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**July unschooling Support!** - Page 6

post #101 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by majikfaerie View Post
We finally built our bridge!!!
It sounds awesome! Dd wants to build one, too.

We had nowhere to be today -- hooray! -- and I tended to my very neglected house. Did a bunch of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, mopped the downstairs hall and washed all the baseboards.

Dd was very busy. She cleaned the homes of her guinea pigs and rabbit; sat on the couch drawing for over an hour; made a card for her friend whose b'day is tomorrow; helped me make potato wedges for a snack; played w/ rainbows on the kitchen counter made by the sun shining on our Britta jug; made a stable for the bunny out of a cardboard box; pretended she had wings using the flaps of the box and made a comment about flying up to the sun, so I told her the story of Icarus.

Ds spent the day at the computer, playing guitar and walking the dog.

Dd is going to see Harry Potter tomorrow for her friend's b'day, so I'm taking ds to see it too.

After that, all our days are free for the next couple of weeks -- yipee!
post #102 of 136
Ruthla She *was* our foster daughter for almost 3 years. Now she just visits on her school breaks. We sure miss her. It was really hard to let her go home at first,but I think it's pretty awesome that her mama lets her visit us alot. I'm grateful for that.
post #103 of 136
Well, this was our "not busy" week.

We had the kids' cousins stay with us for a few days, so lots of pretend, lots of Webkins, legos, artwork, we cooked together and made pancakes and pizza, played games...caught fireflies and toads in the yard...

Went to the nature center, ds1 worked on his bow, ds2 and a buddy explored the woods and swamp and found toads and snakes and a heron and some other bird--maybe a tern--and loads of ducks.

We went with friends to see HP but ds2 decided instead that he wanted to see Rattatouii, so my big kids saw HP and I didn't BUT they went again last night and I got to see it then while ds2 was with his dad. It was so nice to hang out with the older kids and I was reminded how lucky I am that we have a good relationship. There was a couple in front of us whose teenager sat 3 seats away from them until the theater darkened. Then he scooted over to sit with them. Made me sad for them, but at the same time, I realized that something like that wouldn't even occur to my kids.

Ds1 is sick with a cold and has been watching a lot of tv--mostly Mythbusters, How it's Made, Building the Ultimate...and other sci channel stuff. I think he'd be perfectly happy if that was the only channel we got.

Our dog has had a hip injury so we've learned a bunch about bones, ligaments, arthritis, pain management, x-rays, nutrition (we also just started him on a raw diet) and exersise/massage etc. We've all learned soooo much from taking care of the pets.

Oh, and we're making vacation plans and are going to a family camp in Vermont to learn "lost arts." We can't wait! (http://www.cgcvt.org/programs/homeschool.shtml)
post #104 of 136
Oooh your upcoming family camp trip looks so cool Joan!

This week has been a hang out all week at the house week for us. Well, not all week I guess. The kids took me to see Harry Potter the other day, and it was so much fun. We walked to the theatre and had a great time talking the whole way. We got to the movie just in time to catch a few previews before it started. When HP finally began and that music kicked in Dd and I just looked at each other with big excited eyes! It was great. I was at a movie with my teenagers who invited me to be there with them. Then my cell phone rang and I realized I had forgotten to turn it down. Ackk! We were all scrambling to get it out of our library bag. The movie theatre guy was walking around the aisles and gave us the evil eye. We managed not to bust up laughing until he was gone though. LOL.

Ds finished a book called "Every Inch A King" by Harry Turtledove and he really loved it. Dd is re reading one of her fave books called "How it's Done". The story really speaks to her somehow. She's been sharing bits and pieces with me again here and there.
post #105 of 136
Hi, I'm needing some unschooling support. My 3.5 & 6 yo have been unschooled their whole lives. My 9 year old has been since he was 5.5 . I really love unschooling but I am having some problems that I hope you ladies can help me out with. There are mainly three issues.

1). Sometimes I get scared and insecure about unschooling. My In laws and especially my Aunt (who is very significant in my life) are not supportive. I can't find any kind of info to give them supporting homeschooling (which I'd want it to be since I can only imagine their reaction to us technically unschooling) that does not say or imply negatives about school. It's pretty impossible to find info like that but I know anything negative about school will put them on the defensive. And I have already read the entire "aricles" thread. I get paranoid that I will somehow get in trouble with CPS or the school system if they find out that 6 yo dd cannot read and that 9 yo ds (while he can read adult level - but not cursive) cannot really write. He hates writing more than a word or two and his penmanship is worse than I've seen from some 5 and 6 year olds. So, I kind of doubt myself sometimes.

2). I really just need a break from the kids sometimes (I'm talking like once a week for a half day). My dh works a lot and I have no one to help me out really. No family that regularly watches my kids or anything. So, it's pretty much me alone w/three intense kids. I also do not have the $ resources to put them in different programs to give them a break from eachother (they fight *constantly*) and to give them more opportunities to make friends and just to give me a break. My house is next to impossible to keep clean because they're constantly thrashing it and they go to bed late, get up late, and are tired and cranky and sometimes it just feels like they're running wild and maybe I'm not doing the right thing by letting them lead the way.

3). This is probably the worst one. DH is pretty much unsupportive. He tells me almost daily to just put them in school and get a job. : He just doesn't care. He wants them in school and any problem we ever have with $, with our relationship, or with the kids he automatically blames on homeschooling and says to just put them in school and everything will be easier and better. I KNOW that is BS and trust me we've talked and talked about it and I've tried to get him to read info on HS and US but to no avail. It's really frustrating.

I'm putting this here because the thread says "Unschooling Support" and I didn't want to start a thread in this forum about it to give people more reasons to dislike Unschooling. Like I said, for the most part I LOVE Unschooling and think it is best for my kids and for the family. So, I'm just looking for support and maybe some ideas in case there is something that I haven't thought of.
post #106 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaAllNatural View Post
1). Sometimes I get scared and insecure about unschooling. ... I get paranoid that I will somehow get in trouble with CPS or the school system if they find out that 6 yo dd cannot read and that 9 yo ds (while he can read adult level - but not cursive) cannot really write.
It's tough when you don't have the support you need. Do you belong to a hsing group or have hsing friends in your area? Not that this board isn't supportive, but having people irl makes a difference, I think. It might help to relieve your worries about the school/cps if you wrote down your beliefs about education. It might be something along the lines of, "I believe that children are naturally curious and as long as they're exposed to a variety of literature and print material they will learn to read when they are ready and not necessarily because they are 5 years old." Things like that. It might also help to keep a journal--just for yourself--about what your kids are up to. It helped me greatly in the beginning when I worried that we weren't doing "enough" and I could look back and read about all the stuff they had done.


[/QUOTE]2). I really just need a break from the kids sometimes (I'm talking like once a week for a half day). My dh works a lot and I have no one to help me out really. [/QUOTE]

My dh works a lot too. It gets easier as they get older, but in the meantime, could you find a mother's helper to give you a break? What about those in-laws and your aunt--could they babysit for you sometimes?

Are there any library programs or free/cheap programs at museums? What about going to parks to meet friends?

Quote:
My house is next to impossible to keep clean because they're constantly thrashing it and they go to bed late, get up late, and are tired and cranky and sometimes it just feels like they're running wild and maybe I'm not doing the right thing by letting them lead the way.
I don't think that letting a child lead the way in their own learning/life means letting them trash the family home. My house is usually messy--as in cluttered with on-going projects and books and papers and such, but if your kids are wrecking the place, I'd sit down and talk about what YOU need your home to be. My kids know I'm really tolerant of messes, but they also know that a time comes when I tell them, "This place is getting to me--I can't relax here because of the mess" and then we all pick up together. I'd also talk to them about being tired and cranky--we don't have bedtimes, but if someone is not getting enough sleep and are making the rest of the family miserable because of it, we're going to address that. Actually, I just had a conversation today with my 7 y/o who had skipped all food for a dive into the candy dish--I pointed out that his short temper and easy frustration could be because of his food choices today and we talked about possible solutions.

Quote:
3). This is probably the worst one. DH is pretty much unsupportive.
I'm sorry. I know you said he works a lot, but is he involved with the kids when he's home? I found that dh was really disconnected with what goes on with the kids and while I could plainly see unschooling working for us, he really didn't have a clue. I had to make a concerted effort to share more about the kids' days with him--sometimes I'll e-mail him cute stories or details about our discussions to help him see what goes on here.
post #107 of 136
Thread Starter 
Quote:
So, I'm just looking for support and maybe some ideas in case there is something that I haven't thought of.
Mama, you have my support.

The first thing that came to my mind when I thought about you, was that it has to begin within *you*. Everything does, doesn't it? It begins and ends within you...if you can get things straight in your heart and head, you'll be at peace.

I know how hard it is when there are people close to you who are behaving and feeling this way. But that's their problem, right? You can't really DO anything about them or their thinking. When you try to, you're just getting into THEIR heads and getting into their business. Then there's nobody left over here with you. And this matters because I hate to see a mama doubting herself because someone else thinks a certain way. I say ignore them and get down to the heart of what YOU think and how you feel about unschooling & your kids. Once you're at peace with you, it will be much easier to live in joy and peace no matter what those around you are saying.

I don't know if I'm making sense here. I just know that every single time I think there's a problem with someone else, it ends up actually being a problem within me or with my thinking.
post #108 of 136
Thanks for your replies.

Joan, yes there are actually a lot of homeschoolers here. We try to do homeschool activities at least once a week. I can't imagine what it would be like to not have that support. There are even Unschooling get togethers but it's hard to find the time to do it (it's w/o the kids....just for parents to throw around ideas).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan View Post
It might help to relieve your worries about the school/cps if you wrote down your beliefs about education. .... It might also help to keep a journal--just for yourself--about what your kids are up to.
Those are great ideas. I have kept record of all of our "field trips" but I really like this journaling idea. I will definitely do it (when I can remember : ) We do do A LOT of museums, outings, library events etc. As many as we possibly can really. And we do have a lot of resources in the area we live thankfully. I really do feel lucky and grateful. I don't know how people do it w/o all of this stuff. And we do meet up w/friends too but I'm trying to do this w/more homeschoolers too.

Regarding them thrashing the house, my kids (especially the boys) have always been thrashers. I don't understand it. The only time I've seen kids do this is when I worked in Special Ed. But, where other people's kids will get out some toys, mine get out every toy and it is near impossible to get them to clean it up. I have to watch them like a hawk and then follow behind them constantly helping them clean it up to avoid the thrashing. I just can't do that. I have talked to them about it a lot but only one of them actually does anything about it, and she's the most mellow one. We tried downsizing their toys which helped some but not enough. Maybe we should downsize in an extreme way? I don't know if they'd ever completely agree to that though. There are also issues w/coloring on the walls. They've actually been pretty good about cleaning it up but then it will happen again. Where is the sighing smilie?

Quote:
I had to make a concerted effort to share more about the kids' days with him--sometimes I'll e-mail him cute stories or details about our discussions to help him see what goes on here.
I have done this in the past but I will make it a goal to do this daily now.

I'm realizing too that way more than me needing a break from the kids (which I really don't have anyone who can watch them consistently) they need a break from eachother. That's probably the most frustrating part. I do think them getting some space from one another would help with the fighting. So does dh of course but his solution is PS. Don't get me wrong, they play together nicely sometimes....even for hours at a time but when they do fight it gets nasty and that stresses me out more than anything.

mama in the forest, I do get what you're saying and I know you're right. I think it would help me out a lot too if dh was 100% behind me. Or at least 95%.
post #109 of 136
Still reading this thread and catching up.

We've been busy this summer. We moved the first week of June. And my 18yr old daughter, who lives with her dad in CA, came to stay after her high school graduation. She and I went to Paris for a few days, we've been doing tons of touristy things in Prague, walks in the park (we just moved beside a large foresty/park area) and my littlest dd has been enjoying her big sis

She's gone back now so we're trying to settle back into some sort of routine. We all worked on cleaning the apartment today. But really, we've just been doing a lot of hanging out

I'm noticing more and more what a natural speller dd is. She's 8 1/2 and it is very satisfying to see that unschooling WORKS. We've not sat her down at the table to take spelling tests or practice writing words and yet her spelling is absolutely amazing. I can't help smile when I see what she's writing or typing. I admit, it feels really good to know the knowledge is HERS, ya know what I mean?

She's begun to hang out online at Barbiegirls and a bit on Gaia. Kids think she's a lot older than she is cuz her spelling and communication skills are so "good."

Which leads me to a question...how do you unschoolers with kids on the cusp of preteenhood deal with online safety? I'm pretty internet savvy and so is my husband (heck, we MET online! We know all about chatrooms and such! LOL). I don't like to set "rules" and such but I'm struggling with the impulse to set some boundaries.

For instance, after seeing Gaia's forums, I've told my dd that, for now, I'd like her to just chat in the towns and through email. I just don't know how I feel about it yet and I want to talk to dh and dd and see what we can all come up with so we're all comfortable...
post #110 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post

Which leads me to a question...how do you unschoolers with kids on the cusp of preteenhood deal with online safety?
We started talking about safety right about the time I was meeting total strangers online and taking my kids to meet them irl.

Seriously, when we started hsing, we didn't know anyone else doing it and were the only ones in our area, so I started chatting online with others. That led us to planning some playdates for our kids and I realized I was promoting what every internet safety rulebook cautioned against doing. So.....we just talked about what would be good ways to stay safe. We came up with: Don't give out your last name, don't give out your address, don't share your passwords. If we want to meet someone irl, we plan to meet at a public place and never go alone, and we tell someone who's not going where we'll be and with whom. All of us except the 7 y/o have cell phones, so that's a help too.

My ds mostly uses message boards and e-mail, but my 12 y/o is very much a communicator--she's got e-mail, IM, text messaging, etc. all figured out and she uses them OFTEN. We've had no problems. My 7 y/o uses Club Penguin and Webkins and sites like that, and since he needs help writing, I know what's going on there--from what I've seen, those sites are pretty controlled and we've run across no problems.
post #111 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
.how do you unschoolers with kids on the cusp of preteenhood deal with online safety? I'm pretty internet savvy and so is my husband (heck, we MET online! We know all about chatrooms and such! LOL). I don't like to set "rules" and such but I'm struggling with the impulse to set some boundaries.

For instance, after seeing Gaia's forums, I've told my dd that, for now, I'd like her to just chat in the towns and through email. I just don't know how I feel about it yet and I want to talk to dh and dd and see what we can all come up with so we're all comfortable...

I think the fact that you are open to letting her explore and use different forums, and that you are welcoming her thoughts and opinions is really great. It's certainly better than a flat "no forums or chat" prohibition.

My kids have been regulars on Gaia for a few years now, and they really enjoy it. They really enjoy posting, gaining "gold" and items, and they've made some good online friends there. Both of them have really grown in typing and writing skills during their time there too, IMO.

There are definitely topics there that discuss sexuality and use crude language. There are moderators, but it's the biggest internet forum out there and that's just a lot of people to manage so they aren't really able to get every post that isn't PG 13. My kids just roll their eyes at the gross stuff, giggle about the silly sexual stuff, and carry on. Maturity plays a role of course, and I know that each kid is different. My Ds says that the GD and chatterbox can be pretty rough, but also pretty fun once you get used to it.

I think as long as you're all talking and open it will be a good experience. My Dd loves her MySpace, and that sends most parents just running for the hills!
post #112 of 136
Though I'm pretty unconcered about iternet issues now; DD is just 4 and though she just found barbiegirl, she still needs me to play with her and do the typing (she is learning to read amazingly fast playing on this site though - generally she runs the mouse and I do the reading and she tells me what to type, but lately she started reading out the chats before I do! Tell those Unschooling skeptics to stick that in their pipe and smoke it )

But I would imagine that the kind of respectful relationship that exists in an unschooling family wouldnt really need to have "rules" as such. I read the "tips for girls" page on the barbie girl, and it seems to me that this is sound advice:

dont ever give your real name/ age/ personal info on the chat, and if anyone ever says anything that makes you uncomfortable, call a parent/ grown up.

I'm all for talking about things, letting kids know parents' concerns, and then trusting them, but still always being handy for when they need us


That said, I also met DH online, and I've gone off with DD for playdates with people I've just met online Heck, if any of you lived in our neighbourhood, we wouldnt be writing posts, I'd be making you tea!
post #113 of 136
Thanks, mamas.

We've already discussed not telling her age, etc. online. For one thing, she is technically too young for Gaia. I think the age there is 13 and over and as I said, she's 8 1/2. But she really loves it. My older dd has an account and the two of them email each other and trade items. I have an account too so I make money and give it to them.

Honestly, it's the sexually explicit forums that are causing me hesitation. I worry about what someone will say to her, proposition her or otherwise, and the language. This isn't an empty fear. As I said, my husband I met online (on AOL yeeeeaaarrrrs ago! LOL) and I know all about internet chats and deception and the fact that people would say something online they might never say in RL.

As for meeting people, we've done that. That's the way we met the only other unschooler we've heard about in Prague! LOL

So...it's mostly the sexually explicit forums that are pulling at my brain and worrying me a bit. She still goes online and we're all still talking about it.

The funny thing is that Barbiegirl is TOO controlled. There are so many words that you cannot type there in chat...they show up as little icons. For example, one girl was trying to tell DD she was Chinese and it didn't come out. She had to say, "I speak China language." It was weird. And DD was trying to tell her it was due to the filter and the word "filter" was blocked out. LOL

Thanks for the tips on other sites! She's at painting class right now but when she gets back, I'll show her Club Penguin and Webkinz. Another site she loves is Flyff. She and her older sis were going on missions and such and she had a lot of fun with it. It's sort of like a free World of Warcraft.

Anyway, so that's what we've been up to lately. And Harry Potter, of course! DD chose to see the last movie in the cinema with us. For the others, she'd wait until they came out on DVD. But while I was in Paris with my oldest, she told her dad she wanted to see Pirates3 with him. And loved it! (Here there is an intermission for films well over 2 hrs, so that might have helped) She decided she could handle the HP film so we took her. It was a blast! She actually had some weird affinity for Umbridge...I think it was the kitty plates. I told her Umbridge was a bit more eeevvvvviiiillll in the books, though.

I'm reading the Deathly Hallows for the second time now. I read faster than she does so the day I got the book, she would run upstairs after I called her at the end of each chapter. She got a plot synopsis, chapter by chapter, basically Who Died. LOL

She's started summer classes at the pottery studio near us. Before, she was taking a weekly 45 minute pottery class and a weekly 45 min combined paper craft/music class. But during the summer, they have a different schedule. They add longer classes so she is gone from 10 to 3 today. I packed her Powerpuff girls lunchbox and she's off! Last year, she wanted to do these classes and found she could only handle once a week. It's a long time to be away from us and due to her grazing eating habits, it's a long time to be away from eating! LOL They tend to break for lunch around 12 so by the time 3 rolls around, she's starving. Also, we do other stuff during the week so once a week is enough for this long class.

We're happy cuz we've moved closer to the studio. As I said before, we moved around the 1st of June (was it the 2nd...seems soooo long ago already!) and are right beside a huge forest/park area. There's so much to explore there. There is a planetarium, horse-riding facilities, path to the zoo, trails, ponds, playgrounds...And the pottery studio is in this neighborhood so we just walk over now.

Also, we're planning to take a train to Dresden around the 1st of August. DD has saved up her monthly stipends and wants to visit Toys R Us in the hopes of finding some Pokemon items. And we like to pretend the train is the Hogwarts train

Basically, this is all we're doing until October, when my sister and her husband are visiting. I think dd will likely go back to pottery and papercraft classes in the fall and we'll go back to studying Japanese, which we've taken a break on this summer.
post #114 of 136
You guys have given me a lot to think about regarding online security. My oldest is only 6 and pretty much only goes to Lego.com, and recently has developed an affinity for playing Tanks But, things like this always seem to keep broadening so quickly, its nice to be a bit prepared in advance!

Karaboo, your place sounds lovely! It sounds like you have quite a bit to explore just within your own neighborhood!!

We have been enjoying a very mild summer here, which I really love! But, it supposed to get hot the next few days, so, we'll be living at the beach This weekend we went to our little town's "Founder's Day" celebration. We got to watch a small parade, and then the local library also incorporated some Harry Potter fun after the parade for the kids, since the book had *just* come out. My boys haven't read the books, but have always enjoyed wizards and know some about HP.....so they had a blast! Then on Sunday it was Open Farm Day in the state. So many of the farms open up to the public that day. We got to visit a sheep dairy, which was very fun and interesting and an big organic garden, that also had donkeys and cows. Lotsa fun. After that we took our little boat (and I do mean little) out for the first time since we bought it.....and after Dh finally got the thing started, the motor (its just a little dingy) tried to jump right off the back of the boat!! : We almost lost it at the bottom of the lake, but dh caught it, and he and I hauled it back in, without tipping the boat!!! The back of the dingy had gotten pretty weak with age, and just couldn't support the motor anymore once it got going, and the motor was going, with or without the boat!! So, we pretty much didn't leave the boat launch area......but it sure was an experience!!! We're going to try and sell the motor (its in great shape) and go with a canoe instead!! We realized we areally aren't motorized boat people, and enjoy paddling much more (we had to paddle quite a bit during this whole fiasco!).

Yesterday we went through (OK, *I* went through! ) most of our blongings we'd been toating around with us all these years, to prepare for a yard sale we are going to have in 2 wks at a friend's house. The boys found lots of things to contribute....especially since they will be reaping the profits! They are also planning a lemonade stand with their friends. My oldest has always wanted to have a lemonade stand, but we always have lived in the boonies, where no one would ever see him! He is very excited to finally be able to sell lemonade!!

Today, we are getting ready for Nanna to visit starting tomorrow. She'll be here for a few days, and the boys love it when nanna comes.....she pretty much does anything they want to do. Dh and I get a nice break! But, I'm also going to probably have to broach the homeschooling subject with her (she's my mom). She's the only family member that doesn't know of our decision for next year. We pulled my oldest out of a Waldorf kindergarten in Feb of this yr, and have been unschooling ever since, just under the family's radar! So, now they have all been asking "what are your plans for next year" so we've had the discussion, with everyone but my mom....and she is a teacher. A teacher who, though she thinks the educational system needs fixing (she teaches college english), also thinks that only teachers can teach....so I've been avoiding this like the plague (and I'm not even going there about unschoooling) I've got my ammo ready, and she is supportive of the fact that they are our kids, and all these decisions are our decisions....but she usually does it through clenched teeth!!! Wish me luck!!
post #115 of 136
good evening, mamas! at least it's evening here in Asheville, NC...

i'm new here. i am glad i found this thread, though it looks prolific! :

it's past my bedtime, but i just wanted to say hi!

i have one 6.5yo ds and we've unschooled since, well, birth, of course

i may end up having to put him in school for awhile, as i'm thinking of going back to school myself and i need free babysitting : i just hope it doesn't affect him too much. thankfully they have some pretty alternative school options around here. but that's not till next year, maybe *whew*

meanwhile, this year i have to register my homeschool with the state...ah, to come up with a name for my school i've already started hitting the walls with The Questions From Well (or not so well)-Meaning Others :
my mom uses clenched teeth, too, but at least she pretty much keeps her mouth shut now the problem is, i think she's accepted the homeschooling idea because ds has started to receive what i am pretty sure is going to be a looooooong string of "educational" gifts for holidays and birthdays....GRRRR : oh well. i have to clench my own teeth for that one. at least it means that mom is supportive, in her own way.

anyway. good to be here!
pamela
post #116 of 136
mercyn! these mamas are pretty chatty, but its worthwhile to keep up with
post #117 of 136
Welcome Mamma!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mercyn View Post
my mom uses clenched teeth, too, but at least she pretty much keeps her mouth shut
pamela

Hahahaha!! Thats a great way to think of it!!
post #118 of 136
KaraBoo

You mentioned Flyff--my youngest loves the idea of WoW but it's too complicated for him so I had to check out Flyff. How do you get started? Is there software to buy or is it totally online? I don't see a page for signing up. : Although ds2 claims he can't read yet, I know he's reading on some of these game sites.

EarthAngel, Ikwym about some of the kids' sites being "too controlled." Ds was playing a scrabble-like game at Webkinz and we kept getting the message, "that word is not allowed" over really silly things

Dd read Harry Potter the day it came out. We almost had a fiasco because I'd pre-ordered it from Amazon about a year ago, but something got screwed up and it didn't come! We had a shift at the animal shelter first thing Sat. a.m. so we couldn't even go to the store then. So, there we were, midday on Sat. dirty, peed on, sweaty and smelling like a kenel, standing in line at Borders .BUT we got the book and she read it that day. I read a little slower so I'm about 2/3 of the way through but so far I really like it. She's about read to explode because she wants to discuss the book with me, but fortunately she's got a few friends that she can talk with about it until I'm done.

Ds1 is still helping on that construction project. He's enjoying seeing all the stages and doing the actual work, but the heat and humidity is not so much fun. Yesterday he finished his bow-making class but when he strung the bow, it twisted. He was so disappointed. But he's going to try again now that he knows how to do it, and the naturalist gave him a book about traditional archery so he's happy about that. I guess we'll be at the lumber yard today--ds2 wants to build a go-cart.

mercyn, welcome. The colleges around here all have child care centers on campus. That might be something to look into rather than putting your ds in school. Federal financial aid can be used for childcare while you're in class (or at least it used to be, you 'd have to check on that.) so that could be another option for you.
post #119 of 136
MamaAllNatural, You've gotten some good advice and I won't repeat it. But I did want to comment on this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaAllNatural View Post
But, where other people's kids will get out some toys, mine get out every toy and it is near impossible to get them to clean it up. I have to watch them like a hawk and then follow behind them constantly helping them clean it up to avoid the thrashing. I just can't do that. I have talked to them about it a lot but only one of them actually does anything about it, and she's the most mellow one. We tried downsizing their toys which helped some but not enough. Maybe we should downsize in an extreme way? I don't know if they'd ever completely agree to that though. There are also issues w/coloring on the walls.
Obviously the mess doesn't bother the kids and that's because the mess isn't inherently wrong. But you're all living together, so there has to be some sort of compromise, and if they are too young to really understand how it's affecting you, it's reasonable for you to take measures to create an environment you're comfortable in too. We talk about how much happier everyone is when everyone is happy -- and that includes me -- and that it stresses me out to live in a messy house, and relying on them to keep things neat hasn't worked, and relying on me to pick up after them all the time isn't fair, so what other solutions are there? The kids also see me clearing my *own* junk out, so they know this isn't just about me being mean to them or whatever. They understand it's a real issue and simplifying is a solution that doesn't fall all on them. Another things that's really helped is to have a garage sale -- the kids *love* making money. A toy that they balk at me taking to Goodwill, they will jump at the chance to sell themselves.

I also cut down on opportunities to add to our junk pile -- grandparents are told to give non-material gifts (theatre tickets, zoo passes, etc.) and I generally don't take the kids shopping with me. When I do, we talk about how we have a limited amount of money and what the very best thing would be to spend that money on -- sometimes they'll want some cheap plastic crap and I'll say, but remember there's a farmer's market and we could find some good strawberries instead and make strawberry shortcake, and they're all for that.

We talk about waste and about the materials things are made of and what effect they have on the environment and people. One good example is how synthetic materials off-gas and can make you sick in your own house. That headache you have? It may be from stress, but your body's less able to deal with stress when it's dealing with toxins at the same time. That sort of thing.

Another suggestion -- have a room devoted to mess. Maybe they'll accept having a boundary to their mess as a fair trade for not *ever* having to clean it up.

Coloring on the walls -- I banned crayons from this house. Seriously. That is the kind of evil control freak I am. Pens are kept in a container on a high shelf. The kids are allowed watercolors and chalk. Period. It's not a problem of course with the older kids -- they have no desire to draw on the walls and understand that it makes me unhappy -- but they are not good about putting away their materials after they use them, and then the two-year-old gets into them. So I just don't buy certain kinds of art supplies. It's not a big deal, and in a couple of years we'll be able to branch out again.
post #120 of 136
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Quote:
I banned crayons from this house. Seriously
I had to ban markers. It just isn't worth the headache! My three year old loved to use himself as his canvas in addition to the walls.
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