My mom came for a visit and my confidence is now gone... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 06-07-2011, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am feeling a bit alone and confused after a visit from  my mom out of state (we were are orginally from), we unschool our 6 year old almost 7 DD and 4 yr old DD we live in an area where there arent many homeschoolers around and my DD is very shy about playing with schooled children, we did go to a co-op one day a week but that is over till sept and it is quite far away so we wont be going much this summer which means we may not see her friends she has made in that group, we have lived in this area for three years and I myself havent made much friends at all, a few moms we see here and there but not many... My oldest takes art class for two hours every monday so she is with kids then. Our days consist of going to the beach a couple of hours taking walks and going to the playground and a few trips to the store  thrown in here and there, but my children spend their days with me...

 

Mom comes to town and tells me we do not live normal lives kids should be in school where they will have friends ( my girls dont want to go to school they are quite happy being schooled at home by me) I mean we arent super social but my kids do play with others at the playground art class swim lessons ... they were both in ballet last year, so we arent exactly isolated.

 

our 6 yr old isnt reading yet and doesnt seem to be ready at this time, she knows her letters and all the sounds and a ton of sight words but wont sit down and read a book, she says she cant, so we dont push she does a bit of addition and subtraction each day, she can write beautifully, she loves to draw and make art projects and loves to color she is a wiz on the pc...  my 4 yr old loves to color and watch a bit of tv and she too is a wiz on the pc... she is learning her numbers knows her alphabets and can recognize a few numbers and letters on paper.

 

I felt we were doing great until the horrid visit from mom now I am starting to wonder if this whole homeschooling is going to work, and I am questioning why my DD isnt reading yet and doesnt show any desire to learn to.  I dont know what to do I am very upset so I figured I would come here and get some advice from all of you.  If I have to hear one more time from my mom how my 6 yr old niece is reading and has tons of friends I am going to scream!  I love where we live it is beautiful and freeing and I so dont want to be back into a boring get up go to wrok drop kids off at school lifestyle but at the same time I am afraid I am doing the wrong thing..  thanks for reading.

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#2 of 25 Old 06-07-2011, 08:12 PM
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I'm not an unschooler, but I had to reply.  It sounds like you are doing GREAT.  Ignore the mom; this is simply something out of her comfort zone.  Every child is different.

 

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#3 of 25 Old 06-07-2011, 08:34 PM
 
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Take a deep breath. Parents can do that to us, no matter what the subject we are still their little girls and they still think they know better.

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#4 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 07:06 AM
 
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It does sound like they are doing great:-)


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#5 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 07:51 AM
 
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My MIL is always digging away at us "are you sure he shouldn't be doing X?" or, referring to her SO's granddaughter, "she just loves going to school, and she's reading way above grade level" and on & on. (MIL is very conservative...this hippie stuff we're doing probably drives her up the wall). But my son, who also had us worried about the reading thing, is 8yo now and reading fantastically. His style was to wait until he could do it well, and then do it. I mean, the kid will suddenly say, at 10:30 pm. "Mom! I want to do some math! I love math!"  Seriously....what school-kid does that.

 

Every kid is different, and the great thing about unschooling is that they will learn at a time and in a way that's right for THEM. (and pressuring just makes things worse, in my opinion. it creates resistance & all that)

 

Anyway, just try and stay steady. Know that it's totally normal to get rocked by parents and in-laws. You will be just fine.  :-)

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#6 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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 I know that feeling. We ll have/had our moment of doubts. First. I going to say that this schedule where all the kids learn certains stuff in certains age is just for the purporse of the School conveniences to have a large group of kids "learning"  and doing all the same things at the same time.Because Homeschool-Unschooling is tailored education all the school stuff didn't apply.All the the thinks that somebody else is , learn and lives is for them, not for you, not for your family. If you happy with your life, unschooling or not is just  noboby else business.


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#7 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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Your life style sounds so lovely!

 

I know only too well the feelings of periodic freak outs, as documented by my threads here. lol.gif

 

As for reading, your DD IS learning to read! Learning doesn't equate sitting down for lessons. If she knows her letters and sounds, and sight words--she is learning. My DD learned the same way. She knew her letters and some phonics that he picked up at starfall.com and then there was a span of several months, if not a year, during which she was seemingly not interested in reading, and then all of a sudden she was reading. She still doesn't like to share her process when she is learning.

 

DS, on the loves to share his process and his progress. It is fun for me, I have to admit. He loves readingeggs.com, he brings little readers to me and sounds out words, he doesn't mind if he guesses or gets it wrong. He would be an easier kid to 'show off' to a doubting relative--see, he is learning? He'd happily bring his reader and show.

 

 

You are doing great! Hang in there.


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#8 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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My mum used to be and still can be very nasty, snide and horribly critical of HSing.  Sometimes she will make off handed remarks and sometimes she will be direct and confrontational.  My kids are homebodies and do not like going out... we can't afford lessons for all of them.... so they are home a lot but they are happy, and people constantly comment on how polite, happy, and sweet they are.  But my mom has said just awful things about how I am ruining them.  eyesroll.gif  It's really hard not to let it get to me but after many years I've gotten steely, especially since my older kids are now old enough to voice their (favorable) opinion of HSing.  That has shut her up a bit.

 

We are not official unschoolers but we go in and out of long periods where what we are essentially doing is unschooling, either due to illness or some other problem that crops up.  We have strict rules about things like behavior, bedtime, helping with chores, but there have been long periods where the if/ when/ what of academics were optional.  My kids are amazing in some areas and not so amazing in other areas academically, but compared to my lovely schooled-since-preK nieces and nephews my own kids are on par or ahead.  One of my DDs didn't read well until age 10, now she reads a nonstop.  I have a 5 year old who really isn't ready and I know I'm going to hear it from my mom this summer about how she can't read or write.  I just think she needs more time and that hounding and pushing her will be counter productive. 

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#9 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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I just stumbled across the "unschooling" threads and it has really piqued my interest.  I thought I would mention that my niece is almost six, and reads really really well.  Her best friend is the same age...and she can't read much at all.  Different kids are going to have different learning paces as well as different interests.  It sounds like your DD is pacing herself, and I'm sure she will do just fine.  If anything if she were to have trouble reading, (and it doesn't sound like she does) having her at home where you can give her the right kind of attention would probably be the best place for her, right? 


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#10 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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Your kids on on the young side and I bet you will see stronger friendships emerge in the next couple of years.

 

Do you think any part of your mom's worry was that you haven't made friends. That's the only part of the story that concerns me because I think that in real life support network is really vital for sticking with un/homeschooling over the long term. It can be a big help to get through the moments of doubt.

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#11 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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In Sweden, according to my MIL, children don't even go to learning school until they're 7.  Most children's brains aren't wired for reading until about then.  She will read when she wants too.  I even saw a study - and I'm sorry I can't post the link for you - that shows there is a correlation between a person that learns to read "later" and their interest and enjoyment in reading all their lives.  We are pushing kids to read too early.  Which causes some to not like it.  It's amazing to me how much we push our children, for their own good.  When if we would just wait a few months/years, things would happen for them naturally.  I tried to get my DD to read in K, cause that's what the circiculum "said".  It was not a pleasant experience and she didn't do it.  I dropped it and a year later she started sounding things out and now reads anything that wanders in front of her line of sight.

 

I agree with a pp, she's just really out of her comfort zone.  (Which does not excuse her behavior, just giving a reason why she did what she did.)  Being out of our comfort zone does not make a person right, just emotional. 

 

My MIL is the one that is really uncomfortable with us hs.  (I don't even mention we mostly unschool, I think that would do her in.)  She likes to see worksheets and is quizzing the girls all the time.  I try to remember she's just looking out for them.  But we made the best choice for our kids.  I'm sorry you went through that.  Visits with relatives are hard.  Try to remember that it's okay to disagree with her and it's okay to be confident in your decisions!

 

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#12 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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re: the reading...

 

DH and I were both public schooled, and were both "precocious" readers. We were both self-taught before kindergarten (don't know about my MIL, but my mom didn't even realize I was already reading). My ex was also public schooled, and he read more or less at grade level all the way through.

 

DS1 was public schooled. About halfway through first grade, he informed me that "reading sucks". He didn't like it, wasn't great at it, and didn't want to do it. He's graduating this month, and I can't remember the last time he brought home anything other than an A for English class. He didn't get into it until near the end of grade two (and tested as gifted in early grade three). 

 

DD1 is homeschooled...not exactly unschooled...I guess I'd call us "relaxed, eclectic" (which, in my world, at least, is shorthand for "making it up as we go along"). She was printing her alphabet, and completely fascinated by it, by the time she was about 2.5 or 3. and was way ahead of the curve on her pre-reading skills. She just turned eight last month, and is only just starting to really read. She frequently tells me she "can't" read such-and-such, but when I sit down with her, she can.

 

DS2 is also homeschooled (relaxed, eclectic). This was his kindergarten year. We did very little, if any, work on reading. He's reading at somewhere between a grade one and grade two level, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's at grade three or higher by the end of the summer. It's all self-driven, and he just loves the process of decoding words (dd1 doesn't - and the gazillion exceptions to all rules of phonics, spelling, grammar, etc. drive her orderly little brain crazy!).

 

Between all these people (and others - siblings, friends, etc.), I'm becoming convinced that most people learn to read when they're ready to learn. We can maybe push it a little, but I don't think there's any benefit to it. I was ready at about four, as was dh. DS2 was ready at about four or four and a half. DS1 was ready at about seven. DD1 is just barely ready now, at eight. It hasn't been about the method of education. It's been about each learner's readiness for learning to read.


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#13 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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Aww, don't let her get to you, OP. In fact, I bet if you come back in a few days and reread what you wrote, you'll wonder why it ever upset you. I mean, take this...

 

 

Quote:
Mom comes to town and tells me we do not live normal lives kids should be in school where they will have friends

 

I'll agree homeschoolers don't live normal lives, but then small business owners don't either. And if you paint your living room walls chartreuse, you aren't practicing normal interior decorating, etc.... WHO CARES?! You strive for "normal" for stuff like your health and the functionality of your car, not for your lifestyle. She says kids "should" be in school, but, um, who made her the authority?

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#14 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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Don't let her undermine you. I know that is hard. Just put it out of your mind. I find that in times like this, it helps to read every single last bit of anti-goverment run school materials I can find and things on reclaiming childhood and so on. 

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#15 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks mamas for all your encouragement, i really needed it...  Back to life as usually the visit is over and we are back to fishing most mornings... lol THANK YOU!!!!! ♥

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#16 of 25 Old 06-08-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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When I saw this mention of "normal" it reminded me of this article by Diane Flynn Keith of Homefires.com:

http://www.homefires.com/articles/odd_children.asp

 

Quote:

 

 

I'll agree homeschoolers don't live normal lives, but then small business owners don't either. And if you paint your living room walls chartreuse, you aren't practicing normal interior decorating, etc.... WHO CARES?! You strive for "normal" for stuff like your health and the functionality of your car, not for your lifestyle. She says kids "should" be in school, but, um, who made her the authority?



 

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#17 of 25 Old 06-14-2011, 09:02 AM
 
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Have to jump in. My 6 yr old was public schooled this year. Can only read a few years and has social anxieties. It sounds like you are doing great. I really doubt it has *anything* to do with school/unschool. It's just your mom making you crazy! I've resolved to be better with my girls!


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#18 of 25 Old 06-19-2011, 08:24 PM
 
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People who don't "get" homeschooling will play the "socialization" card every chance they get...my Mom told me I would RUIN my son when we decided to homeschool.  He was a very VERY social 6 year old and even after three years of homeschooling he is still a VERY social 9 year old. I think kids learn to read at their own pace and they learn to socialize at their own pace.  Jamming things down their throat through organized schooling may make it seem like they are picking things up on a schedule but I think it's often just setting them up for trouble down the road.  It's funny to me that we accept that our kids will roll over, crawl, walk, talk and do a whole schwack of other things on their own but suddenly they hit 4 or 5 or 6 and there is a schedule we have to keep them on.  Sounds like you and your daughters are happy with the way things are so I don't see the point in changing them!

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#19 of 25 Old 06-19-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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You are amazing and such a dedicated Mom!  Your children are so fortunate! 

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#20 of 25 Old 06-20-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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My son is one who needs to master before he performs.  He *could* read alot more than he let on until he was around 10 and I 'caught' him reading a book one day, lol.  It'll come, don't push.  I had a friend whose son was reading really well pretty early.  I used to get the impression that she thought her son was somehow smarter than mine.  shrug.gif  Mine plays 2 instruments and paints like you wouldn't believe.  Whatever, right?!  I personally never understood why it's such a big deal to "read early".  Who cares?  As long as they read by the time they're 11 I won't stress about it at all.

 

Anyway, my middle dd started reading around 6.  But she sucks at math, just like I do (I mean, I can do the basics w/no problem-the rest never interested me).  I am still not sure what my youngest (4)will do.  She seems to be alot like her brother and very musically inclined, but to play the piano she does have to learn more letters so she may be interested earlier because she needs it to learn something else.  But at 4 she can play several songs all the way through by rote.  She can tell you each part of the anatomy of whatever livestock we're butchering for the table.  Everyone learns according to their lifestyle and desires. 

 

I wanna go fishing every morning!  What a wonderful start to the day! 


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#21 of 25 Old 06-25-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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As a mom who has unschooled 2 boys since birth, you sound like you are on the right track.

People don't always get it, but trust yourself and your children.

You can't learn more about the world that when you live in it.

I couldn't pay my kids to go to school, as teens all of their friends wish they were unschooled and all the parents say how smart, sweet and happy my kids are.

You can do this. I would love to be so close to the beach especially when my boys were little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamamoogs View Post

I am feeling a bit alone and confused after a visit from  my mom out of state (we were are orginally from), we unschool our 6 year old almost 7 DD and 4 yr old DD we live in an area where there arent many homeschoolers around and my DD is very shy about playing with schooled children, we did go to a co-op one day a week but that is over till sept and it is quite far away so we wont be going much this summer which means we may not see her friends she has made in that group, we have lived in this area for three years and I myself havent made much friends at all, a few moms we see here and there but not many... My oldest takes art class for two hours every monday so she is with kids then. Our days consist of going to the beach a couple of hours taking walks and going to the playground and a few trips to the store  thrown in here and there, but my children spend their days with me...

 

Mom comes to town and tells me we do not live normal lives kids should be in school where they will have friends ( my girls dont want to go to school they are quite happy being schooled at home by me) I mean we arent super social but my kids do play with others at the playground art class swim lessons ... they were both in ballet last year, so we arent exactly isolated.

 

our 6 yr old isnt reading yet and doesnt seem to be ready at this time, she knows her letters and all the sounds and a ton of sight words but wont sit down and read a book, she says she cant, so we dont push she does a bit of addition and subtraction each day, she can write beautifully, she loves to draw and make art projects and loves to color she is a wiz on the pc...  my 4 yr old loves to color and watch a bit of tv and she too is a wiz on the pc... she is learning her numbers knows her alphabets and can recognize a few numbers and letters on paper.

 

I felt we were doing great until the horrid visit from mom now I am starting to wonder if this whole homeschooling is going to work, and I am questioning why my DD isnt reading yet and doesnt show any desire to learn to.  I dont know what to do I am very upset so I figured I would come here and get some advice from all of you.  If I have to hear one more time from my mom how my 6 yr old niece is reading and has tons of friends I am going to scream!  I love where we live it is beautiful and freeing and I so dont want to be back into a boring get up go to wrok drop kids off at school lifestyle but at the same time I am afraid I am doing the wrong thing..  thanks for reading.



 


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#22 of 25 Old 06-27-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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It's so wonderful to see that others also don't want to go back to the "boring get up to go to work, drop them off at school lifestyle" !!!!! I need to hear someone say that to keep MY confidence up!

 

Also, the article at Homefires.com on My Homeschooled Children Are Odd and Yours Will Be Too, is amazing! I was homeschooled my whole life and I STILL question homeschooling from time to time, like I still wonder if I'm properly "socialized". Haha! I've been dealing with that word since I was 6 years old. It's a lifestyle choice that's swimming upstream pretty much...er, forever. But I got to do so many amazing things with my life without living in a box, and I can only hope my children get some of that too.

 

BTW, we believe in beach time in a big way in this family also! :)      

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#23 of 25 Old 07-08-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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There's a really good book about why it's better to let kids learn to read at their own pace "Better Late Than Early" by Raymond Moore.  If you haven't read it already, it will give you solid reasons for the path you are choosing for your children. 

Taking criticism from a parent is difficult.  Just remember the reasons why you are doing what you are doing.

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#24 of 25 Old 08-14-2011, 05:21 AM
 
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My mom is a teacher and it's impossible for her not to tell me that I'm doing my children a disservice by unschooling.  But she's got no trust in a child's desire to learn because all she knows is school and school kills that desire.  At the beginning I did a lot of reading, John Holt is my personal favorite.  For awhile I told myself that I just had to trust him for a little while and see what happened.  And before I knew it my seven year old did start to read (with hardly any instruction from me) and I've just been watching her open up recently.  Turning 7 was her turning point, she wants to know about her world, interact with it on a more grown up level.  She still plays, but not the same way she once did...she now incorporates reading and math into her play :)  (joseph chilton pearce talks in his book "magical child" about the transition that happens at 7).  Anyhow, she's just as bright as can be, always asking questions that if I can't answer she asks me to google for her.  And I'm finding that all of a sudden she does 'know' a lot of stuff and i've 'taught' her hardly anything at all.  We just share in this life experience together, and some days that looks like trips to aquariums and children's museums and other days it looks like a couple of phonics or math worksheets, but mostly it looks like playing and reading and cooking and cleaning.  And all the while she really is learning! I say, thank your mom for her care in concern but listen to your heart and trust your children (and the amazing evolutionary process that brought our species here...... if we didn't want to learn, we'd still be single celled organisms!   Happy unschooling.

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#25 of 25 Old 08-14-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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you know, no matter what you do with your kids, and how well you feel they're doing, your parent or anyone else who is heavily invested in the public school system (or private school for that matter) is not going to see the results as positive.  it's important to maintain their faith in what they do, why else would they teach? 

having worked in a school system, and having observed people in denial about the very obvious failures in the system, i really believe that teachers-- while they mean well-- have to have a great amount of buy-in, and therefore denial when it doesn't work.  that also means they have to convince themselves that methods that don't involve schooling aren't effective.  i REALLY wouldn't take it personally.  if your mom saw things your way (and correctly ;)  ) she'd have to think about whether her education and career have been worthwhile; it's much easier to deny reality than to question one's reason to keep going, you know?

 

op- sorry, i thought i read your mum was a teacher too.. sorry... but it sounds like your family is wonderful, just ignore the naysayers and keep on keepin on....


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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