, he doesn't drill his math facts, and I wish he did more than I could get him to do on that, but outside of that he has a well-fed mind.

 

But I do have a schooled heart myself, so I took great pleasure in the fact that last night, when Minecraft was cleanly OFF the table for the night, we suddenly had time to do things together. And, for the first time in ages, we were able to curl up on the bed together and go through a stack of library books like we did in the old days. I read to him about electricity from the Ask magazine for kids, and from a book about the US government. As unschooly as we are, this stuff still gives me a thrill. And it exposes him to concepts that are new and/or which connect to things he's already learned. win-win

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

 

I don't think you'll find much "school time" on the unschooling board, LOL!

 

As I see it this kid has up to 6 hours a day on Minecraft. That leaves him at least 8 other waking hours in the day in which to encounter, explore, discuss, practice, experience and learn things that Minecraft doesn't "cover." Not to mention that he has months and years in his future when Minecraft may be less important to him.

 

Miranda

 

 

post #31 of 74

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

Thanks Miranda! Plus, we must remember that within the Minecraft he is learning things too. And reading (he reads the many Minecraft Wikipedia pages I print out for him.) And problem-solving, self-direction, pride in accomplishment, socializing with friends (they share ideas and Minecraft "recipes" and strategies). As well as learning about negotiating and what's valuable to the family during all these discussions!

 

Have you seen this blog post about the learning one mom has observed with her daughters' Minecraft play? http://balancepit.blogspot.com/2012/04/learning-from-minecraft.html

post #32 of 74

I hadn't seen it; thanks!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

 

 

Have you seen this blog post about the learning one mom has observed with her daughters' Minecraft play? http://balancepit.blogspot.com/2012/04/learning-from-minecraft.html

 

 

post #33 of 74
My 12 yo ds spends quite a bit of time on Minecraft, he's actually creating a game for my 16 yo to play and writing a very lengthy backstory to go with it. When I see this type of thing happening, I do tend to back off and just let it happen. I was requiring some writing, but when he does this of his own volition, there is really no need. I have no limits on screen time, but he does seem to balance it out on his own. He goes from Wii to computer, to trampoline, to Legos, to doing the work I've asked of him, to X-box, to playing his ocarina, back to Wii. But don't think for a minute I wouldn't intervene if I believed what he was doing was not in his best interests. Our brief foray into RU resulted in a lot of chaos, and we are still recovering in some ways from that time. There is no shame or failure in exercising parental authority when the situation/child requires it.
post #34 of 74

Something just dawned on me. Some of us here (I speak for myself but assume there might be others) come from authoritarian upbringings, and we are here because we want to do differently by our own kids.

 

BUT. I am thinking that if we spent our whole young lives having it drilled into us "respect authority" "do as you're told" "do it right; don't be a failure" "that C isn't good enough; why not get an A".....(etc) .....how easy do you think it's going to be to avoid creating another "authority figure" for ourselves and feeling coerced to obey THAT?

 

(this is an a-ha moment I had as I read the last post)

 

Seriously. Why wouldn't freedom cause us unschooling/GD newbies SO much anxiety (because it is so new and unfamiliar, and with our kids the stakes are SO high) that we wouldn't just build a new "authority figure" so we could go about relating to it in the same way we've always done....that is, obeying the authority figure and ignoring our own instincts, what's best for us, etc.

 

The new "authority figure" of which I speak (for those of us who fit this description) is "Radical Unschooling."

 

Think about it. Jeez, I think I am onto something.

post #35 of 74

NellieKatz, I think what you're saying makes some sense.  I come from a "the parent is always right" upbringing and have spent years working on the issues that resulted from this.  For me, the key has been learning to ask for help and being open to different perspectives, but ultimately trusting myself to see the nuances in my situation and act accordingly.

 

I personally dislike labeling sub-groups of unschoolers.  It's not only divisive, but it can quickly become very rigid, not taking into account different children's and different families' needs.  For example, I've noticed that some well-known RUers are even starting to endorse different diets.  It seems to me that whether to go vegan, for instance, or whether to give away the family TV, or whether to ban Bratz dolls from the home, are issues on which very good parents/unschoolers can reasonably disagree.  I see some unschoolers wanting to latch on to particular "unschooling experts," perhaps because, as you suggest, it is easier to make someone else the authority.  I really enjoy and have benefitted from the perspectives the well-known unschoolers offer, but I don't think there is any one person whose views match mine one hundred percent.  This is even true of John Holt, whose work I very much admire.

 

I'm wondering if you've ever read through some of the back issues of Growing Without Schooling, the now-defunct newsletter that John Holt started.  (Many of the old issues are now online, and you can also order a book-length compilation of some of the early issues.)  It's pretty interesting how tolerant that group seemed to be, and how focused they were on the particular needs of different children.

post #36 of 74

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

NellieKatz, I think what you're saying makes some sense.  I come from a "the parent is always right" upbringing and have spent years working on the issues that resulted from this. 

 

And I've come from a more egalitarian upbringing (not that my dad didn't have his authoritarian moments, but he always listened to a reasonable argument). I've never understood how hung up people get on doing unschooling "right" and following the "rules." I do what I do and unschooling just seems to best describe that. If it didn't, I'd call myself an eclectic relaxed homeschooler and go on my way without being upset that someone told me I wasn't an unschooler...

post #37 of 74

I am not a RU, but would describe myself as an eclectic, relaxed homeschooler.  I did AP and all that.  I did have a very authoritarian upbringing and wanted to avoid that, and I also am not very tolerant of chaos.  When my kids were little (toddlers) and I was really working on AP and GD, I would frequently feel at a loss with trying to figure out what my very little children wanted (to do, wear, eat etc.).  My ah-ha moment came when I realized that what they needed (and our whole family needed) was a leader, a benevolent, loving leader.  I set out to be that leader and have never looked back.  I can ask what people want, I can try to talk and explain, but when push comes to shove, someone has to get out there and lead.  I felt this frequently calmed my kids (and still does) as they do not have to worry about the big picture or making all the decisions and can get on with more age appropriate things.

 

Most of us can think of jobs we have had where our bosses have been either good or bad leaders.  My best boss looked out for the good of the individual, the good of the organization and his own well-being and tried to balance all of that.  I didn't have a say about benefits or health insurance options, but I knew he was on our side and would do the best he could under the circumstances.  This freed everyone else up to worry about their own work.  I feel like this works in families too.

 

I didn't actually "do" anything specific when I had my ah-ha moment, it was an attitude shift that made life so much better for all of us.

 

Good luck!

post #38 of 74

I'm the mom to a radical unschooler, aged 19. Your son has found something he truly enjoys, and every time you give him a "look" or mention it, he clings to it ever more tightly! He is sure that any minute it will be gone, and he better enjoy it while he can. If you limit it to two hours he will play it two hours, whether he is sick or hungry or has to go to the bathroom, or his favorite TV show is on. If you limit it to 4 hours it will be the same thing. If you limit it to Thursday, he will do little but pine away for it ti be Thursday. That's human nature. Anything you try to limit will be met with this behavior.

 

"Taking part in life" ....why are you thinking that every day needs to be a balance of all parts of life (indoor vs outdoor, book vs, computers, etc?. Accept that he has a passion - it will morph into something else, but it will take much, much, much longer if you continue to vilify it. My child was immersed in Lego, World of Warcraft, photography, art, and many other things to the exclusion of everything else until it had been milked dry of all the learning and fun for a while, and then might be visited a year or two later, for another round of complete immersion. But away times were spent with books or YouTubes or Googling something that related to it somehow. Learning IS happening. You need to read more on de-schooling. Sometimes, a stuck place is the result of a child being the age a parent was when something big happened in the adult's life when they were that age.

 

Peggy99

post #39 of 74

Oh, please don't think about math facts. Have you seen the figures for how many kids have to take math review in college (and pay for it) even though they mad it through high school math courses?

 

We screw kids minds up with this "numbers on paper" business. That's not real world math - there is plenty of time to learn it. If they want a career in something that involves math - go online and find the college requirements for it when they are young teens and let them read for themselves. They don't need to be nagged, and they don't need to prepare young for a what-if career.

 

Kids who are uschoolers that have not had any pressure to learn math on paper do just fine. The other kids have all sorts of fears to try to overcome about how they "can't do math". Focus on everyday life - sharing raisins between five people or cutting the pizza in slices and casually mentioning portions. When people say - "when should I start fractions" - I cringe. Start with the baby on your hip and say "Does daddy want half a pizza" and cut it in half and point - or does Daddy want a fourth of a pizza, and cut the half in half. You can do something mathy like that a dozen times a day without mentioning the word math. Do they have a growth chart where you measure their height. Why not measure all the favorite dolls or army men or stuffed animals. Pokemon figures also ar many different sizes if you look at the books about them.  That's everyday life with no math lectures.

 

Read this: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14389275/And-Rithmetic-by-Daniel-Greenberg

 

and this is a great blog: http://mathmamawrites.blogspot.com/

 

Peggy99

post #40 of 74

Well Peggy, there are a few other issues as I've set forth in previous posts. I do understand what you mean by the desire increasing if something's limited. However, I wouldn't say I "vilify" it, because I am the one who brought it into his life because of the positives that I saw in it, and still do. But he's only 9 years old so I can't leave him here alone to get anything done for the family. I can't shop, deliver customer orders, or bring him to things that he benefits from or COULD benefit from. Yes, Minecraft benefits him. I don't argue with that, but it's not the only thing in the world and if he can't do his one passion 24/7 then oh well, that's life. I'd like to sit in my room, read and paint all day, but I need to feed the family and do the laundry, just to name two of the many other activities on my plate. And I have this weird obsession with paying the mortgage so I work (out of the home, 2 jobs). So staying home so he can play all day, and then at 8pm when Dad needs his computer, continuing to listen to his whining and moaning--that's not acceptable.

 

Besides, I wonder if you really think it's healthy for someone not to be out in the sun at all, or rarely get any physical activity, or take part in anything with the family. How is that good parenting if I don't intervene when he's going down a path that is hurting him emotionally, physically or relationally.

 

I do fully understand the need to not have the parent-child conflict constantly gnawing at him. I get that. But so far, so good. Having set parameters helps with that. He comes up at the end of his new, long, days on Minecraft and then, without the pull that he had before ("gotta get back to it, gotta ask for it, gotta bargain for it, maybe I can do it, ask, nag, ask, nag....") without that constant pull (i.e. he knows that if it's after 5pm, don't bother asking), he's free. He knows that 5pm is it, and we can do other things he enjoys. Last night we read books (I read to him) for so long that my throat was sore and we were both punchy and couldn't follow the plot any more. Then we had insane pillowfights and gales of laughter. He went out with me to pick up the pizza. We walked with Dad around the yard to see what was blooming and what living creatures were showing up. It's been fun. He hasn't complained a bit, and he seems much more relaxed.

 

And your comment: "He is sure that any minute it will be gone, and he better enjoy it while he can." He doesn't have to look over his shoulder for me to give him a look or some grief. Not under the new system. He knows his hours. Much like I know my hours.....the hours that I have to do what I need to do, before DH comes home and it's time to make dinner, or when it's time to get dressed and take DS to a pre-scheduled play date; i.e. real life.

 

As I might have mentioned before, in the fall we want to send him to a democratic free school. He can do what he wants there all day, and I think that he will have a much healthier situation there because there will be other kids, activities and choices. He will balance his own time there and I won't fear for his happiness, balance or well-being (or mine!). Here, it just wasn't working. He'd do it all day and come out the other end whiny, unhappy and obnoxious. So we needed to do what works.

 


 

 

 

 

 

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