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Non radical unschoolers, are you out there? - Page 2

post #21 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadiangranola View Post
Hi all,
Just wondering if there are some unradical unschoolers laying around out here. We are a family of four (soon to be five). DS is almost 5, DD 2 1/2. We are unschooling, but the whole children without parental limits (free reign on tv, no help choosing bedtimes, etc) thing really isn't sitting so well with me. I feel really conflicted about the whole thing, seeing my child as a happier kid when he sleeps, and me as a better parent when I can firmly and calmly set some limits for our family.

There have to be some of you out there right?

Anno
I could have written almost the exact same thing. I do think we're pretty relaxed but we do have some rules/limits about eating, bedtimes, and tv time (I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out here...). I am a firm believer that you do what is best for your family. I take what I need from the unschooling philosophy and leave the rest that doesn't work for us.

Jill
post #22 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by JillChristina View Post
I could have written almost the exact same thing. I do think we're pretty relaxed but we do have some rules/limits about eating, bedtimes, and tv time (I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out here...). I am a firm believer that you do what is best for your family. I take what I need from the unschooling philosophy and leave the rest that doesn't work for us.

Jill
:

Totally how I have approached hsing, and parenting in general. If it works for us, it's in. If, or when, it stops working for us, it's out.

I had planned on becoming more academically structured when ds was around 13/14 (based on my own childhood, the Moore formula and CM, which I also use a bit of), but that wasn't working out great. Ds is still unsure of college and career, but he's very techie and mechanically oriented, and everything he's interested in requires at least a bit of math, so we're keeping a slighty more stuctured math study (he really likes Math-U-See and we'll keep doing that, but ds will decide how fast and how far he wants to go.)

Neither ds nor myself do well with no structure or rules, we both just kind of drift. Neither of us are really driven people and we tend to spend weeks on end watching tv and playing video games and avoiding doing the things we really want or need to be doing, and regretting wasting our time in the end, so a rough daily routine and some limits on passive entertainment are absolute necessities for both of us.
post #23 of 117
nak


our dds are 10 months and 2.5yrs so we are sorting all this out. I hate labeling myself, i prefer to do what works without trying to fit in to a certain category or whatever. We have a lot to learn, right now I guess we would be 'Waldorf inspired, child led learners' or something like that Most of the unschooling philosophy speaks deeply to me but not all of it. We don't watch TV, we try to avoid plastic toys, and I am not comfortable letting dd self regulate food...... We don't enforce mealtimes, although I do encourage it. Sitting down for dinner is much more than just eating.....its more of a ritual that nurtures us as a family unit. Ultimately it is up to them. I believe strongly in child led learning but will probably be more structured than most. But of course my girls are very little right now, we have a lot of evolving to do as parents....one thing is for sure, this journey is very exciting. I have no idea what the future holds but I know we will have many moments of enlightenment and change!!
post #24 of 117
We're life learners, but we're not RU. We just try to all live together the best we can.

We don't have set/regular bedtimes here though. Sometimes I wish we did : , but we don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomInFlux View Post
Though I generally think that RU works better when the kids are older
I think so too. I agree with the principle of communicating honestly with our children, and do so. But before a certain age/developmental level, it only does so much. When DS1 is older, I suspect that he'll better be able to understand when I explain that eating 12 yogurts/day makes him constipated, and make his decisions accordingly. But right now, he either doesn't really understand the explanation or 'get' the connection, or he's just too living-in-the-moment to care -- he just really likes yogurt. But I'm not going to keep handing him yogurt cups indefinitely if I know that doing so will cause him to be crying on the potty three days later. If I know that his decision is going to end up hurting him, and he doesn't really understand that, it would be insensitive and uncaring of me to keep implementing it anyway.

I don't really understand why not saying "No" to our children is considered to be an unschooling issue. John Holt never said that we should never say "No" to our children; he just said that we should say "No" as kindly and respectfully as we would say "Yes". And that's the approach I take. I try to say yes whenever I can, to be flexible and respectful of our children's needs and feelings and desires, but there are still times when I have to make decisions that one or both of them simply don't like. Whether it's for health and safety reasons, or part of living together in a family and trying to consider everyone's needs (like my need to dim the lights if I have a migraine, or DS2's need to not get bopped or pushed over), sometimes I just have to say "No".
post #25 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~threemoons~ View Post
we try to avoid plastic toys
I feel that it is our responsibility as inhabitants of this world to do what we can to protect its people, nonhuman animals, and environment. I believe that part of doing this is teaching our children what we believe is right. I do teach my children to consume thoughtfully. We don't buy frivolously, and I forbid purchases that I believe will have overt, tangible, negative impacts on the world. When my kids grow up, they are free to live according to their own values, but I believe it is my job as a parent to impart my values. To me, some of the RU stuff I have read implies that children's decisions on many things are morally neutral, and I don't believe that. I don't think it's ethical to use other people's disadvantages as "learning opportunities" for children (i.e., if you buy cheap plastic crap at the dollar store, it will break because it's not well made ... and now you know).

dm
post #26 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
I feel that it is our responsibility as inhabitants of this world to do what we can to protect its people, nonhuman animals, and environment. I believe that part of doing this is teaching our children what we believe is right. I do teach my children to consume thoughtfully. We don't buy frivolously, and I forbid purchases that I believe will have overt, tangible, negative impacts on the world.
I agree with this as well. I respect my children's desires, but I'm still not going to make purchases that go against my moral compass. That wouldn't be being true to myself. DS1 discovered at Hallowe'en that he likes Smarties... but I boycott Nestle, so regardless of if he'd like them, I'm not going to buy any.
post #27 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomInFlux View Post
: I admire those families where RU works, but it's not us. Though I generally think that RU works better when the kids are older
I used to think this, but ds is almost 15 and he still "chooses" to eat a lb of cheese at a time (he's lactose intolerant) and he still "chooses" to spend 12 hours straight playing video games, even while complaining that the game is boring and his eyes hurt.

I really dispute the whole "no child will choose to keep doing something that isn't good/healthy/appropriate, etc, if left to their own devices". People who say this never met my kid Ds has Tourettes (as do I), and there are neurological differences between us and the larger population, but still, he's completely cognitively normal, there is absolutely nothing wrong with his decision making skills, he just will often "choose" not to choose, to take the easiest, funnest, tastiest way out. Left to his own devices he would never choose vegetables over sausage, cheese or chips, he would never choose to play outside over sitting on the couch watching video games.

And because of his "choices" he weighs over 300lbs and is starting to have trouble with his joints. And he still won't choose to exercise, and has asked me to make him exercise. Sticking by a theory that he would learn to choose what is good for him given enough time and space would be actively hurting him, it would be, in my opinion, in this particular case, child abuse to let him keep "choosing" his way into chronic disease and early death.

I'm finding that in the early teen years his capacity for reason has gone down and his impulsiveness waaaay up and I'm having to interpose myself into his decisions much more than I did when he was about, oh, 10, or imposing myself in different ways, not necessarily saying no right off the bat, but reminding him "didn't you tell me yesterday you wanted to go out for a run today?" or "didn't you tell me you wanted to save your money for a laptop instead of buying junk food?"

Another thing that has come up in the teen years with ds is that he has always been very, very happy to be a child, he's never been in any hurry to grow up and he's holding on to his childhood with both hands and both feet He gets very exasperated with me when I try to discuss things with him. If he doesn't feel very strongly about something (and he's a very laid back kid, he doesn't feel very strongly about a whole lot of things outside of video games, politics and his friends) he just doesn't want to discuss it endlessly-which to him means more than 2 or 3 words.

He'll say things to me like "Just make a decision already, I don't care what we do" or "If you don't want to make the decision, just say that, but don't make it my job to make your decisions for you" or "Whatever, I'll do whatever you say, just tell me what you want." He very, very vocally does NOT want to be consulted on every family decision. He's fine being in the back seat, stretched out, listening to music and enjoying the ride
post #28 of 117
We set limits. Recently I have been rotating media and non media time. The boys also go to bed between 7-8pm. I also make them go outside once a day.

Be well,

Shane
post #29 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by alima View Post
imposing myself in different ways, not necessarily saying no right off the bat, but reminding him "didn't you tell me yesterday you wanted to go out for a run today?" or "didn't you tell me you wanted to save your money for a laptop instead of buying junk food?"
This sounds exactly like RU to me.

Not to gate crash, but I consider myself RU and still do many of the things people are listing here as things that make them not RU. I certainly don't simply let my children do whatever they want all the time, regardless of the consequences. I don't endanger them and I don't give them choices that are bigger than their ability to reason.
post #30 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
This sounds exactly like RU to me.

Not to gate crash, but I consider myself RU and still do many of the things people are listing here as things that make them not RU. I certainly don't simply let my children do whatever they want all the time, regardless of the consequences. I don't endanger them and I don't give them choices that are bigger than their ability to reason.
thank you! i've been trying really hard not to respond here because i know you are all looking for non-RU support, but i feel like a lot of what i'm reading is NOT RU.
post #31 of 117
The examples I gave are not ways of not being RU, they are examples of where I try to impose myself more respectfully. I do impose bedtimes, will take away privileges where I think it's important (screen time, mostly), will tell ds what to do if I feel it's important.

The things I read about RU, about using examples like these as learning experiences for myself, are exactly why I don't feel myself to be RU. I'm the one with the experience and knowledge. I'm the parent, he's the child. My household is NOT a democracy. I try to make things fair and reasonable for ds, and through this effort he is, for the most part, fair and reasonable to me. But just cause we make look RU on the outside doesn't make us RU on the inside. I'm the boss in my home, I'm the adult.

I view being in charge as being a huge responsibility, and I try not to make decisions for ds based solely on my own needs and wants. But if I feel strongly about something, then that's it, it's happening (or not happening), even if we argue over it (like exercise.)

So, basically, I don't consider myself RU because I don't agree with many of the non-academic parenting decisions that I see presented as RU. If you want to label me RU, that's your choice, but basically, this thread is a place to NOT defend your choice to have bedtimes, mealtimes, assigned chores, etc.
post #32 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
This sounds exactly like RU to me.

Not to gate crash, but I consider myself RU and still do many of the things people are listing here as things that make them not RU. I certainly don't simply let my children do whatever they want all the time, regardless of the consequences. I don't endanger them and I don't give them choices that are bigger than their ability to reason.
No one is here to question your personal parenting decisions.

I have heard, repeatedly, here on MDC, that to limit screen time is most definitely RU. As I said in an earlier post, my ds doesn't self-regulate. And despite the large amount of advice I've been given to just let it go and he'll figure it out by himself, that "no child" will keep watching tv day in and day out to the detriment of his health. Well, my child does. My child is, apparently, no child.

RU is a theory of parenting, no more and no less. It works for some and not for others. I'm very happy for the people who have found this works for them, and that they can work this theory for them in a way that is healthy and productive for their family.

But it doesn't work for us. My son is nearly 15, no one is changing my mind at this point. I'd like to have a place where I didn't have to constantly defend my choices and practices as a parent.

I think we are want that, right?
post #33 of 117
I don't think RU means you let kids to whatever they want with no consequences.

I don't consider myself RU because I still have areas which I'm struggling with letting go of the control factor. I haven't figured out how to let go and still have 3 relatively happy people in the family. I'm sure there's a way and I'm working on it.
post #34 of 117
We're not radical, and some might not even call us unschoolers... but I think we're very relaxed, either way. My kids have limits: regular bedtimes, they eat what I cook for dinner (or they can be hungry), junk food is limited, they do as I ask. They bathe and brush their teeth regularly, and don't kick up a fuss because it's never been an option. Do I trust my kids to grow into adults without me setting these limits? Sure, they might get a few cavities or eat too much junk or whatever, but I'm sure they'd do okay. Do I trust MYSELF not to go crazy if I let them do whatever they wanted? Nope.
post #35 of 117
I am a non-radical mostly unschooler also. I have experienced many times IRL the judgement from RU's I know personally, so I am hesitant to even use the word unschooler, but school-at-home types would be horrified by me
post #36 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
I don't consider myself RU because I still have areas which I'm struggling with letting go of the control factor.

See I don't think there is anything wrong with the control factor, so that is what I think makes me not a RU.

I think it is my responsibility and my job to help my children learn to negotiate the world comfortably, which includes being familiar with the expectations that society holds in various situations. No one will be kinder about it with my children than I will, so I would rather teach them the limits than have the cold world teach them a much harsher lesson. If they then grow up and decide to disregard those societal expectations that's fine with me, but they will be able to make a conscious choice about it.

I see on an at least weekly basis the RU'ed kids in my homeschool group getting consistently negative feedback from and having negative interactions with the world around them, sometimes in a very harsh manner, and I want to protect my kids from that.

That is why I am not a radical unschooler.
post #37 of 117
We fit into this category too. We have bedtimes. 1st dd is far happier when she gets enough sleep. 2nd, dh works odd hours and I need the downtime at the end of the day when he is gone. 3rd, when dh is home, we need a little couple time too (when we instituted bedtime for dd she used to stand in the middle of the room and scream whenever dh and I tried to talk to eachother.) We are pretty easy going about food. You have to eat a healthy food for every treat food. Lots of space to determine which healthy food and which treat food. Dd is very picky and will only eat about 20 foods and will starve herself (we found out he hard way). She picks what she wants to learn about. She likes projects, workbooks and worksheet (I hate worksheets, lol). So she tells me what she wants to learn and I google all sorts of activities/pages for her and she chooses what to do when and what to skip. Grandparents love to buy her workbooks and she does those whenever she wants. I monitor what she watches on tv (and I'm picky) but she gets to watch whatever she wants out of that. She also has her own account on my computer and I've selected about 20 websites she can go to online. She usually plays on the computer every day and can choose whatever she wants out of those sites. I'd like to think we are pretty balanced.
post #38 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by water View Post
See I don't think there is anything wrong with the control factor, so that is what I think makes me not a RU.

I think it is my responsibility and my job to help my children learn to negotiate the world comfortably, which includes being familiar with the expectations that society holds in various situations. No one will be kinder about it with my children than I will, so I would rather teach them the limits than have the cold world teach them a much harsher lesson. If they then grow up and decide to disregard those societal expectations that's fine with me, but they will be able to make a conscious choice about it.

I see on an at least weekly basis the RU'ed kids in my homeschool group getting consistently negative feedback from and having negative interactions with the world around them, sometimes in a very harsh manner, and I want to protect my kids from that.

That is why I am not a radical unschooler.
I agree completely right down to my experience w RU kids in my homeschool group as well.
post #39 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by water View Post
I think it is my responsibility and my job to help my children learn to negotiate the world comfortably, which includes being familiar with the expectations that society holds in various situations.
Are you implying that radical unschoolers don't do this? Because every ru I've known (myself included) has done so, and I don't see how it would conflict with ru. Forcing your child to conform to the expectations would, I suppose, but sharing information that you believe is helpful is something I think is part of being a good parent, no matter what philosophy you follow.

Maybe we need another thread on what radical unschoolers do and believe...

dar
post #40 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Are you implying that radical unschoolers don't do this? Because every ru I've known (myself included) has done so, and I don't see how it would conflict with ru. Forcing your child to conform to the expectations would, I suppose, but sharing information that you believe is helpful is something I think is part of being a good parent, no matter what philosophy you follow.

Maybe we need another thread on what radical unschoolers do and believe...

dar
and maybe us "academic unschoolers" should go back to the regular hsing board.

Honestly, nothing here is meant to imply that I (and I'm assuming anyone else), is a bad parent.

But I'm just sick and tired of defending my choices all the time on an unschooling board. I guess I don't belong here at all.
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