Charter or no? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some help with what to do about unschooling my daughter.

I really, really believe in the principles and philosophy of unschooling. We all do. I have no problem trusting daughter, trusting the process, letting go, whatever. Here is the problem. My 2nd grade daughter wants to do a charter school because we can't afford horseback riding lessons on a weekly basis and gymnastics without the charter money.

The problem with that is that my daughter hates the busywork, senseless boring standards stuff we have to complete and cover just to meet the charter guidelines. But it is her choice. I told her we don't have to be enrolled in the charter and I'd be perfectly happy not doing it.

But I hate, hate fighting with her just to get the minimum amount of work done that we have to turn in to her teacher. And it isn't a lot that we have to do either. We have a fabulous teacher assigned to us, who gets and understands our philosophy and gives us as much freedom to do what and how we want as long as we cover the standards required so she can turn in what she has to. The biggest problem I have, is that it is damaging to my daughters and my relationship when I have to "force" her to do meaningless work. She won't do it on her own even though she wants to be enrolled in the charter.

So this is my question. Do I disenroll her and maybe cut back on horse lessons and gymnastics, in the interest of less coercion in learning. Or do I continue as we are going because she is insistent that she wants to do the charter to continue doing the volume of extra curricular that she does?
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#2 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eplatt View Post
She won't do it on her own even though she wants to be enrolled in the charter.
I think that your dd should be able to appreciate at some level that if it is her choice to do the charter for the perks, she needs to be committed to following through on the expectations, and that it is not fair to make her compliance your problem by resisting and assuming you'll sacrifice your happiness to make her overcome her resistence. I know a family who has made a similar choice, but the parents have been very clear with their children: if you want the financial perks of the charter, you have to be the one to follow through on the academic work. Your choice, your problem. The parents are happy to support them, but won't play the bad cop and be enforcers. I would suggest being clear about your boundaries. Don't get cast in the role of nagging her and coercing. Just say something like "This is the only reminder I'll give you today. I'm happy to help, and I'm ready to start. But if you're not, you need to realize that if it doesn't get done by Friday your teacher will not be pleased, and within a couple of weeks we'll probably have to look at withdrawing you. And then your horseback riding lessons will stop. You choose. If you need help, I'll be in the kitchen."

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#3 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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I say pull her out. I just pulled my 2nd grader and 1st grader from a charter school (totally different reasons) and it takes a LOT of willingness from the child to be successful with that kind of a program. She agreed to doing the work, and hasn't held up her end of the deal, so its time to say "ok well this isn't working so how do we handle this and go from this point?" I know she gets a lot of extras from being in the charter, things that you can't normally afford from the sounds of it (boy do I know that one!), so its time to sit her down and explain it straight. I know that my 2nd grader wouldn't have done well at all left to do the work in a charter on her own with only help, and our charter had me teaching 90% of the material actively (we did k12, chosen specifically because I wanted to be the one doing most of the teaching at the younger grades like they are set up). This may be an unpopular thought among unschoolers, but sometimes we just have to assess the situation and say it is time to change something for our child instead of letting them continue to self-destruct. The experience you are having with the charter I would venture to say is a form of self-destructing with your 2nd grader, and you may have to step in and put an end to it against her wishes. But I'd try talking with her about it first and see what SHE feels is the issue and work together to come up with a resolution that allows her to continue with the charter for all the perks she wants, while not being too annoyed at having to jump their hoops. I would definitely try that. (in our case, dd1 decided that the charter and the pressure to keep up when she was having trouble understanding the material wasn't worth the perks of the computer and all those cool games she got to do on it as part of her lessons, so I took the lead after watching her shut down and I pulled her, at first she wasn't happy because I told her she'd have to give up the computer they sent but not she is much happier and doing MUCH better with the workbooks and stuff we have around for her to explore at her leisure)

Cat- FT ministry student and Sonlight hsing momma to a wild crew of girls
Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07

And waiting impatiently on baby Isaiah ******* to appear around 3/12

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#4 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for taking the time to give me some advice. I think she won't be happy if I do withdraw from the program, and if we want to go back I don't know how easy/hard it is to get a particular teacher because we really, really like her.

I've tried the talking to and saying I'm not going to be the "bad cop" and fight about it anymore to no avail. But I do like how you phrased it as being self destructive, because it is being destructive to our home life and relationship.
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#5 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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I hope it was ok that I barged in on this earlier, since I'm not technically an unschooler (we are going toward super relaxed eclectic hs'ers, but adopt a lot of the philosophies of unschooling in our education). I just felt compelled to comment based on my experience with a charter last school year and this school year both (last school year went MUCH better than this one did) and what I noticed with my 2nd grader.

It took me a few weeks of watching our home come completely undone and watch the stress and anxiety over schooling overflow into the rest of our life as well before I said enough and sat her and dh down to discuss it as a team to figure out the problem and what to do about it. DH wanted to get her tested for LDs, I wanted to pull her, and she didn't want to give up the school computer and the activities just yet. So I chose to pursue LD testing and keep pushing forward, until dd1 came up to me and said ok we can withdraw her. It took me about 5 minutes to get my notification printed, signed, and in the mailbox and our teachers all notified (which dd2 had 1 teacher and dd1 had 3 teachers because of SN services plus I had to contact the LD testing person to cancel that, I spent and entire afternoon making those contacts to get everything stopped and get withdrawal in process). If your dd really does feel that it is worth it to stay in the charter, have a group meeting with her, you, and your dh all to figure out what to do and make sure she hears what you each want to do. My 7yo dd frequently surprises me with her understanding of things like this, her ability to make connections to such complicated matters just blows me away when she can barely do basic addition with her fingers.

Cat- FT ministry student and Sonlight hsing momma to a wild crew of girls
Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07

And waiting impatiently on baby Isaiah ******* to appear around 3/12

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