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Can you unschool part of the time?!? - Page 5

post #81 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Parents who start out saying, "Well, I've really liked unschooling so far, but now I'd like to introduce a few things to my child," will often go on to clarify that, yeah, they really do understand that it's totally compatible with unschooling to introduce things we think our kids might be interested in -- when they say "introduce," what they really mean is that they want to require some things, not just introduce them to a child who has total freedom to take it or leave it.
Oh! I actually wasn't aware of this! Well, no wonder! - Lillian
post #82 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J
Because it's pretty easy to set up rhythms and structure to our time without having to use school as the framework, and children are fairly helpless to find the sorts of things that really interest and inspire them unless they have exposure to them. So of course a bright and restless child might be happier with things from a packaged curriculum if that's all that's available - but that child might be a whole lot happier with the amazing world of things he's not yet had any exposure to, and the structure and rhythm of his days can just as easily be spent in exploration of things outside of the traditional school model.
Yes! Very well said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5
HOW do you make sure your child has had exposure to a variety of things? It sounds so simple, but yet, I am a type of person that occasionally feels like I can get in a "rut" now and again. I just worry that I wouldn't be doing all the sorts of creative things required to be a good unschooler, and sometimes find that overwhelming. Does this make sense?
Well... for me, even doing "nothing" is preferable to schooling. Especially when the kids are young, because they have their play, their imaginations, the people around them and their talk, the wider community... and in our household, for instance, there is also television, movies, books, internet (internet is HUGE), yard, garden, kitchen, occasional free music in the park, walk to the library, look at the art on the cafe walls... what we do in just living our lives is "nothing" in one sense, but exposure to all sorts of things in another sense, things that could fill a lifetime, but I think in this world in which there is so much variety available to consume, we get in this mindset that a simpler lifestyle is unacceptable, like we have to be continually moving into something more and "better". I finally came to the realization that this was a source of stress for me, and that it's okay to "just live" if that's what we feel like doing. And that being focused on output or achievement interfered with true creativity. (Which I think is a major problem with the schooly approach.)

We do a lot of other things than just the basics of living life, but only when we really feel like it. It's not something that we feel that we have to do to be living a valid life. So that when we come across something we're interested in, there's such a feeling of authenticity and rightness about it. It's not just one thing in a string of things that we're very matter-of-factly doing ostensibly to enrich our lives or better ourselves, you know? It's really about *us* as individuals.

So, for instance, my son (who is ten years old) plays a lot. That's pretty much what he's done all his life, is play. From a goal-focused mindset it might not look like much. But somehow, suddenly, he's navigating the computer world, writing a book, inventing his own recipes, and building a chicken coop and reading up on how to raise chickens. I'm not responsible for any of that. It's all sprung up out of "just living".

I think also that there's something to be said for having a lot of time that isn't filled with stuff going on. It creates a space to think and find yourself. Growing up, I could have done with more opportunities and a richer environment in general, but I'm grateful that my time wasn't filled with "enriching activities".

That's not to say that it's not good to offer opportunities and a rich environment. Just that... it's okay, even good, to relax about it. All those websites and blogs and magazines and books that show us how cool unschooling and homeschooling can be... I think they are great as resources, but they also do us a disservice because we start thinking that's the way it ideally is. I don't know if it's really like that for anybody, though. It's like the house porn magazines, you know? Totally unrealistic. In fact, even I get people writing to me after looking at my flickr page of photos of my house, and they're just in awe and depressed that their houses are not as pretty. But the thing is that it's really a fantasy. Fantasy is fun and can be inspiring, but... being in my house isn't like that at all. There are messes, and up close nothing is as nice as it appears through a telephoto lens.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it really just is okay to get in that "rut", as long as it makes you happy. And there's the key -- if you're doing what makes you happy, whatever you're doing is just right.
post #83 of 92
fourlittlebirds- spot on!

I totally agree, I have met some people that are so concerned with 'doing stuff' that they are exhausted and hardly enjoy it all anyway but they feel it's an obligation to do so many enriching activities.

We love and relish our 'nothing' days just as much as our 'out' days. My son is really energetic and up for anything, but my daughter is more of a homebody so we are always balancing.
post #84 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
So...here is what I am getting at...HOW do you make sure your child has had exposure to a variety of things? It sounds so simple, but yet, I am a type of person that occasionally feels like I can get in a "rut" now and again. I just worry that I wouldn't be doing all the sorts of creative things required to be a good unschooler, and sometimes find that overwhelming. Does this make sense?
Oh dear. Yes, it makes sense - I understand. Y'know, I've just been painting all day (a painting, not a room) so I'm a little burnt out at the moment - for right now, I'm going to just paste something I posted to someone recently who's just pulled her children out of school - this is just an attempt to point out how broad your experiences can be without having to keep worrying about hanging everything on traditional studies: things to do instead of "schoolwork." This was a list of things to help get a couple of people through the "deschooling" period, but if you think about the possibilities, this line of thinking can branch out into all sorts of things, especially as a child grows and takes on special interests. Having good homeschooling magazines coming into your home is a good inspiration too - and reading some of the threads in places like this forum. Like these:
If you are a science family
Favorite board games for families
Ideas for unschooling math
good cable shows
favorite audio books

I could go on and on, but you get the idea - just keep your eyes open, and your mind curious, and you and your child will both be coming across lots to keep you busy and happy - and learning.

And if you make lots of trips into the library and book stores and museums, all sorts of things will be jumping out at you that are interesting - just follow your nose and things will fill out as you go along. Answering your child's questions alone can keep you awfully busy.

Your child is so young right now - I honestly wouldn't even worry about any of it for some time to come. For now, just keep the play opportunities coming, and it will all fall into place as he grows. You'll be seeing a lot of things happen that will give you a lot of confidence in his innate ability to almost suck learning out of thin air .

Maybe you've seen my preschool/kindergarten page already, but here's the link again - it has lots of ideas, especially in the annotated links down beneath the box of links to articles.

AND, as fourlittlebirds just posted, doing nothing is an important element in the whole thing too - think of it as negative space in a painting.

Lillian
post #85 of 92
Quote:


AND, as fourlittlebirds just posted, doing nothing is an important element in the whole thing too - think of it as negative space in a painting.

I think of it as a positive space in life. Living in the moment is our process.


Pat
post #86 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
I think of it as a positive space in life. Living in the moment is our process.
Funny. i almost rushed back to post, in case it wasn't clear, that negative space is every bit as important in a painting as positive space - it's an integral part of the whole.

Lillian

post #87 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


Oh dear. Yes, it makes sense - I understand.


Thank you, again, Lillian. I'm sure those links will be helpful!! I'm just curious about something - why did you say "oh dear"?? LOL, it's bringing out my paranoia like I'm a lost cause for unschooling or something....

Anyway, I realize I may be being silly (I've had a migraine for 3 days so bear w/ me; my mind is literally not quite right) but I do wonder why the "oh dear."
post #88 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
Thank you, again, Lillian. I'm sure those links will be helpful!! I'm just curious about something - why did you say "oh dear"?? LOL, it's bringing out my paranoia like I'm a lost cause for unschooling or something....

Anyway, I realize I may be being silly (I've had a migraine for 3 days so bear w/ me; my mind is literally not quite right) but I do wonder why the "oh dear."
It's just that it made me think about how overwhelming this whole getting started process is - the fact that so many people end up worrying about whether they'll be able to "be doing all the sorts of creative things required to be a good unschooler." I think all this talk can get to be unfortunately intimidating to those who haven't yet had a chance to get a taste of how natural it will all come. And you're not being silly! Lillian
post #89 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


It's just that it made me think about how overwhelming this whole getting started process is - the fact that so many people end up worrying about whether they'll be able to "be doing all the sorts of creative things required to be a good unschooler." I think all this talk can get to be unfortunately intimidating to those who haven't yet had a chance to get a taste of how natural it will all come. And you're not being silly! Lillian


Good to know! Yes, I tend to be a worrywart, and will try to keep that in check. LOL. Thank you again, I'm going to bed and hoping this dang migraine will be GONE!!
post #90 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
What do you mean by watching Youtube videos? I'm familiar w/ Youtube - just wonderign what kinds of videos in relation to unschooling.
Well, a couple weeks ago, my girls got excited when, very early in the morning, they saw a raccoon in the field next to our house. So I did a search for raccoon videos -- and found a ton of YouTube videos, as well as some others I think, that showed raccoons doing a variety of different things.

I find that whatever the current interest is, it's very easy to get online and find pictures and videos all related to that subject. Lots of fun!

I hope you're feeling better!

We get into ruts here, too. One cool thing about unschooling is learning that we can get bored and then we can do something about it. We don't have to wait for some outside force to shake us out of our rut.

I also agree with fourlittlebirds that it's okay to be in a rut if we're happy about it.
post #91 of 92
You should look up narcoleptic dogs on YouTube. It's fascinating. Sad, but somewhat hilarious.

I agree with fourlittlebirds. Especially in February! We do a lot more hanging about the house doing "nothing" during the winter and if I can just allow myself, I can realize that it's not a totally invalid thing to do. I think there's a good argument for hibernating just now and I know for me I'm totally wanting to do it. It's funny, but there's plenty to do indoors too. It's just less "active."
post #92 of 92
How can you make the nothing days day unenriching? We are radical chillers. We stay home as much as possible, especially in winter. We are the eptiome of Homebody. But we end up doing fun and cool stuff, no matter.

We have a boat load's worth of Febuary nothing--paintings painted, books read, items knitted, Youtube videos laughed over, DVDs watched and discussed, Simpson episodes oft quoted, playgroups hosted, stories written, games played, clay molded, food cooked, baked and digested, animals cared for, music played, hills sledded, snow people melted. Crud, we even have a pet lapbook finished. You try being an 8 yr old with a digital camera slow -to -proces and still get foraging chickens centered for photos...



Further...how would even the 'nothingingness' of napping on the sofa with a child or two, or a partner's not be 'enriching'. Nothingness does not computer with me.

Plus, they are good nourishment for the times one does run around 'doing something', as we all do. I can do nothing, and I can do 'too much'. I think that's simply life.
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