ABC News, "Unschooling: No Tests, Books or Classes" - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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Unschooling families are not leaving their children on their own to learn - they tend to be so involved that you'll sometimes see people comment that they don't think they could unschool because they don't feel they could put as much ongoing concerted effort into it as they hear about unschoolers doing.
That is my big concern about unschooling. I think (from my perspective) to go at it from the traditional homeschooling approach would be much easier on my end.

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#62 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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That is my big concern about unschooling. I think (from my perspective) to go at it from the traditional homeschooling approach would be much easier on my end.
It may seem that way now, but once you're involved in an unschooling lifestyle, it's pretty fun and addictive. Lillian
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#63 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Stormbride, YES. Great examples.

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The first video shows unschoolers as: tv watching, video gaming, staying up all night, sleeping all day, eating donuts anywhere in the house for breakfast
What cracks me up about this is that any specially chosen thirty seconds out of a person's life, if implied to be representative of the whole of their life, could look pretty damning. In our house it might show me eating cheetos while watching a Risk Astley video, picking my nose, and snoring on the couch/scene cut with the five-year-old crying because she can't find her shoes.

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people...that have no drive or desire to continue their education (ie. university or college).
Not being interested in university or college does not equate with no desire to further one's education or do anything else of value. http://radiofreeschool.blogspot.com/...i-want-to.html

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if these kids don't have any desire to go to college or university......
College isn't an end in itself. I'd say, instead, that they don't have the desire to do the sorts of things that require college.

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where will they work?
Experience and talent and passion alone can't get you a medical license, but they can get you plenty of other places.

*Do unschoolers *teach* children to read? To write? I got the impression that unschooling was kind of fend for yourself style of education....so if you wanted to read.....you have to figure it out for yourself.

My kids did learn to read pretty much without my involvement, just as a result of being in a reading-rich environment and being allowed to pick it up gradually and organically, in their own way and in their own time. If they needed help, of course I helped them. If they asked me questions, I answered them. So, no, they didn't have to figure it out for themselves. But I didn't technically teach them, either, at least the way that "teaching" is defined by the schools.

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*Is there any core subjects that are presented to unschoolers? I am especially curious about this....if things are not presented or discussed how would an individual know whether or not they were interested in learning more.
Nope. I don't believe in core subjects, I think that's an artificial construct. What is really essential is what we are already learning from the time we're born just by living in this culture. Everything else is just preference.
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#64 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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That is my big concern about unschooling. I think (from my perspective) to go at it from the traditional homeschooling approach would be much easier on my end.
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It may seem that way now, but once you're involved in an unschooling lifestyle, it's pretty fun and addictive. Lillian
Yeah, I dunno. It's pretty relaxed too. I do a lot of "parallel play" with my kids: I do my thing, they do theirs, we're all together, living life, doing things we need to do, but not necessarily working together on every little thing. Sometimes what's most exhausting is just being available for them so much. Which is why I get out of the house alone a wholllllllle lot. But not everyone's like that. It becomes very much just how life is.

Which is not to say there are never moments of doubt or concern.

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#65 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I just have to say...okay, I'm an unschooler again.

I keep forgetting why I do things this way. I keep forgetting that my kids are way "ahead" of the curve already, not because I have taken them through certain courses, but because I have shared life with them. I have forgotten that they have a brightness and curiousness about the world *because* I have simply enjoyed it myself. They love to read because we read. They know lots of stuff because we casually mentioned it on the way.

And that's good.

And they aren't missing anything. In fact, they would be missing a lot if they were confined to the regimens of schooling, in any form.

I keep forgetting that what I want to teach them is to learn. That's all. I don't want them to put a beginning and end on their education. It is a constant, through their whole lives.

Thanks for this thread. I needed the kick.

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#66 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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Yeah, I dunno. It's pretty relaxed too. I do a lot of "parallel play" with my kids: I do my thing, they do theirs, we're all together, living life, doing things we need to do, but not necessarily working together on every little thing.
That seems pretty typical to me - I didn't mean to imply that unschoolers are constantly involved in some sort of project together. Funny - I just came from the gym, and the trainer was driving me crazy with her constant prompts and touching and involvement with my every move. If she'd known me better - if we were friends - I probably would have asked her, in a humorous way, to shut up. Unschooling isn't like that - not a constant cheerleading routine - it's just a normal life in which stuff happens. Lillian
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#67 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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I DO think that a passion for science should not mean not knowing who Shakespear was, or to be ignorant in geography, just because it's not of interest to a kid. (I'm not saying it's the case with this particular family, just voicing my concerns as I debate with myself how far along the unschooling specrtum I want to go).
I wasn't unschooled. I was public schooled. I was also required to read The Taming of the Shrew and MacBeth. I hated them, and I've been highly resistant to any exposure to Shakespeare ever since. I keep thinking I should read more of his work, but I got turned off him in a big way in school.

I, personally, was reading before I started kindergarten, and nobody taught me. I taught myself. I love to read. I used to do at least a novel a day, sometimes more. Even now, I squeeze in at least one most weeks. In any given English class I was in throughout school (anywhere from about 22-28 students), I was usually the only one who regularly read for pleasure. At least half of the students in each one of those classes stated within my hearing, on at least one occasion, that they hated reading, or reading was dumb or some variation on that theme.

As for other stuff? Geography never really stuck with me. I've been teaching myself a little more, in a somewhat lackadaisical way, for the last year or two, because I like to know where things are when I read about them in the paper and such. Until I got interested, none of it stuck.

I just really don't think we can reasonably expect people to be anything but ignorant of things they have absolutely no interest in. If it's something important, then I think the trick is sparking their interest.

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#68 of 100 Old 04-22-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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I just really don't think we can reasonably expect people to be anything but ignorant of things they have absolutely no interest in. If it's something important, then I think the trick is sparking their interest.
I think this is the thing that I struggle the most when I try to explain why unschooling is wonderful after all to DP, because I am not sure I 100% agree with just saying "oh well, you don't care whether Paris is in France or not, so let's not talk about it". What I'd prefer to see for my kids instead is for them to meet a teacher that would ignite their interest in the subject that they weren't interested in before, and lead them to knowledge that way, and I guess I hope to be that kind of a teacher to them, you know?

Now, if they show interest in art, I'm willing to go to great length to foster and develop that interest. If they want to learn about sharks and body system - I'm willing to make 90% of our day about that, and will build a whole curriculum around the subject of interest. If they want to learn about Japan, I'm all about supporting their research and finding resources to encourage them. But somehow, I don't want for them to brush off the "uninteresting" topics too soon, kwim? And instead of saying "ok, let's do something else", I'd like to find a way to make it appealing, and assure them why it's important to know this or that. Maybe I misunderstand unschooling altogether?

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#69 of 100 Old 04-23-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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But somehow, I don't want for them to brush off the "uninteresting" topics too soon, kwim? And instead of saying "ok, let's do something else", I'd like to find a way to make it appealing, and assure them why it's important to know this or that. Maybe I misunderstand unschooling altogether?
I think there is a season to most things. They may brush off the unintersting thing now, but that does not mean they will brush it off forever - particulalry if there is no power struggle over it.

I think it is perfectly legitimate to brush off things that do not interest us. Adults do it all the - I think we should take kids as seriously.

I know (believe me I know) that you are an adult and can see long term consequences that they cannot see. But I think our power and worries as adults has to be judged and wielded oh-so-carefully. I very much like the line in the second clip about how the family has rules - they just do not have arbitrary rules. I think this applies to academics. Whether or not they learn all the capitals of South America is somewhat arbitrary (and lets face it - society does not expect them to know it and they can access that info quickly). Things such as being able to count change and tell time are important as you will use these IRL. They are not arbitrary, and a little pushing (or waiting, but still keeping it in mind as something you want your kids to eventually know) is OK IMHO. I do think most kids are driven to know what they need to know in life - albeit on their own timetable. I think kids can sense needs a mile away, lol.
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#70 of 100 Old 04-23-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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I think this is the thing that I struggle the most when I try to explain why unschooling is wonderful after all to DP, because I am not sure I 100% agree with just saying "oh well, you don't care whether Paris is in France or not, so let's not talk about it". What I'd prefer to see for my kids instead is for them to meet a teacher that would ignite their interest in the subject that they weren't interested in before, and lead them to knowledge that way, and I guess I hope to be that kind of a teacher to them, you know?

Now, if they show interest in art, I'm willing to go to great length to foster and develop that interest. If they want to learn about sharks and body system - I'm willing to make 90% of our day about that, and will build a whole curriculum around the subject of interest. If they want to learn about Japan, I'm all about supporting their research and finding resources to encourage them. But somehow, I don't want for them to brush off the "uninteresting" topics too soon, kwim? And instead of saying "ok, let's do something else", I'd like to find a way to make it appealing, and assure them why it's important to know this or that. Maybe I misunderstand unschooling altogether?
I'm not exactly an unschooler, but that sounds like unschooling to me. Expose kids to things. They'll get interested in some of them. I think there are...degrees? of unschooling, and they mostly involve how actively we try to spark their interest in things. Some people just expose their kids...go to the zoo, and see if any animals strike their interest or read books/watch DVDs about various things and see what strikes their interest, yk? Others "push" a little more...bring the same things up in different ways or try to "sell" their kids on certain topics. But, neither of those is in the same league as just cramming stuff down their throats, yk?

I remember back in grade 5, when we studied Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in Social Studies. It was one unit on all three countries. We spent several months on it - geography, economy, climate, history, etc. etc. By the time I started grade 6, all I remembered from that unit was that the three countries all bordered on Lake Victoria. However, I was utterly fascinated by Australia (this was slightly before Australia became the big tourist thing in the early 80s). If we'd studied Australia, instead, I'd have probably remembered most of it...because I was interested. There was no real reason to study Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. They just happened to be the countries we had in the textbook...so I learned almost nothing. If' I'd been unschooled, I'd have probably become an expert on Australia.

So, I think I agree with you, for the most part. I just think you're actually very close to an unschooling philosophy. And, you know - just because they find something uninteresting when they're 7 or 8, doesn't mean they won't become interested when they're older. You never know what will spark a child's interest. DS2 asked me a bunch of questions about Paris and France after seeing Ratatouille!

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#71 of 100 Old 04-23-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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For those of you interested in the family with young children, I stumbled across their blog, Clan of Parents, not too long ago. They also publish an online magazine about unschooling, and run a website about all things related to unschooling, Humans Being, which recently articled about the ABC segment and all that has followed.

When I found the websites and saw that Discovery was doing a show on RU I cringed inside. I well remember the hell that broke loose several years ago when Oprah made a mockery of unschoolers (the family that was duped into being made to look like idiots wrote extensively of their experience online). I wondered if the Parent family realized what they might be setting themselves up for, and I myself would never participate in such a thing unless I had final say over the editing, which of course would never happen. I hope for their sake, and all the unschoolers who have to battle daily with mainstream culture's total ignorance of what we really do, that this show is done responsibly.

In better news Lee Stranahan, who wrote the Huffington Post article linked to above, is making a film about unschooling that seems to hold hope as an informed representation of what unschooling is all about. I'm looking forward to seeing it when it comes out.

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#72 of 100 Old 04-23-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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If they want to learn about sharks and body system - I'm willing to make 90% of our day about that, and will build a whole curriculum around the subject of interest.
I'm saying this in a friendly and lighthearted way, so I hope you don't find it offensive, but this will pretty much guarantee that your kids will lose interest in sharks and body systems.

Children do not like it when adults try to take over or direct their learning. Our preschool teacher (who didn't even know what unschooling was) instructed the parents at the start of the year (it was a PPP and all parents did "duty days" in the classroom) NOT to step into what a child was doing and start trying to orchestrate it or direct them in any way. If the child is playing with blocks, and you walk up and say "hey, do you have more blue blocks or more red blocks?" that's the death knell to that moment of creativity and learning for the child. She said before you can count to 10 that child will stop what they were doing, get up, and walk away.

Anyways, my point is that the minute kids catch a whiff that the adult has plans for that subject, they'll drop it like a hot potato. Ask me how I know!

As for unschooling being too much work (I think another poster touched on this), what you describe sounds like WAY too much work! Unschooling is a natural, free-flowing lifestyle that rarely feels like "work" to me.

You will be surprised what your kids will learn without you needing to do any pushing. As for subjects they aren't interested in - relax! They have years and years to learn those things. Just because your kid could care less where Paris is doesn't mean that next year they won't suddenly become passionate about geography and start pestering you for atlases and globes. If you step in and try to "make it appealing" the kids see right away that they are being manipulated and then you've pretty much guaranteed that subject won't be on their interest list for a long time.

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#73 of 100 Old 04-24-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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I'm saying this in a friendly and lighthearted way, so I hope you don't find it offensive, but this will pretty much guarantee that your kids will lose interest in sharks and body systems.

Children do not like it when adults try to take over or direct their learning. Our preschool teacher (who didn't even know what unschooling was) instructed the parents at the start of the year (it was a PPP and all parents did "duty days" in the classroom) NOT to step into what a child was doing and start trying to orchestrate it or direct them in any way. If the child is playing with blocks, and you walk up and say "hey, do you have more blue blocks or more red blocks?" that's the death knell to that moment of creativity and learning for the child. She said before you can count to 10 that child will stop what they were doing, get up, and walk away.

Anyways, my point is that the minute kids catch a whiff that the adult has plans for that subject, they'll drop it like a hot potato. Ask me how I know!

As for unschooling being too much work (I think another poster touched on this), what you describe sounds like WAY too much work! Unschooling is a natural, free-flowing lifestyle that rarely feels like "work" to me.

You will be surprised what your kids will learn without you needing to do any pushing. As for subjects they aren't interested in - relax! They have years and years to learn those things. Just because your kid could care less where Paris is doesn't mean that next year they won't suddenly become passionate about geography and start pestering you for atlases and globes. If you step in and try to "make it appealing" the kids see right away that they are being manipulated and then you've pretty much guaranteed that subject won't be on their interest list for a long time.
to all of that! Lillian
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#74 of 100 Old 04-24-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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Anyways, my point is that the minute kids catch a whiff that the adult has plans for that subject, they'll drop it like a hot potato. Ask me how I know!

Ohhhhhh, btdt!

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If the child is playing with blocks, and you walk up and say "hey, do you have more blue blocks or more red blocks?" that's the death knell to that moment of creativity and learning for the child.
Yes, because the child's focus was on building and the adult redirected that focus to counting. It stops being "self directed" when someone else steps in to fill in the space with something they think the child needs to know.

That's not to say that suggestions are verboten--I'd often bring home books on topics I knew my kids were into, or told them about related museum exhibits or other activities. They were free to take it or leave it.

But it had to come from a place where I was acknowledging their interest and not USING their interest to further learning that I thought they needed (ie: using their interest in dinosaurs to teach sorting, or using their interest in building blocks to teach counting, etc.)

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#75 of 100 Old 04-24-2010, 09:30 PM
 
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I'm saying this in a friendly and lighthearted way, so I hope you don't find it offensive, but this will pretty much guarantee that your kids will lose interest in sharks and body systems.

Anyways, my point is that the minute kids catch a whiff that the adult has plans for that subject, they'll drop it like a hot potato. Ask me how I know!
Hmmm
I think this depends on a lot of factors, including the kid, the passion, the adult and how they approach the discussion.

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#76 of 100 Old 04-24-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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Back to the topic of the piece (and not to derail the current topic! It's facinating!) but when I worked for a small town newspaper, I was always trying to find interesting people to write about. I heard about a homeschooling family, which sounded so, so interesting to me. I think I was about 19 at the time, and had no kids yet. When I called the woman to ask her if I could do a story on her, she was SO hesitant and I couldn't understand why. I spent an hour or two with her and her kids (and they were homeschoolers, not unschoolers) and it was amazing. I loved the kids. I loved the mom.

The only way I could get her to agree to the story was to let her read the article ahead of time. (Which I NEVER let anyone else do, but I let her.) She loved it, and was so happy to have homeschoolers get fair treatment in the media, even if it was just a dinky small town paper. I would have never even thought about writing poorly about anyone on purpose!

Anyway, my time with that family made me really love homeschooling. I am still wishy-washy on whether or not I will homeschool (my son should start kindergarten this year) but it definitely led me on a different path. I wish more media would have an open, unbiased mind when it comes to this topic. It seems so simple to me.
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#77 of 100 Old 04-24-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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Anyways, my point is that the minute kids catch a whiff that the adult has plans for that subject, they'll drop it like a hot potato. Ask me how I know!
Well, I will disagree. Haven't you ever met a teacher whose passion affected your interest in the subject for the better? Haven't you ever met someone in life who was so much into a topic they were discussing that it was almost contagious and made you want to learn more? I know I have.

I understand not overdoing it very well. The point I was trying to make is that I am not afraid to follow child's passions, and as long as they are interested in sharks and body systems, I have no problems supporting that interest.

What I have hard time with is saying it's okay for 15 y.o., who never showed interest in geography, to be ignorant of other cultures. I would want to find ways to expose them to topics, books and concepts that make them into well-rounded individuals, and it is my hope that I will have the skill to do it in a gentle and exciting way.

The problem I have with media, is that it is unwilling to see that other side of homeschooling and unschooling. I don't know whether or not this family is doing a good job as far as unschooling goes. All I DO know is that they stood no chance in the situation where this reporter was so much against the whole idea from the get-go.

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#78 of 100 Old 04-24-2010, 11:20 PM
 
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That's not to say that suggestions are verboten--I'd often bring home books on topics I knew my kids were into, or told them about related museum exhibits or other activities.
Oh absolutely! I do that all the time. But things are always put as a suggestion that they are free to take or leave. It's when I start trying to take over the discussion/activity, or whatever that I get into trouble!

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#79 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 07:33 AM
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The only way I could get her to agree to the story was to let her read the article ahead of time. (Which I NEVER let anyone else do, but I let her.) She loved it, and was so happy to have homeschoolers get fair treatment in the media, even if it was just a dinky small town paper. I would have never even thought about writing poorly about anyone on purpose!
Rain and I were interviewed for an article with our local small-town paper a few years ago. It was about homeschooling in our town in general, but we were definitely the radical fringe element. But... Rain was 14, and doing stuff that was conventionally impressive, and I figured that the reporter would have to work pretty hard to make us look bad. It was actually a nice piece... he used photos of Rain with her friends in dance class, making it clear that she was close with them and not a social outcast, and he actually included essays and podcasts written by both Rain and I on the newspaper website.

OTOH, I'm not sure how much good I did for unschooling, since the impression may have been that unschooled kids will all start university classes at 14 and read Dickens for fun.... which isn't true, and certainly isn't the right or best way for every unschooled kid. It's just what worked for one kid, and there are plenty of equally valid paths out there, that just don't look at good to the mainstream newspaper readers.

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Well, I will disagree. Haven't you ever met a teacher whose passion affected your interest in the subject for the better? Haven't you ever met someone in life who was so much into a topic they were discussing that it was almost contagious and made you want to learn more? I know I have.
I think that's a completely different situation, though. In your original example, it didn't sound like you would have been focusing on sharks or body systems because these things were your passions and you loved to talk about them - it sounded like you were going to use these as a vehicle to entice your child into learning something you felt he should know.

My kid knows more about anthropology than most kids her age, and breastfeeding, because I'm passionate about those things and it's natural to share your passions with people you're close with.

This works both ways, too... I knew nothing about Nabokov 10 years ago, but my daughter, sister, and father are all fans of his and now I know quite a lot. I haven't ever intentionally said, "Hey, I can use her love for Nabokov to make sure she learns some other stuff," but I've forwarded news stories about him to her, bought books by him and sent them to her, and a month or two ago I mentioned her passion for him at a cocktail party and was told an interesting story about his life in Paris, complete with a book suggestion... which I'm working on acquiring in English for her to read when she gets here.

To me, that's what supporting her interest looks like. Saying something like, "Hey, let's trace his life travels on a world map and learn about the places he lived" would feel utterly artificial and I'm sure would fall flat. OTOH, my dad sent her some info about Nabokov's life in Portal, Arizona, where he lived and collected butterflies, because he was also going collecting there and thought it was a cool connection....

 
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#80 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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OTOH, I'm not sure how much good I did for unschooling, since the impression may have been that unschooled kids will all start university classes at 14 and read Dickens for fun.... which isn't true, and certainly isn't the right or best way for every unschooled kid. It's just what worked for one kid, and there are plenty of equally valid paths out there, that just don't look at good to the mainstream newspaper readers.
This paragraph is something I'm currently living. One of my kids is pretty "fringe" and another is doing the "conventionally impressive" thing. People's reactions are interesting--it's clear that many believe unschooling "worked" for one child and not the other.

Most people (certainly not excluding the media!) have a picture of what a successful life looks like, and it's pretty mainstream. If an unschooled child's path leads them to something that looks like this, everyone is happy and relieved. If it leads elsewhere then people unfamiliar with unschooling become, at best, worried -- at worst, outraged.

When families with young children are interviewed, there is no outcome to note, so it sounds all the more horrifying to hear that they're not being taught to read, or they're allowed to play all day.

I don't think I've ever read a news article (outside of homeschooling magazines) about unschooling that was favorable. It's shocking, it's different, and that makes good press--unfortunately, it's hard to get a handle on the lifestyle in one interview. Add the editing process and it's easy to make unschooing look freakish.

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#81 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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Most people (certainly not excluding the media!) have a picture of what a successful life looks like, and it's pretty mainstream. If an unschooled child's path leads them to something that looks like this, everyone is happy and relieved. If it leads elsewhere then people unfamiliar with unschooling become, at best, worried -- at worst, outraged.
This is so frustrating to me, the narrow definition of success. Even more frustrating is that those who don't acheive this arbitrary standard of success after PS or other traditional schooling are not held up as an example of why THAT educational model isn't working; instead the child is blamed for being 'lazy' or 'not reaching their full potential'.
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#82 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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Dar so eloquently expressed exactly the points I'd been wanting to bring up, but didn't feel up to tackling.

If there's passion, or even just interest, in the home for some subject, it's going to be coming up in natural ways - it just is. Not only that, but children will learn about lots of other things that the parent may have little knowledge of or interest in - especially in the teens - and it can be the parent who gets interested in it from the child's impetus. It doesn't take a parent or teacher to orchestrate it all - it's an organic process that can and will take on its own life. And I'm not speaking in theory, but from lots of first hand experience in watching and enjoying my own child grow and explore as a learner into adulthood.

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#83 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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For those of you interested in the family with young children, I stumbled across their blog, Clan of Parents, not too long ago. They also publish an online magazine about unschooling, and run a website about all things related to unschooling, Humans Being, which recently articled about the ABC segment and all that has followed.

When I found the websites and saw that Discovery was doing a show on RU I cringed inside. I well remember the hell that broke loose several years ago when Oprah made a mockery of unschoolers (the family that was duped into being made to look like idiots wrote extensively of their experience online). I wondered if the Parent family realized what they might be setting themselves up for, and I myself would never participate in such a thing unless I had final say over the editing, which of course would never happen. I hope for their sake, and all the unschoolers who have to battle daily with mainstream culture's total ignorance of what we really do, that this show is done responsibly.

In better news Lee Stranahan, who wrote the Huffington Post article linked to above, is making a film about unschooling that seems to hold hope as an informed representation of what unschooling is all about. I'm looking forward to seeing it when it comes out.
I mentioned earlier upthread that they had already done the Discovery show. It was called Radical Parenting (it wasn't really radical) and the Parent family was one of three families focused on. There was a huge uproar about it online. One of the other moms focused on was The Feminist Breeder (I forget her name).

I don't have television and didn't see the show (I think you could watch on Hulu for awhile, not sure if that's still true), but the whole thing was ridiculous. Even if the show wasn't that bad or skewed, it was torn apart bit by bit. Radical Unschooling/Unschooling really seems to piss people off, though I'm not sure why.

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#84 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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Radical Unschooling/Unschooling really seems to piss people off, though I'm not sure why.
It's a lack of faith in human nature. People imagine it to be creating out of control "spoiled brats" who are dirty, rude, destructive, and totally illiterate - people who will be a burden on society. And even if they don't have the extreme image of it in their minds, they still think there are kids "getting away with" all sorts of things they don't thing kids should be able to "get away with." A place for everything and everything in its place, y'know - and their place should be in school, or at least in a situation where they're properly and tightly trellised and pruned and shaped. - Lillian
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#85 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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[COLOR="Indigo"]

It's a lack of faith in human nature.
Or, a negative view of human nature--If one starts with the premise that we're naturally lazy, unmotivated, disinterested, not inquisitive...then it would be hard to see how unschooling would work.

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#86 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Dar so eloquently expressed exactly the points I'd been wanting to bring up, but didn't feel up to tackling.

If there's passion, or even just interest, in the home for some subject, it's going to be coming up in natural ways - it just is.
If I can throw in an example that really stuck with me...

When ds1 was in 7th grade, ds2 was about six months old or so. I'd had three c-sections, and had fought through my entire pregnancy with ds2 for a VBA2C, only to cave at the end (the OB threatened to withdraw care, and for some reason, I didn't see that as the blessing it would have been). I was very active here in the Birth & Beyond forum and found ICAN right around that time. I talked a lot about c-sections and VBAC at home.

DS1 was part of a group of four kids who were being "pulled out" by the principal periodically to discuss various issues. (DS1 and one of the others are designated gifted students, and the other two were/are top students.) DS1 was the only boy in the group. During one of their discussions, ds1 apparently gave his three female classmates an extensive rundown on the "hidden" side of c-sections - the complications that aren't mentioned ahead of time, the long-term effects (such as my abdominal numbness) that are considered too minor to bother with, the post-op pain, etc. etc.

DS1 isn't homeschooled or unschooled (I think he'd have been better off that way, overall, but he is one of the kids who also thrives in a school setting, so he's doing fine)...but how many 12-13 year old boys know or care about the ramifications of a particular method of having a baby? DS1 knows more about birth - and especially about c-sections - than many grown women I've met...because it's a passion of mine, and the whole family has learned about it along the way.

Okay - that was OT...back to your regularly scheduled thread.

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#87 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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Or, a negative view of human nature--If one starts with the premise that we're naturally lazy, unmotivated, disinterested, not inquisitive...then it would be hard to see how unschooling would work.
Exactly!

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#88 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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I've forwarded news stories about him to her, bought books by him and sent them to her, and a month or two ago I mentioned her passion for him at a cocktail party and was told an interesting story about his life in Paris, complete with a book suggestion... which I'm working on acquiring in English for her to read when she gets here.

To me, that's what supporting her interest looks like. Saying something like, "Hey, let's trace his life travels on a world map and learn about the places he lived" would feel utterly artificial and I'm sure would fall flat. OTOH, my dad sent her some info about Nabokov's life in Portal, Arizona, where he lived and collected butterflies, because he was also going collecting there and thought it was a cool connection....
It seems as though your unconscious rule of thumb is "would I feel patronized and offended if someone brought ME this information about an interest of mine?"
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#89 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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It's a lack of faith in human nature. People imagine it to be creating out of control "spoiled brats" who are dirty, rude, destructive, and totally illiterate - people who will be a burden on society. And even if they don't have the extreme image of it in their minds, they still think there are kids "getting away with" all sorts of things they don't thing kids should be able to "get away with." A place for everything and everything in its place, y'know - and their place should be in school, or at least in a situation where they're properly and tightly trellised and pruned and shaped. - Lillian
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Or, a negative view of human nature--If one starts with the premise that we're naturally lazy, unmotivated, disinterested, not inquisitive...then it would be hard to see how unschooling would work.
There's a whole other thread around here going into it, but no matter how many explanations I come up with, I still don't get the venom. Or maybe I do. I suppose there are things that I believe and it makes me a bit crazy when other folks do something different and I might be inclined to deconstruct it. It's just that it's usually the stuff that everyone does that I try to deconstruct rather than the things that a few do. I guess I see people spending tons of time these days trying to discredit tea-party people and while I may agree with that, it just isn't something I myself am inclined to do. Though it's not like unschoolers are out trying to control/challenge the national conversation on education...

I'm thinking out loud, forgive me.

I suppose that you're both right. I also think, though, that we are controlled every day of our lives by systems that enforce the system itself as good: religion, patriarchy, capitalism... Those in power seek to maintain power and thus, reinforce that this way of life is best, just, righteous, etc. I think that school is another tool in maintaining the norm. It's the water we swim in, how can we be so bold as to challenge that? How can we dare to say that it is wrong? It's a threat to reality itself and will invite only chaos and doom...

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#90 of 100 Old 04-25-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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These are very good points about how people view humanity in general and specifically children. I also think that some people view anything radically different from their way of doing things as judgement upon their own choices. This is what I've experienced within my own family. The fact that my children have a radically childhood than my own makes my mother defensive as she assumes that I think she did something wrong. Truth be told I do think she made mistakes but I also know that my kids will think I made mistakes. But since my mom is insecure (for a variety of heartbreaking reasons) it's difficult for her to see that I don't have to think she did everything perfectly to think that she's a great mom.

I try to keep all this in mind when I meet people who are so adamantly opposed to unschooling- many of them just need to justify their own choices and sadly don't know how to do that without tearing others down.
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