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#1 of 63 Old 01-10-2010, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To you, what is the line between unschooling and educational neglect?

(*disclaimer: we are considering homeschooling, but aren't completely sure as to the "methodology", I'm not a "concerned" neighbor, relative, or friend of someone who is claiming to be unschooling their child but feel that it is just an excuse to be lazy and not bother 'educating' their kid)
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#2 of 63 Old 01-10-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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IMO, there isn't any such thing as "educational neglect."

There are cases where kids are being abused or neglected, and part of that may include the lack of an education. If kids are being completely ignored all day, with no access to the library or the internet or any other sources of intellectual stimulation, then they're being neglected. It's emotional neglect (and possibly physical neglect) in addition to being educational neglect. IMO, the educational part of the neglect is the least of these kids' worries.

When children are being appropriately cared for, their natural curiosity will lead them to learn.

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#3 of 63 Old 01-10-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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In a nutshell:

All people want to learn. It is innate.

Being educationally responsible means: Parents provide appropriate resources to help their children learn and meet their goals.

Neglecting education means not providing appropriate resources.

I have absolutely seen kids who go to school who are educationally neglected, fwiw. Their is one in my kitchen as we speak. She does not read as well as she wants to, yet her mom won't sign papers for testing and the school is not doing anything about it. She is 11.

While I have not seen HSed children who are educationally neglected - I am sure it exists. I suspect it cuts across educational styles and philosophies....

I do think parents have a responsibility towards their children and society to send them out into the world functional in reading, writing and mathematics.

I think, with USing, most parents trust that their children will eventually want these things (and often more - much more -than being simply functional) and will be motivated to learn these things. Most stuff can be learned quite quickly once the motivation is present. What may look like educational neglect is often just waiting for educational motivation to kick in or honouring where they are now (somethimes a lot of learning is going on in peoples head without much output)

I am interested to read other posters response, and will respond more in a bit...

Nice question for discussion!

Kathy
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#4 of 63 Old 01-10-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post
To you, what is the line between unschooling and educational neglect?

I think the question itself assumes a scale where, up to a point, we can call it "unschooling" but after a certain point, it become "neglect."

I don't see it that way.

Unschooling requires being attentive, it requires that we listen to our kids, engage in conversations with them, help them to seek out information that they're interested in, provide resources and supplies--I'm not sure how one could do all of this and be neglectful at the same time.

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#5 of 63 Old 01-10-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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don't you think it's pretty self explanatory?

unschooling (aka natural or organic home based learning) is a process by which parents are children's active allies in learning and exploring the world.

educational neglect is when a parent is so uninvolved in a child's life that they can't be bothered to even send a child to school.

they would be on opposite ends of the "involvement" spectrum if you ask me. it seems pretty obvious.

(not being snarky, just saying)

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#6 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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What is the line between apples and pineapples? Bananas and guavas? Oranges and artichokes? Lillian

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#7 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
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#8 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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May I add to this question? I'm a hs'ing mom, though probably on the other end of the spectrum from unschooling, as we plan to do a Classical Education, but right now with a 4yo and a 2yo, I guess what we are doing is unschooling for another year or two.

On a lot of levels, unschooling seems like a great idea to me, and I can see it working well for a good number of kids, but there's one thing I have always wondered about and it related to the OP's question. What if there is something that is important for a child to learn (like a certain level of math) but they just never get motivated to learn it?

I would think of my sister for an example. She's SO literature based, she would read all day every day, but she despises math. She's not very technically minded and it's never come as easily for her as reading and so she's always taken the minimum level she's had to take to get through. She made average to above average grades in math, but it would be her least favorite class. She wasn't homeschooled, but our mom was hugely interested in our educations, we are all very intelligent, etc, so it's not a learning disability or a lack of parental involvement. But I could think that if she had been unschooled, she would just have read all day every day and never cared to learn math beyond measuring to cook or balancing a checkbook. She's currently getting a degree in birth-kindy education and plans to work in a daycare, so she'll never really need math, and only took the minimum in college as well.

If you have a child who is similar, or who is a wiz at math and hates reading for instance (like my baby sister)...do you as an unschooling parent push that issue at any point? I just wonder what you would do if the motivation never came.

TY!

Vallere: Blessed Wife, Doula, Homeschool Mom to Ian Gray(11/20/05), Zollie Isaac(10/14/07), Anna Zophia (8/14/09):, and a GIRL coming June 2010!
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#9 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 04:02 AM
 
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While I have not seen HSed children who are educationally neglected - I am sure it exists. I suspect it cuts across educational styles and philosophies....
This deserves to be pulled out and emphasized. I see much more educational neglect in public schooling parents than I do in homeschooling parents. I also think that there are 'fundamental' religious homeschoolers only focusing on religious education who could be more correctly termed 'educationally neglectful'.

Unschooling is an intense experience, at least in the younger years when you as the parent are doing the legwork for your kids (finding books, sources, tutors, experiences, etc that meet their needs/interests). It's hardly neglectful.

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#10 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 05:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post
I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
I think this is the actual question LOL. I'm not even there yet..so I hope my advice helps

1. Start unschooling outdoors or at least out of the home ex: library, museum, dog shelter day =D, than no worries about spongebob.

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#11 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post
I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
maybe you are in need of more deschooling?

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#12 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 09:41 AM
 
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I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
I think there is something "worthwhile" to be found in any activity. I don't know what "Pixie Hollow" is but Spongebob has launched some good conversations in our house--about issues and personalities, has inspired a good amount of artwork, and has influenced ds2's sense of humor. It's also been a springboard for an interest in undersea life.

I don't see a correlation between how school-like something is and how worthwhile it is. Part of the joy of unschooling, for us, has been the novel, the unusual, the "out of box" experiences that are open to us.

If you don't dismiss experiences as pointless or a waste or unimportant, you'll often see that one thing leads to another and that there is value in the whole.

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#13 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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What if there is something that is important for a child to learn (like a certain level of math) but they just never get motivated to learn it?
I think you answered your own question here:

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She's currently getting a degree in birth-kindy education and plans to work in a daycare, so she'll never really need math, and only took the minimum in college as well.
Apparently, for her, it was NOT important to learn "a certain level of math." It sounds like she knows enough to live her life, like being able to balance a checkbook, and she's able to obtain the career she wants.


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If you have a child who is similar, or who is a wiz at math and hates reading for instance (like my baby sister)...do you as an unschooling parent push that issue at any point? I just wonder what you would do if the motivation never came.

TY!
*I* wouldn't push the issue because I feel that people will learn what they need to learn when they need it. I don't define for my kids what they need--we talk about their goals, and what they might need to achieve them, we talk about prerequisites (ex: If you want to go to college, and that college requires a knowledge of algebra, then that would be a good thing to study.)

If my child was having a hard time with something that they WANTED to study, I'd help them in any way I could to reach their goal. But otherwise I've found that if they're not interested in something they have no need for it.

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#14 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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great replies...
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#15 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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On the reading/math issue, you could also stack the deck. Have the child help with your daily math related activities. Start doing more baking, get books that include people using math, play songs with math concepts. Have the available toys include blocks and sorting games and board games where you move forward and back along a path. That'll be more than enough to get fundamental concepts of numbers and the purpose of math into their heads.

After that, there are plenty of basic math skills classes so if your kid gets to 16, 17, 18 and decides "y'know, I do need math" they can take a one semester course and learn it all in 16 weeks.

The other way around is easier, imo. The kid who is fascinated with math and doesn't care for reading can be handed a stack of math concept books and even with you reading out loud on request, they'll eventually start reading alone just to find out more.
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#16 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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There are a lot of great replies on here!

I'd mention that part of the understanding of how to "handle" a child who doesn't want to learn one subject or another is to shed your pre-conceived notions of what it takes to learn that subject.

In other words, if you think the only way advanced math can be learned with a textbook and worksheets, that's very limiting. But if you consider all the advanced math that would be learned while building a play fort or a pine derby racer, or the math involved in figuring out a skateboard trick on a course, and trust that process as a valid method of learning advanced math, it doesn't seem impossible any more.

And those video games (we've played Pixie Hollow, but not Sponge Bob) can lead to wonderful learning as well. For us, it lead to reading other stories about fairies, learning about mushrooms (since some books say fairies make them their homes), size comparisons (drawing and measuring different sized fairies based on the details in the books), and discussions about fantasy versus reality. Not to mention, the games themselves have pattern challenges, females placed in roles as competent explorers, etc.

I think it's hard to understand this natural progression of learning until one is living it, though. It was for me, anyways. I know I used to think I'd NEVER unschool as that was just too "easy" and "lazy." (duck, can't believe I admitted that!) Now I find myself seeing it as the most demanding form of homeschooling because it requires me to pay attention to what sparks a thought and helping my kids to follow through with that spark. And that spark always leads to another spark, and another.

So, like a previous poster, I think it's the exact opposite of neglecting a child's education. Rather, it's celebrating and embracing their interests and allowing them to make the connections and insights that will help them retain and delight in the learned information, rather than just memorize or get exposed to it.

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#17 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post
I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
Skills practised on computer games:
reading
writing
keyboarding
computer
fine motor skills

Don't you ever spend a day wathcing TV, or reading, or on the computer? I know I do! If I do it once in a while it feels great - if I do it all the time I feel out of balance. If your child does it once in a while - fine. If your child does it constantly and seems out of balance you may need to help them find a way to balance their love of video games (or xyz) with other things. That however, is complicated and a post (or many!) on its own.

Do not borrow trouble, however. The marathon Pixie Hollow scenario may not come to pass. I have 3 kids and only 1 has screen addiction issues. He is doing very well at the moment with his screen usage -and even though his screen usage has caused hand wringing in the past, it has:
a) not caused him to lose any intellectual ground
b) been a fantastic learning opportunity concerning self regualtion.
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#18 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
I'd suggest that you think about why you would panic if that happened. Do you mean you'd panic if that happened one day or if it was going on everyday for months on end?

I agree with PPs that playing games on the computer can also be worthwhile and involve learning about something. That doesn't mean I wouldn't worry a bit if that's all my son wanted to do but instead of panicking I would try to see what he liked so much about playing those games and how he felt about playing so much before I would decide if I needed to do anything about it. And doing something about it would involve letting my son know my concerns and the two of us figuring something out, not locking the door to the computer room (unless my son thought that might be a good strategy--sometimes he asks me to hide treats he wants to save for another day).

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What if there is something that is important for a child to learn (like a certain level of math) but they just never get motivated to learn it?
Do you think most people learn a lot of the higher math they studied in high school? Do you think if you gave them algebra, geometry and trig tests right now that they'd do well? Thinking of the people I know, it would depend so much on whether they enjoyed studying it and if they've ever used it since. If the interest or need is there, they will learn it. If it's not, then so what if they don't learn it?

Quote:
I would think of my sister for an example. She's SO literature based, she would read all day every day, but she despises math. She's not very technically minded and it's never come as easily for her as reading and so she's always taken the minimum level she's had to take to get through. She made average to above average grades in math, but it would be her least favorite class.
Same here and the only positive thing to come out of those classes (because I don't remember very much of it) was that after failing the first semester of geometry and the first half of the second semester, I decided to actually try so I wouldn't have to retake the whole year and found that it wasn't hard and that I really could learn it if I made a little effort. However, I think most unschooled kids are used to figuring stuff out and wouldn't really need that little epiphany.

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But I could think that if she had been unschooled, she would just have read all day every day and never cared to learn math beyond measuring to cook or balancing a checkbook.
Well you don't really know what she would have done since she wasn't unschooled. While it's reasonable to think she would have read a lot, no one will ever know what else she might have done or learned.
Also, do you think she's retained most of the math she studied in high school and college? Could she take her finals today and do well?


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If you have a child who is similar, or who is a wiz at math and hates reading for instance (like my baby sister)...do you as an unschooling parent push that issue at any point? I just wonder what you would do if the motivation never came.
My son is 8 and very good with numbers and math concepts. He also is not reading yet. He can read the first set of bob books and a few of the second set (these books are very basic), but the interest and the readiness are not there yet for anything more than this.
For example, he looks at the word MAP (which he could easily read if he wanted to) and sees the M. He told me on the plane to push the M button to see the map. I asked him what it said on the button and he said he didn't know. However when he took another look at it he could sound it out, but he is not interested enough on his own to do that yet.

I definitely do not push the issue. My goal is that is he won't hate reading like your sister who may have been pushed to do it before she was ready.
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#19 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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What is the line between apples and pineapples? Bananas and guavas? Oranges and artichokes? Lillian

Exactly!
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#20 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 04:24 PM
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I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
I think people who struggle and then often decide that unschooling didn't "work" for their kids are the ones who expected their kids to spend their days doing things that look more like traditional learning... researching why the sky is blue, maybe, or reading some Tolstoy. And these things happen sometimes, but other times you get days and weeks of Spongebob, and that's okay too.

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Originally Posted by DoulaVallere View Post
On a lot of levels, unschooling seems like a great idea to me, and I can see it working well for a good number of kids, but there's one thing I have always wondered about and it related to the OP's question. What if there is something that is important for a child to learn (like a certain level of math) but they just never get motivated to learn it?
I haven't seen that happen. If something is important for a kid to learn in order to further his own goals, he learns it. It sounds like your question is more about a kid not learning something you think is important... and really, in that case I would tell my kid why I held those views and let it go...

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On the reading/math issue, you could also stack the deck. Have the child help with your daily math related activities. Start doing more baking, get books that include people using math, play songs with math concepts. Have the available toys include blocks and sorting games and board games where you move forward and back along a path. That'll be more than enough to get fundamental concepts of numbers and the purpose of math into their heads.
I know that's the Sandra Dodd version of unschooling, but I have issues with "stacking the deck". It sort of reminds me of people who suddenly start buying carrot and celery sticks to share with someone they've decided is overweight - to me that's rather insulting . My kid would have caught on to it, too. I mean, we did bake, and play games, but we did it because one of both of us thought it sounded fun, not because I thought Rain needed more exposure to math concepts.

YMMV...

 
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#21 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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neglect

- laziness
- it is abuse
- not caring
- child is not learning to full potential
- questions go unanswered
- no resources
- parent uninterested in child's development

Unschooling

The exact opposite of above answers


With unschooling the parent makes an educated decision on what they feel is best for their child.
Neglect would be the absence of an informed decision.
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#22 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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This deserves to be pulled out and emphasized. I see much more educational neglect in public schooling parents than I do in homeschooling parents. I also think that there are 'fundamental' religious homeschoolers only focusing on religious education who could be more correctly termed 'educationally neglectful'.
As discussed on this thread, educational neglect is a whole different ballgame from homeschooling or unschooling or even fundamentalist Christian homeschooling. Educational neglect is no schooling, no attention. no interests encouraged by the parents, no encouragement or enabling of learning, no interaction. Perhaps you can claim to be homeschooling and in fact actually locking your kids into their rooms all day, but clearly that's not homeschooling, that's lying.

Same with fundamentalist Christain homeschooling. Perhaps they do not teach chemistry, but they are attending to schooling via the Bible. In their opinion, this is what is important to teach the child, and the other items unimportant or false. It's schooling. You don't agree with them and I don't either, but I would argue that it's not educational neglect but rather an entirely different kind of education than you or I would give. I'm not even saying you can't/shouldn't judge this kind of education, but just that it's separate from educational neglect.

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#23 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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I know that's the Sandra Dodd version of unschooling, but I have issues with "stacking the deck". It sort of reminds me of people who suddenly start buying carrot and celery sticks to share with someone they've decided is overweight - to me that's rather insulting . My kid would have caught on to it, too. I mean, we did bake, and play games, but we did it because one of both of us thought it sounded fun, not because I thought Rain needed more exposure to math concepts.

YMMV...
yeah, stacking the deck seems disrespectful. trusting your child's process is SO important. if you can't then you have to examine yourself more closely. IMO.

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#24 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I just thought of a lengthy and spirited thread that would be helpful: Misconceptions about unschooling

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#25 of 63 Old 01-11-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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I know that's the Sandra Dodd version of unschooling, but I have issues with "stacking the deck". It sort of reminds me of people who suddenly start buying carrot and celery sticks to share with someone they've decided is overweight - to me that's rather insulting . My kid would have caught on to it, too. I mean, we did bake, and play games, but we did it because one of both of us thought it sounded fun, not because I thought Rain needed more exposure to math concepts.

YMMV...
See, and I think if doing some baking and being more open about the math you're using every day helps you stop stressing about your kid, it'll help you pull back and trust the process.

I see the analogy more as you've been meaning to start walking daily and have procrastinated and procrastinated and then you realize you could have your friend come with you and it'd be fun and they'd also benefit. Sure you could do it as "I feel my heartrate elevating and my muscles getting sore do YOU feel that you are 'getting t3h workoutz'??" in the horribly patronizing tone that people use when something is Educational (tm) and Good For You (r), but ewww.

As for the getting math books for the mathy kid, I did say read the books to them as much as they want. My guess is a math interested kid who hasn't asked for a book (or website) about math just doesn't realize yet that they exist.
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#26 of 63 Old 01-12-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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This deserves to be pulled out and emphasized. I see much more educational neglect in public schooling parents than I do in homeschooling parents. I also think that there are 'fundamental' religious homeschoolers only focusing on religious education who could be more correctly termed 'educationally neglectful'.

Unschooling is an intense experience, at least in the younger years when you as the parent are doing the legwork for your kids (finding books, sources, tutors, experiences, etc that meet their needs/interests). It's hardly neglectful.
I have to agree with this poster. Educational neglect is rampant in public, even private, school settings. As a former educator, I would spend many hours sitting on the phone trying to reach parents, to the point of leaving numerous messages at home, work and on their mobile phone. These parents would never come to talk about their child's education, even after I went out of my way to move the schedule to meet their time constraints. ARGH! Don't they care? Are they afraid? Their student/child hears the messages....don't they know their child "gets it"?? The parents will actively avoid my calls. Pathetic. Heartbreaking. NEGLECTFUL!!

From a current unschooling perspective, I am actively engaged in the interests of my 4 and 6 year old on a daily basis. I chose to unschool knowing all too well how much of my time it would consume, but also fully aware that it would be the best method of learning for these kids. They have soooo many questions and ideas, I cannot fathom putting them in a ps setting where speaking and socializing is limited (possibly stifled...).

My .02...

Great topic!

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#27 of 63 Old 01-12-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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Unschooling requires being attentive, it requires that we listen to our kids, engage in conversations with them, help them to seek out information that they're interested in, provide resources and supplies--I'm not sure how one could do all of this and be neglectful at the same time.
Definitely! I do not teach my children - I facilitate their learning. They are the ones in charge of what and how they learn. I just help them find resources, drive them places, have cool conversations with them (my ILs would have been clueless with the chemistry conversation we had with the kids (ages 7, 5, and 2 1/2) at dinner last night - all because the kids were asking questions), plan cool field trips that they want to do, listen to their ideas and plans, provide feedback if asked, etc.

Mom to Eoin (11/02), Eilis (09/04), Eamon (07/07), and Ellery (04/10)
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#28 of 63 Old 01-12-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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I think I see myself panicking if my daughter were to decide she'd rather spend the day playing Pixie Hollow or some Spongebob game on the computer in lieu of doing something "worthwhile", such as learning about something.
There are things to be learned from most any activity, but I do believe that a lot of our modern world has dumbed-down activities and created ones to do the thinking for us. So while TV can offer information, I personally believe it should be well-regulated by the parent.

IMNSHO not everything in the home is educationally healthy. I think of it like this: We have chocolate in our house that we eat now and then, but I don't want my DD to make the choice to sit down and eat a whole bunch of it in place of a healthy lunch. Some might say: get the chocolate out of the house and I really understand that, but that's not our house.

While children are naturally curious to learn, they don't have self-control. And some kids may be able to sit at a video game and get bored with it after 30 minutes...some kids may not be able to let go of it after 2 hrs.

If there was no need to guide them in some fashion (or create a healthy learning environment), then I would be unnecessary. So unschooling is not abdicating your parenting role.
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#29 of 63 Old 01-12-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dillonandmarasmom View Post
I have to agree with this poster. Educational neglect is rampant in public, even private, school settings. As a former educator, I would spend many hours sitting on the phone trying to reach parents, to the point of leaving numerous messages at home, work and on their mobile phone. These parents would never come to talk about their child's education, even after I went out of my way to move the schedule to meet their time constraints. ARGH! Don't they care? Are they afraid? Their student/child hears the messages....don't they know their child "gets it"?? The parents will actively avoid my calls. Pathetic. Heartbreaking. NEGLECTFUL!!
Too darn busy...that's what they have you for!
I believe that if a HSing parent had their child in Public or private school, they would be so tuned in and on top of what is going on in their child's education. Isn't it all kind of ironic?

Those who don't have a clue about what's going on in their child's education are that way b/c they wanted to hand them over to a system that would relieve them of the responsibility/worry/work of it all.

And this is a bit of a rabbit trail, but I think this is why people vote in favor of more taxes/levies to fund the schools...b/c the parents panic at the thought of the alternative (bringing them home) so they gladly pay more money for others to take care of them.
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#30 of 63 Old 01-12-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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