or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › Is unschooling really a good idea?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is unschooling really a good idea? - Page 3

post #41 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama
The Children On the Hill. The authors name escapes me.
Deakin, Michael (according to my library)

Honestly, the rattle story horrified me. I am a ragingly unpleasant person when it comes to not getting enough sleep, so the kid would definitely have had to wait until morning. I agree with the idea in theory, but in practice I am a Not Very Nice Person when I am sleep deprived.
post #42 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
There are people who were born, raised, and (ostensibly) educated in this country who are unable to communicate effectively because they were left to their own devices. There are people attempting to communicate over the internet, on these very boards, who are so impaired that they cannot effectively communicate through text, despite an apparent desire to do so. I think that's absolutely tragic, and I think that radical unschooling is, of all home education methodologies, the most likely to lead to such an outcome. :
But were not most, if not all, of these people you are criticizing, schooled in the traditional manner? Most likely public school or even schooled at home?


Still reading my way through this thread, just a thought for now.
post #43 of 591
This was an interesting thread to read. One thing that struck me is that I have a set of concerns about unschooling, but they are entirely different ones! I wonder if it is because my child is older and I've known more unschoolers at this point. I have no doubt that unschooling works great for some families and I also have no doubt that it doesn't for others.

Things I've observed that concern me:

1. Some kids, especially anxious ones or ones that are bright and things tend to come to easily need the life experience of doing something that makes them a wee bit uncomfortable or that is hard for them. Some kids will seek out challenges and get the experience of working toward a goal and see how incremental progress can happen and some simply won't. It can be a great thing for a kid to learn to work past frustration.

2. Certain kinds of learning take discipline. I totally buy that some kids can't read one day, get no instruction and are reading Harry Potter the next because they were ready. I also get that that doesn't happen for every kid. Foreign language, musical training and math in particular tend to require incremental steady practice and learn. Can someone do that as unschooler? Certainly but I've seen many instead simply give up on anything that requires this kind of discipline because they haven't had the guidance to make it happen.

3. For me too much of support for unschooling is based on fear and I don't like to operate out of fear. There is a fear that if the child is subjected to expectations or limits or too much direction that the child will shut down or dislike learning. I absolutely agree in an authoritarian environment this could be the case. In a gentle disciplie household though this doesn't at all jive with my personal experience. Instead I've seen that a parent saying "work on that for 15 minutes and let's see where it takes you" or "I'm glad to pay for lessons but if you start you'll need to practice every day" is exactly the needed nudge to open a child up to a love of a new subject where they ultimately will be self motivated and self satisfied with their accomplishments.

4. There are kids who bury themselves in TV or video games for years. They plug in and tune out. This may be of no concern for a parent considers these pursuits of equal value to anything else, but it would personally be a concern for me.

5. The way the kid feels about themselves. Again, sure this doesn't apply to many folks, but it has been something I've observed. It can be very hard for a kid to realize that they don't know how to read or how to do basic math that the majority of kids in our culture can do at a particular age. A friend's unschooled daughter was faced with teasing in her neighborhood over this issue to the point where she asked for a rigid curriculum because she was sick of feeling stupid compared to other kids and she'd felt that the reason she hadn't been taught is because her parents thought she couldn't learn it! Yes, from an adult perspective we can say that we know it doesn't mean the child is stupid or behind in ways that can't be overcome but we have no idea what the child is internalizing from this experience.
post #44 of 591
This is an interesting thread to read as we consider our children's education. We were also condisering the questions of the OP. At this time, we feel our family would do best homeschooling, but leaning more towards the unschooling side. I really only enjoyed school sports. I hated to read until I was out of school and was selecting what I wanted to read. Now I love it! I mostly remember school being boring and unuseful. I also remember having tons of math homework that I did not understand and crying most days while I attempted to finish it. My husband remembers getting in trouble constantly because he could not sit at a desk all day (I guess that is why he is a contractor now!)

I want my children to learn with joy and I am looking forward to experiencing that. Our family also won't be tied to school schedules giving us real freedom to explore. The unschooling parents here are making us even more confident in our decision to teach our children through real life.
Jennifer
post #45 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama
CB I think the fundamental misunderstanding here has to do with linear time.

The timetable of learning set out by virtually all school systems becomes self reinforcing. By 9 children should know x amount of basic maths, so that by high school, they are ready for Y amount of higher maths.

All of your questions reflect a belief towards a linear path of learning which, if delayed near the start, will surely be delayed at the finish.

Unschoolers don't worry about how their children will do in college or unexpected circumstances because they have many experiences that testify to the power of non linear learning.

The unschooled child may not read until they are 9. But (typically) they don't read like a 5 year old nor do they even read like a 9 year old when they first begin. Very often begin by reading like a 15 year old.
I have heard of this happening over and over, and it has been my experience as well. Learning really is easy when a person finds the subject matter compelling, is invested in it for their own reasons, and developmentally ready.

Quote:
For me this comes back to a quote by John Holt. It went something like 'Because we cannot know what knowledge will matter most in the future, it seems wise to turn out adults who love learning so much and who learn so well, they will learn whatever needs to be learned". [...] He knows HOW to learn, and that is a powerful skill to possess.
Yes!

I think it must be clarified though what we mean by "knowing how to learn". I left school knowing how to take notes, how to cram for a test, how to follow directions, how to write a paper that would get a passing grade. I was a great learner in that sense. But I did nothing authentic, nothing meaningful, and I did not feel able to choose a course of learning that was based in my own needs, as I had been dependant so long on people telling me what to do, and had had my own desires and inclinations dismissed over and over as unimportant or wrong.
post #46 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
. I left school knowing how to take notes, how to cram for a test, how to follow directions, how to write a paper that would get a passing grade. I was a great learner in that sense. But I did nothing authentic, nothing meaningful, and I did not feel able to choose a course of learning that was based in my own needs, as I had been dependant so long on people telling me what to do, and had had my own desires and inclinations dismissed over and over as unimportant or wrong.
I can relate to this very articulate point...I feel I did not create anything of my own until after I graduated in writing, art, and songwriting because I was always forcing it for someone else so I could go do something I enjoyed more than "assignments". My gifts were also not "important" because they would not "get me anywhere".
post #47 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
There are people who were born, raised, and (ostensibly) educated in this country who are unable to communicate effectively because they were left to their own devices. There are people attempting to communicate over the internet, on these very boards, who are so impaired that they cannot effectively communicate through text, despite an apparent desire to do so. I think that's absolutely tragic, and I think that radical unschooling is, of all home education methodologies, the most likely to lead to such an outcome. :
That's pretty insulting to me this morning. In my experience it's also not accurate at all. What if I were to come on here and say something like "Some people are just so conditioned to being controlled and having all their decisions made for them that they struggle to make even the most basic of decisions for themselves. I think that is a real shame, and that the kids who have had requirements put upon them by parents, as opposed to unschooling, will most likely turn out that way. Not good.

My unschooled Ds spends part of his day writing elaborate fantasy stories on a website where he role plays. To be part of these games he has to write well or be a "Literate RPG'er". He dorks it up sometimes, but in general he takes care with how he writes his sections. He will ask me questions, look up something in a dictionary or thesaraus, or find some other way to double check. My step daughter is 17 and has spent her entire academic life in public school. She's had all the mandatory assignments, and been bribed and cajoled to read & write, tested, and quizzed. She struggles both with reading and writing. The last email we got from her was pretty fragmented. She is getting help now for reading and writing. Ya just never know.

Fortunately, I think they are both going to be just fine. Both have plans for the future, both intend to go to college, both have careers in mind, etc.
post #48 of 591
Roar I think your concerns will be relieved by the example you set.

There are many kinds of unschoolers, and radical unschoolers.

I am one that thinks environment is important. I think it sets a tone and pace in the home. I really don't think it would be possible for anyone to live with us and fail to come to a place of self motivation. It's such a central part of our lifestyle.
post #49 of 591
I'm not too far into unschooling, but I thought I'd address some of these:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
1. Some kids, especially anxious ones or ones that are bright and things tend to come to easily need the life experience of doing something that makes them a wee bit uncomfortable or that is hard for them. Some kids will seek out challenges and get the experience of working toward a goal and see how incremental progress can happen and some simply won't. It can be a great I thing for a kid to learn to work past frustration.

2. Certain kinds of learning take discipline. I totally buy that some kids can't read one day, get no instruction and are reading Harry Potter the next because they were ready. I also get that that doesn't happen for every kid. Foreign language, musical training and math in particular tend to require incremental steady practice and learn. Can someone do that as unschooler? Certainly but I've seen many instead simply give up on anything that requires this kind of discipline because they haven't had the guidance to make it happen.
To me 1 & 2 are basically the same question. This is an issue we've had with our 5 year old, I don't think it would be solved by our not unschooling (how's that for a double negative?), as the she has no problem working through difficulty if there's outside pressure, it's finding an internal drive to see things through despite her perfectionism that is the issue. We often talk about "practice makes perfect", and I point out when she has mastered something new through perserverance.

As a math-y person who has taken some pretty advanced math classes, I'm not convinced that math takes incremental steady practice to learn any more than anything else. It's true that there is a process, and you do need to learn the basics before you can do advanced work, but I think that the very basics almost anyone will learn (unless perhaps they were taught that math is difficult and confusing), and people who are interested in advanced math will be able to learn what they need. Right now my kids are very young, and so it's hard for them to see the "big picture" of learning, but I will help them learn about figuring out how to plan to get where they want to go in life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
3. For me too much of support for unschooling is based on fear and I don't like to operate out of fear. There is a fear that if the child is subjected to expectations or limits or too much direction that the child will shut down or dislike learning. I absolutely agree in an authoritarian environment this could be the case. In a gentle disciplie household though this doesn't at all jive with my personal experience. Instead I've seen that a parent saying "work on that for 15 minutes and let's see where it takes you" or "I'm glad to pay for lessons but if you start you'll need to practice every day" is exactly the needed nudge to open a child up to a love of a new subject where they ultimately will be self motivated and self satisfied with their accomplishments.
I'm not an expert in unschooling, and I don't claim to be a radical unschooler, but to me the examples don't conflict with unschooling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
4. There are kids who bury themselves in TV or video games for years. They plug in and tune out. This may be of no concern for a parent considers these pursuits of equal value to anything else, but it would personally be a concern for me.

5. The way the kid feels about themselves. Again, sure this doesn't apply to many folks, but it has been something I've observed. It can be very hard for a kid to realize that they don't know how to read or how to do basic math that the majority of kids in our culture can do at a particular age. A friend's unschooled daughter was faced with teasing in her neighborhood over this issue to the point where she asked for a rigid curriculum because she was sick of feeling stupid compared to other kids and she'd felt that the reason she hadn't been taught is because her parents thought she couldn't learn it! Yes, from an adult perspective we can say that we know it doesn't mean the child is stupid or behind in ways that can't be overcome but we have no idea what the child is internalizing from this experience.
These are things that concern me too. I do limit tv and video games, and I am careful to offer the subjects kids get in school. I have heard that its important for ALL homeschoolers to make it clear to their kids that they are not being kept out of school because the parents think they couldn't handle it.

I am lucky to have academically interested kids, and that makes a these concerns sort of theoretical for me. If at some point it does seem like my kids aren't thriving with unschooling we'll change something.

ZM
post #50 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
1. Some kids, especially anxious ones or ones that are bright and things tend to come to easily need the life experience of doing something that makes them a wee bit uncomfortable or that is hard for them.
I don't agree. I'm happy, for myself, to only ever do things the rest of my life that I enjoy doing. I can't think of anything more unsatisfying and less edifying than pushing myself, against internal resistance, just for the sake of being "better". That's a difference in life philosophy, though. I respect if someone else has a different one, but I wouldn't want someone (e.g. a parent) to force theirs on me, and believe it would be immoral for them to do so.

Also, how exactly does pushing someone into an uncomfortable situation make them less anxious?

Quote:
2. Certain kinds of learning take discipline.
Certainly. Where we differ, I assume, is that I don't think that discipline needs to be -- or should be -- imposed from without.

Quote:
I totally buy that some kids can't read one day, get no instruction and are reading Harry Potter the next because they were ready.
Well, that's overstating the case quite a bit. There is still a process, it just happens faster in kids who start when they are developmentally ready.

Quote:
I also get that that doesn't happen for every kid.
No, it doesn't. Are you saying also that you think that it's not possible for every kid given favorable conditions? If so, how do you know that?

Quote:
Foreign language, musical training and math in particular tend to require incremental steady practice and learn. Can someone do that as unschooler? Certainly but I've seen many instead simply give up on anything that requires this kind of discipline because they haven't had the guidance to make it happen.
<shrug> That's their choice, and they need to take responsiblity for that. Nothing annoys me more than an adult who whines that they're not good at this or that because their parents didn't force them to take lessons or whatever. I want my children to learn that *they* have the power to make themselves what they want to be, and that their lives are ultimately their own responsibility. I don't want them to learn to believe that they can't accomplish something unless someone is pushing them.

Quote:
3. For me too much of support for unschooling is based on fear and I don't like to operate out of fear. There is a fear that if the child is subjected to expectations or limits or too much direction that the child will shut down or dislike learning.
I could likewise say that too much support of schooling is based on fear that a child will not learn without expectations, limits, direction, etc. <shrug> There are other things to consider in making the choice, aren't there?

Quote:
4. There are kids who bury themselves in TV or video games for years. They plug in and tune out. This may be of no concern for a parent considers these pursuits of equal value to anything else, but it would personally be a concern for me.
It would be a concern for me too, just as any addiction would, but I don't see coercive education or parenting as the answer -- in fact I think it's often the cause.

Quote:
5. The way the kid feels about themselves. Again, sure this doesn't apply to many folks, but it has been something I've observed. It can be very hard for a kid to realize that they don't know how to read or how to do basic math that the majority of kids in our culture can do at a particular age. A friend's unschooled daughter was faced with teasing in her neighborhood over this issue to the point where she asked for a rigid curriculum because she was sick of feeling stupid compared to other kids and she'd felt that the reason she hadn't been taught is because her parents thought she couldn't learn it!
We belong to an unschooling community, so variations in learning is the norm and not considered an issue by the kids. There's also not that competition and "one-upping" seen in schooled kids so often. So it just doesn't usually come up. That doesn't mean it couldn't or doesn't, so we've talked about it, for instance, we talk about how some family members have an incorrect understanding of how learning best happens, and that we need to feel a bit sorry for them that they don't get it, and this helps the kids to not take it personally. We talk also about how people sometimes try to put down others when they feel angry or insecure about their own situation. So a neighbor kid, for instance, might say, "you don't know such-and-such? Geez you're dumb" but that would only point to their own maladjustment. My kids are skilled at things that other kids their age aren't, but they would *never* act like something was wrong with the other kid because of it. They know that's bogus and mean-spirited, so why would they take it seriously if someone else did it to them? It's all in the perspective, and it sounds like this girl's parents failed in providing that.

It sounds also that her parents failed in communicating to her their belief in her abilities and what the unschooling philosophy is about and the reasons for it, and perhaps were not cued in enough to know when she was ready for support in learning how to read. That in my experience isn't typical for unschooling families, but I'm sure these things happen. Negative things happen to schooled kids too, because they are schooled. There is no fail-safe choice.
post #51 of 591
Quote:
Anyway, the thing is, in some cases it could be years' worth of material, right? Hypothetically speaking, if a child never felt the need or desire to learn any math and then wanted to get into college, they'd have to go from basic addition all the way through algebra and geometry in what I'm assuming would have to be a relatively short period of time. And I'm not sure I agree with you about your doubt regarding the "windows" theory, given that in math specifically, I missed a decent chunk of math at a fundamental grade (first) and was not able to "catch up" later, which pretty much left me up the proverbial fecal creek.

Just wondering.
OP:
There has been documented research in which teenage students who were lacking anything other than very basic math skills were taught grades K-12 math in a matter of weeks, and were able to test very well on college math entrance exams.

The outcome led researchers to believe that if children were able to wait until they were ready and had a real reason to delve into mathematics they would grasp the concepts very quickly, instead of being forced to learn new concepts year after year beginning at age 5 or 6.

I've read the same about reading. John Holt found that formal reading instruction is unnecessary and detrimental. What he observed was that young children who decide that they are ready and interested in reading only require about 30 hours of actually being read to and with before they are reading on their own.

I know for a fact that this reality can be extremely difficult for many educators to embrace. Several former teachers I know who now unschool their own children have said many times that they have had to virtually unlearn everything that they have been taught about how children really learn.

Thanks goodness for their children that they were able to do that!
post #52 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
There are people who were born, raised, and (ostensibly) educated in this country who are unable to communicate effectively because they were left to their own devices. There are people attempting to communicate over the internet, on these very boards, who are so impaired that they cannot effectively communicate through text, despite an apparent desire to do so. I think that's absolutely tragic, and I think that radical unschooling is, of all home education methodologies, the most likely to lead to such an outcome.
I think this is the most quoted text on the thread.

For my part, I find it utterly lacking in insight as to how people learn and what unschooling is about.

My gosh.
post #53 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma
I'm not too far into unschooling, but I thought I'd address some of these:

To me 1 & 2 are basically the same question. This is an issue we've had with our 5 year old, I don't think it would be solved by our not unschooling (how's that for a double negative?), as the she has no problem working through difficulty if there's outside pressure, it's finding an internal drive to see things through despite her perfectionism that is the issue. We often talk about "practice makes perfect", and I point out when she has mastered something new through perserverance.
ZM
To be clear I think it is possible for a child to also have this problem with traditional school. For my perspective it is important for kids to get experiences working past perfectionism, etc. at some point. It may be at different points and in different ways for different kids. My question may be a bit different because our kid has very high internal drive so I'm not worried about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma
As a math-y person who has taken some pretty advanced math classes, I'm not convinced that math takes incremental steady practice to learn any more than anything else. It's true that there is a process, and you do need to learn the basics before you can do advanced work, but I think that the very basics almost anyone will learn (unless perhaps they were taught that math is difficult and confusing), and people who are interested in advanced math will be able to learn what they need. Right now my kids are very young, and so it's hard for them to see the "big picture" of learning, but I will help them learn about figuring out how to plan to get where they want to go in life.ZM
I think it is very hard to get a one size fits all approach with math. I wouldn't say it is for all people an exact process. Our son skipped the majority of elementary school math and it was fine for him. That wouldn't have worked for me. I presume you agree that for upper level mathematics you need to have discipline and willingness to stick with work in order to progress, correct? I will simply toss out that as our son really enjoys and sought out upper level math it was nice for him that he didn't have to go back and try to slog through stuff to catch up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma
I'm not an expert in unschooling, and I don't claim to be a radical unschooler, but to me the examples don't conflict with unschooling. ZM
Most unschoolers I've met wouldn't be comfortable with a parent saying "you will practice the violin everyday" or "On Tuesday morning we will do math, for fifteen minutes".
post #54 of 591
I have not read the whole thread, but I wanted to respond to the "what if you died and your kid had to go to school" type of argument.

First off, I wouldn't be making educational plans based on extreme "what if" type of questions. I would be more interested in making educational choices for my child based on their present needs, not on a hypothetical future situation.

Second, this is not a problem unique to homeschoolers. My sister and I went to Waldorf for a few years. We left when I think she was in third grade. Because of Waldorf's approach to academics, she was "behind" when she entered public school. But she quickly caught up, and it wasn't a problem. One of the top private schools around here makes a big deal about not forcing reading, and says things like "some kids will read in K, others not until third grade." So if your little one attended that school, and then you ran out of money and had to put them in public school in 2nd grade, they may be "behind."

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this would never be a factor in whether I chose to unschool or not. It is a situation easily remedied, if we are even actually faced with it.

My other thoughts are that unschooling is not the same as being neglectful of your child's education. If you are going along and you become concerned that they are getting older and older and still not gaining basic skills, then you step in and figure out a way to take care of the situation. I don't get the impression that the unschooling parent just throws their hands in the air and says "Oh well, she is 15 and just has no interest in learning to read."

And I would also have to guess that the literacy rate is much higher for unschooled children than it is for children in public schools.
post #55 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
I don't agree. I'm happy, for myself, to only ever do things the rest of my life that I enjoy doing. I can't think of anything more unsatisfying and less edifying than pushing myself, against internal resistance, just for the sake of being "better".
For me being "better" has nothing to do with it. There are oodles of things I do in life that I don't enjoy one darn bit but I do them because I believe the benefit outweighs the cost. A few examples: paying my car insurance, flossing my teeth, taking out the trash, taking little kids to the park, laundry, etc.

Further, my suggestion not that children should be forced to do unpleasant things for the sake of doing them, but rather that sometimes certain kids (and you may have never been around an anxious perfectionist type of personality so you may not understand this) will avoid something out of fear that is actually something they will love. I also think it presumes too much to think that young children will always be born with an innate sense of how to learn any given thing such as not to need adult support to find the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
That's a difference in life philosophy, though. I respect if someone else has a different one, but I wouldn't want someone (e.g. a parent) to force theirs on me, and believe it would be immoral for them to do so.
Ah, but when you decide not to teach your child disciplined ways of learning you are in fact imposing your approach on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
Also, how exactly does pushing someone into an uncomfortable situation make them less anxious?
Reading a bit about anxiety may be helpful. Most anxiety treatments involve steady measured small exposures to parts of the thing a person struggles with until they can overcome that fear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
Well, that's overstating the case quite a bit. There is still a process, it just happens faster in kids who start when they are developmentally ready.
I've seen it go that fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
<shrug> That's their choice, and they need to take responsiblity for that. Nothing annoys me more than an adult who whines that they're not good at this or that because their parents didn't force them to take lessons or whatever. I want my children to learn that *they* have the power to make themselves what they want to be, and that their lives are ultimately their own responsibility. I don't want them to learn to believe that they can't accomplish something unless someone is pushing them.
I agree with the long term goal. I don't agree that a parent saying if you want violin lessons you have to practice every day or let's set the timer for 15 minutes and see if you get anywhere on this problem will in anyway impede that happening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
It would be a concern for me too, just as any addiction would, but I don't see coercive education or parenting as the answer -- in fact I think it's often the cause.
I've seen unschooling noncoercively parented kids who played video games or watched TV most of every single day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
We belong to an unschooling community, so variations in learning is the norm and not considered an issue by the kids. There's also not that competition and "one-upping" seen in schooled kids so often.
Most of our kids have exposure to kids outside of the unschooling or homeschooling community. It may be less of an issue if you don't plan that. If the child wishes to see cousins, kids in the neighborhood, play on sports teams, have exposure to media, etc. it may not be possible to insulate them from this awareness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
It's all in the perspective, and it sounds like this girl's parents failed in providing that. It sounds also that her parents failed in communicating to her their belief in her abilities and what the unschooling philosophy is about and the reasons for it, and perhaps were not cued in enough to know when she was ready for support in learning how to read.
They were unschoolers with a deep commitment to the philosophy and they had strong ties in the unschooling community and I don't think it is fair to say that their daughter had a particular feeling because they failed in some way. As you said earlier in your post you don't believe it is appropriate for one person in a family to impose a philsophy or way of thinking on another person. It seems even more impossible to impose the way a person feels. The child felt bad about being unschooled (and the fact that her parents were so strong in the philosophy didn't help that).
post #56 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby
I have not read the whole thread, but I wanted to respond to the "what if you died and your kid had to go to school" type of argument.
One thing I wanted to mention about this. A large percentage of the families I knew that initially planned to always homeschool or unschool now have children in school. Things happened: kids got more vocal about demanding school, parents got divorced, parents faced mounting medical bills and needed more income, etc.
post #57 of 591
Roar regarding tv, we are radical unschoolers and we do not have cable, and there is a limit to how much time electronic media gets here. Not all RU's have neutral feelings about media. I just want to point that out.

Regarding your last post, I have to say, it goes the other more more often than not. Most RU's I know BEGAN with school and switched to RU later.
post #58 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
It can be a great thing for a kid to learn to work past frustration.
Yes it can. For the most part I think that when to do that and when not to needs to be up to the individual. It's simply unacceptable for someone to tell me that I have to keep knitting on a pattern that is frustrating me, that I am no longer enjoying or interested in, and that I wish to be done with. And really no one would do that because I am an adult. I just happen to be in the camp that thinks kids deserve the same respect.

Another thing is that I think we all get a certain amount of having to work past frustration just in living our lives. I have been frustrated with my children a time or 5 but I don't just get to stop being a parent. My dog was a huge PITA when she was a puppy but I still dealt with her. We've been honest with the kids that there will be hard stuff and hard to deal with people. We work it out one way or another. Knitting was hard, but I stuck it out. I took breaks but I came back to it time and time again at my own pace. Crochet is proving to be harder, but I will get there. Or maybe I wont. But you can bet it's going to be my decision and not someone elses.


Quote:
2.Foreign language, musical training and math in particular tend to require incremental steady practice and learn. Can someone do that as unschooler? Certainly but I've seen many instead simply give up on anything that requires this kind of discipline because they haven't had the guidance to make it happen.
Then it isn't an unschooling issue, but a lack of support and guidance issue. A parent supporting their child in whatever they decide to pursue is very important I think, but when support and the guidance you speak of turn into requirement and mandatory "you have to's" well that is something different than I know. We play musical instruments because we think it's fun or because we find meaning in it personally. My Dd has a drum set that she tools around with. She has the materials to learn it as a serious thing, but she prefers to just play with it right now. My son has two guitars, and he took 6 weeks of guitar practice. He then took a break and just played with it. Now he is starting to get more serious slowly. I am here for them whatever they need, and they know it.

Quote:
3. For me too much of support for unschooling is based on fear and I don't like to operate out of fear. There is a fear that if the child is subjected to expectations or limits or too much direction that the child will shut down or dislike learning.
I see why that it might look like from the perspective of someone who isn't unschooling. And perhaps you are right and some do unschool out of that kind of fear, I am not sure. For me it has less to do with fear and more with respect. Treating my children with respect means, among other things, giving them room to learn freely. It doesn't mean I won't encourage them in what they do though, of course.

Quote:
4. There are kids who bury themselves in TV or video games for years. They plug in and tune out. This may be of no concern for a parent considers these pursuits of equal value to anything else, but it would personally be a concern for me.
That would be my Ds. He watches TV and plays video games a lot no two ways about it. At least an hour a day right now (we've been busy! : ) but often more and occasionally less. We don't consider it "tuning out" though. Our lives have no doubt been made richer and fuller and more interesting by these kinds of media. I respect that many families don't go that route though.

5.
Quote:
A friend's unschooled daughter was faced with teasing in her neighborhood over this issue to the point where she asked for a rigid curriculum because she was sick of feeling stupid compared to other kids and she'd felt that the reason she hadn't been taught is because her parents thought she couldn't learn it!
(Bold emphasis mine) I'd say this is not an unschooling but a communication issue. Her parents didn't make it clear that they were there for her to learn about anything, and she didn't ask or investigate perhaps? It's hard to say. This could happen in any educational environment IMO. My aforementioned (differerent post) step daughter spent all her time in public schools with all of it's forced curriculum and she has great difficulty reading and writing. Her parents and teachers have not been really "present" to help, focusing on overall grades and test scores but missing the details, and she did not seek it. Overall I would say this is not an issue unique to unschooling.
post #59 of 591
My kids have learned so much more durring our 2 years of unschooling than they ever learned in public school where they were forced to learn on a set schedule based on "averages". My dd, who didn't learn to read until the 2nd grade where she was pulled out daily to work with the other kids who were 'behind' is now reading Harry Potter in rapid, amazing speeds. She is still not an amazing reader and I still have to help her with certain words but she gets it now. She did not understand reading before. Her math skills are not 6th grade level (where she'd be heading if she were in public school) but she wasn't at level when she was in school either. She is not far behind but I feel that she would be if she was in school. She would also FEEL like she was behind, which is a big reason for my unschooling her. I don't want to set her up for failure and she just takes longer to learn. She is an absolutely brilliant child. She is so smart it's scary, but fundamental things like math and reading take her longer. Once she gets it, she really gets it, but I don't want her sitting there feeling like she's stupid because she's the only 6th grader who doesn't understand division.

My 7yo was told that he was behind in kindergarten, the only year he went to PS because he was expected to be learning the exact same way as the other children. They could not find the time to see that he learned differently, and actually way faster, than the other students. Where he couldn't sound out words, he could sight read VERY big words and do complicated math equations because he wanted to. He still writes most of his letters backwards and I don't worry. He's either dislexic or he'll figure it out, lol.
post #60 of 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar

Most unschoolers I've met wouldn't be comfortable with a parent saying "you will practice the violin everyday" or "On Tuesday morning we will do math, for fifteen minutes".
I agree, but I think it's fundamentally different to say "if you want to take violin lessons, you must practice everyday" (out of respect for the teacher, if nothing else), or "give this task (you chose) a 15 minutes of effort before deciding you can't". I guess I misunderstood you. Sorry!

ZM
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › Is unschooling really a good idea?