"Doing them a diservice?"(Unschooling and mental illness) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 01-26-2004, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I need some advice. We are an unschooling family, and I suffer from depression(possibly bi-polar). I was told by our counselor that by keeping my children at home I am doing them a diservice because I am not "doing" anything right now(winter is much worse for me, and I am in the process of getting treatment for whatever is wrong). She thinks we should have them in school/daycare during the day. Now this counselor has been great up til now, and has helped dh and I tremendously, I REALLY like her, but this just doesn't sit well with me. There is some other stuff going on...I may need to apply for SSI because of this illness, and she thinks they may look deeply into our alternative lifestyle...
So anyway...I know in my heart that unschooling is the way to go for us, but I'm wondering if there is anyone out there who has a mental illness who is unschooling, what do you tell ppl when they ask about not "doing" anything, and am I doing them a diservice?
TIA~Debi

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#2 of 14 Old 01-27-2004, 01:22 AM
 
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I had a similar experience with a counselor. I went there for other issues, and brought up my child-rearing ways a couple times in relation to other topics. Of course my attachment-parenting/unschooling ways were quite strange to her, and so got much unasked for advice. I stopped seeing her because I feel that if you are not 100% comfortable with your counselor, then it probably won't work in the longterm.

Anyway, I am not sure what you or she means by you guys not "doing anything." Has your counselor ever read any books on unschooling or understand what it is? Are you supposed to be up and "teaching" your children for six hours a day? Are your children happy? Would putting them in daycare/school help your children, or would it probably just lead to more problems down the road?

I think the key here is that you ARE taking care of your problem. And YOU will know (or you will see it in your kids) if it is too much for you. Also, I wouldn't be telling people you unschool, but that you homeschool. To many people the concept of unschooling is bizarre, and they are probably not going to ever look into the theories and concepts to gain any sort of understanding of it soon. (I wouldn't be telling people that you don't do anything - I understand what you mean, but it sounds odd to others.) So, if I were you I would (to people you are not close to) call it homeschooling. Maybe throw in some "curriculum" you got going. You know, your kids are doing "math" when cooking, "reading" when they look at books or you read to them. I think it was John Holt who said to just try to avoid the issues before they go to court.

And the law is on your side regarding homeschooling. So as long as you are taking care of yourself and your children are happy and healthy, I do not believe anybody can do anything to you....

Hope that helps.
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#3 of 14 Old 01-27-2004, 01:38 AM
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Originally posted by EIGN
Are your children happy? Would putting them in daycare/school help your children, or would it probably just lead to more problems down the road?
I think this is the crux of the question, really.

I've had problems with depression for years, although I'm a lot better now thatn I was. Mien tends to start every September or October, and for a long time it would sneak up on me every year and I would be deep into the depression before I realized it and got help... and I wasn't the greatest mother then, but I was good enough, and I got help and got better .

OTOH, I do think that children need an available, involved parent, whether you're schooling or unschooling. Not 24/7, of course, but if you find yourself pputting your child off for most of the day because you're too depressed to interact with them, or if you're not able to care for their basic needs (like preparing food for younger kids, even if it's a bowl of cereal or a sandwich, and supervising them enough that they stay safe), then I don't think being home alone with you is the right thing for your children right now. Not that they should be in school, but maybe you could use a few hours a day of childcare, or hire a preteen or teen helper to come over and hang out with them a few hours a day.

And often when people say kids aren't "doing anything", they mean anything that looks like school. So, I focus on what *else* my kid is doing - drawing, dancing, baking muffins, folding laundry, singing, being in plays, whatever...

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#4 of 14 Old 01-27-2004, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas! I am taking care of their basic needs right now, and we do read and interact. They help me in the kitchen and I think they are pretty happy. The reason we even brought up the homeschooling/unschooling thing was that my dh all of a sudden was having issues with unschooling. He wanted a set time everyday where the kids did something(of their choice) concrete. So we discussed it in counseling. I think that daycare sounds like a great break sometimes lol but definately not something I want them to be in. We have btdt last year, and I did not see a positive result. I think I am on the right track, and winter is just an exeptionally hard time of year for us(less daylight, less outside time, etc.).
Thanks again!
Debi

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#5 of 14 Old 01-27-2004, 07:20 PM
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I suffered depression for years too. I've been better and now I feel I'm a bit worse again. It's fear from hearing that kind of advice "send you kid to daycare" that keeps me from going to a counselour.

I think you are doing pretty well, Mamamoo. Even if it's cold outside, do try to go out for a bit, it usually helps with me.
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#6 of 14 Old 01-28-2004, 12:51 AM
 
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one of those lights for SAD -Seasonal Affected Disorder?
Things get worse in winter for SAD people...
The light simulates sunlight...
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#7 of 14 Old 01-28-2004, 04:46 PM
 
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Just what you needed to hear eh? If they were in daycare/preschool they'd only major in infectious diseases and common colds 101 and that's definately not what your family needs!

When I had my third baby when my DH and I went in on our baby's 2nd day of life for a checkup the pediatrician there asked my DH and I if we had a babysitter so we could get away for some time for ourselves? Excuse me? I just had a baby and my coming to see you is interrupting my babymoon you idiot!

{{{Hugs}}} Perhaps it was just a sincere idea that maybe you could benefit from. Only you know what is best for you and your kids. I hope you find a solution.

Warmly,
Debra
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#8 of 14 Old 01-28-2004, 04:57 PM
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Originally posted by compleatmomof4
When I had my third baby when my DH and I went in on our baby's 2nd day of life for a checkup the pediatrician there asked my DH and I if we had a babysitter so we could get away for some time for ourselves?
I think doctors advise this because they are aware of all the cases on abuse to babies, many due to parental exaustion.
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#9 of 14 Old 02-07-2004, 12:47 PM
 
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Andrea Yaegar was home alone with her kids and she had been hospitalized several times for her mental illness.

This is probably what your counselor is thinking of...

I am not saying that is your condition, but the counselor is probably thinking this.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#10 of 14 Old 02-07-2004, 08:11 PM
 
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Andrea Yates ( not Yaeger sorry not trying to step on toes) all drs have this instant "depressed homeschool mom= dead children" and it makes it harder for mothers to seek help for anything because of this mentality

OT -but Andrea yates had more than her illness going on-and the abuse by her dh is overlooked - at least here in Texas it is -never mind he checked her out AMA and was told that things would be bad --sorry just one of my hot buttons since it has affected those who need help or get overwhelmed to think they are nuts..
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#11 of 14 Old 02-08-2004, 07:22 AM
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Andrea Yates ( not Yaeger sorry not trying to step on toes) all drs have this instant "depressed homeschool mom= dead children"
I didn't knew she was a homeschooler.

Leo
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#12 of 14 Old 02-08-2004, 04:10 PM
 
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it had to be the homeschooling not the mental illness or lack of support and enforced isolation I remember the media blitz all too well
It was a mess
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#13 of 14 Old 02-08-2004, 04:40 PM
 
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not to go T, but

Andrea Yates is in jail but much of the blame belongs to her doctors, her husband, her pastor and her family who knew she was very ill and left her alone with those children.

I do believe homeschooling is very fulfilling for a mother who can do it. It has been for me.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#14 of 14 Old 02-08-2004, 05:03 PM
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I wonder if she was known in any foruns and what parenting was she involved with?
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