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~ June Unschooling Support! ~ - Page 5

post #81 of 226
Isn't warm weather a happy balm? My kids are just full of life and happily going from swimming to playing in the backyard to playing games to drawing to building a ramp for their bikes to playing cars and trucks in the dirt under the maple tree to watching a dvd to going to the library to taking a walk to the Dairy Queen.........

I love being a mama!
post #82 of 226
This is going to seem like a no-brainer to you guys, but I really need some unschooling reassurance here. My oldest son just turned 6 and my youngest son is 3 1/2. This past year was our first year of legal homeschooling. I should also add that my kids are strongly self-motivated (Moominmama had a great phrase about autonomous learners) and their personality traits are what led me to unschooling. Dh and I are very academic; unschooling has been a learning process for both of us! My oldest, in particular, is very head-strong and very driven to learn what he wants to. Unschooling was the most respectful way of homeschooling him. And he learns SO much.

Anyway...my request for reassurance. Ds1 just started reading about 6 months ago. He had pre-reading skills down much earlier but he just lacked the interest and need to go the next step. 6 months ago, he went from sounding out "cat" to reading words that go defy phonetical rules. He's learned to read organically without instruction. In the beginning, we gave him some help but it became quickly apparent that he was figuring it out in his own way. Once or twice, I've tried to explain a phonetical rule and it just doesn't gel with him, yet he reads words that use that rule and violate that rule. He's just figuring it out in his own way and whatever he's doing, it's really working for him. I have no idea what he can read, although the rare glimpses I've gotten have led me to believe that he can read quite a lot. I don't know if he even realizes he's doing it sometimes.

Sorry, here's the request for reassurance part. He's always loved being read to, since he was a baby. He absolutely *loves* books but he never reads. He can read but he doesn't seem to enjoy it. The other day, after a trip to the bookstore, I casually told him that if he ever wanted to practice reading, that I'd be happy to help him. At one time, he enjoyed working through the Adventures of Little Bear with me. He said, "No, I don't want to read." and I said, "That's fine. It's whatever you want to do. I just wanted to let you know that if you changed your mind and you want some help, you can ask me." He went on to say that he preferred to "mostly play", which I completely understand. I said that dh felt the same way when he was a boy but that when he grew older, he started to enjoy reading (dh reads every night). Then, my son said that he was never going to read, not even as an adult. He loves being *read to*, but he has no interest in doing it himself at the moment, to the point where he's declared he's never going to do it.

Now, I realize that he's 6 years old. And I realize that most 6 year olds would rather "mostly play". I'm fine with that. My kids play all day. That's great! I guess I'm confused as to why he enjoys being read to so much but doesn't enjoy reading for pleasure. Although...I suppose there's a work element involved at the moment and he doesn't want to do that right now. But he has such varied interests in non-fictional things that it seems like reading would be liberating. He's always poring over books on dinosaurs, human anatomy and volcanoes...actually, he could very well be reading them but I assumed he's looking at the pictures. I guess I just want reassurance that his current feelings only reflect the mind of a 6 year old child and do not necessarily reflect a future attitude towards reading. I mean, my husband, who devours books at an insane rate, hated reading in school because he hated the obligation part of it. We are a book-loving family so at some point of readiness, he will change his mind about reading, won't he?

Again, it probably sounds like a no-brainer to you guys but as we're really new to the whole thing, I was looking for some reassurance and BTDT. Thanks.
post #83 of 226
LeftField ,your ds already has the tools to read,he just doesn't need to yet! He is perfectly happy looking at books and being read to. His environment sounds conducive to a healthy,happy reading life. Trust him to know when.

I have an 8 yr. old ds that *can* read but still wants me to read everything for him. So I do. No big deal. I never push him. I know that he will read when he wants to.

Also,remember that reading for you *is* a no-brainer. Reading to comprehend for a six year old is quite another matter.

Just relax about it and keep enjoying!
post #84 of 226
Hi LeftField, my ds was totally the same way at 6, and I suspect a lot of kids go through this phase. Like Oldermamato5 said, reading to comprehend is a much harder task than just sounding stuff out. It takes a lot of co-ordination between the eyes and different parts of the brain to accomplish, and that development takes time, and every kid is different.

For ds, he could read at about a grade 9 level in grade one, but didn't have the experience yet to understand the context of a lot of what he was reading, so, while he could read it out fluidly, and understand most of what he read, he missed a lot of the subtler stuff that made it enjoyable.

For ds, it was when he wanted to read stuff that I wasn't willing to, or didn't always have the time to read aloud to him that gave him the impetus to read. Mostly it was Calvin and Hobbes collections, a video game called Zelda, and Nintendo Power magazine. While I was willing to read to him everyday for hours from whatever he wanted, after about the 60th time of reading the same 200page Calvin and Hobbes book, I drew the line.

With the video game, there were long text passages and he couldn't move forward until he'd read them. If I was busy at the time, he'd have to wait to play until I could help. That was probably the main thing pushing him, he wanted to get back to his game quickly, so he learned to get the important information out of the text pretty quickly.

He still enjoyed to be read aloud to for a few years after that, but by the time he was about 9 or so, I'd read the first chapter of a book, he'd enjoy it, so take it off to his room and read the whole thing while I wasn't looking
post #85 of 226
OH, most definitely yes, mama, he's just saying that right now. I know you know this, but I'll just say it outloud: he will absolutely learn to fully read..he will do it. When and how much are the only variable that are unknown.

And I hear what you're saying. There are only a few thing in life I love more than reading. Reading is such a passion for me. I began reading very early in life and never stopped. I read for pleasure and will forgo household responsibilities for a good book any day!

But naturally, I have some children who are *not* this way. My almost 10 year old cannot fully read yet, and cares nothing for it. He knows lots of words, and can put together sentences when he looks at a book, and he has a kick ass vocabulary. In fact, just this afternoon he told me that he wasn't going to succumb to my way of washing the dishes, that he would do it his own way. How in the heck does he know what succumb means?

He will read when he's ready. He may never enjoy books like I do, but it's ok. It's ok for him to be him.

Now, I have a couple of daughters that DO love reading...and I'm glad. But no more so than I'm glad that my son loves to make fires and fix things around the house.

Do you have The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith? She has an interesting chapter about reading and writing that I just recently re-read. It's fun to read what other unschooling children are experiencing in the reading area.
post #86 of 226
Thank you!! I really needed to hear those things from someone. If I mentioned it to anyone IRL, there would be some weird concern. He is totally free to learn on his own schedule but the benchmark seems to be children who receive instruction/nudging/parental expectations. I'm not disparaging the latter, but it's just not our style and yet I feel like we're alone in this style. I really need to meet up with our local homeschool group more next year because there is a core unschooling contingency. Most of my homeschool friends do school at home. I think I need to meet some new people who do it our way too.

Thank you again. I really appreciate the reassurance!
post #87 of 226
Okay, I have a little dilemma,
for those ignorant and uncool folk who dont closely follow the life and times of the (in)famous Mama Majikfaerie ; we've just moved to a new country (australia) and are searching for a homely-home somewhere in the bush where we can live happily, me and dh can work from home (need internet connection), and DD can be part of a local unschooling/ hsing group with other "crunchy" families...

Well, we're in the rainbow region of Oz, an area populated by hippies, new-agers and ferals, its chocka-block with organic farms, sustainable communities, eco-villages, rainbow people, rainforest, more organic stuff... even the rednecks are into crystals and reiki.

We found a PERFECT place; a small acreage, with 3 dwellings on it, 200 fruit trees, a salt-water swimming pool, a sweet-water spring on tap, electricity and phone connected with possiblity to connect ADSL, gas cooking and hot water set up, AND the other two dwellings house single mothers with children around DD's age!!! not only that, its CHEAP RENT!!!!

Even better, one of the single mothers turns out to be an old friend of mine, and her 5 1/2 yo dd became instant best friends with my dd, AND (get this); the mama (who is a WAHM with a ring sling business) has a dream of starting a homeschooling group with as many local kids as she can!

Sounds like a dream too good to be true right?


so here's my problem:
DH and I are actually bordering on "anti-school", in the sence that we dont want to do traditional home-schooling (where it becomes "schhol-at-home"). But it seems that this mama IS planning on it - she has just bought a gorgeous antique school-desk (the kind with space for 2 kids to sit on a bench, with attached table that lifts up and the bench also lifts up so the kids can kneel to pray - no, she's not xtian, just that the bench is THAT old!)

We really have a problem with how this woman treats her daughter; she is really into the praise/ reward thing, and we are really NOT, and she uses all the same conditional manipulations that we really dont like (you know, "if you dont do as I say, then you cant do X" kinda stuff).

We are really wanting to have a more radical unschooling environment, and we are committed to unconditional parenting (in a simialr way to Kohn's principles), and uninhindered living. But this mama, tho really crunchy and into AP, isnt doing any of that stuff.

I'm just not sure I want to move in with this kind of environment, and I dont really want to try to convert her... I dont really mind how she raises her daughter, but it looks like our DDs will be spending a LOT of time together, and the woman is already planning how we will do shared lessons...

any ideas?
post #88 of 226
Have you tried talking to her about NOT wanting to do shared lessons? That you want to utilize a different educational style and you'd rather keep "lessons" separate?

You're not going to find anyplace to live that's completely perfect. I think it will be good for both girls to learn to respect each other's family's differences.
post #89 of 226
Wow. I"d sure like to be living next to you in this wonderfully free and alive place!

I second Ruthla in sharing with the other mama how *you* have come to *unschool* your dd. That you want your dd to play and share but not in a constricted sort of way. It sounds like maybe she has a leader type personality so you'll probably need to say something to let her know right away that your styles differ.
post #90 of 226
I am a Ambitious woman HSing my 7 year old and 5 year old with little 3 year old right along side us. We are happy that Summer is here it kind of takes the stress of having to Meet any goals I think up in my head. I have reserved adventure, animal raising, and swimming for the next few weeks so the pressure to "learn" is off. I just found 10 or so good books on tape at the thrift store for us to listen to. New books to keep us busy for 2 weeks. Baby Bunnies to find homes for, and a new 14 week old pup to teach some manners to. I am also hoping to get my home diaper/carrier/herbal buis moving a bit.
I am looking to buy a Oak meadow 2nd grade curriculum or even 1st and 3rd if anyone has one.
post #91 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by mother culture View Post
I am looking to buy a Oak meadow 2nd grade curriculum or even 1st and 3rd if anyone has one.
Maybe try checking out the trading post forum. Unschooling tends to be extremely child-led with the parents just facilitating the kids when they ask, so this isn't the best thread for asking about curriculums .
post #92 of 226
To answer a pp's question about encouraging kids to learn specific things, I'd have to say yes and no. When my kids come to me with specific goals I let them know what is needed to reach that goal, what they'll need to learn and do. And if it's something that they're really set on doing, I will offer gentle reminders...but if they don't want to learn it or their goals change I don't push it. Also, I view my role as a facilitator. Without my help my kids would learn very little. I need to bring books into the house and read to them, I need to take them out and about to different environments, to meet different people and expirience different things. If I don't in some way (no matter how indirectly it might be) introduce them to something, they won't learn about it. So it is my goal to introduce my kids to as many things as possible and make as much information as possible accessible to them. Only then do I think that child led learning is really possible.

Yesterday morning ds#1 and I watched Supersize Me. Dd and ds#2 watched about half of it off and on. I was a bit nervous because I knew that sex was talked about in one section of it. While I'm not opposed to talking to ds about sex, I'd thought it would have come up by now...since it hasn't I'm finding myself more and more on nervous about it, because some day it's going to come up...it's just a matter of when...and where. It's the where that scares me But still nothing. That little section of the movie went right over his head .

He was really interested in the movie, and is now really excited about getting some McDonalds french fries to watch decompose after watching an expirment on that done by the Supersize Me guy (after 12 weeks the fries looked exactly the same...well maybe a little dried out, but that's it). After watching the movie he got out our human body encyclopedia and we looked up liver - function, location, and disorders of. Then we flipped through the book looking at random pictures.

The boys and I went outside for a bit after that - them to play, me to remove their carseats from my car for their dad - and when I came in dd was learning some Japanese phrases with my sister and admiring my sister's pointe shoes. My 5yo dd now wants to take pointe

When their dad came ds#2 told him that for breakfast I had fed him 'desert with jingle bells'...he'd had granola with milk, but insisted on calling it that : .

Then they went swimming with their dad and went to spend the night at his house. When I called them last night they were watching something on Animal Planet and dd was talking about a woman bathing in fish eggs :Puke and ds#2 was talking about cock-a-dowels . "Da cock-a-dowels dived in the water, and they went in the water, then the cock-a-dowels swimmed in the water, then they dived in the water...."
post #93 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Maybe try checking out the trading post forum. Unschooling tends to be extremely child-led with the parents just facilitating the kids when they ask, so this isn't the best thread for asking about curriculums .
:

Not that you can't have a curriculum available but still do things in a child-led, unschooly way, but most unschoolers choose not to spend resources on formal curriculums. The mere presence of textbooks, workbooks, or even a whole prepackaged curriculum doesn't automatically mean that you're not unschooling. The key is HOW you use the materials.
post #94 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Have you tried talking to her about NOT wanting to do shared lessons? That you want to utilize a different educational style and you'd rather keep "lessons" separate?

You're not going to find anyplace to live that's completely perfect. I think it will be good for both girls to learn to respect each other's family's differences.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldermamato5 View Post
Wow. I"d sure like to be living next to you in this wonderfully free and alive place!

I second Ruthla in sharing with the other mama how *you* have come to *unschool* your dd. That you want your dd to play and share but not in a constricted sort of way. It sounds like maybe she has a leader type personality so you'll probably need to say something to let her know right away that your styles differ.
: to both. Oh it sounds so ideal in every other way. It's tough tho when you feel so strongly about something. Good luck in your decision!
post #95 of 226
Nice quote! I am struggling with Byron Katie, finding some stuff I love and some that is super hard. Also struggling with The Secret and Naomi Aldort and other guides. It's great to be back on path after having taken a much needed break from personal growth of my own direction while my littles were littler and they were my main guides. They still are my guides, but now I am back to seeking and open to what finds me and realizing I am the chief guide of my littles. Man, what a ramble. I do love to ramble!
post #96 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldermamato5 View Post
Isn't warm weather a happy balm? My kids are just full of life and happily going from swimming to playing in the backyard to playing games to drawing to building a ramp for their bikes to playing cars and trucks in the dirt under the maple tree to watching a dvd to going to the library to taking a walk to the Dairy Queen.........

I love being a mama!
Yes! I totally agree, warm weather *is* a happy balm!!

We just got back from a hiking (supposed to be camping too....but ended up not) trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We hiked to several waterfalls and the boys were bouldering, playing in the rivers and just generally having a blast!!

Now we gear up for a marathon visitng session with Dh's sisters family, then the next weekend my dad, then the next weekend after that my mom, and in addition to all that......we move into our new house (well, its actually very old...1820s....but new to us ) and we aren't even the least bit packed yet. I'm looking forward to it all, but also looking forward to it all being over just as much!!!
post #97 of 226
Today was an awsome day

We were invited for a game day of sorts celebrating the last day of school at the homeschooling co-op the next town over (cuz I helped out with math the past couple of months). We went canoeing, where ds#1 and dd both got to paddle the canoe and ds#2 really used alot of imagination and told me about all the things he 'saw' like a spider way up in the top of one of the trees we passed by on shore and a water fall across the pond . It was great because everyone helped - even ds#2 got to help carry the canoes and paddles, and lower them into and drag them out of the water. After putting the boats and paddles away the kids all played in the water, attempting to only get their legs (below their shorts) and their faces (dunking their heads under) wet. They failed miserably, but that's ok, it was a sunny day

After playing outside for a little bit longer we headed inside for some games. They played state bingo (the woman whose house the co-op meets at makes bingo games out of different thngs - this one she took different pieces of a state puzzle and photocopied them onto the 'boards' for bingo, then made cards out of the photocopies. Pretty cool) and won chocolate coins at the end. Then they played a variation of go fish while ds#2 first played with marbles, then searched the house for more chocolate , then tried to work with modeling wax.

After lunch we put our shoes back on and went for a walk up and down the dirt camp road that she lives on, looking for frogs in the water in the ditches on the side of the road. We didn't find any, but we found lots of interesting bugs (the least of which were the blackflies - we had to stop midway for some bugspray) and some really pretty wildflowers. Dd and the 9yo girl that was there and ds #2 picked flowers mostly, while the bigger boys took turns tossing pebbles into the water to see if they could find any frogs. It was a good walk.

Then we went back for a game of badminton. No one kept score, but they kept taking turns serving so that everyone got to try a number of times. Ds#2 wasn't really interested in allowing anyone else to take a turn at this point, so we got him his own birdie and let him go at it. He kept saying "my turn! now it's my turn!". When he tired of that we went searching for bees and watched them fliting from one flower to the next. Then we all played duck duck goose, then the 'middle' kids (not ds#2 and not the teens) made up this obstical course race around the property and ran it a bunch of times. Again, no one won, they just ran. Ds#2 ran wildly after them, stopping every so often to pick buttercups

Then we went inside and they made ink blots by pouring a little paint on a paper, then wiggling the paper around so it would run, folding the paper in half and smoothing it out. Then they made secondary blots by taking a print of their primary one and folding and smoothing it. They were all talking about what each others ink blots looked like.

We also got to see what 400lbs of clay looked like. When I heard about it, I envisioned the garage FULL of clay. In reality it was 8 boxes that were actually quite small. Then the woman that does most of the teaching there asked them if there were 400 lbs total and 8 boxes that were the same size, how much did each box weigh. The oldest and most mathematically advanced there (not counting the teens) made a couple of guesses that were wrong...and ds#1 got it on his first guess . It made me happy because we're the only unschoolers of the bunch...and we've got the only kids that don't work on writing and written math, and they aren't required to read aloud regularly. So it was just like, yay! One point for the unschoolers!

When we got home ds#2 and I took a nap (I had to take my father to the airport waaaaay early this morning so I was exhausted) and ds#1 and dd watched something on the computer. I'm not sure what exactly, but no doubt it was a stupid, brain rotting cartoon (I just hope they didn't watch Ben Ten without me...: ).

We made chicken soup for dinner and had peach popsicles for desert, played outside for an hour or so, then ds#2 painted our back porch while ds#1 and dd watched some anime. Ds#1 did some painting after the little ones went to bed, now he's playing a game with his rescue heros and the huge pile of empty boxes that is in our living room at this exact moment. I'd really like to pick them up, but he's having too much fun
post #98 of 226
What a wonderful day you had!
post #99 of 226
yay, thanks for sharing your day 3lilmonsters! Its so inspiring. when I read stuff like how your DS got inspired after watching supersize me, I just cant wait till DD is a little older and we can get more involved in stuff like that.

Of course, we already do some interesting things, like when I was trying to convince DD that it was in her best interest to brush her teeth, and we ended it by googling images of dental bacteria, which led to images of other bacteria, which led to discussions of diseases and how they spread, good bacteria, bad bacteria... then we got onto viruses...

I just love these stories, but as yet, we dont get into so many of them ourselves; dd is still only 4 (tho according to her she is 6, but about to turn 10 : )

And of course, you guys were right, the obvious thing to do is talk to the mama about unschooling. possible she just hasnt considered it yet!
post #100 of 226
Quote:
It made me happy because we're the only unschoolers of the bunch...and we've got the only kids that don't work on writing and written math,
That's really neat about your son! And interesting too. My kids don't do any written math either, but they seem to be able to do it all in their heads/verbally. I love it. And I think: well when and if they ever feel like writing it down they will.
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