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#61 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Opportunity.
A potential passion for an alternate culture.
A more solid understanding of the structure of their own language.
A broader perspective on the world.

There is plenty that they could be missing out on.
I don't think there is a single body of knowledge to be had. However I disagree with the premise that there aren't cultural components that should be common to a good education, or that there aren't skills which important to at least have a predisposition to in order not to limit ourselves or our children.

The OP's may have a strong contextual understanding of math from a rich, intellectually stimulating environment. Or she may not. Math was only one of the list of things that the OP was concerned about. Math, science, foreign language, writing skills, etc.

I part company with the unschooling philosophy at the point that parental instincts are pushed aside in favour of the standard answer Don't worry if they haven't learned it, because if they haven't then they don't/won't need it. and where parental guidance is akin to interference.

I think if the OP is concerned then she should listen to her instincts and not the edicts of any educational philosophy.
Just getting lost in this thread, and curious as to why there are non-unschoolers even bothering to post here with some pretty obviously anti-unschool points of view (not that you shouldn't, but why bother?).

To the opportunity portion above, I have to say that most of the passions I have came to me only after I stopped going to school. I finally had the time, energy and resources to persue them.

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#62 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dillonandmarasmom View Post
Just getting lost in this thread, and curious as to why there are non-unschoolers even bothering to post here with some pretty obviously anti-unschool points of view (not that you shouldn't, but why bother?).
never mind

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#63 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
If he is making the choices, that sounds pretty unschooly to me. You're giving him information, discussing with him the options and the reasons why particular paths might or might not make sense, offering to help him prepare for what he says he wants, and allowing him to choose? That sounds exactly like my family's unschooling.

I'm guessing our disagreement here is mostly semantics.

Miranda
Or maybe you aren't so unschooly - lol.
Karen

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#64 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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Thanks for the discussion everyone.
I'm bowing out now.

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#65 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
never mind
Sorry if my tone annoyed you. I do believe I get why you are posting, but I disagree with the portion I spoke to.

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#66 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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Sorry if my tone annoyed you. I do believe I get why you are posting, but I disagree with the portion I spoke to.
I miss the way the board used to be where a spectrum of views was welcomed and encouraged. I'll leave you to it here.
thanks
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#67 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Op, I did not say it earlier as I got right into the philosophical stuff - but the day you described with your DD sounds lovely and educational (in a learning through life sort of way)

Do you often stress about things as you did in the OP -or was this a one off? I think all parents worry about the course of their kids from time to time!

If the worry is a pattern, you may need to do some exploration. Is DD worried? Does she like her way of life? If you both are worried it is easier - change things up somehow.

If you are worried, but she isn't, the path is less clear. What would be the potential repercussions for imposing your concerns on her? If you search your heart and think change is necessary, how can you include her in the decision?
I think this is a very helpful approach to the op's concerns.

For myself, and my rantiness , I wanted to express that I agree that in being jobless (though obviously still working), we will and do need certain skills that pertain to our work. But again, we will be learning some of the ones we don't yet have and some of it will be entirely new, which is fine; we'll just learn it, and not because we had directed learning as children. I also just can't see how our dc will manage to escape our home without acquiring the skills they need. I'm trying to envision the home we'd have to have in order for that to be the case. I'm coming up blank.

When ds1 was an infant, a friend asked us about schooling and we said that we would homeschool (hadn't decided in what way at that point) and he was horrified that we would risk our child's life that way, asking us why we didn't think it was important that our child learn to read, that mass-schooling solved the problem of mass-illiteracy. Dp and I looked at him somewhat surprised and asked, "Do you really think we could end up with an illiterate child?" His reply was, "Well, no. Not you guys, I guess." We have a 2500 book library and read several books at a time. The likelihood of our children growing up and not seeing books as viable sources of information is little to none. This is our home and this is what we do here.

Otoh, we have no relatives for them to relate with. They will grow up not knowing relatives as viable sources of relationship, so we tend to emphasize our immediate family relationships above all here- even books . In this and many other ways specific to our life, our children's education will have a different learning-scape than others. Ours will learn homesteading and they will lack an understanding of fashion trends and tv stars and even the latest technologies because we don't focus on that in our home at all. They will learn about those things if they want to but that would be guided and directed by them; I don't have anything to offer them in those areas, except a willingness to learn alongside them.

I guess it is hard to form a really relevant working definition of basic skills and general knowledge. Our locality has a major effect on this too. Up here, hunting and skinning a bison, caribou or moose is important general knowledge and even for veg*ns, wilderness survival skills are essential here whereas these things would be considered more interest-driven or hobby-like to many North Americans. In this, I don't impose anything on my dc either; they learn easily by their own self-discovery and by being a part of the wilderness themselves.

There's only just so much that can be packed into the first 20 years of life, so no matter what we're doing or not doing, we are prioritizing and while some prioritize according to mainstream ideologies regarding academics, the global economy, and job market, I suppose that just doesn't have the same import here (or the place we're moving to 5 yrs from now).

So for us, going back to guidance again, just living an authentic life is going to necessitate the learning of certain skills and gaining the appropriate contextual and cultural understanding that a person needs to function in his/her life. The life incidentally provides the guidance. BUT if relationships are strained and natural learning does not take place, it may later be much harder to integrate one's ideas and desires into real-life success (as defined by the individual).

I guess in every way, I cannot help but end up where I started; the free-learning child-person who grows and becomes the free-learning adult-person will have all the self-awareness and consciousness available to him/her to do whatever s/he pleases, and even to do the stuff that is imposed. It's the early impositions that prevent the real learning, not the real learning that prevents the imposed learning later on if that happens to be the case, ime.

So saying, determining a truly (not just an appearance of) foundational general knowledge and basic skill set is going to be a difficult or impossible task unless it is allowed to flow naturally from one's life, I think. But then the level of authenticity of one's life is in question and that is most definitely a topic for another thread, or forum.

But, by that qualifier, we may not have much to discuss other than principles, and the disctinctions between parent-directed homeschooling and us'ing become issues of lifestyle choices and necessities rather than issues that can be separated into the category of 'education'. So that's an open topic; I've not concluded. Please don't flame me for that.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#68 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 01:03 AM
 
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I miss the way the board used to be where a spectrum of views was welcomed and encouraged. I'll leave you to it here.
thanks
Karen
I hear you. I spent some time looking at things through different specs, and now I am skeptical of any opposing views...I miss things, too. I've been jaded.

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#69 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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This is exactly the kind of discussion that really helps me to clarify and define my own homeschooling philosophy. Thanks so much everyone, esp. Karenw/4.
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#70 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I part company with the unschooling philosophy at the point that parental instincts are pushed aside in favour of the standard answer Don't worry if they haven't learned it, because if they haven't then they don't/won't need it. and where parental guidance is akin to interference.

I think if the OP is concerned then she should listen to her instincts and not the edicts of any educational philosophy.
You've got guts, Karen!

It sounds like you have difficulty with RU, not with US per se. USing is hard to argue because we all define it differently.

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#71 of 80 Old 04-16-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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What I do, is just shift gears if something bothers me.

Life takes over here too. We have a homestead, are introverted bibliophiles, love hiking our bums off, watching documentaries, playing games together, being environmentally aware and active, creating product for our livelihood, and to top it off we live *really* rurally.

I'm proud of my healthy, smart, self-sufficient, free-ranged kids. But of course I notice a deficit here or there.

I just fix it. If I realize that something has been neglected, then we just hit it. Hard. Sometimes for a month or so straight if necessary. It doesn't take long to fill a gap. The mind of a child is a thirsty sponge.

Hang in there! I have to go, but I'll read the rest of the thread later...
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#72 of 80 Old 04-17-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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OP is math the only area your DD is behind? I would be concerned if she is 5 years behind her peers in all subjects but but not as much if it's only one area.
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#73 of 80 Old 04-19-2010, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I couldn't believe it when I checked on this thread this morning, after not going on MDC for a week or so, and saw 72 posts! Thank you to everyone who replied. For some reason I thought the thread had died out after the first few replies and didn't realize it was going strong!

The day I wrote the original post, I was feeling conflicted about our unschooling life. It was cathartic just to write that post, because it made me reflect on how the concerns that prompted it are minor in comparison to my overall satisfaction with our unschooling life, and with the person dd is.

I know if I had posted the same concerns in a different forum I could have had a lot of horrified replies about what a terrible parent I am. Obviously I was looking for support and I appreciate getting that here. We unschoolers have to be pretty self-confident in our choices because there is not a lot of support surrounding us IRL. So sometimes it REALLY helps to have like-minded people confirm that yes, if you have a happy, confident, curious 12 year old, you're probably doing more right than wrong.

Without going back and collecting quotes, I will try to answer some of the questions I just read. About the whole math thing, I said dd is at a second grade level, which is probably not accurate. This year we decided together to do a structured math curriculum. Since I didn't know where to start, I just decided to get the 6 Miquon books and work our way through from the beginning, figuring that way I would know we didn't skip anything. So we're only on the third book, approx. second grade level, that doesn't mean she couldn't do more advanced, it's just how we decided to do it. AND, the workbooks often sit neglected for weeks at a time because, as I said, regular life just takes up the whole day! Or we don't make time for it.

As far as whether or not it is unschooling to inflict a math workbook program on her, I just don't care about labels or what is "real" unschooling. I am not trying to follow a doctrine, I am just trying to do my best to help her along her path. Which includes learning some math in a structured way, I guess. Maybe, maybe not.

As for the question about worry, I AM a huge worrier and dd is not worried at all about where she's at in math or life. Dh does not worry either. It's just me, comparing, doubting, judging, worrying... not all the time or even most of the time. Just sometimes, and then I post here and end up getting great thought-provoking supportive replies!

I don't think there is one right path or right choice in any of this. I love to hear what others do and think about it, and it inspires me to either make a change, or to just appreciate the way we're already doing it. I agree with the poster who said something about paying attention to the parental instinct... which I see as, if life feels unbalanced, maybe it is, and needs to be looked at. The support I get here tells me that if something feels "off", maybe we need to tweak things, but not throw out our whole way of life over some doubts, when it is generally working really well.

The doubts and confidence come in waves... since writing the original post, I have had a week or so of being assured that we are on the right track. It helped to get the feedback from the first couple of days after I posted, then we had the kind of week we could only have as unschoolers.

So, last week: Dd completed a project she has been working on for months. Last summer she made a creative craft project that she got a lot of compliments on. An artist she met encouraged her to make them to sell at craft shows. Over the winter she worked towards this goal. It was actually a pretty complex project now that I look back on it, everything from researching and experimenting with techniques, ordering supplies, choosing a fair to enter, designing a display etc. I helped her with all of it because she is, after all, a pretty normal 12 year old and not a prodigy. But it was her thing from start to finish and I just helped. We spent hours together on the "assembly line", especially last week, finishing up for the deadline. I guess working until 2 a.m. every morning made me feel less like a "lazy" family! I know we both treasured the time together, talking and listening to a lot of really great podcasts (she loves TAL and Radiolab and that alone makes me feel like she is in a good place intellectually!). We also listened to one of the Great Courses called Big History, and I was surprised that she "got" most of it, since it is on a university level. (Not that I think success as an unschooler means children being on an adult level, it just surprised and pleased me that she was so interested).

This past Saturday she did the craft show and I could not have been more proud of her, and she was so proud of herself. Were we not unschoolers, we never could have devoted the time to this project, and I think it was such a great experience. What I love more than the fact that she was successful on this specific project is that the end result is that she is the kind of person who feels she can do anything she sets her mind to.

OK, this is long enough! Thanks again to all who posted.
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#74 of 80 Old 04-19-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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Glad to hear your update!

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#75 of 80 Old 04-20-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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Thanks, keeksmom, for sharing your update! And thanks to all you other mamas who generously shared your mama wisdom! Hearing all your ideas articulated so well helps me sift through my own thoughts.


Learning & growing & changing everyday!
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#76 of 80 Old 04-23-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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I'm going to come back and read more of this gorgeous discussion, as I only made it halfway though and we're off to a friend's house this evening, but I feel exactly the same way, so I wanted to quickly chime in...

my 10 year old daughter expressed the idea that she isn't good at math, because she was quizzed by her theatre class (school kids) on a few math questions. things like "what is 47 minus 22?" and things she was supposed to answer quickly, apparently. She couldn't do it (apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I might be guilty of using my fingers to answer that question! ) so she decided she's not good at math. She CAN figure out problems like this, with paper and pencil, quite easily, but put on the spot, she has no rapid-recall math facts, really. She would like to work on that, so we will.

we are planning a trip to africa in the next few months, so practicing math is not at the forefront of our minds. While my kids have learned and understand a lot of math concepts -- better than many school-age kids, I think -- they haven't really practiced solving arithmetic problems much. Just knowing that it's an easily solvable problem ("learning math") has put her mind at ease, and when we're home from our trip, and settled (we're bringing two new siblings home as well, so that might be a while ) we will crack open the entire Math-U-See curriculum I ordered (because I've learned that I'm not that good at explaining math very well), start at the beginning, and I trust that within a relatively short time, she'll be pretty proficient in math.

I also know enough to know that I need to wait until she asks for it again, because enough time will have passed that it will probably be irrelevant to her again. I'm not worried about *when* she learns it, though, as she's immersed in so many other learning ventures right now! Which is why the title of your post resonated so deeply with me -- LIFE has SO taken over, and we do so few really in-depth learning activities these days... but that's ok.

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#77 of 80 Old 04-23-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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WOW! Congratulations on your new kiddos, Tiffani!

Book-lovin', relaxed homeschoolin', dog snugglin' mom of the best kid EVER!  AND...waiting for baby #2, due 5/9/14!  stork-boy.gif

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#78 of 80 Old 04-24-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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For the record, I'm not rabidly anti-unschooling. I do however think that unschooling means that kids could miss out on important areas of education, such a learning a foreign language, if it's not something in which they show an interest. How do you get round this?
I haven't read past this in the thread, but this kind of jumped out at me.

I took both French and German through 12th grade. I did very well in both classes (frequently pulled marks in the high 90s). I was even interested in them.

I've never used either of them. I'm almost 42 now, and I can count to about 20 in both languages, and say "hello", "goodbye", "yes", "no" and a handful of other words in each language. I can't remember any of the grammar. I'm really not at all concerned about my children potentially lacking this "important" part of their education.

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#79 of 80 Old 04-24-2010, 05:45 AM
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I've never used either of them. I'm almost 42 now, and I can count to about 20 in both languages, and say "hello", "goodbye", "yes", "no" and a handful of other words in each language. I can't remember any of the grammar. I'm really not at all concerned about my children potentially lacking this "important" part of their education.
On the other hand... I started learning French recently, and I'm the same age as you, and I can communicate basic stuff and read the newspaper already. Last week someone I was eating with told a long joke in rapid French, and I totally got it. I am one of the better students in my French class (and the second oldest as well).

I started learning Arabic in my late 30s and have been less successful, but.. well, it's Arabic. I can communicate on a basic level and read and write better than that, so...

My high school Spanish was pretty much gone until I started living with a couple who speak it at home... now I understand quite a bit, but it's definitely my 4th language in terms of skill level.

 
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#80 of 80 Old 04-25-2010, 07:55 AM
 
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WOW! Congratulations on your new kiddos, Tiffani!
Thank you!!! It is taking foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever to get them home. I can't wait for life to get back to normal, I am so BAD at living in the moment when something so HUGE is on the horizon! and this has been the case for the last 4 years, aside from a few months here and there... though my kids are doing pretty well despite my neglect...or because of it, I'm never sure which!

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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