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Dar (and others) - Q about unschooling

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I saw you wrote this on another thread:

Quote:
She was in a private school where they reacted to her advanced academic skills by making her read these awful graded readers, grade after grade after grade, and they gave her math worksheets to do based on her strong math skills - but she had the fine motor skills of a kindergartener, so a page of twenty problems involving adding or subtracting 4 digit numbers was torture. They also stole her joy in writing by making her "write more", so I would get these stories with fantastic beginnings and really weak endings (I remember one that started with a discussion of how the sun was a ball of gas, with some references to Helios from Greek mythology... and ended with "The sun is hot. The sun is warm. I like the sun.)
I could have wrote the same thing. My dd (now 8) was an amazing reader and writer in Kindergarten, having taught herself the basics by age 3. School seems to suck the life out of her and steal her joy of learning, too, since she was made to do extra work in the back of the room. I took her out of a public gifted school 2 months ago. One of the main reasons is because she lost all interest in anyting academic and school ended up being disastrous. Her reading comprehension ability is gone and she cannot write a summary at all anymore. My heart is broken over it. I should have pulled her out of school in 1st grade when I first thought of homeschooling.

Anyway, reading that your dd has regained a love of reading and writing has given me some reassurance that I made the right decision about homeschooling. I would like to know how your dd did it. Right now my dd and I read together because she wants to, but she refuses to do any writing. I feel that unschooling is the way to go with her. I just don't know how to do it "right" (if that makes any sense). How do you unschool? What was the turning point for your dd to want to read and write again? We're still so new at this that I'm not sure of anything right now. Help!
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Citymomx3
I I feel that unschooling is the way to go with her. I just don't know how to do it "right" (if that makes any sense). How do you unschool? What was the turning point for your dd to want to read and write again? We're still so new at this that I'm not sure of anything right now. Help!
Hi there. My kids both attended school for a time. We came to a point where we just didn't like it anymore, and decided to do without it. We have been unschooling for over 4 years now (I can never remember when we actually started lol) and we love it.

How does one unschool? For my family it means we just live our lives. We do what we want and need to do. We do what we are interested in. We live without putting a structure, limits, or schedule on what we can learn while living. (If that makes any sense at all..) We listen to music, watch TV, cook, garden, knit, draw, visit friends, play outside, walk the dog, run errands...etc. We feel that learning happens naturally. The children are in control of their own learning.

My son doesn't enjoy writing at all. He never has. He loves to read though, and he can type about 50 wpm. He is involved in role playing games that require him to write detailed character profiles and the like. My daughter writes stories when the urge strikes or poetry. They do what they want to, and there is never any battle over what is "educational" and what is not.
post #3 of 5
Rain wrote almost nothing between age 6 and age 10. Maybe every 6 months she'd write a thank you letter, or a birthday card, but really, almost nil. She occasionally stressed about spelling and we'd spend a few weeks doing a "word of the day" r something, but then she'd lose interest.

At 10 she started writing stories, poems, musicals... slowly, just for fun, but they were so good! She really went from writing nothing to writing this intricate, multi-layered stuff. Her spelling and machanics weren't great, but the thoughts were.

Then she got into online writing, AIM and blogging and email, and really took off. She recently wrote her first formal essay, as practice for college (she plans to start at 13 in the community college system) and it was a well thought-out piece, with decent spelling and punctuation - not perfect, but okay. And she's loving it...

One of the hardest things about unschooling is having faith in your kids. Many people were horrified to find out that she wasn't writing anything, at 7 and 8 and 9... but when she wanted to write, she wrote, and "catching up " wasn't really an issue.

Like Unschoolnma says, we just live our lives. We do what interests us - Rain has done a ton of musical theatre during the past 3 years, for example - and we go cool places and learning, indeed, happens. Pretend you're on holiday, maybe, and do what you enjoy. It's impossible to avoid learning, unless you're stuck sitting in a desk in one room for hours and days... but in the real world, it's all over! Ignore what your daughter is "supposed to" learn, because it's just someone's opinion, and she is the true expert on what she needs to know to live her life. If she doesn't write until she's 10 or 12 or 14, that's okay. She will learn other things...

And *you* need to be learning! What are you modeling? What's your interest, your passion? What cool things do you do?

Dar
post #4 of 5
My kids are now 25, 22, and 17 and I found one of the most difficult aspects of unschooling was to believe that it would work and they would be able to go to college. It did. The two oldest have.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for such encouraging replies! I am really starting to feel that unschooling is the way to go for us. As of now, J asks to do certain things every morning, like read together with me, work on math problems, educational CD Roms, finding countries on the globe, etc. I follow her lead and we do things together and she has fun (so far). I wonder, though, if she just feels she *has* to "do school" in the mornings or if she just really enjoys doing them. I did ask her about that and she said it's because she really likes it and that's the only time we have alone together where she's not distracted by her brother and sister. I know she does enjoy learning, so I guess I shouldn't worry about it.
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