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#121 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

My point is that just as my oldest didn't know about a cool mural-painting project at our neighborhood park, 'til I read about it in the paper and mentioned it -- so my youngest doesn't know there are such things as speech therapy and occupational therapy, which she may really enjoy and find enriching to her life.
Right...but the PP *was* saying that due to her son's special needs, she is "not unschooling PE" while unschooling everything else. My point is doing some extra physical stuff with your kid (or taking them to PT and OT sessions), that you might not otherwise do if they didnt have additional challenges, is NOT "not unschooling" so i'm not sure why someone would feel the need to say "i unschool everything but..."

If you're forcing your child to do these things, i might suggest looking for ways that didnt involve force. There may be certain situations that you may need to exert control if the child's life/safety/wellbeing will be compromised, i guess...but even then, i think looking for ways to meet everyone's needs is still a worthwhile thing to do. A couple of years ago i heard a MDC mom talking at an unschooling conference about her daughter going through chemo, and how she let her daughter lead the way through alot of that decision making (and i *think* ultimately letting her daughter decide when she'd had enough? its been awhile...) What i remember was her feeling pretty ok looking back, after her daughter's death, with how she handled that. I'm not saying "put your kid in charge of their cancer treatment" (i'm not NOT saying that either...i'm sure its very situation specific) but i am saying that i think its worthwhile to look for ways to balance what your child may need vs what they may want and see how close you can get to meeting both of those needs.

There is a yahoo group (i think its on yahoo) that is called Shine with Unschooling, where many parents are dealing with lots of "special needs" issues (How do you handle no restrictions on food when there are severe food allergies? How do you deal with situations which you know will set off your child's sensitivities to lights/noise/people, and yet still respect their desire to make choices? etc etc) here it is....: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shinewithunschooling/


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#122 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Also, all of that was Shannon responding to lotusdebi's post saying she unschools some subjects but not others due to special needs. She wasn't asserting you can't unschool if your child has special needs, just that it's ok to say you don't unschool if you feel you can't unschool due to them.
Yes. And I don't want to second-guess lotusdebi's assessment that it's "not unschooling" for her to help her child with his special needs. But, I think a parent can trust her child, and, for instance, still get him checked out if she's concerned that there may be a physiological/senory issue that's preventing him to know when his bladder is full.

I just imagine that most 6yo children would like to be able to stay dry all day, and I don't think a child with this problem would really want his mom to say, "Oh, well, Honey, I trust that when you're ready to stop wetting, you'll train yourself just like that." That would be rather cruel, and not at all in-line with Unschooling.

In a similar way, when my almost 4yo (whose speech was just evaluated as being less than 25% intelligible), gets angry because she has to repeat something 6x before we figure it out, it would be cruel, and not Unschooling, for me to say, "Oh, well, honey, I trust that when you're ready for people to understand your communication, your speech will become clear."

So, I don't see it as "We unschool except for speech therapy," or "I can't unschool my youngest because she needs help with speech." I see all the resources we're using as part of our unschooling journey. Seeking these things out goes hand-in-hand with trusting what I'm "hearing" my child say (beyond just the verbal), and trusting my ability to know and respond to my child.

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#123 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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We definitely agree that the people who insist on the "anything other than my way is the wrong way" are wrong. Too bad that attitude is so prevalent. It was that attitude (and being told, directly, at a homeschool conference, that if I didn't unschool - especially RU - then I was doing my child a great disservice and wasn't meeting my child's needs) that kept me from even considering unschooling for a number of years.
Maybe we're going in circles, i dont know...but i DO think RU is better than not RUing for the vast majority of kids. Why would i be doing it if i didnt think it was the best way to live?? That doesnt mean i think someone is a rotten parent if they dont RU, but i'm not going to encourage NOT ru'ing...i'm going to encourage RU.

I think you can respectfully tell someone that you think they are making choices that arent good for their kids, and not be insulting or bashing them. If i'm talking to a mom that says she supplements with formula, well..if i dont know her well, i'll probably just nod and smile. But if we're at a LLL conference, certainly i would offer her advice. I might talk about the dangers of supplementation. I might ask why she's doing that, and offer suggestions that dont involve supplementing. Etc etc (and i formula feed!) I would assume, if we were talking about unschooling, that you might be open to my advice about unschooling.

It almost seems to me from some things i've read here and elsewhere, that just by challenging assumptions, or stating a differing opinion, that somehow its being judgemental or unsupportive or closeminded (or cultlike...thats been mentioned a few times in certain circles)...if you're strong in your convictions that what you are doing is best for your family, why be threatened by that?

There are all sorts of voices in the "unschooling community"...even if you go to a radical unschooling conference, there will be a spectrum of different unschooling families. Some people might be more ....dominant? for lack of a better word...than others but there's really something for everyone. If one person rubs you the wrong way, then look elsewhere.



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#124 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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I think you can respectfully tell someone that you think they are making choices that arent good for their kids, and not be insulting or bashing them. If i'm talking to a mom that says she supplements with formula, well..if i dont know her well, i'll probably just nod and smile. But if we're at a LLL conference, certainly i would offer her advice.

well...i don't unschool and i'm not striving too...so i've not posted in this thread for obvious reasons. although, i am really enjoying following the discussion between you all!! i came out of lurkdom just for clarity. with your example, i'm just curious because imo it's not respectful to offer your 2 cents if no one is asking for your advice in the first place, ykwim?

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#125 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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well...i don't unschool and i'm not striving too...so i've not posted in this thread for obvious reasons. although, i am really enjoying following the discussion between you all!! i came out of lurkdom just for clarity. with your example, i'm just curious because imo it's not respectful to offer your 2 cents if no one is asking for your advice in the first place, ykwim?
Well it would completely depend on how it was done. If you said 'You should be doing this..' then yeah, disrespectful. If you said 'I've noticed that when we do this...' or 'My experience has been....' that's different.

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#126 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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Well it would completely depend on how it was done. If you said 'You should be doing this..' then yeah, disrespectful. If you said 'I've noticed that when we do this...' or 'My experience has been....' that's different.
well, i guess i just diagree. imo, i'd assume a grown woman & mother at an LLL conference was bottle feeding because she had too (or chose too) & not because she didn't know any better. in my experience, no matter how you try to advise or correct someone else on 'how' to parent...unless they are asking for your input, i think they will perceive it as unwelcome advice.

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#127 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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#128 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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Yeah, I was responding to the posts about not unschooling handwriting for the 6 year old but still being an unschooler.

I thought I was being respectful and now I'm feeling like this conversation is starting to piss a few people off. I hope my posts don't get thrown around as "those judgmental unschoolers". But anyway, it was real, it was fun

Live long and prosper y'all :
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#129 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:20 PM
 
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Maybe we're going in circles, i dont know...but i DO think RU is better than not RUing for the vast majority of kids. Why would i be doing it if i didnt think it was the best way to live?? That doesnt mean i think someone is a rotten parent if they dont RU, but i'm not going to encourage NOT ru'ing...i'm going to encourage RU.
I'm a bit stunned by your assertion that you would think you know what is best for the "vast majority" of children - better than their own parents would. But I appreciate you can allow that those of us who don't follow your parenting philosophy aren't necessarily rotten parents.

THIS is the kind of arrogance that eminates from so many of these discussions that is simply breathtaking.

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#130 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:41 PM
 
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with your example, i'm just curious because imo it's not respectful to offer your 2 cents if no one is asking for your advice in the first place, ykwim?
I guess i'm assuming that these arent strangers passing in the street, but moms sitting around at a conference or a HS group discussing what they do and why. So in that way, while a mom might not be "asking for advice" (i dont often ask for advice since i'm pretty well satisfied with what we are doing) i'd think be entering a discussion about what she does is an invitation to *discuss*. The post i was responding to mentioned being at a HS conference..if thats not a good place to have your assumptions about education challenged, or to at least have a discussion about what you do and why...then i dont know where IS a good place.

There's no excuse for a mom to be rude, no matter how sure she is of her opinion, however i've been posting on USing boards long enough to know even when a poster is reasonable and kind, but firm/forthright in her opinion, often there will be some that *feel* like they are getting yelled at for not "doing it the right way."


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#131 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I'm a bit stunned by your assertion that you would think you know what is best for the "vast majority" of children - better than their own parents would. But I appreciate you can allow that those of us who don't follow your parenting philosophy aren't necessarily rotten parents.

THIS is the kind of arrogance that eminates from so many of these discussions that is simply breathtaking.
I don't understand, how is what QJ said any different than saying that leaving boys intact, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping is best for the vast majority of kids?

I wasn't talking about unsolicited advice, I was talking about sharing experiences. I have learned so incredibly much from people sharing their experiences with me. Just like we all talk about how is a kid going to know to ask for speech therapy if he doesn't know it exists, I wouldn't know about any of the natural family living stuff if people hadn't exposed me to them, and I wasn't going around asking for enlightenment, I didn't know I needed any.

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#132 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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I guess i'm assuming that these arent strangers passing in the street, but moms sitting around at a conference or a HS group discussing what they do and why. So in that way, while a mom might not be "asking for advice" (i dont often ask for advice since i'm pretty well satisfied with what we are doing) i'd think be entering a discussion about what she does is an invitation to *discuss*. The post i was responding to mentioned being at a HS conference..if thats not a good place to have your assumptions about education challenged, or to at least have a discussion about what you do and why...then i dont know where IS a good place.

There's no excuse for a mom to be rude, no matter how sure she is of her opinion, however i've been posting on USing boards long enough to know even when a poster is reasonable and kind, but firm/forthright in her opinion, often there will be some that *feel* like they are getting yelled at for not "doing it the right way."


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okay, i see your point more. i still feel differently, but IRL if we were sitting around talking over coffee, i think it would be easier to communicate our thoughts.

a homeschool conference for me is more about supporting each other, rather than being challenged, yk? it seems we all get enough strife from other places in our lives, so a homeschool conference is usually a safe place for me to just be me. anyway, thanks for clarifying.

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#133 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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well, i guess i just diagree. imo, i'd assume a grown woman & mother at an LLL conference was bottle feeding because she had too (or chose too) & not because she didn't know any better. in my experience, no matter how you try to advise or correct someone else on 'how' to parent...unless they are asking for your input, i think they will perceive it as unwelcome advice.

So, if you were at an LLL conference, and a mom said (and i'm just using this as an example, i'm kind of out of the bfing loop) "Well, my baby was underweight and his doctor said that i HAD to give him formula, he would have starved yknow....its not so bad, besides doing what is best for him is the important thing. I noticed that he's nursing less...but its recommend to wean by a year anyway." you would just nod and smile? And that would be helping that mom how? Maybe she doesnt want your help, and if so she is free to say "thanks for your advice, but really, i'm fine with what you're doing..have a nice day!" But what about the new mom struggling with the same issue who is standing next to you listening in? What about the mom that the first mom talks to at her playgroup, who IS looking for advice?

Why is it so wrong for us to share information that we think might beneficial, or to give our opinion about what we feel is misinformation? Isnt that what this entire MDC site is about? (in addition to support, and friendship and all that of course)...no one is coming into your home, ripping the curriculum out of your hand, and taking your children home with them to be "RU'd properly"...just offering advice or information that you are free to ignore or accept or challenge. I just dont get the defensive-ness i've felt (rightly or wrongly) in some of these posts (akin to "no one has the right to tell me whats best for MY children!"), although i'm used to it. I've seen post after post over the years of moms curious or new to USing who try to defend their POV, dont want to hear any alternatives, and then leave in a huff with a post saying how "mean and judgemental" we all are (and how we're just like a cult...someone always brings that up... ) Not necessarily saying anyone here is doing that but i've seen it plenty in internetland.


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#134 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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So, if you were at an LLL conference, and a mom said (and i'm just using this as an example, i'm kind of out of the bfing loop) "Well, my baby was underweight and his doctor said that i HAD to give him formula, he would have starved yknow....its not so bad, besides doing what is best for him is the important thing. I noticed that he's nursing less...but its recommend to wean by a year anyway." you would just nod and smile? And that would be helping that mom how? Maybe she doesnt want your help, and if so she is free to say "thanks for your advice, but really, i'm fine with what you're doing..have a nice day!" But what about the new mom struggling with the same issue who is standing next to you listening in? What about the mom that the first mom talks to at her playgroup, who IS looking for advice?

Why is it so wrong for us to share information that we think might beneficial, or to give our opinion about what we feel is misinformation? Isnt that what this entire MDC site is about? (in addition to support, and friendship and all that of course)...no one is coming into your home, ripping the curriculum out of your hand, and taking your children home with them to be "RU'd properly"...just offering advice or information that you are free to ignore or accept or challenge. I just dont get the defensive-ness i've felt (rightly or wrongly) in some of these posts (akin to "no one has the right to tell me whats best for MY children!"), although i'm used to it. I've seen post after post over the years of moms curious or new to USing who try to defend their POV, dont want to hear any alternatives, and then leave in a huff with a post saying how "mean and judgemental" we all are (and how we're just like a cult...someone always brings that up... ) Not necessarily saying anyone here is doing that but i've seen it plenty in internetland.


Katherine
well, katherine, i'm sorry you feel i was being defensive. i really am not passionate about homeschooling methods at all, so please know i wasn't typing angrily at you, lol. i certainly don't think sharing beneficial information is a bad thing. honest! i just was asking you for clarification. it really was just a question, not an attack. i don't want to go back and forth with you about make-believe scenarios of "what if" she said this or "that". we would be here all night, lol. you clarifed. i'm good. thanks.

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#135 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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I think it's rude and arrogant to assume you know what's best for anyone's child but your own.
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For some children, attending school is the best option. I despise the public school system. I could complain about it for hours. But, that doesn't mean that it's not the best choice for someone else's kid.
I guess we just disagree about this. Let me clarify...I think "in an ideal world" RU *is* preferable to most other ways of parenting. But i live in the real world. And i know not every parent is able or willing to RU well. I live with my own "failings" as an unschooling parent...my son chose to go to school for a time because his needs (which he had trouble really articulating) werent being met by our HSing (USing didnt have much to do with it, more likely not feeling connected to a group of like minded kids)...but do i think being treated in the respectful/mindful way that occurs in RU better for a child than not being treated that way? Yes, i do, and i dont think its "rude and arrogant" to say that. Just like i think its better for babies to be picked up when they cry, or babies to be breastfed if possible, or children to be allowed to potty train on their own rather than being threatened or rewarded like a puppy. Do i think its better to practice GD than smacking your kid or sending him to time out? Yes i do. Do i think its better for children to keep their genitals intact? Yes, i do. There are certain topics that cannot be promoted on this site, i assume because the creators of this site feel like certain practices are not good for children.

I'd like to amend my earlier post and say I think yes, there are probably certain kids for whom RU would be detrimental. I'm involved in adoption, and there are certain kids based upon their past experiences and current psychological functioning that would not feel safe or respond well to the kind of freedom available with RU. In those cases, i guess i'm with the poster who wrote "if you can't unschool, you can't, but why say you are doing something you're not" (paraphrase).


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When I was verbally attacked at the homeschooling conference, my DS1 was two years old. I was at a workshop introducing the concept of unschooling. I attended out of curiosity, and asked a question of the unschooling panel. And I was called a bad mother because I wasn't sure that unschooling was the best path for my kid.
Did the presenter actually say "You are a bad mother"? I mean, i believe you, but as i've written, i've seen it over and over and over where newbies get their feelings hurt because posters or presenters won't back down and say "what you're doing is fine, i respect your path, whatever works" and what they *hear* is "You're a bad mother!" I know it must be hard for parents new to the concept of unschooling (let alone RU) to show up at a conference surrounded by people very deeply steeped in RU philosophy, whove been writing about it for years, who have raised kids to adulthood, and who have a very blunt way of speaking...and for that new parent to ask some innocent question ("But if i dont limit videogames, i'm sure my child would never do anything else!") and they get (or feel they get) completely reamed for what they feel is an innocent question.

I saw this at the Live and Learn conference a couple years ago. Someone(pam sooroshian maybe?) and her teen daughter were giving a presentation about something or other, tv/videogames i think, and a dad stood up to ask a question...he really wanted her to say that it was ok to limit his child's tv viewing. She kept sticking to her point, and he kept wanting her to validate his point of view. He kept saying things like "but cant i just get rid of the tv? Its not limiting then, if its not there?" and she kept saying things like "you can do whatever you want...its your kid...but its not unschooling. If you want to unschool, i can give unschooling advice."

In some ways, i kind of felt bad for the guy...i'm not sure he got his questions answered (though i think some people went up to him after the presentation to talk with him)...but at the same time, he was at an RU conference with a veteran RU parent speaking on the benefits of videogames and tv. I can't really fault the presenter for sticking to the stated purpose of the conference and of her talk.

But...that still doesnt excuse anything, if you were made to feel like a bad parent. And this is something that is often talked about in unschooling circles...how to have a safe space for newbies to get their questions answered, without feeling defensive or attacked, while at the same time not having presenters feel like they have to say "oh dear, whatever works for you honey" which doesnt really help anyone unschool. Had the presenter in my example been at her local HS group, she wouldnt have gone to great lengths to convince the guy, but since we were at an RU conference, she did.

Keep in mind, too, that there are all different types of people who RU or US, and so if one writer/presenter/poster rubs you the wrong way, there is usually someone else you can go to to get your questions answered. There is even email lists for newbies, where patient veterans are happy to gently respond to the same questions over and over and over (usually its tv, chores, sleep, and math). If Sandra Dodd isnt your cup of tea, maybe Anne Ohman is (as an example).


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#136 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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I don't understand, how is what QJ said any different than saying that leaving boys intact, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping is best for the vast majority of kids?
Well RU is just a parenting/educational philosophy. Breastfeeding and not circumcising have been medically proven to be superior to the alternatives in most situations. Co-sleeping was undoubtedly best for my family but that doesn't translate into it being best for the "vast majority" of children, nor would I presume to suggest that because all we really know is our own children and situations. Like homeschooling, I would love to have more children and families have the opportunity to explore the benefits of co-sleeping or breastfeeding if they choose to - but that in no way suggests that it will undoubtedly be best for all who choose to try it.

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#137 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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it really was just a question, not an attack. i don't want to go back and forth with you about make-believe scenarios of "what if" she said this or "that". we would be here all night, lol. you clarifed. i'm good. thanks.
Sorry...i'm too wordy. i'm working on it, promise!


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#138 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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Oops! I'd come back to edit this post, and somehow accidentally re-posted the edited version 2 posts down.

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#139 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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Well RU is just a parenting/educational philosophy. Breastfeeding and circumcision have been medically proven to be superior to the alternatives in most situations. Co-sleeping was undoubtedly best for my family but that doesn't translate into it being best for the "vast majority" of children, nor would I presume to suggest that because all we really know is our own children and situations. Like homeschooling, I would love to have more children and families have the opportunity to explore the benefits of co-sleeping or breastfeeding if they choose to - but that in no way suggests that it will undoubtedly be best for all who choose to try it.
my bolding. another newbie here
Curious if there is any research on RU or even unschooling? Which, I recognize goes TOTALLY against RU But curious.

I am child-led in my approach to life (my kids are too young for me to call myself a homeschooler), but can't get on board (never say never though) with RU.

I guess I just think of the research that points to children's brain development and question how my children can make decisions and understand the implications or articulate needs accurately.

Anyhow, happy to be here learning and reading
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#140 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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I got the impression that Katherine was talking about having a fellow LLL-attendee tell her she'd decided to supplement, and Katherine was saying that in that setting she'd likely want to make sure the mother understood how supplementing could affect her milk supply ...

I don't know, if I'd attended an LLL conference as a new mom and maybe hadn't read the Womanly Art, and thought there was no problem supplementing "while waiting for my supply to build up" ...

I'd be pretty p!ssed, after all the supplementing had caused me to produce less milk, and I'd eventually given up breastfeeding, to find out that it's normal for babies to nurse almost continuously at first, and it's their suckling that stimulates us to make more milk (and supplementation usually=less suckling=dwindling milk supply).

Imagine how it would feel to know that these other ladies must have known I was sabatoging myself, but didn't bother to tell me!

Of course, it's important to pick up on any vibes that our advice isn't welcome. As an example, a few years back I ran into an old friend who was supplementing with her new baby, and at the same time hated doing it because that's what had caused breastfeeding to fail with her older child.

As I listened, I learned that her reason for supplementing was that his frequent nursing was preventing her from getting much done around the house. I suggested that she let up on some of her expectations of herself while her son was so small, but that was unacceptable to her.

I also suggested that she try out my sling, to see if she might like to get one for herself and her new baby. I talked about how I often washed dishes and vaccumed while wearing my baby, somtimes even with Baby latched on. She tried it for a few minutes, but decided she didn't want her baby getting used to being held all the time.

At that point, there wasn't much more for me to say. It was clear that other things were more important to her than establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship. And whereas I think it's ideal for a baby to be accustomed to constant holding, my friend clearly (at least at that time) had different values in that area as well.

This is where I can identify with Katherine and her feelings about Radical Unschooling (which I agree with). Did I think my friend was a horrible parent, and tell her that she was "doing her child a horrible disservice" because she wasn't committed to exclusive breastfeeding and constant holding like I was? Of course not!

Did I think her baby would be better off, if his mother could somehow find peace with letting the house go for a while? And if his mother wasn't scared to hold him "too much," lest he "get used to it?" Yes, I do think it's better, for "most" babies, if they can get exclusive breastfeeding and constant holding (for as long as they want it).

My feeling that way, doesn't mean I'm going to go on and on about it (except I know I am here ). Once I realized my friend had different priorities, I was like, okay, well just do whatever works for you. There was no point in my getting hostile.

And I'm sorry that some have been hostilely-treated by RU people. I haven't yet had the pleasure to be surrounded by RU people in real life, so I only know what it's like to get hostilely-treated by folks who think I'm crazy to RU (not that I use the word RU with them -- I just mean they think I'm crazy for doing things the way I do them. )

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#141 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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So, if you were at an LLL conference, and a mom said (and i'm just using this as an example, i'm kind of out of the bfing loop) "Well, my baby was underweight and his doctor said that i HAD to give him formula, he would have starved yknow....its not so bad, besides doing what is best for him is the important thing. I noticed that he's nursing less...but its recommend to wean by a year anyway." you would just nod and smile?
Wow, did that bring back an awful memory. I had a close friend - someone I'd been friends with for many years, who never spoke to me again after I offered my opinion over exactly that. I wasn't being what I'd consider rude or obnoxious - that's just not my nature - but my apparently too earnest urging to not give up on nursing was the end. She continued to send cheery Christmas cards for years, but it was clear that our friendship was over.
- Lillian
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#142 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 09:45 PM
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Well RU is just a parenting/educational philosophy.
I don't feel that unschooling was ever intended to be a parenting philosophy. Yes, I understand the whole living-is-learning thing, and how separating academics from the rest of life is artificial. And so, if you aren't going to make your kid do math, you also aren't going to make them brush their teeth or wash dishes. 20-30 years ago, unschooling meant something somewhat different, and I think that Sandra Dodd and her followers have hijacked the term.....which is why there is confusion as to what unschooling actually is.

I toyed with unschooling for a couple of years....academically speaking. I'm too much into consensual living to practice RU. And anyway, I've always had to WOTH, and have always been poor, and have never felt like I've had enough time or money to US. I think that in order for kids to be out there living and learning and exposed to all sorts of different things takes a lot of time and money that I don't have. And I think that just hanging out at home all the time is cozy and wonderful, but it's not particularly enriching.

I also have this weird idea regarding skills vs. knowledge. I think that reading and writing and basic arithmetic are essential skills. Maybe they don't need to be taught and maybe kids will get it all on their own, but I don't feel comfortable leaving it up to chance. Kind of like how I wouldn't feel comfortable handing my son his learner's permit and my car keys, and letting him "figure it out." I think a certain amount of instruction can be beneficial.

Lotusdebi, I think you maybe misunderstood what I was getting at with my post regarding labels. Some posters were questioning why labels were necessary at all. My point was that, without labels, how would things be sorted out? Where would you post about unschooling if you couldn't find a forum that was properly labeled as such? Or maybe you didn't misunderstand; I just really couldn't connect with your response to what I'd written.
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#143 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 09:48 PM
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Wow, did that bring back an awful memory. I had a close friend - someone I'd been friends with for many years, who never spoke to me again after I offered my opinion over exactly that. I wasn't being what I'd consider rude or obnoxious - that's just not my nature - but my apparently too earnest urging to not give up on nursing was the end. She continued to send cheery Christmas cards for years, but it was clear that our friendship was over.
- Lillian
Lillian, I just wanted to say that maybe your comment about nursing was just the last straw....? I only say that because I have a friend who got under my skin with unsolicited advice for over four years before I finally told her to put a sock in it. And she was never rude or obnoxious about it.....just kind of a know-it-all who assumes that she has to educate everyone. Our friendship survived, but it was rough for a little while.
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#144 of 257 Old 01-19-2009, 10:35 PM
 
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Lillian, I just wanted to say that maybe your comment about nursing was just the last straw....?
Thanks, but no, we didn't have that kind of relationship at all. She was very high strung, and people got on her nerves pretty easily, especially when she was under stress. I had a baby right before hers, and mine was thriving, but whereas I loved nursing, she was repulsed by the idea - so she didn't take well to it physically or to my attempt to encourage her to keep trying. I just hit the wrong nerve at the wrong time, and she had enough stress going on with parenting her other two little ones, and a husband who was no help, that it was just easier for her to forget about the friendship. - Lillian
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#145 of 257 Old 01-20-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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Hey I just wanted to give you kudos for your stuff about speech therapy. My ds is almost 6 and still only maybe 50% understandable to others. He is very laid back, and not prone to tantrums or frustration, but with his gross motor skills was crying because he couldn't step off a curb even without crawling down. We got to speech every other week, and physio/ot one day a month. Turns out he has extra genetic material on one of his 1st pair of chromosomes that may be contributing.

I did have very mixed feelings as an unschooler about taking him for therapy as the early childhood intervention area in my view is so geared toward turning out a "product" who is able to cope/keep up with the assembly line of school, but I am glad now I did, although in speech we have had to find a new therapist as the previous one was pretty punitive. He is also a bit resistant to it, so some days we only work on it maybe a minute or two, but I don't want him to clam up completely.

I think it is all about listening to your kid without feeling pegged to a specific label.

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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Yes. And I don't want to second-guess lotusdebi's assessment that it's "not unschooling" for her to help her child with his special needs. But, I think a parent can trust her child, and, for instance, still get him checked out if she's concerned that there may be a physiological/senory issue that's preventing him to know when his bladder is full.

I just imagine that most 6yo children would like to be able to stay dry all day, and I don't think a child with this problem would really want his mom to say, "Oh, well, Honey, I trust that when you're ready to stop wetting, you'll train yourself just like that." That would be rather cruel, and not at all in-line with Unschooling.

In a similar way, when my almost 4yo (whose speech was just evaluated as being less than 25% intelligible), gets angry because she has to repeat something 6x before we figure it out, it would be cruel, and not Unschooling, for me to say, "Oh, well, honey, I trust that when you're ready for people to understand your communication, your speech will become clear."

So, I don't see it as "We unschool except for speech therapy," or "I can't unschool my youngest because she needs help with speech." I see all the resources we're using as part of our unschooling journey. Seeking these things out goes hand-in-hand with trusting what I'm "hearing" my child say (beyond just the verbal), and trusting my ability to know and respond to my child.

Tina, RN, wife-y to J, mom to dd (10) and ds (7)
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#146 of 257 Old 01-20-2009, 02:20 AM
 
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.but i DO think RU is better than not RUing for the vast majority of kids. Why would i be doing it if i didnt think it was the best way to live??
I think that what is right for one family or one child doesn't have anything to do with what is right for another family or child. We each do what we think is best for our kids for now.

The problem is when one assumes that what they are doing is best for everyone. Different people are on different paths with different kids with different things they need to learn this lifetime. You cannot possible know what is best for someone else.

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I think you can respectfully tell someone that you think they are making choices that arent good for their kids, and not be insulting or bashing them.
No, you really can't. When people try to tell you that you are making choices for YOUR kids that aren't good, it annoys you. Other people feel the same way you do. It's a pretty basic human response.

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Well it would completely depend on how it was done. If you said 'You should be doing this..' then yeah, disrespectful. If you said 'I've noticed that when we do this...' or 'My experience has been....' that's different.
So if someone pointed out to an unschooler that they they send their child to school and their child can read, would you consider that polite?

There is a serious and odd double standard here.

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I think that in order for kids to be out there living and learning and exposed to all sorts of different things takes a lot of time and money that I don't have. And I think that just hanging out at home all the time is cozy and wonderful, but it's not particularly enriching.
I agree. The families I know IRL who are unschooling and the kids are thriving all have a SAHP and cash for classes, field trips, sciece equipment, etc. I know that there are some single moms here who've made it work, and some families that struggle financially. I see them as the exception, though.

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I also have this weird idea regarding skills vs. knowledge. I think that reading and writing and basic arithmetic are essential skills. Maybe they don't need to be taught and maybe kids will get it all on their own, but I don't feel comfortable leaving it up to chance.
Agreed. Kids need to learn to read and write and do math. They don't need to learn it when they are 6 and many can learn those skills in natural ways with no direct instruction, but I feel the unschooling community does itself a disservice when they act like it doesn't matter whether or not that learning happens. Or acts like a parent who provides their child with direction instruction because the child wants it must be doing something wrong.

Linda
(who quit using labels a long time ago, has one child who attends school because she wants to and enjoys it, and has another who spends her days reading vampire novels)

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#147 of 257 Old 01-20-2009, 02:36 AM
 
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So if someone pointed out to an unschooler that they they send their child to school and their child can read, would you consider that polite?

There is a serious and odd double standard here.

Well not knowing the tone or context, I couldn't say... but if it was the right circumstances I don't think it would be particularly rude. But given that I'm an unschooler and not concerned with when my kid reads, I can't think of a way it could come up.

My SIL and I have perfectly pleasant conversations about our children, our parenting, our kids' vastly differing schooling experiences and we share our opinions when we think its appropriate. No snarkiness, no judgment. I fail to see how this is wrong or rude.

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#148 of 257 Old 01-20-2009, 03:57 AM
 
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I think that what is right for one family or one child doesn't have anything to do with what is right for another family or child. We each do what we think is best for our kids for now.
Thats one of those phrases that people often repeat, but its not really true...people dont always do what they think is right. Sometimes they do what is easy, or they do what they think will glorify god, or they do something to please their friends or neighbors or family members. This site is filled with people (on the birth forums, on the circumcision forum, on the discipline forum, etc) who say that they had a feeling they werent making the right decision about it, but bowed to external pressure, or to fear, or to convention, and they often regret those decisions. Sometimes you even see posts that say "why, why didnt anyone let me know there was another way?? if only i had known..."

When my son was younger, i sometimes spanked him (out of frustration, not because i thought it was a valid discipline technique)...what would have been helpful to me at the time was not someone saying "well, you're doing the best you can, dont worry" etc etc. but someone giving me better "tools" for my "toolbox." I dont get why its so bad to have our assumptions challenged. If i am talking to someone who claims to be an unschooler why is it rude to actually discuss unschooling with her? Thats whats really confuses me about this thread. This thread is about an self-labelled unschooler who says they "unschool everything but xyz subject"...Is it really out of line to say "hmmm...i always took unschooling to mean no curriculum at all.why do you think thats unschooling? why do you feel the need for curriculum for math (or whatever subject)? Can you see merit in doing it this other way...?"

When i'm sitting across from a 16 yr old boy who is being HS'd (strict school at home) with a mother so controlling she wont even let him hang out with other HSers, yes, i feel fine in saying that that mother is NOT doing "whats best for her family" (at least not what is best for her child)...i might not necessarily say it to her face, if i dont know her well, but you seem to be saying that even holding that viewpoint (even within my own head) is horribly judgemental, that i can't *possibly* know whats good for them. That exact situation happened, ironically enough it was riding the amtrak train home from a live and learn conference, my son and two other unschooled kids found a friend in this boy also riding the train. When i told the boy about unschooling...geez, i thought he would try to come home with us right then. I felt so sad for him. And in talking to his mom, who seemed to have no empathy for him whatsoever, she all but admitted she knew he wasnt happy but i could tell she thought unschooling was crazy. To this day i wish i had the balls to say to her "yknow, in the end, the relationship with your kid is the most important thing...are you really willing to risk the relationship with your son for your HSing agenda?" she might have thought i was rude, and it might not have made any difference...but it *might* have made her think, and therefore could have made all the difference in the world to that child.

Parents might think they are doing whats best for their kids...but if you asked their kids, they might not always agree.

I dont think all choices are equal. I think as humans we make judgements all the time. That being said, I dont sit around thinking "oh that mary jones, how horrible, she uses curriculum, her poor neglected and abused children..." I dont think anyone in this thread is saying that.

It kinda makes me sad that discussing certain aspects of unschooling (what is is, what it isnt, how can it be improved, the differences in US and RU, etc) apparently mean that we are rude and judgemental.

Quote:
No, you really can't.
Yes, i really can.

People do this all the time on discussion boards...they discuss. I havent heard anyone talking about going up to random people and yelling at them. I know at least me, i'm talking about being at conferences, being in a HS group where someone says they unschool, being on an unschooling discussion board...gosh, i assumed that open discussion, maybe even "spirited debate" was ok in these settings. I like to have my assumptions challenged (if i feel defensive, that usually makes me take a closer look at my choices...if i am confident in my choices i am not usually bothered by someone questioning them)...not being yelled at, not being treated rudely....but mere inquiry? discussion? Thats rude? really?

Quote:
When people try to tell you that you are making choices for YOUR kids that aren't good, it annoys you. Other people feel the same way you do. It's a pretty basic human response.
I assume when you say "you" you mean you, not me. If i'm in the grocery store and some stranger tells me my kid should be in school or he'll never amount to anything...yeah, that would probably annoy me. Thats not what we are talking about here. If i post something on an unschooling list, or mention something in a HS group, and someone says "well what did you mean by that? why do you think thats the best route? I have had more success doing xyz, have you thought about that instead?" why would that annoy me? If i make it clear i dont want to talk about it and that i'm satisfied w/ my choices, well yeah, thats annoying...overbearing people are annoying! And being "ganged up" on by everyone else in the room (which i posted about somewhere here...having three or four nonunschoolers wanting me to defend unschooling to them), thats not so fun. But if someone asks me questions or expresses concern with total sincerity and a desire to help....why would that annoy me? And if i say i'm an unschooler and another unschooler wants me to clarify why i've made certain choices? Thats even more ok with me.

Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Quote:
So if someone pointed out to an unschooler that they they send their child to school and their child can read, would you consider that polite?

There is a serious and odd double standard here.
Well, in this very thread (i think..there's several quite active at the moment), a nonunschooler posted that she thought a nonreading 12 yr old was akin to educational neglect. I didnt think that was very cool, but at the same time, rather than be all up in arms that she wasnt "polite", i chose to instead address the issue, and why i didnt think it was educational neglect.

Quote:
I agree. The families I know IRL who are unschooling and the kids are thriving all have a SAHP and cash for classes, field trips, sciece equipment, etc. I know that there are some single moms here who've made it work, and some families that struggle financially. I see them as the exception, though.
Thats true for HSing in general though isnt it? At live and learn a couple of years ago a bunch of us single unschoolers got together to discuss our issues/challenges. There are more of us out there than you'd think! Our biggest unschooling expense has been online gaming subscriptions and videogames.


Quote:
Agreed. Kids need to learn to read and write and do math. They don't need to learn it when they are 6 and many can learn those skills in natural ways with no direct instruction, but I feel the unschooling community does itself a disservice when they act like it doesn't matter whether or not that learning happens. Or acts like a parent who provides their child with direction instruction because the child wants it must be doing something wrong.
I must really be going to different unschooling sites than you guys. Or maybe i read whats written there much differently. The "voices" i am often drawn to in the world of unschooling are parents who've been at it a long time. And i dont think i've heard any of them say reading and writing and math are unimportant skills to have. What i have heard over and over from the veterans is that its not the workbooks themselves (for example) that are an issue, its how the *parent* feels about the workbooks (or curriculum or the textbook)...the reason for that is because i've often heard this: "We were unschooling and it worked really well because my daughter was self-regulated, but when she started doing nothing but playing videogames i knew she needed more structure!" or "unschooling is fine for the little kids, but when kids get older, they need to have more structured learning"...if the parent is ok with a children learning to read on his own, only because he learned when he was 6 or 8, but would be really nervous and start thinking about curriculum if the child is 10 or 12...thats an issue. I've seen alot of people give up unschooling when their kids get a little older, because of fear...because its easy to justify your six yr old playing with legos and coloring and building w/ clay all day, but if your 13 yr old is reading manga and watching anime and IMing her friends all day, you might have to look harder to see the real learning going on.

Its late...i think i'm completely off topic now.


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#149 of 257 Old 01-20-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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First, I want to be up front and say that we are still at the beginning of our homeschool journey, are still learning, and have not chosen a direction/approach yet. However, the homeschool group we belong to is comprised of a majority of unschoolers, so I’ve been following this thread with great interest as I do not want to alienate anyone by putting my foot in my mouth.

While the thread has kind of strayed off topic, I’m hoping someone could elaborate a bit on the level of vexation/animosity I’ve seen in this thread aimed at people who self identify as unschoolers in some way but who do not qualify to do so based on your (general you) definition of unschooling.

IIRC, somewhere earlier in this thread it was suggested that to say you “unschool for ABC, but not for XYZ “that you are being dishonest and co-opting the label. While I understand that part of the function of the label is to weed out those who are not like minded, I’m having a hard time understanding why “unschooling for ABC, but not for XYZ” isn’t within the spectrum of unschooling and why their input in a conversation about unschooling would not be valid or welcome.

To provide an analogy to illustrate my confusion: lets say there is a mother that is breastfeeding her child when she is at home but is supplementing with formula when she is at work. While you might gently encourage her to breastfeed exclusively because you think it’s the better way (or it’s considered the ideal), would she not still be a breastfeeding mother? Would you secretly be groaning inside when she calls herself a breastfeeding mother because you think she’s co-opting the label? Should she just be saying that she’s breastfeeding inspired? In a conversation about breastfeeding would she not still be able to contribute to suggestions for latch problems or biting or thrush?

While I’ve see exceptions here and there, overall there seems to be an overarching, all or nothing attitude amongst the unschooling community that I’m having a really hard time relating too or understanding. Like I said, we socialize with a lot of unschoolers and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling or alienate anyone so any input I could get on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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#150 of 257 Old 01-20-2009, 02:35 PM
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Well... for me, unschooling is defined by the lack of "schooling", so saying that you (the generic "you", not anyone in particular) unschool sometimes, or for some subjects, doesn't really mean anything. Everyone "unschools" sometimes, by that line of thinking- everyone has times when they're not actively "teaching" their children, right? So that can't be what defines unschooling, IMO. For me, what defines unschooling as the lack of schooling, because I think that is what creates the environment in which a child can learn without coercion. I think schooling has a ripple effect, and even if someone claims to "unschool" certain subjects, the effects of coerced learning will touch these areas as well...

I think it's great for anyone who wants to hang out here to do so, and contribute... but I have to admit, I would also have in my head that this person hasn't truly experienced unschooling, so whatever she says may not be helpful. It would be like someone who eats vegetarian breakfasts joining a group of vegetarians and participating... she might know some good recipes, but if she starts talking about the impact of her "vegetarianism" to overall health I would probably not pay much attention... because she isn't a vegetarian.

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