Originally Posted by pookel
I think that presenting the difference between school and unschool as this kind of clear dichotomy between "parent-enforced learning" and "parent makes helpful suggestions just as anyone else might" isn't accurate. The truth is, kids innately look to their parents as role models and teachers, and a suggestion with the weight of parental authority behind it tends to carry a lot more force than a suggestion from a peer. IMHO, this isn't inherently a good or a bad thing, but it colors every educational interaction between parent and child. For a parent to really radically unschool, they have to make a conscious effort NOT to teach and to pressure, because the default interaction has this subtle pressure of parental influence going on in the background.
I'm not a radical unschooler, but I make a conscious effort not to pressure my kids into learning things. I only teach her something when she wants me to (which is pretty dang rare
). It's not that hard to do, really. I don't know, maybe it's my kids (the "mellow" one included) but both of mine seem to be able to tell me if they don't want to do something There have been times that Bridget has mumbled when I asked her if she wanted to do something instead of outright telling me she didn't want to. But then, as annoying as the mumbling is, I didn't need a degree in rocket science to figure out what was happening and back off. But really, it doesn't happen that often and most of the time she has no problem telling me "no thank you". Owen (the 4 year old and the easy going one) has no problem whatsoever saying he doesn't want to do something but wants to do this or that instead.
Also, reading this part
|because the default interaction has this subtle pressure of parental influence going on in the background
I'm thinking you have an unrealistic idea of unschooling here. We're still human, you know? We're still parents and kids and yes, *tons* of things influence our kids without us meaning to. Our personalities, our relationships with our own parents, with our spouses, medical issues, passionate interests, intense dislikes, etc . One common misconception of unschooling is that our kids grow up in a vacuum and that's definitely not true. Is there a subtle pressure of parental influence that even I'm not aware of? Maybe, but that doesn't mean I should give up and just outright, knowingly pressure my kids.
|She liked to just plow ahead and try everything out for herself, which was fine up to a point, but there were certain areas she didn't even know to ask about, and I had to tell her directly what she needed to learn.
I don't think the work analogy, uh, works
Training for a job is different. You have a short list of definite expectations and a rather short period of time to learn it in. You're on someone else's dime and it's the employer whose opinion matters, not the employee. Once the employee takes that job, her likes, dislikes and interests become largely unimportant. It's very different from childhood
Though now that I think of it, work does bear some resemblance to school. The teacher is the one whose opinion matters, and she's the one who decides what will be learned and how fast. Hmmmmmmm. Ok, so it bears no resemblence to unschooling
On Sudbury I don't have many thoughts. i haven't looked into it at all. I keep hearing it as "unschooling at school" and shake my head because as far as I see it it's still a school. It's still giving the impression that learning happens between these hours, in this place. No matter how wonderful it might be, I'd still have to get my dd up, dressed, fed and out the door every day. I've heard that you can not go if you feel like it but then, I'm paying for it, so I'd have internal pressure to make her go (or else it's just like a donation to Sudbury). Also, for me, one of the benefits of homeschooling (not just un) is more family time and school would cut into that. Also we have more time being able to just pick up and go on trips and be in the world - grocery shopping, the museum, playgrounds, the post office, the library, the zoo, etc. Not every day, but we do some sort of out of the house activity a few times a week. School would cut into that too. I guess if I were forced to stop homeschooling for some reason a school like that would be the way to go though.