'Unschooling' as an adult... - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-15-2010, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone do this? I guess it seems sort of a weird question, because we are working and learning every day, but does anyone ACTIVELY educate themselves as much as possible, outside of a college/university setting?

I ask because I have been reading e-books and textbooks voraciously lately, and I realized that I crave just as much input and stimulation as my children do. If you do 'unschool' or educate yourself, what is your routine/plan/outlook on it? How do you fit it in with life? DO you have goals, or just follow your interests? To a certain extent, I guess we are all unschooling ourselves on the subject of unschooling, what other subjects do you extend it to?

I Am Very Curious.
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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My kids and I are learning French together. I never took it in school, instead I had two years of Spanish.

It's exciting! We're learning.

I've learned all sorts of things as a parent: natural birth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, homeschooling, nutrition. I've been fascinated by it all and have done lots of reading and listening.

My kids are in a theater group now, and I've started learning about running the lights and the sound board. My husband is designing and building the sets.

As a family, we are learning all of the time. It has been an organic process as we've gone along in our way out of the mainstream. It has meant research and discovery at every step. It has required a kind of consciousness that I didn't have before.

Crunchy check list:  2 homebirths (one accidental UC!), co-slept, no CIO, cloth diapers, home/un school, raw milk drinker (!) I am a walking cliche!! I even blog and knit...
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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I do. I just read a loooot of non-fiction. I talk about it, read it, enjoy it, use it. I'm not a very structured person at all.

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Old 08-15-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I am learning a lot of stuff WITH my son (chemistry, astronomy, sea creatures, plants etc.) that I either learned & had forgotten, or never learned in the first place. So that's fun. And my son picks up on my enthusiasm for it. I have a real passion to learn latin and greek word roots so I am going to find and print that out too. I am fascinated by the way we can get a hint of what a new, strange word is about just by knowing the components!! [like "hippo" + "potamus" = "water horse" and "meso" + "potamia" = "between water" (roughly translated but you get it, bec. it's between Tigris & Euphrates rivers and then you recognize that "potable" and "potion" must be related and so on & so on... I love that sort of stuff. And the latin names for animals and the names of dinosaurs....it's like building with blocks!]

As for myself, I know next to nothing about history, so I asked for "People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn for Mothers Day and I am just making my way through it when I can find a few moments here or there, like before bed. I'm even making a little card file of dates so that I can "see" the order in which things happened, so I sort of know what was going on WHEN. For me (I am a "visual") this is very important. If I had the wall space I'd make a big long timeline and just keep adding new things to it.

I'd love to do more, but I don't have the time. So much of what I learn with with my son.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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I have always pursued my interests through classes (like when I tried yoga) or books or internet or clubs (knitting groups when I wanted to knit). I've gone through phases where I've been interested in various historical periods (middle ages, conquest of the new world, nazi germany, ancient greece to name a few) or the equestrian arts (dressage can be a very academic sport). With kids I've gotten into psychological development, parenting theories, birth, breastfeeding, you name it...

I think most adults do this without even thinking about it as "unschooling". But it is, which I think is what many mainstream people don't get about unschooling. We adults do it all the time, but we don't think of it as an "education". And yet we (as a society) have such a hard time believing that kids will pursue their interests in the same way.

I actually wrote a blog post about this a while back...

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Old 08-15-2010, 11:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CultivatingMyRoots View Post
If you do 'unschool' or educate yourself, what is your routine/plan/outlook on it? How do you fit it in with life? DO you have goals, or just follow your interests?
These are interesting questions. I can't NOT learn--every day, whether from reading a book, or hearing the news, or having conversations with people, or trying something new, or simply thinking things over, I feel like I'm always learning. Yet I don't think to myself, "I'm unschooling myself in history, or current events or art." or whatever. It's just...life. Learning is what we do.

There are times when I decide to learn some specific thing and I set about to do so with a plan and a goal, but it's always interest-driven and I've never thought of this as different from things that I learn without having a set goal.

It's funny, when I try to explain unschooling to people, I sometimes use the example of how we, as adults, learn new things--that seems to need no explanation and they often chuckle when they realize the connection. It seems odd to take unschooling as a model and apply it to our lives because, to me, it just IS life.

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Old 08-15-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Sure, I don't really think of it as unschooling most of the time. (though when my parents get on my back to go to college, I definitely do wish people recognized adult "unschooling")

I read and study all sorts of things.
-I'm learning hebrew by myself
-I love reading about history
-I'd like to learn calculus,however I keep getting books from the library that aren't the type of calculus book I want
-I read tons of literature
-other interests at different periods of time (right now, also quilting, adolescence (read teenage liberation handbook, now reading the case against adolescence), )

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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I think that after my traditional schooling is when my education began. Sure, I'd learn just enough to ace the test, then do a brain dump. Honestly, I cannot begin to tell you what I've retained from both regular school (to include college) and military professional development schools. If I really need something, I learn it. Otherwise, I go through the motions, take the test, then forget. But, stuff I'm interested in, or that I need for work or life, I learn it quickly and well and remember years later.

My current interests are : homeschooling (still trying to decide if and which kid I'm going to hs--the 9 year old with ADD or the autistic 7 year old (non-verbal--it would be mostly to increase his therapy time and have his therapists do his academics, he's starting addition!); finance; different historical periods; and other things. I've got Rosetta Stone and was starting on French.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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2lilsweetfoxes, how do you like Rosetta Stone for French? My kids and I have mostly done lots of beautiful flash cards with me looking up pronunciation on line. Also, I've discovered Busuu.com which is an interactive site kind of like facebook for learning other languages.

Do you like Rosetta Stone? Is it worth it, do you think?

Thanks!

Also, I've heard Pat Farenga explain that Unschooling is sort of like all the ways you have learned things in your adult life after you got out of school. That IS Unschooling. Seen from that perspective, it can help people understand how Unschooling can work for kids. Anyone learns as there is interest and need. Same for us adults as we continue to learn.

Crunchy check list:  2 homebirths (one accidental UC!), co-slept, no CIO, cloth diapers, home/un school, raw milk drinker (!) I am a walking cliche!! I even blog and knit...
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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Through my Army Knowledge Online account, I have access to every language they offer--even some "rarer" ones at no cost to me. I was enjoying it, then we dropped internet. Recently we got internet again, so I've got to get back into it. There is another company that makes stuff like RS for a fraction of the cost, but I haven't checked it out.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:25 PM
 
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I have always learned more for reading/studing for myself. I went to public school and feel like most of my learning came from things that I was interested in. I taught my self about nutrition in 1989. I wanted to become a veg. I then started learning about alt. med.

When I became preg. I started learning as much as I could about birth/breastfeeding. My mother just told me today I should become a midwife. I read anything that I could get my hands on. I'm currently studing to become a LLL leader.

I love to lean about history. I told my 5th grade teacher all about WW2 and the Japanese camps. She had to stop me. I also had a great time in 10th grade health class. The teacher hated me by the end.

So I think that I always "unschooled" myself. So now I'm not stessed about my 2 boys.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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I don't even feel I really started to learn until I unschooled myself.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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I didn't have a negative academic experience in public school, private school or college. I also felt like I learned things there.

But do I continue to learn, actively learn? Yes. I don't say "of course" because honestly, I do know people who don't - unless you count following television shows like American Idol or playing the Facebook games 10 hours a day learning. Which it might be, but I'm just saying that for a lot of people I know, that's the extent of it.

Some subjects I have studied in the past two years:
- Food issues, in enough detail that I think that if I just wrote a few papers (which I have not) I could honestly claim a bachelor's degree in it.
- Homesteading, all theory and no practice (I know in pretty good detail how to butcher a chicken, what to do if a cow founders, various methods of root crop storage, pasture and crop rotation techniques, how to make soap, etc.).
- History, Take Two. Have been reading the history books that don't follow the textbook line. I hated, hated, hated history in high school (so much that I actually failed a semester - please note that I am otherwise a perfect 4.0 student). Now I know why.
- Starting to learn about First Nations.

My DH:
- Electronics, which I'm pretty impressed about. Taught himself.
- World religions. I said I could be a BS in food issues, DH could be a BA in major world religions.
- Now he and I are both learning about first nations.
- And he's studying forest management.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 08-20-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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I'm going back to school, but whether I'm in a formal school setting or not, I love learning. I'm an obsessive researcher and I love books in general. If something sparks my interest, I NEED to figure out how to do it, what it is all about, etc. and I just go for it and throw myself into the subject.

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Old 08-21-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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I don't have a particular goal or schedule that I follow. I tend to get passionate or obsessed with something that I want to know more about and then I go...until it doesn't interest me anymore (usually several months). Often, I will drop the subject just as easily as I picked it up. But there are things that I keep coming back to such as non-allopathic health modalities. Now I'm learning about felting.
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:33 AM
 
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Yes, I really see it as the same thing. The things that I have learned most thoroughly are subjects that I have actively sought out and taught myself. I just learn better that way.
Almost 2 years ago, I taught myself to needle felt from YouTube videos and I now have a successful business making items for people all over the world I love to teach myself new skills - it's so empowering.

Unschooling Mama to Asher (6) and Jasper (3) Crazy obsessed needle felter and maker of toys http://www.asherjasper.etsy.com
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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Yes, I'm decidedly unschooling myself! It was a definite decision. I've had a LOT of formal schooling, and it took me years to realize there was learning outside of a school building.

I figured it out from watching my hubby. He collects knowledge, but mostly skills. Woodworking, blacksmithing, knifemaking, painting, sculpting, design, etc. He learns by doing. He just naturally collects mentors! A skill I seriously lack.

I learn by hearing/reading and then seeing. More of a traditional book-learner. So for topics/projects I'm learning about gentle parenting, NVC, home food preserving, Spanish, Signed English, home/uschooling, bookkeeping, and whatever else strikes my fancy that appears in my path.

Learning & growing & changing everyday!
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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One of the benefits of being home with children is the opportunity to have time to pursue interests, learn along with a child or as an outgrowth of a child's interest. To be alive is to learn, to enjoy, to engage in life. I can't imagine any other way to live.

As I read historical fiction to my children I learned more about various historical time periods than I ever understood as a child. Part of that is maturity and my own life experiences.

"Be yourself, you can't be anybody else..."
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Old 12-14-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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Yep and i dont even have children yet.  I am regular at the library (literally all the librarians know my face and my name lol).  I find something that im interested in and then i read and drill down into it until im satisfied.

 

I cant wait to do this with my own kids one day. shy.gif


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Old 12-14-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashersmum View Post

Yes, I really see it as the same thing. The things that I have learned most thoroughly are subjects that I have actively sought out and taught myself. I just learn better that way.
Almost 2 years ago, I taught myself to needle felt from YouTube videos and I now have a successful business making items for people all over the world I love to teach myself new skills - it's so empowering.


I loooooove your woolies! Your shop has been in my bookmarks for a long while. :)


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

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Old 12-14-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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TO be honest I think I have been a closet unschooler for a long time, maybe since middle school days - what I meanis though in younger days I recall enjoying school and waiting for it every day / week, at some point that enjoyment was replaced by dread - this dread peaked in middle school and then faded into the background but somehow it was still there and I remember in high school and especially in college always being more interested in reading books not on our syllabus and even being more interested in the required reading after the semester was over.  I would be int he library with exams & papers due and get utterly lost reading a book that was not required for myclass (but was nonetheless a scholarly book).    Something about being required just made me unable to focus on the reading, I still dont know why because I was certianly a fan of getting good grades and getting approval from the prof.

ANYWAY now that no reading is required of me, I too voraciously devour books on history, politics, health, birth and countless other topics.  My first stop in the library is the New Non Fiction shelf, and I often follow the numbers of an interesting book to get more books on the same topic from the stacks.  It's about as systematic as I get.  I browse through a few books and pick the one that hooks me and take it home.   Or just take them all ;-)

What I would really like to learn is to be more artistic.  I never did much art / craft all through childhood, being focussed on academics.  I do art with dd but I am very perfunctory.  I would love to learn to draw or paint, but can't overcome my feeling that I can't do it.  I keep drawing the same flowers and houses ... 


relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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I am and have always been an autodidact. I do not know what a day without deliberate learning would be like, unless it's one in which I am so sick that I cannot even read, which has happened only a few times in my life, or in labour (5 times, and not even whole days). So, I've spent about two weeks of my life not actively learning. :)


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

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Old 12-15-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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Ha! I was just coming to ask a similar question- i.e. what, if anything, is anyone learning for themselves. I'm going to come back and read the responses later, but thanks for asking the question. Lately I've been lost in a see of "mothering" research, not really looking into things that don't in some way have to do with the kid. All well and good, except that I've lost sight of what interests ME. Looking forward to rediscovering what I want to learn!

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Old 12-15-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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i love all of these answers! i feel like i learned quite a bit in traditional school (i was a bookworm/nerd/teachers pet) but i love to learn and read on my own. nod.gif


mama to one '07 and one '09
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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Hey Cheery, I found I didn't like formal classes for artistic pursuits, though I tried many times.  Best book ever for opening my eyes to the world around me and helping me draw better: Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing: Meditation in Action, by Frederick Franck.  Something about it just clicked for me.  Now if I could only find something like that for watercolors, I would be ecstatic.

 

 

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What I would really like to learn is to be more artistic.  I never did much art / craft all through childhood, being focussed on academics.  I do art with dd but I am very perfunctory.  I would love to learn to draw or paint, but can't overcome my feeling that I can't do it.  I keep drawing the same flowers and houses ... 



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Old 12-15-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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I am an unschooler for life, and my kids feel that way too. :) They are 19 and 17 years old now. Let's see, I've been learning about weaving, cheese making, the small house movement, and Northern Cheyenne lately! Unschooling is in the blood to stay for us.


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Old 12-16-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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Llike others said, it's just life to me. I don't think of it as unschooling. I've always lived like this.

 

Currently: distance running (hoping for a marathon in 2011), Japanese, economics, traditional bread-baking (built a cobb oven last fall), orchestration/music arranging, playing viola, and various science and social issues oriented threads of inquiry. I have a couple of dozen informational podcasts that I follow and am investigating time-banking for my community.

 

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Old 12-16-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Ha! I was just coming to ask a similar question- i.e. what, if anything, is anyone learning for themselves. I'm going to come back and read the responses later, but thanks for asking the question. Lately I've been lost in a see of "mothering" research, not really looking into things that don't in some way have to do with the kid. All well and good, except that I've lost sight of what interests ME. Looking forward to rediscovering what I want to learn!





I have recently come to a place of acceptance about this. It's OK if mothering/homeschooling/RU is my main focus right now. It actually fits with my personality since I've always pursued my main interest with a slightly obsessive zeal. It used to be music, before that physics, now it's mothering. That's ok smile.gif
I'm also never without a book on holistic nutrition, another on female Buddhist practitioners and currently my "extra" interest is Latin. Last week it was local history. Oh and I shouldn't forget learning more everyday about putting permaculture into practice.

Grateful mama striving to respect the two precious beings entrusted to me DD '06 and DS '09
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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I didn't do particularly well in school.  I always skipped out on classes and struggled because I wasn't interested in school at all!  

Like a PP, I don't believe I learned much of value until I unschooled myself.  Of course I didn't know what unschooling was but it seems that what I do; I crave learning.  I follow my interests (pregnancy and birth was my unschooling Mecca!  Photography, knitting, cooking, baking, health and nutrition )  I feel like there aren't enough hours in a day to learn what I want to learn!  I somewhat feel like my ditching school to do my own thing back in the day has fostered that love of learning!  I suppose I managed to unschool myself much to the discord of my parents LOL

 

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Old 06-23-2011, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/11/15/12-dozen-places-to-self-educate-yourself-online/

 

http://www.ztcollege.com/

(new, but looks promising!)

 

http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page

 

I found these on the unjobbing thread, and wanted to share!! I am so excited for all these new materials; for myself and my kids. 

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