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Misconceptions about unschooling - Page 2

post #21 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
But I agree that even if the CHILD needed structure, they can still unschool. To me, the difference is that I'm not imposing structure on my kids--any structure they need comes from their own needs.
Oh yes, I agree. I think actually that I said something about this in one of the many portions of my original post that I wrote out and deleted because it had just turned into a long ramble. I did a lot of typing that was off topic and more about me just working through my thoughts/understanding about unschooling and what is happening with our family's homeschooling.

The waking up on schedule thing really amuses me. Especially the way it was originally worded here (UnschoolinMa, I think?), about if he's going to tell his boss he doesn't want to come in at 7 am. I mean, seriously! Do people really think this?

My bro and my dh both had horrible times waking up in time for school. Constantly oversleeping and missing the bus (which is a big deal when you live on a dirt road, no public trans, 1/2 hour drive from school). School didn't train them to get up on time. Dh still had the same problem through most of university -- he did everything he could not to schedule early classes because he wouldn't get up for them. Yet once he started working, he rarely overslept -- only if he were sick. 'Cause he knew he could lose his job.
post #22 of 220
The posts about unschooling meaning no structure made me laugh. I've just been working out our weekly schedule for the summer, including Rain's job, my jobs, Rain's 3 dance classes, Rain's voice lessons, Rain's guitar classes... and that doesn't include the short-term commitments, like Rain's theatre camp, Rain's other camp, and Rain's teacher-assisting at theatre camp.... or any just plain social stuff. We're pretty packed most days. As people have said, though, Rain wants to do all of this stuff - none of it is being imposed on her.

dar
post #23 of 220
Thread Starter 
Here's one: unschooled kids can't get into good colleges . Wrong. I know unschoolers who have not only been able to get into good colleges, but have excelled there - and there are lots of others out there. There are some interesting articles on this subject on the teens/high school/college/careers page I've been building.

Lillian
post #24 of 220
Thread Starter 
Ah! How about the ol' "They won't be able to take direction in college or jobs - because they've always been able to do whatever they please" -

It's hard to even respond to that one - because it's just so far fetched. Anyone?

EDIT: Whoops! That's the one Unschoolnma already brought up:
Quote:
The thing that I hear often enough is that unschoolers "won't learn how to follow the rules/schedules/requirements" that are found in the real world. I always ask where this mysterious real world is located? The idea that unschoolers can and do learn about societal, professional, and cultural structures and/or codes of conduct just like everyone else is apparently lost on some folks.
- Lillian
post #25 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J
Ah! How about the ol' "They won't be able to take direction in college or jobs - because they've always been able to do whatever they please" -

As Unschoolnma said, if "whatever they please" includes college or jobs, then they'll do it.

But then, that seems to open the next argument--that is, "We can't just do what we like in life, sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do."

I think that comes from not seeing the forest for the trees. One might not like every assignment in college, but they'll complete it if they want the degree, yk? Same with jobs--you might not like a particular task within the job, but if, overall the job is good for you, you'll work it out.

Or sometimes that concern of doing what one wants has to do with social expectations -- we have a somewhat formal event to attend this weekend. Dd would *like* to wear her usual uniform of shorts, t-shirt and bare feet, yet, she came *to me* and asked if I'd take her shopping for a skirt and more formal top because she wanted to be respectful of her cousin at this event. ( Funny, she also requested we go shopping at the consignment shop because she only planned on wearing this outfit once and didn't want to spend much money on it! Sigh--it's too bad we unschool and I didn't teach her anything, huh? ) It's not so hard to include consideration for others or personal responsibility in the choice to do what you want--at least, *I* don't think so.
post #26 of 220
Thanks for doing this thread. My dd is almost 4 and I'm trying to figure out the homeschooling thing. I've read "The Unschooling Handbook" and the "Homeschooling Handbook" by Mary (oh, Lillian mentioned her, I can't recall). But somehow I still didn't have a grasp on how unschooling can be very different for different families. I've seen too many posts here about:
You can't do THAT (story stretchers, unit studies, whatever) and still be Unschooling!

I'm getting the impression here that unschooling can include anything you want, as long as you aren't forcing your child to do things they don't want and you try to follow the child's interests. That's what I'm doing. I do introduce story stretchers and such, because my dd likes them, and I need to look at a list of ideas- I can't come up with everything myself. I also thought Unschoolers had to be super creative, to come up with a way to follow their kids interests.
post #27 of 220
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OTMomma
I also thought Unschoolers had to be super creative, to come up with a way to follow their kids interests.
You know, this is an interesting one, because it's heartening to know that at least some people have the image of unschoolers being "super creative" rather than thinking they're just sitting in front of the tube in their jammies and bunny slippers all day. But it's too bad people have the idea that it's so hard to figure out fun and creative educational activities that follow their kids' interests.

And the author you're referring to is Mary Griffith, who's now working on an update to Homeschooling Handbook, where the original contributors give updates on their lives. It will include some new contributors, too, who have at least 10 years experience. Lillian
post #28 of 220
I don't know that creativity is required. I'd say that *resourcefulness* is needed though. I've found it's a matter of finding a way of saying "yes" to the kids. So that, when they say, "I really want to do ______" even if it seems impossible at first, some research often turns up a way to make it happen.

Recently, a friend's son wanted to learn a particular type of wood carving. They bought the tools and inquired about lessons, but the only school nearby had an age requirement that blocked this child from signing up. One of the instructors at the school, however, was willing to give the child private lessons off-site, so he's getting his lessons. My ds wants to learn blacksmithing. My original reaction was, "Where in the WORLD would we find something like THAT?" then, in last week's paper, there was an article about a place a couple of states away that lets people learn these crafts--I realized we could turn that into a family vacation. There are also a number of restored villages in our area...which makes me wonder if craftspeople there wouldn't be able to direct us to a class or internship or something.

You have to learn to network and tell everyone you meet what you're looking for, because, odds are, someone knows someone who knows someone who has exactly what you're looking for, kwim?

(And quit knocking our jammies and bunny slipper days, Lillian! )
post #29 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by OTMomma
I've seen too many posts here about:
You can't do THAT (story stretchers, unit studies, whatever) and still be Unschooling!
I *have* seen that on the web a lot but not so much here. What I've seen here is that you can't be unschooling if you *tell* your child what they *will* do. *Asking* them if they *want* to do something is different and sure, why not? If you ask her if she wants to do story stretchers and she says yes, then that's one thing. If you ask her if she wants to and she says no and you say "sorry honey, it's not an option, sit down and do it" then that's different. The story stretchers aren't the issue, it's how they are approached.

That is how I understand unschooling at least But yeah, I've seen unschoolers who say that offering something like that isn't unschooling. Especially a particular author and site that scares a lot of people away from unschooling. I haven't seen that so much here though thank gawd.
post #30 of 220
Joan, are your kids still interested in the SCA? Because I think there are blacksmiths in Jersey in the SCA. I could track one down for you if you want.
post #31 of 220
Oooo, just thought of another one! I don't know how common this is but I did meet one person IRL who believed this. My friend seems to think that unschooling means that when your kids say jump, you say how high and if you *don't* then you aren't an unschooler. As an example of why unschooling didn't work for her, she said her son wanted to do science experiments with her at 2 am and because of this she was tired all the time so she had to stop unschooling. Uh, if anyone asks me to do anything at 2 am, I say sure, first thing tomorrow (or, more to the point, I snap at them for waking me up ). I tried to explain that to her but she didn't seem to get it.
post #32 of 220
Did you INTEND to prove my point, Shannon? (I'll e-mail you, thanks!)
post #33 of 220
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
My friend seems to think that unschooling means that when your kids say jump, you say how high and if you *don't* then you aren't an unschooler. As an example of why unschooling didn't work for her, she said her son wanted to do science experiments with her at 2 am and because of this she was tired all the time so she had to stop unschooling.
Apparently some people think unschooling means tossing out all common sense! I can't imagine how they get these ideas!!! It actually kinda' gives me the creeps the way so many people who say they "would never unschool" are thinking it's like that. I guess that gets back to the "unparenting" issue.

My response would have been to reach down and throw my bunny slipper at anyone who tried to make me get up in the middle of the night! - Lillian
post #34 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J
My response would have been to reach down and throw my bunny slipper at anyone who tried to make me get up in the middle of the night! - Lillian
I should clarify so it makes a bit more sense At 2 am (at that time) she would be up, but in the process of going to bed. Since my bedtime is 11 it would be like if my dd asked me to do something involved at 10 am. She was still up, but didn't have the mental or physical energy to do science experiments but thought that since he asked, she had to if she wanted to be an unschooler. Ok, so not much better, but a bit

Joan,
post #35 of 220
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
She was still up, but didn't have the mental or physical energy to do science experiments but thought that since he asked, she had to if she wanted to be an unschooler. Ok, so not much better, but a bit
Oh, well that's different - but still a lack of common sense.

And then, instead of just altering her way of unschooling to work for her, she just abandoned the whole thing...

People are amazing...

And somewhere there's probably someone she's subsequently spoken with who thinks unschoolers are a bunch of nutcases who jump whenever their "little darlings" (<--their term, not mine) have a sudden impulse to learn something... - Lillian
post #36 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J


Apparently some people think unschooling means tossing out all common sense! I can't imagine how they get these ideas!!! It actually kinda' gives me the creeps the way so many people who say they "would never unschool" are thinking it's like that. I guess that gets back to the "unparenting" issue.
Let me start by saying I love reading about unschoolers who truly facilitate their children's learning and development. And I'm not trying to debate you at all. But unfortunately I've read enough on unschooling boards that say if you don't let your 2 year olds watch the Sopranos and or (depsite a tight food budget) let a child take one bite out of every apple in the bag, of if you limit media in any form, then clearly you can't be unschooling. I've also met a number of IRL unschoolers who do very little to help ignite/grow their children's interest in the wider world or help them develop the skills they need to succeed in it (be they academic, life or social skills).

And so I am one of those who is not likely to ever say we unschool although I would guess what we do each day would look a lot like unschooling. The misconceptions are not created in a vaccuum - there is enough anecdotal evidence out there to make even well connected and widely read homeschoolers leary.
post #37 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4
But unfortunately I've read enough on unschooling boards that say if you don't let your 2 year olds watch the Sopranos and or (depsite a tight food budget) let a child take one bite out of every apple in the bag, of if you limit media in any form, then clearly you can't be unschooling.
And so I am one of those who is not likely to ever say we unschool although I would guess what we do each day would look a lot like unschooling. The misconceptions are not created in a vaccuum - there is enough anecdotal evidence out there to make even well connected and widely read homeschoolers leary.
Ditto! Though less so here- the "other site" someone mentioned had me believing there was NO WAY I was an unschooler. Then I talked to some local unschooling veteran parents,and learned that as LillianJ said, unschooling can mean very different things to different people! And how JH started the idea, and term, but how it's flourished in a variety of ways-I believe all of them unschooling, but not all the same way!
We unschool- yes, but within our families structures and limits. Nope, my kids aren't going to 'take a bite of every apple",though ds2 would love to... my kids have bedtimes( most of the time-I need my sanity)- and we have religious training for ourselves and our kids.(always about love)
But we will...spend LOTS of time outdoors,and LOTS of time exploring our own interests- LOTS of time reading crazy books about math or history or geography just for the fun of it (ds2 is 6,his favorite new phrase is "A secret is easily kept between 3 people if 2 of them are dead",ala Ben Franklin/Poor Richards almanac) ,too bad I never"teach"them anything...
Of course, the first 100 times he said that,I was horrified, and wondered where he'd gotten such a dreadful phrase...silly mom!
post #38 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4
The misconceptions are not created in a vaccuum - there is enough anecdotal evidence out there to make even well connected and widely read homeschoolers leary.
Yeah, actually ahile ago I almost stopped using the unschooling label for me since I limit tv and all. We did have a nice thread awhile back on unschooling vs. radical unschooling (also called, I think, whole life unschooling? which is what my incredibly cool RL friend calls it). Most people do think that you can be an unschooler and not be a radical one, but yeah, some don't agree with that.

The real problem is, unschooling doesn't really have a set definition. So maybe those people are right and people like me who limit tv *aren't* unschoolers. Or maybe we're right and we are, dunno I will admit to scratching my head when people talk about how they are unschooling and "just" require X many hours of work in Y subjects a week. That, to me, is not unschooling. And I really think if a term has such a broad definition that it can cover anything it ends up being meaningless. But then, like I said, I'm not an unschooler to some others so . . . .

We could go round and round on this I guess Maybe we should have a thread called "How do YOU defiine unschooling?" That might be interesting

For ME, it's allowing my children to have the final say in their education. I can offer things, I can buy things, I can get them books I think they'll like, email them websites I think they'll be interested, etc (all things I do for my dh and my friends and family too! why wouldn't I do it for my kids?) but in the end it's totally up to them if they want to do anything with it all (also just like my friends and family). I never make them study anything, it's all up to them.
post #39 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
Especially a particular author and site that scares a lot of people away from unschooling. I haven't seen that so much here though thank gawd.
I know that site! And it ruined the very idea of unschooling for me for a long time. I'm still on the fence about it, actually. However, after reading this thread, we may be unschooling after all. Dd1 is only 3 1/2, but she's reading, and likes very logical, academic-type things. We have maps, the periodic table, quality prints, etc. on the walls at her eye level. I NEVER say, "Now we must do this." I usually start looking at something, then she'll come over and ask me to explain what I'm looking at. Same with languages. If I listen/learn foreign language, then she wants to as well. She plays a lot too -- in fact, I encourage that! But I also offer many academic-type activities everyday, because she likes them.

I thought I was an eclectic homeschooler, but maybe we are unschoolers. We never do anything dd1 does not want to do. Also, I often ask her what she'd like to do on a particualr day, and we do it (Science Museum, playground, etc.)
post #40 of 220
:

Great thread!!!
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