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But my kids *like* public school.

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

I have three boys, ages 8 (2nd grade), 6 (first grade) and 2. So far, I've had the two oldest in public schools and I haven't had any serious complaints. However, I do worry that the quality of education they'll be getting, especially as they move into the higher grades, isn't going to be what I want it to be (and I'm sure many other threads have been devoted to that topic so I won't go into detail about it here). I've always said that if I need to pull them and homeschool them I will, despite my significant insecurities about my ability to do a good job of it.

 

But let's say I do decide it's time to pull them. Which I haven't yet, but I think about it all the time and want to be ready if the time comes. What if they don't want to be pulled? What if they like their friends and the whole lifestyle of going to a traditional school? Has anyone here been in that situation, and how did you align your kids to the idea of homeschooling, and how has it worked out? I worry that since my kids have now experienced what it's like to be in a traditional school, they'll have expectations for what homeschool "should" be like, which I will be unable / unwilling to meet.

 

Also---another thing that I worry about with homeschooling is that my kids see our home primarily as a place to be entertained. Not that I've tried to communicate this to them, but somehow it has happened. Yes, they have chores to do and no, I don't hand them entertainment on a silver platter (we don't have a TV to speak of or any gaming system; they do get very limited "game time" on my Kindle and occasionally watch stuff on the computer with DH), but their main mindset when they are at home is "when can I get my game time." Either that or they are arguing or fighting about something. They don't seem to play very well independently or even with each other. My fear is that doing school at home would be a constant battle---me trying to get them to do their schoolwork, and them either trying to weasel out of it, or just making a half-baked effort in their rush to be done so they can do something "more fun" (although they often seem to have trouble finding something fun to do despite the mountains of Lego and other toys in the basement and shelves of books and games in the den).

 

So yeah, I have two concerns: one, that my kids might not want to leave the public school environment, and two, that homeschool would be a big battle for us. It might sound like I'm trying to talk myself out of it, and really, I'm not. I'm really trying to talk myself into it, so that I'll be ready if/when we need to do it. If you have dealt with any of these concerns yourself, can you tell me about your experience?

post #2 of 37

Well if the kids like school and there aren't any major concerns at this point, personally I wouldn't pull them out. Having said that, if you do want to start homeschooling I think both your issues would be addressed by adopting a rather different mindset with respect to homeschooling. Rather than partitioning home-based learning off as "work" as opposed to "play," I would make an effort to blur the distinction as much as possible. Play and fun can be learning, and if you want to homeschool them I would try to win them over to that by showing them how much fun educational stuff can be in a homeschooling environment. 

 

For instance, if you wanted to take spring break (do you have that where you live?) to demonstrate the fun and freedom of homeschooling, you could plan one day at the zoo, one day making ice cream with salt and ice to chill it, a day at a creek with nets and a hand-held magnifier and a camera, give them extra "game time" with some sort of appealing math or logic app, set them loose in the kitchen one day making microwave granola bars with as little help as possible, show them how to use PowerPoint to do up a multimedia presentation about their day at the creek, set them to watching an episode of Mythbusters on the computer, use styrofoam and water-based printing ink to make monoprints, take them to a park playground for PE and a picnic, go on a nice hike, let them learn how to use your camera and edit photos, etc.. 

 

I have a 10-year-old and while we don't normally pack her weeks with as many activities as this, I'd have to say that most of her home-based learning is comprised of this sort of thing. We occasionally do a bit of structured learning, and she has a couple of scheduled out-of-home activities, but really, she enjoys homeschooling because her learning can be natural and experiential. By comparison school seems very much like "work." On her slate today: open-ended playing with geometry software, skating on a mountain lake, practicing her violin, making cashew brittle (okay, I think she's missing this, because I've started and she's still in bed -- another perk!), running a short trail near our house, curling up in front of the wood stove reading some historical fiction.

 

Miranda

post #3 of 37

I would use the summer as an experiment to see if you would like planning and the day-to-day life of homeschooling.  That's what we did. But I would also caution that real homeschooling vs the summer experiment is much harder.  The grind of months on end without a break can take a toll, but I am in my first year and I think that can be a hard transition time for a lot of homeschoolers.  Sibling squabbles don't go away because you homeschool, but then again there are times when my kids do play really well together and it makes me happy that they have more opportunity to play together than if they were all in school.  

 

Personally, I would not pull my kids out of school if I thought they were doing well and happy.  Public school does work well for some kids. I was one of those kids.  I don't have anything really against public school. I just don't think it works for all kids and families.  You could always do enrichment after school and on weekends or spend the summer doing enrichment activities as a family if you feel their education is lacking in some way.  You might want to look up after-schooling resources. This seems to be a growing movement.  But if you were to go that route wanting to spend more time as a family after school with enrichment, you would probably have to limit extra curricular activities to make time for it.  

post #4 of 37

I've been thinking about this too.  Thanks for the post.

post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebjc View Post
 

The grind of months on end without a break can take a toll

 

I'm curious why you wouldn't take a break if it feels like a grind? To me this is the beauty of homeschooling: not being tied to an 8-4, Monday to Friday, August to May schedule. You can immerse yourself in things when the flow is good, and then take days or weeks to do completely different things, or nothing at all, when you need to.

 

Miranda

post #6 of 37
My 10yr old loves the community at school. He really wanted to go this year after homeschooling up until this point. I think he really needed to try it for shelf to see how the other half lives. He's thriving.

I didn't think there was any way he'd want to come back home. BUT- he noticed over this holiday break how much time he's sacrificing by going to school. He loves training in his sport and he loves being out of school this week and getting more training time. So, he asked if I would be willing to withdraw him from the school so he doesn't have to return next week.

My point is that if you can find your dc major interest and show them that they will have more time to devote to that interest if they aren't in school they might go for it.

As for struggles over curriculum...we really had a tough time when I was set on forcing a curriculum on my 3rd grader last year. It was a literature based program, so to me it seemed like the most wonderful way to learn, especially since my oldest loves literature, but he wasn't being challenged, and most days he complained, and so I tried challenging him more with more difficult curricula and he ended up fighting me even harder.

All of this to say that I'd strongly advise you to consider the approach you want to use. In my mind, child-directed learning is the most peaceful way to go when homeschooling because my job is now to facilitate rather than impose and force-feed.

I'll never be a radical unschooler. I come from a Waldorf background and feel very strongly that our family needs structure and consistency, but my approach to academics with my children while homeschooling had to change in order to effectively homeschool my boys. It just had to.
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 

To be clear, I'm not thinking of pulling them anytime soon. We're taking it year by year and there are no major concerns at this point---but I'm not altogether comfortable with curriculum changes that are coming down the pike, and I want to be ready if/when we start to have issues.

 

So...tell me more about making it fun. The child-directed approaches described here sound really great, but what do you do about grammar, writing, spelling, and math? How do those foundational skills fit in with "the fun and freedom of homeschooling?"

post #8 of 37

Well, those are easier when they are not made into a chore in the first place.  

 

I think that at this young age (my girls are 9 and 7) you can practically play your way through these foundational skills.  We play with math in many ways, and I don't worry too much about the order of things.  Grammar and spelling are mostly taught in those moments where they are confused by the inconsistencies of English.  We get a laugh out of the whole sordid history, and slowly, we work things out.  The writing happens in their own play and projects.  Oh, we do love Schoolhouse Rock for basic grammar.  

 

Soapbox:  I always keep in mind that the idea grammar came from Latinists attempting to impose the same classification system upon the English language, which is related to Latin to the same extent that a spider is related to a slug.  Not to mention that it is entirely possible that the Latin we know is not the Latin that was actually spoken in the streets of the Roman Empire.  So, for me, going beyond the basic components of grammar is about as natural as a vegan lion.  OK, I exaggerate. :p  Though I guess with enough force, a square peg can be pummeled into a round hole.  

 

Continue to think about what your homeschooling would look like.  I think it's a far better foundation *for you* to gain some understanding of what you are working *towards*.  Working away from something (like a curriculum you dislike) is not the sustaining motivator as what you are working towards, and that is not as good as seeing the immense value of what your family has in the moment.

post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilliepepper View Post
 

So...tell me more about making it fun. The child-directed approaches described here sound really great, but what do you do about grammar, writing, spelling, and math? How do those foundational skills fit in with "the fun and freedom of homeschooling?"

 

Well, foundational skills are foundational because everything else in the course of 'real life' depends upon them. Wanting to be a capable, competent member of society and living your life in daily contact with people who are being exactly that will give a child plenty of opportunity to appreciate why a person might need to be able to multiply in their head, or write a cursive signature, or present a coherent opposing view on an issue. Those foundational skills are everywhere in the world. Which, if you think about it, is a built-in way of ensuring that kids will come to understand their importance and want to strive for the necessary competence. You don't need to pre-teach everything your child may need to know later in life; often it's far better to let your child's interests carry him forward until he realizes that something he really wants to do will require a certain skill, or until he sees exactly why grown-ups need to have certain skills. At that point the motivation is already in place. My ds wasn't that interested in high school math until he realized that the computer physics game engine he was working with required a pretty sophisticated understanding of trigonometry and parabolic functions. So he got busy learning higher math, and hasn't looked back since. 

 

When kids set about learning something in a systematic way, their ownership of the endeavor often provides enough motivation to see the task through. The learning is not being imposed upon them. In child-led homeschooling the child typically has the major say in when and how something is taught/presented/learned. Perhaps your child wants to learn how to write more clearly and confidently, so you and he have brainstormed a few possible approaches. In the end he settles on a workbook program that has students identifying and correcting errors in other people's writing, rather than writing and then correcting their own, or simply practicing a set of rules. Because he decided on it, because it doesn't stress his perfectionist tendencies, because he likes the way it presents things, he's going to enjoy working through it.

 

Another thing that helps is that a child-led education doesn't tend to present foundational skills in dry isolation. A child doesn't need to develop an interest in grammar per se. He might be reading an article about one of his passions, say, about a favourite band on tour, when he comes across a sentence that is misleading because of ambiguous or poor grammar. He'll start asking questions and trying to figure out why it's wrong. Or perhaps he's typing text into a science powerpoint project on a topic he's chosen. Anything he writes or discusses is going to have grammar in it, wouldn't you agree? And spelling too. And if it's science, there's probably math in it too. Kids' interests tend to be, in the terminology of educators, 'cross-curricular.' In amongst those mixtures of subjects and skills you'll find a lot of the academic basics occurring naturally. 

 

And then there's the intrinsic beauty and enjoyment of the basic academics. I don't think kids in school are given much of a chance to discover this for themselves because they come to those skills according to someone else's timetable and idea about how they should be presented. My kids really like math, for example. They don't love every last skill necessarily, and they didn't always learn things exactly when a curriculum-in-a-box would have laid them out for them. But allowed to explore math on their own terms they are often entranced by the symmetry and elegance and logic and inter-relatedness of it. 

 

And then there's just all the outside-the-box stuff that can dress learning up in a more enjoyable more meaningful format. Handwriting practice by writing recipes in your book of "Things I Can Cook." Learning parts of speech by doing silly MadLibs. Playing math guessing games in the car. Apps that use gamification to make spelling or math drill enjoyable. Spelling quizzes while bouncing on the trampoline. Spelling things backwards when playing Cranium. Playing Yahtzee and Monopoly to hone mental math skills. 

 

Really, if you think outside the box, allow your child to do the same, and don't feel the need to teach every little skill before it becomes important, but instead let it develop importance for your child and allow that to drive the learning forward, you'll discover a lot of freedom and flexibility even within the foundational skills.

 

Miranda

post #10 of 37

Kids naturally love to learn.  If you can get out of the way and let them do some of their own thinking and exploring, supporting them, they learn all sorts of things.

 

We are not an unschooler/totally child-led home - but a lot of the structure I impose is about bringing my kids alongside me in discovering interesting things.  We read them good books.  I pick out audiobooks too.  I have found a language arts curriculum that integrates handwriting, spelling, phonics, crafts, museum art, singing, and probably more.  We use it because I like it and they learn from it, and we don't do it to check off a box, we do it to learn and discover together - and I know that we are systematically covering something that one of my kids is not picking up without that systematic coverage.

 

A lot of people who have had their kids in school go through a time of "de-schooling" - it's a time for kids to step out and realize they enjoy learning - to get them to take ownership of it in their hearts instead of to learn because teaching is being done at them.  Not all kids need this, but many do.

 

So, how to make them fun:

 

Grammar - fun books about grammar things, mad libs, short lessons, interesting discussions while reading books together or listening to things, memorizing is something that many young kids do well and take pride in their abilities

Writing - write about what you care about - kid loves lego, kid writes about lego building or about stories of the lego adventures...  If you mean printing practice, well, I have used incentives and they have made the desire to try hard increase.

Spelling - I told my kids there was a spelling bee, they asked me what that was, thought it sounded fun, and then studied spelling for a few weeks half-hazardly before the bee.  Did great.  We read books, look at how words are made, etc.  We will start a spelling curric. in a little bit, thanks for reminding me I have it tucked away! :)

Math - math is everywhere in life around us, we use a curriculum that is fun/story-based

 

Really, though, it's about enjoying life and learning as you go together.  

post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 

Ok, this is all really helpful. I hope I didn't sound like I was challenging the idea of child-led learning---in fact, until reading these posts I didn't even really know it was a "thing." I'm very new to all this...I mean, not new to the idea of homeschooling (or unschooling), but new to really looking at how a child-led approach would work. So bear with me if my questions are very basic.

 

I think my kids would immensely enjoy a child-led approach (who wouldn't?). So, even though homeschool is probably still a ways in the future for us (or possibly never, depending on how things pan out in the public schools), I want to be thinking about what this would look like for us. Because really, even if we never make the big jump into full on homeschool, I know that our family could benefit greatly if I could adopt this approach in everyday life when my kids ARE at home.

 

I really appreciate the input that has been offered so far, and don't want to presume that anyone has the time or desire to invest in a complete stranger who's not a regular part of this community (I used to be somewhat, when I was in the pregnant newborn stages with my first two, but as you can see from my post count it's not exactly my home on the internet, lol!). That being said, if anyone would care to walk with me a little longer as I try to think this through, I would be most grateful!

 

I have one more question (well I guess it's actually a group of questions) about what child led learning looks like in a homeschooling family. And I'm sure there are resources out there that I could read for myself, so if it's easier to just point me to them, that's fine. But I'm just wondering...assuming the parent has some role of guidance in how the time is spent (and I'm sure there are some families who leave it entirely up to the kids), how do you figure out what to do each day? Do you make a plan? How do you ensure that the activities you decide to do are compatible with the basic needs of the family, such as 2yo nap times, cooking, household chores, and "mom needs to focus" activities such as bill paying, budget tracking, correspondence, appointment-making etc.? How do you make sure you have all the supplies and materials you need for all the activities you want to do? When in your day do you have time to think through what you're going to do, make lists of what you need to get, and go get it?

 

 

I have more questions, but I'll stop for now. :) Thanks.

post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilliepepper View Post

To be clear, I'm not thinking of pulling them anytime soon. We're taking it year by year and there are no major concerns at this point---but I'm not altogether comfortable with curriculum changes that are coming down the pike, and I want to be ready if/when we start to have issues.

So...tell me more about making it fun. The child-directed approaches described here sound really great, but what do you do about grammar, writing, spelling, and math? How do those foundational skills fit in with "the fun and freedom of homeschooling?"

I've been spending a lot of time on this blog. She makes the best case for unschooling I've ever heard. She is a trend spotter and a very successful career coach. She cites a ton of research showing that interest-based learning without schooling leads to better chances of success, happiness, and meaning later in life:
http://homeschooling.penelopetrunk.com
post #13 of 37
"I have one more question (well I guess it's actually a group of questions) about what child led learning looks like in a homeschooling family. And I'm sure there are resources out there that I could read for myself, so if it's easier to just point me to them, that's fine. But I'm just wondering...assuming the parent has some role of guidance in how the time is spent (and I'm sure there are some families who leave it entirely up to the kids), how do you figure out what to do each day? Do you make a plan? How do you ensure that the activities you decide to do are compatible with the basic needs of the family, such as 2yo nap times, cooking, household chores, and "mom needs to focus" activities such as bill paying, budget tracking, correspondence, appointment-making etc.? How do you make sure you have all the supplies and materials you need for all the activities you want to do? When in your day do you have time to think through what you're going to do, make lists of what you need to get, and go get it?"

Great questions! As for meeting the needs of the family, we do have a consistent rhythm. I make myself available to my children for a large chunk of the first half of the day, to help them in whatever way they ask (research computer programming courses, edit their stories, play restaurant, order books, read a loud, help spell a word, help set up art supplies and clean up, help bake cookies or muffins, etc). If they are interested in doing something that we don't have supplies for they can make a list (with my help if needed). I don't allow video games during this time on the weekdays (this is just what works for our family, others handle this very differently, I'm sure).

Mid-day is lunch and a few chores (I fold a load of laundry and ask the kids to help put away after lunch). Everyday I take an hour-long quiet time, which used to be during my younger ds nap but he is older now and doesn't nap anymore. I still need the downtime and the boys know they can use this time to play quietly but I'm not available to help them. After quiet time, we are either off to meet friends, go to classes, or mostly, play outside with the neighbor kids when they come home from school while I get other things done and start dinner.

Now that my oldest is returning to homeschooling for athletic reasons, we will have two full days per week where he is training and my youngest is practicing too or can hang with me and listen to an audiobook or play a game. We also use car time on these days to listen to audiobooks, mostly for history.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilliepepper View Post
 

I'm just wondering...assuming the parent has some role of guidance in how the time is spent (and I'm sure there are some families who leave it entirely up to the kids), how do you figure out what to do each day? Do you make a plan? How do you ensure that the activities you decide to do are compatible with the basic needs of the family, such as 2yo nap times, cooking, household chores, and "mom needs to focus" activities such as bill paying, budget tracking, correspondence, appointment-making etc.? How do you make sure you have all the supplies and materials you need for all the activities you want to do? When in your day do you have time to think through what you're going to do, make lists of what you need to get, and go get it?

 

I lean heavily on dh to do some of the more involved things--meaning things I need to focus on for a dedicated amount of time.....like signing up for the health care exchange or troubleshooting the computer which is unfortunately my job or making those boring administrative calls.  Dh and I are there to support each other, but the girls are often playing on their own, and I do things that need doing but are interruptible.  And some days, not much except the rock bottom basics get done, quite frankly.  

 

But the good thing about homeschooling, especially child-led, is that the amount of dedicated time is quite small.  If you approach it like Miranda suggests, not *pre*paring the kids for everything they will encounter, you need even less.  You can keep the same rhythm 7 days a week.  Many if not most families have a year-round rhythm, reducing time even further.  So, if you have a bum day where the baby is cranky and the kids are bouncing of the ceiling and nothing is getting done, you have the luxury to let it slide, forget the housekeeping for the day, forget any sit down time and do something like get out of the house.

 

The girls and I are in constant conversations about what they want to do, but I'm afraid we don't have much follow through.  They are still very much in the moment, so it's not entirely my fault.  But we do plan, and they are getting more involved in the details.  How it goes is usually something like this:  Me (looking at my calendar):  "Looks like we have a slack week.  Do you girls want to do anything this week?"  Their suggestions:  Painting class at the library, look for Christmas trees, make advent calendar, snowflakes (I might suggest Vi Hart's snowflake videos, we go to watch those, they want to follow up with their favorite videos and we might make hexaflexagons too).  Oops, we need plain paper.  That's a trip to ______.  What else do we need?  Tape?  OK.  A smaller brush for painting.  Toys?  How much allowance do you have?  No, 1.50 is not enough to get a plastic animal.  You need to save more.  How many allowances?  "Can we make more of those beaded candy canes?"  Well, when are we headed out towards the bead store?  Not until next week, that's a long drive.

 

Days for us can feel a little random, but that's because I allow them to be that way.  So, I'll let others offer the day-to-day advice.  

 

But I will say that keeping track of what is happening in a small diary or calendar can help immensely in helping you feel that academics are being covered (because most of us, no matter how much we deschool ourselves, still like knowing they are doing them).  DS1 sitting in a corner reading?  What is he reading?  Percy Jackson (Greek mythology-based)?  A science book?  Captain Underpants?  Hey, it's still reading!  Does your younger dc ask you a question about _______?  Make a note of your conversation.  It counts.  2yo playing with the bugs on the coreopsis outside?  Write it down. Trip to the park, with playtime in the forest and creek?  Etc.  Write down milestones, any little thing.  It can be so helpful to your peace of mind to look back on the week and see how much is getting done without any extra work on your part.

 

And we never have *all* the supplies and materials we need.  It is a constant state of collecting and using and collecting some more.  Extensive use of lists can help, but I'm bad at lists.  I tend to want to keep everything in my head....alas.  But many things simply become routine.  Sometimes we have to do without, as with the beads.  Shipwreck Beads-- Mecca to beadworkers everywhere-- is about an hour+ drive from our house.  Minimum internet order s $25.  Somethings just have to wait, either for the drive or when we need $25 worth of stuff.  It's nice that schools can supply everything, but I would contend that it's not all that realistic.  The seemingly automatic procurement of everything one needs for a project seems unrealistic to me, because kids often don't get to see the process, and thats *part of the process*.  That's "real life".  Schools, teachers have to work through it.  You will have to work through it.  It's a process, and there's no reason kids can be intricately involved in it.

post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
 

It's a process, and there's no reason kids can't be intricately involved in it.

 

Having seen three of my kids through to high school or college from a very loose child-led approach, I think there's every reason to involve your kids deeply in that process. I think it's an incredibly important part of a child's education, and one that's typically not taught well in schools. It's about discussing, prioritizing, trying out various types and degrees of structure, reassessing, brainstorming, juggling various needs, working out schedules, planning, goal-setting, revamping, and muddling through. By doing this with your children involved, whether by family meetings or just daily in-the-flow discussions, they'll end up with all the skills they need to structure their own lives according to various outside constraints. 

 

In school they call these "executive planning skills" and many kids struggle with them into high school and college and beyond. I think that's because school imposes on them a very narrow system of structure and does not really involve them in devising, monitoring or reassessing that system. Their input is simply in whether they comply or not. That's it.

 

People who see how capably my older kids have handled the demands of work and higher-level academic institutional study often assume that they were raised with clear consistent parental structure that acclimatized them to external expectations and deadlines. The reality is actually the complete opposite: they had almost no imposed parental structure. What structure existed in their lives they helped create. And that meant that when for other teens external structure was falling away and they were floundering with the freedom to not show up for class or not complete practice problems or not get a decent night's sleep before a big test, my kids were simply doing what they had always done: structuring and organizing their lives in order to ensure they succeeded as they wished. 

 

So I would say that it's really important for the parent not to have all the answers when it comes to figuring out how to work around a 2-year-old's naptime and keep math work happening on a daily basis. It's actually good if the parent and the kids are constantly having to work collaboratively to figure those sorts of things out, responding to changing conditions, thinking creatively, experimenting with self-imposed expectations, tossing out the old way and trying something new and non-traditional, making mistakes and learning from them. I really think the Muddling Through approach to homeschool organization is the healthiest one.

 

Miranda

post #16 of 37
Just wanted to chime in and second what SweetSilver said about keeping a record of learning for yourself. I use the Evernote app for this so I can make notes on the go. I have a folder for each child and I not only include key info about what I see them learning but I also try to jot down observations for each child. Like when we are in the car and my son says he wished we would have brought his broken iPod with us since we will be near the apple store and we've been trying to figure out how much it will cost to repair it. Or when he wonders out loud about leopards and bald eagles and I want to remember to research documentaries with him to see if any catch his interest.

I've found that many if my children's interests are expressed while driving in the car.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by briansmama View Post


I've found that many if my children's interests are expressed while driving in the car.

The car is the *best*!  I think it has to do with the fact that we are resigned to sitting there together, looking out the window, and not having direct eye contact that makes conversations flow so easily.  Anything from the origins of the universe to why dd1 is "always so bossy" to planning what's for dinner can be approached with a relative ease that face-to-face-at-the-table-when-I-have-better-things-that-I-can-be-doing cannot even compare.

post #18 of 37

I'm with moominmamma on not drawing a dividing line between entertainment and education. Everything they want to do is learning.

 

We have recently gotten to put our child-led learning (unschooling) philosophy to the test because our 13 year old dd, who now really wants the school experience, started the 8th grade in public school this fall. And she's thriving both academically and socially.

 

I think being able to read and understand an extensive vocabulary is basically all a person needs to pursue whatever other kinds of learning he or she needs or feels led to pursue. In dd's case, she didn't start reading fluently until age 12, because that was when she felt motivated to start spending time reading every day in order to get comfortable with it before starting public school the following year. And starting later than average doesn't seem to be hampering her reading and writing skills one bit.

 

Good luck to you as you grow with your own kids and sort all this out for yourself!

post #19 of 37

I wanted to add that I don't think there's any way of ensuring what kind of experience a child will prefer throughout their childhood and teen years. I started unschooling with the assumption that this philosophy was so cool, my kids would be thrilled to keep doing it until embarking on college or other young adult adventures. But dd1 now wants something different.

 

In her case, it may be that she would have remained a happy unschooler if we'd had the finances to enroll her in, and transport her to, more classes and activities throughout the week. We were/are active in church on Sundays and a Wednesday homeschooling co-op group (which became a hanging out at the park group during the summer), and this still seems to be working out great for dd2, who is 8, but dd1 started wanting to have someplace to go, and lots of new people to meet, on a pretty much daily basis. This actually seems to be the norm for the majority of homeschoolers we know with teens, who are not as financially strapped as we are. For our dd, attending our school district's fine and performing arts magnet school is enabling her to pursue her love for drama and participate In some fun extracurricular stuff, too.

 

Dd2 says she thinks she'll want to go to her sister's school when she's 12 or 13, too, but for now she's happy at home. She enjoys sleeping late in the mornings, whereas her sister is the sort who feels like she's wasted the day if she sleeps too late. She's also not as physically active as her sister, which may be one reason why she's already reading fluently. So she may want something entirely different from her sister when she's 13. There's no one-size-fits-all approach.

post #20 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm back. :) I've been away for most of yesterday and today, reading and digesting Penelope Trunk's blog and bouncing it off of some of my friends who homeschool (and a few who don't).

 

Couple questions:

 

1. How do you resolve conflicts between the "students" in a child-led learning scenario? Let's say one kid wants to go to a museum, but the other kid detests museums (or doesn't really detest them but just gets it in his head to make things difficult for the rest of us), doesn't want to go, and tortures the rest of us for the entire day with his whining. How do unschooling families with multiple kids navigate those situations?

 

2. A couple of my friends expressed that...well actually, let me just copy my friend's words here: (disclaimer: this friend isn't totally anti-child-led learning, but did express a concern that I resonate with)...

"I feel that the underlying attitude with the child-led learning is that the child is encouraged to attempt the things he/she likes and sort of ignore the things he/she doesn't like, and that kind of approach isn't going to help them in life because from my experience life seems to put a lot of things that you don't like on your plate. I believe God created us such that we human beings grow through facing and overcoming challenges and I want to prepare my children to be able to embrace/welcome adversity rather than escape it."

In other words, what if they don't want to try anything hard?

 

 

Thoughts?

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