Unschooling STUFF - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 12-05-2010, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What kinds of things of things/toys/supplies did you bring into your home to encourage your kids exploration/interests. I get following the child's lead, especially as they get older and show more specific interests, but I know people also try to provide a stimulating environment with things to pique their curiousity. Basically, I am interested in unschooling, have an almost 2 year old, and am wondering what i should be doing/bringing into their environments. I'd love to hear about approaches for younger and older kids actually.

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#2 of 9 Old 12-05-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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I've always like this list: http://sandradodd.com/gold/abc

It has some cool ideas.

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#3 of 9 Old 12-05-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's a pretty awesome list, I have been enjoying Sandra Dodd's site for awhile now. She has a refreshing approach to things.

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#4 of 9 Old 12-08-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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My first thought when I saw the title was this is about letting go of our attachment to STUFF - that is becoming less dependent on STUFF just as we have become independent of school.

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Originally Posted by OnEarth View Post
 Basically, I am interested in unschooling, have an almost 2 year old, and am wondering what i should be doing/bringing into their environments.

 

So my immediate response to this question is that the point is not "what to bring into their environments" but to bring them into the environment!  In the early years of life (and probably lifelong), less is more.  Outside, especially for a 2 year old, is an embarrassment of riches.

 

And inside the house - kitchen gadgets, cardboard boxes, a bucket of water (and some clothes to wash), mopping floors, "measuring" and mixing ingredients  ... I can remember my dd spending many hours with these activities.


relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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#5 of 9 Old 12-08-2010, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheery View Post

My first thought when I saw the title was this is about letting go of our attachment to STUFF - that is becoming less dependent on STUFF just as we have become independent of school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnEarth View Post
 Basically, I am interested in unschooling, have an almost 2 year old, and am wondering what i should be doing/bringing into their environments.

 

So my immediate response to this question is that the point is not "what to bring into their environments" but to bring them into the environment!  In the early years of life (and probably lifelong), less is more.  Outside, especially for a 2 year old, is an embarrassment of riches.

 

And inside the house - kitchen gadgets, cardboard boxes, a bucket of water (and some clothes to wash), mopping floors, "measuring" and mixing ingredients  ... I can remember my dd spending many hours with these activities.



It's a process. The whole letting go of stuff, "teaching" etc. I'm discovering that I am not a relaxed person, I'm a research oriented, figure out the right way, put it into action kind of person, but I don't believe that's the best approach to life/relationships/child rearing. It isn't making me happy, relaxed, a better parent, or any of that. I am at my best when I let go of all that, accept me, accept my kid. I think perhaps I need to stop reading about educational philosophies, approaches, *stuff* to get. I think it will be good when I've finished this degree and I'm not in the school oriented part of the world anymore. Part of it is that we are temporarily (i hope) poor while we finish school, lacking transportation and tons of funds, so sometimes I struggle, thinking I'm not providing her with *enough.* Enough what? Experiences, socialization, creative exposure bladiblablabla. This kid though, is smart, and creative, interested in the world, I don't need to worry, I need to trust in her and the world. We do all that stuff you mentioned. I need to relax... I think reading your "relaxed unschooler mama" signature may have catalyzed that thought in me, I was so jealous! It's not as intense over here as it sounds, it's finals week for me and DH, Christmas is coming... you get the picture. I tend to over think when I get stressed. Anyway, thanks!

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#6 of 9 Old 12-08-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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Hi On Earth - I was just re-reading what I posted and I did not mean "gadgets" when I said kitchen gadgets - just the usual pots, cups, spoons, and if you want to get fancy, funnels, seives, sifters ...  some 2 year olds have a lot of patience when it comes to kneading and rolling dough ;-)

 

Since you like research et al, how about this:  Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills
by Alix Spiegel, National Public Radio, February 21, 2008

 

I wish you well with finishing school and achieving your dreams.  Just wanted to add though that our family is also car-free and "poor" by middle-class income standards.  I think it is not all bad. 

 

Good luck with finals.  When I was a grad student we used to have a "primal scream" where we all (in the library) would scream in unison.  I am not sure who led it or when but it happened.  Just a thought to cheer you up :-)


relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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#7 of 9 Old 12-09-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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When my son was little I used to take him to thrift stores and just see what they had. Anything that looked like it could be used creatively. Blocks, musical instruments, etc. As he got older I started adding costumes and other dress up stuff. Kids' sized rain boots are firefighter boots to a preschooler and woman's negligee is a fancy gown to a little girl. We have LOTS of stuff, but it all gets played with at some time or another. I'm a bit embarrassed by how much stuff we have, but I've heard that exposure to lots of different items is good for brain development, so I use that to rationalize how much we have. Besides, when you can get a lizard/dinosaur costume for $1 at the thrift store, it's kind of hard to say no.

 

Then there's the art kit. When my son was 2 he was painting and cutting and glueing. My daughter is 2 and isn't so interested in those activities. However, I keep lots of art stuff available. 

 

With few exceptions, if it needs batteries, it is probably not good for a young child. 


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#8 of 9 Old 12-13-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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We try to use as many open ended items to create what materials we need but do buy some at times. While I agree with less stuff, some items have been more useful than others and i am thankful we have them. For instance, our large rock and shell collection.

 


Dhjammin.gif, Me knit.gif, DD 10 REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, DD 7 cat.gif, DD 4 joy.gif

We reading.gif, homeschool.gif, cold.gif, eat.gif, sleepytime.gif not in that order

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#9 of 9 Old 01-05-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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I am sure I am stating the obvious....but here goes.  Books.  I know your little one is not even 2 but reading and the interaction involved is soo valuable.  We read so much.  Some times (most of the time) the same books over and over.  We talked about the pictures.  I asked them if they remembered what happened.  Do they think the character should _____?  But a lot of the time it is just story time and I work on my storytelling abilities!  

 

I read a great article a couple years ago that said the biggest factor in determining a child's "success" at learning was seeing their parents read and having books around.  I was glad to hear it because that is something I can provide easily and inexpensively.

 

My two oldest are excellent readers and I really did nothing to "teach" them to read but I believe all of our story time paid off.  And it is so much fun!  It is true what they say that reading opens doors.  When they get to be able to read independently they can easily follow their interests in books, magazines, newspapers, etc..  It is fun to watch!

 

I have always allowed them to choose their library books but I do spend a lot of time on the computer inter library loaning books that I think they will enjoy.  I go off of interests they have or sometimes I introduce something new (like when we have checked out every Titanic book in the system at least 3 times).  I used to get annoyed when they wouldn't look at a book I found for them or they only read a couple chapters.  But then I thought, that is silly.  I don't read everything.  I pick and choose.  Now I fill up the library box and I return them all 3 weeks later unless they request more time with a book.  But I don't ask, "Have you read this one?  Did you read all of it?  Should we keep it longer?"  How annoying was I being? 

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Baker's Wife and Catholic Unschooling Mama to Simeon (12), James (9), Amos (7) and Annie (4) and Jonah (2)
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