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Do you think most people unschool b/c of the philosophy or b/c of the child? - Page 2

post #21 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peace~*
i really don't want my
kids to be alone. That is also my husbands biggest fear. He says homeschooled children can be kid of "weird".
Peace,

I know your kids are still really little, but have you scoped out your area for homeschooling support groups? I feel weird, because of our non-mainstream ways. We get to where we feel normal and then some venture out into mainstream land reminds us of how "out there" we apparently are wrt our lifestyle. Just the overpraising alone and the reward/punishment strategies that I see other parents do in public make me feel pretty weird.

Anyway, I assumed that I would have a hard time finding people like us, because, while hs is popular in my state, I assumed that most would be conservative Christians. What I found was really surprising and wonderful. There are conservative Christians, but also pagans, for example. I've met people who have gone by the most formal program for their 4yos all the way over to unschoolers. Just going to a few hs park days has really done a lot in making me feel like we're not that weird after all. Also, it's given my kids a chance to play with other kids. It's not that they don't play with other kids. But, for the most part (warning: generalization ahead), the hs kids we've met have been very inclusive and respectful of all ages (even with my then-1 year old!) and also have been into the same kind of simple, imaginary play that mine are into. It's been a wonderful exp just to go play with other hs-ers: conservative Christians, liberal Christians, pagans, unschoolers, formal types, etc...
post #22 of 50
We are unschooling because it just seems to fit. I believe in teh philosophy of listening to what my children need in terms of what they enjoy and what they are capable of doing. So we unschool my dd.

She is VERY self interested and teaches herself much of what she knows. I just facilitate since I have a drivers license and a much larger field of experience to draw upon. We go through stages and currently we are on a math kick, so I scope out toys/tools that I think she would enjoy. She has been asking questions about anatomy so for Christmas, I got her some cool books and a CD ROM on the body. It just fits.

My son (who is 2) is proving to be a very different kind of learner. So I will just have to figure out what my role is in helping him learn.

Rather than make my kids fit a mold of what i like, I try to make thier education fit the mold of what they like. IT is working! They are naturally curious and intelligent beings. They LOVE to learn and I LOVE getting exposed to new things because they are learning them.
post #23 of 50
Quote:
Do you think that most unschoolers go this route primarily b/c of the philosophy itself, and that the philosophy confers those traits to the kids?
I don't know about others, but yes, that is what I think. (It only holds true, though, for an always-unschooled or deschooled child.)

Quote:
Maybe we're drawn to what we crave for ourselves.
Absolutely. What I see as valuable, I want to give to my children. It of course does not necessarily follow that everything I see as valuable will be to them. I think I can safely say though that freedom and respect (which unschooling is based on) are.
post #24 of 50
I've got a problem with your question; there are unschooled children who demand a lot of structure in their homeschooling, but are still technically "unschooled" because the choice of structure is entirely theirs. Just like an AP family who has a child sleeping in a crib because they can't stand to have a person touching them at night is still AP, because they're doing what the child wants, yk? Are you including such children in your definition of "unschooling," or only those with limited/no structure?

While I attended public schools and private schools, the overwhelming majority of my education was achieve through unschooling, or self-directed learning. I'd spend 8 hours a day standing in line and reading interesting books under my desk, or doing logic problems or whatever and then I'd get out of school and go to the library to do research projects on whatever had caught my fancy on that particular day. When I first read about unschooling sorts of philosophies, I was in junior high school and thought that it would be great fun if my mother would just pull me out of school and let me do what I wanted. I was very interested in learning things, and while I wasn't resistant to being taught I rarely seemed to be in situations where I could *be* taught by someone else.

The more I thought about it, and the more research I did on education changed my outlook somewhat. I decided that while unschooling wasn't inherently dangerous (as some opponents to the philosophy will tell you it is) in most situations, it probably wasn't an ideal philosophy for a homeschooling parent who was as totally anal as I was/am. I decided that I would probably use a classical approach once my children were ready for kindergarten (A-Level, in my own private scheme), and move from there to whatever level of structure my individual children needed/desired to learn, and that's what we're doing. I guess that you could say that I chose not to unschool based on philosophy, but I don't think that's quite correct. It has a lot more to do with my own proclivities growing up and the needs of my children (one of which is to have a mother who's not losing her mind every minute of every day), and finding a balance.

I think that a lot of kids learn the way that their parents did. While it's not true 100% of the time, there are soooo many children out there who have inherited a learning style from one or both of their parents. Sometimes they will learn one thing, say, math, the way that one parent did and learn to read the same way as the other parent, but other kids seem to just follow in one parent's footsteps as far as learning goes. This would lead me to believe that the answer to your original question is a combination of both-- a parent who is naturally drawn to unschooling is more likely than the average homeschooling parent to have children who are, likewise, drawn to unschooling. Therefore the selection of philosophy by the parent might indicate that the child/ren being unschooled would have been likewise drawn to that style of home education on their own.

(Does that makes sense? I've got a headache and the screen is starting to blur... )
post #25 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
Therefore the selection of philosophy by the parent might indicate that the child/ren being unschooled would have been likewise drawn to that style of home education on their own.

(Does that makes sense? I've got a headache and the screen is starting to blur... )
Nope, that makes sense! I also believe that learning style is often hereditary.

When I referred to structure, I meant adult-imposed structure.
post #26 of 50
Hey, I just found this forum. Are there many unschoolers here? We are radical unschoolers from birth. You know AP, CC, TCS, radical unschooling, consensual living. Are there others? It is totally a philosophy of respect and freedom, imo.

Pat
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Hey, I just found this forum. Are there many unschoolers here?
Pat
Welcome! I see you found the other thread, but yeah...there are a few of us here.

Quote:
We are radical unschoolers from birth. You know AP, CC, TCS, radical unschooling, consensual living. Are there others? It is totally a philosophy of respect and freedom, imo.
We're living a tcs philosophy. There are a few others here who are as well. I agree that all these things tie in to an overall phil. of respect and freedom--I often have a hard time separating my unschooling thoughts from my general parenting thoughts when we get into discussions here about defining terms, as it's all tied together in my mind.
post #28 of 50
Thanks for the welcome. I am trying to just find my way around MDC still. And find what is most interesting. I am active on the yahoogroup AlwaysUnschooled the Unschooling list for children always unschooled. Basically, younger than age 8 ish. It has some 600 members now and is quite active.

Pat
post #29 of 50
I think parents go into unschooling because of the philosophy and then stick with it because they see that it is working for their child.
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Thanks for the welcome. I am trying to just find my way around MDC still. And find what is most interesting. I am active on the yahoogroup AlwaysUnschooled the Unschooling list for children always unschooled. Basically, younger than age 8 ish. It has some 600 members now and is quite active.

Pat
That sounds good! I'll try to find that group.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Hey, I just found this forum. Are there many unschoolers here? We are radical unschoolers from birth. You know AP, CC, TCS, radical unschooling, consensual living. Are there others? It is totally a philosophy of respect and freedom, imo.

Pat
I'm pretty new to MDC as well. I don't know what consensual living is but have been AP, CC, rad unschool, 2nd birth UP/UC/DFB, etc, always open to more rad ideas that fit my philosophy. I knew I would unschool from the first time I heard the term.

My dd was 6 months old and I was at an AP meeting which was, by the way, the same crowd I'd seen at LLL meetings and was to run into later at HS meetings.

I didn't start reading about the philosophy for years because it seemed clear from what I was told by this person that you didn't have to do it any certain way. But once I did, I was clearly born to unschool. John Holt is just so right on. Like Alfie Kohn - when I read, it's just like they're reading my mind and parts of it I hadn't accessed yet.

Anyway, another whole reason unschooling resonates with me that hasn't come up a lot is that I and my older daughter are HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). I've explored being an HSP a lot and find that among HSPs, I am still alone in a crowd. Nearly 20% of the population is HS but most HSPs are introverted. I'm an extrovert. So while I fit in well with a lot of non-HS people because of my extroversion, the HS part of me has great difficulty with subleties that are lost on everyone else or with (over) reacting. This is something my daughter and I have in common. It made the whole school experience so painful for me and something I wanted to spare her. I am clear now that I have a non-HS daughter that she'd do just fine in school. I am not saying I intend to put her there but I do wonder exactly what the original poster wondered except related to AP; do most parents come to AP because either one or both parents are HS or they have a HS (or sometimes called "high need" but not exactly the same thing) baby?
post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by EllenSandoval
I'm pretty new to MDC as well. I don't know what consensual living is but have been AP, CC, rad unschool, 2nd birth UP/UC/DFB, etc, always open to more rad ideas that fit my philosophy. I knew I would unschool from the first time I heard the term.
Hey, what is DFB? Consensual living is a term to describe living by consent, specifically I saw it applied by Jan Fortune Wood, autonomous educator advocate who writes regularly in the Life Learning magazine. (Which I highly recommend for all unschoolers. It has many btdt type "success stories" that just demonstrate that learning happens all the time. I especially think it is excellent to share with schoolish family who believe that learning only happens when externally generated or when measurable results are evident. The stories are about individuals of all ages learning all the time as a byproduct of living.)

Jan Fortune Wood has a wonderful web site about "parenting with consent" and I believe a book of the same name. She is my guru. She has four children, mostly grown all autodidactic learners. We specifically flew from NC to see her speak at the Rethinking Education conference in May of '04. She is inspirational about living consensually. Without coercion, but more, with mutally agreeable solutions. She embraces TCS, but with a more self-effacing attitude of fallibility than the site portrays, imo.

[quote]Anyway, another whole reason unschooling resonates with me that hasn't come up a lot is that I and my older daughter are HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). I've explored being an HSP a lot and find that among HSPs, I am still alone in a crowd. Nearly 20% of the population is HS but most HSPs are introverted. I'm an extrovert.[/auote]

Both my husband and son are Highly Sensitive! Are you familiar with the Shine With Unschooling site? You would probably love it. I am an extrovert. They are both introverts. I am the antithesis of highly sensitive. Maybe this is actually a learned coping mechanism, as the more I embrace about my true nature, the more sensitive I become. Or maybe, I just have a bit less jadded cynacism with age.

Quote:
<snip> do most parents come to AP because either one or both parents are HS or they have a HS (or sometimes called "high need" but not exactly the same thing) baby?
An interesting thought. Perhaps, most unschoolers come to unschooling because of "failed" schooling experiences either of their own or of their child. And unschooling allows for the needs of the individual. I find that many unschoolers just are non-conventional regarding authority and it suits that need for autonomy, for which neither school nor curriculum allows. Sort of a puzzle piece that fits together. We would have just tried to jam our square peg into the conventional round hole with ultimate frustration until we were too pissed to bother anymore; and found homeschooling and done it our way. Fortunately, life has been more joyful by just choosing to do it our way in the first place; and finding a non-conventional path that is becoming more well worn by those who did the square peg routine before us.

Thank goodness for the ole timer unschoolers but don't they really like being THE conventional non-conventional gurus?

Pat
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
I find that many unschoolers just are non-conventional regarding authority and it suits that need for autonomy, for which neither school nor curriculum allows. Sort of a puzzle piece that fits together. We would have just tried to jam our square peg into the conventional round hole with ultimate frustration until we were too pissed to bother anymore; and found homeschooling and done it our way.
That would be us.

Although, I once spoke with a mom online who believed in a child-directed life, EXCEPT for the child's education. She was a homeschooler. A few years after our first encounter, she turned up on an unschooling board. So, apparently, the same place can be reached from either start.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Hey, what is DFB?
http://diaperfreebaby.org/ - From the website: DiaperFreeBaby is a network of free support groups promoting a natural approach to responding to babies' elimination needs. This practice is followed worldwide and is known as Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygiene, and Infant Potty Training. The process involves observing one's baby's signs and signals, providing cue sounds and elimination-place associations, and can be done with or without any diaper use.

There is an EC forum here.



Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Consensual living is a term to describe living by consent, specifically I saw it applied by Jan Fortune Wood, autonomous educator advocate who writes regularly in the Life Learning magazine. <snip> The stories are about individuals of all ages learning all the time as a byproduct of living.)
Thanks for the tip. I will add this to my ever growing list of things to look into! http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ply&p=4038365#

Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Both my husband and son are Highly Sensitive! Are you familiar with the Shine With Unschooling site?
Yeah. I moderated the hspbook yahoo group for a long time and then started up the hscbook group for parents of HSCs. The woman who did the Shine site joined us for a while in the early days and had some amazing wisdom to share. I grew away from the hscbook group because it was too mainstream for me! I still own the group but I didn't find my tribe there. I tried creating an HSC AP unschool yahoo group but I haven't made it very public so it doesn't have a lot of members. And then I second-guessed myself on that; is there or isn't there a need for that group? So it's shelved for now while my mind chews on this question!


Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
I am an extrovert. They are both introverts. I am the antithesis of highly sensitive. Maybe this is actually a learned coping mechanism, as the more I embrace about my true nature, the more sensitive I become. Or maybe, I just have a bit less jadded cynacism with age.
How'd you hook up with such a HS guy? Or maybe you are HS? Who knows? Well, I guess you do. When I take the test for each daughter, my attitude feels so totally different; for my HS daughter, I am so YES! YES! And when I have my other daughter in mind, I'm scratching my head, wondering who they're talking about and how anyone could answer yes to those questions. So weird. My dh is not HS but he is generally a sensitive guy.



Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
An interesting thought. Perhaps, most unschoolers come to unschooling because of "failed" schooling experiences either of their own or of their child.

I don't think so. Just like I've known APers who came to it purely because they were raised that way themselves. Sure, I came to it because my upbringing was very different in a lot of negative ways. But many people are happy with their school experiences and still want to unschool. Maybe because things are different now or the appeal of the freedom of unschooling; we can go anywhere at any time and no one has authority over us to not keep our kids out of classes. I can think of so many reasons to unschool and each one at the time seems so huge that in and of itself, it could be a deciding factor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
And unschooling allows for the needs of the individual. I find that many unschoolers just are non-conventional regarding authority and it suits that need for autonomy, for which neither school nor curriculum allows.

I never thought this was true of myself but apparently I have been much mistaken. I am a rule follower by nature but I like rules to have good reasons that are obvious, make sense, are useful, etc. I resent rules for rules' sake. Well thanks for getting me to actually begin a dialog about unschooling. I have been doing it solo for 6 years but it's time to start chatting a bit more about it and staying on track. I do maintain an unschooling blog but I'm talking to myself there!

Ellen
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
That would be us.

Although, I once spoke with a mom online who believed in a child-directed life, EXCEPT for the child's education. She was a homeschooler. A few years after our first encounter, she turned up on an unschooling board. So, apparently, the same place can be reached from either start.
Not to start a flame war, but there are some differences of opinion about how child-directed some "unschoolers" allow their children's academics to develop. I have often heard people post that they are 'unschoolers, except for math, and reading'.

Pat
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
I've got a problem with your question; there are unschooled children who demand a lot of structure in their homeschooling, but are still technically "unschooled" because the choice of structure is entirely theirs. Just like an AP family who has a child sleeping in a crib because they can't stand to have a person touching them at night is still AP, because they're doing what the child wants, yk? Are you including such children in your definition of "unschooling," or only those with limited/no structure?
This is what I was thinking as I read the question. Dd is only 2, but I'm strongly leaning toward homeschooling, and I think there's a difference between "philosophy" and "method". I believe in the "philosophy" of unschooling and that there are many methods that can be used to unschool. Dd may enjoy doing workbooks and having a somewhat structured curriculum or she may not. Either way, we'd still be unschooling as we'd be following her lead, kwim?
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by EllenSandoval
http://diaperfreebaby.org/ - From the website: DiaperFreeBaby <snip>There is an EC forum here.

Hmm...I know about EC. So, what is UC? I was thinking UC was EC. Now I am confused about what UC actually is?

[quote}Yeah. I moderated the hspbook yahoo group for a long time and then started up the hscbook group for parents of HSCs. The woman who did the Shine site joined us for a while in the early days and had some amazing wisdom to share. I grew away from the hscbook group because it was too mainstream for me! I still own the group but I didn't find my tribe there. I tried creating an HSC AP unschool yahoo group but I haven't made it very public so it doesn't have a lot of members. And then I second-guessed myself on that; is there or isn't there a need for that group? So it's shelved for now while my mind chews on this question!
Do check out the Shine group! It is extemely child centered. And not just AP for babies, iykwim. : It has about 500 members+. It is extremely positive and highly sensitive. NO MAINSTREAMERS. Only Radical Unschoolers. It is the salve for my childhood wounds. Anne is a fountain of love. (unless you intentionally disregard your child, then uh oh.)

Quote:
How'd you hook up with such a HS guy? Or maybe you are HS? Who knows? Well, I guess you do.
The million dollar question. We fell in love at first sight. I was in high school. My palms are sweating just remembering and my heart still races when I think about it. And he treated me better than anyone ever had and I knew I would spend my life with him. We have been together since 1979. But, boy I am tough on him as an extrovert. Took me until about 3 years ago to understand THAT is why he doesn't like parties and lots of people.... duh. Anyway, I have learned more about him from the Shine group than about ds. To dh's great relief.

Quote:
<snip> I can think of so many reasons to unschool and each one at the time seems so huge that in and of itself, it could be a deciding factor.
I totally agree. It is ideal for me and ds. Dh is still on the fence about non-conventional anything, , poor guy, married Mrs. Non-conventional. Life is exciting (torture) with me.


Quote:
I never thought this was true of myself but apparently I have been much mistaken. I am a rule follower by nature but I like rules to have good reasons that are obvious, make sense, are useful, etc. I resent rules for rules' sake. Well thanks for getting me to actually begin a dialog about unschooling. I have been doing it solo for 6 years but it's time to start chatting a bit more about it and staying on track. I do maintain an unschooling blog but I'm talking to myself there!

Ellen
Wow, I am so not a rule follower. Never. Nope. Nada. Guess, I just think too much of other alternatives than "the rules" dictate. So, I can't find too many rules that are useful. Anarchist tendencies. Don't get me started on politics.

Solo for 6 years sounds hard!! Maybe I like to secretly follow others afterall? Come visit Always Unschooled. We love people who think.

Pat
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
Welcome! I see you found the other thread, but yeah...there are a few of us here.
We're living a tcs philosophy. There are a few others here who are as well. I agree that all these things tie in to an overall phil. of respect and freedom--I often have a hard time separating my unschooling thoughts from my general parenting thoughts when we get into discussions here about defining terms, as it's all tied together in my mind.
Is there a TCS forum on MDC? Maybe a bit kinder and gentler than the "Official TCS" web site? Geezz...talk about dictating how not to dictate to children. : We practice it but I am shy to mention it because of the tomatoes that everyone throws.

Pat
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by HerthElde
I believe in the "philosophy" of unschooling and that there are many methods that can be used to unschool. Dd may enjoy doing workbooks and having a somewhat structured curriculum or she may not. Either way, we'd still be unschooling as we'd be following her lead, kwim?
I don't think being unstructured is what defines unschooling. I'm written before about Rain's theatrical endeavors, and at times we've been really tightly structured - to the minute - in order to get her to all of her rehearsals and performances, and me to my work, and then to fit in classes, pet care, and social stuff.

Still, I think it's too easy for parents to interpret children's desires as wanting a "structured curriculum" when really there are many other things that would fill the child's need. CityMomx3's recent thread about her daughter asking for structure illustrated this well.

Sometimes, what children are looking for is *knowledge* about what to expect in their day, rather than wanting *direction* in their day. Rain liked (and still liked) to hear the "Plan for the Day" every evening, and she figured out calendars when she was really young because she liked being able to know what was coming up. We put whatever we needed to schedule on the calendar, from "dance class" to "play Midnight Party tonight". The things is, we both made the calendar, and we agreed on what was on it.

Other times, the way a parent responds to a child can be shaped by her preconceived ideas about education and learning, and those in turn can shape the child's education. I find it more useful to ask in these situations, rather than tell. Almost every kid tells a parent, at one time or another, "I want to learn to read." One parent will respond by purchasing Hooked on Phonics, or 100 Easy Lessons, and begin working through them with the child. The child may not really want to do all of these things... but he may also enjoy the undivided time with mom, or he may pick up on mom's pleasure in his growing reading skills... so he does them, fairly agreeably. Mom thinks the child is "asking for" structured reading lessons, and so continues.

Some children, of course, will decide this is all a pile of hooey and decide to read later, but a good percentage will continue on... not because they really want to read so much, but because this whole process has no been set into motion. And most 3 year olds will learn to read, with enough instruction. They may now be fluent, but they'll be able to read. If Mom knows only one paradigm for learning things, and thinks this is clearly natural and right, and even "unschooling". Later, when child wants to know other things, she'll use the same techniques. At some point, what the child wanted will cease to be the impetus behind the whole process, and the mother will decide that unschooling didn't work for her child, because he preferred "structured learning".

Another parent (especially one who has unschooled for a while) might respond to, "I want to learn to read" with, "Okay, what do you want to read?" If asked, she'll tell the child what a certain book or word says, and maybe offer to write a few words on cards for the child to have. She might talk about some basic letter sounds - "Words that start with 's' begin like this: /s/" - and give some examples. She'd talk about it with the child for as long as he seemed interested, and that would be it. The next time he brought it up - an hour later, 3 years later - she'd ask some more, and they'd talk some more.

She would be equally attentive if the child asked "Where does paprika come from?" or "How do you make brownies?"

Rain had workbooks and some 'reading' computer games when she was little, and she used them, sometimes... she preferred to mess up on the games rather than to play them the right way (she still plays games this way), but it wasn't anti-unschooling to get them... as long as they're not treated like something special, something "better" to do with her time than play playmobil or ride her bike. They're just there...

One thing to remember is that most of us were schooled... and so we tend to think of learning and schooling as being related. Even people who learned a lot outside of school (which isn't unschooling; all schooled kids learn some things outside of school) tend to have a school-mindset about the 3R's, at very least, and often about other things. We're having to guard against this, because we're programmed to think this way. Our kids also get these messages... kids who have been in school or schooled at home have to deal with them, of course, but other kids get them from the media, from friends, from books, and from family... and as primary caregivers, parents are often the primary conduit.

dar
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Is there a TCS forum on MDC?
Nope... but these was a good TCS thread in Gentle Discipline not too long ago, and a few of us posted good stuff there http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=345390

Dar
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