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Why don't I get it?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I am not the type to unschool. ADD all the way


But my son is not the type to be homeschooled...ugh


he is 6 and had to be taken from school...he refused to go, would not get on the bus...I took him to therapist and they suggested we try to get him back in school with anxiety meds.


I am lost. He resists homeschool as well.


I have not pushed it. We have been decompressing and reconecting since he left school in Oct.


As I was looking online for homeschool programs ( I liked Oak Meadow). I came across unschooling.


I am not sure that I understand it, but the articles and blog pages I have seen seem to fit my son.


How can we be so different? 


How can I unschool him? 


Can anyone help me to get started- I fear that my ADD (breastfeeding no meds now) will be detrimental and that I will fail him horribly :(


I just need some guidance to wrap my head around it. A way to get started, but not chaos

post #2 of 14

Edited: Just reread and noticed you said he'd been out of school since October, so I'm guessing you've been through some deschooling. Deleting that paragraph.


For your own benefit (and ultimately your ds's as well), I'd suggest doing three things. First, read a lot to absorb others' experiences about homeschooling. Various styles, the gazillions of different ways unschooling can play out, the world of possibilities. Second, start to explore the hidden secrets your community has to offer that you might be able to avail yourselves of -- especially for free. Get to know your library, other branches, any odd little public museums, trails or gardens, playgrounds, clubs, interesting people with interests they might like to share, train-watching spots, hikes, free programs for kids and families, concerts in the park, etc. etc. Third, cultivate your ability to sensitively observe your ds and perceive his natural learning. Make a point of somehow recording what you notice. Remind yourself that with young children (and six is still very young!) anything that engages them is surely doing so because they're learning something from it. Try to see if you can figure out what that is. Use whatever method works to document it so that you gradually become reassured that natural learning is powerful stuff. If you notice him lying on the living room floor looking at mail-order catalogs for hours, snap a photo, upload it to your computer and caption it with a comment or two about what you think engaged him: "interested in fishing; noticing patterns in language; asked questions about the long-E sound in 'reel'". 


Once you've had some time to absorb and process this stuff, you can start gradually trying to explore the structure and/or rhythm that is optimal for you and your ds to have guiding your days. For my family what has tended to work the best is a gentle rhythm anchored to mealtimes. For instance, after breakfast might be a good time for a walk and some outdoor play, and then any crafts or Lego-type play. After lunch might be a good time to chill with a readaloud story, and then I might make myself available for any one-on-one school type learning that my child wants to do (helping out with handwriting practice, or organizing a science experiment). Before dinner is a good time to put on a science or history documentary. After dinner is a good time for music. We have gradually found out which things we like to fit into our days, and good times of day for those various things. Some families don't need to work consciously for this sort of rhythm, but I have four kids and a couple who really like structure, so generally a daily rhythm like this has given us a good balance. Since you have ADD you may find that you and your ds benefit from a bit more structure than other families -- so that he feels like he can count on you at certain times to be available to focus on him if he wants or needs that. 


Hope that helps!


post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

thanks...it does help!


he has been out of school for almost 5 months now. We live in the middle of nowhere in the heart of bear country...lol


I also have two other children 3 and 1. 


No rhythm here at all...flying by the ADD seat of my pants...not even regular meal times...I would thrive with some sort of structure my self but I cant seem to get there...blah :(



I am a great starter of many things not much for the sticking with it...I tend to lose interest and wander.


He does have a passion for lego and lego video games.


I have not been on meds for over 7 years being pregnant and breastfeeding...it has been great, until now...now the cracks start to show...now I have a little man that is affected by my "going with the flow".


The more I read the more confused I get...I wonder what is for "blog show" and what is the truth of it ?

post #4 of 14
Fellow bear country citizen here!

I think there's a "highlights" effect with most blogs. Right now I'm sitting in a mall in a nearby city with my 10-year-old waiting for gymnastics class, because we finished grocery-shopping ahead of schedule. She's watching teenagers hanging out, and watching mall staff clean up a wine bottle that smashed on the floor. I am not likely to blog about this moment, lol! Instead I'll tend to blog about her violin recital last weekend, or the discussion we had this morning about nutrition balance and healthy meal prep. It's just natural to blog about the noteworthy stuff and leave the rest out. I don't think it's dishonest; it's just the nature of memory, and the nature of storytelling.

post #5 of 14

Make some structure for yourself and work on sticking to it, or at least getting back to it when you fall off the wagon.  


I have a lot of symptoms of ADD-- my solution for difficulties is either creating a structure (that I can't seem to stick with) or dropping things entirely so I can have a chance at focussing on fewer things.  I have to work to keep myself on task, but I have learned enough discipline to not take on too many projects.  Too much externalized structure stresses me out.  I feel better when I have time to let my mind and body wander freely for a while.  Not enough structure stresses me out, especially in regards to work and money.  I can feel busy and purposeful when I have a focussed job to do... until it is suddenly too much for me.  When I get stressed, I need stillness and quiet to calm the mental storm.  I need escape from others' expectations, especially.  I'm a nervy, contrary person in general, I guess!  It's crazy and the need to adjust the balance is constant.


I set myself the task of creating habits for myself that make be a better unschooling parent, instead of focussing so much on creating habits in the kids.  These include record keeping, cultivating energy out of parental torpor orngtongue.gif, acting spontaneously (pulling over and stopping instead of driving by something interesting, taking a different road by request), soliciting input to plan days (still working on that one), getting the basic chores done to clear a chunk of my day to be available to them (definitely still working on that one!)  And whatever else.


Here's how I keep myself busy and modestly structured:


First, my week is laid out according to our activities:  gym on Tuesdays, Girl Scouts Wednesdays.  Riding lesson every other week.  I work one day every other week.  We are going to try fitting in morning open swim with my short day and have them work with me, since it's a long drive and the Y is on the way.  4-H is monthly.  OK, anyway..... that is the basic structure.  


Mondays I try to get a new "homeschool calendar" on the fridge.  I miss weeks, for sure.  I write down everything remotely schoolish on this calendar.  Now that my oldest is declared, it will be the basis for our record keeping.  I give them their allowance.  We plan our next day out, unless it is riding day.  This is the day I am most likely to renew our vast borrowings from the library online and order new books and videos.  (I keep a "library list" next to the calendar for requests.  I also use this to write down ideas).  


I do miss weeks, like right now.  But I've been doing this long enough that I go to write something on the calendar---and it's not there!  Crud.  All I need to do is fold a sheet of paper in 8 sections, use a sharpie to draw lines and dates around the sections, and voila!  Calendar!  A heavy duty hole punch and a bevy of binders from the thrift store are nice, too, to store old calendar sheets.  I have a binder for ideas, one is something of a calendar of events.  I like to scroll the local library event offerings, see what is offered in our community.  It is a bit random.  Right now my assignment is to find an Irish dancer performance because dd2 loves watching and we are missing the next free one (we are visiting a chicken breeder's show near Seattle).


I like to start my mornings slowly while the girls watch videos.  Sometimes they go play, but I don't like diving into needs and chores first thing.  They don't have a clear-cut structure, but they do have a loose rhythm.  I have my own rhythm, a bit different from theirs.


Prepare yourself for a little bit of randomness in regards to your son's learning.  Meaning simply that it is probably not going to follow any set learning plan, or be in a particular order, or achieve competency before charging on to the next thing.  If you can let go of the fact that it is not going to unfold neatly, if you can busy yourself documenting the unfolding instead of judging it, then you will feel more confident.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

i have been thinking of driving to the science center in the city when the roads are safe..it is a 3 hour drive so i do not want to deal with poor road conditions and driving tired in the dark.


i am hoping that something will grab his curiosity

post #7 of 14

I was recently diagnosed with ADD. I actually think my ADD tendencies worked well with unschooling my kids when they were little. We'd do something while everyone was interested, and then drop it and move onto something else when we got bored. We played a LOT of board games, read interesting books, played lots... I hit a wall recently mainly because of a bunch of non-homeschooling stuff, which is why I sought out diagnosis, although I do feel like I need to be more organized now that my kids are older. 


Honestly, I wouldn't stress about doing anything academic with a 6 year old, I would focus on whether or not he's happy, because that means he's getting what he needs, including adequate intellectual stimulation. Are there activities you could sign him up for that would give you a little outside structure? Can you use a smartphone to help get yourself on a little more of a routine? Technology helps me a LOT. I would be lost without my ipod touch and my calendar. 


Good luck!

post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by chilee View Post

i have been thinking of driving to the science center in the city when the roads are safe..it is a 3 hour drive so i do not want to deal with poor road conditions and driving tired in the dark.


i am hoping that something will grab his curiosity

Why drive three hours?  How about look up Bill Nye, the Science Guy on youtube?  Or mythbusters?  Or look up "easy science experiements?"  A couple of years ago I cleaned out my pantry of a number of things we couldn't eat any longer (we have allergies).  I gave a ton of stuff to a friend who's kids combined this & that to see what'd happen.  Get some noodles & put them in water & take pictures over a few hours to see how they change.  Mix baking soda & vinegar.  Look up a "gak" recipe & make it.  IMO, you don't need to travel three hours for science.  If you have a local library, there may be offerings there.  How about some markers - color & see what happens when you color over the same spot w/ different markers?  Have a coffee filter?  Color the edge w/ a black marker (not sure if this works w/ just a sharpie or other markers - maybe you could try it & tell me ;-)) & then wet the edge.  Watch the colors climb as the water spreads out.


That's all of the top of my head.  I think you could do three hours of "science" instead of driving to get there ;-).


Best wishes,


post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

going there is for me too...might give me some spark ;)


stir crazy me thinks! loooong cold winter in the middle of nowhere

post #10 of 14

To sum it up as simply as possible, unschooling for our family is: having numerous learning materials around the house, going on field trips, watching discovery and history channel, playing games (many educational), signing dc up for classes( that I might suggest, but they agree to) and some how they are learning the basics that schooled kids are learning plus any other topic that interests them (ones usually not taught in schools or hs  curriculum). And I have to be "mostly always" available to help google something or guide the in a topic they want to learn about. So honestly, it does take spontaneous effort of the parent to make unschooling successful for children,

True, that I would say my kids are delayed in learning basics compared to schooled/hs kids, but when they DO finally learn the skill, they REALLY know it and retain it because they learned it on their own when they were ready. My dc are now 6.5 and 8.5 yrs old, and it took me a few years w/ dd1 to actually SEE that she really is learning without actual school like busy work.

post #11 of 14
Originally Posted by chilee View Post

going there is for me too...might give me some spark ;)


stir crazy me thinks! loooong cold winter in the middle of nowhere

I realized after I posted that it may have sounded like I didn't think you should go.  What I intended to get across was to just not wait to "do science."  Hope you have a fun trip!



post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

no worries..things are going really well he is starting to want to learn again :)

post #13 of 14

It's so nice when people check back in and post about how things are going over the longer term. Often message boards consist of lively discussions around moments of apparent crisis; it's nice to hear how crises resolve themselves over time. 


Have the bears woken up in your area yet? We're still getting snow and weren't expecting to see bears for a few weeks yet but someone spotted a 2-year-old a couple of days ago!



post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

not yet, still under snow and ice, but soon we will have to stay away from the woods out back...they are often spotted on the hill outback down to the creek

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