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positive term for unschooling?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
is there a positive term for unschooling that flows better in conversation than 'learning at home and beyond'?

i think pretty soon we are going to have to start 'explaining' to relatives etc what we are doing ... and i can already tell it is not going to be easy at ALL. people really think this is WRONG. who'd've thunk.... though i am sure that i would have reacted just like them before reading and thinking about it as i have in the past couple of years.

of course breastfeeding and diaper-freeing and even gentle disciplining invite sometimes critical comments but it is soemwhat easier to a)assert that i am doing what i feel is best and b) show the positive results for people who actually care in a relatively short time

but i dont think this will be the case with unschooling at all. and whenever something we do comes under criticism in this way it is too easy to fall into a holier than thou (aka full of oneself) mentality where e.g. you come down hard on the school system, for example. sure we have decided that we don't want to be part of it, but it should not require / incline us to look down upon those who do ... kwim? how to maintain this sense of common humility while defending a choice that most people feel free to criticise?

so if there is some positive, unpretentious way to describe unschooling i think it might help - it may not convince anyone, but at least it would help me communicate it positively and without having to put down anyone else's choices.
post #2 of 22
child led learning
post #3 of 22
I always like autodidactic, but I don't think I've ever actually used it in conversation.
post #4 of 22
How about self-schooling?
post #5 of 22
free range education
post #6 of 22
natural learning, or freeschooling (though that often sets people off too...). I've used both those terms before, but I usually just say that we unschool. The criticisms don't much matter to me these days.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks fo rthe terms. how do you get to the point where you have acceptable ways to respond to the criticisms - those coming from people who really care, i mean, not from general public. i find that in order to block out hte negative vibes i have to criticise *their* choice of schooling ... surely this is not the way....
post #8 of 22
You have to get to the point where you're so sure this is the best thing for your child and this feels so great to you and to them....absolute confidence. Then the "well-meaning" criticism just seems, well, sortof ignorant. It becomes almost funny that some person who doesnt know your child as well as you do (even a grandparent) would dare to question you on what's best.

and hey if all else fails, feel free to borrow my favorite line..."you had your chance to screw up your kids" (usually said to my mom or mil )
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5
free range education
I like that one. My family doesn't unschool.... we're very relaxed schoolers, though. We do "work" for math and spelling and the rest is interest-led. So can't call what we do "free range," but maybe I can call it "cage free."
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumi
thanks fo rthe terms. how do you get to the point where you have acceptable ways to respond to the criticisms - those coming from people who really care, i mean, not from general public. i find that in order to block out hte negative vibes i have to criticise *their* choice of schooling ... surely this is not the way....
Basically, I am just honest with people in that I find very serious flaws with other types of education and that we are most comfortable with unschooling. I try hard to not sound "holier-than-thou" though. I don't think my way is the only way, it's just the only way for me, ya know?
post #11 of 22
We call it life-learning. Our "official" name is ELFscholars ... ELF stands for Enchanted Life-learning Family scholars.

When people ask, we say we are life-learning. We learn together as a family and use the many teachable moments throughout the day to learn about things. We give examples such as ... when we bake bread, we learn measuring, addition, subtraction, division, fractions, reading, following directions, creativity (when varying a recipe) etc. When we go for a hike in the woods we learn about plant life, wildlife, survival, reading a compass, ecology, etc. We visit museums to learn about natural history, history, art, creativity, the natural world, etc. We volunteer at different places, learn many things from friends and family, socialize through all of our various activities, etc.

It helps that my almost-6 year old is reading at 5th grade level (he just finished the first Harry Potter book), seems to know something about everything, and is good at math ... and my 4 year old is reading ar first grade level, doing basic math, and knows tons about animals and other subjects. Most of my family and close friends can't imagine my kids in a school setting.

Most of the questions I get asked are about what cirriculum we follow, what is required by the state (nothing here in CT ... Yay!!!), etc. I use general answers, such as "We are following all state guidelines." unless people get specific. Then I answer truthfully. We don't follow a cirricullum, don't plan to, and that the state doesn't regulate what we can and can't teach our children ... and that we're thankful of that fact because we can fully explore all subjects that we're interested in without limitations and as a result, our kids learn more, learn faster, and retain the knowledge much better than they would in school. We are able to help "teach" each child in a way that they learn the best (which is different for each child), while in school, a teacher usually has one or two teaching methods and can't change her teaching methods for each individual child.

I could go on and on ... but I won't!
post #12 of 22
I have used the term "home learning" when explaining it to my 3 year old. For her, the term "homeschooling" seems confusing because the word "school" is still in there and that is not where she will be going.

Since we haven't had to discuss it with many people yet, I will probably still use the term "homeschooling" with stranger adults if they are asking why she's out on the town on a Tuesday morning.

But, if somone would really like to discuss the approach, I would probably use "home learning" or "child-led learning".
post #13 of 22
"Delight Led Learning" is a term I have seen and like
post #14 of 22
My daughter is fond of telling people, "I don't have to go to public school or home school, because I'm a world schooler and I get to learn anywhere I want to."
post #15 of 22
I find it helps for me to focus on my child, saying things like, "Dd is very self-directed in her learning" [sometimes people repeat this phrase, like it reassures them] and that indeed when she is directed in her learning she tends to bristle or shut down.

I also talk about how she is thriving, it really is just what she needs right now. And that each year we're assessing what her needs are and how best to meet them, and we'll just take it from there.

I am sure folks sometimes think we're crazy anyway, but they don't say so. I think the I-statements might help, because then it doesn't mean that I'm suggesting there's anything wrong with what they've chosen for their children. Now, get me with another unschooler, and then we'll chat more about our philosophies about the whole deal.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
So can't call what we do "free range," but maybe I can call it "cage free."
:LOL That's cute!


:
post #17 of 22
I didn't see delight driven learner.
post #18 of 22
I found this yesterday on the unschooling.info forums...
***********************************************
[To the frequently voiced complaint that the word "unschooling" seems negative, this was written years ago and has not been bested:]

"Lots of people make this point, but I never see the negation as negative in a value-judgment sense when I use the word--to me unschooling is as positive as unchaining, unbinding, unleashing, unfolding, unfurling, unlimiting....

"All mean freedom and growth and vast possibilities to me."


Suzanne Carter
***********************************************

Yesterday I went to an unschooling talk with Sandra Dodd and Pam Sorooshian...if you're on any of the main unschooling lists, you know who Pam is, and of course...most unschoolers know of Sandra Dodd.

It was just what I needed. I had been struggling with the label "unschooling" since it sounds so negative, so I had been shying away from the lists and identifying with other unschoolers. I knew we were unschoolers at heart, but I was resisting the name and therefore, those associated with it, if that makes any sense.

These women are just so wise and I related to so much of what they were saying, at times it felt that in a room full of people, they were speaking only and specifically to me. Every so often I need to see someone like that in person to re-affirm that I'm on the right path with my kids
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandyMama
These women are just so wise and I related to so much of what they were saying, at times it felt that in a room full of people, they were speaking only and specifically to me. Every so often I need to see someone like that in person to re-affirm that I'm on the right path with my kids
They rock. I am so glad it was good for you and helped you out. Unschooling is so cool and so freeing. I definately agree with the quote you had here. "Un" doesn't have to mean something negative. My family is loving being unbound and unlimited.
post #20 of 22
When I first read what Suzanne wrote, I thought, yeah, that makes sense, but.... there's a little more to it. I agree that the "un-" prefix doesn't necessarily carry negative connotations. But I do balk at taking something so elemental and labeling it according to its relationship to something else, as if it is essentially reactionary or derivative rather than a thing in its own right. And that's just not the message I want to send when I'm trying to explain what it is that we do. But I haven't yet been able to come up with a label that I *am* happy with.
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