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Old 10-22-2010, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been soul searching lately re my 8yo DD, as evidenced in the math thread I started. For math, she is exactly where she was 2 years ago. At that time she eagerly did a workbook on addition / subtraction, seemed like she was pleased with her mastery, and that was it. Not sure if it was internally motivated, but there was an adult in her life whom she wanted to show that she was good at math...

Now, I keep thinking about her personality vs DS, who is soon 6. He is a naturally curious child. He asks AWESOME questions. If I don't know the answer, he will remind me, even a day later, so that we can google. He persists with interests and perseveres through failures. He's always loved puzzles and figuring thigns out. He's very creative. He is genuinely excited about things. He wants to figure out how things work. He is this typical unschooler people always talk about.

DD1 is not the same at all. She is much more reserved in showing her interests. She is rarely excited about discovering new things. Even if she has an interest, it rarely expands into other interests, if effort is involved, or even if no effort is involved. She seemed to be externally motivated--she is sometimes motivated to show off.

Two months ago I panicked, and we started talking about doing some structured things. We agreed on doing some math, some spelling, and French. She was interested in French, but to extremely, and she agreed that there was a need for math and spelling, as there were some things she wanted to do, but couldn't without those skills. For example, she wants to write on her blog, but is not happy wiht the phonetic spelling anymore. Also, when she reads about nature, there are often math terms, such as percentages and so on, and this confuses her. She can't time, even if she asked me to help her about 6 months ago. But she never really put any effort into it.

We spent several weeks doing more structured tasks, maybe 10 min of each, not every day. I gave her a choice which one she wanted to do. She was grasping spelling really well, but was not enjoying it. Math she finds tedious, boring, and says 'she is bad in math'. We are talking about addition here. French she liked, but not enough to ask to do a lesson.

In the last 10 days we haven't done anything, and I'm thinking I need to deschool with her. Because she is not happier with structured activities.

But I find unschooling really hard now. We've been in this mindset since she was 2, so I'm not new to this. But now I'm realising she is not a typical unschooled child. When I read here, or articles on the web, or talk to others, it seems that other children have passions, are curious, ask questions, want to learn how the world works. Most seem gifted even if not defined as such by their parents. I can't engage DD1 in those ways. She is an extremely autonomous learner--if there's a hint of a suggestion, she won't be interested, or will lose interest.

She reads well. Not above her level, but well. She is VERY picky about what she reads--it has to be about horses or ponies (fiction) or about fairies / fantasy. So she is not a bookworm (which would have put me more at ease). She doesn't like any tension / suspense in what she reads. I'm having trouble helping her find new books. She will read the backs and reject So far she only likes Pony Pals, Fairy Realm (not as much), and Princess Ellie series, but she recently read The Night Fairy on her own, after we read it out loud, which is a higher level, and a lovely novel.

She also reads well in Russian, but I'm having problems finding her books that she likes. They are either Soviet classics, which are hard to relate to, or modern books that try to distinguish themselves as "Russian" as opposed to Soviet and are very heavy on pop culture. There are lovely books for younger children, and for older children, but nothing really for her age...that I can find via on-line stores.

She takes riding lessons, though there will be a break for the winter.

She takes art lessons, which she loves, but she never does any art at home.

She sews little things from time to time, but is not into crafts that much.

She likes her swimming lessons.

She plays webkins worl and sarabella.com, or is it bellasara?

Recently we watched a bunch of prehistory DVDs, and she seemed into dinosaurs and hominids. But when a typical unschooling account would be that from dinosaurs she would jump into a bunch of other topics, this simply doesn't happen with her.

She saw the littlepassports.com site when I was looking at it, and she really wants to be receiving the packages. But when I got a map, there was zero interest. I might order some of the packages in the new year. I know I would have loved them as a child, though DH finds them gimmicky.

We have gazzillion board games--she just doesn't like this type of activity. (DS does, so the games are for him, but she is always invited to join. If she does join, she usually gets so upset over something that we can't play.)

I think I'm okay to deschool for the next 7 months, until she turns 9. Then I'm not sure. I will need to seriously re-evaluate. She seems to want to know things, but is not putting effort in them. This is confusing and difficult for me. She is not the child everybody talks about when they talk about an unschooled child. I don't have much confidence that unschooling is the right fit for her, but I know she won't like structured learning either, at least not for now.

I guess I will update in early June . About out complete deschooling of an already unschooled child.

I know she is still young, but it is mostly her personality that troubles me, not the mere fact that she is not doing math.

Thoughts of wisdom, please?

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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My ds is not particularly curious either. He does not pursue things in the passionate, enthusiastic manner I would like or would have expected. Math is second nature to him, so that is not a struggle for us. He has more issues with reading and motivation to improve there. He's definitely externally motivated, so I give him external rewards. It sort of defies unschool logic, but it makes him feel happy and productive. Bookadventure.com lets him take quizzes on books he's read for points, which he can trade for rewards. We have a similar system at home for books that aren't on their lists. He likes to have a schedule, so that he knows what he's doing each day, and we put the things he loves on the schedule, like video games and legos, and things he wants to pursue, but wouldn't on his own, like math and history and housecleaning.

Pursuing interests looks a lot like your daughter's. Topics seem scattered and disjointed to me, and one does not lead to another. His pursuits lack any discernible flow, unless I steer things a little (which doesn't always turn out well either.) But I have noticed that sometimes he can make connections between something we're studying now and something we studied months ago, when I had no idea it had stuck with him.

I say if she'll be more motivated with a chance to show off her skills, make opportunities for her to do that. Posting videos on youtube of cool science experiments maybe to show off to friends and family? Putting on a play with friends and building sets or designing costumes? You said she likes art, do you take her to galleries? talk about perspective? show her different art styles online? Sometimes I feel like unschooling around here should be defined as throwing random stuff against a wall and seeing if anything sticks. I have no idea what ds will find interesting.

I get what you are saying about personality. Mine is just so different from my son's. The spheres in which we are passive and the ones where we are active are totally reversed. Anyway there is a lot he turns down, but I just keep plugging away, and I have learned to never act disappointed or try to push because he just shuts down then.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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My eldest is the "typical unschooled child" - curious, driven, and excited about learning. She's into all sorts of things, particularly the natural sciences. She's the kind of kid who asks for a set of Periodic Table of the Elements playing cards as a present.

My son is not at all like her. Yet he learned to read even earlier than DD did (age 3) but since he wasn't into books nobody really knew about it for a while. To this day it is rare for him to pick up a book. He doesn't love going to the library - he likes playing on the computer there (and his fave game on that computer is a math game - he's quite competent at math). He spends most of his time playing on the computer or video games, with a close second these days being Lego. He is also an extremely active child - always moving and is bugging me to get him into a martial arts class.

My point here is that while it is super easy to figure out DD's learning and interests, DS presents me with a challenge. He is not so "out there" about his skills and abilities, and doesn't seem to enjoy a very wide range of activities compared to DD (who loves art classes, nature trips, museum visits, etc). Because our homelearning program requires me to write reports on what each kid has been up to each week, I was getting worried this year when I would have to log a full 25 hours a week of stuff.

What ended up happening is I had to take a really close look at what he was doing (enjoying) and how he was applying this to other areas of his life. It required doing a fair amount of sit-down time with him where HE got to pick the game/activity. He loves imaginative play, and it was in these times when I would glimpse where his talents and inclinations lay, and how he threaded together things that seemed, to me, unrelated and "scattered". It doesn't help that I am much more like DD in the way I learn and process information, whereas I really don't recognize DS's style at all.

So my point is that I do believe all kids have something they can be passionate about. But often it is hard to see what that is, or to figure out what kind of learning style they have, to the point where it may appear to us that they aren't really focussed or curious because they are just doing it totally different than us (or what is most commonly thought of). Also, 8 years old is still pretty young!

Oh, I forgot: my DD used to pick a fairly limited selection of books until we started listening to books on CD. From this she has greatly expanded the story types she likes, and has discovered things that she likely wouldn't have chosen if she was basing it on the actual book.

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Old 10-23-2010, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds is not particularly curious either. He does not pursue things in the passionate, enthusiastic manner I would like or would have expected. Math is second nature to him, so that is not a struggle for us. He has more issues with reading and motivation to improve there. He's definitely externally motivated, so I give him external rewards. It sort of defies unschool logic, but it makes him feel happy and productive. Bookadventure.com lets him take quizzes on books he's read for points, which he can trade for rewards. We have a similar system at home for books that aren't on their lists. He likes to have a schedule, so that he knows what he's doing each day, and we put the things he loves on the schedule, like video games and legos, and things he wants to pursue, but wouldn't on his own, like math and history and housecleaning.

Pursuing interests looks a lot like your daughter's. Topics seem scattered and disjointed to me, and one does not lead to another. His pursuits lack any discernible flow, unless I steer things a little (which doesn't always turn out well either.) But I have noticed that sometimes he can make connections between something we're studying now and something we studied months ago, when I had no idea it had stuck with him.

I say if she'll be more motivated with a chance to show off her skills, make opportunities for her to do that. Posting videos on youtube of cool science experiments maybe to show off to friends and family? Putting on a play with friends and building sets or designing costumes? You said she likes art, do you take her to galleries? talk about perspective? show her different art styles online? Sometimes I feel like unschooling around here should be defined as throwing random stuff against a wall and seeing if anything sticks. I have no idea what ds will find interesting.

I get what you are saying about personality. Mine is just so different from my son's. The spheres in which we are passive and the ones where we are active are totally reversed. Anyway there is a lot he turns down, but I just keep plugging away, and I have learned to never act disappointed or try to push because he just shuts down then.
Thanks for your response. Another issue is that DD often says she is bored. She is a cup half empty kind of person too, so often the first thing in the morning she'd declare that she is BORED. We talk about boredom and how our brains works. When she is BORED nothing that I suggest works, so I don't really suggest anymore, I wait it out.

She is utterly uninterested with the art gallery or any kind of museum, unless she can run there and play with other kids--basically using it as an indoor playground.

When I said she likes to show off, it is off, but she likes to show off in a rather boasting manner (not sure if she realises that, even if we talked about it) but she also declared that she will never ever do anything "on stage" or for others to observe, and though she is not shy, she is firm in this stand. So things like performances are out...

Not acting disappointed or pushy is what is really important for me as well. The last couple of months I wasn't doing so well, as we somehow where outside of our normal flow. I need to get this flow back.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My eldest is the "typical unschooled child" - curious, driven, and excited about learning. She's into all sorts of things, particularly the natural sciences. She's the kind of kid who asks for a set of Periodic Table of the Elements playing cards as a present.

My son is not at all like her. Yet he learned to read even earlier than DD did (age 3) but since he wasn't into books nobody really knew about it for a while. To this day it is rare for him to pick up a book. He doesn't love going to the library - he likes playing on the computer there (and his fave game on that computer is a math game - he's quite competent at math). He spends most of his time playing on the computer or video games, with a close second these days being Lego. He is also an extremely active child - always moving and is bugging me to get him into a martial arts class.

My point here is that while it is super easy to figure out DD's learning and interests, DS presents me with a challenge. He is not so "out there" about his skills and abilities, and doesn't seem to enjoy a very wide range of activities compared to DD (who loves art classes, nature trips, museum visits, etc). Because our homelearning program requires me to write reports on what each kid has been up to each week, I was getting worried this year when I would have to log a full 25 hours a week of stuff.

What ended up happening is I had to take a really close look at what he was doing (enjoying) and how he was applying this to other areas of his life. It required doing a fair amount of sit-down time with him where HE got to pick the game/activity. He loves imaginative play, and it was in these times when I would glimpse where his talents and inclinations lay, and how he threaded together things that seemed, to me, unrelated and "scattered". It doesn't help that I am much more like DD in the way I learn and process information, whereas I really don't recognize DS's style at all.

So my point is that I do believe all kids have something they can be passionate about. But often it is hard to see what that is, or to figure out what kind of learning style they have, to the point where it may appear to us that they aren't really focussed or curious because they are just doing it totally different than us (or what is most commonly thought of). Also, 8 years old is still pretty young!
Oh, I forgot: my DD used to pick a fairly limited selection of books until we started listening to books on CD. From this she has greatly expanded the story types she likes, and has discovered things that she likely wouldn't have chosen if she was basing it on the actual book.
Thanks, Piglet. I agree with the bolded. But it was much easier to believe in it when she was 5. I do know that 8 is still pretty young, but it is already becoming more difficult to accept the above.

I think I should start logging her weekly activities. I bet if I pay more attention I could find more value in what she is doing. It would have also been easier if she were a happy go lucky child. But she is frequently frustrated and negative, and BORED. Yet unwilling to occupy herself and unwilling to participate in my suggestions. Most days it takes her about an hour of whining and boredom before she really starts engaging with something--mostly play.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:52 AM
 
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Midnightwriter,
your post is so interesting to me. I have mnay of the same worries about my 7y/o dd. I am thinking a little about your post, and I would like to ask a couple questions:
Does she play well/ interact with her siblings?
Does she enjoy completing tasks? (like does she get certificates for riding or her art class)
Do you do any activities on your own...and does she join in? (like do you ever sit down and draw or sew or any activity you enjoy).


on a quick note, I have found my that my DD feels better/is less negative if she has completed some task and done it well...even housework/chores that she complains and grumbles throughout the whole task...at the END, she is happier and more able to do her own thing. (I think she would do better with routine but I am very disorganized).

oh, one last question: have you tried delving into horses even deeper with her? (since that is an interest to her). Like horse care/grooming, horse illnesses and treatments, horse treatment around the world (race horses/work horses can be mistreated) and what is done about it, horse farms around your area...etc...would interest be sparked for her for that?

- 7; - 5; - 2; --due 4/11
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:01 AM
 
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Hmmm, I have not interpreted things I've read in the same way. I haven't heard of many unschooled 8 year-olds who really enjoy something like a series of DVDs and then jump into a bunch of other topics based on that. Maybe you are comparing her with a mythical typical unschooled child?

I think it sounds like she's doing a lot. I don't see a lot of 8 year-olds with grand interests, doing "big" things. I'm not saying don't help her with anything, or to not share/introduce things, but I think maybe you could also adjust some of your expectations (which it sounds like you are working towards--this post is meant as a supportive one, I hope it comes across that way).
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Midnightwriter,
your post is so interesting to me. I have mnay of the same worries about my 7y/o dd. I am thinking a little about your post, and I would like to ask a couple questions:
Does she play well/ interact with her siblings?
She can play well, when she really likes her playmates. But she's never played just for the sake of playing. DS will play with his baby sister and have fun, he'd play by himself and have fun. DD1 never liked playing by herself, or with those who are not into her type of play. To her play is a means to connecting, to necessarily a fun activity in and of itself. This has been her personality all along. This is why I think she doesn't like board games, or any type of games.


Quote:
Does she enjoy completing tasks? (like does she get certificates for riding or her art class)
She got certificates, it wasn't something really important to her.


Quote:
Do you do any activities on your own...and does she join in? (like do you ever sit down and draw or sew or any activity you enjoy
).

I rarely do crafts myself. I've been needle felting a bit lately, and doing my French on Rosetta Stone. Sometimes she joins...

Quote:
on a quick note, I have found my that my DD feels better/is less negative if she has completed some task and done it well...even housework/chores that she complains and grumbles throughout the whole task...at the END, she is happier and more able to do her own thing. (I think she would do better with routine but I am very disorganized).
I think she is happier at the end, but she doesn't really show it. And if I ask her, she will say that she is NOT happier, does NOT feel more accomplished. But something in her demeanor tells me that she might be at least somewhat happier. Definitely not by much

Quote:
oh, one last question: have you tried delving into horses even deeper with her? (since that is an interest to her). Like horse care/grooming, horse illnesses and treatments, horse treatment around the world (race horses/work horses can be mistreated) and what is done about it, horse farms around your area...etc...would interest be sparked for her for that?
We bring books about horses all the time. Sometimes she reads a bit, sometimes she ignores them. Not always keen if I suggest I read them to her.

Thanks for reply, your questions, and telling me about your DD. At times it feels like DD is the only one like this.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, I have not interpreted things I've read in the same way. I haven't heard of many unschooled 8 year-olds who really enjoy something like a series of DVDs and then jump into a bunch of other topics based on that. Maybe you are comparing her with a mythical typical unschooled child? I think it sounds like she's doing a lot. I don't see a lot of 8 year-olds with grand interests, doing "big" things. I'm not saying don't help her with anything, or to not share/introduce things, but I think maybe you could also adjust some of your expectations (which it sounds like you are working towards--this post is meant as a supportive one, I hope it comes across that way).
Thanks for your post and your support. :-)

Quite possibly I'm thinking of the mythical unschooled child. How can I not? There aren't blogs or articles or posts here about children like mine. And if there are, they are in the minority. All I hear about is the mythical unschooled child. There are already posts in this thread where parents say 'mine is a lot like this, but he's great at X'... While I feel mine is not "great" in anything. I don't expect greateness, not at all. I think I was an ordinary child, not gifted, and DH was the same. We are intelligent and smart and have achieved higher education goals blah blah, but we are in not gifted in any way. I am perfectly FINE with just regular, average, child

But I feel vulnerable as an unscooler. Because the premise of the philosophy is that when you let your kids learn freely, they will blossom, in their own way. Read David Albert. Even John Holt (love John Holt, btw). Read any unschooling blog, especially the more popular ones. A typical unschooler might not read on the level but he is a math genius. Or he might not dig math, but he plays a musical instrument or a couple. Or she might be into dancing 5 times a week and competing. This is the general picture I'm getting. On-line, and irl as well. And while I do not expect giftedness, I know for sure that if my child was at least a little "better" than average in ONE area, I'd feel more comfortable deep inside.

I used to be so vocal about unschooling. Such an advocate. Now when I meet new people who are interested in homeschooling, I feel I can't even talk about the philosophy, because if they were to aks me about DDs learning, and if I were to reply truthfully, I wouldn't be converting anyone

With all my doubts, I still think that unschooling is the best fit for DD. I think she might need some structure and gentle "pushing", eventually, because of her personality, but not at 8. Maybe not even at 9.

I also feel that I probably made a mistake of suggesting some subject areas to her, even if it came partly out of her need / question, and there was a discussion, and what not. I had this typical itch that I NEEDED to do something, to do more...Well, it didn't work out on many levels.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I think that your dd is doing quite a bit with her time and seems to be rather well-rounded, and it is true there is probably more being learned from the activities she is into right now than is easily recognizable on the surface. Personally, I wouldn't be too concerned with lagging math skills given the multitude of ways in which she is capable, even advanced for her age, I would guess. It is sounding like one of your big concerns is that she is bored and unhappy much of the time. Is that right?

I don't have a big toolbox of fantastic parenting or unschooling skills at this stage of my life, but my one really useful all-purpose tactic is to step back from all the looking at what might be wrong, all the wondering of "How can I fix this?", all the trying to come to some compromise that meets every one's needs, and just ask what the ideal situation for that person would be. Maybe you could ask her what her ideal day would look like or what she would be doing right now if she could do anything? Sometimes it is something I can reasonably accommodate either now or in the future, sometimes not. I find that even if ds wants the impossible, just taking the time to listen to these fantasies of superheroics or world travel or whatever leads to really interesting dialogue, suddenly there is a great sharing of information, and we both walk away really inspired. It gets me interested in what he's interested in, and I can make myself more knowledgeable in those subjects, so that I can bring more to the table at our next conversation. This practice really sets the proper tone or attitude of openness in our communication and allows the learning to really flow.

From your posts so far, I would say that you're just plain not giving her enough credit for her achievements. I might even wonder if her desire to impress and boast is mostly for your benefit. For pete's sake, she reads fluently in English and Russian, a huge achievement in it's own right, since many unschooled 8 year olds are not doing much reading at all. And in addition she is capable at horseback riding, art, swimming, and sewing? That is a heck of a lot more than my kid is doing at age 7. For him it is mostly legos, some board games, computer or video games, and kung fu lessons once a week. She is really developing a lot of skills, so there is going to be some asynchronous stuff happening with the academic skills. You should be incredibly proud of your daughter and of yourself for advocating for her right to pursue all these passions.
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:49 PM
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One thing my daughter liked at that age were to-do lists. Well, she still likes them, but that's when she started making them. I think I was making one and she followed suit, and then found that she really liked the whole exercise... and she's done it off and on ever since.

The stuff on her lists was varied and up to her... then it was stuff like rearrange her desk, make a birthday card for her aunt, bake cookies, watch a video, go to the library. She seemed to enjoy the process, though.

Really, and I know I've said this before, but 7-10 or so was really more of a latent period for my kid, who really does look like one of "those" unschoolers now. Then, she dabbled a lot, played a lot, read a lot (but only sort of mass-marketed fiction, like American Girls-type stuff), watched tv... her reading was probably above grade level but she didn't want to read anything except the brain-candy stuff, and her math and spelling were definitely below grade level, since she didn't really do either. She was very good at thinking and talking about things, and in retrospect I think that was the most important thing that was happening for her during that period - she was being exposed to ideas and working them out in her head and through discussion.

Clearly a lot of stuff was happening below the surface, because at 11 or so she started to look outward and in the next couple of years she really blossomed.

Aaannd... your daughter is bilingual, Russian and English? And can read in both as well? That's so cool!. I asked Rain if she knew of any books that she might enjoy, because the school Rain attended in Kirov was for all grade levels and Rain was actually a TA in the 4th grade classes. She couldn't think of anything off-hand - she said most kids that age seemed to be reading translations of American kids' books - but she'll think about it, and she said she could also try to ask their school librarian, who she loved.

 
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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It sounds like your kid is motivated by the pride she feels when outsiders tell her she is doing a good job. Can you afford to keep her in a lot of structured activities? Some kids really thrive on that kind of validation of their efforts and it isn't the same as from mom and dad. Can you put her in riding lessons, music lessons, etc? Those instructors can be your allies and ask your DD about other subjects (not in a quizzing way, conversationally). You can also enlist aunts and uncles and grandparents to help out. I wouldn't be too worried about her being boastful about what she has learned. IMO it is appropriate to have pride in learning.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Some things you said also reminded me of DS. He will sometimes whine and complain that he is bored. I have found that if I offer to play with him, he brightens right up.

How much sit-down time to do you with your DD? I know with my kids, they play so independently that it's easy for me to go days without doing it. When I do, I see how much they love it. I let them choose what we're going to do, and it really makes a big difference to their attitude for the rest of the day, especially DS. So I've come to see the "boredom complaint" as more a need for some focused time with me. Not sure if this will apply to your DD but many of the things you describe about her could be said about my son.

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It sounds like she is an extrovert, too. My guy is. He doesn't "play for the sake of playing." He plays with other kids for the interaction. He plays with the computer as a substitute because of the interaction. He has gotten better about playing by himself, but frequently that involves the computer. He likes science museums because they usually have a lot of interactive exhibits. He does not like natural history or art museums. They are boring. He doesn't do crafts or draw. He is certainly bright but he doesn't excel at any particular thing, either. He is very particular about books...

I do think of him as inquisitive, though. But he isn't about things that don't fall into his interests. He likes math and thinks he's good at it but he isn't doing math at grade level. He hates writing. But he'll compose things if I do the writing/typing. He's starting to do a little typing (in game chats) himself.

So our kids are quite different, but they also seem very much alike...

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Qalliope;15976128]I think that your dd is doing quite a bit with her time and seems to be rather well-rounded, and it is true there is probably more being learned from the activities she is into right now than is easily recognizable on the surface. Personally, I wouldn't be too concerned with lagging math skills given the multitude of ways in which she is capable, even advanced for her age, I would guess. It is sounding like one of your big concerns is that she is bored and unhappy much of the time. Is that right?
YEs, this is part of it.

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I don't have a big toolbox of fantastic parenting or unschooling skills at this stage of my life, but my one really useful all-purpose tactic is to step back from all the looking at what might be wrong, all the wondering of "How can I fix this?", all the trying to come to some compromise that meets every one's needs, and just ask what the ideal situation for that person would be. Maybe you could ask her what her ideal day would look like or what she would be doing right now if she could do anything? Sometimes it is something I can reasonably accommodate either now or in the future, sometimes not. I find that even if ds wants the impossible, just taking the time to listen to these fantasies of superheroics or world travel or whatever leads to really interesting dialogue, suddenly there is a great sharing of information, and we both walk away really inspired. It gets me interested in what he's interested in, and I can make myself more knowledgeable in those subjects, so that I can bring more to the table at our next conversation. This practice really sets the proper tone or attitude of openness in our communication and allows the learning to really flow.
I like this. Thanks.

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From your posts so far, I would say that you're just plain not giving her enough credit for her achievements. I might even wonder if her desire to impress and boast is mostly for your benefit. For pete's sake, she reads fluently in English and Russian, a huge achievement in it's own right, since many unschooled 8 year olds are not doing much reading at all. And in addition she is capable at horseback riding, art, swimming, and sewing? That is a heck of a lot more than my kid is doing at age 7. For him it is mostly legos, some board games, computer or video games, and kung fu lessons once a week. She is really developing a lot of skills, so there is going to be some asynchronous stuff happening with the academic skills. You should be incredibly proud of your daughter and of yourself for advocating for her right to pursue all these passions.
[/QUOTE]

Thank you for this.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing my daughter liked at that age were to-do lists. Well, she still likes them, but that's when she started making them. I think I was making one and she followed suit, and then found that she really liked the whole exercise... and she's done it off and on ever since.

The stuff on her lists was varied and up to her... then it was stuff like rearrange her desk, make a birthday card for her aunt, bake cookies, watch a video, go to the library. She seemed to enjoy the process, though.

I should be more obvious about my lists. I love lists, and I make them, but lately mostly mentally I think it would be great to start making actual pen and paper lists. I think she might be into it as well.


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Really, and I know I've said this before, but 7-10 or so was really more of a latent period for my kid, who really does look like one of "those" unschoolers now. Then, she dabbled a lot, played a lot, read a lot (but only sort of mass-marketed fiction, like American Girls-type stuff), watched tv... her reading was probably above grade level but she didn't want to read anything except the brain-candy stuff, and her math and spelling were definitely below grade level, since she didn't really do either. She was very good at thinking and talking about things, and in retrospect I think that was the most important thing that was happening for her during that period - she was being exposed to ideas and working them out in her head and through discussion. Clearly a lot of stuff was happening below the surface, because at 11 or so she started to look outward and in the next couple of years she really blossomed.
This is a good point. Thanks.


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Aaannd... your daughter is bilingual, Russian and English? And can read in both as well? That's so cool!. I asked Rain if she knew of any books that she might enjoy, because the school Rain attended in Kirov was for all grade levels and Rain was actually a TA in the 4th grade classes. She couldn't think of anything off-hand - she said most kids that age seemed to be reading translations of American kids' books - but she'll think about it, and she said she could also try to ask their school librarian, who she loved.
Thanks for asking Rain about books. Interesting that most kids are reading translations of American books. We have some too, the ones about Babe and other animal stories by the same author--in Russian. The thing with Russian books, they don't believe in "early readers" or "easier" books. After the first big letter folktales (boring) there come thin paper, small letters, no pictures, thick volumes editions. They want kids to read small fonts right away. This is not working so well for a Canadian born child!

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like your kid is motivated by the pride she feels when outsiders tell her she is doing a good job. Can you afford to keep her in a lot of structured activities? Some kids really thrive on that kind of validation of their efforts and it isn't the same as from mom and dad. Can you put her in riding lessons, music lessons, etc? Those instructors can be your allies and ask your DD about other subjects (not in a quizzing way, conversationally). You can also enlist aunts and uncles and grandparents to help out. I wouldn't be too worried about her being boastful about what she has learned. IMO it is appropriate to have pride in learning.
In theory that would be great, but she is very picky about classes, and there isn't that much selection...No family here either. But i'm keeping my eyes open for classes, camps and so on. Thanks!

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some things you said also reminded me of DS. He will sometimes whine and complain that he is bored. I have found that if I offer to play with him, he brightens right up.

How much sit-down time to do you with your DD? I know with my kids, they play so independently that it's easy for me to go days without doing it. When I do, I see how much they love it. I let them choose what we're going to do, and it really makes a big difference to their attitude for the rest of the day, especially DS. So I've come to see the "boredom complaint" as more a need for some focused time with me. Not sure if this will apply to your DD but many of the things you describe about her could be said about my son.
That's a great point. I think this might very well be true for her as well.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like she is an extrovert, too. My guy is. He doesn't "play for the sake of playing." He plays with other kids for the interaction. He plays with the computer as a substitute because of the interaction. He has gotten better about playing by himself, but frequently that involves the computer. He likes science museums because they usually have a lot of interactive exhibits. He does not like natural history or art museums. They are boring. He doesn't do crafts or draw. He is certainly bright but he doesn't excel at any particular thing, either. He is very particular about books...

I do think of him as inquisitive, though. But he isn't about things that don't fall into his interests. He likes math and thinks he's good at it but he isn't doing math at grade level. He hates writing. But he'll compose things if I do the writing/typing. He's starting to do a little typing (in game chats) himself.

So our kids are quite different, but they also seem very much alike...
I do believe she is extroverted! It is so different from DH and I. She has this intense need to be with other children, but is also very picky with who. Part of my panick mode was that she is friends now with a girl who is a year older and goes to school. I was worried DD would seem behind...

Yes, they seem to be similar in many ways. Thanks for your feedback!

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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