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Unschooling Support Thread - Page 7

post #121 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWine View Post
There really are kids who have an interest in "schooly" things. To ignore that interest, or to claim that those who follow those interests MUST be pushing the kids simply because the kid is young...this accusation annoys me. Why not take the posters at their word? Some of us have early readers/little kids who LIKE to do workbooks, etc....along with all the other hands-on stuff they do every single day.
I promised I would withdraw from this debate but I did want to answer this so as to leave no doubt. I'm not talking about precocious children. I have two precocious children. The oldest one, in particular, knew the letter sounds of all uppercase at 19 months and had his first independent academic interest (bones) at age 2. I completely understand about the precocious child and I am in no way implying that they are pushed. I have been accused of the very same thing before, that I was pushing my child.

I was talking about the numerous posts here that go something like, "My child has started learning letters (or pointed to the word "stop"). How can I teach her to read?" The step between letter recognition and actual reading is HUGE and also dependent on individual development. I see a lot of posts asking how to turn toddlers into readers based on some letter recognition and a few sight words (which is nothing close to actual reading). That's what I was talking about. I am not talking about precocious children who pull the parents to go in their direction. I was talking about people who have a personal goal of teaching their toddlers to read; it seems important to the parent. In my very limited experience, if a young child is meant to read, they are going to do most of the work and discovery themselves anyway. I see a lot of posts asking which curriculum and methods can be employed to turn a toddler into a reader, which in my mind, is usually not related to naturally precocious children manifesting their own strong interests. I guess I wonder why a child can't just manifest an early skill and let that be it, until the child is ready to push forward? Why must we strive to turn it into something? That's what I see a lot of. Child A manifests some skill and parent wants to know how to turn that into something else.

Ok, withdrawing again.I just wanted to answer this and make it clear that I am not poo-pooing precocious children or early self-taught readers.

Congrats, Rain, on the SAT scores! That's awesome!
post #122 of 174
Okay so, back to the unschooling support aspect of this thread . . .

I would love to hear more stories of older kids who have been unschooled all their lives and are "successful", or in other words, have the tools they need to lead wonderful, enjoyable lives. Reading these kinds of stories is very confidence-building.

I wish we had a subforum because there are so many other things I would like to ask about but I don't want to hijack or further confuse this thread.
post #123 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post


I wish we had a subforum because there are so many other things I would like to ask about but I don't want to hijack or further confuse this thread.
Start a new thread with your most pressing question as the header.
post #124 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
But if I remember correctly, your daughter has been unschooling for maybe a year? And prior to that was in school, right? I don't think you can necessarily know what she would have thought of workbooks and formal academic work had they not been such a big part of her life during those early years... by the time you brought her home, how much schoolthink had she absorbed? How did those experiences shape her choices?
dar
Well she's been home a little over 2 years, but her love of workbooks started at 2 years-old - no school influence. From 2-4 y/o she brought them over to me almost every day. Then when she started preschool at 4 y/o, of course, she wouldn't pick one up again. Then 4 yrs later when we started homeschooling, I didn't ask anything of her and we just enjoyed our days (except for a very short experiment with Charlotte Mason). She did feel the need for academic work, but would print out things and use educational websites. Then after a few months, while in the bookstore, she gravitated toward the workbook section and selected a couple of colorful, fun ones and a big activity book for 8 y/os. She's 10 now and still enjoys them. It's just a fun puzzle book to her. In school, workbooks were horrid, boring, vile things tied to expectations, demands, frustration, and humiliation.

When I first read about unschooling, I knew that kind of educational freedom would be perfect for dd. I hoped that she would successfully deschool and maybe become who she was before ever setting foot in a school building - a child full of curiosity, dreams, motivation, and living carefree. She knows she was like this at 3, 4, and 5. She loved life and wanted that again. And it was easier now that she was home. She knew what she loved when she was little and she remembered that workbooks were actually fun and that's how it started up again. And she would bring them over to me to do with her like she did at 3 y/o. She wanted to get back in the mindset of what life was like before school. She was only 8 and not far removed from it.

I have not seen her school experience shape her choices at all - her initial thoughts on education, yes, but only for a few months after starting homeschooling. It looks to me as if she just wanted to start her education all over and put all that school stuff behind her. And it's not just wishful thinking on my part, lol. She really is that kind of kid. Now my oldest dd (13) is full of school mindset and all her choices are based on her school experiences, but that's another story.
post #125 of 174
Also appreciated seeing all the unschoolers come out of the woodwork in response to this thread. I only kept a cursory eye on this section of the forum because of the curriculum focus here. I read a lot of stuff here but for my unschooling fix i tend to rely on yahoo groups like "AlwaysLearning" or "AlwaysUnschooled". Also found my way to the consensual living list via a thread in the gentle discipline section for which i am grateful.

We are radical unschoolers of our dd 5yrs old and ds 10months old.

For people asking about definitions of unschooling, RU etc if you are interested you can see an attempt at pinning some terms down at http://theparentingpit.com/about/quick-definitions/

cheers,
arun

_____________________________________________

| anne + arun |
http://www.theparentingpit.com
post #126 of 174
I see nothing wrong with children liking "schooly" things. But, as an unschooling parent, I feel it's my responsibility to bring up ways to aid my child in her search for knowledge by bringing her attention to "nonschooly" things as well. I don't just say, "well, there are workbooks for that" and off we go. I say, "there are workbooks* or we could do this or we could do that or we can look for other options." I want to show her there is life that is totally unconnected to school and all it's "schooly" things. There's a big big world out there.

When you take school out of the equation, you open yourself to other ways of learning. That's all I'm trying to say.

Perhaps I'm not being clear. I'm not the most eloquent person on these boards. Can anyone say this better? Anyone? Bueller? (Ugh. and see there, trying to be cute, I made a reference to a movie about skipping school. LOL)

*actually, she didn't even know workbooks existed until last year! I mentioned upthread that we have some for learning Japanese writing.
post #127 of 174
Clear to me, KaraBoo.

I'm enjoying watching my 5 yr. old making all kinds of connections--like seeing the Mona Lisa with a cartoon character's face, showing him a picture of the real Mona Lisa in an art book, and then seeing references all over the place, and going, "Hey! That's the Mona Lisa!" Lots and lots of things like that--mostly inspired by cartoons.
post #128 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan View Post

Dd has been into WWII lately. We're listening to The Diary of Anne Frank and we just got "1940's House" from Netflix, but she's been reading a lot on her own about it too.
I just got a link to this in my email, and thought your dd might be interested:
http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teac...216friday.html

It's about papers which record how Anne Frank's tried to bring his family to the US or Cuba.

ZM
post #129 of 174
I guess I can't wrap my head around when or why or how all 'schooly' things became bad.

OK, grades suck, lies suck, copying things ten million times (I will not talk in class, I will not talk in class) sucks, shame sucks, long spelling lists suck, worksheets with 50 of the same addition problems suck, boring crap sucks...but yk, is a piece of paper in and of itself sucky? A box of math manips (schools use them)? Bad? Is a poster of a map schooly-bad, or not bad? What about a poster of upper and lower case letters? Pencils? Chalkboards? Lotto games? Lined paper? :
post #130 of 174

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Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I guess I can't wrap my head around when or why or how all 'schooly' things became bad.
Is anyone here saying that? I'm not getting that at all.
post #131 of 174
I love lots of schooly things! Maps, puzzles, pencils, paper, books....

What I don't love about "school" is the idea that being age X means you need to learn Y during the month of March, and then move on to something else.

That is the main reason we are, erm, not sending our kids to school. (See how she deftly avoids the home/unschooling conundrum!) That, and the grades, I-am-just-memorizing-this-to-please-someone-else thing.

Part of the cool thing about learning at home is that you can figure out what works best for each kid. If they like workbooks, more power to them. If they'd rather draw letters in the dirt outside inbetween basketball games, rock on.

DD has been on a writing-letters roll for a week now. Last night I dictated a shopping list to her. She kept asking for more words to write.

And yesterday she started cutting things out with scissors. She would draw something and then cut it out. Some of the things were even recognizable! And they were all colored blue, because she loves Blue's Clues now. She likes trying to guess what the clues refer to. We've started playing 20 questions with her, and she loves that too. She's learning all about categorization and logic...but she doesn't know it, LOL. She just thinks it's fun.

That's my favorite part of learning at home - learning is almost always FUN. (the first hour or two of ice skating wasn't all that fun for her, but she's better at it now and loves it - so that's why I say "almost always".) I want my kids to love learning their entire lives and to see learning as an adventure and, as Dar said, like a Christmas stocking full of opportunity.

Congrats to Rain on those SAT scores, btw!! I loved taking the SAT...to me it was one big puzzle to solve...LOL.
post #132 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
Is anyone here saying that? I'm not getting that at all.
I'm getting that, but that's ok. I'm not mad or anything.
post #133 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
but yk, is a piece of paper in and of itself sucky? A box of math manips (schools use them)? Bad? Is a poster of a map schooly-bad, or not bad? What about a poster of upper and lower case letters? Pencils? Chalkboards? Lotto games? Lined paper? :
Those are all great items. Like some pps above stated, it is about intent. If my dd expresses an interest in something, I work with her to find materials to support her interest. That may very well be a poster of cursive letters so she can refer to it easily because she wants to learn cursive. Chalkboards are fun! (ours is very small) The large world wall map and our globe are two of our favorite items. Often times, the supporting materials she needs may not look very schooly, but many times they do.
post #134 of 174
OK. So. I have a question. This is probably more of a parenting question than an "unschooling" question but, anyway, here goes. DS tends to be very self-conscious. If he just doesn't want to do an activity (Martial Arts, sports, etc), then fine, we don't force him. But recently he wanted to play soccer. So I found a "class" and signed him up for a 6-week course. He was going and having a lot of fun until the last 2 weeks. Then he started saying he didn't want to sign up for the next session. I asked him why, and he said it was because they were doing things that he couldn't "do very well" or were "too hard". Here's my problem: He was having fun. I want him to know that you can do things that you enjoy, even if you don't do them perfectly or even well. I also want him to understand that if you don't do something really well at first, practice can make you do them better. Basically, I guess I don't want him to just quit at the first sign of difficulty.

So, I won't force him to continue but I am encouraging him to understand the concept of practicing making things easier AND doing things just for the sake of having fun and not to be perfect at it.

Any suggestions?
post #135 of 174
OK, finally got through reading all that....
from Canada!
Right now my kids are outside making 'igloos' with the neighbour boy (neighbour boy came over and rang the doorbell at 7am this morning, said he didn't have school today and was bored and didn't know what to do - could DS play?: )..... so anyways I have time to type!
I don't know where we fit on the spectrum of unschoolers but I certainly follow the kids' lead for learning. We do not 'do school' for x number of hours per day, we do not do tests, we do not do spelling sheets, etc. We DO have some mathy-type workbooks and a history curriculum: . The kids know where they are and sometimes they pull them out and ask to do them (more so the history, I think they like the colouring pages) but it's certainly not a required thing. We spend a lot of time reading books throughout the day, trips to the library, lots of drawing (DH is an artist) and right now tobagganing.
Neither of our kids have ever been to school. Sometimes DS will ask about school just bc he wants to know what it's like there. DD has no desire to go. She goes to a music class for an hour a week (which she absolutely loves) but yesterday told me it gets boring sometimes bc "Ms W says everybody do ___ and then everybody has to do it - it's like copying mom, everyone has to do the same thing all the time!" Yup, she's got it...
Right now DS's obsessions are his guitar (there is constant music playing) and reading all the Hardy Boys books. He wants to be a carpenter when he starts working which is hard for me bc I don't know the first thing about woodworking but he's gotten a few books out of the library and we've managed to build a workbench in the basement that he's thrilled with and can use for his tinkering.
DD spends most of her day drawing and painting, looking at books, playing with her dolls or pet rats and stringing buttons onto thread to make necklaces. This year she's gone from wanting to be a boy when she grows up to soaking up anything pink or princess!
Well, that's us.... just thought I'd introduce ourselves.
post #136 of 174
I'm not saying that schooly things are bad. I am saying that schooly things are the way most of us were educated, so it is natural for us to think in terms of schooly things when a child shows an interest in learning something, and that we should actively seek out other tools that may serve us equally well. There is the idea, for example, that if a child says he wants to read, we should get him some reading curricula. We probably wouldn't do this with a child who wanted to learn to, say, cook, even though there are cooking curricula out there. We might instead take him into the kitchen and say, "Okay, what do you want to learn to cook first?" Eventually a cooking curricula might be valuable, but it wouldn't be the way you'd teach your 4 year old to scramble an egg. Reading can work the same way. Being in schools has taught many people that these tools are necessary - phonics programs, flash cards, math workbooks. In many cases they aren't, and, especially when given to a young child, they can send the message that this is what learning is about... and really, it's learning that's generally artificial and distanced from the concrete reality being studied. Not that that's always a bad thing... but I think it's a thing to be aware of.

Rain actually had some flash cards last year - she was taking voice lessons and trying to learning to sight read music, so she would quiz herself on the notes and some of the symbols. There's nothing wrong with that. But in that case, she was attempting to sing stuff and running into problems and realized that memorizing this stuff would help her reach that goal, so we bought the cards. It came from her, and was directly related to her goal. I never even held the cards in my hand. They were a tool she used the way she wanted to to further her own goals.

I think the real question is more about whether the child is following the curriculum or the curriculum is following the child....

Dar
post #137 of 174
Dar...your post actually made me cry! :

Congrats Rain!
post #138 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by patty_g View Post
OK. So. I have a question. This is probably more of a parenting question than an "unschooling" question but, anyway, here goes. DS tends to be very self-conscious. If he just doesn't want to do an activity (Martial Arts, sports, etc), then fine, we don't force him. But recently he wanted to play soccer. So I found a "class" and signed him up for a 6-week course. He was going and having a lot of fun until the last 2 weeks. Then he started saying he didn't want to sign up for the next session. I asked him why, and he said it was because they were doing things that he couldn't "do very well" or were "too hard". Here's my problem: He was having fun. I want him to know that you can do things that you enjoy, even if you don't do them perfectly or even well. I also want him to understand that if you don't do something really well at first, practice can make you do them better. Basically, I guess I don't want him to just quit at the first sign of difficulty.

So, I won't force him to continue but I am encouraging him to understand the concept of practicing making things easier AND doing things just for the sake of having fun and not to be perfect at it.

Any suggestions?
: Having similar situation with Abigail (5)
post #139 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I'm not saying that schooly things are bad. I am saying that schooly things are the way most of us were educated, so it is natural for us to think in terms of schooly things when a child shows an interest in learning something, and that we should actively seek out other tools that may serve us equally well.

THIS is what I was trying to say. Thank you, Dar! I am "actively seeking out other tools." Perfect!
post #140 of 174
I don't have time to read the whole thread just now, but I wanted to jump in. Maybe I'll have time to skim it later tonight.

My husband and I are unschooling our three daughters; Serra 6.5, Hero 5 and Eden 3. I had been calling our 'system" eclectic because we do have some workbooks and educational materials in the house, and also because I had been toying with the idea of starting a curriculum in some subjects for my oldest, who will be 7 this summer. More and more I see unschooling working for us so I've come to a "why mess with perfection" conclusion and decided we will continue to be 100% child led.

So happy to see this thread and looking forward to getting to know you all.
Beth
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