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Feel like RU has ruined my life - Page 4

post #61 of 74

I do agree it isn't so much an unschooling issue as a parenting issue. It's just sometimes tricky to figure out how to make it happen... There are plenty of people with schooled kids that wrestle with getting their kids to do chores. But the kids aren't home so much of the day. And the parents don't usually over think whether it's ok to ask/require help.


Personally, I refuse to do things to an extent that I feel like I servant. I'm happy to help a child that needs help. And I'll help a child who simply wants help. But I'll also let a mess of someone else's creation sit as a way to let it be known that I'm not responsible for it. Sometimes things don't happen as soon as I'd like (unloading the dishwasher, for instance) but I don't just empty it because it's more expedient. My family eventually notices the lack of clean dishes is a problem. Dh knows I won't cook as much if there aren't clean dishes with which to cook. Ds likes to use the regular spoons and isn't happy if the only thing clean is soup spoons. My ds has occasionally told me something it dirty/messy and that I should clean it. I laugh and offer to help him clean it.


I think the OP also has a difficult age range of kids. The oldest doesn't need so much help but probably wants some. And probably doesn't feel like she should do more than the younger kids. The younger two (6 and 4) need more help and direction. And possibly the OP has a greater need for things to be clean and orderly than someone like me. Also, my ds is a bit sensory averse and appreciates when things are clean so he does eventually notice when things have spiralled too far.  

post #62 of 74

I don't know if anyone already mentioned this but I just want to add a book recommendation for Simplicity Parenting by Kim Payne.  It is not about unschooling or even homeschooling but rather on providing a predictable routine for children's benefit.  Basic synopsis:

Declutter especially kids toys and even books - nothing has value among too many items and imagination is crushed by too many choices.

Simplify meals so that you have the same thing every week on the same day such as Tuesday Soup Day and not make multiple meals for different kids.  

Reduce or eliminate screen time.

Keep schedules allowing plenty of free play (you probably already have this down)

Limit exposure to the adult world.


I'm not sure if this is from that book or another but also giving kids responsibilities such as helping prepare food and clean up their own messes is very important.  You are not being pushy by insisting that everyone share the responsibility of living.  It doesn't set a good example for you to be the household slave.


Good luck to you!

post #63 of 74

I am not an unschooler and I am forum crashing.  OP, you sound miserable.  grouphug.gif  You do not have to keep on with a philosophy/practice that is not working for you or your kids, no matter what it is or how badly you wanted to believe in it.  All that really matters in the end is whether or not it is working for your family.  You can give yourself permission to consider different ways of doing things.   It's okay.   Being flexible is not any kind of failure. 

post #64 of 74
Originally Posted by PGTlatte View Post

I am not an unschooler and I am forum crashing.  OP, you sound miserable.  grouphug.gif   You do not have to keep on with a philosophy/practice that is not working for you or your kids, no matter what it is or how badly you wanted to believe in it.  All that really matters in the end is whether or not it is working for your family.  You can give yourself permission to consider different ways of doing things.   It's okay.   Being flexible is not any kind of failure. 


Yep. That sounds like great advice!
post #65 of 74

Hmm.. The first thing that popped out at me was how organized this little learner wants to be! I *think* that it could very well be a problem with her system and especially if she likes systems for flow. I also think she can be two ways - focused when hair brushed and room cleaned, or desk really, or just longing for a very special space to study which actually might change with each subject and/or height of sun. You might even be dealing with a girl who perfers blocks of time on days that are longer. I would totally try some Waldorf Math with the multiplication too. She might need to soak in each things with colored pencils like the coloring books for Anatomy type thing, and then maybe have a drill.review thingy with mom at like the end of each week - if she likes that. 


Some how I think you organizing it for her though helpful may be hurting. She might be one that leads when she is the creator at the very first point. She is still quiet young too. For say doing all the library leg work (I hope you use on-line holds at the check out), but she might really need a nice fit for organizing (herself) for the academics she is going for. It may look like she is stalling, but I would be respectful. I know the fonts are a really big deal to me, and even my own purse, bag, organizer, lists - they all got crazy when I started juicing (tons more veggies, meal plan scared, 30+min a day fitted in, "bolts of the day" scattered!) BUT if she does take a month to achieve "flow" that will be some serious life skills mastered! It might happen twice a year, but I think it will get better and better. 

post #66 of 74

this is why labels suck.  OP is sucked into believing she has to be a RU in all senses of the word.  I would step out of my RU community and find myself if I were the OP.  It will be somewhere on the spectrum, and it doesn't have to be in RU land, it can be wherever it fits.

post #67 of 74

An update: I don't have time to read all the other posts right now, not even my own, but I did want to pop in and say that we've reached some peace on the subject. Several things we've learned:


1) While *I* am an unschooler regarding my own learning (now, at this advanced age), my son will, to his own detriment, stay down on the computer all day and night until he's a mess. A cranky, dissatisfied mess. I don't think unschooling works for us. Not 100 percent, anyway.


2) We've set a VERY liberal screen limit for him, and we have a system where he comes upstairs at the halfway point and we do some really loose "lessons." Since he's hugely into creative writing and he has dictated more 13+ page stories to me than I can even count, he does the BBC Dance Mat typing program. (I am not willing to continue to be his secretary for that much longer, though I will stay on as his editor.) I also read to him from Story of the World (1 chapter). Then he reads ME a chapter from Life of Fred, which is quite adorable. It's the only math that doesn't make him scream. Also, for a while there I was having him trace lower case letters (something most kids do in first grade) and also practice writing them, because the act of writing was slowing him down and he's got a powerfully creative mind. I wanted to help him get to where writing was easier and clearer to read. He improved so much I have ceased having him do that. And of course we do other things together during the break, like read for fun, and eat lunch, and he has to pick up his clothes off the bedroom floor, and then he goes back down for part two of his Minecraft time. The deal is, he operates within those limits or he can't have so darned much time.


What I like about it is that the "lessons" is that it gives him a chance to practice trying hard and succeeding. Before the Dance Mat typing, he was using my college typing book and he found the exercises boring to do (but the repetition really is necessary). To help deal with the boredom of it, I suggested he use the Stopwatch function on my iPhone and time each line. Well he ended up really rising to that occasion. He enjoyed trying to beat his own record. Many tears came at those lines that took too long for his liking, but many high-fives came when he sped up and broke his own record. I think this is so very beneficial! Although I know I really need to increase the level of the challenges because he is getting older. He still folds up far too easily in the face of a challenge. Mostly that's because I've always been here and WAY too available to solve his problems for him. (I truly regret that; it has hurt him.)


For the rest of our day we are unschool-y. He soaks up politics while we watch the debates and the conventions and talk about them at length; our fiction stories we read (Warriors series) offers amazing parallels to the human world which brings up all kinds of discussions quite naturally, whether about politics, emotions, nature, diplomacy, religion, etc. ; our amazing backyard keeps us in touch with nature, and so on and so on.....our days are quite free-form except for the mini lessons at break time. But I needed to build in some structure. And I am sending him to a few classes, too: this semester, one is for media literacy, and the other is a math/science combination, very hands-on. He needs to learn what it's like to work with others and collaborate, and to learn from them and possibly be inspired by the other students and the teacher....his world will be a small, cramped world, not unlike a little mushroom growing under a tree root, unless I "force" certain activities where I think he really truly needs it. He has told me he fears working with other kids, and speaking from experience when you start to be afraid of trying new things, your world gets small. I don't want to be heavy handed, but I don't want him to be lost and devoid of skills when it's time to "graduate." I don't want homeschooling him to have turned out to harm him by allowing him to hide from certain areas of growth and competence (and confidence).


It's a delicate balance. Some unschoolers say that kids will challenge themselves and they don't need us parents to artificially create challenges for them. To some extent that might be true...for some kids more than others. My son certainly will try VERY hard to teach himself things and overcome challenges in Minecraft, but there's a tangible world out there he also needs to be able to live in. It's my job to prepare him for that. If he's staring at a screen ALL day, I'm not doing him any favors. Much as I might wish he were self-propelled, like some other unschoolers I know, to just pick up Shakespeare and read it all day, or find joy in science experiments or, heck, even bike riding out in the neighborhood. He's afraid of that too. Too sheltered!! (Part of this is that he's homeschooled AND an only child.)


Laurie Couture, whom I admire, says "no screens," and I am not willing to take that step because it really would hurt my son in a personal way. He adores Minecraft. It has meaning for him beyond what I understand. So limits are how we've chosen to handle it. It really does make my life harder, too, because DS is right-brained and sort of ADD and has proven himself incapable of keeping track of his own Minecraft time. (I so desperately want him to take over that task because I believe it's his job.)


Anyway thanks for listening. My views sure have evolved over time! It must be hard for you guys to figure out where I'm coming from half the time....  :-)

post #68 of 74

hug2.gifno advice, as i don't unschool at all. i just couldn't read your post without giving support. hugs to you, mama. hang in there.

post #69 of 74

grouphug.gif  I'm glad you have found a balance that is working for you and your son.  I am not an unschooler - I'm actually very structured and very much in charge, because that is what works here - but ITA about finding the delicate balance.  Minecraft is meaningful to our sons also, and taking it away completely would not work here either. 

post #70 of 74

I don't like the idea of a "no screens" rule either.  They can be overstimulating for everybody, and if someone is frazzled, depressed, or otherwise in a funk, it needs to be shut off, but TVs and computers can also be so inspiring, interesting, motivating, skill and knowledge building, it seems like throwing the baby out with the bath water to remove it completely from our lives.  We also did an hour of lessons each day for a while last year because my son needed help transitioning from solely play to play combined with meaningful work.  Minecraft is one of his passions, too, and I like him indulging in it extensively; there's focus and learning and meaningful work happening there.  However, I also feel like it is good for him to extend beyond that and try to facilitate his other interests so he has something to engage in when he is done playing/building with it. He has gotten better this year at more moderate computer use, recognizing when he is getting cranky, stressed, and restless from overexposure.  I think that is, in part, because he has become more comfortable with starting projects/trying new things. He used to have difficulty starting anything with more than one step to it or requiring any significant time or effort, afraid of failure, and unable to make progress because he lacked confidence,even if he loved whatever it was. When he did get interested in something, we were stuck in a cycle: him coming up with an idea, me asking if he'd like to learn more about that, him getting excited, me finding resources, him gathering more ideas for related projects, more materials and reading to him a bit about the topic, him asking if we can start a project, me telling him how to do it, him backing down a little and asking me to help set up, me setting up, him walking away during set up, me calling him back, trying not to be frustrated, him losing interest, not wanting to do this anymore, not wanting to read or watch videos or talk about it anymore, fizzle, sputter, stall.  Return library books, shelve materials, watch him get back on the computer, repeat. A more parent-guided, involved approach for a time helped break him out of that pattern, and he is much more independent and shows all kinds of initiative, so we are back to being unschooling purists .  There was never any curriculum involved.  It was just sort of parent-guided conversation, some reading together, or playing a board game or watching a documentary.  A lot of this is just the extra challenge involved in parenting and helping educate a highly anxious child. He struggles with transition and change of any kind, and learning is all about change and growth. He wants to grow, but he's afraid to change, so unschooling doesn't always flow for him the way it seems to for some other unschoolers we've encountered.

post #71 of 74

Man OP! How did I not get you were talking about a boy!!! Big Opps! I am so sorry about that! 


Uhm... You know. MY LIFE is nothing like anyone I have meet before - ever. I am not saying that in the surface "oh I am so unique" I mean if you put me in a club for work, living, parenting, etc - I would never fit. It is funny that homeschooling comes with so many models for instruction when it is suppose to be so individualized. It is also a horrible place to be when you need advice sometimes. Sometimes I just feel like the closest advice comes from burning sage and praying... and looking for signs from heaven. I hope you had a great week!!! 

post #72 of 74

i have not read all the posts, but you sound depressed to me. not sad because your life isn't how you want it, but clinically depressed. 


have you ever been depressed before? gotten treatment for it? seen a doctor because of your mood? 


it took me a long time to figure out i was depressed. like 2 1/2 years. no one around me seemed to notice. mecry.gifi went through a miscarriage, pregnancy, birth and 8 months of my daughter's life and no one... not the midwife, my husband, friends, family or doctor noticed. i even saw a therapist 2-3 times when my baby was really young and she missed it too. (which is really surprising to me) when i figured it out i did a whole bunch of natural treatments which helped with the acute symptoms right away. after my daughter weaned at 2.5, i went on a low dose of AD for PMDD. i still struggle with my mood a lot. but things are way better. i knew i was feeling better the first time i went grocery shopping and i didn't feel like killing myself because i hated it so very much. you can't fix something unless you know it's a problem. and kids are sponges. if mom is depressed the kids are miserable too. 


hugs and good luck!

post #73 of 74
Originally Posted by greenacresmama View Post

Man OP! How did I not get you were talking about a boy!!! Big Opps! I am so sorry about that! 


The OP was talking about a girl and two younger kids. So you read right but just got confused at the end because the thread sidetracked to another family at some point, maybe because the OP didn't come back?

post #74 of 74

Wugmama... how is it going now?   {{{hugs}}}

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