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Drifting towards Unschooling - Page 2

post #21 of 63
It's fun reading about others who are just starting out. We're nearing the end. My son is sixteen, now. I hadn't heard of unschooling, but just did what came naturally. Now I know that can be called 'unschooling'. I won't be telling my family, though. They are uncomfortable with homeschooing, so unschooling would put them over the edge!

To all with young children, enjoy this time as much as you can. Don't let others' fears make you doubt yourself. I regret how much I wasted worrying, because of things people who didn't even know my child said to me! Consider the source before you decide to worry. And enjoy all the discoveries!
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

No eye rolls from me!  Unschooling is hard to separate from everyday life-- it is everyday life!--especially at the younger ages.  If someone like you says they are unschooling, I understand what that means for their family.  It almost makes more sense then "we are going to be unschooling".  That leads me to to questions like, "are you doing something fundamentally different now?"

 

I was in love with the idea of unschooling for years before having my own kids.  I forgot about it during a brief love with the beauty of Waldorf, until I visited a kindergarten and it turns out that Waldorf is SCHOOL!  duh.gif  That experience not only shoved any desire to send my girls to that school, my old unschooling ideas came roaring back and we have been unschooling ever since--even though my daughter was only 18 months at the time, and my youngest growing large in my belly.

 

Thank you, SweetSilver! smile.gif  You explained that really well, and it's definitely how I felt in my gut.  I see how we are embracing this lifestyle every day, letting DS "help" with bathroom repairs, answering questions, exploring new concepts - and the more I read the more excited I am about its potential. Oh, and ditto with Waldorf! upsidedown.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

It's fun reading about others who are just starting out. We're nearing the end. My son is sixteen, now. I hadn't heard of unschooling, but just did what came naturally. Now I know that can be called 'unschooling'. I won't be telling my family, though. They are uncomfortable with homeschooing, so unschooling would put them over the edge!
To all with young children, enjoy this time as much as you can. Don't let others' fears make you doubt yourself. I regret how much I wasted worrying, because of things people who didn't even know my child said to me! Consider the source before you decide to worry. And enjoy all the discoveries!

 

This is really great advice - we are already navigating this, especially since we live in the city (I'm not sure those who are "concerned" get any comfort from my answer, though, wild.gif).

post #23 of 63

I am into my second year unschooling my 9yo and 3yo and we love it.  The toddler just amazes me because I was very nervous about teaching someone to read/write.  But she's picked up so much and writes as well now as my eldest was at 4-5.  And the 9yo is well above her 'grade level'.  Not to mention the time we get together, and the fact that I am not missing out on watching them grow.  Enjoy.

post #24 of 63

Im so glad this thread is picking back up!! 

I hope we can find more unschooling moms out there to share their wisdom!!  I am loving reading these!!

Im right now grappling with how to help my daughter get interested in actually reading.   Right now she just picks up books and pretends.  Im trying to think of a way to let her just BE who she is and not force her to learn my way.  Its definitely tough though when everyone around me is homeschooling like school.  Work books, practicing, schedules.  

At 5 she will grab books and copy the letters and words (all on her own with ZERO direction from me) into her own notebook.  Or she will ask me what certain words are.

I do wonder though, is letting her learn organically to read more important than forcing her to learn now so that she can LEARN other subjects on her own accord because she is able to read younger....

I just dont know.  So far, I just stay back and let her go.  But I do sometimes wonder if it will ever happen.  Shes only 5 though, so I guess she has time to learn to read...

post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyKidKissTrees View Post


I do wonder though, is letting her learn organically to read more important than forcing her to learn now so that she can LEARN other subjects on her own accord because she is able to read younger....

I just dont know.  So far, I just stay back and let her go.  But I do sometimes wonder if it will ever happen.  Shes only 5 though, so I guess she has time to learn to read...

I do think it is more important.  There are other ways to learn things without reading about them.

 

But you knew I would say that.

post #26 of 63
Thread Starter 

My 4.5 year old dd does this too.  She copies letters and wants to write books and signs all her drawings with her name.  She has been picking up a lot of stuff.  I think she knows most of her letters, although I am not really sure how many.  Sometimes, she plays letter games on the ipad.  

 

At this age, I just figure it is too early to even think about reading.  So, I really don't worry about it.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyKidKissTrees View Post

At 5 she will grab books and copy the letters and words (all on her own with ZERO direction from me) into her own notebook.  Or she will ask me what certain words are.

post #27 of 63

What do folks think about rural vs. urban unschooling?

 

I start doing reading, and when "making your kids part of real life" is brought up, it seems inevitably followed up by lists of things like museums and zoos and classes in anything imaginable. City stuff. But I don't live in a city. I live in a vibrant, wonderful, isolated community of a few hundred people. Community offerings are abundant, but necessarily eclectic. So we might have ukelele and unicycling and Nepali cooking, but no clarinet or gymnastics or chess club. Options to go to the beach daily or track a wolverine through the snow, but no options to see a real train or live action play. Etc... Of course, we do have the internet and books.

 

But I guess that's true for everyone? It seems like what kids can choose to learn or do is inevitably limited by where they find themselves (geographically, income-wise, etc...). Does that matter?

post #28 of 63

first of all, wish i lived with you there!

 

secondly, doesnt matter at all!  they can learn cool stuff anywhere :)

post #29 of 63

And it varies according to the house.  Our friends down the road and handy with electricity and wood and stuff, dh and I are gardeners.  I was shocked to see their 3yo operate a cordless drill until I said "yes" to my kids borrowing the hand pruners without a second thought.  Aha!  I thought.  I guess it's the same thing.  We will have a lot to complement each other.  

post #30 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

What do folks think about rural vs. urban unschooling?

 

I start doing reading, and when "making your kids part of real life" is brought up, it seems inevitably followed up by lists of things like museums and zoos and classes in anything imaginable. City stuff. But I don't live in a city. I live in a vibrant, wonderful, isolated community of a few hundred people. Community offerings are abundant, but necessarily eclectic. So we might have ukelele and unicycling and Nepali cooking, but no clarinet or gymnastics or chess club. Options to go to the beach daily or track a wolverine through the snow, but no options to see a real train or live action play. Etc... Of course, we do have the internet and books.

 

But I guess that's true for everyone? It seems like what kids can choose to learn or do is inevitably limited by where they find themselves (geographically, income-wise, etc...). Does that matter?

 

We are definitely limited by our geographical location.  There is no library, for example and I have had to make sure that my kids have book access as possible through the ipad.  I have had to make adjustments to accommodate my location and it has been easy with the internet.  It does make me think and appreciate old time homeschoolers though.  Sheesh!  

 

Your location sounds fantastic, by the way.  Wish we could visit!

post #31 of 63

I enjoyed reading all your posts- thanks! It's good to hear from people at various places along the journey-- and always especially nice to hear from folks with teens who are feeling happy about their choices and can reassure those who are starting out!

 

We've been unschooling for two years (actually, Halloween will be our two year anniversary of leaving the school system) and are loving it. I'm happy, my son's happy, we're both enjoying life and learning lots along the way. I just blogged about some of the ideas that have been most helpful for us-- if anyone is interested, here's the link: http://www.robinstevenson.com/wordpress/category/blog/.

 

We're lucky to live in a community with lots of home learners and unschoolers, and lots of great (and free) resources-- libraries, a university, lots of outdoor activities, a great arts community etc. I just came home from a homeschoolers' night at our local book store-- so many lovely families (and so many fabulous books!).

post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

But I don't live in a city. I live in a vibrant, wonderful, isolated community of a few hundred people. Community offerings are abundant, but necessarily eclectic. 

 

Yeah, me too. We've unschooled since the get-go, and my eldest is 18 now. Village of 600, hours away from a mall or an airport. Unschooling is a product of people and place. Our unschooling will be different, but no more limited, than that in the city. 


I recall hearing an anecdote about two prospective unschooling dads chatting at an unschooling conference, after been encouraged to attend alongside their spouses and kids. I don't know whether it's just a made-up story, but I really like it. They sit down for a coffee and once they realize they're at the same conference, they start chatting.

 

"Yeah, I really like the whole philosophy," said Dad 1. "I'm just not sure it's going to work for us without goats."

 

"Goats?" answered Dad 2. "What have goats got to do with unschooling?"

 

"Well, it's just that so many of these unschoolers who are giving talks seem to keep goats. You know, their kids help raise animals, they're outside a lot, they're really close to nature, they see the cycle of life first-hand, they do real work. I see how unschooling can work in that sort of a situation, where the kids can be part of the world around them, and roam freely outside, participate in family life, in food production, in day-to-day work on a farm, and all that. My family, though, we live in duplex in the city. We can't keep goats. I'm in IT. My work is all tech stuff, in my head, on the computer."

 

"You've got to be kidding," exclaimed Dad 2, "because I was just thinking: this unschooling thing sounds great, but I don't see how it could work for us, because of the computer thing. You see, a lot of the workshops are about using the internet, and computer gaming as an educational path, and how technology is a great educational equalizer, putting the learner in the driver's seat. But we live way out in the boonies. We have a small homestead, and we're still on dial-up, so we don't really do computer stuff at all. And all this great stuff I was hearing about unschooled kids doing on their computers... well, I was thinking, that's not going to work for us, we're too busy milking the goats."

 

We have a tendency to get hung up on the things we're missing. As parents we want our kids to have everything: that's natural. Instead of focusing on what's missing from our lives, we need to delve into what we have. Whenever I start worrying about the city opportunities my kids don't have, I play a little mind-game with myself: I imagine we're hosting a family of unschoolers from London, or Amsterdam, or Minneapolis. What would they be thrilled to see and do where we live? Then I turn my focus with gratitude to those things.

 

Miranda

post #33 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

Yeah, me too. We've unschooled since the get-go, and my eldest is 18 now. Village of 600, hours away from a mall or an airport. Unschooling is a product of people and place. Our unschooling will be different, but no more limited, than that in the city. 


I recall hearing an anecdote about two prospective unschooling dads chatting at an unschooling conference, after been encouraged to attend alongside their spouses and kids. I don't know whether it's just a made-up story, but I really like it. They sit down for a coffee and once they realize they're at the same conference, they start chatting.

 

"Yeah, I really like the whole philosophy," said Dad 1. "I'm just not sure it's going to work for us without goats."

 

"Goats?" answered Dad 2. "What have goats got to do with unschooling?"

 

"Well, it's just that so many of these unschoolers who are giving talks seem to keep goats. You know, their kids help raise animals, they're outside a lot, they're really close to nature, they see the cycle of life first-hand, they do real work. I see how unschooling can work in that sort of a situation, where the kids can be part of the world around them, and roam freely outside, participate in family life, in food production, in day-to-day work on a farm, and all that. My family, though, we live in duplex in the city. We can't keep goats. I'm in IT. My work is all tech stuff, in my head, on the computer."

 

"You've got to be kidding," exclaimed Dad 2, "because I was just thinking: this unschooling thing sounds great, but I don't see how it could work for us, because of the computer thing. You see, a lot of the workshops are about using the internet, and computer gaming as an educational path, and how technology is a great educational equalizer, putting the learner in the driver's seat. But we live way out in the boonies. We have a small homestead, and we're still on dial-up, so we don't really do computer stuff at all. And all this great stuff I was hearing about unschooled kids doing on their computers... well, I was thinking, that's not going to work for us, we're too busy milking the goats."

 

We have a tendency to get hung up on the things we're missing. As parents we want our kids to have everything: that's natural. Instead of focusing on what's missing from our lives, we need to delve into what we have. Whenever I start worrying about the city opportunities my kids don't have, I play a little mind-game with myself: I imagine we're hosting a family of unschoolers from London, or Amsterdam, or Minneapolis. What would they be thrilled to see and do where we live? Then I turn my focus with gratitude to those things.

 

Miranda


LOL. Yes, the no library thing bothered me for a long, long time.  Then I discovered I could have tons of books on the ipad.  Granted, it is not exactly like having a book but it is close enough for to work for us.  

 

One thing about this whole unschooling thing -- it is making me explore my surroundings anew.  I SEE things now. I have seen these same things before but I actually pay attention to the seemingly mundane things. Such a lovely thing to regain!  

post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

One thing about this whole unschooling thing -- it is making me explore my surroundings anew.  I SEE things now. I have seen these same things before but I actually pay attention to the seemingly mundane things. Such a lovely thing to regain!  

 

yeahthat.gif  

post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

We have a tendency to get hung up on the things we're missing. As parents we want our kids to have everything: that's natural. Instead of focusing on what's missing from our lives, we need to delve into what we have.

I need to hang this up on my wall.
post #36 of 63

Awesome post, Miranda. I love the goats and computers story- thanks for the laugh. I'll remember that one the next time I start feeling bad about our chickenless backyard. 

post #37 of 63

I have finally got to a place where I am comfortable with how we learn.

I started out buying a curriculum and followed it.  I noticed that my children were sighing and not interested but were interested in other books.  I started researching and found unschooling.  It made a lot of sense to me.  They will not retain information if they are not interested.  We unschooled for about 6 years.  We still unschool but I added a twist to it. lol  For math we have a curriculum.  My kids love it.  If they did not want to do it, we wouldn't.  I would find a more creative way to do it.  Baking, measuring, building.  There are so many great ways to learn about math.  I enjoy doing math with them because it is one on one time for about 5 min a day and it is fun.  So for us, I like doing things as long as the kids are liking it as well.  Lately I have been doing copy work with them.  I write a sentence (a funny one like My mom is the most amazing mom ever) and we laugh.  It takes a couple of minutes and it is fun.  The rest is all reading and exploring.  My just about 10yo daughter and I were sitting on the porch and she was thinking about what she could do.  I suggested poetry and she wrinkled her nose.  I told her that in college I used to write and she asked to see my book.  We read a few and she was off.  She wanted to know all of the rules about different kinds of poems and we looked that up.  She wrote a bunch of poems and now wants to be a poet. :)  It is so much better than sitting there with a book and making them learn about it and write it.  I really like where we are now.  Have fun with your adventures!

post #38 of 63

I'm happy to read all these great posts from different perspectives, and ages.  Now that we've taken the plunge and started homeschooling this year, I'm researching different methods and curriculums and really appreciating everything I am learning about the advantages of unschooling.  Although, I am not a big fan of that term.  It sounds anti-something.  I prefer child directed learning or child-led learning, even though those are somewhat unwieldy terms.  I just finished reading Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves by Alison McKee which I found really valuable.  (my review of that book is here: http://bigupsforum.com/onelovemama/blog.php?topic=80057)  Next on my reading list is Teach Your Own by John Holt.  

 

As I explore teaching different topics to our children (just turned 6 and 8) I am noticing times when they really don't want to do certain projects or especially worksheets that I have provided.  And I don't want to force anything on them to the point to squelching their desire to learn naturally.  So, I guess I'm leaning towards a more child-led learning philosophy.   I totally relate to anyone who is tired of discussing their unconventional ways with naysayers.  It was such a mountain to climb explaining to our own parents why we chose homeschooling this year.  No way I'm telling them about unschooling.  (Although if they read my blog, which I know they do, they might begin to suspect, as time goes on.  I hope I can put off that discussion with them for a while...)

 

Cheers!  Thanks for all the helpful words everyone!

post #39 of 63

Possibly a dumb question, but what does your time for doing your own projects look like? That's one of my husband's big reservations about the whole idea of not sending the kids to school. We both work from home, part time and flexibly, but currently my kids (3.5 and 1.5) require us to juggle things so they have one parent dedicated to them at all times. This seems only to be expected at their ages, but I was guessing that as they get older, it might change? Can your kids mostly occupy themselves for an hour or two in a day (say, 4 days a week) while grownups work on the computer? At what age?

post #40 of 63

It depends on the child but my 5yo can occupy herself if I set something up for over an hour but my almost 4yo can't.  My 6yo, 8yo and just about 10yo can for sure.  

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