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#61 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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As an avid intellectual and unschooler, I personally think that there's a difference between academic pursuit and intellectual pursuits and don't find unschooling and intellectualism to be mutually exclusive in the way that you are outlining.


Could you say more about the difference between academic pursuits and intellectual pursuits, as they relate to unschooling?

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#62 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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As an avid intellectual and unschooler, I personally think that there's a difference between academic pursuit and intellectual pursuits and don't find unschooling and intellectualism to be mutually exclusive in the way that you are outlining.




Could you say more about the difference between academic pursuits and intellectual pursuits, as they relate to unschooling?
 

Well Rivka's post seems to be saying that the "basic skills" learned in school are some integral part of intellectual life, as is advanced math and science. However, I really think that these basic skills are arbitrary standards devised from a time when standardization was key for, well, everything. The current model of education sprang of the industrial revolution. We no longer live under the industrial model.

 

Many of the researchers on the forefront of educational design are saying that people are intelligent. Genius is as common as dirt. The question should not be had someone mastered some arbitrary list of standard that "proves" them intelligent, but rather the question should be: what are they intelligent in?

 

Basic reading and math skills generally come, especially if a family is engaged in activities that require basic reading and math. That has been the unschooling argument all along. I don't qualify basic reading and math skills as intellectualism, however. They may be necessary for intellectual pursuits, but they do not comprise intellectual pursuits on their own. I consider intellectual pursuits to be about being engaged in the world and about how one approaches problems. Intellectual pursuits are about thinking. Thinking analytically, thinking divergently, thinking creatively. In fact, for me, unschooling is the best way to pursue that because unschooling allows a person to fully immerse themselves in a subject or activity and achieve what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described as "flow."

 

Now, this is not to say that problems don't arise here. I've found that people actually do a lot of their best thinking and creative work in groups, for instance. A lot of unschooling families become somewhat isolated because they're busy living their lives. I know this is an issue for us at times. Still, I don't think that my children are suffering in their intelligence. They find things that sate their curiosity and empower them to be creative. The problem I'm finding is that this unfortunate isolation leads to a lot of time spent entertaining ourselves rather than engaging ourselves. As a parent, I need to be proactive to combat this. This is hardest in winter and when stress is at its peak. You'll have that. I don't think it's as detrimental to have periods like that as it is to be institutionalized, however. That's a choice I make.

 

 

This post is all over the place. I apologize. I have to leave though. My son and I have a date.


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#63 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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This is interesting to me. The unschoolers we know (ourselves included) who are actually unschoolers (as opposed to just using that label) are very much pro-learning. My husband and I together have eight higher degrees. Our family is continually learning and striving to learn. It has been said that we are geeks (by a public school family, in fact) because topics such a quadratic equations, elemental physics, and more come up in normal dinner conversations with our young children. I fully expect that our children will probably begin some college courses (by their choice) as soon as they are old enough.


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#64 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 03:12 PM
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Unschoolers (at least online) often give the impression that anything that can't be learned through daily life is unimportant or not worth learning. It seems like many people on US boards ridicule the idea that sustained academic effort has any value or that there might be things worth knowing that can't be mastered in a few weeks or months of casual exploration. I've even seen people suggest that someone who has been casually presented with a subject here and there will undoubtedly know more than someone who has studied the topic consistently, because the consistent student must just be engaged in passionless "rote" learning, will not be aware of deeper connections, and will instantly forget the material.

I think the term "sustained academic effort" carries the implication that the effort will be... not fun. A chore. In unschooling, it's often more like "sustained passion". My kid knows an awful lot about literature, for example, because she loves reading it... she's read hundreds of literary works over the past few years, so one could say that it took a lot of effort for her to gain that knowledge, but she adored doing it.

So I don't think every consistent student is necessarily just doing passionless rote learning - the unschoolers aren't, for sure, and I'm sure there are others - but I do think it's true that consistent but unmotivated study can gain one very little. I took a French class with a woman who had studied French for 6 years in school, whereas I took one community college class and worked on my own a bit... and I definitely spoke better French than she did.

And, sometimes Rain works hard and consistently on something that she's not really passionate about, and that's fine, it's her choice... but she's a teen, not 9, and somehow casual exploration has been enough to prepare her for college classes.
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Every time an unschooler says "there's no need for kids to know..." or "there's no point in trying to get them to learn useless information about...", to me that's anti-intellectualism.

Even if the topic has nothing to do with academic learning? Is it okay to say "there's no need to know about how to play rugby" or "make fondant" or "grow orchids"? Because I think unschoolers tend to be pretty consistent in thinking that if a child doesn't find relevance in learning something he shouldn't, whether it's an "intellectual' subject or not.
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I also see persistent anti-intellectualism in a lot of unschoolers' justifications for what constitutes educational activity. How often do we see someone suggest that "baking cookies counts as math?" Sure, it does for a six- or seven-year-old, but I think people are fooling themselves if they think it counts as substantial math learning for a ten-year-old.
Well, it's going to depend on what that 10 year old's math skills look like. Really, though, IME when people say stuff like that they're often trying to find ways to jump through the hoops set up by external parties who don't support unschooling, not trying to justify cookie-baking by calling it math.

On the other hand, my kid did learn a whole lot about history through musical theatre, so I do believe that non-traditional sources of knowledge can work well. Yes, she did do further research (asked questions, read, made connections, etc.) but I think that's what will happen, a good bit of the time at least.

 
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#65 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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I think the greatest misconception about radical unschooling is that everyone can do it. Realistically, that isn't true. If the family isn't constantly engaged in exploration of the world, discussion of current events and world topics, building and fixing things, and being constantly faced with intellectual challenges - what are the children going to learn? How often does a child need to learn that 2 sticks of butter is a cup or that you can't put red socks in with the white laundry unless you want pink clothes?

If your life's natural rhythms don't bring out the curiosity in your child, to use OP's example, to learn local history - then sometimes the parents have to take a more guided learning approach to give their child the ability to make the future choice of discarding that knowledge. I firmly believe that it is every person's right to forget whatever they want. But it is also their right to learn everything that is available to them. Sometimes their innate curiosity will be enough to get the ball rolling. Sometimes it won't be.
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#66 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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This is interesting to me. The unschoolers we know (ourselves included) who are actually unschoolers (as opposed to just using that label) are very much pro-learning. My husband and I together have eight higher degrees. Our family is continually learning and striving to learn. It has been said that we are geeks (by a public school family, in fact) because topics such a quadratic equations, elemental physics, and more come up in normal dinner conversations with our young children. I fully expect that our children will probably begin some college courses (by their choice) as soon as they are old enough.


Sounds like your kids are living in a really interesting household!

I'm curious about whether you agree with annakiss that the basic skills your kids will need to begin those college courses are merely "arbitrary standards" and that the act of acquiring basic reading and math skills would not qualify as an intellectual pursuit for them?
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#67 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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Well Rivka's post seems to be saying that the "basic skills" learned in school are some integral part of intellectual life, as is advanced math and science. However, I really think that these basic skills are arbitrary standards devised from a time when standardization was key for, well, everything. The current model of education sprang of the industrial revolution. We no longer live under the industrial model.

 

...

 

Basic reading and math skills generally come, especially if a family is engaged in activities that require basic reading and math. That has been the unschooling argument all along. I don't qualify basic reading and math skills as intellectualism, however. They may be necessary for intellectual pursuits, but they do not comprise intellectual pursuits on their own.


My partner grew up essentially unschooling, before it was called unschooling. He baked a lot of cookies, and when he got to be high school age worked different kinds of labour jobs, including construction.

He never learned his times tables. It was never a basic skill that just "came" to him through daily living, despite other activities which did require reading and math. He does not seem to have a learning disability related to math - I've taught him some fractions, algebra, etc. and he catches on very quickly, and retains the information, too.

If he wanted to learn his times tables, he easily could. He is absolutely intellectually capable of doing things like high school or college chemistry, as well, but would have to spend some time getting the foundational skills. He now works at a labour job where he is somewhat intellectually unsatisfied, but the financial risk of leaving a stable job to complete high school requirements and then move on to college is too great.

So I do believe there is some risk in expecting basic skills to "just come" through daily living.

 

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#68 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 04:42 PM
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Unschooling doesn't claim that all basic skills will magically come to kids through everyday living. That's a myth. Some will, sure - reading often does, and writing - but for others, kids will have to decide at some point that they want to know them and intentionally set out to learn them. That's how my kid mastered cursive...

FWIW, my kid still doesn't know her multiplication facts 100%. She knows a lot of them, and can figure out the rest in a few seconds, but they're not all memorized. Someday maybe she'll decide to sit down and memorize them all, and maybe she won't. She's already succeeded in college chemistry and biology classes and is getting an A in a college algebra class right now, so it doesn't seem that she really needs them...

If your partner wanted to, he could start taking community college classes right now - anyone over 18 can. He wouldn't have to leave his job, either - there are day classes, night classes, online classes.... he could take two a semester and in 5 years he'd have an A.A. degree, or he could take more and get done faster.

 
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#69 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 05:00 PM
 
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Unschooling doesn't claim that all basic skills will magically come to kids through everyday living. That's a myth. Some will, sure - reading often does, and writing - but for others, kids will have to decide at some point that they want to know them and intentionally set out to learn them. That's how my kid mastered cursive...

FWIW, my kid still doesn't know her multiplication facts 100%. She knows a lot of them, and can figure out the rest in a few seconds, but they're not all memorized. Someday maybe she'll decide to sit down and memorize them all, and maybe she won't. She's already succeeded in college chemistry and biology classes and is getting an A in a college algebra class right now, so it doesn't seem that she really needs them...

If your partner wanted to, he could start taking community college classes right now - anyone over 18 can. He wouldn't have to leave his job, either - there are day classes, night classes, online classes.... he could take two a semester and in 5 years he'd have an A.A. degree, or he could take more and get done faster.

I don't take issue with unschooling itself, just the idea that basic skills come naturally through day-to-day life. So I suppose we're in agreement.

 

I edited my post because I had written something lengthier, and then realized I might be inappropriately hijacking a thread about history/global/cultural studies with a description of my partner's involvement in continuing education after unschooling.

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#70 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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I am betting the testing does not include facts about that stuff. Ask what the testing is, and get specifics on which sections of the tests are required. An example is the ITBS has the core sections which do not include social studies and science and then the social studies and science are in a lower section. However, those sections include a reading selection on the topic and then they answer questions based on the reading selections. They are practically more of a reading test. I did not do science or history after the first couple of years of homeschooling, but then 5 yrs in to home schooling, my children all got in the 90's percentile. They are in public school now (but will return to home schooling next year) and my child who unschooled longer gets straight As and has no troubles in what is supposed to be PreAP science. 

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#71 of 165 Old 03-01-2011, 09:53 PM
 
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FWIW, my kid still doesn't know her multiplication facts 100%. She knows a lot of them, and can figure out the rest in a few seconds, but they're not all memorized. Someday maybe she'll decide to sit down and memorize them all, and maybe she won't.


Yeah, the times tables aren't really necessary, if you have the ability to do the calculations in your head.  I've been considered a whiz at math most of my life just because it comes easy to me, I can do multiple digit multiplication in my head, but I couldn't rattle off the times tables to you. 

 

As for the OP - you say science geek, into video games, Legos and Dr. Who.  First thing that pops into my head is comic books...  Does he like comics?  Because what you're describing sounds a lot like my DH.  If he likes comics (or you can foster a liking), there are historically based comic books.  Usagi Yojimbo gives a great view into the life of the samurai, as told by a samurai bunny, just off the top of my head.  There's also Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the World, which we've actually loaned to HS friends for teaching history.  It gives a brief overview of each major topic, but doesn't really delve into them... but if something piques his interest, he can always research it further.  

 

A couple other things to look into - is there a group in your area that does things like catapult flings?  For a science geek, that might be really interesting, and foster an interest in historical warfare.  How about the science of historical weapon making (gunpowder, sword smithing, that sort of thing)?  They're the application of science to history, and can be hands-on to boot.  Is there a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism locally?  They do a lot of hands-on historical stuff.  Are there any local places that do re-enactments?  I know we have a park locally that was a working farm once upon a time, and a few times a year they put on re-enactments.  For Harvest, they had a blacksmith smithing, spinners spinning, quilters quilting, they made ice cream the old-fashioned way, had old-fashioned spit roasts, they made corn husk dolls, offered rides in the old train, hay rides, petting zoo, etc... As a family activity it was great, and offers some completely random learning opportunities (like the building that was the water tower - why did they need water towers?), and the old fashioned hand-pump. 

 

And as for things that might spurn further interest in the subject, someone can chastise me later for suggesting it... but Hayao Miyazaki has some movies that might spurn some interest... Porco Rosso is set in the Adriatic during WWI, it's about a pig fighter pilot.  Spirited Away gives an interesting insight into the historical Japanese culture.  My Neighbor Totoro is more Japanese culture.  Kiki's Delivery Service might spurn some interest in the history of flight.

 

And my DH suggested History Channel's "Engineering an Empire", which I'm guessing is a show he enjoys.

 

He also suggested music as history.  A lot can be learned from older music, if he cares.  Everything from Classical, Opera to jazz, and a couple more recent ones that popped to mind were Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire and Leningrad (WDStF had me looking stuff up).  Or there's always musical theatre/musical movies.  Everything from Yentl to Hello Dolly.  Maybe not his cup of tea, but if he likes music, it might be appealing, and there's lots of interesting things to learn about history - Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Oklahoma, even. 

 

As for the subject of why people are ignorant of history - a lot of it is choice.  I know I retained very little of my history classes from school (both public and private).  I learned more in a college level Women's History class than I did in all 10 years of lower schooling.  But most of what I know about history I've picked up from historical fiction.  Clan of the Cave Bear series covers a lot of things, from the persecution of anyone different to medicinal herbs and animal husbandry.  There are lots of Arthurian legend books out there, I think Crystal Cave series got me started on Arthurian legend.  Again, it covers all sorts of things, from the role of religion in politics, to misogyny.  Books like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn give an interesting view of that era of US history.  Gone with the Wind also covers that era, but a different class.  War and Peace covers politics and warfare, etc...  Most of what I know is completely self-taught, things I've gleaned from here and there, and spurned interest to look into it further, ask questions (of friends, parents, my DH) - sitting here I can't come up with one single tidbit of history I learned in pre-college days in a classroom (unless you count Bible studies). 

 

HTH

 


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#72 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Unschooling doesn't claim that all basic skills will magically come to kids through everyday living. That's a myth. Some will, sure - reading often does, and writing - but for others, kids will have to decide at some point that they want to know them and intentionally set out to learn them. That's how my kid mastered cursive...

yeah, i think this is a summation of my OP; the crux of what i am concerned about. actually, it has nothing to do with US. it's all about my kid, since HS or public school would result in pretty much the same for him. resistance and disinterest. 


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#73 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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There are, clearly, some very intellectual US kids. Moominmama's kids are a case in point. But there have also been many cases in this forum in which unschoolers have reported that their kids have arrived in mid-adolescence or later with an almost complete lack of basic academic skills and knowledge. The idea that there's nothing to be concerned about in those cases is, to me, anti-intellectual.


What I've read a lot on this forum and other unschooling forums is reassurance to worried parents of pre-adolescent unschoolers that during adolescence unschoolers, even those whose science experience has been of the "building dams in the creek" variety, often develop strong intellectual and academic interests at that point.

 

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#74 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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I think that all learning, when chosen by the person, is an intellectual pursuit. It doesn't matter if I find the subject interesting, "scholarly," or whatever. The pursuit of knowledge, in my opinion, must by definition be an intellectual pursuit.

 

I think when we begin placing values on types of learning, whether it be subject, venue, or something else, we insert our own agenda into the equation. At that point, we have veeered away from unschooling.

 

My mother used to say that learning is never wasted. I agree. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. If I am interested in a topic and strive to learn about it, that is not wasted.


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#75 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 12:35 PM
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Unschooling doesn't claim that all basic skills will magically come to kids through everyday living. That's a myth. Some will, sure - reading often does, and writing - but for others, kids will have to decide at some point that they want to know them and intentionally set out to learn them. That's how my kid mastered cursive...

yeah, i think this is a summation of my OP; the crux of what i am concerned about. actually, it has nothing to do with US. it's all about my kid, since HS or public school would result in pretty much the same for him. resistance and disinterest. 


See, and to me that has everything to do with unschooling. With unschooling, as far as learning, there's nothing to resist. If he's not interested in something, that's okay. He can do something else. He can decide for himself when something is worth learning to him.

For me anyway, that's the essence of unschooling...

 
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#76 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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dar, really it's okay with you if my son grows up to be a functional illiterate? seriously? 

 

don't you hope for more for your kid than food stamps and "do you want fries with that?"

 

headscratch.gif

 

 

see, this is the part of US that stumps me... i have concerns about my kid and the gist is "don't worry, he'll be fine." 


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#77 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 01:49 PM
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Do you trust your kid so little that you think that if you put the whole world of possibilities and support and opportunities in front of him, he'll chose to be a functionally illiterate fast food worker?

My kid is literate, has top SAT scores, and will have 30-odd college credit at the end of this semester (her senior year in high school) with nearly all As. At 9 she had just learned to do multi-digit addition (and she thought it was the coolest thing); wrote maybe 50 words a year, if you count birthday cards and adding to the grocery list, and couldn't spell to save her life; read up a storm (but only fiction)... in short, she was "behind" most "fourth graders" in a lot of areas. I think I was really lucky to have friends who told me that she was bright and happy and would clearly be fine... because she was.

I can understand having concerns, really. I've had them. We all have. But in my opinion, if you (the generic you, not you in particular) want a child to thrive as an unschooler, you really have to trust him.

 
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#78 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Do you trust your kid so little that you think that if you put the whole world of possibilities and support and opportunities in front of him, he'll chose to be a functionally illiterate fast food worker?

 


Define "Putting the whole world of possibilities and opportunities in front of him," however.   I think differences in that statement are at the crux of disagreements about this.   What constitutes "putting in front of" and at what point does that make "unschooling" into "parent led unstructured homeschooling?"   It seems, sometimes, like poeple are almost afraid to actually put opportunities in front of their children, lest they be accused of taking away the "child led" aspect of it.

 

FOr that matter, upthread, you and others said that you don't intentionally put opportunities in front of your kids:

 

"I never felt like it was my job to go around preparing an environment based on my kid's interests and reading up on things she might ask about. "

 

So how much work do you expect the child to have to do to be able to find their own  opportunities, if the parent is not supposed to notice an interest and then facilitate followup on that interest?  

 

(again, to use your post from this thread, "My daughter knows a lot about anthropology and Africa and Islam not because she really had any interest, but because I did, and do... so my stuff was in the house, and NPR was on the radio and I talked to her about those stories."

What if you didn't have those interests?  

What f she'd expressed her own interest in something that you had absolutely no interest in? How would she have been exposed to it?  How would she have had those conversations?   

 

Example: My husband's parents were both very literature-oriented, to the near-total exclusion of interest in science.  No science magazines in the house, no talk of new discoveries over the table. 

He went to a high school that let him spend most of his time in a unified literature-social studies four-year rotating curriculum, and took the bare minimum of math and science classes to graduate.

In college, he was going to be a history major and then go to law school, because that is what he was exposed to by his parents.  And then he took a genetics class, supposedly in order to do his "science requirement" before turning his full attention to pre-law.

Today?  He's got a PhD in molecular biology and is active in food security issues and breeding plant varieties for the developing world.  

He is competent at things his parents exposed him to.  His true vocation is something he would never have even looked at, except for his university's insistence on "well rounded education."  


savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#79 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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Can I just say that this discussion is SO DAMN INTERESTING!

That is all.
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#80 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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Can I just say that this discussion is SO DAMN INTERESTING!

That is all.


Agreed!

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#81 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you trust your kid so little that you think that if you put the whole world of possibilities and support and opportunities in front of him, he'll chose to be a functionally illiterate fast food worker?

My kid is literate, has top SAT scores, and will have 30-odd college credit at the end of this semester (her senior year in high school) with nearly all As. At 9 she had just learned to do multi-digit addition (and she thought it was the coolest thing); wrote maybe 50 words a year, if you count birthday cards and adding to the grocery list, and couldn't spell to save her life; read up a storm (but only fiction)... in short, she was "behind" most "fourth graders" in a lot of areas. I think I was really lucky to have friends who told me that she was bright and happy and would clearly be fine... because she was.

I can understand having concerns, really. I've had them. We all have. But in my opinion, if you (the generic you, not you in particular) want a child to thrive as an unschooler, you really have to trust him.


 

honestly, this seems like LOA mumbo-jumbo. i KNOW that my child thrives most when he is self lead. I KNOW THIS. but it still concerns me that he doesn't actually have any interest in any of the "opportunities" i put in front of him. but saying i trust him to pass the tests he has to take and then do nothing to make sure he is prepared seems, ummmmm metaphysical. 


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#82 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 04:53 PM
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Define "Putting the whole world of possibilities and opportunities in front of him," however.   I think differences in that statement are at the crux of disagreements about this.   What constitutes "putting in front of" and at what point does that make "unschooling" into "parent led unstructured homeschooling?"   It seems, sometimes, like poeple are almost afraid to actually put opportunities in front of their children, lest they be accused of taking away the "child led" aspect of it.

Well, I think the whole world of opportunities is right there - we live in it - so it's more a matter of saying, "All this stuff is possible, and I'm here as a resource for you." Sometimes being a resource means actually explaining things and answering questions, or providing books or websites, but it can also mean driving somewhere, or networking and looking for people who are better resources, or noticing announcements in the paper and pointing them out, or paying for rugby cleats or pointe shoes or ceramics classes, or a million other things.

The difference is that it comes from the kid and the parent's goal is to help the kid do the things he wants to do, not from the parent's desire to have a well-rounded kid, or to turn the kid's interest into something "educational".

And the whole prepared environment always seemed a little presumptuous to me... the idea that I would know what kind of environment my kid would prefer better than she would. Unless you count going through catalogs with her and ordering stuff she wanted... but those seem like her preparations to me. And I never saw my role as being the All-Knowing Parent, so reading up on a topic that interested my kid (but not me, presumably) would be pointless.. much better to learn with her, or learn from her (which is what happened all last summer during our European Adventure, during which we visited a huge number of art museums and saw Lobster Phone, which thrilled Rain to no end...).
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What if you didn't have those interests?  

What f she'd expressed her own interest in something that you had absolutely no interest in? How would she have been exposed to it?  How would she have had those conversations?


Heh. She has many interests that I don't share. Most, even. Starting with ballet, then singing, rugby, literature, art, Russia... I know pretty much nothing about any of those. The thing is, I'm not her only source of input, and I wouldn't want to be. There are millions of ways to be exposed to new things - a kid sees tutus at Target and asks, "What's that?", for example. Wizard of Oz is on TV, and the kid starts learning the songs because he loves them. Rain became interested in Russia after reading Lolita, which she read after seeing the movie, which she saw because she was on a Kubrick kick, which started with A Clockwork Orange (which includes a lot of Russian-ish words, which she realized when she reread it after learning Russian... so it kind of went full circle). I think she watched Clockwork Orange at a friend's house, or maybe with the library teen group (which seems kind on unlikely, but it was kind of an edgy teen group).

Aaaand... after watching 20 minutes of Clockwork Orange I was so disturbed that I left the room and told her that I never wanted to watch it again, but I still bought her the book for her birthday, because it's not about me. She has other people to watch it with, who do enjoy it, and that's good, I think... we're not conjoined twins.

There are lots of ways to learn about new things that aren't a parent or school... that's what I mean by the whole world.

 
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#83 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post




 

honestly, this seems like LOA mumbo-jumbo. i KNOW that my child thrives most when he is self lead. I KNOW THIS. but it still concerns me that he doesn't actually have any interest in any of the "opportunities" i put in front of him. but saying i trust him to pass the tests he has to take and then do nothing to make sure he is prepared seems, ummmmm metaphysical. 




Oh, dear. Well, if it helps, I am totally un-LOA..... but I guess I felt like you were talking more about wanting him to be well-rounded, and not a lot about this specific test.

I taught test prep for years. For that, you would want to decide which test you want your son to take - I believe you can choose from 5 or so, and you'd want to look at them (or samples or prep books) to see which best line up with the things he knows. If you look at it and figure he's already going to do pretty well on it overall (and it is only the overall score that New York cares about, so if her blows Social Studies and rocks Science, it's fine) then you're done, until he actually takes it... at which time I wold explain that it's a hoop you guys have to jump through to homeschool legally and it may be boring but it's important for him to try his best, and you are allowed to hire a certified teacher to come to your house to give it to him if you think he'd do better that way. You could do it over a longer period, too, like an hour a day for a week, or whatever.

If it looks like he won't hit the 33rd percentile overall on any of the tests,you could buy a test prep book or two for the one that seems like the best shot for him, and explain the deal to him... sometimes just learning a few simple things is enough to get the score he needs. Or you could hold him back a year (since he's unschooling it's just a label) and see if he seems more likely to pass next year. He only has to do the test every other year, and he can do the evaluation in 4th grade and not test until 5th, and even of he doesn't reach the 33rd percentile you still have two years of "probation"... so it definitely seems doable.

Honesty, exposing him to cultural festivals and stuff probably won't help him with the tests at all... they don't tend to cover stuff like that...

 
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#84 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I think that all learning, when chosen by the person, is an intellectual pursuit. It doesn't matter if I find the subject interesting, "scholarly," or whatever. The pursuit of knowledge, in my opinion, must by definition be an intellectual pursuit.

 

I think when we begin placing values on types of learning, whether it be subject, venue, or something else, we insert our own agenda into the equation. At that point, we have veeered away from unschooling.

 

My mother used to say that learning is never wasted. I agree. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. If I am interested in a topic and strive to learn about it, that is not wasted.


This is beautifully expressed. I'd found myself at a loss for words on the subject, maybe because of having discussed it so much over the years that I'd just run dry. I hate when I read that a child doesn't want to learn, because it always means the child just doesn't want to learn in a school way or doesn't want to respond to a parent's expectations. 

 

 - Lillian

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#85 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post




 

honestly, this seems like LOA mumbo-jumbo. i KNOW that my child thrives most when he is self lead. I KNOW THIS. but it still concerns me that he doesn't actually have any interest in any of the "opportunities" i put in front of him. but saying i trust him to pass the tests he has to take and then do nothing to make sure he is prepared seems, ummmmm metaphysical. 


I totally agree U_M. I think you might be a point where you need to do this subject parent led.

When a child resists learning something the parent finds important, I think there comes a point where as the parent you have decide what you are more committed to. Having your child only learn the subjects which interest him/her and probably never learning this topic, or having your child at least be able to demonstrate proficiency in whatever subject it is because you as their parent know that this proficiency will keep future opportunities available to them. This is something that has to be decided no matter the educational method or philosophy. Sometimes, you will decide the subject just isn't that important. Sometimes you will have to sit down with your child and tell them that you'll try to make it as fun as possible, but they need to learn XYZ.

I think beyond what would happen if he didn't demonstrate grade level proficiency in social studies, it is also important to think about your hopes for him as an adult. What type of citizen would you like him to be?

Anyway, there is no law that says once you decide to unschool, you have to do all subjects that way. Sometimes that's not the best fit for a child, and if USing is not helping you raise the kind of child you would like to raise in all areas, do some areas parent led. It's ok to parent your kid.
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#86 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 06:55 PM
 
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"When a child resists learning something the parent finds important, I think there comes a point where as the parent you have decide what you are more committed to. Having your child only learn the subjects which interest him/her and probably never learning this topic..."

 

This child is, what, 8 or 9 years old? Why would you assume that because he/she hasn't gained an interest in a subject at this age, that the chances are good he/she will never learn about it? 

 

"...or having your child at least be able to demonstrate proficiency in whatever subject it is because you as their parent know that this proficiency will keep future opportunities available to them."

 

This idea of forcing children to study something because they might need it in the future sit right with me, personally. Firstly, I believe that when a person encounters a skill they truly need, they will be able to learn it (especially if their confidence in their ability to learn hasn't been drummed out of them by coercive schooling). Second, how can we predict what a child will need in the future (I think of Sir Ken Robinson's talks in this regard)? And finally, this idea of forcing kids to learn things for some bright future reminds me of that saying that goes something like this..."childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life".


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#87 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is beautifully expressed. I'd found myself at a loss for words on the subject, maybe because of having discussed it so much over the years that I'd just run dry. I hate when I read that a child doesn't want to learn, because it always means the child just doesn't want to learn in a school way or doesn't want to respond to a parent's expectations. 

 

 - Lillian

 

 

holy cr@p lillian, i have always loved everything i have read that you posted, but you seemed to have veered off into crazy judgement land. doesn't this seem like a HUGE GENERALIZATION? how the heck do you KNOW this?? how do you know what motivates and doesn't motivate my son (or anyone else's kid for that matter)??? i'm sorry i just can't swallow ANY statement about ANY child that starts with "it ALWAYS means....." i know what in the science club that i run the other kids are *thrilled* to participate in everything we do. my son pouts, whines, resists, has tantrums and usually runs away upstairs... even if it's an activity that he chose or planned. sometimes he comes back sometimes he doesn't. 

 

i believe i know my child best. what i was hoping for was some insight or strategies. but then again i started a support thread for unschooling difficult or challenging children that not one person replied to......

 

 


 

 


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#88 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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This idea of forcing children to study something because they might need it in the future sit right with me, personally. Firstly, I believe that when a person encounters a skill they truly need, they will be able to learn it (especially if their confidence in their ability to learn hasn't been drummed out of them by coercive schooling). Second, how can we predict what a child will need in the future (I think of Sir Ken Robinson's talks in this regard)? And finally, this idea of forcing kids to learn things for some bright future reminds me of that saying that goes something like this..."childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life".


I think you left out the word "doesn't" - "doesn't sit right..."  And I agree. I've been there. I've watched kids, including my own, get into various interests and skills as they grow up, and quite impressively so.

 

- Lillian

 

 

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#89 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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." i know what in the science club that i run the other kids are *thrilled* to participate in everything we do. my son pouts, whines, resists, has tantrums and usually runs away upstairs... even if it's an activity that he chose or planned. sometimes he comes back sometimes he doesn't. 

 

 

 



I don't think this is so unusual  - although I do think it is hard to deal with.  

 

I am a Brownie Leader - there are 2 of us actually - and I almost always place my DD with the other leader because it works better for her.  With us, our relationship often gets in the way (I think she is trying to show off to the other kids that she doesn't "have" to listen)

 

I have seen this in other kids and in other scenarios - the kid whose mom runs the lego in tears, the kid whose mom organised the trip not wanting to go....sigh.  

 

For a long time, we did a lot of activities outside the house.  The kids were game to learn in a structured environment with other people, but not so much with me.  

 

Is he resistant with you or with everybody?

 

 

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#90 of 165 Old 03-02-2011, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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he is always awesome with everyone else, but then refuses to go back. i haven't quite figured it out yet. he *seems* like he's engaged, having a great time, focused, etc... but then will tell me later he hated it, it was horrible and he won't go back. the only thing he has consistantly done is a once a week group by a teacher who is waldorf inspired... self directed, no academics, lots of free play. kinda like preschool for older kids... but sadly, this year he is resisting and telling me he doesn't want to go, he's bored. <sigh> 

 

other than that he's hated everything else we have done up to now. he's begging me to go to lego robotic camp this summer. so.... we shall see if he can handle 9-4, 5 days in a row. 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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