or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › Exposing kids to well-roundedness
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Exposing kids to well-roundedness

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Do you make an effort to expose your kids to a more well-rounded set of experiences and interests than they would get naturally? If so, how, and to what extent? 

 

My kids are little (4.5 and 2.5), but I'm leaning in an unschooling-ish direction, and what little structure we have (PBH) is child-chosen topics.  And as we go, I see that their areas of learning and knowledge are highly biased by the interests and activities of my particular family. For instance, they have a huge exposure to science, nature, and the outdoors, but a rather paltry or lacking exposure to music, history, and foreign language. Is this a problem?  Clearly, I'd support a kid who independently developed an interest in one of those things, but am I failing them by not living a well-rounded enough life myself? Will this work itself out as they get older, or do I need to make a conscious effort to add those weak points to our life?

post #2 of 29

I don't know if I'm *living* a well-rounded life, but I certainly have and express interest in all kinds of things.  Today we just spent a 1/2 hour watching about 10 teenage boys doing stunts on their bikes at a skateboard park.  That's just one example.  I slow down for vultures with roadkill (also today), giggled at the deer relieving themselves our our back door, watching those round-bale contraptions wrapping those in plastic, musicians busking, we have fun watching football at my sisters house (and playing their video games), and I love love love when vintage car enthusiasts roll out their sweet rides.  

 

It's all very shallow, and I'm not going to run out and start doing flips and wheelies on my bike or even change the oil on my car (though we do peek in on the mechanics to see what they are up to), but I appreciate skill and cool contraptions, human ingenuity.  We groove on Disney Imagineers, David Attenborough, National Geographic, River Monsters, and Shaun the Sheep.  

 

So, show interest and curiosity in a broad range of things, and listen to your kids for hints that they want to go deeper.  My daughter is dying to go fishing.  This is harder for me-- it's not something I do, I have limited access to fishing mentors (some good possibilities, though) and it's something that we are working on.  I'd even take my girls to the car races, if they really wanted to go, even though that is just about the last thing I would want to do short of bungee jumping.  I would find the fun in it, and turn it into a good time-- and bring some really, really good ear protection.

 

Is there a limit to what I would personally do?  Oh, yeah.... bungee jumping, base jumping, rock climbing, climbing Mt. Everest, hang gliding/paragliding, um, yeah, what else..... swimming with great whites, scuba diving any deeper than 10 feet (see "swimming with great whites").  And as cool as it sounds to do an amazing exploration like the "Megatransect" through Central Africa to the coast, yeah, um, no.  However, I real, really appreciate that other people do it and write about it.  

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

Is there a limit to what I would personally do?  Oh, yeah.... bungee jumping, base jumping, rock climbing, climbing Mt. Everest, hang gliding/paragliding, um, yeah, what else..... swimming with great whites, scuba diving any deeper than 10 feet (see "swimming with great whites").  And as cool as it sounds to do an amazing exploration like the "Megatransect" through Central Africa to the coast, yeah, um, no.  

... firing "assault" rifles, bull riding, Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.... 

post #4 of 29

I like my kids to have balance in their lives. Balance between creative and passive activities, between active and sedentary activities, between social and solitary things, between analytical and intuitive thinking. We talk about the issue of balance a lot; I think in general my kids do pretty well at it: if they're spending a ton of time on the computer we'll talk about that and they'll come up with something that they can do more of to balance out the hours of solitary, sedentary activity. But beyond the natural unschooled learning of the variety of skills and knowledge that are a part of daily life in our society, I don't put much stock in well-roundedness. I'd rather have kids who have developed passion and talent in a few areas than kids who have done a little bit of everything. The world of knowledge is too vast to touch on everything in a meaningful way, and I think passion and depth are worth more than shallow breadth of experience. 

 

My ds(16) has spent his summer playing music with friends, leading tours at a ghost town, playing on the computer, and hiking and biking. I'm not going to try to persuade him to take up a team sport, or try tinkering with small engines, or write poetry. He has a balanced life, and he's really good at the things he does.

 

Having said all that, I think there's a role for parents to model excitement and interest in a variety of areas ... but mostly because exploring as-yet-unknown areas provides opportunity for passion to ignite.

 

Miranda 

post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

Do you make an effort to expose your kids to a more well-rounded set of experiences and interests than they would get naturally? If so, how, and to what extent? 

 

I actually think that naturally they will get exposed to a most things, and not being in school gives them a chance to follow up more than they may have if they were more booked up. I do make an effort to share the ideas of things with them, but not always the actually things... They will make friends with kids who do different activities and have different interests, and be exposed to things organically. I think when they are older it happens a lot more. They see all the books at the library full of stories about people doing so many different things, they see videos, stuff like that.  We try to take advantage of free activities in our town like music at the park, library presentations, performances.  When they are old enough to flip through the rec center catalogue they will see all the neat little classes offered.  

 

I like what Miranda is saying about having a few passions being more meaningful than dipping your toe into everything. My oldest does highland dance, and sometimes I wonder if I'm limiting her by not letting her try out tap, ballet, and other things... but she LIKES it. She's good at it.  There is nothing wrong with finding something you like and sticking with it instead of trying a bunch of different things :)

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
And as cool as it sounds to do an amazing exploration like the "Megatransect" through Central Africa to the coast, yeah, um, no.

I have to laugh at this a little, since Megatransect type things are exactly what my family DOES do.

 

Anyway, I guess I feel like we have full and interesting and balanced lives, and we do well on being curious and interested in stuff that comes up. But they're little. What comes up is inevitably based on what their immediate family is doing. I know my mother sometimes feels that we've basically turned my 4 year old into a narrow little geek. And in a way, he is. And maybe it is my fault? We'd be happy to read him fiction or draw pictures or sing songs, but maybe he senses that his parents quite enjoy discussions of prehistoric evolution or the physics of airplane flight, and that's why he spends most of his time on that stuff?

 

I'm also a little sensitive to the fact that we're really rural (when we aren't actually doing wilderness expeditions), so although I think we have a wonderful community of interesting people and cool activities and amazing natural environments, there are many things we will simply never run into in day to day life. Hay balers, football, and buskers among them (though fishing is quite easy). 

post #7 of 29

I've been pondering this a lot recently and started a thread on it, which got a lot of very interesting replies. 

 

I have kind of come to the conclusion that homeschooling has its own characteristics, things that are neither a strength nor a weakness, but a fact, and this is one of them. Homeschooled kids are typically, IMO, exposed to a narrower range of experiences in greater depth. In the past I've burnt everyone out trying to mitigate that a bit, but really now I am accepting it.

 

I think one of the problems is that for most of us, the waters feel quite untested. In theory I'm all up for the idea of a kid with great depth but not much breadth. But the lurking concern I always have is, what if that kid wants to switch? What if that kid hits their mid twenties and decides that they didn't want to be an lawyer but rather a chemist? I can personally vouch for how hard it is to retrain as a scientist from an arty background.

 

For me, the thing has to be, this is how we are doing it, these are the experiences my kids are going to have. Its about accepting that there will be regrets. There will be things they miss out on.  Homeschooling isn't perfect. It may well be that one of my kids would be an amazing Olympic curling champion, or has an undiscovered gift for the harp, but the odds of them ever getting to discover that are minimal. 

 

The other thing of course is that by becoming very good at one thing you can often open otherwise shut doors, so narrow focus may be a good strategy. 

 

I think as good parents we try to help our kids when they have an interest, we think of ways to help them explore it, people they might like to talk to, etc. I'd say I do this in pretty much the same way I might if a friend had an interest in something, although obviously I do it more with my kids. But because they tend to have existing strong interests which take up their time, and often have strong ideas about what they like, as well as because we don't know or like everything , they are not exposed to everything.


Edited by Fillyjonk - 8/22/13 at 3:45am
post #8 of 29

Forgive this long post.

 

I don't know if I'm the best example, but growing up I was very interested in books and other creative pursuits. I took up acting in high school, and foreign languages were not far behind-- I took both Spanish and German in high school and had to dig my heels in in college when the head of the drama department didn't want to approve my taking both in addition to drama classes.  I wanted to be an actress, or if not, I wanted to study Chaucer and create my own world with its languages ala Tolkein.  Tolkein was my hero.  I disliked science by comparison (biology was fun) and was totally confused by physics, and I plodded through geometry, my last required math credit.

 

Well, when I was 20, I met this red-head hippie with no shoes and playing a pan pipe, and he took me on adventures, dropped psychedelics for the first time outside a party atmosphere, started questioning the nature of consciousness. I started reading about Buddhism and Taoism and Hinduism, started delving into world mythology, which was something I did love before, but this time as a metaphor for the spiritual journey, ala Joseph Campbell.  I started picking up skills like beadwork, leatherwork, handstitching, while my boyfriend continued to make his own flutes.  Through our own travels and at Rainbow Gatherings I learned to make and cook over a fire, bake in a woodfired oven (of river rock sometimes).  I learned to bake bread, crochet, spin wool.  I picked up knitting and jam making and preserves.  I taught myself herbal medicine at libraries in towns I traveled through, as well as Native American beadwork traditions (and the history of European costume--some old habits dies hard).  I can still look at an old, traditional piece of beadwork and make a fair guess where it came from.  I learned wild edibles and uses of native plants.  I learned some wilderness survival skills and dreamed of wandering off into the wilderness (NOT central Africa, though, thank you!)

 

And science.  I actually started to be interested in science (thank you Dancing Wu Li Masters) and Star Trek (and the book Physics of Star Trek).  I read tomes like Godel, Escher, Bach, and started grooving on what would define consciousness in the ever-expanding digital world, and our connection to it (virtual reality was new and real, and dystopian movies like the Matrix evolved out of it).  I started GETTING IT, and that made learning more science easier.  

 

I started DEBATING, and doing it well, especially about politics and, especially anarchy and libertarianism, about deep environmentalism and religion.  Our coffeehouse had an endless parade of hippies and chess and go players, travelers,  and physicists and philosophy majors and artists..... serious brain candy for a trippin' hippie.....

 

One day, at a house on Frat Row  (we called Steal-Your-Frat because the rooms were rented by a fraternity that lost its charter at that university and its old members were moving out while the hippies were moving in), I happened to see a wilting plant, and I watered it.  Next day, it looked nice and I kept it watered and the neighboring plants.  It was a gallardia (blanket flower) and it started blooming non-stop.  I was irretrievably hooked.  I started gardening there.  I already knew most of the local weeds through my studies.  I started wanted to move out to nowhere and "homestead".   A friend told me about permaculture, so I studied that.  Finally (is there ever a finally"?) that lead me to seek out a Certain Gardener who had piloted an urban orchard project, and he became my husband.

 

I picked up yoga and Aikido, studied Japanese sword for a time.  Learned enough about gardening I had some of my own clients as well as working for my husband.  

 

I never came to  place where I suddenly wanted to go back to college and study "that", but I have considered it many times.  No longer acting, it would be either botany (I would also love to be a scientist considering problems of generational space flight and food production--something a permaculturist would be perfect for), soil biology and conservation (we have a lot of timber companies and farmers here who could use the work of a soil scientist), possibly agriculture, and yes, even some thoughts about studying Chaucer again (I do love those old languages) but I think it would be something to do with plants and soil.

 

Buuuut...... well, kids got in the way, and every time I thought about going back to school, it didn't sound like I wanted to immerse myself in that way, to the exclusion of my myriad pursuits.  I have people all around me who could teach me volumes, once I have the time to give them-- I don't need school for that.  I'm learning about chickens and scoutish things, improving and expanding on my outdoor skills.  I am interested in math concepts for a change and the girls and I groove on fun things on the internet and make fun things with paper.  I continue to add skills to my repertoire-- wanting to add basketry (we have a lot of willows and other material on our property) and fermentation.  I still dream of doing a wilderness skills immersion course, especially tracking.  

 

It's my turn to teach other kids what I've learned, and what I'm still learning.  (All that language and mythology study has added to our homeschooling nicely--or nerd-ily, depending on everyone's moods.  Sometimes it's fascination, other times it's eyerolls.  "Not Medusa again, mama!")  I've been a children's Aikido instructor, I'm a girl scout leader and soon to be 4-H poultry leader.  I guess I'm drawn to sharing my interests with kids, passing on what I know and learning more in the process.

 

My post is not about choosing to unschool myself in my adult life.  It is about the change and evolution of interests, and the many places I had the choice to delve deeper into something, even taking it to the university level (I just personally never wanted to make that commitment.)  There were so many opportunities in my mid-twenties and -thirties, before kids, that I could have made those choices and chose the path of diversification instead.  I am not the expert at anything, but I know where to find them and am skilled at garnering their assistance.  

 

I'm bolding this part to make it stand out:  I guess the point of this colossal post (thank you) is to say that immersion does not prevent change.  No pursuit is entirely isolated from others (just as botany is not isolated from the problems of space flight!)  People do change, and opportunities abound.


Edited by SweetSilver - 8/22/13 at 9:59am
post #9 of 29

I've wondered about this, too. Especially since my kids are on the autism spectrum and tend to have "tunnel vision", embracing the things they are passionate about and rejecting out-of-hand anything that even smells of being "other than those things I like", even when they have no idea what that other thing is or looks like. 

 

I think in the long run, Miranda said it best. We cannot know a little bit about everything, and I think being passionate about a subject and gaining experience and expertise is the better way to a future occupation that will feed your soul as well as your family. 

 

Also, unschoolers know how to learn, believe that they can learn, are not afraid of wanting to acquire new knowledge or a new skill because they know the path to learning and how to take ownership of it. I've learned many things in my adult life I would never have been interested in as a child. I also learned things as a child in an attempt to make me "well rounded" (like years of violin lessons - not my idea) that I have no use for as an adult, being someone who was (and still is) never very interested in music or being able to play an instrument. 

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

 I know my mother sometimes feels that we've basically turned my 4 year old into a narrow little geek. 

Well, he is only 4, so you haven't turned him into anything yet!  When he is all grown up, if he is still only interested in what he is interested in right now, maybe she can say that winky.gif

 

Other kids might get to experience things he hasn't, but he gets to do things other kids don't.  I don't think that it's narrow, it's just different from some other families.

post #11 of 29

I know this thread is to encourage the OP not to worry about well-roundedness too much... or give her reasons to pursue it, but I had some thoughts.

 

As much as I agree that meaningful depth can be fulfilling, and I agree about not worrying too much about well-roundedness, but encouraging balance, I wonder what we actually mean by "touching on everything" and "shallow experiences" (I think even I used a phrase with "shallow" in it)??  What does that mean?

 

Does is mean diversity?  When does diversity become "shallow"?  When do you slide from Dabbler to Dilenttante?  

 

As much as I appreciate really taking the time to study something, when I read comments like PBH prioritizing depth and considering it ultimately superior, I get a bit miffed.  Sure, there can be levels of satisfaction with mastery that are so incredibly different, but I don't need to be a master to enjoy playing guitar and singing.  I don't need to be an expert to enjoy my chickens.  I don't need to be amazing at knitting to enjoy knitting my kids' hats and mittens.  What is so terribly inferior about sticking with exploring a wide range of things less deeply?

 

And what do we mean when we use the word "shallow", or other words opposite of "depth" in this context?  (And does anyone truly live this way?)

post #12 of 29

Good questions!

 

In thinking about it, you are talking about things you are *competent* at, but not expert at. To me, those don't fall into the category of a "shallow experience".

 

For example, as part of my "well rounded" high school education I learned a lot about social studies (politics, Canadian history), read a few "required" novels for English, and learned how to conjugate dozens of verbs in French. However, I was never all that interested in these subjects, never delved into that stuff again, and retained virtually nothing of that learning into adulthood. To me, that is shallow experiences in the name of being well rounded. 

 

Or maybe being well-rounded becomes shallow when it is someone else's agenda/idea?

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

And what do we mean when we use the word "shallow", or other words opposite of "depth" in this context?  (And does anyone truly live this way?)

 

The better word to contrast with "depth" in this context is probably "breadth." 

 

You raise some good points. I guess I just see that for most people -- though this no doubt depends on temperament -- there's a tendency to seek novelty, and we live in a world with access to so many possibilities right at our fingertips. Compared to a hundred and fifty years ago, when kids might have experienced two or three sports, been taught a few basic handicrafts and a narrow academic education, our worlds today are so broad, so rich, so full of possibilities. Childhoods are long nowadays too. Kids are not out working or making babies by age 15: they may still have another 10 years of being primarily focused on education at that age. Opportunities pop up everywhere. Even if they only try out a couple of new things a year it adds up! I think there's so much about human nature and contemporary society that makes breadth [as opposed to depth] the default. 

 

When kids are young you don't necessarily envision the breadth of experience that accumulates naturally over the years, just in the course of life, with no particular effort put into that mandate. When he's four you worry you're raising a geeky-sciencey kid, but then he learns to read and at age 7 goes on a year-long Harry Potter jag that has him obsessed with story-telling and fiction, and then at 9 his best friend talks him into taking an art class and he has this fabulous year-long experience with the visual arts, and then he sees an aikido demonstration at the park and he does that for a couple of years, and when he's 12 his sister encourages him to join a choir, and your family friends talk you into bringing the whole family to community gardening days which he loves, and one year he decides to do swim lessons, and then there was the spring that his buddy and he did all those crazy mountain-bike rides, and then the choir goes on tour to Cuba, and he picks up an interest in Spanish, and he gets involved in music production with friends, and so on. Breadth is kind of built into the system when you're living in the 21st century, IME. 

 

So depth is the direction that I feel benefits from more active support and encouragement. Sticking with things when they're no longer exciting and new. Refining skills even when the law of diminishing returns has kicked in, when you have spent twenty hours learning to do something passably and another forty hours is needed to learn to do it slightly-better-than-passably. Identifying subtle improvements that can be made and devising strategies that will allow that learning to take place. Reaching out for help from outside sources, learning the discipline of actively studying something in depth, monitoring progress, breaking down problems. In my observation most of these more advanced learning skills are developed to a much greater extent when one is pushing past what comes easily into the deeper complexities of a subject or skill. 

 

Miranda

post #14 of 29

This topic is why I don't self-identify as an unschooler (I feel like I fit better here than in the general homeschooling board, and I am supportive of unschooling, so I hope I don't bother anyone by sharing my opinions.)  

 

I love kids (and adults) following passions, but I think that we need to acknowledge that our children are growing up in a society that has school-based expectations about what a kid will know and what skills a kid will have. In the same way I would (and have) acted when I had a kid who wasn't reading at age 8, and who was increasingly uncomfortable with the way people responded to that, I aim for my kids to have the general knowledge one would expect based on their age. I actually think of a lot of it as cultural literacy-- an American ought to know what the Nazi party stood for and that there was a Civil War and generally what happened, and to be able to locate major countries on a map or globe. They ought to be familiar enough with scientific concepts that they know what evaporation means and what evolution is, etc... They ought to know basically how our government is intended to work.  And on and on-- there's a lot of stuff that comes up that educated people are expected to know.

 

I know that in many households for many kids, this knowledge is simply absorbed, but I have at least one kid who seems to benefit from my being a little more intentional about it. She doesn't want to read between the lines or intuit, she wants to be told flat out. So that's what I do. The alternative is for her to feel uncomfortably ignorant on a regular basis, and while I could give her a little pep talk about the many things she does know, addressing the gaps that concern her seems like a better solution, IMO. 

 

I wouldn't worry about well-roundedness with a 4 year old, but I think there is a point where encouraging a well-rounded foundation of knowledge has its place. 

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

This topic is why I don't self-identify as an unschooler

 

I'm not sure this is really the place for me to comment on this, but all your examples of basic cultural literacy are things that have come up repeatedly in my kids' unschooled lives. Not on some sort of "What Your __th Grader Should Know" kind of schedule, of course, but encountered nonetheless. Questions come up at election time, political satire TV shows are watched, a graphic novel refers to historical events, a museum or a historical fiction novel fills in the gaps, more questions are asked, podcasts and video-blogs are watched, etc. etc. 

 

I know it is easy to worry as a prospective unschooling parent: what if some things *never* come up? In that case, do I need to break with unschooling and actively teach them? I've asked myself those questions. What if ... ?

 

But as my kids have grown up I've realized that for us at least the questions are entirely hypothetical. The "if" scenario just never comes up. Imagine you are the parent of a 6-month old baby, asking yourself "what if my child doesn't ever learn to walk? would I intervene with direct instruction? shouldn't I be actively instructing him just in case?" Well, yeah, if my child never learned to walk I'd do something. But that's sooooo unlikely, and it would pretty for certain much be the result of a disability of some sort, which hopefully I would recognize as time ticked by, and of course intervention would make sense. But in the absence of red flags or significant delays I'm not going to let that remote possibility change my approach now. I'm just going to let my baby scoot and crawl and wait for walking to happen on its own schedule.

 

Miranda

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

This topic is why I don't self-identify as an unschooler

 

I'm not sure this is really the place for me to comment on this, but all your examples of basic cultural literacy are things that have come up repeatedly in my kids' unschooled lives. Not on some sort of "What Your __th Grader Should Know" kind of schedule, of course, but encountered nonetheless. Questions come up at election time, political satire TV shows are watched, a graphic novel refers to historical events, a museum or a historical fiction novel fills in the gaps, more questions are asked, podcasts and video-blogs are watched, etc. etc. 

 

I know it is easy to worry as a prospective unschooling parent: what if some things *never* come up? In that case, do I need to break with unschooling and actively teach them? I've asked myself those questions. What if ... ?

 

But as my kids have grown up I've realized that for us at least the questions are entirely hypothetical. The "if" scenario just never comes up. Imagine you are the parent of a 6-month old baby, asking yourself "what if my child doesn't ever learn to walk? would I intervene with direct instruction? shouldn't I be actively instructing him just in case?" Well, yeah, if my child never learned to walk I'd do something. But that's sooooo unlikely, and it would pretty for certain much be the result of a disability of some sort, which hopefully I would recognize as time ticked by, and of course intervention would make sense. But in the absence of red flags or significant delays I'm not going to let that remote possibility change my approach now. I'm just going to let my baby scoot and crawl and wait for walking to happen on its own schedule.

 

Miranda

 

Miranda,

 

I'm not a prospective unschooling parent. I've been homeschooling for 8 years, the first 5 we unschooled according to just about anyone's definition of unschooling. The difference is that while for your family you never got to a point where actively teaching seemed necessary, in my family we have. I'm sharing this for two reasons: 1) I am glad we unschooled the early years-- it was a good fit for our family then 2) I don't think it's a failure that we are more structured and intentional now (although in a lot of ways we are still very unschooly).  

 

I agree that these things come up, but I don't agree that that level of exposure is enough for every kid to feel like they know about a topic. I have a kid who doesn't feel like she knows about things just because we discussed them briefly at dinner or watched a podcast. She wants more than that before she feels competent, and feeling competent is important to her. 

 

Perhaps my kids would seem disabled in some way to you. I don't know. No one else seems to think so. But I do know that at least one of them does better when I am a bit more intentional with her learning. She's happier and more confident when she knows where she stands and can see her own progress, and she is not able to set that up for herself at this point. 

 

I think that if you're in a setting where someone gives a presentation or asks a question that assumes knowledge you don't have, there are 3 main reactions: 1) Decide to learn about the missing knowledge 2) Zone out because you don't care 3) Take your lack of knowledge as proof that you're stupid/ignorant and carefully avoid being in a situation where the topic will come up again. Hard-line unschooling tends to completely ignore that reaction 3 can happen, even though it's what a lot of adults do a lot of the time. 

 

I get that unschooling in your way has been fabulously successful for your family, but my experience is valid too. I'm not sure what the intent of your post is, but it comes across as trying to shame me for not agreeing with you. 

post #17 of 29

onatightrope,

 

I think there are plenty of good reasons for not being an unschooler. Seeing that your child is happier and more secure with other-directed education is a pretty excellent one. I just think that the fear that without adult intentional learning a child will never accrue cultural literacy and basic academic skills is an overblown fear.

 

Miranda

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

onatightrope,

 

I think there are plenty of good reasons for not being an unschooler. Seeing that your child is happier and more secure with other-directed education is a pretty excellent one. I just think that the fear that without adult intentional learning a child will never accrue cultural literacy and basic academic skills is an overblown fear.

 

Miranda

I didn't mean to suggest that. I meant to support the idea that having a breadth of knowledge is valuable, and it's worth a parent thinking about, in the same way they might watch that their kids' diet is reasonably varied and that they're getting an adequate mix of physical and sedentary and social and solitary activities. Also that it doesn't happen effortlessly for every kid. 

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to say I appreciate all the thoughtful responses here. I'm mostly just listening, because as I said, my kids are very young and I don't know how this stuff ends up working out.

 

Inevitably (because of where and how we live and what we do as a family), my kids' childhood will be very unusual in a standard American context. Even if we send them to the local public school. Not being exposed to a standard curriculum (even if all those cultural literacy things come up in other ways) will make them even more into people who "come from a different world". I happen to think that this differentness is awesome. But would it be more fair or kinder to seek to give a kid a background that will make them more "normal"? What do older kids/young adults end up thinking about that aspect of things?

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

What do older kids/young adults end up thinking about that aspect of things?

 

What they think depends on who they are ... and if you grow up weird, I think you tend to like weird. I will say that for my 16- and 19-year-olds, who don't tend to be effusive with their praise at all, when they meet someone they really really like, they tend to express how awesome that person is in terms of how eccentric, weird and "Burkholderish" they are (Burkholder being their surname). So to them, being weird and different just as we are is held up as the highest compliment.

 

Having said that, I know that there are some kids who, as they grow through the early teen years, reject whatever family weirdness they've grown up in and make a conscious effort to adopt a more conforming identity. These are often the kids who choose to go to middle- or high-school, and immerse themselves in that social world. I had feared my middle dd was one of those kids. (One of her reasons at age 12 for wanting to go to school was "to have more of a normal life"). But she has definitely stayed happily weird, even if her life is a little more mainstream.

 

Miranda

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › Exposing kids to well-roundedness