Ooh, good questions.
How I look at it is that it is basically a philosophy that says that nothing really matters in life except what matters to you, that there is no outside authority that knows better than yourself how you should spend your time and live your life. I believe this applies to my children as much as it does to me.
It sounds like you have expectations, or at least hopes, that your children will choose to learn things that either you or society finds valuable (regardless of whether the children themselves do,) or that you have no faith that they will be able to figure out for themselves how to live well -- otherwise you wouldn't have the slightest ounce of interest in how motivated your friends' school-at-home kids are.You know, how do you know what to do each day? Do you have goals?
How do you
know what to do each day? Do you
have goals? If not, why? Do you really think that being told how to spend your time would help you create a better life? Or is it possible that you have not successfully unschooled yourself
yet?What if your kids have no obvious interests (except tv) and are going through puberty?
I will argue that TV itself is not technically an interest
; it is a passive means of escape. Now the content
of what's on TV is another matter. I have no problem with visual media as a vehicle for information. My son is fond of cooking shows, for instance -- the interest in not TV, though, it is cooking. TV is just one particular medium by which he learns about cooking. He likes cartoons too, but again, the interest is cartoons, which I think is fine, heck, maybe he'll grow up to be a comic book illustrator. Fine by me. So I guess I would only be concerned if it seemed like it was making him sick. But if the subject matter was incredibly interesting and he seemed engaged in a positive way, I'd say "watch as much as you like but be aware of when it is no longer fun and interesting, then go do something else."Do you wake up with a sense of joy? Do your children?
I do sometimes, not always, and my children (who are young) often follow my lead. But I'll tell you what, I do always feel relatively relaxed and free. I never
woke up feeling that way when I was going to school and later doing work that I didn't care about just for a paycheck. Now I am master of my time, and that has improved my life greatly.Is there structure to your day or not and do your children cope with this?
There is not a lot of structure to our day aside from the basic structure inherent in living a life. I mean, we go to sleep when it is dark and we wake up when it is light. We eat in the morning when we are hungry, and fix an evening meal together. We bathe sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night. We do necessary household work, such as washing dishes and going shopping and doing laundry. That is all structure in a sense. Aside from that, we do pretty much what we feel like doing. The children behave as if this is very natural for them.How can you cope when you see all your friends doing school at home and their children are happy and motivated learners and they are TOLD what subjects they have to cover. I find this a hard one- as I am surrounded by them.
If being given an arbitrary task and rising to the challenge is what you and your children value, great, there's your answer. If it isn't what you and your children value, then it's pointless to do it or to concern yourself with others doing it.I have heard about strewing but HOW do you do this (frugally)and where do you get your ideas from?
I had to look that one up.
Right now we go to the library a lot. We take advantage of as many free community events as possible. We also have friends over to share themselves and their talents and interests with us -- for instance, one friend does ceramics, and he knows of our interest so he is storing his kiln on our property and is going to show us how to use it. My FIL is a farmer, and the kids help him in the fields. A friend of a friend teaches percussion and drumming -- we are thinking of trading services so that he can teach us all. What I have found is that once you get the word out that you are looking at learning about things, people start coming out of the woodwork with talents and resources they can share with you. People love it when you are interested in what they do. I feel that to unschool successfully- you the parent have to be a joyous, happy and motivated person inspired with ideas of things to do, leaping out of bed in the morning with a sense of advenutre of what the day might bring (or is this the Piscean dreamer in me?)
Unschooling is not something you do *to* your child, it is something the child does for him/herself. So while inspiring role models are good, I think the key thing is for the child to understand the point of unschooling and feel that it is right for him/her and that the parent is encouraging of that. The point of unschooling is taking control of your own destiny; to wait for your parent to lead the way or provide ideas and resources is really not what unschooling is about. I mean, I am still learning things, but I don't look to my parents to lead the way. To get into the habit of relying on others to motivate you I think is really self-defeating.-some days this seems too hard for me and someone elses curriculum telling me what I should be 'teaching' my children seems so much easier.
I don't know if it would be easier, but isn't the really important thing to determine is whether it would be better?