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If you are a seasoned unshooler with children 9 and older - Page 2

post #21 of 45
My son is 16, and a self-proclaimed writer. Still, at 10 he didn't write. He and I read lots! I read books to him, he read chapters of Harry Potter to me while I did other work. But no writing. He did make up stories and tell them to me. Then one day he thought of a story that was too long to tell in an hour, so he started typing it into the computer. Then he worked slowly. Now he types faster than I can. But math was and is a chore. We all have our talents and our pleasures. If writing is not something she enjoys, language arts can be reading, a grammer game or computer game. Maybe when she's older she'll have a reason to want to write. Is it necessary that she do it now?
post #22 of 45
Thread Starter 

Writing down notes / key points from the videos that she watched was completely her choice, as she wanted to share the notes with her mentor. My problem was, I think, that I wasn't comfortable with the format that started to emerge.. I wasn't clear in the first post--it is not that she just started squeezing the last lines at the bottom of the page, in smaller letters which I would've been okay with. She went straight back to the top of the page, and started using spaces between the lines to write down new information. Yes, I did think how this would reflect on me, as she were planning to share the notes with her mentor, and didn't think she had to rewrite. Her mentor is a wonderful, wonderful person, but she is not my friend, and her background is in education, and I do get a little bit nervous sometimes.  

 

Then yesterday a good unschooling thing happened. She researched, on her own, how to take notes. Told me about the Cornell system, but said she didn't like it, but she knew exactly what it was and how it was used. We read over the Cornell method together, and I mentioned what points could relate to her note taking, like leaving spaces between new ideas. We also talked about all the cool stuff she learned while researching-note taking, even if it was unrelated to note-taking.

 

She redid the notes--there were some jammed lines, but overall the page was legible and she was proud of it. FWIW, her notes were about 20 words and a sentence, so it is not like she had to rewrite a great amount of work. 

 

She also said that since she wrote down the information twice, she pretty much memorized it, so she didn't have to show the actual notes to her mentor. So a lot of positives came out, but after a really big turmoil. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

My son is 16, and a self-proclaimed writer. Still, at 10 he didn't write. He and I read lots! I read books to him, he read chapters of Harry Potter to me while I did other work. But no writing. He did make up stories and tell them to me. Then one day he thought of a story that was too long to tell in an hour, so he started typing it into the computer. Then he worked slowly. Now he types faster than I can. But math was and is a chore. We all have our talents and our pleasures. If writing is not something she enjoys, language arts can be reading, a grammer game or computer game. Maybe when she's older she'll have a reason to want to write. Is it necessary that she do it now?
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoebox View Post

So a lot of positives came out, but after a really big turmoil. 

 

Wow, I agree about a lot of positives coming out of it! Way to go, both of you!

 

Miranda

post #24 of 45

Don't you guys think some of the freak outs are good for us in a way though?  I mean, I think for me at least, I need to evaluate to see if our unschooling approach is working for us and the kids.  I would like to see evidence that it is working and I imagine mini-freak outs force reassessment which I think is necessary (at least for me).  It is the only way I will be able to correct the course should we be heading the wrong direction.  Some panic is healthy and constructive IMHO.  

post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

Don't you guys think some of the freak outs are good for us in a way though?  I mean, I think for me at least, I need to evaluate to see if our unschooling approach is working for us and the kids.  I would like to see evidence that it is working and I imagine mini-freak outs force reassessment which I think is necessary (at least for me).  It is the only way I will be able to correct the course should we be heading the wrong direction.  Some panic is healthy and constructive IMHO.  

I agree. That's why in another post I recommend just keeping it low key, so the child(ren) don't feel like they're being punished, although I worded it differently, then. Anyway, yes, I think reevaluating from time to time is good.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

Don't you guys think some of the freak outs are good for us in a way though?  I mean, I think for me at least, I need to evaluate to see if our unschooling approach is working for us and the kids.  I would like to see evidence that it is working and I imagine mini-freak outs force reassessment which I think is necessary (at least for me).  It is the only way I will be able to correct the course should we be heading the wrong direction.  Some panic is healthy and constructive IMHO.  

 

 

A freak-out where you re-evaluate and question is great. A freak-out where you impose blame or dramatically different expectations on your children, fueled by your own anxiety -- not so good. It can damage your relationship with your kids and their sense of being trusted and worthy of trust. It can send the message that your "trust" is contingent upon their satisfying some sort of hidden agenda.

 

Miranda

post #27 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

Don't you guys think some of the freak outs are good for us in a way though?  I mean, I think for me at least, I need to evaluate to see if our unschooling approach is working for us and the kids.  I would like to see evidence that it is working and I imagine mini-freak outs force reassessment which I think is necessary (at least for me).  It is the only way I will be able to correct the course should we be heading the wrong direction.  Some panic is healthy and constructive IMHO.  

I think the panic stages are productive, it is just because of DD's personality (and mine) they can be quite emotionally challenging. You're right: panic=regrouping and leads to progress. LOL

post #28 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

 

A freak-out where you re-evaluate and question is great. A freak-out where you impose blame or dramatically different expectations on your children, fueled by your own anxiety -- not so good. It can damage your relationship with your kids and their sense of being trusted and worthy of trust. It can send the message that your "trust" is contingent upon their satisfying some sort of hidden agenda.

 

Miranda

Unfortunately my panic tends to lead me in that direction. I'm conscious of it, and I really work hard on not going there. I've never gone as far as to impose dramatically different expectations, or to blame the kids, but because of my daughter's sensitivity to anything which is not internally motivated, even the minimal changes  or imbalances in this area are taken deeply, or I'm afraid they are. We do go full circle with discussions, where I explain myself and the sources of my panic, and the ways to work around it. So I hope she's learning that not everyone can stay absolutely calm and even headed through everything, and that parents are vulnerable as well. I'm only human. There's usually some relief and a forward movement. So something is working. I wonder if this is healthy, but maybe for her personality this is the best we can do for now. 

post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoebox View Post

Writing down notes / key points from the videos that she watched was completely her choice, as she wanted to share the notes with her mentor. My problem was, I think, that I wasn't comfortable with the format that started to emerge.. I wasn't clear in the first post--it is not that she just started squeezing the last lines at the bottom of the page, in smaller letters which I would've been okay with. She went straight back to the top of the page, and started using spaces between the lines to write down new information. 

 

I think I am an unschooler, but my kids are still younger than yours. I used to teach high school and this kind of visual organization stuff often comes quite late. If your daughter is struggling with notes at 10 but she is actually getting them down--even though they are messy and chaotic then I would do a happy dance. :) 

 

I have no idea how I will find my Zen with the process over the years. I'm crossing my fingers.

post #30 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

 

I think I am an unschooler, but my kids are still younger than yours. I used to teach high school and this kind of visual organization stuff often comes quite late. If your daughter is struggling with notes at 10 but she is actually getting them down--even though they are messy and chaotic then I would do a happy dance. :) 

 

I have no idea how I will find my Zen with the process over the years. I'm crossing my fingers.

Interesting, thank you. I have been thinking how I learned to take notes (very good notes too, as they were very popular in college). 

 

I think we copied a lot of notes in middle school. Our teachers wrote them on the board, and we had to copy them, and there were precise directions in terms of how to indent and how many lines to skip. I really like copying as a learning tool, probably because I loved copying as a child. It was the least labor intensive exercise--rather than needing to come up with my own ideas, I had to just focus on being neat. Naturally, this approach doesn't work with my daughter. The idea of copying is very alien to her and frustrates her very much. 

 

For me, learning how to take good notes was a gradual and rather passive process for me. I never had to actively learn how to take notes. 

 

Just some ruminations on how people learn. 

post #31 of 45
I never took notes from a book in school. I took notes on what was said, but not from the book. I had a history teacher in 4th-6th grade who had us write two questions for each page of the chapter before the chapter test, as homework. That's the closest to taking book notes.
post #32 of 45

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


That's why in another post I recommend just keeping it low key, so the child(ren) don't feel like they're being punished, although I worded it differently, then. Anyway, yes, I think reevaluating from time to time is good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

A freak-out where you re-evaluate and question is great. A freak-out where you impose blame or dramatically different expectations on your children, fueled by your own anxiety -- not so good. It can damage your relationship with your kids and their sense of being trusted and worthy of trust. It can send the message that your "trust" is contingent upon their satisfying some sort of hidden agenda.

 

Miranda

 

Ah, yeah!  That is where it is tricky.  I have a LOT of work to do on myself.  Unschooling my kids seems to expedite that process.  

post #33 of 45

I'm an USing mama to 5 kiddo: 15, 12, 9, 6, and 3. We've US'd since I pulled my oldest out of public school in mid 2nd grade.

Over the years, especially in the younger years (5-8), I've had moments of freak-outs. Usually they were over feeling like my 2nd son was "behind" because things didn't come as easily as it did to my others. He didn't become a fluent reader until 9. He struggles with numbers, spelling, and reading due to dyslexia. He has developed coping skills for reading and has really become an excellent reader now at 12.

 

When he turned 11, he found his love. His joy. His calling. He was introduced to a car engine by our neighbor. I had never seen him excel with such enthusiasm. These last two years we have found a mechanic shop that allows him to come and volunteer/ apprentice 3 days a week. He has learned so much and is valued at the auto shop. This past year he has changed our oil, replaced our break pads, worked on big rigs, oil rigs, and engines galore. I no longer have freak outs over him because he has found his success! He has more engine expertise than most men. :)

So, I'm sharring this because too many times we compare or superfluously decide where our children should be. At 32 years old  I don't have the same college degrees, the same interest, the same knowledge, experiences, or hobbies as other 32 year old ladies. We need to encourage our children to pursue who they are, not who or where we think they should be.

 

Pay careful attention to their interests, hobbies, and personalities and give plenty of avenues for them to explore them. I persoally have noticed my children blooming or finding their true interest sparking around age 8/9.

 

I'd also like to share that through my experience I've found that I can try and force teaching or change or something i think they should know, but inevitably when i leave it alone, then when it becomes important to them they choose to change/ learn it/ explore it and capture the knowledge. That is when it is true learning, not regurgitation. 

post #34 of 45

I am subbing to this as I am in a freak out period myself, and too embarassed about it to go into the details, so I will just piggyback on your post. I am freaking out because we are totally isolated, and we have zero friends that we see these days, and I am realizing that my major depression has come back (or maybe never went away) and is interfering with unschooling and parenting and just plain old living. I am hoping seeing replies will make me feel a bit better.

post #35 of 45
Depression recovery recommendations : fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, positive affirmations (focusing on your desires, and avoiding "not" & "try", which the subconscious does not understand), and positive visualizations. In addition, make sure you are eating well and getting plenty of rest. If you have certain things that you can't get out of your mind, those are problems that need real solutions. Good luck, and my thoughts are with you!

Homeschooling freak out solutions : look at what was able to be done by your child(ren) a year ago and compare to now. I bet there's improvement! Go easy on yourself until the depression is improving.

If you want help with positive affirmations or visualizations, let me know.
post #36 of 45

My eldest are 14 & 11 and have been unschooled (mostly radically) except for the 14 year old's kindergarten year, so over 7 1/2 years.  

 

I don't have any freak outs at all.  I think radically unschooling is AMAZING.  My children are so amazingly happy and fulfilled.  They are so sweet, so wonderful, such excellent buddies, really kind and friendly to other children (friends & new acquaintances) & I feel extremely happy to have them as my children.  All I have to do is think of various points in the past to see how much they have grown, learned, experienced to see how unique and interesting each of them are.  I trust that as they continue to grow, they will learn about whatever they need and want to learn about, plus they will come across all sorts of other interesting things because we live a rich and varied life.  Though I think they are both amazing, I don't think either of them are extremely driven in one way or another, but both have a number of interests (things they like to do like reading, art, field trips, going to museums,  playing different sports, having friends & more) that change all the time.

 

Trust that your children are wonderful exactly as they are and that they do not need to change to be good enough for you.  If you freak out and tell them about it, I think you will make them doubt their own worth & intelligence.  

 

If you stress about math, you will probably make a child hate math.  Then again, a huge chunk of children and adults simply dislike math and teaching it to them certainly won't help that and it won't help your unschooling relationship either.  

post #37 of 45
Out of curiosity, RiverSky, how would you rate your children's interest and ability in math? And where do you live?

Part of my annual freakouts have been a direct result of having to go through the required evaluation process.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Out of curiosity, RiverSky, how would you rate your children's interest and ability in math? And where do you live?

Part of my annual freakouts have been a direct result of having to go through the required evaluation process.

My 14 year old has always naturally loved math and asks us about math concepts all the time.  My 11 year old doesn't love it as much (she's more into marine biology and all sorts of artistic endeavours) but I think she's just as good at it as her same age friend who lives next door (and sometimes brings her homework over and asks me to help her).  I am a huge math lover and always have been though, so I think we all just have math genes.  I strongly believe that not everyone has them, and that some people (many, many successful adults that I know) just aren't good at math, don't like it, never have been and never will be.  

 

We live in Florida and use an umbrella school option, thereby avoiding evaluation, but even when we did evaluations, I would only have to include 3 sheets a year showing improvement, and I would only show them to a teacher evaluator of my choice, not the school board.  

 

Where are you and is there another way you can satisfy the law?

post #39 of 45

Don't forget that probably half of the kids your son's age in public school, are getting Cs or less in math, too, and somehow they manage to stay in school!!!  If your child is doing horribly in math but find in other evaluated areas, it still doesn't mean that they will stop your homeschooling, right?

post #40 of 45

Here, if for some reason the school board requested a portfolio review, and looked at your portfolio and had enough reason to say that your son had not improved adequately over the past year, they could only put him on a probation for one year.  You'd have one more year to see if you could show better improvement in math.  Perhaps the consequences would be similar where you are?

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