tell me it is ok to be obsessed with guinea pigs - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My middle child is obsessed with guinea pigs, although she does branch out to other animals, occasionally. Obsessed - as in spend much of her day online on a guinea pig chat board, looking at pictures of guinea pigs, or re-arranging her guineas cage.

I know US is to blame (or allows her passion - if you want to put a positive spin on things).

I worry about it occasionally. It seems like an obsession. I know if she were in school or HSed in a more structured way she would not have time to obsess over guinea pigs. We are not planning to jump ship, however.

I have also failed, somewhat, to help her expand on her interest base. I called the local SPCA (which is 45 minutes away - we are rural) to see if she could volunteer - and, nope, you have to be 16. I called a cat sanctuary (also about 45 minutes away) and the woman said yes, but then when we would call to scheduel times to visit, she kept putting us off. On a venting note - why the heck is it so hard to find volunteer opportunites where kids are welcome???

I am contemplating calling a guinea pig rescue org 2 hours away to see if we can visit. I know we will not be able to volunteer often - so I wonder if there is a point?

FWIW, she does have 2 guinea pigs.

sigh. It is February, the sun has not shined for more than a day or 2 in months, and I could use a hug. Or advice. or a kick in the USing pants.
Whatever you choose.

kathy
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#2 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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This post made me smile, because recently we were looking through old photos, and in many of them my dd was holding her hands up by her chest in rodent-paw fashion. She lived her life for like two years actually BEING a hamster. Like as in all day, every day, she was, in her mind, a hamster.

She is now a normal 12 year old and not at all a rodent.

She was younger than your dd during that phase, (probably 6 - 8) but just as obsessed. Everything revolved around hamsters and her pet hamster was truly her best friend during that time. One Halloween I spent two full days sewing an elaborate Hamtaro (cartoon hamster) costume.

I have fond memories of that phase, she was so passionate and absorbed in everything hamster. I think it really honed her observation skills, she is super-observent with animals and picks up on cues, she recognizes each of our 16 chickens by their voices (do chickens have voices? well, by the sounds they make).

I think the experience of immersion in a passion is invaluable. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, in fact I think having the freedom to be a little obsessed with something is one of the best things about unschooling.

Do you have 4H where you live? Here the rabbit 4-H includes guinea pigs.
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#3 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jumping up and down for joy .....

We totally have 4H were we live. We live in a rural farm belt!

Off to google....

Kathy

PS. Ok I googled, not suprisingly there is one here and I have a name and contact number. I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
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#4 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Totally made me smile, too. My 11 yo is very into animals. For about 2.5 years that child didn't walk upright. Ok, I did make her walk properly when we were at a store or something, lol, but otherwise, it was butt-up hands and feet walking. Or loping. I'm not sure what to call it. I remember thinking that it had to be coming from her interest in animals. It was really weird, lol. Especially because she is REALLY tall (she just turned 11 and wears a size 10 women's shoe!) so she was just all long legs and arms, rofl. I had a friend who apparently really thought there was something wrong w/her, but she just didn't get my child. My dd also climbed the walls in the hallway (one leg and arm on each wall), and I think it was her daddy's influence that started that one. Anyway, back on track-sorry...she is highly in tune with animals of all kinds, and can also recognize our chickens various voices (yes, I really do believe they have voices) and wrangle goats and help our dog w/her chronic leg pain, etc....it's super neat.

Some of these phases are really long ones. Mostly they do pass and you look back on them w/fondness. Let her live and celebrate guinea pigs (it's rabbits at our house). Def. check out 4-H. We are going to start next year.

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#5 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Jumping up and down for joy .....

We totally have 4H were we live. We live in a rural farm belt!

Off to google....

Kathy

PS. Ok I googled, not suprisingly there is one here and I have a name and contact number. I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
I don't think 4-H is about factory farming, but I'm really not sure. I need to ask my mom. She was a 4-H leader years and years ago.

There are alot of people in 4-H who eat meat, though. I do know that because they have all sorts of areas in the competition that have to do w/meat animals. I know this because I raise rabbit meat pens for 4-H county shows. But aren't there lots of other areas in 4-H like gardening and such?

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#6 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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Our year of guinea pig/rabbit 4H was all about care, breeding and showing - a vegan would not have been at all out of place. Kids were accepted at whatever interest level they had - my dd was at the pet-level of interest, she did not even want to show at the fair and was not required to. At the expo (kind of like a science fair) the exhibits were all about care, breeding, that sort of thing, nothing about butchering or anything related to eating animals, although I suppose there could be. But your contact person will be able to answer all your questions I'm sure.
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#7 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I know if she were in school or HSed in a more structured way she would not have time to obsess over guinea pigs.
This is true. For that reason, I think you should set a timer for 45 minutes and each time it goes off, interrupt her activities and direct her to something else. Preferably something she's less interested in. Clearly, she has a long attention span, which you should want to do something about.


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I am contemplating calling a guinea pig rescue org 2 hours away to see if we can visit. I know we will not be able to volunteer often - so I wonder if there is a point?
Rescues often utilize foster homes. Perhaps you could take in guinea pigs while they are awaiting adoption?

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sigh. It is February, the sun has not shined for more than a day or 2 in months,
Well, that's probably HUGE. I hear spring is on the way...although the view from my window does not even hint at that...still, spring will come and with it opportunities for new activities.

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#8 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
We did 4H. She'll be welcomed - I doubt whether the subject would even come up - although she might have a few uncomfortable moments at some general meeting if she hears other members tell how much they got per pound for the animals they'd raised, etc. Made us squirm a bit . But our experience was that it was a very positive and relaxed organization that just focused on some wholesome work and learning values and the subject that was being covered in whatever class. I didn't particularly think of it as promotion of factory farming, though - seems to me there was more honoring of small farms that operated in an old fashioned way, which is a whole movement these days. It was amazing - there were a wide array of interesting classes on things that might never be found anywhere else - small engine repair, dog training, bonsai growing, and all sorts of things I can't remember. And the members were ever so much more naturally respectful, responsible, and attentive than I ever saw at a Scouts meeting! I couldn't understand why that was the case, but it was quite refreshing. Lillian
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#9 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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This is true. For that reason, I think you should set a timer for 45 minutes and each time it goes off, interrupt her activities and direct her to something else. Preferably something she's less interested in. Clearly, she has a long attention span, which you should want to do something about.
Oh, wicked! But having tea instead of coffee today, I did have to read that twice before I got it. - Lillian
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#10 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
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#11 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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Oh, wicked! But having tea instead of coffee today, I did have to read that twice before I got it. - Lillian
**Snort!** I actually came back to this thread because as I was in the kitchen making a cake I realized that this was bugging me, lol! I *did* have coffee. Apparently I need more.

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If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
That's what I was thinking. Educationalese would turn that into all kinds of "lessons".

Have you joined the ACBA? That would be a great place to start.

http://www.acbaonline.com/

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#12 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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sorry ladies, forgot I was typing to people who don't know my tone.

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#13 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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Just a thought to throw in --

My dh met a guy at a party who is a guinea pig judge. That was his professional occupation. If I understood correctly, he traveled all over the country judging at competitions, because there are very few qualified guinea pig judges. It was such a strange thing that it stuck with me.

So I don't know. Guinea pigs may in fact be a smart niche!
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#14 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is true. For that reason, I think you should set a timer for 45 minutes and each time it goes off, interrupt her activities and direct her to something else. Preferably something she's less interested in. Clearly, she has a long attention span, which you should want to do something about.
This is funny - thank you.

She did go skating with us this afternoon, and is at the library as we speak, so I guess guineas have not totally overtaken her life. It sure seemed that way this morning though, when she was mooning over a picture of "Tex the Texel (type of guinea) from Toronto." for over an hour.

Ack, even if she is obsessed - so what? She is not hurting anyone and she enjoys it.

kathy
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#15 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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sorry ladies, forgot I was typing to people who don't know my tone.
I just thought at first that you'd changed your tune! Threw me for a loop.

Lillian
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#16 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Jumping up and down for joy .....

We totally have 4H were we live. We live in a rural farm belt!

Off to google....

Kathy

PS. Ok I googled, not suprisingly there is one here and I have a name and contact number. I have one concern though, DD is a vegan (her choice - I am an omnivore). 4H is a farming organisation, is it not? DD is opposed to factory farming. I wonder if she would be welcomed there.....

Anyone know anything about 4H?
Many, but not all, kids in 4-H are from family farms. If you do some more research you will find there is a huge difference between family farm practices and factory farming.

More on 4-H here:

http://4-h.org/


And please stopping seen your daughter as someone obsessed and see her as someone passionate.
Support her passion and all the learning she is doing because of it!


Alex
( who has a family dairy farm and her a daughter that loves her guinea pigs)
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#17 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
Isn't this an unschooling board????
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#18 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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Isn't this an unschooling board????
Yes, but unschoolers have anxiety attacks too! Lillian
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#19 of 37 Old 02-25-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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Yes, but unschoolers have anxiety attacks too! Lillian
That has nothing to do with what I was quoting. I was talking about posting on creating lesson plans.
Sure I get it that some people do whole life unschooling and some only academically.
But lesson plans???
YOu may even be a very relaxed eclectic homeschooler but unschooler?
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#20 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Lol, my six year old is obsessed with the movie 9. She will sit and watch youtube videos and look at google images for hours if I let her. AT least yours is semi-constructive.

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn - Benjamin Franklin"
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#21 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Many, but not all, kids in 4-H are from family farms. If you do some more research you will find there is a huge difference between family farm practices and factory farming.

More on 4-H here:

http://4-h.org/

Perhaps the word factory farm was incorrect. I live in a farming area, however, and I know full well that the family farms in this area treat animals like a commodity. It is a business. This is not in line with my DD beliefs and therein lies my concern. I am willing to research and keep an open mind, though. There are a few hobby farms where people keep animals because they wish to have a food source where they know where the food comes from - but that is a minority.


And please stopping seen your daughter as someone obsessed and see her as someone passionate.
Support her passion and all the learning she is doing because of it!


Ouch.

FWIW, I am always supportive with my DD's about her interests. I come here to vent because in most cases it is a safe place to do so.

I will be frank and say sometimes I have difficulty telling the difference between a passion and an obsession and what my role is as the parent (as do many others...have you read the numerous "my son is addicted to screens" thread?).

I readily admit that the amount of joy and learning that has come about through guinea pigs is huge, and far, far outweighs any concern I have with her hyperfocus on them. That does not mean I do not have the occasional twinge of anxiety however - I beleive in moderation and balance and her hyperfocus is, well not moderate.

Ah well, she may be more of a specialist whereas I am a generalist. Or she may be a serial specialist - focusing on one speciality after another. In any event it is her way and it is fine.
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#22 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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That has nothing to do with what I was quoting. I was talking about posting on creating lesson plans.
Sure I get it that some people do whole life unschooling and some only academically.
But lesson plans???
YOu may even be a very relaxed eclectic homeschooler but unschooler?
Well, then I might be confused, but what the comment had been:
"Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires."

Seems to me the whole point was that Kathy isn't a structured homeschooler and is obviously not going to be coming up wiht guinea themed lessons. So I thought your comment was just about Kathy's concern about expanding her daughter's interests - that was what I was referring to.
Lillian
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#23 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

.
For clarity's sake: she has expressed a desire to work with animals beyond the ones we own, and I have not yet been able to find resources for her to do so. That is what I mean by expand her interest.
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#24 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For fun...here is a picture of one of the guineas:

http://www.guineapigcages.com/photos...m/DSCN0810.JPG

Kathy
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#25 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 01:37 AM
 
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Cute guinea pig. The book I have for being a member of the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) is also about cavies. And yes, there are plenty of registrars and judges who have good careers. Does your dd know that many people eat guinea pig? I mean, you don't have to tell her, but it is a fact. I could see it coming up at a 4-H meeting/show.

I would say we have a hobby farm. I mean, we sell a few things here and there, but really, it's just a family farm. We raise most of our meats (rabbit, chicken, guinea, goat, and very soon pigs) and alot of our veggies. And soon we'll have our own milk for drinking and making cheese. We have eggs and are starting bees very soon. The only real goal is to sell enough here and there to help w/feed costs, but mostly to just feed US. Even though we raise animals for consumption doesn't mean that we don't take a huge interest in the well-being of our animals. That's WHY we do it-so our kids can know what it takes to raise your own foods. How to respect their animals and care for them properly because they deserve to have a good life before they feed us.

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#26 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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Just a thought to throw in --

My dh met a guy at a party who is a guinea pig judge. That was his professional occupation. If I understood correctly, he traveled all over the country judging at competitions, because there are very few qualified guinea pig judges. It was such a strange thing that it stuck with me.

So I don't know. Guinea pigs may in fact be a smart niche!
Wow.

You know, I never could have imagined the number of unusual careers that are out there. (My guidance counselor certainly never mentioned that one!)

I think that, when I rejected the standard American goal ("Do what will get you ahead.") and accepted what made me happier ("Do that which you love and everything else will fall into place.") all these sort of odd-ball careers seemed to come up out of nowhere. (And I say "odd-ball" with all the love in the world. :

How cool is it that this guy found such a specialized career?

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serial specialist
OMG! THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!

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#27 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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I always thought guinea pigs didn't get enough love. They are like the pets kids get when the parents don't want a dog, but the kids are bored with hamsters, but then the kids decide they are boring too and stop playing with them after a few weeks. So I'm glad your DD loves them! Someone should.

One of 2 things will happen 1) She outgrows her obsession and moves on to other things or 2) She continues to obsess and eventually does something important with guinea pigs. Maybe she'll rescue them from homes where kids got bored with them and the parents don't want to clean their cages anymore. Either option sounds like a good one to me.
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#28 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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That has nothing to do with what I was quoting. I was talking about posting on creating lesson plans.
Sure I get it that some people do whole life unschooling and some only academically.
But lesson plans???
YOu may even be a very relaxed eclectic homeschooler but unschooler?
I think you just misunderstood what sapphire clan was saying. She definitely wasn't recommending lesson plans.

Kathy, I think it's wonderful your DD has found this passion and wonderful that you seem very supportive of it (despite occasional anxiety which I think is pretty normal!). And as you are seeing she does have some other interests outside her passion so I'd say all is good (um, she isn't making little skates for her guinea pigs, right?).

I can only imagine that she must see way more than most people when she looks at a guinea pig to spend so much time looking at that picture. She must be able to spot all kinds of differences from one to another that most of us completely miss.

And I remember that post your DD made on a guinea pig board in response to someone's guinea pig having died that you shared with us here. It was so sweet and mature.

PS to bandgeek: That's so true, it makes me happy too that her pets are so well loved.
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#29 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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I can only imagine that she must see way more than most people when she looks at a guinea pig to spend so much time looking at that picture. She must be able to spot all kinds of differences from one to another that most of us completely miss.
Yes! Absolutely. Astute observation on your part, too, Needle (I hope I know you well enough to call you Needle - oh, I am punchy this morning...) - I would never have thought of that. Just think what patience and powers of observation she must have, not to mention curiosity. Who knows where that may eventually lead? I've watched enough homeschooled children grow up and move on to fulfilling adult lives that I've really grown to pay attention to those sorts of patterns. - Lillian
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#30 of 37 Old 02-26-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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Why would she need to expand her interests? It sounds like she has a wide scope of interests related to guinea pigs.

If you were a structured HSer you'd probably be coming up with guinea pig-themed lesson plans. As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires.
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Originally Posted by polykow View Post
Isn't this an unschooling board????
"If you were" is the subjunctive tense indicating that I was talking about what Kathymuggle would do as a structured homeschooler it also implies that Kathymuggle is not now nor has she ever been such.

I wrote about what she would do IF SHE WERE a structured homeschooler, because in her original post she stated, "I know if she were in school or HSed in a more structured way she would not have time to obsess over guinea pigs."

I then wrote, "As it is, you can just keep getting her access to all the guinea pig info she desires" which could be interpreted to mean that I thought she should force her dd to do more and more educational work on guinea pigs, however it was 1. telling her to continue her current course of action, 2. put forth as in contrast to structured lesson plans, and 3. posted in the unschooling forum.

Kathymuggle had a joking sense of regret that her schooling choices allowed her dd to be obsessed, and I was pointing out that being a different style of homeschooler would not have kept her dd from focusing on guinea pigs because Kathymuggle would have continued to follow her dd's interests albeit in a different fashion.

Clear??
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