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#1 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i have always kinda ignored this up until now. (he's 8.5)

 

i'm not sure what to do, he's a video game/lego/computer kinda guy. dislikes reading, dislikes me reading non-fiction to him. is bored with historical videos and trips to the local (and very cool) history museum. 

 

in our state he is required to learn local, state, US and world history starting in 1st grade. i'm not sure how long i can continue to "enhance" his quarterly reports. and he has to start testing soon at the end of the year. 

 

any suggestions? i don't want to fight with him. i'm not going to bother trying to "teach" him some random facts he's not interested in anyway. 

 

he's classic ADD and gets bored really fast, and is interested the most in hands on projects, esp science. 

 


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#2 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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Well, if you feel the need to "cover" information that most children in school likely forget soon after they've "covered" it, I would find ways to use what he enjoys to get at that content. For instance, you said he loves hands-on stuff, so how about getting involved in some projects involving skills that early settlers would have needed? Whittling clothespegs, making a broom, growing a garden, threshing and grinding grain, baking bread, building simple furniture, spinning wool, that sort of thing. If he's like most 8-year-olds he'll relish the opportunity to use a hammer, knife and saw, to dig in the dirt, etc.. If he dislikes non-fiction but enjoys novels, try historical fiction: I've not known very many kids to turn up their noses at stories like "The Sign of the Beaver," "The Golden Goblet" or "Johnny Tremaine." 

 

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#3 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 


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#4 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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We're lucky not to need any reports / tests, but I wanted to say that my 8.5 yo DD is interested in history either, especially 'local' history. And definitely not in any systematic way.

 

For a while she was very interested in early humans and prehistoric people. This was sparked by some amazing Nova DVDs. We tried other history DVDs, but nothing sparked an interest.

 

It seems like every unschooler is into Egypt, but she is not into it at all, even if we have plenty of really cool (in my opinion lol.gif) books.

 

She's been reading the Little House books, so we do talk about the pioneer times. Mostly our explorations of history are focuses on how people lived during those time periods--what kind of houses they lived in, what food they cooked, clothes...How it is all different from our times.

 

I don't even know what I would be doing if we had to cover certain subjects. She is not interested in anything unless it is her own initiative.

 

 


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#5 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 


Do you listen to the radio at home? Having NPR on sometimes will spark a kid's interest in what the heck they are talking about.

ETA: And forgive me but it sounds like you had a crappy experience in your history classes. IME that's pretty unusual (especially the lack of analysis part). Is it possible that your frustration about the subject is somehow being communicated to your son?
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#6 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 

 

Knowledge of specific facts, and then the ability to analyse and synthesise them, come only if there's an underlying interest in the study of the past. I'm not sure what your question is, then?



 


My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#7 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 


Btw you are totally contradicting yourself here. You need to teach him enough random facts to pass the stupid test...yes? That counts as covering the standards. I can see that it makes you angry and frustrated to be backed into that corner though...especially as you are unschooling.

What are the standards he is going to be tested on? What state/grade?
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#8 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 10:29 AM
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What state do you live in? It wold help to know more specifics about testing and reporting requirements where you live... even in states with testing, the requirements are usually pretty low.

 

Has he played Age of Empires? Cool game, and it "counts" as history. There's also a lot going on right now in the world that probably just comes up - news stories, newspaper headlines, etc. - and I think it would be hard to miss it, really...and talking about it definitely "counts".


 
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#9 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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That sounds really tough.

We did a cool one day archeology program that was hands on and interesting and taught about our local history. We've been to Civil War re-enactments for battles in our state. We visit local sites like ruins, historic buildings rather than just the museum. I like the idea of doing activities from that time, like a pp mentioned. Maybe you could incorporate Lego somehow? Maybe board games? My son likes Risk, and the Lewis and Clark card game. You might have a Monopoly game for your state, or you could make one.

 

 


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#10 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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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#11 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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I was the same way as a kid...and somehow that changed because by the time I got to college, one of my two majors was sociology/cultural anthropology and now I am a culture *nut*...I love love LOVE learning about other cultures, cooking their food, visiting the countries, learning new languages.  But as a kid?  No fricken way...I hated it!

 

At our house, we do a lot to make culture fun.  We do the Little Passports subscription, do a ton of montessori-based cultural activities, I frequently print out pictures of life in various countries/their currencies/etc.  We learn about their celebrations, we cook meals from other countries, and I get videos & books (non-fiction) about various cultures.  Each month, we do an indepth country study based on whatever country we're receiving a packet from Little Passports on.  Last month it was Brazil...this month it's Japan.  We also go to cultural festivals & museums (Asia fest, world art museums, etc.)  DS made a pueblo house out of cardboard and then sat inside it while grinding corn with a morter & pestel, formed clay pots, and beaded necklaces when learning about the Pueblo culture.  We all made Tet Trung Thu masks, moon cakes, and laterns and then had a lantern parade when learning about the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn festival.  Stuff like that...

 

Culture/history/global studies doesn't have to be boring and fact based...there are a lot of ways to make it come alive.


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#12 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Culture/history/global studies doesn't have to be boring and fact based...there are a lot of ways to make it come alive.



yeah, i get this totally. my son however has not been made aware of this fact and totally not into mom or dad suggests/prepares/finds exciting... kwim? 


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#13 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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yeah, i get this totally. my son however has not been made aware of this fact and totally not into mom or dad suggests/prepares/finds exciting... kwim? 


If you guys have a local Civil War/Revolution reenactment society that could be cool for local history. I'm not a huge fan of battlefield history but at least its something.
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#14 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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he's a video game/lego/computer kinda guy. dislikes reading, dislikes me reading non-fiction to him.

Ha! He's my son's double. My son is 19 now but not much has changed. lol.gif  I always just put it out there if there was some legal educational benchmark that we had to meet. "This is what the state says we have to do. What do you think about it? How might we learn some of it?" Also, are you his tester when the time comes? If so, just help him with the answers.

 

 

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Has he played Age of Empires? Cool game, and it "counts" as history. There's also a lot going on right now in the world that probably just comes up - news stories, newspaper headlines, etc. - and I think it would be hard to miss it, really...and talking about it definitely "counts".

This. Esp if he's a gamer kid!


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#15 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you guys have a local Civil War/Revolution reenactment society that could be cool for local history. I'm not a huge fan of battlefield history but at least its something.


ewwww... i'd rather do just about anything else. plus i think he'd hate it. 


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#16 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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Has he played Age of Empires? Cool game, and it "counts" as history. 


Yup, and to this I would add Civilization (the first one is cool and available free now) and Assassin's Creed. 

 

There's also the UN's fairly teachy "Food Force," a computer game designed to teach kids about the challenges of delivering aid in the third world. And another one, "3rd World Farmer," a game that helps kids understand the cycle of poverty in developing nations.

 

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#17 of 165 Old 02-23-2011, 02:03 PM
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At 8.5, if he reads some historical fiction or plays some history-based simulation-style games, he should quickly pick up an age-appropriate understanding of the material.  I think of ages 4-10 as a good "Tales from History" age.  Most 4-10 year-olds are too young to benefit from attempts to teach in-depth historical analysis, but they can understand exciting stories about events, and older kids can understand that different perspectives lead to different stories about the same events.  

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#18 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hmmm... i saw this online today. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/24/alchemy-making-comeback-scientists-say/

 

maybe using history of science as a springboard? i know he's interested in alchemy. 

 


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#19 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 02:36 PM
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History of science is really awesome, and you could re-create a lot of cool experiments (obviously, not ones that involve boiling heavy metals) that would help him understand what people were looking at and how they were explaining what they were seeing.  

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#20 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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ewwww... i'd rather do just about anything else. plus i think he'd hate it. 


You may change your mind. Look at Confederates in the Attic. My (historian PhD) husband is teaching it this semester. I'm reading it now. It's really fascinating and accessible.

 

I found that my kids really liked when we celebrated Mozart's birthday. What if you did something like that? I just sort of tell my kids stuff sometimes and they listen or don't. We'll watch YouTube videos or read wiki pages out loud. I talked about it being President's Day and we listened to Eric Foner on Fresh Air. It was sort of in the background. On MLK day, we have a picture book about him and we watched videos online. The really bizarre, non-holiday holidays are fun for the kids (and me). For Mozart's birthday, we printed out this neat image someone had made of him, listened to music on YouTube, read the wiki page, baked pumpkin cinnamon rolls (not really related, but my son's idea to celebrate), and I made a "powdered" wig out of yarn. They didn't necessarily participate in all of that, but they were there for it and didn't hate me for it. I think it sinks in through osmosis, in a way.

 

I also have this daily planner made by an anarchist collective out of Berkeley that has "this day in anarchist history" on every day, so I can get ideas about things that happened in the past that way. Talking with DH at dinner got my son asking what a protest was. I reminded him that he'd been to several.


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#21 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 03:24 PM
 
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When I was 8.5, I barely even understood that there was a country outside of my province, let alone a world outside of my country.

 

I had a vague notion that there was this other time, loooong long ago, waaaay in the past, outside of anything I could possibly imagine, when my parents were young and the Beatles were really popular.  

 

Kids at that age just physiologically don't have the brain development to REALLY understand the scope of history.  To them, 10 years ago vs 100 years ago vs 1000 years ago is all just "before I was around", the relativity, the relationship of one era to another is close to meaningless.  (This is something that has been researched and studied, in fact -- it's nothing to do with what kids have or haven't been taught, it's entirely to do with brain development).

 

Don't get me wrong, I think it's valuable to expose kids to historical stuff, but unless they're really interested (and some kids are), then it's just setting yourself up for frustration if you expect any kind of real analysis or comprehension of how the past affect present-day realities.  That sort of thing, honest, is at LEAST high school level and more often college level -- just because of the brain maturity required to make and understand those connections.

 

At this age, the focus should be on making it interesting, whether or not it's in any kind of systematic way, so that at least they're not turned off ever doing history because they're convinced it's dull and boring.  

 

So things like historical fiction are good.  Doesn't just have to be books, it can be movies too.  There are some neat comic books that cover history and mythologies as well.  But kids that age will be more interested in the STORIES than in the cultural relevance, dates, etc.  

 

Hands-on stuff -- something like History Pockets appeals to a lot of kids.  Gets some of the basic, a foundation, without getting bogged down in details.

 

At this age, history/social studies is more about fostering the gradual awakening of the realization of the world outside themselves.  Their world starts as 'just me' as an infant, then quickly to 'me and mom', then 'me and my family', then 'me and my neighbourhood', etc.  Their circle of understanding only gradually expands, and throw the concept of TIME in there and hooo baby it's a challenging thing to grasp!


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#22 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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yeah, i get this totally. my son however has not been made aware of this fact and totally not into mom or dad suggests/prepares/finds exciting... kwim? 

Maybe this is a stupid question, but how is unschooling working if your child isn't "into" anything you suggest or prepare?  I thought there were 2 parts to unschooling...the child's interests, and the parents preparing an environment based on those interests?  (If he's interested in space, for example, you'd make sure to provide him with opportunities to learn all he can about space)  I personally don't count video games as education and I'm more Montessori than unschooling (I totally believe in child led learning, but I also believe that adults  need to create a prepared environment).  Children this age *love* field trips...or at least most of them do.  If you're unschooling, I'm sure you know all about the history museums and cultural festivals in the area.  You don't have to tell him it's schoolwork, just take him.  And before you go, research where you're taking him and be prepared to discuss what he's looking at.  
 


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#23 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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Are you familiar with Rick Riordan? My kids LOVE The Last Olympians series and the second series with The Lost Heroes. It's fiction but has a lot of Greek mythology (and some Roman in the second series) woven into it. We had so much fun reading them together. My eight year old laughed through a large portion of The Lost Heroes. They jumped head in to Greek Mythology. We also just read the first book in his new series, The Red Pyramid. They've been on an Egyptian/archaelogy kick lately and so they loved it. We are always reading. You would be surprised how much history, sociology, etc. is in everyday life, including in fictional books.

 

We are also a boardgame family. We play board games that you usually don't see very often - mainly just in board game communities. Tons of fun and there are a lot with empires, maps, social structures, etc. Our kids love playing them. Sometimes we have to alter rules a bit to accomodate younger players, but that doesn't lessen the fun. A lot of questions have sprung from them.

 

Just like with science, math, language, etc., you can't really NOT be exposed to history if you are living in a society.


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#24 of 165 Old 02-24-2011, 07:23 PM
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  I thought there were 2 parts to unschooling...the child's interests, and the parents preparing an environment based on those interests? 

 



I think that's more like unit studies. 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. Unschooling is more about going on a learning journey together. I think it's important to be sure that a kid has the resources to follow his own interests, which you could do by offering or responding to requests or whatever.... but that's very different from the Montessori "prepared environment" idea. My kid has been pretty good at setting up her own environment, actually... I helped fund it, of course, and made suggestions, and sometimes i got stuff I thought was cool and he liked it, or I got stuff because I thought she'd think it was cool... but I didn't take her to festivals so that she'd be exposed to cultural stuff.

 

This is sort of a different situation, maybe, because the problem is that the kid may have to pass a test to keep legally homeschooling... although I don't think the OP ever clarified that bit.


 
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#25 of 165 Old 02-25-2011, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by boheime View Post

 

Just like with science, math, language, etc., you can't really NOT be exposed to history if you are living in a society.



i think maybe you might be surprised how many people are total blanks about history! and i think a big part of the problem is the *way* history is taught in schools. i know we learned almost zero about any history other than european and american. and even then we skipped over the "rough bits" like stealing indian land, imperialism, etc.... we most certainly didn't learn the history of *any* religion, asian, african or south american history. 


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#26 of 165 Old 02-25-2011, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Dar View Post

 

This is sort of a different situation, maybe, because the problem is that the kid may have to pass a test to keep legally homeschooling... although I don't think the OP ever clarified that bit.



da. in NY you must start taking a standardized test every other year beginning in 5th grade. so there is a minimum standard he must achieve. but also, i am concerned about him being a very one sided person who only knows about the things that directly affect his everyday experiences. i'm not going to shove anything down his throat. there isn't any point anyway. i would just send him to school if i wanted to do that. he's just NOT INTERESTED. maybe i need to give him more time. but at almost 9, i am a little worried about when it's "gonna happen." (i know i know! my friend's son didn't start reading until 12 and now he's in HS and doing fine.... on track with all the other kids)

 

i have always had to do "stealth" homeschooling with him since his middle name is resistance and his nickname is no. so i think i need to think more about how he learns (very right brained builder boy) and how things interest him. DH brought home some software from work that allows you to create timelines. i think i will look more at that. 


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#27 of 165 Old 02-25-2011, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

da. in NY you must start taking a standardized test every other year beginning in 5th grade. so there is a minimum standard he must achieve. but also, i am concerned about him being a very one sided person who only knows about the things that directly affect his everyday experiences. i'm not going to shove anything down his throat. there isn't any point anyway. i would just send him to school if i wanted to do that. he's just NOT INTERESTED. maybe i need to give him more time. but at almost 9, i am a little worried about when it's "gonna happen." (i know i know! my friend's son didn't start reading until 12 and now he's in HS and doing fine.... on track with all the other kids)

 

i have always had to do "stealth" homeschooling with him since his middle name is resistance and his nickname is no. so i think i need to think more about how he learns (very right brained builder boy) and how things interest him. DH brought home some software from work that allows you to create timelines. i think i will look more at that. 


Oh, yes. I missed if you had said where you lived before, but New York is tougher than most... on the other hand, you can pick the test and the district only cares about his composite score, not the individual ones, and even that only had to be at the 33rd percentile... so he could pretty much blow history and still be fine.

 

I think the idea that being "well-rounded" is optimal is pervasive, but I'm not sure that's true. Especially at 9... but plenty of successful adults are not particularly well-rounded. I might even say most aren't, really.  Most of us know a lot about a few subjects and a fair amount about others and very little about others, and it seems to work fine. Many people seem to develop other interests as adults, too - Bill Gates may be the most famous example, but his transition from computer geek to philanthropist shows that it's never too late... but I bet at 20 he knew very little about the countries he's now helping, and now he knows a great deal.

 

My personal opinion is that "stealth" unschooling isn't unschooling at all... I think being open and honest with your kids is at the heart of unschooling. I realize not everyone will agree... but that's my experience. At 9 my kid almost never wrote anything (unless you count birthday cards) and never did anything more mathematical than count Chuck E. Cheese tickets (this was before automatic counting machines) or keep score on board games. It worked out okay... she does both well now, and it came from her. 

 

I also think succeeding in unschooling, especially when kids are younger but really even now, means being involved in each other's lives. 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, and she came to parties and get-togethers with anthro people and talked with them, and went to events with African studies people because I was going, and she came to the Swedish ethnography museum with me because I wanted to go (and we went to 80 million art museums because she wanted to go, just FYI)... heck, she spent a month in Tunisia because I was heading there and she decided swimming in the Mediterranean sounded better than hanging out in Tucson during July. To me, unschooling is about doing things like that rather than trying to stealthily ensure that kids cover certain subjects. 


 
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#28 of 165 Old 02-25-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post





i think maybe you might be surprised how many people are total blanks about history! and i think a big part of the problem is the *way* history is taught in schools. i know we learned almost zero about any history other than european and american. and even then we skipped over the "rough bits" like stealing indian land, imperialism, etc.... we most certainly didn't learn the history of *any* religion, asian, african or south american history. 


Ay yai yai uhoh3.gif...You think this is how all history classes are currently taught? Maybe in elementary school but I can assure you that high school history covers all of these things. Unless you have a crappy teacher.
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#29 of 165 Old 02-25-2011, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so chamo, why do you think most people are so ignorant about history? 

 


"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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#30 of 165 Old 02-25-2011, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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dar, you have a very special child. and you are a special mom. 

 

i have some very difficult challenges with my son, he has lots of special (unique?) needs. when i say "stealth" i mean that i have to be very very careful to not let on that i have planned, thought about or care about what he is doing in any way. or it's an instant turn off for him. 

 

i'm interested in more ideas for brainstorming, interested in support and positive energy, interested in thinking outside the box... not reasons why what were are doing isn't "true" or "real" unschooling. 


"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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