I'm curious about sibling relationships in other unschooling families. Our girls are best friends, and while we have a playmate or two, they are sisters and best friends and some days DD1 seems to do nothing else but make DD2 cry, and other days DD2 ignores all playtime requests from DD1, and other days they really are in a groove.
And how do you balance different needs, learning styles, and habits? We are 6 and 4 1/2 and have been "unschooling" since forever, but since DD1 is kindergarten age, I've really become more focused on homeschooling issues, and want to know about your experiences and what you've done to help things be harmonious.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Sounds like our house. I have three, 8, 5 and 3, and they are all pretty close, and they fight like crazy too. The middle one kind of has it best, with a big brother and little sister to choose from. The eldest and youngest compete for middle dd's attention depending on who wants to play with her at a given time, although oldest ds spends alot of time doing solitary computer stuff as well, which gives middle a chance to play with little.
Things are not often easy, but some days they will play endlessly and peacefully with one another. I try to give each one of the older ones one on one playdates with friends occasionally as well, to fill outside of family friendship needs.
I just find that when they are scrapping, it means I need to get more involved, more interested in what is going on with them, and less focused on house stuff or my own stuff. It usually means they need me to read to them or take them someplace interesting to break the pattern of bickering.
Sounds similar to our house as well. Our oldest, 12 and almost 11, are best friends and usually get along wonderfully ... but when they bug each other they BUG each other! :lol: Our "middle child" is almost 9 and having older brothers and a 5 year old younger brother, I think she feels left out a lot because the older boys see her as too young and she's too much older than the younger kids. However, she gets along with kids of all ages and likes to hang out with adults as well as spend time alone in her room reading. Our youngest two are 5 (boy) and 3 (girl) and they get along great. Our 3 year old's best 3 year old friend is at our house 4 days a week (I provide childcare for her) and we also have a 1 year old "borrowed" little girl 3-5 days a week.
We're basically an unschooling family. We have "homeschool hangout" on Wednesdays where I teach the olders things based (somewhat loosely and very creatively) on the Picturing America posters and my friend teaches the littles (story/craft) and in the Fall, Winter and Spring we are members of a homeschool co-op that meets from 9:30am-3pm (5 1-hour classes) and the kids love the variety of classes they can take there (and I teach a class for 3-5 year olds). Things tend to work well in our family. The kids work on things they're interested in, and because they're excited about what they're learning, they share what they learn with the others, so we all end up learning a lot without much effort. ;) A couple of my kids prefer to read about things, a couple like to learn by doing. It's actually a really good balance for doing projects with partners or in groups.
As far as keeping the household harmonious ... it isn't always, but that's part of life. There are enough spaces in our small house to send people, projects for them to do, books for them to read, that I can encourage them to take a break from each other as needed. We also have a quiet hour almost every day, when we all need to find something quiet to do for about an hour so we can all recharge our batteries (and so I can get the littles down for a nap!).
Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels.
My two oldest are boys, almost 11 and 9.5 (18 months apart). They are polar opposites, a very right brained Cancer and a very left brained Capricorn. They are best friends and always have been...BUT... they require different intellectual stimulus. A few times a week I need to separate them and set one up with a chapter book and the other up with a subject for an acrylic painting, or legos and a deck of cards, or collecting & counting the guava and washing and slicing the guava, for example.
Lately a good harmony producer seems to be cooking. They can both work together using measurements and creativity to make a meal. The meals have been on the stove lately but when they were 6 & 4ish they used to have nice break time/together time making peanut butter filled celery and all the fun snacks.
Like the PP said, when I hear the bickering it's time to either create a structured activity, feed, or separate for alone time.
We have a much larger gap (6 3/4 years), so it's a bit different. I'm finding that my older one does not really want to engage with his ds unless I push the screen issue -- he spends most of his time watching TV or playing computer games, but when I tell him it's time to stop, if she's awake he will play with her. I need to find things they would both enjoy.
Jen 47 DS C 2/03 04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.
mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mama