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is unschooling illegal? - Page 3

post #41 of 51
Well, here's what's happening at my unschooled/homeschooled house today (not radical unschoolers here, but still ....):

we have the annual Children's Festival in our town this week and we went to see an amazing play called "The Spirit of Harriet Tubman" this morning. A few days ago I began discussing with my dc what we would be seeing and my dd pulled "Freedom Train" off the shelf and read most of it. After seeing the play and discussing it I mentioned that we have several other books on the shelf about the underground railroad and dd8 has spent most of the afternoon lying on the couch devouring "The Last Safehouse".

So, a day full of history for my dc, all without a textbook or workbook. No reports or essays will be written, no comprehension questions will be asked, but we will tell daddy all about it when he gets home!

Should this be illegal? Is it abusive? Would my dc have been better off in school today, yawning and watching the clock?

They also played outside, made lunch, visited with grandparents, helped with yardwork....
post #42 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1growingsprout View Post
Unschooling is ONE OF MANY WAYS to homeschool. Your best answer is going to come from your state department of education. If you have concerns about how to homeschool, contact your state homeschool rep.
But wait... In California, for one, the state department of education used to continually give out misinformation about the legality of homeschooling. It was only their opinion, and an unenforceable one at that - just their own interpretation of the laws we operated under. And they were wrong - the current DOE leadership doesn't interpret it the way the last one did. You don't want to check with the department of education about homeschooling legalities - you want to check with your big state volunteer homeschooling organizations that are run by homeschoolers who have made it their business to know the laws. - Lillian
post #43 of 51
I live in Illinois. The laws for our state are pretty lax. Many have told me how horrible this is when I answer their questions about what we "have" to do. No testing, no supervising teacher, no portfolios required. Although, I will keep one for my kids and my sense of security. There is a crazy school superintndant that has harrassed homeschoolers in our area ... showing up with squad cars on their lawn... Although I know I am within my legal rights, I can get a little nervous. I don't tell everyone our style of homeschooling. I have talked to HSLD about joining... just for extra insurance. They said that "maybe" they would accept our application..... not having an actual curriculum makes it more difficult for them to protect us.
post #44 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by campbellsoup View Post
I live in Illinois. The laws for our state are pretty lax. Many have told me how horrible this is when I answer their questions about what we "have" to do. No testing, no supervising teacher, no portfolios required.
Oh, I remember that! Someone would be all impressed about the fact that we were homeschooling, and would be commenting on how we could do such a better job than the schools - and then, when they found out we didn't have to do any of that reporting, they'd look stricken. They simply couldn't comprehend that this could be possible - they'd keep asking the questions in different ways, because they were sure we just weren't on the same page. - Lillian
post #45 of 51
I don't know if this has already been brought up, but in California, through the private school (R4) option, you have to "offer" certain subjects. There is no requirement for the child to actually do any of it. That seems to describe a lot of what goes on around here - I offer it up, and he's free to say yes or no.

I'm guessing the dialogue the OP had went something like this:

"So what curriculum do you use/subjects do you teach/tests do you use?"
"We don't do any of that. He's free to do whatever he wants during the day."
"You mean, you don't teach him to read or do math or anything?"
"If he's interested we pursue it, but no, I don't sit down with a textbook at a certain time each day and force it."
"OMG, how will he ever learn anything? That sounds like child abuse!"

Understanding unschooling takes the ability to step back and consider the possibility that there are other alternatives completely contrary to what you have always known to be the only answer. I've found that this is really difficult for a lot of people to do.
post #46 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I don't know if this has already been brought up, but in California, through the private school (R4) option, you have to "offer" certain subjects. There is no requirement for the child to actually do any of it. That seems to describe a lot of what goes on around here - I offer it up, and he's free to say yes or no.

I'm guessing the dialogue the OP had went something like this:

"So what curriculum do you use/subjects do you teach/tests do you use?"
"We don't do any of that. He's free to do whatever he wants during the day."
"You mean, you don't teach him to read or do math or anything?"
"If he's interested we pursue it, but no, I don't sit down with a textbook at a certain time each day and force it."
"OMG, how will he ever learn anything? That sounds like child abuse!"

Understanding unschooling takes the ability to step back and consider the possibility that there are other alternatives completely contrary to what you have always known to be the only answer. I've found that this is really difficult for a lot of people to do.
That sounds spot on to me. I wasn't offended at all at the OP. I have encountered very few people who are even willing to listen, they hear one sentence about not using a curriculum and can't open their mind to even hear more and let their imaginations run wild.
post #47 of 51
The OP didn't offend me at all. I've had similar experiences as well. I've read, researched, prayed, discussed and worried about this journey. So one day when I was wanting to meet like-minded moms at a HS park play-date, the ONE mom I ended up talking to says "OMG have you heard about those people who UnSchool?...that's just crazy and neglectful!" Well I was one of "those" unschoolers! Sometimes, Even families who homeschool have a hard time wrapping their heads around the USing concept. So now, I sort of take the same stance on USing that I take with no-vaxing...it's on a need to know basis . Only with people who are genuinely interested.
Right now I'm just trying to deal with the in-laws!:
post #48 of 51
I can see how people would think it is child abuse - even with a very good deffinition of unschooling...I have not gotten such comments yet about our family, but when it comes to how we 'parent' - I have. A lot of people think consensual living is permissive...borderline child abuse. I know my MIL thinks a lot of the things my son can do (simply because I trust him and hes comfortable enough to do it - which to me says hes just fine) is bordline neglectful. Just yesterday she had a go at me for letting him try a peanut (nevermind hes has all 20 teeth for over a year now and is nearly 3 lol)...If he puts it in his mouth and attempts to eat it, hes fine! - He spit it out anyhow as he didnt like it (they were salted so I agree lol) - and I let him run barefoot in the grass! lol...I am just so very neglectful!

Very few people I talk to understand unschooling - but this is simply because they have been so schooled themselves, its hard to step outside of that box and see it a different way. I usually just stick with telling people we 'home educate' - only when they ask about what they have to learn and what tests they have to take do I explain a bit about unschooling. The only other comment I get is about my credentials and if I am trained as a teacher - it makes me chuckle a bit because people must really think everyone in the world is extremely dumb. But it also makes me sad because it shows how much people distrust their own children as well (with other comments they make and through their own actions).

personally - I know what I see as child abuse...an unschooling is certainly not that!
post #49 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigeresse View Post
But what if gaming is your child's passion? When does allowing them to pursue something that gets such a bad rap cross the line from unschooling into "neglect"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
IMO, it becomes "neglect" when the child is bored and turns to gaming because there's nothing else to do, no other creative resources to explore, and his or her parents aren't available to answer any questions or interact with the child.

If there are a wealth of resources available and the child still chooses gaming, it's not neglect.
Ok, but I'm going back to Tigeresse's question. I've heard of non-neglect, unschooling families for whom gaming is almost, if not a 24/7 obsession. I could easily see how someone unfamiliar or not quite accepting of unschooling would easily see such an obsession as neglect. This is not to say that the child is bored nor that she/he had sufficient outlets for proper research capabilities and has had an adult to facilitate interest. This is to say that an X neighbor or relative sees this child playing games (again) and now harbors an interests in that child. They wish to know if this child is neglected education simply because the education they are receiving is not the "norm." So they take it upon themselves to call the local authorities.

I can't see this being a norm, but I can't see this from being far off from an true life experience -- that some family who was in the midst of true learning would come under the eye of government authority because someone did not understand homeschooling and didn't bother to ask them what was going on.
post #50 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
Thank you to all those of you posters who were nice for explaining how unschooling is viewed by the gov't/legal community where you live.
I just want to point out that states have "home"schooling laws. Unschooling falls under the umbrella of homeschooling. My state requires x number of hours of various subjects to be taught during the school year. It is really hard to live life (the way we live it, anyway!) without reading, writing, talking, doing math, science, etc. I absolutely track the required hours and we have no trouble meeting them well before the school year is over (we unschool year round, of course). Why do government officials, school officials, absolute strangers worry about my family loving to learn? Why do so many people think learning should be unpleasant? Because people can't see outside the box. Its the same narrow-minded view that so many people have/had about breastfeeding beyond infancy or breastfeeding in public. The mentality seems to be if its not the way I did it (or the status quo does it), then it must be wrong.
post #51 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by heket View Post
Ok, but I'm going back to Tigeresse's question. I've heard of non-neglect, unschooling families for whom gaming is almost, if not a 24/7 obsession. I could easily see how someone unfamiliar or not quite accepting of unschooling would easily see such an obsession as neglect. This is not to say that the child is bored nor that she/he had sufficient outlets for proper research capabilities and has had an adult to facilitate interest. This is to say that an X neighbor or relative sees this child playing games (again) and now harbors an interests in that child. They wish to know if this child is neglected education simply because the education they are receiving is not the "norm." So they take it upon themselves to call the local authorities.

I can't see this being a norm, but I can't see this from being far off from an true life experience -- that some family who was in the midst of true learning would come under the eye of government authority because someone did not understand homeschooling and didn't bother to ask them what was going on.
Oh I have no doubt that some people (*coughIn-lawscough ) are convinced that I have been totally neglectful with my kids' education. My Ds (almost 17) plays games, mainly PC lately, for hours. I know it's his interest, his passion, what gets his mind working right now, and I know that it makes him happy. I also know that he learns a lot from doing it. My MIL cannot see that at all. She just sees him on the computer. "Doing nothing" I could tell her about the reading he does, the math involved, the crazy typing skills he has, the research he's done, the things he's learned quite by accident from his game plots, etc. None of it would matter because "how is that going to help him get a job and be the future of this country". Apparently, she'd prefer world leaders who never read and can't type? I dunno.

Anywhooo, some people do have a hard time with the shift in thinking. If the authorities were ever, trees forbid, involved in our personal lives and our unschooling came under a magnifying glass I am sure that it would look "bad" to them. But, I know it's legal here, I know I have met my state requirements, and I know that's all that needs to matter to them. The rest? Well they can just go hang out with people they approve of lol.
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