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School is healthy, right? Some perspective, please. - Page 7

post #121 of 138
This is a great thread.

Re compliance: My DH just transfered to a new team at his work. Its at a middle school in a nearby town and he is a therapist. The school counselors refer kids to him that need more than they can offer and he meets with them and their family, etc. Well he was telling me about how he asked the secretary to get a young man out of his class and the kid refused to go. The secretary came back and told DH this and he said thats fine and headed back to his office. Well apparently the secretary did not find it okay that this child refused and went back to the class and MADE him come and see DH. DH is used to a very unschooly way when it comes to therapy. Therapy to him can be anything from a 50 minute hour to hiking to playing halo on the xbox. Its all about what the child needs/wants and that you get so much more out of it when you meet them where they are at rather than making them come to you. He said this kid would not even look him in the eye much less talk to him. He introduced himself asked the kid if he wanted to talk or go back to class, the kid said go back so he took him.

Anyway long story no point really. Well I guess just that school is so much about compliance. It made me kind of sad. He did not HAVE to see this boy right now, he would have found a way to get him involved.
post #122 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrganicSister View Post
I agree with the sentiment here. IME, I have found two things worth doing with people who are against what we do - either avoid the topic by any means possible (I'm not going to change their views, they aren't going to change mine so what is the point of arguing?) or find a common ground.

I haven't had much luck with the common ground among many of the anti-home/unschoolers in my life.

And I haven't ever directly lied but I've certainly rephrased the truth. It may not be what I want to do (especially since I love my soapbox) but sometimes it's the best thing to do for my child.
With most people, I simply avoid the conversation. I tell them that I am homeschooling. If they get snippy with me, I start spewing my credentials and ask them why I can teach other people's kids but not my own. Case closed. Period.

The only people that I will expend energy on is family or people that I feel can really help or hinder our experience.
post #123 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
With most people, I simply avoid the conversation. I tell them that I am homeschooling. If they get snippy with me, I start spewing my credentials and ask them why I can teach other people's kids but not my own. Case closed. Period.

The only people that I will expend energy on is family or people that I feel can really help or hinder our experience.
That's so odd. I've never encountered much resistance to unschooling at all. Maybe I explain it well enough that people understand (or maybe they're afraid of me!)? The most I ever get is questions out of interest or curiosity.
post #124 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybeedreams View Post
actually i don't believe this for a minute. the purpose of public schools is to prepare children to become good capitalists.....

try some reading on the history of public education and the underlying theory of what drives education in this country before you tell me i'm wrong. (one you can start with is "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire)
That's my problem! My training in activist and popular education! Love Paulo Freire.
post #125 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
I don't see it as being dishonest. I feel that my kids have to learn how to read and write and do some math. I am not, however, going to prescribe when or how it is done. I don't know any parent that would deliberately raise children to be illiterate. Maybe that is just me though.
Bolding mine. I think the bolded part shows where we're seeing some things differently. You talk about "deliberately raising children to be illiterate" as if that's the only alternative to parents having a goal that kids "learn how to read and write and do some math."

See, I believe that if I'm available to help my children pursue the things they want, this will also lead to them learning whatever they need to learn to get where they want to be. And, of course, I agree with you that it's unlikely that anyone in our society could achieve his or her own personal goals without learning to read and write and do some math.

But I don't see it as me needing to have a goal that my kids "learn the 3 r's." Still, I do agree that there's probably not a point in trying to explain all that to anyone who's not an unschooler, or at least open to unschooling.

Quote:
I am not disagreeing with you. I am trying to phrase things in such a way that might get somebody that is anti-homeschooling to see the legitimacy of it. Sometimes it isn't what you say but how you choose to say it.
That's a noble goal! From my own experience, I don't have much hope that someone who's anti-unschooling is likely to see the legitimacy of it just because I present it like, "See, what you're doing and what I'm doing is all serving the same purpose."

If I do manage to persuade them of our "commonality" -- I don't know so much that they'd see "the legitimacy of unschooling" -- since the "unschooling" they'd likely be envisioning wouldn't even be what we were actually doing.

That said, having read OrganicSister's post, I realize I don't always feel wrong about "rephrasing the truth" -- especially where my children's well-being is concerned. But the "rephrasing" I'd now be willing to do, wouldn't be to help others see the legitimacy of unschooling -- but simply to avoid sending up any "red flags" that might make someone think my kids are "at risk" for educational neglect.

Quote:
When I say fit in, I am not talking about the notion that you need to be able to socialize with kids your own age and be accepted by those around you. When I say fit it, I am referring to the basic ability to take care of yourself and fit into society as a whole. DH and I are complete weirdos and have never ever "fit in" in the traditional sense. We find our own way but we had to undo a lot of thinking to erradicate the whole notion that we had to be accepted by our peers and those around us. That whole concept is hogwash in my book. I am talking about fitting in at a much more basic level. I expect my kids to become self sufficient and move out at some point in their lives even if that is after I am dead and gone. The truth of the matter is that I will not always be here to take care of them. It is my job to help them find their own way in life.
But the truth of the matter is also that no child comes into the world wanting to forever sit back and be taken care of. Children and young people have a strong innate urge to pursue autonomy (and also interdependence), and as long as they're encouraged and not hindered, they'll continue to grow, both in their autonomy and in their ability to live interdependently with others.

I, therefore, don't need to have their self-sufficiency as my goal. It's their goal and I'm just here to help.
post #126 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
I have the opposite perspective. I think that it makes more sense to let children stay home in the early years so that they can learn freely and mature enough to make decisions for themselves without being dependent on their peers for their opinions.
Agree with the person who said that we let dd's personality decide, to a degree. Although dh/grandparents/local culture are pushing so hard for school that she has stated repeatedly that she is going to kindergarten at 5, and in the next breath said that she finds school classrooms way too busy. My other fear is that if she does go to kindergarten, she will fit in well. She will be praised as a good, smart kid, as I was, and she will become very influenced by peers and school culture. Ok, please no flaming, but I think I'm afraid of brainwashing her in either direction. I don't want to push my homelearning agenda on her, nor do I want her to experience school and due to praise and peer influence decide to stay. I'd like her to be able to weigh the good and the bad of school...and she's only three!

Honestly, this is why I'd prefer to keep her in p/t school, p/t home until she is older and has the ability to weigh decisions in that way.

I'm not sure how we inform our 3 and 4-year-olds about these choices in a way that allows them to truly choose what they feel comfortable with. Any thoughts? We've visited several schools casually, as part of human rights education work, and we'll visit them again as visitors...aside from that?

library lady, I agree that this thread (and my dilemma) have become somewhat about creating a bridge of respect between public schooling, other schooling, homeschooling, and unschooling. A subject that brings up just as much passionate debate as a child's sleep does, or SAHM/WOHM, or all that. Although in those two arenas I have generally found a respectful balance in my home and my community. In the sleep arena, dh agreed on no CIO as long as I dealt with all of dd's sleep issues (and I have). And in our community, most moms WOH/WAH at least part time, because of the huge cost of living here. But although our community has a great and diverse group of homelearners/waldorf/private/public schoolers, I still don't feel broad support for homelearning being a positive choice.
post #127 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
That's so odd. I've never encountered much resistance to unschooling at all. Maybe I explain it well enough that people understand (or maybe they're afraid of me!)? The most I ever get is questions out of interest or curiosity.
We unschool but I don't use that vocabulary. When we were at a family function of DH's, we mentioned that we homeschool. DH's cousin commented that the only reason to homeschool was for religious reasons.: He had some other not so favorable things to say. I wasn't about to explain anything to him. It would have been a complete waste of breath. DH's mother is very opposed to homeschooling. If I tried to mention unschooling to her, she would come unglued. I have to be very, very careful about the terminology that I use with DH's family. Another cousin of DH's is a public school teacher and she is constantly looking down her nose at us because we homeschool. For some people, no amount of explaining will make them understand. They have made up their minds and are unwilling to change. Those are the people that I won't even entertain a conversation with because it is futile.

I haven't encountered much resistance with my family or friends but my entire family has always been proud of the fact that we are, um, different.
post #128 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
We unschool but I don't use that vocabulary. When we were at a family function of DH's, we mentioned that we homeschool. DH's cousin commented that the only reason to homeschool was for religious reasons.: He had some other not so favorable things to say. I wasn't about to explain anything to him. It would have been a complete waste of breath. DH's mother is very opposed to homeschooling. If I tried to mention unschooling to her, she would come unglued. I have to be very, very careful about the terminology that I use with DH's family. Another cousin of DH's is a public school teacher and she is constantly looking down her nose at us because we homeschool. For some people, no amount of explaining will make them understand. They have made up their minds and are unwilling to change. Those are the people that I won't even entertain a conversation with because it is futile.

I haven't encountered much resistance with my family or friends but my entire family has always been proud of the fact that we are, um, different.
Ahhh... I see. We're very proud of being weird too, in my family. Both of my step-parents are public school teachers and neither of them has ever said anything to me about it. My dad is very pro-public school and he at least recognizes and respects my decision, even if he doesn't entirely relate to it. My step-father is even doing our assessments! I can see, though, that there are folks out there who would be adversarial. It just hasn't been my experience with people I was close to. Strangers can be easily dismissed...
post #129 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
My step-father is even doing our assessments!
What -- you mean your state of "in the dark with Irish Mommy" requires assessments for a 6yo and a 3yo?!

Oh, I guess some states do have 6 as the mandatory school attendance age, huh?
post #130 of 138
Yeah, the 6yo.
post #131 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
But the truth of the matter is also that no child comes into the world wanting to forever sit back and be taken care of. Children and young people have a strong innate urge to pursue autonomy (and also interdependence), and as long as they're encouraged and not hindered, they'll continue to grow, both in their autonomy and in their ability to live interdependently with others.

I, therefore, don't need to have their self-sufficiency as my goal. It's their goal and I'm just here to help.
We are saying the same thing. The major difference is that you are using child centered vocabulary and I am using the more "acceptable" adult centered vocabulary. I was forced to live with a person that is very opposed to homeschooling. It was a real eye opener for me. My MIL was of the opinion that children's lives have to be micromanaged in order for them to "succeed". A child left to his/her own devices is very dangerous. Children have to be shaped and molded and can't be trusted. Being child centered is just not acceptable. If you don't lay down the law, then you will be manipulated, blah, blah, blah. I learned really fast to adjust my vocabulary to be more adult centered. I never ever changed what I was doing. I just changed the vocabulary that I used to describe what I was doing. For some reason, that made a little bit of a difference.

I completely agree with your statement about the innate urge to pursue autonomy. To me, it is as obvious as the nose on my face but that is not the case for some people. My children are constantly asking questions and we are constantly answering those questions or helping them to find the answers for themselves. MIL was constantly telling my kids not to ask questions. According to MIL, children should just do what they are told without asking questions. That innate desire must be squashed so that they can be shaped/molded to fit what is "acceptable". I came from a family that was constantly encouraged to ask questions so it was completely foreign to me. I am still having a difficult time wrapping my mind around some of the things that she said and did.

The quote "All men by nature desire to know." by Aristotle is our guiding principle. Trying to bridge the huge gap between our ideas and MIL's ideas is next to impossible. All I wanted was for her to not berate and belittle or squash my children's natural desire to know. It is very difficult to live with someone that cannot see the value of homeschooling. Getting her to tolerate homeschooling was a huge feat. Trying to delve into the notion of unschooling would be completely impossible. Sometimes you have to start small and take whatever concessions you can get.
post #132 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by library lady View Post
We are saying the same thing. The major difference is that you are using child centered vocabulary and I am using the more "acceptable" adult centered vocabulary.
I'm sorry you had to live in such a difficult position with your MIL!

If I had it to do over with my family (these people are still alive, but we're no longer in-touch), I would have started setting my boundaries a lot sooner than I did. I ended up refusing to get into certain discussions, just cutting a visit short, and hanging up or leaving, if someone wasn't respecting my boundaries ...

But before I did all that, I was stupid enough to spend considerable time sharing my philosophies with them. This gave them lots of inside information that they didn't need, and that they later used against me, after they gave up on trying to control me directly, and tried (unsuccessfully) to get the authorities involved.
post #133 of 138
hmm
post #134 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I'm sorry you had to live in such a difficult position with your MIL!

If I had it to do over with my family (these people are still alive, but we're no longer in-touch), I would have started setting my boundaries a lot sooner than I did. I ended up refusing to get into certain discussions, just cutting a visit short, and hanging up or leaving, if someone wasn't respecting my boundaries ...

But before I did all that, I was stupid enough to spend considerable time sharing my philosophies with them. This gave them lots of inside information that they didn't need, and that they later used against me, after they gave up on trying to control me directly, and tried (unsuccessfully) to get the authorities involved.
At the time, I was miserable but now I am really glad I had that experience. I have learned a lot about myself and have learned a completely different perspective that I didn't know existed. I had a taste of it from being in the public school system but it was nothing like the attitudes and beliefs of MIL.

I have never been foolish enough to share my philosophies with DH's family. Coming from a family of misfits taught me early on to be very selective and deliberate in how I approach certain topics. I am just trying to share my knowledge and experience to help the OP try to figure out a way to bridge the gap and make a decision that is truly best for her child.
post #135 of 138
Thread Starter 
We actually agreed on something last night!

The local school district may implement all-day kindergarten for 5-year-olds by next September. I'm rather stressed out by that. I don't know if it's going to be mandatory or if there will be a half day option. If full day is mandatory, most of the teachers will do free play in the afternoon. I said that I see no point in having dd in class playing when she could be playing at home in the afternoon, especially if I am also at home that day. And dh agreed! :

Now if school is full day and she goes, the logistics of pulling her every afternoon might be a bit much, but at least it looks like dh might support that. That's something.

They're looking at implementing full-day preschool for 3+ (public) by 2012. Arg! Obviously, our provincial government thinks that children ages 3+ would be better cared for in school than by parents.
post #136 of 138
I have just been glancing over these posts, and many seem very un-unschooly. Just an observation but isn't unschooling about doing something different from school? Not forcing a curriculum but exposing one to life's "whole" lessons, unseparated by subject matter? I was reading John Taylor Gatto's (former NY state teacher of the year) book on http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/ and he emphasizes that the younger years are the most important years to not be part of the PS enviroment. They are very malliable at that age and their individual sense of self is more vulnerable to trampling.
post #137 of 138
Thread Starter 
Yep, they're unschooly for a reason. I posted the thread because my dh is a teacher and I would like to unschool dd, and we're having trouble discussing this because we come from very different points of view. So I was (and am) looking for ways to bridge the gap between the "school is required if kids are going to learn" (dh) and "I want to unschool. I don't believe that school is a positive thing!" (me).
post #138 of 138
tricia, i just wanted to mention that a good friend is (former) reading teacher and despite the many discussions she and i had about unschooling and her desire that language develop naturally in her DD, she wasn't able to unschool. she just couldn't do it. while her approach to teaching reading is gentle and relaxed, it certainly isn't unschooling. it does distress me sometimes that she said she wanted something for her DD and then ended up in the total opposite direction... but i understand how things can change sometimes when we are parents.

i think for her, some deschooling would have gone a long way.

but many parents seem very resistant to deschooling.... i guess it starts with admitting the need to actually do it and that is a sticking point with many.

so many that might be a place for you and your DH to start? to talk about how he might be able step out of his beliefs about learning and school and become open to different ideas and paradigms.
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