Thinking of giving up unschooling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 02:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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See post #28 for update.

 

Ds doesn't seem interested in anything. He asks questions about once a month, if that. All he wants to do is play video games. He's talked about maybe going to school next year & there's no way he could manage. He can barely print, he can't even spell his own name half the time. He does read just fine & he can add, as well as doing a bit of multiplication, but those are all things I decided before we started that I was going to ensure he picked up & I really worked with him on the reading.

The problem is, I just don't seem to have the energy to find curriculums and plan. I don't know what's going on, but I'm not even keeping up with basic household maintenance (though I'm sure spending 12 hours a day on transit/in hospital visiting dh for most of 2 months didn't help) much less trying to plan & push ds to do schoolwork. Plus, ds2 is showing an interest in reading, so I need to find time/energy to teach him..assuming he doesn't want to go to kindergarten, he keeps changing his mind about that.

I don't know, I feel like I'm being selfish continuing with unschooling just because I have no energy. I wish there were some way to know just how much he's learned; maybe then I wouldn't feel so much like he's being shortchanged educationally.


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#2 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 03:23 AM
 
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Here's my 2cents. Each kid is totally different, personality, learning styles, and energy levels. Whereas traditional public school is an environment some kids enjoy and thrive in, some sink like a rock to the bottom of the lake. It seems like there isn't a perfect way to learn that includes EVERYONE and that's okay. Maybe you have five kids, in five different types of learning environments because you home school the one so she can learn french online at 8, and send your kindergartener to Waldorf, unschool your teenager who tears though archeology textbooks like her life depends on it and have a high needs learning disabled kid who's 10 at the public school in special ed.

It sounds like unschooling isn't working for your family, it's frustrating you and your ds isn't learning. I don't think that's failing. Unschooling isn't working for your family at the time. Maybe it's his personality, or learning style or your obligations with your dh. You haven't failed. There is no reason to hold onto something that isn't working expecting different results. Try something new. If your attached to unschooling, perhaps consider revisiting it in two years, maybe he'll be better matched for it then or maybe not. You care about your son's education and creating a lifelong affection for learning that's wonderful and what counts! You've got lot's of options! Trying something else is okay! Be open and easy on yourself!

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#3 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 12:09 PM
 
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I think unschooling is a spectrum. There's no way I'd let my kids spend hours at a time playing video games. If they can't limit themselves then I feel like it's my job to set limits. (Same with sugar foods, dvds, etc.)

My kids are still little but already I'm doing a lot of strewing. I'm buying the www.sonlight.com books plus others that I find. I've gotten them the wooden handwriting without tears letters, we have workbooks laying around the house. (My son only randomly wants to use the workbooks, which is fine because he's always doing something creative.) Someone on another thread said they don't think they're right for unschooling because they don't want to work that hard. I know what they mean. For our family, unschooling is a lot about providing a lot of opportunities for our kids. That means I'm constantly on the lookout for the next book or activity to have around the house. I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to offer our son learning opportunities--science experiments, field trips, etc.

I'm not sure how old your son is. Is he old enough that he can be involved with finding opportunities for himself or does he still need you to do that? Does he even know how to find opportunities? Is that something you have to teach him?

One option you have is to set limits on screen time. You could also require a certain amount of productive time. It only has to be an hour or two a day. Have a talk with him about how you envision unschooling to be. See what his thoughts are. You could see what happens with a reduction in video games. If it makes a difference, you could just keep on your path. If it doesn't make a difference, then you could do something different. I like the idea of living books. So much can be learned in an enjoyable way. We do the sonlight books I previously mentioned (though I screen out the religious books and other books that don't work for us.) My son enjoys them and he's learning a lot.

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#4 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 12:23 PM
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OP, this may or may not resonate with you, but it's my experience of unschooling. For years I did what worked for us (which meant no curriculums or lessons, we just lived full lives together). I was told we were unschoolers, so I read more about it, joined here, etc. Fast forward to a year+ of me being confused and ucertain, feeling that I'm not unschooling 'right' because I have limits, or we cannot do video games fr 10 hours or I don't buy them candy or . .or . .or . . and I really, really struggled.

Then suddenly a light went off, and i thought 'oh wait, I'm trying to adhere to a dogma, not decide what works for us'. I have a lot of experience trying to adhere to dogmas and then realising what actualy works for me.

I am not dissing unschooling, lpease don't read it that way, nor do I think we're now Not unschoolers. But I realised that for us, what works, is not the standard triumviate of unschooling (unlimited tv, candy and no bedtimes). Sorry if that sounds harsh, I truly don't mean it that way. But it's a regular struggle for many who want to follow unschooling. and I think doimng what feels 'wrong' for your family isn't 'right'. We do not follow a curriculum. To me learning is inherent in life, I myself am overwhelmed with all *I* am/want to learn in my life. The kids get up and do whatever they want, our days have a random rhythm.

But our year+ of being uncertain looked just like yours, with one kid gaming 24/7 and in tears after 10 hours and being asked to maybe take a break, the others bored or frustrated, no one in good spirits, food choices were all over the map, I was so conflicted . . . but once I made MY decision to steer us in one direction (balance) and I talked at length with the kids, we agreed and changes were made. Yes we game, but for a set chunk of time. Then we go out/do something else. Our lives have a balance that they did not when I tried not creating one. And I'm completely alright with what we've done. Sure it'd be cool if my kids *could* game all night and really complete that level or fully explore that scenario . . . but it doesn't work out. The impact of that is bigger than we can handle and the suggestions from other unschoolers of how to remedy it (buy more laptops, check in about my own issues) did not help or were not an option.

So we are unschoolers. Or child-led, or whole life learners, or whatever!!!!! we believe learning is inherent, and no amount of force will make me, or them, or anyone learn what they do not want to.

I have complete faith in each of our abilities and learning. but we do not game all day.


It sounds like you've had a rough many months anyway, and this part of your life is affected by other parts, and of course it is. You cannot compartimentalise things any beter than the rest of us. So maybe this week there' somewhere you and the kid(s) could go, an outing, an excursion. Or maybe just talk, what else can be fun besides gaming?

If you're fear is that learning will not occur withot a curriculum, that is one thing. but if it's just that well-rounded learning will not occur via all-day gaming, that's another. Can you talk to your child about creating balance, and come to an agreement?

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#5 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Hi WCM, I hear you wrt
Quote:
standard triumviate of unschooling (unlimited tv, candy and no bedtimes).
I dont think this is really the way to distinguish hs from us or even what the majority of USers practice. But it does come across pretty loudly, esp on other groups devoted to unschooling. I am assuming this is the loud minority.

This is why I liked the simple, nondogamtic way unschooling / radical unschooling were defined in this thread:

To the OP, I think above 3 responses all had some valuable thoughts, so I will just offer a for support.

no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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#6 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.

He doesn't game all the time, although there have been times where it sure felt that way. With all the school kids out for summer, both my older boys have been spending a lot of time outside playing with all the kids their age in our neighbourhood (quite a few, we live right across from an elementary school) which is really nice.

I think one of my big things is that we don't have a car and we live a long way from all the programs/classes that homeschooled/unschooled kids can participate in here. And I guess it's really bad of me, but I just can't face 1 1/2-2hrs on the bus each way, for a 1 hour thing like skating or swimming or the awesome programs there are. I feel like he's missing out on so much stuff, and I'm a huge failure, because we just can't get to it. I hear of so many things that he would LOVE to do, then I check the bus schedule. Or the cost in a few cases, but luckily most stuff we can actually get reimbursement for...except travel.

My mom registered them for a day camp that ran 4 days out at her place and they had so much fun, it just really makes me realize what they're missing out on. And yes I know they wouldn't get that stuff if I were homeschooling instead of unschooling, which is why I'm considering putting my 5yo in kindy if he's willing to go.

Sorry, kind of whiny today, I guess. It's been a long day getting dh though a medical appt.

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#7 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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Are you staying that your 8 and 5 year olds spend almost all of their time at home with you? (minus the two months your DH was in the hospital and the time they were in a day camp near your mom's?)

Do they have any friends?

Do you not take them to the library?

Do you read to them every day?

What does your week really look like?

You said that you wish you could know how much your eldest has really learned and I admit that surprises me. My DD just turned 9 and I can tell you oodles of things that she knows and has learned, what her interests are and that in most ways, she is above grade level, though in some ways I think she is perhaps somewhat average (though I believe if she were in school, she'd quickly and easily catch up and surpass because she's very competitive). She has always been unschooled, btw, and reads far above her grade level, and though her printing is sometimes rather messy, she is really interested in improving her spelling after having watched a movie on Nickelodeon about a girl and a spelling bee (Akeela and the Bee?).


My 11 year old also loves video games and plays more than I would absolutely prefer (but I rarely ever limit), but he also has many interests. He loves reading biographies of inventors and scientists, he loves to play with lego, he loves it when we go on field trips to museums (art, science, history, children's, something we do frequently), he loves to pet his cats (for hours on end), he loves to read Legend of Zelda books and to play his violin and to sing.

What are your sons like? Have you tried Leap Frog videos (which you can often get from the library) for your 5 year old to give him an easy basis for reading?
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#8 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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BTW, it's been a while since I've bussed anywhere, but when I lived in a city of 1,000,000 people growing up, taking a bus/train/bus to go anywhere never took more than say, 45 minutes or an hour, and I live way on the outskirts of the city. Are you sure there aren't activities that your children could participate in that are much, much closer in such a very large metropolitan area such as yours, that has buses that travel so far?
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#9 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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Hi
We are also carless (i prefer to say car-free)
I agree, it is hard to get to homeschool group activities and the free transportation provided by the public school is definitely something to think about. But being car-free doesn't mean you have to stay home!

What I do:

1) go to parks & public library often. We have a Barnes & Noble bookstore nearby and that is also a nice place to hang out and play.
2) take buses - even if it takes 1 hour, I think going on the bus is intellectually stimulating. Also teaches self-reliance and sustainable transport practice. If more ppl take the bus, buses will be more frequent eventually. This world can not go on with the level of car usage that is currently considered normal.
3) Once we attend some events we meet ppl coming from our side of town and can try carpooling. At least 10% of our rides get covered this way.
4) Join a homeschool group and propose a weekly or monthly activity that we lead in a location convenient to us. This way we have one activity we can get to without depending on anyone for a ride.
5) Try to make friends in walking distance - easier said than done, but even one family that we can meet without prior appointments helps to make life more interesting.

good luck!

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#10 of 29 Old 08-04-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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I'm getting a bit confused reading your two posts. The first one sounds like it's your kids who you feel you are "failing" by homeschooling because they have no interests and can't write, etc. Then the second post sounds like they would be gung ho to do all sorts of fun, cool things but you can't get them there. My reply would depend on what the real issues are, but I'm feeling like maybe you don't know what it is: you're just not feeling good about your unschooling life right now? All I can say to that it's that it's normal to have moments of doubt. OTOH, if this is something that has been going on for a while than perhaps it's not just a case of the jitters. You've been given some good advice here, all I can say is that you are the best judge of how school would affect your children. The reason I don't send my kids to school is not just because I think I can do a "better" job at home: it's also because I believe that MY children would suffer in school and that the negative, lifelong consequences of putting them in that environment would far outweigh the benefit of free transportation and more out-of-home activities.

It sounds like your family is going through something pretty stressful right now, with your DH in hospital, etc. Maybe this isn't the time to make big decisions? I wish I had more to offer but still not entirely sure what your major concerns are...

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#11 of 29 Old 08-05-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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Sounds like you're having a rough time.

What can you do to nurture yourself? What could your mom do to help? What might your kids be willing to help with around the house? Sounds like you're really just worn out. Being a caretaker can be really hard. The constant worry and stress of Dr's apts can be very wearing. Do what you need to do to find balance for your family.


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#12 of 29 Old 08-05-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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It sounds like for a number of reasons unschooling is not working for your family right now but that your kids are enthused about being with other kids in a group environment. Like a pp said, maybe you need a change now and can return later to homeschooling. I know this won't be a popular opinion here but you are doing a disservice to your kids by not properly giving them the tools or environment to become educated. Whether thats unschooling, homeschooling or traditional school. It doesn't sound like you are in a place right now that you can successfully homeschool your kids but they deserve an opportunity to get an education. Its not a horrible thing to enroll your kids in school if you are not able to homeschool them or facilitate unschooling them properly.
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#13 of 29 Old 08-05-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Hey there sweetie. It sounds like things have been really rough for your family again. I'm sorry.

It sounds like unschooling isn't working for you and the boys. Not because you are a failure, but because of all the other issues going on in life. That doesn't make you a bad mom. It makes you an overwhelmed mom with too many things on her plate.

Honestly, I'd start looking into the schools around you. Go in and talk to the principal and the guidance counselor and see what they have available to help. I know you have valid concerns about PS based on your experiences. Things are very different in schools now. Yes, there flaws, but for there are some very good schools, teachers and programs in place to help make school a safe, fun place to learn.

You are trying to take care of a home, a sick husband, kids, yourself. You sound so overwhelmed and honestly, depressed. Maybe it's time to reevaluate things. One person simply cannot do everything. They cannot be everything to everyone in their family. Making the decision to let others in to help isn't failure. It's a HUGE strength because you have the wisdom to know when you are in over your head and ask for help.

I know homeschoolers who have kids going to school part time. It may not have to be an all or nothing situation. Look into your available resources and use them!

Much love to you and the family!

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#14 of 29 Old 08-16-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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we are unschoolers, but DS is a right-brained learner who HATES anything having to do with book work, the written page, etc. he lives for TV, wii, computer games, legos and bionicles and playing with his friends.

i do have to force him to get outside and go to the Y, but once he goes, he has a good time. the more physical exercise he gets, the more his mind starts working and the more he starts to be curious and creative.

right brain kids are SO different than what the mainstream thinks kids *should* be doing with their time. they learn and retain information so differently. they are drawn to very different things in their creative/intellectual process.

they aren't easy to homeschool, but school (including school at home) is usually a train wreck. learn more about what makes your son tick. what makes him excited (even if it's video games), and learn to connect with him. he will show you the way. my son is all about hands on. this is what we do. it's not easy, and it requires a fair amount of prep. but he is doing well and thriving. (despite his wii overusage!)

i recommend the "homeschooling creatively" group on yahoo.
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#15 of 29 Old 08-16-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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I may be missing this...but how long has this been going on? Do you not think it is correlated to your DH being in the hospital and stress?

I dont know...I understand not everything works the same for different families, but I dont see how school would change things in this situation?

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#16 of 29 Old 08-21-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Something that's really helped me is coming up with a daily schedule. I'm not a spontaneous person, so I found that not planning activities for the day led to us bumming around, not getting anything done and being grumpy. I would often do little chores around the house or read and keep putting them off. I would love it if I could just strew things around and my kids would be inspired to pick them up, but it doesn't seem to happen that way in my house. So I plan - I have a list of things that need to happen before they can have 'free time' (which in ds lingo means computer games). We had a family meeting to discuss the kinds of things that would go on the list and why and came to an agreement on it (it meant more control of their free time for them and for me the comfort of knowing that they were keeping busy and well-rounded). Our daily list might look like this: chores, half hour of exercise, walk the dog, play with the dog, 10 minutes of math or writing practice, learning activity. To me, this is still unschooling, because I stay tuned into what my kids need, enjoy and are intersted in. The math they enjoy. The writing not so much, but it's quick and painless (my ds is right brained and not able to write yet, so it makes me feel better to know that he's keeping his hand in printing until he's ready to write independently). The learning activity might be a science experiment or a research project based on an interest of their's, maybe a craft or baking - this one is more for me, so that I've planned something that we can do where they'll have my undivided attention.

On a personal note, make sure that you are healthy. I went for almost two years in a state of horrible exhaustion and wasn't really aware of how bad I felt - it crept up on me. Suddenly I realized that I couldn't get through the day without a two hour nap and was in bed by nine. Finally figured out that I was anemic as well as having a mono relapse. My brain was so foggy that I didn't realize how bad things were. I had just come out of a really stressful couple of years leading up to this. Sounds like you've come out of a stressful period, so could be your body is responding and it's making it difficult to cope. Take care if yourself
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#17 of 29 Old 08-22-2010, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm afraid this is going to be quite long & take me awhile since there's so much to reply to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
Are you staying that your 8 and 5 year olds spend almost all of their time at home with you? (minus the two months your DH was in the hospital and the time they were in a day camp near your mom's?)

Do they have any friends?

Do you not take them to the library?

Do you read to them every day?

What does your week really look like?
Yes, they have several friends who live in our neighbourhood. They didn't have any until we moved here last year, though. They hated going to the library where we used to live, except to play with the wooden blocks they had there. The library near us now doesn't even have blocks going for it to get them interested. And I have a hard time mentally going out of the house, so I'm not going to get myself psyched up to go somewhere they have no interest in. We have lots of books here.

I try to read to my oldest, but my middle has always been troublesome when I'm reading and I got tired of hurting my throat trying to drown him out or get the two of them to stop playing & pay attention. I refuse to read the same thing 3 or 4 times because they're playing and completely ignoring me, since they'd obviously rather play than listen.

Our weeks right now depend entirely on what new treatment/appointments dh needs. It's still summer holidays, technically, anyway. I have no idea what it will look like once we start. I was thinking of making some mandatory times to practice math, reading & writing, but that wouldn't be unschooling & is one of the reasons for the thread.

Quote:
What are your sons like? Have you tried Leap Frog videos (which you can often get from the library) for your 5 year old to give him an easy basis for reading?
Active. Energetic. The only time they sit still/be quiet is if they're watching or playing something they're intersted in. Or they're nearly asleep. And neither of them really seem to have anything that could be pinned down as an interest that isn't game or tv/movie related. My oldest is a perfectionist & either refuses to try things or gives up the on his first try because it wasn't perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
BTW, it's been a while since I've bussed anywhere, but when I lived in a city of 1,000,000 people growing up, taking a bus/train/bus to go anywhere never took more than say, 45 minutes or an hour, and I live way on the outskirts of the city. Are you sure there aren't activities that your children could participate in that are much, much closer in such a very large metropolitan area such as yours, that has buses that travel so far?
Not really. Most of the activities are at the school we're registered with or provided by them and even though when they ask for suggestions for locations, I always suggest places nearer to us, it never happens. We don't have a lot of money to do things that aren't offered by the school board since everything is so expensive. I wanted to get ds1 into the tae kwon do class at the mall nearby, but it's $100/month.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
I'm getting a bit confused reading your two posts. The first one sounds like it's your kids who you feel you are "failing" by homeschooling because they have no interests and can't write, etc. Then the second post sounds like they would be gung ho to do all sorts of fun, cool things but you can't get them there. My reply would depend on what the real issues are, but I'm feeling like maybe you don't know what it is: you're just not feeling good about your unschooling life right now?
That's pretty much it. Honestly, I don't know if they'd even be interested in anything if I could get them there, unless it involved running around. Maybe the skating or swimming or gym day our unschool facilitator arranges.

My kids couldn't care less about whether they can read or write. My 9 year old can read. Not great, but he can. And he's starting to be curious about how things are spelled. My 5 year old is starting to have some interest in reading and dh has said he might work with him on it since he's laid up still. At any rate, the kids are perfectly happy with the way things are. I'm the one who feels like I'm failing. At everything, but education is a big part of it. It doesn't help that my mom was just here harassing me to put ds2 in kindergarten because I clearly can't handle homeschooling (because ds1 doesn't read/do math/write as well as his schooled cousins) & ds2 is already "behind" but it won't be so bad if I just get him in school now instead of waiting until grade 1.

Quote:
All I can say to that it's that it's normal to have moments of doubt. OTOH, if this is something that has been going on for a while than perhaps it's not just a case of the jitters. You've been given some good advice here, all I can say is that you are the best judge of how school would affect your children. The reason I don't send my kids to school is not just because I think I can do a "better" job at home: it's also because I believe that MY children would suffer in school and that the negative, lifelong consequences of putting them in that environment would far outweigh the benefit of free transportation and more out-of-home activities.
I don't think ds1 could handle school yet. He's getting better with his anxiety disorder, in some ways, but I think school at this point would cause some major problems for him. I think ds2 would benefit from school in some ways, but I'm not sure those outweigh the issues dh & I have with schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockportmama View Post
Sounds like you're having a rough time.

What can you do to nurture yourself? What could your mom do to help? What might your kids be willing to help with around the house? Sounds like you're really just worn out. Being a caretaker can be really hard. The constant worry and stress of Dr's apts can be very wearing. Do what you need to do to find balance for your family.

My mom has helped as much as she can. Too much, really, she's very negative & a bit toxic to be around for long periods & we've seen way too much of her lately. The kids often help when asked, but they just don't seem to see mess unless it's pointed out.

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Originally Posted by DragonflyBlue View Post
Hey there sweetie. It sounds like things have been really rough for your family again. I'm sorry.

It sounds like unschooling isn't working for you and the boys. Not because you are a failure, but because of all the other issues going on in life. That doesn't make you a bad mom. It makes you an overwhelmed mom with too many things on her plate.
Much love to you and the family!
Thanks so much for the reply! I miss chatting with you.

You're right about me being overwhelmed & depressed. I really am thinking of at least trying school for C in September. There's a school across the street I could go check out tomorrow. Hopefully the teachers are back now & I could meet the kindergarten teacher. At least I know I could take him out if it isn't working for him. And he doesn't have to be in school until he's 6, it would just be easier for him if he goes earlier.

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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post
we are unschoolers, but DS is a right-brained learner who HATES anything having to do with book work, the written page, etc. he lives for TV, wii, computer games, legos and bionicles and playing with his friends.

right brain kids are SO different than what the mainstream thinks kids *should* be doing with their time. they learn and retain information so differently. they are drawn to very different things in their creative/intellectual process.

i recommend the "homeschooling creatively" group on yahoo.
Thank you for this! Is there anyway to find out for sure what kind of learner ds1 is? I've never heard of this distinction before.

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Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post
I may be missing this...but how long has this been going on? Do you not think it is correlated to your DH being in the hospital and stress?

I dont know...I understand not everything works the same for different families, but I dont see how school would change things in this situation?
I wasn't really thinking of school so much (except maybe as an experiment for ds2) but more structure. Somewhere between unschooling & school at home, maybe.

I've been feeling like I'm...doing it wrong?...I guess since our first facilitator meeting in grade one. She was an ex-teacher with no understanding of unschooling & made me feel like I was a complete failure. Our facilitators since then have been unschoolers & much better, but I've never completely gotten over that first one.

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Originally Posted by scoobymummy View Post
Our daily list might look like this: chores, half hour of exercise, walk the dog, play with the dog, 10 minutes of math or writing practice, learning activity. To me, this is still unschooling, because I stay tuned into what my kids need, enjoy and are intersted in. The math they enjoy. The writing not so much, but it's quick and painless (my ds is right brained and not able to write yet, so it makes me feel better to know that he's keeping his hand in printing until he's ready to write independently). The learning activity might be a science experiment or a research project based on an interest of their's, maybe a craft or baking - this one is more for me, so that I've planned something that we can do where they'll have my undivided attention.
Thanks for this. That gives me some ideas.

[/quote]On a personal note, make sure that you are healthy. I went for almost two years in a state of horrible exhaustion and wasn't really aware of how bad I felt - it crept up on me. Suddenly I realized that I couldn't get through the day without a two hour nap and was in bed by nine. Finally figured out that I was anemic as well as having a mono relapse. My brain was so foggy that I didn't realize how bad things were. I had just come out of a really stressful couple of years leading up to this. Sounds like you've come out of a stressful period, so could be your body is responding and it's making it difficult to cope. Take care if yourself[/QUOTE]

I've been having issues with exhaustion for years. I don't know if it's because of not sleeping properly (dh tells me I snore & have really weird breathing noises) or depression or something else. I've had my iron & thryoid checked. Not sure what else it could be. I'm not really foggy just...if I don't have to move or do anything, I won't. And if I go out for any length of time, I feel like I need a few days to recover.

Thank you for the hugs & ideas everyone. It's really helping me work through this and figure out what I want/need to do. I think more work on basics with ds1 so that if he decides he wants to go to school in a few years like he's started mentioning, he won't be behind. And checking out the school across the street and at least trying ds2 in school. It's easier to pull him out if he doesn't like it than try to put him in if he decided in the middle of the year that he wants to go. And, to be honest, I could use a break from him. And I think it would do him good to have a break from me. He seems to do much better with my mom & might have the same benefit with a good teacher.

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#18 of 29 Old 08-23-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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RE: right and left brain dominance:

http://throwingmarshmallows.homescho...r-b-resources/

excellent blog. another good one is "apple stars."

http://applestars.homeschooljournal....ained-learner/

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#19 of 29 Old 08-23-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Devaskyla;15763012]I've been having issues with exhaustion for years. I don't know if it's because of not sleeping properly (dh tells me I snore & have really weird breathing noises) or depression or something else. I've had my iron & thryoid checked. Not sure what else it could be. I'm not really foggy just...if I don't have to move or do anything, I won't. And if I go out for any length of time, I feel like I need a few days to recover.

QUOTE]

I didn't get better until I saw a really good naturopath - don't know if that's an option for you. I was really sceptical, but this woman helped me tremendously.
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#20 of 29 Old 09-01-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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OP. I'm going through a period of feeling down and anxious as well. We've got too much screen time going on too. There are things to learn from gaming. But it's not a substitute for a balanced life. So like a PP mentioned, encouraging balance is my goal.

I'm not a routine kind of mom, but I'm finding value in writing my son (10) a note in the morning with a little list to make sure he gets some things done before starting his screen time. His list usually includes cleaning up his breakfast mess, letting the dogs out, doing a 15 minute room clean, and reading at least 20 minutes. I make sure he always has plenty of books of interest from the library. Often I check out Bill Nye the Science Guy or National Geographic videos from the library and he watches one of those in the morning too. Then he can get on the computer or watch TV until lunch time.

The list is only part of the note. I write something funny or encouraging first. I write my daily notes in a spiral notebook, so he can keep my letters to look at later. I draw cartoons (badly) of us and sometimes write in a different "voice". Today's note was as someone who has a Medieval knight as a guest. "I trust, my lord, that you slept well. May I suggest that you break your fast with..." I chose that theme because he's reading "You Wouldn't Want to be a Medieval Knight".

If reading aloud is difficult, what about audio books from the library? Even if your kids don't like going to the library, they can still enjoy what you bring home. My son loves the Hank the Cowdog audio books. He likes listening to Story of the World while building legos or Bionicles in his room. Does your son have his own room, or time when he can be alone to listen to audio books without younger siblings making a lot of noise?

The videos and audio books really help when I am having a flare of autoimmune issues or when I have a lot of things to do. The key is that these are all subjects my son likes already. If my list asked him to do writing or spelling or math, he'd balk! We just focus on what he loves for now.

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#21 of 29 Old 09-03-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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Well, I would say maybe try school for your 2nd since you think he'd benefit. You could always pull him out again, no?

My oldest (8) is unschooled and LOVES it. Loves it. Now, she does spend a lot of time reading and likes to do academic things but never with me leading, never with anything that "looks" like school. It's all her.

My 2nd (5) asked to go to school this fall. She's the kid who didn't want to go to the activities I'd plan . . .and I'm talkin' the zoo, arboretum, the park, etc. Well, let me tell you, she LOVES it. Interestingly, she is the same as 1st DD is academically (both read fluently by the time they were 4) but 2nd DD is not bored by school the way my first one was, or at least not yet. She is thriving on the routine and structure. Frankly, I do think you can have routine and structure in an unschooling world (and that you should, if that's what the child needs) but I personally could not give that to her for many reasons, but the biggest is my 9 month old. (Happy baby but takes up all my time when we're home, which is why I'd rather be out . . .which is what my 2nd DD did not like. If we were home, then I couldn't give her structure anyway.)

I have been feeling lately, however, that even though DD1 (and 3) are fine with no structure or routine that I need it. So, we are doing really rough plans . . .zoo day on Monday, library Tuesday, Wed. a class, etc. I am also finding little (cheap) activities like a chorus, peace group for kids, and local history program for children. These are all free or low cost. The other thing I did was start a local homeschool group . . .it's small (or at least the # of people that actually show up is), but I've met some great people. I am also going to start a Roots and Shoots club. It's $50 per year but you could get everyone to chip in.

So, I say, try to be proactive . . try your 2nd in school. There will be no harm done because you could take him out if you know it's not working. He will TELL you if it's not.

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#22 of 29 Old 09-25-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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I'm thinking of giving up too. My ds still has not learned even to write his own name, can't add without using his fingers (and can't add more than single digits), and I've found that I just don't have time with a new baby to find things to strew. And he also is one of those kids who does not self-limit screen time and will stay up very late if not prompted to go to bed by me. I really wonder who these kids are who do seek out academic subjects and self-limit screen time, and actually ask to go to bed (mine has never done that, and in fact nursed to sleep or at least at bedtime right up until my most recent pregnancy). It doesn't help that my dh is ill and works long hours, and since we live in an apartment, if ds is up, he wakes up dh (turning on lights and making noises -- dh sleeps in the living room). Poor dh has been on prednisone several times this year, whereas in previous years it's probably only been every other year. This is the first year that I wasn't always able to get ds to bed before 11, due to needing to nurse dd to sleep (she is a night owl too).

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#23 of 29 Old 09-26-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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We don't have a lot of money to do things that aren't offered by the school board since everything is so expensive.
We do a lot of activities at the local YMCA. They have a sliding scale membership fee for people who make under a certain income. Maybe you could look into that?

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#24 of 29 Old 09-26-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I'd certainly consider putting the 5 yo in school. It's a good time to try it and you can pull him back out to homeschool if you feel in a better place to do that next year.

I've got something chronic fatigue going on, too. I have to try to get enough sleep (ds is still not a sound or independent sleeper). I used to nap with ds when he napped, the luxury of one child... I like to have a schedule where we go out one day and stay home the next. Our standing playdate switched days on us so it's a little draining now with our two main things back to back. But we don't feel good if we stay home all week, either.

It was enough of a drain for me when dh's arm was broken over the winter and me with only one child!

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Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post
he also is one of those kids who does not self-limit screen time and will stay up very late if not prompted to go to bed by me. I really wonder who these kids are who do seek out academic subjects and self-limit screen time, and actually ask to go to bed (mine has never done that, and in fact nursed to sleep or at least at bedtime right up until my most recent pregnancy).
My guy does self limit but I do give him a little guidance, as well. He tends to play computer games when he doesn't have other options (sometimes he does legos instead but more often he's on the computer). I plan things for a couple of days a week (parkday and playdate) and sometimes there are other fun things to do on other days. I kind of just tell him what the plan is, but the plan is with his interests in mind and I wouldn't make him do them. I might, however, say "we'll just go and see what it's like and come home if we don't like it." (Oh so much easier with a car! We've been carless before. Ds does not enjoy public transportation and would rather stay home than spend an hour each way to get somewhere. It's really the coming home when he is tired that's the problem.)

I've been telling ds it's bedtime, lately. We've already established that he can go to bed when he wants. He does tell me it's time for bed at times, as well. He generally likes to go to bed when I do (he nursed until a pretty "old" age, too) but is sometimes engrossed with a game or doing something with dh. Now, my saying "it's bedtime" means "if you want me to read to you, come soon before I'm too tired to read." We've been reading 1-2 hours a night these days. He's really interested in the Animorphs book series and I don't mind reading them. Lots of action and dialogue so they aren't tedious to read out loud. There have been times when we've done very little bedtime reading.

So what I'm getting at is I do quite a bit of guidance with my ds. He doesn't have limits or a bedtime. But he isn't going through life with no suggestions from me, either. He used to need more guidance with eating and I'll still bring him a snack if he's involved with something. He was never good about realizing he was hungry so I had to be really proactive about feeding him when he was younger.

Our RUing and not having limits doesn't mean I'm asking ds what his preference is about every little thing. It doesn't mean he doesn't have to be considerate of people who are sleeping. I might ask him what he wants to eat for dinner or I might just declare this is what I'm making (something he thinks is edible though it might not be his favorite thing). I do think some people overthink it and worry about whether they are doing it "right." If everyone is relatively happy, and treating each other mostly respectfully (I have low expectations when ds is tired) we're doing it right enough.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#25 of 29 Old 09-28-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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Your husband has been in the hospital for awhile? Could your ds's apathy about learning be related to general depression over his dad being ill? Videogames are escapism.

I would expect the situation to take it's toll on both of you. How long is dh expected to be in the hospital? Could you declare a vacation for the duration?

Him wanting to go to school could be related to wanting to get away from the stress of home. As you're stressed and not feeling like doing the household activities, he may be picking up on that and tuning out as well.

My inclination is to tell you to sit down with your ds and figure out what needs to happen at a minimum to keep life bearable in your house. E.g. food prepared, dishes and clothes cleaned, trash dealt with. Then work together to get those things done and give yourselves permission to release all other projects for a time.
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#26 of 29 Old 09-28-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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A wise person once told me: Take what works and leave the rest.

I consider our main way of learning at home 'unschooling', in that we generally follow our interests and learn from the world around us.

But we do have a time in the morning when about 15-20 minutes are spent doing some studying together 'a la Charlotte Mason'.
Parent-directed! It works for us.


I use Ambleside Online year 1 for my almost-8-year-old son. His 5 year old brother joins in for writing when he wants to.
We do table time at home each morning.

It looks like this:

I read a poem from a book I have while my oldest copies several words which I have already written in his 'writing folder'--lined paper in a three prong folder.
(This morning it was : window, dog, cat, lion)
Then, he listens as I read the selection for that day from the AO reading list
(usually while walking around or bopping about in the same room but rarely holding still! It's ok! young boys do that).
I briefly pause and he tells me back in his own words what he heard.
Today I read to him a story about Regulus from 50 Famous Stories Retold.
(free but cost of printing from online source)

That's it. That's our morning time.

If it is one of those days where the boys don't already have projects in the works (like Legos and video games or watching MythBusters online or wanting to invite friends over), I might pick up a book with ideas to do do some easy science (baking soda and vinegar) or they pick a game for us to play. Or we walk to a nearby park to play. I might bring a homeschooling or other magazine to keep me company. I mentally check off my "engaged the kids moment" for the day, which frees me from any guilt about us all going our separate ways while I sew or read or do housework and they do their thing. I can relax b/c some of the needs have been met first thing in the day. It is provides us all a framework for further study later on as my son(s) matures and is ready for it.

There are plenty of days where the rest of the day is spent on the computer or playing. I am okay with this.

I do admit I have younger brothers who live nearby, so when my DH is gone for work (he is gone for a week at a time), I enlist the uncles' help to come and engage the boys. Boys need that from time to time!! (someone besides Mom) My youngest brother is here right now. That's why I am here typing this ;-)

I don't know how you could fill that need, but making friends with other families with children near the same ages nearby and trading play dates has met that need for us when we lived away from family. It is not logical to assume having two extra bodies in the house might make my life better, but the kids kept each other busy playing and that's what they needed and sometimes they would go over to their friends' homes and give me the much needed break, too.

Sometimes one of the best things I have done for myself is to relieve myself of all the burden of high expectations and realize that while a small number of things could be tweaked to improvement, most of the time we are doing alright. Give yourself the credit you deserve! Parenting fulltime is not an easy thing to do and you have been doing this. Your kids are fortunate to have you for their Mom.
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#27 of 29 Old 09-28-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Your husband has been in the hospital for awhile? Could your ds's apathy about learning be related to general depression over his dad being ill? Videogames are escapism.

I would expect the situation to take it's toll on both of you. How long is dh expected to be in the hospital? Could you declare a vacation for the duration?

Him wanting to go to school could be related to wanting to get away from the stress of home. As you're stressed and not feeling like doing the household activities, he may be picking up on that and tuning out as well.

My inclination is to tell you to sit down with your ds and figure out what needs to happen at a minimum to keep life bearable in your house. E.g. food prepared, dishes and clothes cleaned, trash dealt with. Then work together to get those things done and give yourselves permission to release all other projects for a time.
I like this advice, too. Sage.

OP: Re-evaluate for your situation now. There is always time later to 'catch up' on academic things if that's your main concern. Have you read any experiences of other homeschoolers who also dealt with sick loved ones? I know there was one in Home Education Magazine. You could do a google search for how homeschooling can helpful during a loves ones long-term illness. I just thought maybe reading about someone else who has BTDT might help you feel better about your own situation or give you some ideas to consider.
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#28 of 29 Old 06-19-2011, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just re-reading this thread and wanted to thank everyone again.

 

I did end up putting ds2 into kindergarten for a few months, but it really didn't work. He was miserable. The teacher was annoyed because he was exhausted for the first half of the morning (sadly there was no afternoon class) and kept telling us to make sure he got enough sleep. Not like I can force him to sleep and we were sending him to bed at 9, but he wasn't going to sleep until 1 or later. Hardly surprising he fought like crazy when I tried to get him up at 7. He did like the other kids and the craft stuff, but he just wanted to be at home.

 

We've been encouraging/forcing ds1 to do more "school" stuff this year. We still don't do as much as a lot of people, but he's been very, very slowly working his way through a math workbook, he's reading a chapter book (a Terry Pratchett one for kids) and we had him take an exam to get an idea where he's at with his reading & writing (he's a tiny bit behind, but only by a grade, which is impressive when he didn't write anything until this year). He really enjoys the Brainpop site, which our school has a membership to.

 

And it turns out that a lot of my mental fogginess/lack of energy were from thyroid issues. Despite being in the "normal" range, I convinced my dr to put me on meds because by Christmas I was barely functional and by April I'd gained a whopping 30lbs in 4 months. So, I'm still tired now, but after  about 1 1/2 months on meds, my weight stabilized & even started going back down & I started coming out of the fog.

 

I really appreciate the help & suggestions

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#29 of 29 Old 12-01-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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I'm glad you got things figured out.  Thanks for the update!  (I haven't been on MDC for months, so I just now read your update!)  I'd love to be one of those super confident unschooling moms, but I gotta say, I'm more of a reluctant unschooler.  And that's not because I don't think it works--it's because I don't enjoy ambiguity and uncertainty and waiting and seeing! 

 

I do enjoy not having to do a lot of boring school-related work though!   wink1.gif


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