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#1 of 29 Old 10-14-2010, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As potentially the newest member here, I'll give a bit of background before I ask my questions. (This is a duplicate post from the "Unschooling" section of Education.)

We are an unschooling family, with 2 teenage boys, ages 13 (E) and 17 (C). Both boys have been unschooled all their lives. I lean heavily toward child-led learning and as a result my kids do pretty much what they want to do all day long every day of the year. I have always tried to let life happen naturally without forcing things on them as though I know better for them than they do. With only a few exceptions, I firmly believe that they know what's right for themselves and I try to remind myself of that fact, sometimes every day!

Right now, however, I am getting twinges of doubt. My main areas of concern are:
- While the boys get along remarkably well much of the time, they also fight a fair amount -- this includes name calling and sometimes physically overpowering or injuring (or trying to injure?) each other.
- Neither boy is too thrilled by exercise and as a result C is somewhat overweight, but E is extremely overweight and I don't know what to do! I guess I feel that I should do something.
- Their main and favorite activity for quite some time now (years!) has been video games. They would play non-stop all day if they could, and since they can, they often do. This includes staying up all night long (C) and sleeping much of the day. That said, there actually are various other activities, like watching movies, playing piano/composing music (E), reading, current events research (C), etc.
- As unschoolers in a small community, we are quite isolated and I often wonder/worry about their not being part of a group or having many friends. They have online friends, but I'm admittedly prejudiced and believe that friends are flesh and blood people and not merely faceless messages from a computer.
- We don't "do" math, we don't "do" writing, we don't "do" curriculum of any sort. We don't have grade levels or required chores. I keep hearing about all these high-excelling homeschoolers who are now in this college or that one, kids who, all on their own, started businesses, or wrote a book, or built a house, or play 3 instruments, or are learning several languages, or whatever. Kids who would probably have been valdictorian if they'd have gone to public school. I'm not big on comparing myself/ourselves to other people, but sometimes a comparison is impossible to avoid. What if the anti-unschooling crowd is right and my kids aren't learning what they "need" to know and by choosing an unschooling lifestyle I've done them a crippling disservice?

I acknowledge that I am tackling some huge issues here. But, as my dad always used to say, Go big or stay home.

My disclaimer: It doesn't sound like it, but for the most part I feel confident in everything we have done and are doing. It's just that as we seem to be so out of step with the status quo I've let myself get sidetracked by doubt from time to time. When I bump up against public schoolers or pay too much attention to daily news 'stuff' I start questioning the big picture. Sigh.

If anyone has words of wisdom or advice or suggestions or help, I'd love to listen. Thank you thank you!
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#2 of 29 Old 10-14-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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My two (17 and 21) are public school all the way down the line, but I still loved Grace Llewellyn's Teenage Liberation Handbook. If you've been unschooling this long you've probably read it, but I wanted to say it was great for my frame of mind (if that makes sense).

Do you live close enough to a city for day trips? Maybe stick them on a bus once every week or two or something? Is there a homeschooling group in your area with enough overlap ideologically and / or socially that they can connect?

Re physical activity, fencing can be a really great activity depending on the philosophy of the instructor.

Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), an underachieving Bernese Mountain Dog (2006-2014), and an overachieving mother (1930).  Married to DH since 1986.
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#3 of 29 Old 10-14-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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I would have some honest discussions with them about their futures. How long do you intend to support them in your home? At 17 and 13 y.o, do they have some goals or some idea of what they want to do when they are living independently? If they identify areas of interest, it will help them focus on the knowledge and skills they will need to acquire. They can research what they will need to know and how they can learn it (self-study, cyberschool, tutors, apprenticeship programs....).

What kind of opportunities do they have in your small community for outside activities and how accessible are they. Getting involved in some community groups might increase their activity level, even if it's not outright exercise, and help them make "real life" friends. If there are no suitable groups, how about creating one that stems from their interests? My DS has started up a couple of bands, as well as playing in an organized community youth band.

What about jobs? My 17 y.o DS and 14 y.o. DD have both had part-time jobs for a couple of years now, in addition to their full-time school and extra-curricular activities. The hours are minimal each week, but they like having the cash and they are learning a lot about responsibility.

For financial life lessons, I asked my kids to prepare a monthly budget showing all of their expenses: bus fare, snack money, movies and concerts, clothes etc. They had to justify the expenses and then we discussed what kind of allowance they would need. Perhaps that doesn't comply with your unschooling philosophy, but it seems to me to fit in with a philosophy of natural learning. Everyone should be able to budget.

You've mentioned video games, music, movies and reading. Are they mostly consumers or have they tried being producers of these activities? Have they tried game programming, playing in music ensembles, film-making, and writing/journalism?

For the weight issue, I'd again be honest with them. I'd start involving them in grocery shopping and cooking if they aren't already. I recently gave my 17 y.o. a challenge to make a healthy dinner for a family of 4 with $40. It's a pretty easy challenge. Then I asked him to do the same with only $20. Next time the challenge is going to be to do the same with as little cash as possible. He wants to travel on his own next year, and I want him prepared to shop and eat as nutritionally as possible, but recognizing he's going to be doing it as cheaply as he can.

Although you have raised the issue of being compared to others, I think the real issue is whether they are becoming competent, capable, independent, healthy adults. If they are content with their path and you aren't concerned with the pace of their progress, then I don't think it's an issue of unschooling or not.

If however, neither you nor they are satisfied, then I think all of you need to consider carefully what is working and what isn't and figure out a plan to achieve their goals.
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#4 of 29 Old 10-14-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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We are relaxed homeschoolers but not unschoolers fwiw.

What about declaring 2 or 3 days a week to be screen free days - either 24 hours or say from dawn til dusk and use those days to explore other interests, to hike or bike or ski, to visit a city on a field trip/adventure, to play board games or music or something.

I'd also start suggest now is the time to start some discussions about goals - academic and otherwise, life skills, health and balance. I'm not sure some kids can necessarily figure out what is right for them without someone with more life experience to help them and to be frank I wonder if your kids are moving along their path by default rather than through making mindful choices.

I absolutely think that unschooling can work - for some kids - but I think it has to be an active endeavour with a lot of engaged adult support rather than just the path of least resistance.

Good luck
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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#5 of 29 Old 10-14-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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Well, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with unschooling but from the little bits I've read and people I've talked to, the trick is to set-up an enriching home environment from the beginning. There seems to be very little to no TV and video games in the unschooling homes of people we know. But, like I said, our experience is very, very limited.

It's certainly time to start more serious discussions with your 17-year-old. He's reaching adulthood. Does he have any ideas of what he wants to do and an understanding of what skills he needs to accomplish it? If he wants anything that requires a college diploma, it might be time to take the SAT and some achievement tests to see if he has the neccessary science, math, history and writing skills to move into college level work. If he has those skills great! If he needs some formal education in chemistry or something like that, he might consider a couple classes at the local community college. Of course, if college isn't his goal, then the steps would be different. Still, at 17, it is time to at least start thinking of the future and having an idea of what needs to happen to get to where you want to go. If he has no idea, a community college course could be helpful in letting him "try-out" some different fields just to see what is out there to choose from.

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I firmly believe that they know what's right for themselves
This is beautiful in theory but not something I totally agree with. Children often make decisions based on what they "want" not what they need. Heck, adults do it all the time (like the 2 cookies I ate at lunch lol.) It's just my opinion but I do feel that children need guidance whether that means you set-up structure for them yourselves or you set-up a home environment where there aren't so many distractions and more condusive to picking up a book, going for a bike ride, learning an instrument, ect.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#6 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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It's certainly time to start more serious discussions with your 17-year-old. He's reaching adulthood. Does he have any ideas of what he wants to do and an understanding of what skills he needs to accomplish it?
I really agree with this. Unless you want your adult son living with your forever playing video games, it's time to have a talk and have him make a plan. He may need to work on some basic skills, he may even need a tutor. But I don't think that letting him just sit around and eat is going to help him build a life he is happy with in the long run. His life doesn't need to look like anyone else's and it isn't fair to compare, but he needs some goals and drive. I think it's time to light a fire under him to do something.

I kinda feel the same way about your 13 year old, but not quite as strongly.

It sounds like part of what is missing is real conversations about how actions effect outcomes -- such as overeating and being sedentary.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and comments. I'm pretty sure we are over at the edges of many homeschooling philosophies and that there may not be many who agree with or understand our style. While I am always looking for ideas and suggestions, I also know that no one knows better for us than we do, even when we have to blindly feel our way forward along the path.

I am often reminded of the world's brightest minds and how not one of them chose a suggested route or necessarily did what they were told. The brightest of them blazed their own path, regardless of exterior advice or "guidance." We adults love to offer advice to the new ones coming up in the world, but as uncommon as it may be, I think there could be more listening and allowing from the parental perspective. Since each person's experience is utterly unique, how could advice from any "one" benefit any "other"?

In any case, I do appreciate your kind comments. We all want the best for each other, I know, and we certainly all want the best for our kids. It's the way we go about it that matters.
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#8 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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I am often reminded of the world's brightest minds and how not one of them chose a suggested route or necessarily did what they were told.
The world's brightest minds that you are speaking of also come with a heap full of internal ambition and drive, to know, to do, to accomplish. Some kids are just naturally like that. My DD (13) is a fierce high-achiever. It's just her nature to accelerate herself forward and while she's in school, she has certainly not followed the same path as other kids. Had she unschooled, she'd still be pushing herself out into the world because that is who she is. DS (9), on the other-hand, is just different. Without any structure, he defaults to nothing and frankly, is unhappy, argumentative and dissatisfied. Without structure, he finds the world a little frightening and would absolutely stay inside playing video games all the time to avoid it. With structure, he's secure, passionate, engaged, excited about learning and happy. The assumption shouldn't be made that kids in school or kids with structure are not listened too. There are kids who really need structure.

I guess you have to ask yourself, are your kids happy and satisfied with life the way it is now? Are they excited about what the world holds for them and taking steps to make their own dreams come true. If so, and it's a lifestyle they will be able to support themselves in (or if you are willing to continue to support them in longer term,) then you really don't have anything to worry about. If not, well, then something might need to change even if it means considering other paths.

If you want the perspective of a successful unschooler, you might try contacting moominmamma who hangs out at the gifted board and I think the learning at home board too. She has 4 unschoolers from like age 6 to 16 and they are pretty incredible kids who are doing an awesome job motivating and educating themselves and making plans for the future. She might have the input you are looking for.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#9 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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I am often reminded of the world's brightest minds and how not one of them chose a suggested route or necessarily did what they were told. The brightest of them blazed their own path, regardless of exterior advice or "guidance." We adults love to offer advice to the new ones coming up in the world, but as uncommon as it may be, I think there could be more listening and allowing from the parental perspective. Since each person's experience is utterly unique, how could advice from any "one" benefit any "other"?
As much as I love, respect and truly admire my children, who are intelligent and motivated individuals, I know that they are NOT the world's brightest minds. I believe in self-directed learning and I'm content for them to identify their interests and pursue them. I believe, though, that I have a role to be a guiding light as well as a support for them on their paths, particularly if that path is turning into a dead end. If they are intent on reaching that dead end, then at least I will have tried to illuminate it in advance for them, so that they don't smack into it at full tilt, completely unaware that it's ahead. I don't think they have to feel their way blindly along the path.

I don't know your children and maybe they are the world's brightest minds. I sincerely hope they will blaze their own path and not let themselves get sidetracked and mired down along the way. You seem to have been concerned enough about them to join this community and start this discussion. That alone suggests that you weren't entirely certain about their path. If the discussion has helped clarify your thinking, then it seems you have benefited at least a little from the advice offered.

Forgive me, I don't want to fear monger, but I am wondering how prepared your almost-adult child will be for independence should you no longer be able/available to support him. Most parents will make arrangements for a minor child and there are government agencies to assist children. If your son is an adult but is undereducated and unprepared for employment and independent living, I hope you have a supportive network of family and friends in place should the unthinkable happen before he is ready to care for himself. Perhaps I have misunderstood and he is well educated and very prepared for adult living. Many, in fact I presume most, unschooled 17 y.o's are.

In any event, it sounds like you are content with the current situation and accept whatever outcome will result.
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#10 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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I don't see that sitting on the couch eating and playing video games is blazing a path. I think that it's part of a parents job to help kids find their path and give them a little push in that direction.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#11 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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With only a few exceptions, I firmly believe that they know what's right for themselves and I try to remind myself of that fact, sometimes every day!
If they did know, then there would probably be a lot less eating and video games and a lot more learning and exercise. So I guess they don't know.
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#12 of 29 Old 10-15-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Though you say you're content with your status quo, it sounds like you are not or you would have not taken the time to post here.

We are a family of "recovering unschoolers" which I have discussed a bit more in the unschooling forum. You can read over there about my and my 18yo's dissatisfaction with the level of preparedness he acquired from this lifestyle. I agree, as a former unschooler, now a relaxed homeschooler with so much of what is written by the posters here, and is not due to lack of understanding or trying, it is due to experience. I believe the learner needs to be highly motivated and a self-starter to truly reap the benefits of unschooling. If my teens were to the point you described above, I would have pulled the plug a long time ago.
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#13 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey all, lots of comments and thoughts on this topic, and I'd like to respond to some of this.

I actually came to the Mothering site because of my past experience here. Regarding breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and keeping boy babies intact, this is the place to be. Raising happy teenagers and homeschooling, not so much. IMHO, of course. For example:
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Unless you want your adult son living with your forever playing video games, it's time to have a talk and have him make a plan.
I have faith in my son, which is something that seems to be missing from many of these suggestions -- I'm not getting the feeling that the adults reading here have any faith at all that kids will EVER do "what needs to be done." That seems really strange to me, and fairly sad.

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I don't see that sitting on the couch eating and playing video games is blazing a path. I think that it's part of a parents job to help kids find their path and give them a little push in that direction.
I didn't say my own kids were blazing a trail -- they are, but that's not what I said. What I was trying to point out is that creative thinkers blaze their own trail. In any case, however, how one defines blazing a trail is completely subjective -- the definition is strictly in the eye of the viewer. I believe that my view is a bit broader than some of the definitions here.

Originally Posted by mlesoing:
With only a few exceptions, I firmly believe that they know what's right for themselves and I try to remind myself of that fact, sometimes every day!
choli "If they did know, then there would probably be a lot less eating and video games and a lot more learning and exercise. So I guess they don't know." The assumption with this comment is that the combination of eating and video games is "wrong," while learning and exercise are both "good." With all due respect, plenty of skinny people play video games. Moreover, plenty of skinny people don't exercise and yet eat tons of food. The belief that skinny people eat "right" and fat people eat too much is a myth.

Tigresse, as this forum is called Preteens and Teens, I posted here looking for support from other parents of teens. There was no indication that many of the people in this forum are recovering unschoolers, so I do apologize for that apparent blunder.

But truly, while there is a status quo of sorts in our home, I am always looking for ways to improve our lives in a variety of ways. As I said, that is the reason I posted to this forum. I doubt I'll spend much more time in this forum, as we seem to be worlds apart in our thinking, but thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. I wish you guys all the best!
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#14 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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I'm confused by your postings. Your first post expressed concerns for your children. It seemed you really wanted input. When we agreed that we too would be concerned, you got protective and decided we are just too different in our approach to understand. Perhaps you were hoping we'd say we had the same issues with our own children and thus you could dismiss your concerns?

Truely, if it's against your beliefs to suggest, guide or draw any sort of bounderies with your children there was really nothing any of us could offer in reguards to suggestions. Honestly, if it were me, I'd throw out the video game system and put hefty time limits on the TV and computer. You don't have to tell them what to do but you can certainly not own something that is consumming their time and contributing to a sedentary life. I would start opening up discussions about the future and getting SOME idea of what they might want in life. Find out how much they know about how to get where they want. That actually qualifies as listening.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#15 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 03:06 AM
 
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I am often reminded of the world's brightest minds and how not one of them chose a suggested route or necessarily did what they were told.
The path of not exercising, fighting, and spending huge amounts of time playing video games seems like the ultimate conventional path for teen boys of this generation. It is fulfilling the exact role demanded of them in this consumer culture. I understand this combination of behaviors for kids who are locked in school situations that don't work because these behaviors can be ways of coping with depression and feelings of aimlessness. So, what you are describing to me doesn't sound like creative brilliance in forging a new path in life, but rather doing exactly what teen boys are told to do. The only difference is that without school they are able to sleep all day.
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#16 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 10:14 AM
 
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Tigresse, as this forum is called Preteens and Teens, I posted here looking for support from other parents of teens. There was no indication that many of the people in this forum are recovering unschoolers, so I do apologize for that apparent blunder.
I apologize as well, mlesoing. You mention unschooling several times in your OP both as a foundation for your lifestyle and as a reason for your kids current situation and your twinges of doubt. So I framed my response as someone who is both raising teen boys and who is also familiar with the method you use for education.

Best wishes to your family as well!
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#17 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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I doubt I'll spend much more time in this forum, as we seem to be worlds apart in our thinking, but thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
My kids attend a progressive school founded on the writings of John Holt. I doubt that we are worlds away from each other. My kids have far more freedom than most kids their ages.

But there is a limit to that freedom. There have certain requirements (including math class!) and conversations about what they plan to do as adults and what they need to be doing now to prepare for that.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#18 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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I think the tendancy to hyperfocus on technology and overeat is something many of us share! My son (14) does not overeat - but is somewhat of a techie addict. Oh, well, some of us are TV addicts, book addict, etc....and as long as it does not interfere with real life, so be it. We have the right to choose how we spend our days.

I do talk to him about balance and priorities - and I think that works over-all - although not necessarily on a day to day picture.

If you are worried this is what I would do:

Have a serious talk with your 17 yr old about what he wants to do, and help him lay out a plan for how to get there. Bring him out for coffee (sometimes getting away from the house to discuss things helps - at least in my household)

I would work on the weight. Do not buy junk food. If they want it, they can buy it. I would actively encourage exercise - it might mean you exercising too. Haul the 13 yr old on bike rides, hikes, swimming, etc. Make an effort to do it once a week at a minimum. Do cool things too - down hill skiing, kayaking etc. If you have a tendancy to drive them places - scale back on that. Buy them bikes, or insist they walk.

I know if I am in a rut and feeling frumpy exercise is key to staying motivated to do anything.

I would also encourage your sons to join community activities. My son has is involved in community theatre and it has been very positive - from giving him somewhere he needs to be with people who rely on him to be there, to calming any momma worries I have about the fact he like to play WoW all day.

Hugs, mama....and while you have not received it yet, kudos too. My DS has one friend who experiments with drugs and is a smoker; My DD has a 12 year old friend who has tried smoking as has taken up with hanging out with older teenage boys. She is flunking grade 7. I do think your family probably does have things to work on (who doesn't?) but there is a lot you are probably doing right, too.
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#19 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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I have faith in my son, which is something that seems to be missing from many of these suggestions -- I'm not getting the feeling that the adults reading here have any faith at all that kids will EVER do "what needs to be done." That seems really strange to me, and fairly sad.
I think people have faith in their children. There may be some difference of opinion about the value of guidance and assistance and how much to offer children when they appear to be stuck or struggling. I absolutely have faith in my children to do what needs to be done. I just don't think that they have to do it all on their own. If that means that I'm not abiding by a pure unschooling philosophy, I'm comfortable with that because it's working for us. If your unschooling philosophy is working for your family, then that's what is important. In your OP, it didn't seem like it was working all that well.

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But truly, while there is a status quo of sorts in our home, I am always looking for ways to improve our lives in a variety of ways. As I said, that is the reason I posted to this forum. I doubt I'll spend much more time in this forum, as we seem to be worlds apart in our thinking, but thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. I wish you guys all the best!
You made me curious about the advice you received in the Unschooling forum, as opposed to this one. A lot of it appears to have been similar to the response you received here: discuss and identify some goals and a plan to achieve them; look for opportunities to broaden their activities. One poster even suggested getting rid of the video games. Not worlds apart at all.

I, too, wish you and especially your children all the best.
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#20 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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As potentially the newest member here, I'll give a bit of background before I ask my questions. (This is a duplicate post from the "Unschooling" section of Education.)

Right now, however, I am getting twinges of doubt. My main areas of concern are:
- While the boys get along remarkably well much of the time, they also fight a fair amount -- this includes name calling and sometimes physically overpowering or injuring (or trying to injure?) each other.
- Neither boy is too thrilled by exercise and as a result C is somewhat overweight, but E is extremely overweight and I don't know what to do! I guess I feel that I should do something.
- Their main and favorite activity for quite some time now (years!) has been video games. They would play non-stop all day if they could, and since they can, they often do. This includes staying up all night long (C) and sleeping much of the day. That said, there actually are various other activities, like watching movies, playing piano/composing music (E), reading, current events research (C), etc.
- As unschoolers in a small community, we are quite isolated and I often wonder/worry about their not being part of a group or having many friends. They have online friends, but I'm admittedly prejudiced and believe that friends are flesh and blood people and not merely faceless messages from a computer.
- We don't "do" math, we don't "do" writing, we don't "do" curriculum of any sort. We don't have grade levels or required chores. I keep hearing about all these high-excelling homeschoolers who are now in this college or that one, kids who, all on their own, started businesses, or wrote a book, or built a house, or play 3 instruments, or are learning several languages, or whatever. Kids who would probably have been valdictorian if they'd have gone to public school. I'm not big on comparing myself/ourselves to other people, but sometimes a comparison is impossible to avoid. What if the anti-unschooling crowd is right and my kids aren't learning what they "need" to know and by choosing an unschooling lifestyle I've done them a crippling disservice?
OK, you asked for opinions. I know mine will be disregarded, but it's how I feel.

Eventually they will have to enter the adult world and find careers. And how exactly is this schooling model preparing them for this? I would understand "un-schooling" if a kid were brilliant and self-directed, but are these kids prepared for college in any way? Video games and movies don't cut it. And yes, many public school kids will be light-years ahead in both social and academic skills.
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#21 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pregnant@40 View Post
. And yes, many public school kids will be light-years ahead in both social and academic skills.
That is quite the statement. My USed children are ahead of their peers in many ways. I am not going to argue that is the case in all USed children. I imagine USer run the gamut socially and academically...just like youth everywhere. Saying many public schooled kids are light years ahead socially and academically is a sweeping generalisation (and probably unsubstantiated...do you have any data on this?)
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#22 of 29 Old 10-16-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
That is quite the statement. My USed children are ahead of their peers in many ways. I am not going to argue that is the case in all USed children. I imagine USer run the gamut socially and academically...just like youth everywhere. Saying many public schooled kids are light years ahead socially and academically is a sweeping generalisation (and probably unsubstantiated...do you have any data on this?)
My statement was made in reference to the OP's description (as quoted in my post), not of all US kids.
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#23 of 29 Old 11-22-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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Hi,

I don't have any answers, as we have our own challenges at the moment, but just wanted to say "Hi" and connect with other people who might be unschooling teens.

 

I have one teen - 15 - and the 3 younger ones are all under 10.


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#24 of 29 Old 11-23-2010, 05:16 AM
 
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OP...I think your answer lies in your first post.

Aggression, weight issues, lack of initiative/drive...there's ample evidence connecting these issues with gaming.

As a PP stated, your sons are doing what society expects of them right now.

Boys Adrift is an excellent book on the topic of what the heck is happening with boys in our culture.

http://www.amazon.com/Boys-Adrift-Epidemic-Unmotivated-Underachieving/dp/0465072100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290517959&sr=8-1

Good luck!

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#25 of 29 Old 11-24-2010, 07:49 AM
 
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I would want to stop the aggression right off. Some type of physical activity should help with that and the weight. In the least the new kinect xbox system would get them moving. Walking or bike riding.Maybe they could build a backyard track.

 

For the future they will need to find ways to make money,so at this age it is a good time to start thinking about that and DOING things.Books can only take you so far.

 

Hope you find something that works for them. I know I would be upset if my kids were 20+ and still playing video games all day. If they earn their way(and I am not asking they get a 100k job) then they can do what they want after work.

 

I was 16 when I started caring for 20+ eldery in a nursing home after school. It was super hard work,but hey  I couldn't expect my mom to suport me forever.She never pushed me to work but I knew I needed to do something.

 

Do your boys realize their time to step up is coming soon? Are they preparing for that? Guide them by offering them the options/information they need to get themselves ready.

 

Best wishes!

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#26 of 29 Old 11-24-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlesoing View Post

I actually came to the Mothering site because of my past experience here. Regarding breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and keeping boy babies intact, this is the place to be. Raising happy teenagers and homeschooling, not so much. IMHO, of course. For example:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Unless you want your adult son living with your forever playing video games, it's time to have a talk and have him make a plan.
I have faith in my son, which is something that seems to be missing from many of these suggestions -- I'm not getting the feeling that the adults reading here have any faith at all that kids will EVER do "what needs to be done." That seems really strange to me, and fairly sad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't see that sitting on the couch eating and playing video games is blazing a path. I think that it's part of a parents job to help kids find their path and give them a little push in that direction.
I didn't say my own kids were blazing a trail -- they are, but that's not what I said. What I was trying to point out is that creative thinkers blaze their own trail. In any case, however, how one defines blazing a trail is completely subjective -- the definition is strictly in the eye of the viewer. I believe that my view is a bit broader than some of the definitions here.

Originally Posted by mlesoing:

Tigresse, as this forum is called Preteens and Teens, I posted here looking for support from other parents of teens. There was no indication that many of the people in this forum are recovering unschoolers, so I do apologize for that apparent blunder.


I think many of us who are parents of current teens (as well as former teens) have faith in our kids. Unschooling, home schooling, public schooling... All rather moot, to be honest. In each of those groups, some kids excel and some flounder. And some just ride the wave.

 

So - what ELSE do your boys do? Besides being siblings (that's what the fighting is), playing video games and watching movies? Where do they - especially your 17yo - see their lives going? What do they see for themselves in the future?

 

I'm curious to know just what trail your son is blazing? You haven't mentioned anything that seems particularly unique or inspiring, to be honest. The picture you've painted is of two overweight kids who sit around al play games or watch movies. There's got to be something more going on for trailblazing.... 

 

As for not having faith in our kids? My boy got a free ride to study Math or Physics at several top-notch universities. He chose to go to a conservatory to study Music Composition. Yep, it scares me. But I know he can do it if he puts his mind to it. So... there he is.

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#27 of 29 Old 11-26-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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I did think of a book that you / your son might like to read if you can get hold of it - it's out of print but worth getting hold of if you can find it:

 

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Education

 

I was thinking last night that the problems I am having, which sound similar to the OP's are due to not trusting him / recognising that what he is doing is learning. We had a long talk last night, and although he doesn't know what he wants to do long term, there are things that he would like to do, so I'm going to try to facilitate that a bit more.


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#28 of 29 Old 11-30-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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I'd second reading The Teenage Liberation Handbook and having your boys read it.


Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#29 of 29 Old 11-30-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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Hi there. I am the very proud mother of an unschooled 19 year old young man who spent several years on the couch (and floor, and bed lol) playing video games. And eating. ;)  He's just rented his first apartment with a roomate and is working full time at a store. He manages his own finances, has a checking and savings account, cooks his own food, gets to work on time (except that one day I called & his alarm had been set to am instead of pm! oops) and generally is a really cool smart guy.

 

Unschooling, and particularly those for whom unschooling is also part of family life rather than just an educational approach, sees that we can follow our desires and still learn and develop into healthy people.

 

The main thing is to not give up. The next thing, IMO? Talking. Friendly, honest, and casual discussion about things that you are concerned about. I think it's one of the most important tools in parenting, and one of the most often overlooked. Inviting their input is so so important, and taking it respectfully even when it's something you wanted to hear or that you agree with.

 

 Regarding weight and exercise I would tell them your worries as gently as possible. The last thing you want is to make them feel embarrased or put down. Maybe tell them you're interested in a physical video game and wanted them to play with you? Ask if there is any sport at all that interests them? Ask if they'd be at all interested in helping cook with you? (I think I am echoing a prev poster or two there...)  

 

 Hang in there! Un :)


"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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