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February Unschooling Thread - Page 3

post #41 of 50
Originally Posted by healthy momma View Post

I LOVE our children's museum. It is ALL hands on. We are lucky enough to have a yearly family membership. It allows us the luxury of going any time we want and can feel like we can drop in for just 15 minutes. And it's totally cool if they want to play with just one thing the whole time. I hear so many parents herding their kids around so they feel like they are getting their money's worth when all the kid wants to do is play with something that has really caught their interest. I can totally see both sides but I'm so glad I don't have to deal with this. 

Yes! Memberships are great for taking the pressure off. Also when there is a deal on Groupon or Livingsocial, you don't feel so bad if your child doesn't want to stay long. Trying to herd my son through a museum would have really made him hate the place. 

post #42 of 50
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I keep thinking they are ready for this or that and I often make a mistake, but this time it blew up in my face and I'm still not recovered after a night's rest.  Good morning so far.  So far.  If/when we discuss this again, I won't be so blindsided.

Ugh, hope they are feeling more mellow today. I don't suppose the shiny gray pony is for sale used for less $ somewhere like ebay? 

post #43 of 50

Not likely used, this is a new Breyer release.  But cheaper, possibly, I'll look.  


I need to write down all the options for her so she can look at them with me.  Another option is save the pony for an Easter present, or have one event be in lieu of an Easter present.  Usually Easter, minus some candy, is about $25 dollars each.  One event could be just a little bit more.  The've never been thrilled with events-for-presents.  They much prefer something they can hold.

post #44 of 50

Researching the options usually helped with my ds... If we couldn't afford something, he appreciated knowing I was going to keep my eyes out for it on a deal (thrift stores, Craigslist, online.) And it would go on the wish list which meant his Grandma or Aunt might buy it for him for his birthday or Christmas. And we learned to always comparison shop online before making an in store purchase though I really liked him to see the real thing in the store because he didn't always like it so much in person.

post #45 of 50
Thread Starter 

Oh man, SweetSilver, that is rough. I can't see anything you could have done differently to make it easier. 


Moving forward, though, I think 4evermom has some good suggestions. I'd try to discuss the issue with both girls and to get the idea of "fair" off the table. I'd apologize for how yesterday went, commiserate with them about how tough the situation is, and challenge them to work with you to find a mutually agreeable alternative, something that feels better-than-good to everyone and goes beyond just "being fair." Tell them that you know you're a smart, creative family and so there has got to be some sort of solution out there that you can come up with together.


I wonder if you could explain that in general you like to think of educational experiences (like gymnastics showoff and horse camp) as parental expenses, and "things" and more trivial strictly-entertainment experiences as allowance purchases. And therefore you'd really like it if you (parents) could pay for both March Break experiences for both of them. But of course, that's more money than you really have in the budget, so something else would have to give. And so you're wondering whether they'd be willing to give up expecting an Easter gift and instead substitute some sort we fun/silly/creative/unique (and almost-free) family experience. An Easter or the most amazing egg-decorating extravaganza ever, or a bonfire at a nearby park, or a crazy Easter egg hunt with written clues staged all over your property, or .... maybe they can come up with something really fun. 



post #46 of 50
Thread Starter 

What's new here? Everyone except Fiona and I has been sick. Her big sister has mostly soldiered through the snot. The boys (ds and dh) have been typical wimpy guys, sighing lots, doing little other than dramatically using kleenexes. Not much fun.


Fiona completed the standardized testing the school asks her to do as part of our umbrella-school (Distributed Learning) arrangement. It wasn't a big deal, except that she really didn't feel like doing it and just made herself go through it without any much complaining. We're both glad that's over.


The trip to the high school in the city with her 15-year-old sister was interesting. The three of us toured the school pretty thoroughly and talked with a nice vice principal. We've pretty much decided for sure to enrol her sister for next year. At this point we're hoping to share rental of a house with another couple of sorta-homeschooling families who live out of town but need a crash pad in town. Ideally a three-bedroom where each family would have a bedroom with shared common space. Our bedroom would be inhabited Sunday through Thursday nights by our teen high schooler, Fiona and I might be there one or two or three nights a week too, and other families would use their rooms in similar part-time ways. Having a place there will open up some new possibilities for her involvement in classes and activities next year. We had two horrid late-night drives home this week thanks to snow and fog and a van that has decided to only heat its interior part-time, and were really wishing we had a crash pad this year.


The school ski program will be wrapping up next week and this week Fiona had her third snowboarding lesson and really started to put it all together. The local ski hill has a little rope tow that they run during school programs, and then otherwise the only option is a big steep T-bar. For new snowboarders the necessity of managing the T-bar (which is really hard on a snowboard -- much, much easier on skis) can really slow down one's learning. So they try to get as many beginner snowboarders as they can comfortable using the t-bar. Two of the kids in Fiona's class managed it this week, and she was one of them. She had a lovely 19-year-old instructor help her and got it on the fourth try. After that she managed with me on her second try. She was jubilant. And she's linking her turns really nicely. We went night-skiing the next day so that she could be sure she still remembered how to ski, having not been on downhill skis since last year. She did fine. 


She got her first rips (hand-blisters from uneven parallel bars) at gymnastics this week and was pretty proud of them. She now considers herself a hard-core gymnast.


We watched a couple of dance movies this week: Billy Elliot and First Position, the latter a documentary about a youth international ballet competition.


This doesn't really fall in the realm of official unschooling, but since we visited the other high school in the city, my 15-year-old has been transformed. It's as if she's detached herself emotionally from her current school and has reverted to her unschooled self as she awaits next fall. She broke up with her boyfriend (finally! it was a rather dead-end relationship), started drawing, skiing, running, painting, cooking, reading and baking like crazy. Tuesday youth choir -- most of her choir-mates being students at her future school -- is now the highlight of her week, and her attitude to her current school is efficiently detached, much like her elder sister's was at this age: get in there, do good work, and get out, because your real life is elsewhere. This change in attitude has eliminated all the frustration over classmates and silly school procedures, expectations and hoop-jumping. 


And another not-really-unschooling update about my ds, who has now been in school for 2.5 years. He's got a job-shadowing placement this week with a guy who works at home as a web-designer. The guy is thirty-something, a former professional musician and computer programmer, very affable, creative and outside-the-box in his mentality. A friend-of-a-friend we knew of through our unschooling connections. The school believes my ds is going there to learn about what it is to work in the computer design field by watching and helping as the guy works away. But it's clear from the 45-minute enthusiastic phone conversation the two of them had on Friday to talk about the week that it's going to be much more about what it's like to piece together a balanced eclectic life and career inspired by both passion and practicality. Ds was asked to bring his viola, transducer, looping pedal and amp, his laptop, his Digital Audio Workstation software, a big thermal coffee mug, content to build into an on-line website portfolio / curriculum vitae, and his cross-country skis. I have a feeling it's going to be an amazing week. 


Had a phone call this week from eldest dd which made me laugh. Anyone who worries that unschoolers will never learn to do stuff they don't find intrinsically enjoyable, to meet deadlines, to toe the line and work hard, or who doubts the life-lessons that are built into video games, should have been listening in on that phone call. The girl has a system of time-blocks, goals and expectations for herself to ensure that she is able to juggle 6 hours of violin practicing, rehearsals for four separate ensembles, classes, essays, assignments and general studying, laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, exercise and social and leisure time. She has a system of 'levelling up" rewards that she grants herself when she achieves success for particular periods of time. She's got safeguards built in to ensure that she doesn't get too focused on any one thing or that small failures don't cascade into larger ones. Pretty impressive. 



post #47 of 50
Our childrens museum has a monthly free day but I am really considering a membership as a Christmas gift this yr. Free days are crowded of course. Daddy finally got the computer up and running! I need to remember to be more unschooly towards him as well. He took the iniative and did it himself on a whim, no nagging required.
post #48 of 50



DD9 asked to talk about the situation while we were driving today.  I initially didn't want to, and said I wanted to talk about it when we could write down our ideas and talk about what we like and don't like.  That seemed to be enough for them to discuss it rationally, and the idea of postponing the pony as an Easter gift was well-liked.  


I'll consider things some more.  After working through what happened and what might have been better, I agree with Miranda that keeping allowance away from what are essentially educational experiences is the best policy.  I could have asked them how we could have afforded it, and perhaps allowance might have been brought up, in which case it could be considered, but I wouldn't go there automatically because what is in their jars (and it isn't strictly allowance) is quite different sometimes.


I would love to "keep fair out of it", but this issue seems to pop up on its own and I have explained and explained.  Either my explanations are poor or they  just aren't ready to understand the idea.  We do have a very rigid idea of "fair" in our house, unfortunately, that keeps the more intangible aspects of it out of consideration.  Yet.  Well, I've had discussions with adults that, while they don't believe fair is the same as equal, they still don't understand that some things are beyond the issue of fairness vs. unfairness.  So, I can grant my girls a philosophical reprieve.


Thanks for all the excellent suggestions.  Today was much better.  And I thnk all 3 of us learned something from it.


And we have 2 new Mythbusters collections from the library.  DD9 *aced* the segment on a 2-car head on collision vs. a collision with a wall.  What took me a few minutes to understand, she just piped up and said, "But there's 2 cars so you divide it in half."  I think this is just the vanguard of more moments like these. 


We are also off to a good start with GS cookie sales.  My sister, bless her heart, bought 18 boxes and we stayed and chatted and played Clue and Sorry before heading home.

post #49 of 50

Finished Clash of Kings last night.  I've had great books to read for the last few weeks, so the house is a disorganized mess, the glue holding it together being the bare essential house keeping.  I waited to put a hold on the third book of Game of Thrones so I would be motivated to actually do something.  First day I cleared off the mountain that was supposed to be the computer table and pitched some outdated stuff out of my "office cupboard".  


Now I'm coming down with something.  My tongue is fat, my throat is getting sore and I HAVE NOTHING TO READ!!



post #50 of 50
I have been feeking similarly, sweetsilver. Boo. The kiddos are on a big leapfrog video kick. Dd has been using the chalkboard table to practice writing words. Short simple ones like mom and dad she is even sounding out herself! Her cousin gave her a watch tonight so now shes interested in telling time. She understands whole hours so far.
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