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Unschooling > my son has ZERO interest in history/global/cultural studies...
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 12:27 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post

At what point does cautioning your child about the nature of points of view and the possibility of inaccurate or purposely-spun "history" cross over?   If your child is the kind who shouts "No, Mom!  That's NOT what the BOOK SAYS!!"  at you when you make an observation about history or culture, is it imposing your will or viewpoint to keep going?  


I think "That's NOT what the BOOK SAYS!!" is a very unlikely stance for an unschooled child to take. At least in my family unschooling is the very antithesis of dogmaticism. I can't see this scenario arising in one of my kids. Unschooling works on the premise that learning is everywhere and that it's up to the learner to distill the learning for himself from a variety of sources and perspectives. Opportunities to exercise conversation, critical thinking and skepticism run throughout our daily lives. Textbooks and classes are not "the source of the one verified truth" but resources that might occasionally be useful in combination with many other resources in creating for oneself an understanding of the subject area in question. It is my impression that dogmaticism, while perhaps partly related to temperament, is much more likely in children who have been subjected to a lot of top-down teaching and binary (right/wrong) evaluation tools. 

 

Miranda



umami_mommy's Avatar umami_mommy 12:37 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post



I haven't heard of either of those books, but that's definitely a subject that interests me!  I've read all of Paul Farmer's books, and a few older books on structural violence (I took a class in college where we read Weapons of the Weak and that's the first time I had ever really heard of it, so it's something I've dabbled in reading about since).  A very good friend works for organizations that help organize women in India in particular, but she's also worked in several other countries and her husband's specialty is Brazil.  I bet I can even borrow these books from her.

 

okay, i have no idea why you two are talking about books like this... but but here's the one this topic i would recommend: 

Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland

Allen Feldman

it's work to get through, all the postmodernism and stuff, but still really interesting. 
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post

Lach - I think you should read Death Without Weeping (Nancy Scheper-Hughes), if you haven't, because it's a really engrossing book and you'll really gain a good understanding of how structural violence words, and what critical medical anthropology is all about. I think understanding those things is really important to responsible global citizenship.

I also think you should read Life and Words, by Veena Das - I think they go well together, in a weird way, and Das's book is great for understanding the way violence is conceptualized and experienced, over time and space, and the lived experience of violence.

Those are the things that interest me, anyway...
 


 


annakiss's Avatar annakiss 12:41 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 It is my impression that dogmaticism, while perhaps partly related to temperament, is much more likely in children who have been subjected to a lot of top-down teaching and binary (right/wrong) evaluation tools. 

 

Miranda

Exactly!
 

 


savithny's Avatar savithny 01:19 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post




I think "That's NOT what the BOOK SAYS!!" is a very unlikely stance for an unschooled child to take. At least in my family unschooling is the very antithesis of dogmaticism. I can't see this scenario arising in one of my kids. Unschooling works on the premise that learning is everywhere and that it's up to the learner to distill the learning for himself from a variety of sources and perspectives. Opportunities to exercise conversation, critical thinking and skepticism run throughout our daily lives. Textbooks and classes are not "the source of the one verified truth" but resources that might occasionally be useful in combination with many other resources in creating for oneself an understanding of the subject area in question. It is my impression that dogmaticism, while perhaps partly related to temperament, is much more likely in children who have been subjected to a lot of top-down teaching and binary (right/wrong) evaluation tools. 

 

Miranda


 

Thank you for accusing me of destroying my son's intellect and curiosity!

My son was like that -- obstreperous about certain things -- from the time he was a toddler.   (You call can go over to Gentle Discipline and debate whether it's because I did not raise him consensually enough now).    It's not a dogmatism in his case so much as a latching onto the first exposure of something and then  making that experience stand for all future experiences.  He thinks because he's done something once he knows how to do it, and he thinks if something does not come easily on the first try that its clearly NEVER going to be easy.    (We talk a lot about the importance of practicing new skills in our house because of this).   If he tries a food and dislikes it, he thinks he will always hate it, in all its forms.  If he reads one book on a subject, to him it must be what there is to know on a subject.  He jumps to conclusions based on experience and then holds onto those conclusions firmly, until he is firmly encouraged to seek other perspectives.  He was like this long before he met a textbook.

 

He's the kid that is the counterexample to a lot of parenting issues.  As a toddler, all the talk-based discpline techniques freaked him out and made his meltdowns worse.  Giving him five minute warnings to create gentle transitions made him frustrated.  Giving him choices about clothing or activities freaked him out.  Carefully explaining why we needed to do X before we could do Y or Z prompted tantrums and misery.   Parenting him has taught me that there is no one method or right answer, whether mainstream or alternative, that works for all kids.


rhiandmoi's Avatar rhiandmoi 01:25 PM 03-04-2011

I think a lot of canonists are created by the time they're 2 or 3. I know I have been accused multiple times of not playing correctly because that isn't something their favorite character would do/say/wear by children who have not had any schooling at all, formal or otherwise.


moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 02:34 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post

 

Thank you for accusing me of destroying my son's intellect and curiosity!

 

My son was like that -- obstreperous about certain things -- from the time he was a toddler.  


 

Woah! I didn't accuse anyone of anything. I'm sorry if it sounded that way, but really, I thought I was very careful in how I stated things. I said there was likely a contribution from temperament, and that I thought unschoolers were less likely to be dogmatic. Then I spoke of my experience with my children. That's all.

 

FWIW, I think dogmatism is very common in toddlers. Mine, especially my eldest two, had it in spades at age 2-3, but outgrew it as they got older.

 

Miranda


savithny's Avatar savithny 02:50 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post

There really isn't any difference for me.  I enjoy filling in realms of information that I'm deficient in.  I would actually assume that's why they gave me the book.  I have friends who are interested in all sorts of things, so I enjoy reading about what they're interested in so I can talk about it with them.  I'm really not offended if someone says "you obviously know nothing about this, here's a book."  There's a lot of information in the world, and I'll be the first to admit that I know very little of it.  But I'm always excited to learn more.

 

I'm trying to think of subjects I don't really care about, and I can't.  Maybe Civil War history, LOL.  But if someone said "I know you hate Civil War history, but if you read this book you'll understand why it's awesome," I'd be happy to give it a go.

 

It's taken me a very long time to write this answer, because I think I just really don't understand.  Isn't reading about new subjects how people learn and expand their horizons?  You're saying it's normal to just dismiss new subjects out of hand, when someone else suggests you learn about them, no matter their motives?  Maybe it is, I don't know.  It's not true for me, and I really, really hope that it's not true for my kids.  I guess I find it a little... strange, maybe?... that unschoolers would be fine with that.  I always considered one of the main perks of unschooling that there are no constraints to what you learn about.

 

 


Exactly -- I feel the same way.  I've had things recommended to me that I didn't like, but I'll generally give it a whirl if someone suggests it (and backs it up with a reason).


I can say that I have also read things recommended to me because I felt that I *should* read them even though I have no real interest in them.  


Example:  I don't care for economics at all.  I don't really care for business writing and all the rest, and the news during the economic collapse of fall 2009 made me physically ill to watch/read sometimes.   Nevertheless, when a friend recommended that I listen to This American Life's broadcast "The Giant Pool of Money," which set out to explain derivatives and how they worked, I did it.  not because I expected to be interested, but because I felt there were things I needed to know more about -- because people like me (and most of us) leaving those areas in the hands of a few simply because we weren't interested in the details  is one reason things were able to go off the rails.  

I've also read a number of books about the Holocaust, Trail of Tears, and other historical events because I really do think that I *should* know what happened, and honestly, I think that people in general *should* be aware of certain things.  Allowing ourselves to avoid whole areas of history or social sciences because we don't like them, or because they're upsetting, is sometimes an abdication of our duties as citizens.   How can we cast informed votes if we're ignorant of the circumstances around them?

 


lalaland42 03:00 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post




I agree with Roar.  I've often read books that I wasn't interested in because a friend or family member recommended it. .

 




But are they recommending it because they think you'll enjoy it, or because they think you're deficient in some realm of knowledge and it would be educational for you?


My DH recommended  a science fiction novel to me primarily because he thought I was deficient in science fiction knowledge and wanted me to get into the genre. I am probably not the best person to answer this question though because I just started a blog project of reading 365 fiction works by authors I wouldn't necessarily read otherwise. Sometimes when you branch out beyond your comfort zone, you find things other than Stephen King. 

 


Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 04:47 PM 03-04-2011

I think so many of the scenarios we're debating will depend, in large part, on the child's personality and temperament.

 

For example, DD can smell a contrived "teaching moment" a mile away and rebels strongly against it. Even if I thought that, for her own good, I needed to step in and insist she upgrade certain skills or a certain knowledge base, all I can say is good luck with that. It would never work with her, and would not only damage our relationship but I cannot see how it wouldn't sour her learning experience and curiosity. Thankfully I haven't found any need to take away her autonomy in this regard, but if I did I'd be pretty stumped.

 

On the other hand, some children are more flexible and more amenable to being controlled (when done gently and respectfully). So, if a parent decides they simply must step in lest the child ruin their future, and if the child is more or less okay with that (assuming, of course, that if they weren't okay with it then it simply wouldn't work), who am I to criticize?

 

And I think this speaks to the issue of the hypothetical young adult who never seemed to get engaged in a career plan, who shied away from any of the work required to achieve a goal, etc. I think we parents all make the best decisions we can and ultimately we have to remember two things. First, parents only have so much influence, and innate temperament plays a critical role. Second, at some point our young adults have to take responsibility for their poor choices. An 18 year old who refuses all suggestions of assistance, or who shuns conversations regarding their lack of skills, etc. is ultimately shooting him or herself in the foot and I'm not sure that it is fair to then go back and say that the parent (or unschooling) must have failed them. 


Dar's Avatar Dar 05:42 PM 03-04-2011
I'm so happy to find med anth geeks! Paul Farmer is amazing, just amazing. He has boundless energy and really puts his money where his mouth is, so to speak... he's there in the trenches and he has done some amazing things. I've read Feldman's book, too - it is harder going, but good, I think. Das is also kind of a slog and times, while Farmer and Scheper-Hughes are easier reading (as far as reading... but in some ways they're even more emotionally disturbing and more likely to give you nightmares).

Although in retrospect, I guess that was more an example of sharing things I find cool because I want to share them, and I do do that with my kid (she has yet to read either book, for the record). It's not really a good example of sharing something I don't necessarily find cool, just because I think someone should know it. Oh well.

I think, too, that adults who grew up schooled tend to unconsciously justify our own hours and hours of schooling by telling ourselves that the things we learned have helped us, and therefore we didn't waste all those hours...

Really, though, I guess it comes down to control, as Piglet alluded to, or power (can we talk about Foucault now?). Are you suggesting a book as an exercise in power, to try to control his learning and make him fit in to what society has told us is important (this would be something like the "stealth" homeschooling, I think)? Or are you introducing it in order to empower him in the world, to give him access to things he wants?

This all reminds me of a discussion I had today with some people about anthropology and development work. In a lot of development work today, agencies basically go into local communities with a plan of how they want to make the local people's lives better, and then they hold some meetings or something to get "input" and then justify their programs by saying that the local people wanted it, even though the choices they were given were fairly limited and sometimes outright false, and they're often basically talked into these programs (which often don't work at all).

I think unschooling involves having more of a facilitator mentality, like going into the community and listening, and being with the people, and really hearing what they're saying... and then, if they don't want anything from you, you go away, and if they do ask you for something you try to help, and sometimes after observing for a while, because of your position of privilege and perhaps other experiences, you think of something that might help to empower the people you're with, and then you offer to teach that skill, or acquire that piece of technology... and then you listen to their responses, because sometimes you're way off base.


umami_mommy's Avatar umami_mommy 07:45 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post

 

He's the kid that is the counterexample to a lot of parenting issues.  As a toddler, all the talk-based discpline techniques freaked him out and made his meltdowns worse.  Giving him five minute warnings to create gentle transitions made him frustrated.  Giving him choices about clothing or activities freaked him out.  Carefully explaining why we needed to do X before we could do Y or Z prompted tantrums and misery.   Parenting him has taught me that there is no one method or right answer, whether mainstream or alternative, that works for all kids.


da. this is why i get annoyed when people make sweeping suggestions based on generalizations or personal experience in the US (or MDC in general) forum. if i say my kid needs XZY, i don't get why people can't just respect that i probably know what he needs. 

 


Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 08:54 PM 03-04-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post

I think unschooling involves having more of a facilitator mentality, like going into the community and listening, and being with the people, and really hearing what they're saying... and then, if they don't want anything from you, you go away, and if they do ask you for something you try to help, and sometimes after observing for a while, because of your position of privilege and perhaps other experiences, you think of something that might help to empower the people you're with, and then you offer to teach that skill, or acquire that piece of technology... and then you listen to their responses, because sometimes you're way off base.
 


Very well said!

 


stik's Avatar stik 05:45 PM 03-05-2011

Wow, this has gotten to be a really long conversation, and I haven't followed it all.  If I've learned nothing else in 8 years of teaching, it's that long discussions of educational philosophy make me sleepy.  I am interested in creative and unusual ways to "hook" students' interest, though.

 

Umami-mommy, several pages back, you mentioned that your son likes Doctor Who.  I was inspired, and I've come up with a series of global/social/cultural studies ideas based on the most recent season of the show.  I don't know if they're all appropriate for 8 year-olds, but unschooled 8yos tend to be a little atypical.  I would not recommend using all of them or treating them as a curriculum.  They're just ideas that might help spark some interest.  I won't be offended if it's useless, and I apologize if it's no longer relevant.

 

Cool fun fact to establish my Doctor Who street cred - Matt Smith is the clumsiest human being in the world.  The DW producers are terrified that he's going to fall off the platform that surrounds the Tardis engine and kill himself.  They've had the soles of his shoes ripped off and replaced with special, high-traction sneaker soles to keep him from slipping.  It hasn't helped. 

 

This last season:

 

The Eleventh Hour - The Doctor meets Amy Pond and tells her he will come back for her.  He returns 11 years late.  Interesting related questions: For years, no one believed Amy about the Doctor.  She's been through four psychiatrists (she kept biting them).  What happens to people who no one believes, even though they're right? What about people who are gone for a long time?  How do their families keep the faith and wait?

What you could learn about: Cassandra, Odysseus, Noah, Romeo and Juliet, the entire cast of The Tempest, probably some other people in Shakespeare

How this relates to social studies: Understanding ancient cultures, the Renaissance

 

The Beast Below - The Doctor and Amy visit a future England in space and meet the Queen of England and the benevolent Starwhale who is carrying Britain on its back.  Interesting questions: What is the role of royalty in the 21st century?  How has it changed?  What people or groups of people have acted like the Starwhale? 

What you could learn about: Any monarch you wanted, or several.  The idea of service and heroism.  The Holocaust and the Righteous Among Nations (for example the Captain of the MS St Louis, who seriously considered running his ship aground off the coast of England so the Jewish refugee passengers on board would have to be given safe harbor), any situation in which people acted selflessly to help others.

Tie to social studies: Politics.  Civic responsibility.

 

Victory of the Daleks: Churchill accidentally invites the Daleks to help defend England in WWII.  Interesting questions: Daleks are scary.  Was WWII scary enough to make a Dalek-British alliance look like a good idea?  How did the British really fight the Nazis?

 

Time of Angels: River Song says that she's killed "a good man, and a hero to many."  Who might that be?  Which historical figures would qualify?  Why?  And, the soldiers are also priests.  When else has that happened?  And River does some crafty things to send the doctor a message.  How would you send the Doctor a message? 

What you could learn about: Take your pick of interesting historical figures.  And the Jesuit order and Pope Julius the I-forget-which-number.  Also geocaching, which involves orienteering and map-reading. 

Flesh and Stone: Amy has a really bad day and a lot of people get sucked into a hole in time.  Interesting questions - what would be the result of making one event never have happened?  What event would you get rid of?  What event would you want to protect?

What you would be learning about: Historical cause and effect relationships

 

The Vampires of Venice:  There are aquatic vampires.  In Venice.  Interesting questions: What other times and places might be useful for alien vampires operating incognito?  What times and places might be handy hiding spots for other creatures?  You can stick with the Doctor Who theme and look at Daleks, Cyberman, Silurians, Sontorans, Autons, and Weeping Angels, or you could branch out and do werewolves, regular vampires, zombies, and people with super-powers.

What you would be learning about: geography

 

Amy's Choice: The Dream Lord messes with everyone's heads.  This isn't my favorite episode to use, but there's a lot in it about demographics.  What do normal communities (i.e., ones that haven't been infiltrated by parasitic aliens) look like, demographically?  What factors (events and crises) make communities differ from the demographic norms?  What's it like to live in a rural community with few services? 

What you would be learning about: demographics

 

The Hungry Earth: Some curious geologists drill a really deep hole and accidentally disturb the SIlurians, who don't like them much.  Interesting questions - what's actually down there?  Study some geology.  Also, how do people tend to treat newly discovered cultures?  Imperialism. 

Cold Blood: Lots of people are taken prisoner.  Some of them die. 

Interesting questions - How should prisoners be treated?  Learn about human rights.

 

Vincent and the Doctor - The Doctor and Amy meet Vincent van Gogh.  Was Vincent really like that?  Did people really think his art was horrible?  Learn some art history.

 

The Lodger - The Doctor poses as a normal human.  He's not very convincing.  What kinds of things do people do to blend in in unfamiliar places?  Learn some cultural anthropology.  Also there's an alien spaceship (I've been assured it will appear in future episodes) looking for people who want to escape.  If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

 

The Big Bang/The Pandorica Opens - River poses as Cleopatra - who was she?  What did she do?  Did she have the power to boss the Roman Army around?  What were the Romans actually doing in Britain?  What do we know about Stonehenge?  Who was Pandora? 

AND THEN - Rory guards Amy for 2000 years.  What dangers would he have had to look out for?  PLUS - museums preserve stuff.  How?  How do they decide what to preserve?  How could you prove that an artifact is genuine? 


umami_mommy's Avatar umami_mommy 06:23 PM 03-05-2011

very nice stik. thank you so much. i'll forward this to my DH who is the other dr who fan in this house. this totally the kind of stuff i am stock piling. :)

 

 


zonapellucida's Avatar zonapellucida 11:11 AM 03-15-2011

flint knapping is super cool!!!!!  We did that years ago and am about to introducing to the younger kids.  I have also thought to construct a tee pee.  Guns and uniforms of the revolutionary war are super items to gaze upon.  Where are you?  Can you visit any forts?   I would think "field trip!"

 

(I am a bio freak and it disappoints the hell out of me that they don't want to look at everything under the microscope angry.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

good posts everyone... i see what a jumble this is now: i want one thing, the state wants something else and my son wants neither! okay 3 plates to juggle. orngtongue.gif

 

just an aside, i am a cultural studies freak. i took anthro in college, majored in women of color/third world women feminism in graduate school, and LOVE historical fiction! (among other geeky things)

 

i see i am going to have to do some project based stuff with him. he just needs to know general things about local history, revolutionary war, US history (like who was the first prez, etc) etc. 

 

maybe we should start with flint knapping or mound building? lol.gif



 


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