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RU's please educate us here - Page 2

post #21 of 143
Well, it is really hard to pin down because RU invades every aspect of your life. I recently likened it to anarchism. In anarchist thought, all forms of authority are to be questioned and very few invasions/preventions of autonomy are justified. An example that Noam Chomsky gives is that if his 3yo grandchild starts to cross a street without looking and a car is coming, he will pull her away from harm and feel that this is a justifiable prevention of her autonomy because it saves her from harm.

Children are busy learning all the time though and we all have to cooperate in order to feel comfortable, feed ourselves, and enjoy our lives, particularly as a family. In that sense, we have things that we need to do - clean the house, fold the laundry, eat good foods, make money, buy groceries, et cetera. The kids, I feel, need to learn all those skills from us adults, and people tend to learn pretty well through participation. So basically, we live our life - we eat, drink, sleep, watch movies, clean up, go places - and include the kids in all of that, then try not to fight it when they want to do their own thing. It's so hard to define RU because it mostly looks like just living, but there is some serious questions that get asked in the process - am I being coercive? Am I being coercive in a detrimental way? Am I honoring the autonomy of my children? These questions can be asked about just about anything too, which is hard and long and very very interesting.

I'm going to stop there and hope it made any sense. Hi Jenniey!
post #22 of 143
thank you, that actually helps a lot. i guess i had never considered the divide between life and learning and it sounds like you are saying that it isn't necessary to do so. this is very much like the non-coercive parenting group i belong to ... and nonviolent communication?

things i struggle deeply with due to my highly volatile personality and slightly manic tendencies.
post #23 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post

Children are busy learning all the time though and we all have to cooperate in order to feel comfortable, feed ourselves, and enjoy our lives, particularly as a family. In that sense, we have things that we need to do - clean the house, fold the laundry, eat good foods, make money, buy groceries, et cetera. The kids, I feel, need to learn all those skills from us adults, and people tend to learn pretty well through participation. So basically, we live our life - we eat, drink, sleep, watch movies, clean up, go places - and include the kids in all of that, then try not to fight it when they want to do their own thing. It's so hard to define RU because it mostly looks like just living, but there is some serious questions that get asked in the process -

Makes perfect sense. When people ask me to explain our approach I've often said that we just "wake up each day and live". It's accurate, but not quite as simple as it sounds.
post #24 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
I will say that on the other thread there were some implications that were unsettling and that did not appropriately depict what I believe RU is. I don't think I was just being sensitive.
Yes, I'm aware that we do some things in our household that probaby aren't in line with RU. But I'm less concerned about being RU than I am about our family working as a whole.

DH or I deciding to sometimes place limits on DS1's TV viewing out of not wanting the TV on in the family area probably doesn't fall under many people's definition of RU. But if I know that having the television on actively disrupts DH's peace and that he finds it invasive to his serenity, I don't think it would be fair to say that DS's desire to have the TV on always trumps DH's desire to have the TV off, any more than it would be fair to say that DH's preference for the TV being off to mean that DS1 could never, or almost never, watch TV. In our home, it ends up being a compromise between the two... sometimes I have to advocate for DS's desire to watch TV to DH, and negotiate (or sometimes insist) on DS's behalf. And sometimes I have to advocate for DH's desire to have a quiet, TV-free evening... but since DS1 is still too young to consider DH's needs and desires over his own, it may end up being more of a straight (but gently-worded) limit set. Otherwise, DH would never get his need for quiet evenings included... it's not fair to him to ask him to consistently live in a home environment in which he's not comfortable until DS is old enough to compromise and be more considerate of his fellow family members' needs on his own. It's developmentally normal and appropriate for a three year old to rank his immediate desires over the needs and desires of others, but I can't (or choose not to) ask DH to indefinitely suspend his need for serenity until we're all done having 3 year olds.

And I don't believe the issue could or would be solved by setting up a TV in another room either. For one, we don't really have another room in which to set up a TV -- our living room/dining room is the only real "communal area" in our house. And if we did move the television into another room (clearing a makeshift area in the storage basement or something), DS1 would be more upset at feeling exiled from the living room than he is at us asking him to turn off the TV. His desire to be close to us is usually much more important to him than his desire to watch television.

I know that RU families surely find a way to live together in harmony -- that is, after all, what radical unschooling is essentially all about. But I find it pretty hard with a three year old who can't yet compromise in the way that I hear so often cited in examples of RU parenting. So, while my goal for our family will always be for us to try to consider everyone's feelings and needs and to be as non-coercive as feasible, as of right now we're all just trying to live together as best we can... even if, sometimes, it's not very RU.
post #25 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milakais View Post
Yes, I'm aware that we do some things in our household that probaby aren't in line with RU. But I'm less concerned about being RU than I am about our family working as a whole.

bingo!

DH or I deciding to sometimes place limits on DS1's TV viewing out of not wanting the TV on in the family area probably doesn't fall under many people's definition of RU. But if I know that having the television on actively disrupts DH's peace and that he finds it invasive to his serenity, I don't think it would be fair to say that DS's desire to have the TV on always trumps DH's desire to have the TV off, any more than it would be fair to say that DH's preference for the TV being off to mean that DS1 could never, or almost never, watch TV. In our home, it ends up being a compromise between the two... sometimes I have to advocate for DS's desire to watch TV to DH, and negotiate (or sometimes insist) on DS's behalf. And sometimes I have to advocate for DH's desire to have a quiet, TV-free evening... but since DS1 is still too young to consider DH's needs and desires over his own, it may end up being more of a straight (but gently-worded) limit set. Otherwise, DH would never get his need for quiet evenings included... it's not fair to him to ask him to consistently live in a home environment in which he's not comfortable until DS is old enough to compromise and be more considerate of his fellow family members' needs on his own. It's developmentally normal and appropriate for a three year old to rank his immediate desires over the needs and desires of others, but I can't (or choose not to) ask DH to indefinitely suspend his need for serenity until we're all done having 3 year olds.

And I don't believe the issue could or would be solved by setting up a TV in another room either. For one, we don't really have another room in which to set up a TV -- our living room/dining room is the only real "communal area" in our house. And if we did move the television into another room (clearing a makeshift area in the storage basement or something), DS1 would be more upset at feeling exiled from the living room than he is at us asking him to turn off the TV. His desire to be close to us is usually much more important to him than his desire to watch television.

I know that RU families surely find a way to live together in harmony -- that is, after all, what radical unschooling is essentially all about. But I find it pretty hard with a three year old who can't yet compromise in the way that I hear so often cited in examples of RU parenting. So, while my goal for our family will always be for us to try to consider everyone's feelings and needs and to be as non-coercive as feasible, as of right now we're all just trying to live together as best we can... even if, sometimes, it's not very RU.
I have no idea if the other RUers would consider this RU, but my house looks like this every day and we DO have 2 TV's. The basis of RU to me, is not having ARBITRARY rules and limits. You aren't telling your ds he can't watch TV because you just don't like it, or don't like the program he wants to watch, you are working together to compromise and make sure there's a balance and that everyone has there needs met within your real means and limits. People do need to learn balance, and you are teaching that without making arbitrary rules. RU isn't about raising our children to be completely egocentric and unable to handle disappointment. Nice job mama
post #26 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by granolapunk View Post
The basis of RU to me, is not having ARBITRARY rules and limits.
Hmmm. I think very few MDC parents in general create arbitrary limits. To me, RU is a lot more than that - it's about the parental will not trumping the child's will, and vice versa. We might consider something like headphones, either for dad or tv-watching child... but really, for us it's been a lot of adjusting my expectations. I've learned to be happy with the TV on in the background, for example - it used to really bother me, but now I can pretty much tune it out, unless I'm writing a paper.... and I do have an old laptop I can write on if Rain really wants to see a show.

Dar
post #27 of 143
The more I read, the less difference I can see between Radical Unschoolers and "plain" unschoolers. Heck, I have a hard time seeing the difference between "unschoolers" and "eclectic homeschoolers" and I know families with kids enrolled in schools who fit well with RU philosophy (at least the parenting part of it.)

It sounds like the self- described "non radical unschoolers" don't have a firm grasp on what 'radical unschooling" is to begin with.

Down with labels!
post #28 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Hmmm. I think very few MDC parents in general create arbitrary limits. To me, RU is a lot more than that - it's about the parental will not trumping the child's will, and vice versa. We might consider something like headphones, either for dad or tv-watching child... but really, for us it's been a lot of adjusting my expectations. I've learned to be happy with the TV on in the background, for example - it used to really bother me, but now I can pretty much tune it out, unless I'm writing a paper.... and I do have an old laptop I can write on if Rain really wants to see a show.

Dar
well i guess we better define arbitrary then i didn't say or mean to imply that that is all of it, i just think it starts with that. i'll quote myself here:
I know a LOT more people IRL that DON'T respect their kids but still have them and continue to have MORE. I generally assume that parents on MDC respect their children, though I don't read a lot of other areas of MDC so I don't really know.

RU to me, has a lot deeper level of respect and trust. You respect and trust so much that you can accept when they make a decision that you wouldn't make.

For example: I went on a no plastics, no made in china, no TV, no fast food kick for about 2 years. Guess what my kids learned? They learned that *I* hate plastic, *I* hate MIC things, *I* hate TV, and *I* hate fast food and that *I* don't believe they are smart enough to make good decisions for themselves. I finally realized that all I can do is talk to them about MY choices, and model the choices that I make and let them have the freedom to choose. Because when they are grown they are going to do whatever the hell they want anyway, and I'd rather have a relationship built on trust and respect with my grown kids than have sheltered them from harmful things that they are probably not going to shelter them selves from as adults anyway.

OK, I'm working on a whole RU definition in a word doc, it's not ready yet so I'll share when I'm done...
post #29 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Heck, I have a hard time seeing the difference between "unschoolers" and "eclectic homeschoolers"
Really?
post #30 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
Really?
When you start getting into kids requesting more academic structure the line gets pretty blurry. Is it unschooling if the child wants to follow a curriculum?

I mean, I see a clear distinction between "school at home"ers and "unschoolers" and I've certainly encountered homeschoolers who are rather disrepectful to their children's unique learning styles (it's heartbreaking to watch how some of the parents interact with their kids at one of the classes I've signed DD up for).

But I guess I see this as a continuum with "radical unschoolers" at one end and "controlling school-at-homers" at the other, and I'm not exactly sure where to draw each line. Are you still eclectic if you mostly follow a curriculum but skip certain parts? Are you still an unschooler if you follow a curriculum at the child's request and stop using it when the child gets bored of it? Are you a radical unschooler if you give a bedtime to a 6yo who's been cranky from too little sleep?
post #31 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Hmmm. I think very few MDC parents in general create arbitrary limits.

Thanks for saying that, Dar

Back to :
post #32 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post

Are you still an unschooler if you follow a curriculum at the child's request and stop using it when the child gets bored of it?

IMO, yes.

Are you a radical unschooler if you give a bedtime to a 6yo who's been cranky from too little sleep?

IMO, no.
.
post #33 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
When you start getting into kids requesting more academic structure the line gets pretty blurry. Is it unschooling if the child wants to follow a curriculum?

I mean, I see a clear distinction between "school at home"ers and "unschoolers" and I've certainly encountered homeschoolers who are rather disrepectful to their children's unique learning styles (it's heartbreaking to watch how some of the parents interact with their kids at one of the classes I've signed DD up for).

But I guess I see this as a continuum with "radical unschoolers" at one end and "controlling school-at-homers" at the other, and I'm not exactly sure where to draw each line. Are you still eclectic if you mostly follow a curriculum but skip certain parts? Are you still an unschooler if you follow a curriculum at the child's request and stop using it when the child gets bored of it? Are you a radical unschooler if you give a bedtime to a 6yo who's been cranky from too little sleep?
I know that as children want to try things out it does get blurry, I suppose, but intent seems pretty either/or. Either you make a kid do something or you let them follow their own interests. I guess from the outside it may look blurrier, but on a message board we talk a lot of intent and that seems pretty clear-cut to me. Make sense?
post #34 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by granolapunk View Post
I have no idea if the other RUers would consider this RU, but my house looks like this every day and we DO have 2 TV's. The basis of RU to me, is not having ARBITRARY rules and limits. You aren't telling your ds he can't watch TV because you just don't like it, or don't like the program he wants to watch, you are working together to compromise and make sure there's a balance and that everyone has there needs met within your real means and limits. People do need to learn balance, and you are teaching that without making arbitrary rules. RU isn't about raising our children to be completely egocentric and unable to handle disappointment. Nice job mama
It's okay; I don't need assured that I may fit the label. I know that we're not always RU here (although we're generally more non-coercively-inclined than not), but even if we were, I don't think I'd choose to self-identify as RU anyway, because, quite frankly, I'm simply not fond of the label. I'm not even that particularly fond of the term "unschooler", although at least that does make semantic sense ("not doing school"), as it doesn't necessarily portray the connotation that I'd prefer. (I generally use terms like "life learning" over "unschooling" when I can, or, better yet, just avoid using a label at all.) But think "radical unschooling" is more of a misnomer than not, or at least obscure in the name's connection to its meaning, so semantically, it just doesn't seem to fit right, IMO. I have no qualms about others feeling affinity with the label and choosing to use it to describe themselves, but it's not a label I care to adopt for my own. I think I'd rather just be "just me"... whatever that is. Regardless of if we would qualify as RU or not, if my family's healthy and happy, it's all good either way.

But thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Hmmm. I think very few MDC parents in general create arbitrary limits. To me, RU is a lot more than that - it's about the parental will not trumping the child's will, and vice versa. We might consider something like headphones, either for dad or tv-watching child... but really, for us it's been a lot of adjusting my expectations. I've learned to be happy with the TV on in the background, for example - it used to really bother me, but now I can pretty much tune it out, unless I'm writing a paper.... and I do have an old laptop I can write on if Rain really wants to see a show.
But how is having to do "a lot of adjusting your expectations" in this case really all that different than the child's will trumping the adults'? If taking the approach that the solution is for DH to just get used to having the TV on, even though it really, really bothers him, asking that of him is pretty much the same as the child's will trumping his. DH has already adjusted his expectations a huge amount -- he would prefer an almost- TV-free home, yet DS1 is currently watching an hour-long Life of Mammals DVD for the fifth time in a row today (which, in turn, followed upon an hour long Barrage concert video DVD -- something I wanted to watch), and DH has not complained. I really don't think that him wanting to have some peaceful, TV-free evenings with his family is too much to ask.

(And even if DS wore headphones, the kids watching TV does change the social dynamic and the relaxed atmosphere of the room, and thus still wouldn't meet that need of DH's (and sometimes of mine) in the same way. Plus, DS1 is three and doesn't like headphones -- knowing him, he'd probably be scared to put them on his head. Thank you for the suggestion though.)
post #35 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniey View Post

So far I have a very horrible list in my head of "the things that RUs do and think" and I bet none of them are accurate. I have tried doing some searching on the internet but keep coming back here hoping for a definition. It seems to be that no one really wants to (or can?) define it.
I find it difficult to verbalize because, to me, it's just the way we are. (And this is probably why saying things like, "I respect my children" causes a stir--to me, that's clarification. But, not everyone understands what I mean by that. I don't separate out "unschooling for education" from "unschooling for the rest of the time." The way we live has aspects of RU, TCS and CL, but we don't "follow" any of them. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to tease out the parts that are RU alone, as I feel there is much overlap.

Why not ask questions about that list in your head and maybe people can tell you if they think it's accurate, or dispute it.
post #36 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milakais View Post
But how is having to do "a lot of adjusting your expectations" in this case really all that different than the child's will trumping the adults'? If taking the approach that the solution is for DH to just get used to having the TV on, even though it really, really bothers him, asking that of him is pretty much the same as the child's will trumping his. DH has already adjusted his expectations a huge amount -- he would prefer an almost- TV-free home, yet DS1 is currently watching an hour-long Life of Mammals DVD for the fifth time in a row today (which, in turn, followed upon an hour long Barrage concert video DVD -- something I wanted to watch), and DH has not complained. I really don't think that him wanting to have some peaceful, TV-free evenings with his family is too much to ask..
In our family, I did more adjusting because I tended to be the one with more entrenched ideas. I didn't like background noise, it annoyed me, and I'd lived that reality for so many years that it had become my only reality. Rain grew up with more fluidity, and no hard and fast rules, and I think this gave her the ability to be more flexible in her thinking. She was very set on what she wanted, but she was often very flexible about the way it would happen, if that makes sense.

I think if I had gone into it thinking about "putting up with" the noise without complaining, I would have resented Rain and her TV, so that's not what I did. Instead, I really tried to like it - to watch while I did other things, and to learn more about what my child enjoys. I've honestly gotten to the point where I turn on the TV when Rain's not home and half-watch it, just because I like having it on now.

And of course there are other possibilities - maybe your husband could suggest playing a game together as a family for the evening, or doing an art project - something your son would like more than TV. Or you could set up a TV in a bedroom, and create a snuggly place where your son would enjoy watching TV. Whatever works...

Dar
post #37 of 143
people asked for a definition, so i'm trying to define it. i despise labels, i've fought my entire life to avoid them, but for the sake of communicating, especially with people that can't see or hear me, i use them. i wasn't trying to make anyone 'fit' the label. i was using the example given to help try to clarify the definition of the label.
post #38 of 143
post #39 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
In our family, I did more adjusting because I tended to be the one with more entrenched ideas.

Yes, I found that to be true also. It's not that I was "giving in" but rather questioning things that I had held to be truth. So many times, when my ds was small, I'd be on the verge of saying, "No." and when I stopped to ask myself "why not?" there really wasn't a reason. My initial response was because that's the way I was raised, or that's just the way it's done, or whatever. Most of the time, those things were disguised as what I wanted, but upon examination, it turned out not to be.
post #40 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Sometimes solutions are easy and sometimes it takes a lot of creativity and trying many different ideas. I think the key is to be wide open about the possibilities for making it work. And it's going to be a very individualized solution. In your situation, *I* might add a twin bed next to ours to make it even bigger, or I might put the cat elsewhere, or I might get up and make some chamomille tea to help myself fall asleep, or I might explain to everyone that while I like sleeping NEXT to them, I don't like people on TOP of me...maybe none of these will work for you, but that's my point--finding what works for you all might not be something that anyone else has thought of yet.

And, while everyone, (babies and small children included) should have their needs respected and be consulted regarding solutions, when they're very small, the parent is the one doing more of the work. Not that the parent gets to decide, or gets more of a say, but the parent needs to be the one to find the solution. The kids participate more actively in problem-solving as they get older, but their needs are met, regardless.

Thank you for taking time to post

I dunno about adding another bed. We have a 200x200 as it is. I am not going to make the old cat sleep someplace else. However, I do nudge her to the foot of the bed sometimes.

I am working with this solution so far: most nights dd (she's 9, by the way) goes to bed with us. some nights I ask her to sleep in her bed but ask for morning snuggles with me when she first wakes up. this gives dh and I time alone and I also get to fall asleep quicker and get better rest. HOWEVER, dd isn't happy the nights she is asked to sleep in her bed. So, see, someone is always going to be unhappy. I will keep trying though! (I'm in the middle of a huge move so dd is sleeping with us all the time right now because I think she needs the contact and because i'm too exhausted to give any "alone time" to dh! LOL)
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