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Old 02-22-2011, 09:17 PM
 
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My eldest was in school until he was 8 we school at homed him for a couple of years after that (worst years of all!) then we discovered deschooling which took way longer than most people said it would he's 14 now it took a good two and a half years to deschool (him and us).  He's now beginning to relax and trust that he won't have to go back to school and jump through all those hoops.  It takes time trust and lots of initiative and strewing to get there but if YOU are prepared to put in the work SHE will get there eventually.

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:02 PM
 
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Lauriem, I wanted to encourage you and your daughter: the way she's feeling seems a lot more about being a creative person who's stuck, than a person in need of external motivation, like writer's block. I just recommended this book in another thread, and it does contain some non-p.c./generally judged to be "bad" language and content in places, but the author addresses what your dd is experiencing and calls it "weakened-mind anxiety." It's called Fearless Creating.

 

I am an adult, and while I am certainly not externally motivated in my creative pursuits, I do experience this very thing- the guilt that comes from not creating, alongside the inability to start creating, actually do the work. If this is what she's experiencing, it's not going to go away, and having the tools to move into, through, and out of this phase in the creative process is more than invaluable. I have consciously experienced this since I was almost four years old, and I'm only now beginning to consistently succeed at beginning the work, in spite of the stage of weakened-mind anxiety. Previously, during my schooling, the looming deadline, grades-related punishment and potential shaming motivated me adequately, but nearly always the day and night before things were due. I hated that then and didn't understand why I could suddenly find it within me to pound out what should have taken me weeks to accomplish in just one day, at the last possible moment. Now I can and do create without a deadline, or any possibility of punishment. I also work to deadlines (for commissions), but I don't need them; I can work steadily with or without.

 

Anyway, it might be something to look at together. It's an easy read in one sense, and a very hard one in its paradigm-shifting, if it does that for your dd. It's very inspiring. The interests you listed (I am sure it was not a comprehensive list), are all perfectly productive things with which to occupy ones time. Something is stopping her from doing her thing. And she needs to do her thing, just like everybody else.

 

Amazon lets you read quite a bit of this book before buying, but the book goes through each step of the process individually, so if you are unsure, you might try the library. I recommended it after borrowing it, to several people, and after months and months of it being out, I've borrowed it again, and while it was in new condition when I returned it, it now is a very, very well-loved book. I am unaffiliated. It's just a fantastic book. :)


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Old 03-05-2011, 03:34 PM
 
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<<<< Her idea is that if she were back in school where there were punishment for not doing it, that would be what she needs>>>>

 

To me it seems like the OP's dd thinks school is a good idea because it would force her to learn-otherwise she would get punished. She has not gotten to the point where she is able to self motivate,and yet resists suggestions/help from her parents. She might also be concerned about her lack of progress as she sees her friends continue to learn. Hopefully these concerns will motivate her to learn on her own.The freedom she has is something many child wish for,but once they have it they are a bit overwhelmed.

 

I do hope the OP's dd will find her way.Perhaps she will return to school.That is OK too. I give my children the choice about where they want to learn,and if they were to try school then ask to come home I would allow it.

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Old 03-10-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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to the OP: 

 

i am wondering if there is a way you can help her find her passion? maybe arrange a bunch of "field trips" for her? take her around on little day trips? do some searching, exploring and delving? 

 

teens can be restless and moody as a matter of course, having a focus can steady their boat, so to speak. it gives them something to focus on when everything else in their world is changing. remember that socializing is of upmost importance too a teen, so make sure she is getting lots of opportunities to socialize. 

 

has she read the teenage liberation guide? oh, has she seen the khan institute? http://www.khanacademy.org/ maybe this might help her with her feelings about math. 


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Old 03-12-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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New to this board. shy.gif

 

I just want to imagine that a child is forced into a relatively large cage every day, from 8am-3pm. With her in this cage come other people her age and authority figures that threaten her and coerce them all into submission. This child is taught incessantly and perpetually that this cage is good for her. She befriends many of her peers, most of whom are made to believe the propaganda. She has to do Cage-Work, even when she goes home at night to her family. It is tireless. She is promised a life of success if she obeys the Cage Masters. She is told that parroting droning information is the only way for her to feel good about herself. The cage is wrought with adultism, classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and abuse of privilege. She is told that every "right" she has, from urinating to engaging in conversation, is a privilege granted to her based on her ability to submit. She and her peers are manipulated into truly believing that this is all for their own good !!! Under this stress, her peers in the cage begin practicing unhealthy social behaviors, making clique-y alliances and competing with each other for Cage Master approval. They even compete for the approval of each other, singling out the "weakest" of the bunch and making them scapegoats for their pain. This habit carries over into family life and, then, life itself. Cage alumni never quite get over the things they learned in the cage, and, in a pro-cage environment, they never learn to read these behaviors as unhealthy. Their caged ways follow them everywhere forever, unless they are by chance exposed to a new way.

 

Now, the child's parents are somehow exposed to a new way. They begin to think harder about the effects that the cage is having upon their child. They begin educating themselves, against the odds, and become aware that she and her peers are being coerced, threatened and unwillingly forced to do things because of pro-cage culture (and, ultimately, money). They begin to understand this as unhealthy and traumatic. They find the strength, even in the face of their own pro-cage peers (many of them proud cage-alumni themselves), to tell their dear child that she can leave the cage forever.

 

So, what to do when life outside the cage is not all roses? What to do when freedom is a big responsibility and the child feels guilt that she is not doing the work that was forced upon her in the cage? What to do when your parents, unlike other kids' parents, are suspiciously trusting of you, when you're not entirely sure that you can trust yourself. What to do when conditioned peers speak comfortably of the warped sense of conditional self-value and accomplishment... What happens when cage culture is so ingrained in her that she feels insignificant and unable to learn outside of the cage? What if she attributes her very worth to the conditions of the cage???

 

Surely, you wouldn't send her back to the cage ?!? 

 

Perhaps some will feel this example is on the extreme side.  I certainly don't want to insult mindful parents who allow their children to go back to school. I'm not proposing that unschooled kids who eventually choose to try school are being subjected to torture by their parents, but I do want to suggest that child-led education is not, in my eyes, a well-conceived reason to send a detoxing child back to an oppressive institution, because of which they have already suffered. 

 

At 13, even though school could have eventually killed me (literally), I may have attended even if given the choice. I may have wanted to avoid being stigmatized. I may still have been craving the approval of my teachers. I may have been afraid to leave "the cage". But the stress of school still gave me suicidal thoughts. It led me to get prescriptions to medicate for these thoughts, which were influenced by a series of core beliefs that are perpetuated even beyond school walls. I am not the only one. Prison inmates who were abused within the prison industrial complex for a huge chunk of time, feel uncomfortable out from behind bars for *years* - often forever. What does this say about the power of an oppressive environment? I have PTSD from my school days, truly. It will affect me for the rest of my life. I think it must be understood that whether you personally adapted well to an oppressive environment, it is a war zone.

 

 

 

BUT, of course, this whole point is moot, because the OP doesn't even state that the child wishes to go back to school or has asked to do so. It only states that she says she feels she "isn't learning anything", which isn't the same thing. Feeling like you're not learning anything is easy. Being self-conscious is a breeze. Feeling inadequate is only natural, when after seven years of having your "learning" measured out for you and used as a carrot, you are finally behooved to be self-motivated. She's lost out on 7 years of self-motivation experience. Give the girl a break! 

 

In short, no. She's not too old or conditioned to transition healthfully into life learning, especially with understanding support. My thoughts are to just work on your relationship with her, and her mental health. She's 13 and her body is going through crazy changes, which may make it harder for her to focus, as well as amp up her self-consciousness. This particular time in our lives is always going to be hard. But, if she feels like she's vegging out too much, it also might be helpful if she is doing some kind of super-cool enjoyable project based on her interests. You could gently suggest "cool" things that might connect with where she's at.

 

Some suggestions, based only on what you said about her being into fashion magazines.!: Perhaps she'd like a pattern-making/fashion/fashion drawing/fashion photography/sewing class? She also might be interested in looking up fiber arts or textile design. There are magazines about those, too! Or just get a sewing machine and have her do some looking online to try it out herself? There are books on beginner pattern-making. Learning to screen print images onto tee shirts, etc. Intern with a local dressmaker? If she's into magazines, could you look for a graphic design/layout program for her and see if she wants to make her own? There are free, open-source programs that you can download for that. I have one. Start or join a local fashion club or meetup? Or publish a DIY fashion zine and distro it online? Or a fashion blog? Does she frequent fashion blogs? I have a lot of neat suggestions for blogs if she'd like some. She might be interested in jewelry making? She could find a fashion correspondent or mentor. There's actually a lot of academic work in fashion - Fashion theory, historical fashion, world fashions, etc.

 

If you'd like more resources for any of these things, just PM me. 

 

 


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Old 03-13-2011, 01:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post





Indeed.

 

Sore back? Send your kids to school!

Introvert? Send your kids to school!

Kid likes to sleep late, or early, or all the time? Send your kids to school!

Don't like your job? Tired? Ambitious? House a mess? Don't have a house? Allergic to latex? SEND YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL!

 

There. That fixes everything.


Kids aren't learning at home?  Send them to school!

 

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Old 03-13-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lasciate View Post


Kids aren't learning at home?  Send them to school!

 


She is learning! She can't be living and not be learning. But she's being inundated with messages from every which way, telling her that there's one way to measure learning: curricula and grades. This is an unhealthy, toxic way to learn, IMHO, and being a responsible parent would mean having more than 2 days to discuss this with her.


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Old 03-13-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lauriem33 View Post

By choice she had been working through the Life of Fred fractions book, and like most everything else she starts, she had blown through half the book and then just stalled. 

 


I had to stop and respond to this statement, because I have recently been confronted with my own learning habits and thought how closely it mirrors the patterns of natural learning I see in my children. In short, it seems that kids learn by becoming deeply interested in (almost obsessed) with a certain subject (in our house that has been ladybugs, dinosaurs, marine mammals, lego miniatures, clay miniatures, drawing, etc). They focus on that intensively for several weeks or months and then, one day, it appears to have been dropped and they are on to something else. Sometimes after a pause of months they then take a renewed interest in the subject. What I find particularly interesting is whether it's math or skating I've noticed that when they pick it up again they are ahead of where they left off. It's as if during the "off time" their brains have been processing the knowledge amassed, sorting it perhaps. I myself have recently come off a 3 month kick to learn about permaculture where I got my hands on every book, blog, movie, video I could find on the subject. Just recently I found myself feeling "done" with the subject. But I know that taking a break means I'll pick it up again in a while (because there's still much more to learn) and probably gain a new perspective and understanding from taking time off and letting the information percolate in my brain. 

 

So when I read the above quote I immediately thought that her delving into it, blowing through a large part of it, then stalling it is exactly what natural learning looks like. Perhaps if you explained to her that taking a break is normal (thought not in the school world) and that she might actually benefit from working on something else and then picking up the math again when she feels ready for it, this might alleviate her fears that if she doesn't do it all now she might never learn what she needs to know for college.


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Old 03-14-2011, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She is learning! She can't be living and not be learning. But she's being inundated with messages from every which way, telling her that there's one way to measure learning: curricula and grades. This is an unhealthy, toxic way to learn, IMHO, and being a responsible parent would mean having more than 2 days to discuss this with her.


I agree with this. I can see daily that just by living, she is learning. The problem is her own perception of it because it does not look like compartmentalized 50 minute segments broken down into "subjects" of history, math, science, etc... I know that now at 13 she spent more than half her life in public school (age 5-11) and that is going to have an extremely strong effect on her ideas about life and learning. But for how long? Forever? I do think the freedom is still very overwhelming for her, yet she resists doing anything with more structure.

 

I feel like I've done my own de-schooling, and at a super quick rate given that I was also in school for 18 years, but I have the advantage of perspective. I'm years past any type of institutional schooling, but became a very self-directed learner as an adult. I suppose ultimately that is what I want for her. To see the validity of her own choices and take the initiative to follow them as long as she wants to, switch gears if she wants to, drop something and find something new if she wants to.

 

 


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Old 03-14-2011, 11:19 PM
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I think that, at least to some teenagers, the parental message, "You are in control.  You in charge of your own choices."  sounds a lot like, "Do whatever you want, I don't care." 

 

OP, if your dd is now saying she wants to return to school, she might be saying that she is not ready for the really, honestly, huge responsibility of making all of her own educational decisions, and she feels she needs more adult support.  School might be the only solution she knows for that problem.  What about trying some structured learning at home? 

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Old 03-14-2011, 11:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauriem33 View Post

I agree with this. I can see daily that just by living, she is learning. The problem is her own perception of it because it does not look like compartmentalized 50 minute segments broken down into "subjects" of history, math, science, etc... I know that now at 13 she spent more than half her life in public school (age 5-11) and that is going to have an extremely strong effect on her ideas about life and learning. But for how long? 

 


For several years we were part of a funded homeschooling program which was philosophically very unschooling-like. They recently expanded their programs into secondary education and were very interested in encouraging their adolescent students to really embrace the opportunities for self-determination and following their own bliss. A proportion of these kids had been in school previously. The program encourages such students to create blogs in which to post weekly reflections on their own learning. If kids had writers block, or couldn't think of any interests or anything to write about, the facilitators would give them a bunch of prompts that they could choose from. "Something made me go 'hmmm...' this week was ___, Something that energized me was ____, This week I was surprised by ____, An unexpected conversation I had this week was ___, The song that would make the best soundtrack for my week is ____, etc." Or they would be encouraged to use photos to show what had occupied their interest or made them think. Or use some other medium ... video, audio, cartooning, prezi presentations, whatever.

 

The idea was that by asking learners to take a little time to actively reflect on what had held their interest over the previous week, they would become more aware of what motivates them, of who they are, of where their interests lie, and more aware and appreciative of their natural learning.

 

Would something like that appeal to your dd? My kids haven't needed to deschool but even they occasionally enjoy documenting their natural learning as an antidote to the feeling that they have nothing to "show" for their learning, no tidy tick-lists of courses and grades to document that it's happening.

 

Miranda


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Old 03-15-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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Another possiblity is she is at a stage that her life needs to be compartimentalized: this is learning and this is fun.  Some kids are always this way, my son learns best this way.  I am not saying he never teaches himself things but he is very happy and thrives on structure.   

 

I loved the idea of unschooling but it was not a match for my oldest child. He could better see his steps, look at his improvement, and see what he learned by having structure.  

 

We have a friend whose 16 year old child refused to go to school any longer. This child has ADD.  She found having reading, writing, and math structured made her happy.  The rest she has let go as unstructured because this is what her child needs, not necessarily what mama wants for the child.  

 

Your 13 year old might like the feeling of being able to get work done in 1-2 hours then have her time to herself.  She will not realize she is learning in this time (yet) but in a few years or months she might get it.  13 emotionally and hormonally can be a very hard time.  IMO, it is a "flakey" stage because the mind is so busy with a million things.  My girls did not require the structure my son did early but have loved and thrived on it the starting the preteen years.  They need something "organized" for them because their head is so crazy due to growing.  IMO, it is like when they are 2-3 years old on growing.  Mind and body are growing so fast they need some structure someplace.  Some kids do great with little structures others need more and you should respect your child needs not look at them as failures or as your child is "ruined". 

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Old 03-15-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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I think you are being intuitive about your child's education. We are unschooling, or road schooling, which we find to the best choice for us.  We are actually taking an extreme approach by backbacking around the world for 8  years, letting the world be my son's classroom.

 

We've been on the road now for 2 years and there is one thing I know for sure: 

 

 

Education happens.
A child learns no matter what.  If a child is engaged, interested and empowered, he or she will learn. Parents, there is no to feel stress over the process, since children are learning from your stressful thoughts. Simply  trust and they will learn.
 
The biggest myth I'd like to dispel about unschooling or in our case, roadschooling,  is  that my son is not getting an education. He is and he is learning exactly what he needs to know, and when he's ready and engaged in learning it and this flows through every other aspect of life.
 
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