- topicUnschoolingtagged by ambersrose, 2/2/13
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Radical Unschooler? - Page 3post #41 of 743/3/13 at 5:49pmpost #42 of 743/4/13 at 7:14am
Just to say thanks for the link SweetSilver, Mothering is so big, its easy not to see interesting threads! (especially with a time zone difference to most of the rest of you!). That's a really interesting thread. Resonates with me because I think we'd call ourselves something like not-quite-unschooling CLers.post #43 of 743/4/13 at 7:38ampost #44 of 743/8/13 at 10:14ampost #45 of 743/8/13 at 11:59am
Oh SweetSilver just saw your comment. I am not an expert on either but the reason I distinguish between CL and unschooling is that to me, unschooling is primarily about education, CL is about relationships and interaction with others. My focus is on consensal interaction between us all, not on education. If, as a family, a consensus was reached that the kids would not be unschooled-whcih is kind of where we are in some ways-then to me that's CL but not unschooling. I mean, it might technically by some definitions be unschooling but to me, in terms of a useful, practical, working definition of unschooling, it isn't.
Also in CL I don't think any parents ever put every card on the table. For some families the card held back is schooling full stop, for others its the kind of schooling. For others its things like what the out of house parent does and their hours. I wouldn't really involve my kids in big, big decisions in part because I think they'd then feel a level of guilt if it went pear shaped. I can think of families who strive towards CL who actually send their kids to school because they just think its not a decision they are prepared to offer them. I know families who let their kids have a say in whether or not to add a sibling to the family, and discuss the names they then give their kids-but then have a absolute no discussion no screens at all policy. To be completely honest, I don't put on the table as an option for my younger kids that they doattend school because I don't think overal it would do them or the family enough good. Although they could certainly bring it to the table, its more that I don;t flag it up as an option. There are other things. Here, awful as this might seem if you take instrumental lessons from a teacher you need to do the work that the teacher asks of you between the lessons. Mainly because otherwise I think its pretty disrespectful of the teacher's time and efforts, but also because money and time and effort go into these lessons from every family member. Again, that's not on the table. Brushing teeth once the adult teeth are in, not on the table. I don't think CL is an all or nothing approach. Although its entirely possible I've entirely misunderstood the whole concept I'm not great with labels.post #46 of 7410/23/13 at 8:45ampost #47 of 7411/7/13 at 5:32pm
RondaLight- Head over to the "Connect With Other Moms" area --> "Moms in Your Area" and all the states are listed in groups.
I did a quick google search and here are 2 links to get you started: http://familyrun.ning.com/group/missouriunschoolerspost #48 of 7411/9/13 at 10:35am
What is the different between "indifference and anarchy" and RU? It seems like maybe some are confusing the two??? If children are always learning, is there not a way (oh please God) to teach our children "naturally" to be clean (yes, hitting and screaming free)? Does natural law work here? I mean obviously not for diapers (although I have seen toddlers remove their own dirty diaper!) but at some point can we just keep removing "problem" areas till the kids are left with an empty room? Can the other rooms be "off limtis" and adult only if the kids don't treat them right? I.e. your kid is not allowed to just walk into a random house and put their cr@p in their yard or home so if he doesn't pick up the livingroom/ kitchen which are YOURS, can we not still UR and still have places that are off limits to those with no understanding of how a kitchen works? More problematic for bathrooms but I hear they have decent DIY instructions to those oldtimer outdoor potty things (no offense to natural livers). And if your kid wants to compost it, geez, $$$$$$$$, go ahead kiddo!.post #49 of 7411/9/13 at 11:54amQuote:
Is this a rant or a genuine question?
On the unschooling forum, I'm happy to discuss and even debate the points. We have a lot of fun here in that regard. If you are genuinely interested, I'd be happy to comment on the differences. From your post I have a hard time deciding which it is. You see, I'd like to comment on what I observe and believe, and discuss some of the problem areas (and you have some definite points that parents worry about) but I'm suspicious that yours might be a rant. If it is just a rant, I'd politely caution you to take it elsewhere. If I'm wrong, let me know and I'd love to respond with my experiences.post #50 of 7411/9/13 at 1:36pmQuote:Originally Posted by flecet
What is the different between "indifference and anarchy" and RU? It seems like maybe some are confusing the two??? If children are always learning, is there not a way (oh please God) to teach our children "naturally" to be clean (yes, hitting and screaming free)? Does natural law work here? I mean obviously not for diapers (although I have seen toddlers remove their own dirty diaper!) but at some point can we just keep removing "problem" areas till the kids are left with an empty room? Can the other rooms be "off limtis" and adult only if the kids don't treat them right? I.e. your kid is not allowed to just walk into a random house and put their cr@p in their yard or home so if he doesn't pick up the livingroom/ kitchen which are YOURS, can we not still UR and still have places that are off limits to those with no understanding of how a kitchen works? More problematic for bathrooms but I hear they have decent DIY instructions to those oldtimer outdoor potty things (no offense to natural livers). And if your kid wants to compost it, geez, $$$$$$$$, go ahead kiddo!.
I'm wondering the same thing. I can't tell if it's supposed to be funny & ironic or is a knock on things.
As a point of interest, I'm a voluntaryist & have no problem w/ anarchy. It's really gotten a bad name but isn't surprising in our culture. I see parallels w/ it & unschooling & the swift jump to negative connotations they both receive.
I look forward to hearing more from flecet.
Suspost #51 of 7411/9/13 at 1:50pmQuote:
I entirely agree. My definition of anarchy is not "chaos/every man for himself/unmitigated bullying/survival of the fittest" that the general population uses. (Very broadly, I consider it the lack of hierarchal structures. Decisions are made by consensus, which = "no dissent", not "complete agreement." So, yes, very consistent with unschooling.)
However, that's how most people use it, and that's how it is used here and in another thread, and I take issue with it as the alternative to parent-imposed rules. There is a huge spectrum between authoritarianism and doormat. It is not "either/or", "do this/or be a proponent of (chaos) anarchy."
In the other thread, I stated that anarchy is a choice by adults, not the lack of informed social graces in a young child.
Edited by SweetSilver - 11/9/13 at 2:01pmpost #52 of 7411/9/13 at 4:02pm
@SweetSilver"anarchy is a choice by adults, not the lack of informed social graces in a young child.". I could not have said it better.
I was actually serious but re-reading my post, it did come out a little flippant (sorry!). I guess I am wondering how a child will learn to clean if they are watching 2-3 hours of TV/ video games alone or with other children who are indifferent to cleaning, unless they are watching, you know, cleaning videos :) . For example, I have read on ECing and that very young babies do want to be clean. A 2 year old who has his mom smoosh banana on his shirt intentionally may not like it. But is he did then it would be okay, which would show me that maybe the goal is not smooshed banana on hte shirt but perhaps the process or something totally irrelevant to the banana.
What I meant by anarchy and indifference was something I felt I perceived from a very minority group, here goes my feeling" That by trying to not try to intentionally nor traditionally educate a child, a child would somehow (literally against all odds) end up with a similar behavior to a child who was intentionally and traditionally educated. I.e. an unschooled child would clean as complacently, obediently and (perhaps with even more motivation!) clean up after themselves. I was wondering if somewhere along, unintentionally, the child was in fact being taught indifference toward much of their world. I'e.e that perhaps there was a minority of people (most likely not RU-ers, perhaps newbies or just curious people) who might perceive RU as a very hands off, almost ignoring the child sort of child raising, and because the child may be raised in a typical (aka sort asocial compared to the world) environment, that this child would be essentially "ignored". Add to it other things that would satisfy this child's want and desire for company and sharing and add to it video games and TV and now the child would replace what he really wanted in the first place, meaningful interactions with a community (aka maybe more than mom, maybe not). And that the kid should be ignored ignored because "I don't want him to be schooled". If kids aren't "schooled" that is fine, but sometimes I also get the impression they don't want their kids to be like kids out in Afghanistan either, and it's just I guess confusing. Again, I'm talking feelings here, hoping not to step on anyone's, and hoping that my shrink was right and that there really are no "good" or "bad" feelings ;)post #53 of 7411/9/13 at 4:15pm
Thanks for clarifying. That's exactly why I asked.
I have some comments about the issue you bring up, but I find I'm editing and reediting and just don't have the time right now to get it down clearly, so I'll come back when I have them worked out in my head.
Maybe someone will say it by the time I get back.post #54 of 7411/10/13 at 12:14am
flecet, just to say, I think those are really insightful questions. I don't have the answers, which is why I am on the fence of unschooling. We really work with what works for our kids and our family, as I can see from your other post that you do.
My first though re the cleaning. Well, tbh, I don't think its very hard to clean. I don't think it would take the average kid long to actually learn the process of cleaning, how to break down the task, etc, if they were interested. However, and this is a big however, I think they would need to want to do this.
Now I don't think there is one single RU philosophy, and RU is not a label I'd ever use for my family, but my sense is that an RU answer would be that if you engage with the cleaning "joyfully" then your kids will want to join in, or not as the case may be, and it will all be ok. I'm not personally comfortable with that, as I'm not prepared to have a situation where my kids or husband live in the house, make a mess and feel its ok not to contribute to the cleanup. The issue for me is not actually that I have to clean up - lets face it, I am about ten times more efficient than, say my 5 year old-but that I don't want my kids to get the idea that they can make a mess and someone else cleans up.
I sometimes think RU writers don't understand just how consensual and negotiated this stuff can be in a household. Also, a common misconception by RU writers I feel is that if you don't allow kids free access to tv, sweets or request that they pitch in round the house, they will go off the rails as soon as you stop. Not my experience. My kids have been raised with limited tv and limited sugar (along with discussion and debate and a willingness to compromise) and always expected to do their share of housework, and they don't gorge on sweets (they have their own pocket money, and access to a few amazingly unhealthy tuck shops-they really could) or tv and they will spontaneously clean a room, sweep a floor, when it needs doing. And all that despite me never having cleaned a thing "joyfully" in my life.
So my issue with RU has always been that it just doesn't mesh well with other parts of my life philosophy, like feminism, or like the idea that we should all just, basically, clean up after ourselves and take responsibility for that. I'm not really prepared to leave that stuff to chance, or for my kids to see it as optional. There's enough people thinking like that already, IMO.post #55 of 7411/10/13 at 9:25am
Great points Fillyjonk, I haven't been able to put into words my philosophy on the cleaning issue either (not RU here either) but what you said really sums it up. I am sort of clumsy so I'm always making plenty of messes myself to 'lead by example'. When my 3.5 yr old does something then I guide him to accept the responsibility of cleaning, and help him out. He does help out with household chores from time to time and for some bizarre reason each time I vacuum he says "thaaank you mommmmy!!" hahahapost #56 of 7411/10/13 at 9:35am
The "household chores" and "cleaning up your mess" is different in our house. I don't like when they leave wrappers and dishes around. We have them pick up their games when they are on the couch or in the way of feet. We have them help clean up the dinner table when it gets overwhelmed with projects. So, in that sense, we insist some things. They put their folded clothes away without complaint, and leave their dirty clothes in the hamper. I started enlisting their help with these, and I don't need to harp. Sometimes they get a hankering to set the table and dust. DD1 likes to iron things (I don't iron much). They get on chicken chore kicks, then they ignore it. Chores come and go. For most things, except the few at the beginning, I don't push.
So, I guess I am perhaps somewhere in the middle, but if we listed what we do/don't do and explained what we mean by "cleaning up after", etc., I think a few more of us would probably land in a "relaxed" place after all, if not "radical. I have always said , "I'm not Radical", but the more people I meet, the more radical I feel by comparison. I guess I don't hang out much with self-identified RUers.post #57 of 7411/10/13 at 9:54am
Hmmm ... cleaning is one place we do not unschool and the one place I feel we really should because I am a bit radical on cleaning and not in the unschooling way lol. There was a period where I was sort of addicted to Maria Montessori books and reserved and read a lot of them and then I overburned and thought "never again", my husband thought "what a great way to teach a child to be autistic" (his words not mine and it was meant in love, i.e. we have 2 borderline autistic/ asperger children who certainly don't need more encouragement to being detailed nor perfectionist!).
But now I have a 27 month old who notices things, such as milk spilled, messy shirt. At 9 months (or somewhere around there) he went through that phase of noticing every little lint or ucky on the rug. And I was Montessori prepared. We gave him a little dish to put all his lint. At lunch I have finally figured out at baby #4 : LEAVE CLOTH ON THE TABLE. I still forgot, really. And when I do, they don't clean. But usually I have noticed that by the time I was thinking they should clean up (i.e. 2 years old, 3 years) they had already learned for those 2-3 years that mommy does it+the underlying message: you can't. When you (baby) make a mess, mommy removes you from the situation (aka because you don't know how to clean it) and then you get to watch mommy do it (because she does know how to do it). These were my ideas at the time my last was born. With him, I have changed: 1)being more aware of when a little child notices "mess" or "disorder" (10 months maybe) and allowing that child to change it, i.e. to dump toys back in a bin a few times a toy. To dump some diapers in a the garbage. To rinse a pacifier. to Wash/ rinse their hands.
The clue here for me was SOMETIMES. I'm sort of a clean nut and thought hey wouldn't it be grand if they cleaned everytime?!? I need to change my expectations not to consistently but rather sometimes. Just getting them used to the idea. Showing them another option to leaving banana peels on the floor is sufficient. I shouldn't "expect" nor "want" my baby to put their diaper or trash in the bin/ garbage every time, however if the child showed interest, I should not also teach them that no, they can no do it, only bigger people can. But for this I needed to do what I had read in Montessori (it's probably common sense to other moms, but not me ) and really pay attention to my little baby. Lost between the other 3 siblings, this was more challenging but it has really paid off. I am realizing that I am the one who is not ready for my kids to clean. And by the time I am ready (when the kids are 3.5), my kids are no longer "willing" nor interested. The truth is, I really don't like staying in the bathroom while my 16 month old (27 month old now!) washes and rewashes his hands and washes them again. I don't really like being in bathrooms for long periods of times. I also don't like drying up the area several times a day after baby. If we lived in the South ( I live north now) and had an outdoor sink area and no water restrictions I would gladly let baby wash hands. So perhaps our home environment is not as child friendly as Montessori's or others. Something for me to think about. We do have a basement sink. And I could maybe build a child helper tower: http://ana-white.com/2010/12/helping-tower.html if someone kicks me hard enough lol.post #58 of 7411/12/13 at 12:51am
I think there is an issue in cleaning around who decides how clean something should be. I expect we're all familiar with that. I'm kind of ok to some extent with the idea that if I want something extra clean, a room sorted, or whatever, its really my responsibility to get it done. But I think there probably is also a baseline standard for cleanliness-perhaps something that each family needs to negotiate together- and to me its reasonable that everyone is expected to contribute to this.
TBH this is where, for me, what I've read of RU falls down again. I find that expecting a kid to contribute and acting as though they will and reminding them that this is what we've all agreed will tend to mean that they pitch in. I think if you read some RU philosophy you end up thinking that either you bribe and coerce and threaten your kids to do chores, or you do it all yourself. My experience is that there is a middle way. There is also a level on which I, as an adult, do know that our house runs more smoothly if washing up is done after every (most!) meals, or if we keep our narrow entryway as clear as possible, and which I do just state needs doing. I'm happy to have a discussion as to why, but the default is that these things are done, because that just does work, in the same way as it works for us to serve meals at regular intervals.
I think another really fundamental thing is that I don't see the housework, cooking, cleaning etc as my job, and so I don't see people pitching in as helping me. I don't see a kid doing the washing up as helping me with the washing up. I see them as doing a task to maintain and contribute to their own living space. It is REALLY important to me that my son in particular grows up a. capable of doing chores, including noticing that they need doing and b. sees them as his responsibility.I would be depressed beyond belief if he grew up into the kind of man who left the rubbish, boring jobs to a female partner to both do, and notice needed doing.post #59 of 7411/12/13 at 9:05amQuote:Originally Posted by Fillyjonk
TBH this is where, for me, what I've read of RU falls down again. I find that expecting a kid to contribute and acting as though they will and reminding them that this is what we've all agreed will tend to mean that they pitch in. I think if you read some RU philosophy you end up thinking that either you bribe and coerce and threaten your kids to do chores, or you do it all yourself. My experience is that there is a middle way.
No. RU would never bribe, coerce or threaten. What someone said about doing chores "joyfully" and hoping/expecting kids will learn from example is more like it. And that is a good point that making chores out to be dreadful things could make kids more resistant to helping. Although there are some things I don't like doing, there are some people who love doing the same thing. So what gets defined as a chore is pretty personal and there is no point in categorizing things as chores for someone else and giving your kids preconceived ideas of what to dread.
Anyway, we are quite RU but I'm no martyr. We don't have assigned chores but when things need doing we tend to do them as a family. If my son wants his room clean or toys organized, I'll help him. But if he isn't cleaning, too, I'll go back to what I want to be doing. By helping him when he asks, even with things most parents would feel he should do himself simply because he can, I'm teaching him that we help each other. And I reciprocate. I wanted help carrying in groceries so I just asked. My son didn't have shoes on so we did it fire brigade style. I brought them from the car to the door and ds took them from the door to the kitchen. Then dh (who had been in the basement doing laundry) came along and put things away.
Our house isn't the cleanest place. I have chronic fatigue and I'm not willing to sacrifice my health by using the energy needed to keep the place spotless. My son is bothered by mess but he's a bit sensory averse so is still hesitant to get close enough to gross things enough to clean them. He is very good at seeing what needs doing even if he doesn't quite go around doing them spontaneously. Many people don't even notice those things so I figure that's a good place for a 12 yo to be. He'll ask me to clean the toilet if it isn't up to his standards. But he'll clear away his dishes, help rake, carry things, etc. I think he is turning out to be a fine considerate person.
I'm not saying the way we do things is the "right" way. It's the right way for my family. My son is the pack animal type who likes to do things with others. Another kid might enjoy accomplishing things independently.post #60 of 7411/12/13 at 9:47am
I think that RU'ers often characterize the options as either the RU way (do it yourself and hope that the kids will learn by example) or the non-RU way which means bribing, coercing and threatening. I think what Fillyjonk was suggesting is that there is plenty of spectrum in between these two extremes and that it's disingenuous of RU folk to characterize everything non-RU as authoritarian and coercive. I also tend to agree with Fillyjonk that the RU way doesn't work terribly well particularly in larger families.
I tried the RU way for many years. Because there are so many of us, it was possible and easiest for me to do the work in the background when the kids were busy playing together, but that meant they were oblivious to my work and thought it all happened magically. And my attempts to do the work "joyfully" so as to encourage natural pitching in got interpreted as "mommy likes cleaning, and I don't, so it should be her thing." Sorry kids, I actually dislike it just as much as you do.
Natural consequences of not doing household chores don't work very well in a large family with communal spaces and communal and external community needs. What happens is that the person with the most maturity, the most responsibility, or the lowest threshold for tolerating problems is the one who ends up experiencing all the natural consequences of everyone's lack of contribution. If I'm cooking a meal and I can't find the kitchen counters or a single clean dish, I have to clean everyone's mess. If no one clears snow from the driveway during an all-day snowfall, dh can't get home and back to work when on call and ... well, that's not a consequence I'm willing to let happen, since he's the emergency physician in our town, so do I do all the clearing just because the kids never want to? If no one ever cleans the toilet the job gets worse and worse ... until eventually (and believe me, I've tried leaving it for absolutely ridiculous lengths of time) I cave, because I know I'm the only one who has the stomach to cope with the now-toxic-disgustingness of the job.
So yeah, we've found a middle path. Where the kids' lip-service acknowledgement of the idea that "in a family everyone should help" is paired with clear parental expectations that help will actually be provided on a regular and ongoing basis according to negotiable terms but scaffolded by regular accountability and reminders. It doesn't involve bribery or coercion, and it's not enacted in an authoritarian manner and propped up by threats. But I'm doing a lot more than "joyfully providing an example."
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