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School is healthy, right? Some perspective, please. - Page 3

post #41 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Coltrane View Post
Not to rehash, but I keep thinking about the question that was brought up in this thread - " how can you instill independence in your child if you home/unschool them? "
I have a short story that happened today.
My boys, 3 and 5, dressed up for a Halloween party today. We were going to a nursing home to visit and do a costume parade for the elderly residents. We volunteer at this nursing home 2 times a month. To set the scene, I have to add that this is a nursing home for people that have had head traumas or have severe mental illness.
My unschooled 5 year old went up to most of the residents indepedently and said hello. He got a candy for our 96 year old friend Ruby, that we visit. He opened the candy for her and held it so she could eat it. She cannot do small tasks for herself. I was watching this from another part of the room. Then, he picked up the crumbs that had fallen and took them off her shirt for her and wiped her mouth.
Talk about being proud- and not because he did it at five. This was something that a large majority of people wouldn't do at any age. This took a level of compassion that is commendable at any age.
I think educational choices are all good if they are the kind that work for your family. Unschooling is totally working for us, no doubt about it.
That is one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. Thank you for sharing.
post #42 of 138
Mama Coltrane, if at the end of your son's long life, he's retained that level of compassion, he will have accomplished both the most difficult feat for the majority of human beings, and have understood the reason why we are all here together- the greatest mystery of the universe for most people.

I think he's grasped independence and has moved onto something better. What a beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing. :
post #43 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
At 5, my child WAS joined at the hip. Sending him to school at age 4 didn't prevent that and most likely made it worse. At age 7, he is much more independent. How your child is and how she does in school has very little to do with school and very much to do with your child. How my child is has very little to do with his being unschooled and very much to do with him being him. He is growing, learning, and thriving in the environment best suited to his needs and development. No disservice is being done.

That reminds me of a boy I used to babysit. His mother went back to work when He was 6 weeks old. he was in a different home daycare almost 2 1/2 yrs before I started watching him. I watched him full time for 6 months then he and DS went to 1/2 day preK together (DS in 4yr the neighbor kid in 3yr) and I watched him in the afternoons, holidays summer etc.

Well he started the state 4yr preK and at the first teachers meeting the teacher said something like: "J seems to be having trouble adjusting to being in a classroom and around other kids. It is very obvious that he has stayed at home with you since birth.

OTOH my 11 DD has never been to public school and is extremely outgoing/independent. There are many other examples of course that I can come up with, but my point is:
IMHO being independent/outgoing etc are more of a personality trait than something that is molded by whether or not mom "cuts the apron strings"
post #44 of 138
I needed independence as a child, my sister on the other hand, needed to be with my mother. I chose to home-school in high school because I was tired of being in an environment where I was stale-mate. I had learned everything I was going to from the too tired teachers and ridiculously old-fashioned cirriculum that didn't meet my learning needs. I finished high school in the summer of my sophomore year. My sister was forced to attend school when she really needed to be with my mother and it affected her completely. To this day, she is not well-adjusted and very insecure. She truly needed to be unschooled or at the very least home-schooled and she didn't get that and it has followed her for her entire life.

Not to sound petulant, but the fact that your daughter can read at 7 is not an amazing feat. I was reading before I went to kindergarten at age 4. My parent's didn't force me to learn to read, I wanted too and since they read to me, I wanted to learn how the letters worked, so I did the read along books and taught myself. Schooling and forcing had nothing to do with my learning abilities. I unschooled myself.

Each child is different and will react differently to scenarios. I know a whole host of unschooled children and they are some of the most kind-hearted, intelligent, forward-thinking people I have ever met! To imply that they will not be adjusted or be able to learn independence is truly offensive! I also know a whole host of public schooled children and many of them are disrespectful, bored and completely uninterested in life. This is not to say that ALL PS children are like this, but a good majority of them are. A teacher is NOT going to give your child morals or even go out of their way to help your child. They don't care too, they don't get paid too, and even if they wanted too, they can't. There are simply too many children to account for. This is a common problem and I have heard about it more times that you could count. The teachers are TIRED of parent's fousting their children off on the schools..assuming that the school system will teach the children everything about life that they need. It is not a babysitting grounds and while there are a few parents who choose to get involved in the learning process, most of them don't bother. There are inherent flaws in the PS system and to think that your child will get what they need from such a flawed system is naive at best.

Good for you if the school system is working for your family. Please don't come into this forum and berate those of us who unschooling is working for.


Perhaps forcing your child to do things she doesn't want to do and goading her into learning by berating her for not achieving "your" ideals for her on a test is going to backfire someday. Perhaps not. But I wouldn't want to be the one to test the thoery.
post #45 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamatolea View Post
...............

Not to sound petulant, but the fact that your daughter can read at 7 is not an amazing feat. I was reading before I went to kindergarten at age 4. My parent's didn't force me to learn to read, I wanted too and since they read to me, I wanted to learn how the letters worked, so I did the read along books and taught myself. Schooling and forcing had nothing to do with my learning abilities. I unschooled myself.

Each child is different and will react differently to scenarios. I know a whole host of unschooled children and they are some of the most kind-hearted, intelligent, forward-thinking people I have ever met! To imply that they will not be adjusted or be able to learn independence is truly offensive! I also know a whole host of public schooled children and many of them are disrespectful, bored and completely uninterested in life. This is not to say that ALL PS children are like this, but a good majority of them are. A teacher is NOT going to give your child morals or even go out of their way to help your child. They don't care too, they don't get paid too, and even if they wanted too, they can't. There are simply too many children to account for. This is a common problem and I have heard about it more times that you could count. The teachers are TIRED of parent's fousting their children off on the schools..assuming that the school system will teach the children everything about life that they need. It is not a babysitting grounds and while there are a few parents who choose to get involved in the learning process, most of them don't bother. There are inherent flaws in the PS system and to think that your child will get what they need from such a flawed system is naive at best.

Good for you if the school system is working for your family. Please don't come into this forum and berate those of us who unschooling is working for.


Perhaps forcing your child to do things she doesn't want to do and goading her into learning by berating her for not achieving "your" ideals for her on a test is going to backfire someday. Perhaps not. But I wouldn't want to be the one to test the thoery.


Well said
post #46 of 138
OP, it sounds like you've got lots of good advice for reading materials for your dh, and also for conversation-starters. I can't remember if it's already been mentioned, but Alison Mckee's Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves is a great read, written from the perspective of someone working within the school-system.

One cool fact is that your dd's only 3 now, which gives you guys lots of time to explore the issues, before she reaches mandatory schooling-age. I don't know what state you're in, but in my state (Missouri) kids don't have to be in school 'til age 7, so with my 3yo I still have another 4 years before I need to start keeping records and technically homeschooling.

It sounds like your dh has internalized the idea that children need to be taught how to learn, and even feels that this idea has worked for him -- but you seem to think his internalized value of being a "pleaser" is also causing him stress. Maybe, when it seems like a good time, you could gently put that out there for him to think about?
post #47 of 138
Thread Starter 
I do have a great reading list going, thank you! I need to log on to the library tonight and order all of them .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
It sounds like your dh has internalized the idea that children need to be taught how to learn, and even feels that this idea has worked for him -- but you seem to think his internalized value of being a "pleaser" is also causing him stress. Maybe, when it seems like a good time, you could gently put that out there for him to think about?
I have broached the topic, and I think that this is something we'd need to work on in counseling. Unfortunately, we haven't managed to get there together yet. I may continue working on that...or may drop it for a while.

I did take the suggestion of one of the earlier posters and ask dh if he'd feel better about homelearning if I followed a more structured path to reading and writing, doing a bit of "sit down" learning. He said that he'd need to give me the grade K-3 curriculum to make sure dd was learning the appropriate things. And I said that while I'd be interested in looking at the curriculum myself, I'd prefer to pace it to dd's interests and needs. We're at the usual back and forth about this, and it's still causing a fair bit of tension.

I also told him I was thinking of checking out some books on homeschooling to do more research, and that many of them were written by past or current teachers. His comment (we are Canadian) was that the US school system is much worse than the Canadian one, and that the sources were from the US. And was I going to read any pro-school books? I did suggest that he find me some pro-school books so I could compare notes.

I'm frustrated that our dialogue about this deteriorates into irritable sniping (on a very civilized level). Many times, in the spirit of good dialogue, I've tried to uncover his deeper interest in schooling and not snipe about the position he's taken. But I find that it takes so much effort, and I get crabby!

I also get crabby since I am the only one supporting this idea in our extended family, so I feel like I have no allies. The default position is that dd goes to school. If this does happen, I will continue to work part time so that I can be at the school, but I still don't feel like I will have enough substantial input into dd's learning (among other qualms).

Sorry for the grouchy post!
post #48 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Coltrane View Post
Not to rehash, but I keep thinking about the question that was brought up in this thread - " how can you instill independence in your child if you home/unschool them? "
I have a short story that happened today.
My boys, 3 and 5, dressed up for a Halloween party today. We were going to a nursing home to visit and do a costume parade for the elderly residents. We volunteer at this nursing home 2 times a month. To set the scene, I have to add that this is a nursing home for people that have had head traumas or have severe mental illness.
My unschooled 5 year old went up to most of the residents indepedently and said hello. He got a candy for our 96 year old friend Ruby, that we visit. He opened the candy for her and held it so she could eat it. She cannot do small tasks for herself. I was watching this from another part of the room. Then, he picked up the crumbs that had fallen and took them off her shirt for her and wiped her mouth.
Talk about being proud- and not because he did it at five. This was something that a large majority of people wouldn't do at any age. This took a level of compassion that is commendable at any age.
I think educational choices are all good if they are the kind that work for your family. Unschooling is totally working for us, no doubt about it.

your post brought tears to my eyes. your heart must've overflowed when you saw your son being so kind.
well done, mama.
thank you for sharing this.
(this is why i homeschool too)
post #49 of 138
Thread Starter 
that was a lovely post, mama coltrane. thank you
post #50 of 138
both my DH and my DS have a sensory modulation disorder... that means they can both find the world in general a fairly alarming place... DH went to school at 5 with all the other kids... his memories of school are of being bullied and frightened all the time. he also now is quite uncomfortable around people and in general dislikes them. my DS, who has never been to school, is still very social, loves people and is a very compassionate and outgoing little boy, despite his SMD.

i never get the logic behind the idea that forcing someone to do something equals them learning how to do it. allowing someone to *choose* to do something gives them the space and room to experiment with something new. and learn how to do it in a way they can feel comfortable with.

while some children may adjust to school just fine, for some children, school is a toxic place. one size does not fit all.
post #51 of 138
Another thought: Have you ever looked at the Enki curriculum? I wonder if that satisfy your dh's need for curriculum but embrace your wish for natural learning rhythms. Enki emphasizes the need for each family to find their own way and their vast materials (very suited for early childhood) are only suggestions and guides. I love the energy of Enki and we choose to unschool. It was more just inspiring for me and if my mom (a school teacher) starts asking questions about my plans I might drop the name to "assure" her that we indeed to have a "plan".
post #52 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
I also told him I was thinking of checking out some books on homeschooling to do more research, and that many of them were written by past or current teachers. His comment (we are Canadian) was that the US school system is much worse than the Canadian one, and that the sources were from the US. And was I going to read any pro-school books? I did suggest that he find me some pro-school books so I could compare notes.
Some Canadian sources for you

Matt Hern (his book is Field Day) - he's Canadian and he writes on alternative education including free schools, homeschooling.

Michael Reist Micheal helped established the Beaches School, a free school in Toronto, he's an associate prof at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (U of T), and a high school English teacher outside Toronto. He and his wife unschooled their kids until highschool. He's a fabulous speaker and I don't know how much travelling he does but he is well worth the trip if he speaks somewhere near you.
ETA just came across this - might be interesting for both of you.

Wendy Priesnitz who has written a number of books and edits Life Learning magazine.

Fraser Institute Report

Gordon Neufeld used to have some pro homeschooling material on his website but it seems to have disappeared I think as he tries to appeal to a broader audience. If he's speaking near you it's probably worth checking out.

What if you and your husband agree to each read 2 or 3 books on the topic from each other's view point and then discuss it? It might take the heat out of the discussion for the short term and give you some insight into the other's views.

Have you got any friends who homeschool? It might be helpful for your husband to meet them.

good luck - sorry this is a struggle.

Karen
post #53 of 138
Canada, eh? Me too!

I think many USA schools are worse - but some are better.

I think in many ways Americans just do things bigger than Canada - their messes are bigger, but their sucesses are bigger too.


There are certain things about American sources that can be relevant:

-we do have some of the same problems - just on a smaller scale
-the ideology behind public schools in general (which is mainstream, linear, compliance based - and meant to produced workers)is the same

In fact many authors (Holt and Gatto come to mind) are very relevant to both countries.

My suggestion:

Stop arguing with DH. He sounds like one of the people who likes to argue for arguing sakes. The American/Canadian comment of his seems a little nitpicky. Sometimes when I argue it just causes me to dig in my heels on my position more. Perhaps he is doing that? Giving it a rest can only help.

In the meantime, read up on things yourself, visit schools, see what is available in your area.

Once things have calmed down - address his obstacles. What are his worries? How can you address those and help him see they can be accomodated in a HS setting?

Good luck!

kathy
post #54 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamatolea View Post
I also know a whole host of public schooled children and many of them are disrespectful, bored and completely uninterested in life. This is not to say that ALL PS children are like this, but a good majority of them are. A teacher is NOT going to give your child morals or even go out of their way to help your child. They don't care too, they don't get paid too, and even if they wanted too, they can't. There are simply too many children to account for. This is a common problem and I have heard about it more times that you could count. The teachers are TIRED of parent's fousting their children off on the schools..assuming that the school system will teach the children everything about life that they need. It is not a babysitting grounds and while there are a few parents who choose to get involved in the learning process, most of them don't bother. There are inherent flaws in the PS system and to think that your child will get what they need from such a flawed system is naive at best.
I just wanted to comment on this real quick and I will be gone.

I completely agree with you....which is why my daughter is in a Catholic, private school. She has 13 other kids with her in her classroom and 2 teachers.

She's at a Catholic school because the teachers DO instill morals and values into the children. They are ALLOWED to teach respect, something that doesn't happen often in public schools.

Goodnight~
post #55 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anony-mouse View Post
I just wanted to comment on this real quick and I will be gone.

I completely agree with you....which is why my daughter is in a Catholic, private school. She has 13 other kids with her in her classroom and 2 teachers.

She's at a Catholic school because the teachers DO instill morals and values into the children. They are ALLOWED to teach respect, something that doesn't happen often in public schools.

Goodnight~
you mean obedience, right? not respect.... you can't teach someone respect buy being disrespectful......
post #56 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

My suggestion:

Stop arguing with DH. He sounds like one of the people who likes to argue for arguing sakes. The American/Canadian comment of his seems a little nitpicky. Sometimes when I argue it just causes me to dig in my heels on my position more. Perhaps he is doing that? Giving it a rest can only help.
Yep, you're right of course. I did give it a break for a while, now I'm back at it. I can only nag ... um, I mean discuss ... in small doses. And yes, dh comes from a house of debaters - and I don't, so I find our debates stressful, while he finds them somewhat entertaining. My intention is for both of us to do some reading. We're really quite amicable, except around this topic. Thank you for the links! He does like Neufeld and has read Hold Onto Your Kids, which he found as relevant to teaching as he did to parenting.

You're right that the Canadian school system has the same structural issues as the US, which is what I pointed out.

flowers, thanks for the Enki suggestion. I'll look it up.

I'm still working to the root of dh's concerns about homelearning. We had a better discussion about it last night - at the core, he does think that children need an adult outside the family to push them to do their best, because otherwise they will not do good work. I think that "good" work is motivated by intrinsic enthusiasm. I also admit to being the enthusiastic-but-mentally messy one in the family. Perhaps I just need to find some good examples of people who've excelled on their own, without being pushed to do so. However, one of our core disagreements seems to be a disagreement about how people become motivated. Ah, philosophy!
post #57 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
We had a better discussion about it last night - at the core, he does think that children need an adult outside the family to push them to do their best, because otherwise they will not do good work. I think that "good" work is motivated by intrinsic enthusiasm. I also admit to being the enthusiastic-but-mentally messy one in the family. Perhaps I just need to find some good examples of people who've excelled on their own, without being pushed to do so. However, one of our core disagreements seems to be a disagreement about how people become motivated. Ah, philosophy!
But in the end, it doesn't matter how generic children learn best, but how your kids learn best, right? There's no reason for this to be a philosophical discussion, just consider what your dd has already learned, and how she learned it. The other question I'd have for your dh (which is quite philosophical) is about one defines "good work" and what the point of it is. I've been reading a lot of biographies lately, and it seems that a lot people with really interesting, successful, adult lives, did quite poorly in school because they couldn't be bothered to do "good work" for their teachers. J. Craig Venter and Warren Buffett both fit this description, among others.

ZM
post #58 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post

I'm still working to the root of dh's concerns about homelearning. We had a better discussion about it last night - at the core, he does think that children need an adult outside the family to push them to do their best, because otherwise they will not do good work. I think that "good" work is motivated by intrinsic enthusiasm. I also admit to being the enthusiastic-but-mentally messy one in the family. Perhaps I just need to find some good examples of people who've excelled on their own, without being pushed to do so. However, one of our core disagreements seems to be a disagreement about how people become motivated. Ah, philosophy!
I read something once that stuck with me on motivation. It goes like this: some people are motiveted to achieve, some are motivated to master, and some are motivated by creativity.

Consider a math test - in which children are asked to explain their answers.

Someone motivated to achieve will get an A. They will get most of the answers right, and will do exactly as the teacher asks. If the teacher asks for a 50 word paragraph on why 1/3 of 90 is 30 - they will do it.

Someone motivated to master will get a B or C. They will get all the answers correct, but lose points for not following instructions. To them knowing 1/3 of 90 is important, but doing a paragraph about it is not - so they will ignore it. They will write "30" and move on. Those motivated to master do not tolerate busywork well.


Creative types recreate the test. The example may not work so well with math - but with writing - think of people who go off on tangents, make connections, etc. They may be asked to write about WWII - and spend most of their time discussing battle tactics of the game Axis and Allies instead.

I am not sure these ways of being motivated change that much - they may overlap a bit, and they can be encouraged or stomped on. It comes down to the old nurture versus nature arguement - are these things made or something you are born with?

I do think, academically, type A is the type most schools are set up for. I think children who are motivated to master and children who are motivated to create will have difficulty in most school settings.

As per your DH arguement that children need an outside source to push them to do good work - I agree that is true for some children. None-the-less...this does not have to happen in the context of school.

Just as many adults need to go to a gym to work out, or have company coming over to cleen up....some kids do desire outside motivation.

Lets look at writing. Many children are more motivated to write when it has a purpose. Ask my DD to write for the heck of it and she will glare daggers at you - but she will write for contests, letters, and a magazine her and her friend are creating. The motivation is external...but it does not come from school.

I do think motivation is best when it is internally driven - it is just so much easier. External motivators are not always there, and external motivators do not necesssarily have your best interests at heart.

I do not know how to promote internal motivation exactly, but I do genuinely believe that school is NOT the answer to how to create internal motivation. How can one develop internal motivation if you are told what to do and how to do it for so many hours a day? With regards to children, I think external motivators should only be used as tool, not as the "answer".

Good luck!

Kathy
post #59 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybeedreams View Post
you mean obedience, right? not respect.... you can't teach someone respect buy being disrespectful......
Very true ... of course, what it all boils down to is different underlying philosophies about what people are like, what motivates us, and how we learn -- this is what it boils down to in the disagreement between the OP and her husband, and also in this disagreement between Anony-mouse and some of us unschoolers here in this Unschooling Forum.

Unschooling makes perfect sense to those of us who see our children as natural-born learners, who already know how to explore and learn -- but just need our support and help as they navigate their way through life.

But unschooling makes absolutely no sense to people who see learning as so boring and/or painful that the only way anyone will do it, is for them to be motivated by some source outside themselves.

Also, I think unschoolers are more likely to see learning in all of life -- i.e. it doesn't worry us if a child wants to do nothing but play with her barbies all day, because we see all the creativity that's getting stretched as she creates and dramatizes her own unique stories, processing all the information she's been absorbing through her observations of, and interactions with, family and the bigger world.

But, to some people, the above paragraph sounds like total ridiculous nonsense ...
post #60 of 138
One last thought.....

Many kids do *do* better work for an adult outside their family - but you know who they do the best work for? Themselves.

Stories abound on this site about children and teens who do large chunks of work in very short periods of time when they are motivated by themselves and their goals.

I read one a few days ago about a teen who wanted to know how far a homemade rocket would fly - and taught himself a fair bit about sine and cosine in an attempt to figure it out! Other who have done very little academic work throughout their lives- but, because they wanted to go to college, crammed for SATS for a few months and aced them.

It does take patience, on the part of parents, to allow this sort of motivation to grow - but when it happens it is an awesome thing:

Kathy

Kathy
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