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Unschoolers - please tell me your "rules" - Page 3

post #41 of 61
Quote:
Originally posted by Cassidy [/i] This thread is awesome -- we are dealing with our own combination of these issues at our house. First, I should say that we were "radical" unschoolers last year and this fall we have started using a classical outline in order to regularly have "stuff to do." My daughter was very discouraged that we "weren't doing anything," and she had a hard time appreciating how much she was learning without having a pattern of completed activities to look back on. So we are now more structured and goal-oriented unschoolers, in a very child-led sort of way.




Hi, I just started homeschooling my 8 yr old son this fall. I am also pregnant, edd 10/01/03. I have been taking it easy as far as his curriculum for now, not being very rigid due to both my "condition" and lack of knowledge. My main concern was getting him out of the school system and undoing the damage done there. We are studying/working based on a few different ideas very flexibly. We visit museums, art galleries and libraries regularly. I would like to know more about what you and other unschooling parents do for your kids to learn reading, math, social studies, science etc.

My son goes to the Boys & Girls club for approx 3-4 hrs a day where he is on the basketball team and gets to socialize and play with other kids. Are there any other parents with only one child unschooling? What are your days like, what do you do?

I am very new to all this. I appreciate all the help and ideas I can get.

Thanks, Nadia
mother of two
Gabriel - born 9/8/95
Sam edd 10/01/03
post #42 of 61

one thing I do know...

Kids benefit from learning early on that everything in the world involves an exchange. You want something you have to give something in return. We can look at our own lives and see that we are happy when we have to work for things to make them happen. This applies for kids too.

My son works in the house and gets points for cleaning, helping me, having a good, problem solving attitude (as opposed to wallowing or whinning) amongst other things. Each point is worth money that he can use towards whatever he wants. On the other hand if i have to repeat myself many times, if he is disrespectful or otherwise makes my life unpleasant he has to pay me for enduring this behavior and having to work extra to handle the problem.

So far this has worked in getting his agreement and cooperation in helping in the house. I have never, no lie, since he could sit up and do it himself, have picked up toys after him. He puts away his clothes, keeps his room very neat, does chores. It's not always with a big, willing grin, but he understands that everything in life has consequences good and bad. He looks forward to saving up enough money to buy that toy at Discovery Channel, etc.

You are not doing your kids any favors by letting them get away this behavior. Tough but loving is the way to go, always reminding and reassuring that they are ok people, they are better than that kind of behavior, you love them and that what you are doing is in their best interest.

I hope this advice will help and I look forward to hearing from you.
post #43 of 61

Re: one thing I do know...

Quote:
Originally posted by NadiaSJ
Kids benefit from learning early on that everything in the world involves an exchange. You want something you have to give something in return. .......

My son works in the house and gets points for cleaning, helping me, having a good, problem solving attitude (as opposed to wallowing or whinning) amongst other things. Each point is worth money .......

He looks forward to saving up enough money to buy that toy at Discovery Channel, etc.
What's missing for me in this tactic is empathy and giving. Your parenting style doesn't fit with my worldview and values. If it fits with yours, that's great, and I'm glad it's working for you. But it isn't for me. Here's why.

I believe that we should do stuff not to get stuff, but because it is right to do. I believe that you help out in a family because that's what families do, no because it will get you similar help. I believe that giving for the sake of giving is a value worth aspiring to. I believe that "doing good" should be its own reward.

I'd also be very uncomfortable putting money in a position of power over my kids, of turning their behaviour into a commercial economy. My kids are very money-unaware, and I like that. I happen to have made a lot of lifestyle choices to try to get us out, as much as possible, of consumer culture. (We live in a remote rural area, don't watch commercial TV, barter for things where possible, grow much of our own food and make much of our own stuff.) My kids are, for the most part, growing up not lusting after toys and gimmicks. Just today my kids spent some of their money on potato chips which they're going to save to share with their babysitter when she's here for a visit on Saturday since they know how much she loves chips, and they gave me the remainder to send to a charity we worked for last month. They pool all their money together and generally buy whatever any of them wants with no concerns about monetary "fairness". This is behaviour I want to continue to nurture, and I think an incentive economy instituted by a parent would interfere with it by making them care a whole lot more about money. Or else the sharing the kids do would undermine an incentive economy, because Kids B and C would earn all the points and Kid A would share in their earnings :. It's probably also worth pointing out that my eldest two can earn $75 playing their violins for half an hour at the local market; what sort of kid would hang up a dirty towel for a point worth $0.25 knowing she can make that kind of easy money ?

Have you ever read "Punished by Rewards"? The "do this and you'll get that" paradigm is, I believe, fundamentally flawed. Some kids come out relatively unscathed, but it's not somewhere I'm willing to go.

My kids happen to be exceptionally well-behaved... everyone who knows them comments on that and we are often told "we're asking people not to bring kids, but we'd love to have yours". Sometimes I'm ready to tear my hair out because having two part-time jobs and four young kids underfoot 24/7 in a house with no storage space and with a husband who is rarely home is a huge challenge. But there's a big picture. I have sensitive, giving kids with unique personalities and amazing strengths and I think they're turning out fine.

Sorry my hackles are up... I felt a little "judged" especially by this comment:

Quote:
You are not doing your kids any favors by letting them get away this behavior........
I'm struggling to parent in a way that teaches values as the meaning and justification for behaviour, rather than simply focusing on the behaviour. Like others here I'm looking for support rather than criticism. I'd like to ruin my children's lives in peace, thanks

Miranda
post #44 of 61

Re: Re: one thing I do know...

Quote:
Originally posted by moominmamma
What's missing for me in this tactic is empathy and giving. Your parenting style doesn't fit with my worldview and values. If it fits with yours, that's great, and I'm glad it's working for you. But it isn't for me. Here's why...

Like others here I'm looking for support rather than criticism. I'd like to ruin my children's lives in peace, thanks

Miranda
Hey there Miranda, thanks for responding to my post. First off I would like to say that this was not directed to you as you didn't seem to be asking for any advice or talking about any problem with discipline with your kids. You all seem to be doing just fine in that department. I think that if my family lived on a farm and in the environment you do my parenting style would be a lot different. That is not the case as we live in a major city, where all of Gabriel's peers priority is Gameboy, PS2, what movie is out now, etc. It's not the way I would choose it to be but, IT IS WHAT IT IS. What we do works for us. Always open to consider and implement new ideas. Thank you for your repsonse again and I am sorry that you took what I said personally.

And now to clarify: This was directed to Cassidy and I my point was to offer another parenting style as an option to her, meanwhile presenting my points strongly as I always do and will. It seems like you may be having some trouble getting your kids to take responsability, so what I described is how I have made it into his "job" to do certain things and just like mom (not right now but b4), Josh (my husband), dad, aunts, grandma, everyone else goes to work and gets paid in exchange he does too.

I also explain to him that mom and dad have an exchange too, Josh works outside, at his job and brings home the money for us to eat and have things and to also pay him (Gabriel) for the work he does too, mom does most of taking care of the house as part of her exchange to the family. We all still help eachother. It's not about you owe me or I owe you. It's about exchange, everyone doing their particular hats to make it work for all of us. Everyone wins when they get there job done.

Like Ii mentioned b4, this works in our particular enviroment and for our child since he is money hungry and naturally independent.

It would be great if someone could give me some ideas on how I use unschooling with an only child (and a newborn tagging along very soon) who is 8 yrs old and has been in the system until just now (3rd grade). I am concerned with how I will document what I do for the required teacher review our state has. I also want to know how you get them to love to read and write after pulling them out of a system that had forced it on them making it not fun.

Thank you for your input, Nadia
post #45 of 61
Hey, Nadia - welcome to the boards, and to homeschooling. You might want to start a new thread to ask your questions, since they're sort of a topic switch and some people who aren't reading this thread might have some insight. There's also a thread from a day or two ago about homeschooling an only child.

You might want to read some older threads about homeschooling, too. I'm not sure if you've read muchabout unschooling, but it's just one fom of homeschooling, and if you're top priority is getting your son to love reading and writing it may not be the method for you right now.

I understand what you're saying about "exchanges", but I agree with Miranda that it seems too cut and dry and devoid of empathy for my value system. I don't want Rain to hep out at home because it's her way of "paying" for the food she eats, I want her helping because she feels like a competent member of our family whose efforts are needed and appreciated. Our family doesn't keep track - our family is the place where people pick up the slack for each other. I like your basic idea of everyone doing their part, but I also think caring about each other and helping each other just because it's the right thing to do is important. And maybe being money-hungry isn't a trait you want to nurture in your son....?

Dar
post #46 of 61

going to leave it alone

Looks like I came off the wrong way here. I don't feel like I was understood properly. I certainly don't make my son work for his food, since he makes average $20-$30/week to spend on whatever he likes. And he gets free food from his momma, imagine that. Going to just leave it alone with no further discourse. I thank you all for your input.

Nadia
post #47 of 61

unschooled and proud of it!

Hi, I just thought I’d give you a bit of encouraging news. I was/am an “UNSCHOOLER”.
I think my mom started out being semi-structural but as my third sibling came into the picture she realized that we wern't home schooling, we were un schooling! We did a lot of our schoolwork on the computer, but mostly we learned from real life, reading, shopping trips, how to care for a family etc. But then again being in Washington state we have fairly decent home schooling laws. We were able to avoid yearly testing (ugh!) as long as our mom filled out an “evaluation” and submitted a book report or something to that extent.

Living in the country we did have lots of animals, and thus lots of chores. We helped out around the house too, and as we got older and assumed more responsibility, we took over laundry, and dishes, and split up the remaining chores, to earn our “pay” we never did call it an allowance. I guess my parents didn’t want us to think that money came easy!

My sister and I both got our G.E.Ds when we turned 16(min. age allowed) the younger 2 aren’t old enough yet. I guess that was a requirement, but it was never forced, it was just something you have to have in order to get a job. The last several months of my “education” were spent preparing for the test (and no, it does not stand for Good Enough Diploma as some public school friends informed me at the time, it is actually much harder to acquire!) There are several good books that show you what subjects are on the test.

Now at 22, I am married, have a 1.5-year-old, another one due in April, and have a license in cosmetology. What did I do after I got my GED? I went to beauty school, followed by a year in a salon, then I went on to be a front office/desk manager at a corporate owned resort hotel in the area for 2 years. And now I can settle down to unschool my own family (momming is a full time job)
Yes UN schooling is relaxed in that you don’t follow strict schedules, but you are always learning!

If I have one word of advice its this: look at your kids, are they happy, do they ask questions, compare them to public school kids in that age group, which one would you rather claim? Kids start off with this great ability to learn and if it is encouraged the sky is the limit!
(P.s. the library is great for all kinds of videos, and learning materiel, also check your local area for classes or seminars where kids are welcomed, I’ve been to some great ones where people dressed up to talk about a specific time period) just use every opportunity, because they are always learning, it doesent matter if it's how you interact at the check out stand, or the most complicated math problem, take advantage!


“School takes 13 years because that is how long it takes to break a child’s spirit” M. L. King JR
post #48 of 61
moom, thanks so much for replying. I think it means so much to hear from adults that have been unschooled.
post #49 of 61

Rules vs. Principles

Quote:
Originally Posted by bestjob
Okay, folks, I need you to tell me how old your children are because I am getting a distinct sense that families with very young children find it easier to have fewer rules and families with older children need a few so that everyone knows what to expect.
I don't think that the older a child gets the MORE limits they need. In fact, I feel that that will only serve to cause trouble because "rules are meant to be broken".

Take a peek at some articles at Sandra Dodd's web site that deals with real life issues of parenting an unschooling family. There's even a page called "Rules vs. Principles". http://sandradodd.com/life

Peace out,
Tree Goddess
post #50 of 61
Hi...new here...

What is the difference between unschooling and homeschooling?

Thanks!
post #51 of 61
I think the thread has turned to music and practice now... but to address the original question:

We have but one rule in our family really: Respect. We all agreed on this rule together from the time they were younger. We respect ourselves, other people, and property. It doesn't mean we don't get ticked off, or have disagreements of course.. but it has worked just fine for us.

The children do not have chores. Everyone just pitches in to do what they can so we can have a comfortable place to live. They do not have any "educational" requirements. It's entirely up to them. In addition we do not limit television or computer usage in any way. We have encouraged them to have do what is healthy and responsible for them.. and to come to us with any questions or issues that might come up. We don't discipline. Kristi
post #52 of 61
Just had to say ITA with Tree Goddess about Sandra Dodd! Reading at her sites is a terrific way to gain understanding about some unschooling ideas and lifestyles. Kristi
post #53 of 61
Regarding the original question about rules: We don't really have any rules either. In fact, we were just discussing this in our family a few weeks ago while watching a T.V. show, Lizzie Maguire I think. The T.V. family was talking about the importance of following family rules. I asked my kids: "What rules do we have in our family?" and none of us could think of any!

Yet my kids are not "unruly" . They are very well liked, and other kids' parents are often telling me that they prefer having my kids over to some other kids they know. I take this to mean that whatever we're doing, it's working for my children's whole lives, not just here at home.

About chores: We have no assigned chores, but I do ask my kids to help with things - not everyday, though. Oh, my kids will be 8 and 10 at the end of the summer. We figure out what needs to be done, and what everyone would prefer doing. My kids really dislike picking up - their rooms, their toys in the living room, their craft projects on the kitchen table, their laundry, etc. so I do the bulk of picking up. They like to actually do the laundry, though, so I help them with this. They like to mop, vacuum, do windows, dust with our big duster, and wipe counters. They don't always like to do these things when I ask them to, though. I haven't made a big deal of it.

This is what I've noticed: As my son approaches his 10th birthday, and as he has never had assigned chores, work is not distasteful to him (as it already was to me at his age, having been given lots of responsibility, chores, and punishments about chores). He often volunteers to help me with my housework in many ways now - taking out the garbage for me, carrying the groceries in and helping me put them away, helping his dad with the yardwork, sweeping the front porch.

He still doesn't want to clean up his own room, though! :LOL so I do that. My dd - not quite 8, likes to help me fold the laundry (sometimes), she likes to dust, set the table, mop, and vacuum. She still needs help with some of this, and that's cool. She also doesn't like to clean up her own room - so I do that. I want to emphasize that they don't do these things regularly, but fairly frequently - and most important to me, they do them willingly and happily.

I like it this way - it's so much more peaceful and joyful than the way I grew up with constant haranguing and guilt trips and threats about the housework. I still have some resentment about housework that I'm sure stems from the way it was presented to me as I was growing up. I'm hoping my children will grow up to have a more natural attitude about it. So far, that seems to be the case.

Laura
post #54 of 61
I just remembered we do have one "rule." Sometimes my kids like to chase each other, or rough-house together. If at any time, one of the kids wants a game of this kind to stop, they say, "I don't want to play this game." and the game stops for that child then and there - no more chasing or rough-housing with that child.

It's a rule they came up with for themselves with some mediating from me. It works well for them.

Laura

P.S. I love love love this thread.
post #55 of 61
We have gone through periods of unschooling but usually we are compassionately structured ecclectic (how's that for a label?). When we go through a period of homeschooling, we have three rules:

1) No TV or other media entertainment.
2) No wasting. (Parent is judge of what is wasteful.)
3) Be kind and respectful to others.

As you might see, these rules encompass lots and lots of behavior. Not giving a child a new food because they didn't eat what they last asked for would fall under the "no wasting" category. Not using bad language would fall under the third rule. Refusing to take a bath would even fall under the "no wasting" rule, as we have to take good care of our bodies and health.

On the no TV front-- I know it is very hard to keep the TV/ videos/ DVDs off, but I have found that within 48 hours of being idiot-boxless the children are kinder to each other, like each other more, and are reading at least twice as much. Try it and see!!
post #56 of 61
Openskyheart wrote:
"I just remembered we do have one "rule." Sometimes my kids like to chase each other, or rough-house together. If at any time, one of the kids wants a game of this kind to stop, they say, "I don't want to play this game." and the game stops for that child then and there - no more chasing or rough-housing with that child."
================================================== ======
I agree with this. I can say we have that as well, but it would just fall under our "respect other people" rule. To continue rough play when someone has requested that it stop (for them at least) would be disrespectful of that person, their body, and their space. Kristi
post #57 of 61
Right on, Kristi! We think of our rule as a rule, because the kids developed clear guidelines - particular ways of expressing themselves so that they felt safe and respected when playing in particular ways. They really want the rough-housing, but they also really want to feel safe about it. The statement: "I don't want to play this game!" is the way they've been able to accomplish that.

ITA about respecting other people. We've had a lot of conversations about this very concept through the years.

Cheers!
Laura
post #58 of 61
NadiaSJ wrote:
"I would like to know more about what you and other unschooling parents do for your kids to learn reading, math, social studies, science etc."
================================================
Well I just answer any questions they might have, and I try to help them locate resources as they need/ask for them. That's about it Those subjects are everywhere, so we don't feel we need to "do" anything for them to learn them. Smiles, Kristi
post #59 of 61
The rules of our house:
* Always obey Mom and Dad. Obedience is doing what you are told when you are told to do it with a good attitude. Immediately , Completely and Cheerfully. If one of those things is missing it isn't obedience. (yes we adults follow this one too. When ds asked we don't call him his nickname in public we stopped immediately , completely and we did it with a smile. When I said "no media today" it was met with an immediate acceptance , completely understood and cheerfully followed out. Not to say they can't be dissapointed...that's natural.... but I don't want to hear whining all day about it. This particular rule has cut out ALL fits the kids were having. When we saw how well this rule worked for us we concluded the children WANTED boundaries. Wanted someone in charge.)

*No hurting or teasing others including animals. NO TICKLING unless you have a willing partner. (this stems from my own tickling issues as a child. another way to phrase this is "be mindful of others personal space")

*Share all toys.

*If it isn't yours don't touch it ask first.

*Use inside voices and behavior when indoors.

*Use things properly.(this was more for when they were younger. all three of my kids were daredevils and we were fearful of major accidents)

*If you don't have anything nice to say Keep Quiet until you can mind your tongue.(ie: no screaming and yelling in anger. yes this includes parents, yes the children have called me on it. )

The rules fit for our family. I find my children and I get along better when there are distinct rules set in place. Yes , we adults follow the rules too. For us it boils down to respect. Although I've been known to raise my voice when I'm sick (yesterday was a good example...blah@me) most of the rules are carried out with little to no heavy discipline. It really does appear they wanted us to install these rules. Everyone is much happier now.

Discipline is normally simple reminders : in order to have a co-exsisting peaceful home we need to follow the rules. "Please take your cops and robbers game outside. " vs " don't run and scream in the house" . Occasionally , rarely anymore ..since the rules have been installed , do we need to ground.

Religion : we attend the same Christian church on a regular basis and have for close to nine years. The children have NEVER said they didn't want to go. It's just a part of their lives. Yes we guide them spiritually to where we'd like to see them go. We feel that's part of our job as parents. But ultimately it's their decision to continue in the faith we've raised them in.

In our case the rules of the house allowed us ALL to live much more freely and peacefully. I know it sounds strict but it's really not.

Edit for ages of children : soon to be 12 , soon to be 10 and soon to be 7. All summer babies born within twenty days.
post #60 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubylyu
So, I'm wondering if it would be against your (plural your, to whomever is listening) principles to involve the piano teacher in a little "natural" consequence manufacturing. Could you have a talk with the teacher, and explain the situation, that you don't want to pay for lessons if the child won't practice, but you don't want to "punish" by taking lessons away or coerce the practicing... and have the teacher sit your child down and say, "I don't think you've been practicing enough for me to keep you as a student. I'm going to have to cancel our lessons unless I feel you are making progress. But if you are willing to practice at least 5 times a week and I'm seeing that kind of progress, I really don't want to lose you."

Is that kind of manipulation a no-no? Not exactly an unschooling question, but there was a lot of discipline talk going on. I grew up with spanking etc. and I'm trying to figure this whole positive discipline thing out, thanks for the input!
I am a piano teacher. I have been teaching for 11 years now. Most of my students are between 5 and 11 years old. I have had that particular talk with a couple of my students through the years. One of the times it was the parent's idea.

One of my student's is an unschooler. I never have to tell her to practice more. Her mother does have to remind her to practice on occassion, but she never has to force her to. She loves to play and puts forth the effort to learn her music. I do expect my students to practice 5 days a week. I personally find that teaching a piano lesson to a child who has not practiced that week is frustrating and a waste of time. I just end up reteaching them what I taught them last week. I personally feel like it is a waste of the parent's money.

That being said, I try very, very hard to keep my students interested in their piano studies. I don't just teach out of the lesson books. Some of my studen'ts like disney type songs, so I try to find them some disney music to play. If a student shows an interest in jazz or ragtime, I try to find them some of that music to work on. Some of my students really like to compose their own music, so we work on that too. It means some extra work for me, but my students are having fun playing the piano and being creative. I hardly ever have to remind my students to practice because they are having fun with their practicing.
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