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Old 07-09-2011, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LoriBelle View Post

The question was, and I'm paraphrasing, "what on earth is there to like about public school?"


That's quite a bit of paraphrasing of my question. Maybe someone else said something like that but all I asked was, "What did you like about school?" No, "What on earth" type of exclamation from me.

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:08 AM
 
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Ha!  And I hate following written instructions and would much rather make up my own patterns.  Which I don't write down, lol.

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Oh, haha! I didn't even really consider math skills all that important for knitting unless you want to write your own patterns or are using a very basic guide. There are so many patterns out there that already have all the math figured out that all you have to do is follow the instructions. Yeah, you would probably need to know something about numbers but not really need to know how to do any calculations. Heck, I loved math and took calculus through college but if I have a choice between a knitting pattern with the math already figured out or one where I have to do my own calculations, I'm going to pick the one already done almost every time.

NellieKatz ~ I tend to lean more toward the RU side of things. I don't limit screen time for my kids and I don't limit what they see much, either. I do have some rules like no adult sexual content or too much violence. So far, they're young enough that they aren't really interested in that sort of thing anyway. It's actually kind of funny because, although I'm the wacky, permissive RU parent, my 7yo ds' friends are allowed to watch and play much higher rated movies and video games. But if unschoolers have things to do and include their children in those things all the time, there's really no need to limit screen time because the family would be involved in other pursuits together at various times.

Anyway, at 8 I wouldn't worry too much about the boy choosing video over reading. The reading will come when he wants or needs it. I was an avid reader when I was younger, before cable. Now I much prefer to watch a documentary over reading a book, mostly because I don't have time to read books. I get constantly interrupted and can't keep track of where I was. Personally, I don't retain any more from a book than I do from a documentary but I don't retain much anyway.

I'm going to assume that we had very similar educations attending school. I was made to memorize the same things as you, most likely. I still have to stop and figure things out. I don't remember everything I was made to memorize for a test in school. Thank goodness for the calculator on my cell phone. lol.gif And I did very well in math in school, learned Algebra from my dad when I was 7 or 8, and have a bachelor's degree in biology so it's not like I struggled to get this stuff while in school.

It's more important to me that my children know how to find or figure out what they need than they memorize facts and figures. To me, being able to think and learn is much better sign of intelligence than being able to spit out facts from rote memorization. For example, the schooled kid next door who is the same age and in the same grade my ds would be in if he were in school may have memorized 20+20 but he doesn't know what it means in the real world. My ds may have to write out the problem or count on his fingers but he also understands how those numbers apply to things in his real life, like if he has 2 $20 bills, he has $40 and he can figure out what he can and cannot buy with all or part of that money. The kid next door has no clue how to do that.

It can take a while to get to the point where you really can see all of these things a equivalent. I've been unschooling in some form or another for 8+ years now so I've had a lot of time to process all of this. I still have moments when I get worried that my child isn't doing this or that yet but it usually passes pretty quickly. I definitely can see how it passes much more quickly now than even a couple of years ago.


I do see other people's kids who will sit and watch videos much much more than my own ds, so I understand some kids are different and more drawn to watching tv/dvds.  Ds will even complain about visiting kids who will just sit and stare when the tv is on, so we usually turn it off (he likes it on for background).  But its hard to judge knowing my ds's videos are new to them or something they haven't seen since their last visit.  All I know is unlimited screen time isn't a problem for my ds.  Perhaps he has more screen time than another parent would find comfortable but I see no ill effects and he's happy to do other things when the opportunity arises.

 

My ds doesn't have math facts memorized, either.  I feel like his understanding of math concepts is very strong, however.  Since I went through school plugging numbers into formulas and getting good grades but feeling like I lacked a true understanding of math, I'd prefer him to fully understand the concepts.  Of course it isn't an either/or situation but my particular ds neither sees the point in memorizing nor enjoys it at this point.  I'm pleased with how much math he does and how much he understands, both consumerist math and that in computer games.  He understands much more than either his father or I at his age, even if he couldn't fill out a worksheet.  Just yesterday, he was explaining percentages to me.  I hadn't realize he had come across them and understood them. 


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Old 07-09-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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Anyway, feel free to carry on with the discussion you were in the middle of, but I did want to clarify what I was trying to say when I posted, since it seems to have been interpreted defensively or as an attack on homeschooling, which it most certainly wasn't intended to be.

 

Best to all of you!

I didn't take it that way.  Honestly, I'm glad to hear of people who have good school experiences.  I think people were responding more to others who seemed to think school was a reasonable first step for a thriving homeschooled kid who expressed interest in school, just because some people have a good experience.  I was just pointing out those things (that you liked about school) are available in my own homeschool community and that's where I'd look first.  Your good and valid experience doesn't mean unschooling isn't a good and valid experience.  I know YOU weren't saying that but the unschooling support forum has been getting a bit of attention lately by people who aren't interested in unschooling and don't think it's a valid educational choice.  Of course it's fine to have one's own opinions but it isn't fine to come and be judgmental or debate the merits of unschooling on this particular forum.  Points of view that think other ways are good (like yours) are fine if they aren't being closed minded about the possibility of unschooling being equally good.winky.gif

 


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Old 07-09-2011, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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LoriBelle ~ What 4evermom said. I didn't take your comments as an attack on anything. I was just saying that I didn't think any of those things were exclusive to school and couldn't be achieved in the homeschooling or unschooling environment. Also, I didn't say the other kids in the neighborhood are never available to interact with my ds. I don't see them during the middle week days, even in summer. I assume that's because they attend day camps, probably because the parents work. Although, I do know some families who send their children to summer day camps even though one parent doesn't WOH. My ds does play with man of the kids in the neighborhood in the evenings and on the weekends. During the middle of the day Monday through Friday, however, there is basically only the one kid who lives next door who is available to play. Even this kid is now not as available because his parents have decided he needs to do school work during the summer so he doesn't fall behind again next year.

I am definitely going to make more of an effort to take my kids to the secular homeschool group park days. I think they changed the time and made it an hour later so it won't be so hard for us to get ready in time. Of course, now is the worst possible time since I'm due to have a baby in about 3 weeks or so. My mother will be here for about a month so, hopefully, she'll be able to take my older boys.

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Old 07-09-2011, 11:06 AM
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Hmm. That comment is helpful. It helps ease my panic. Because maybe that is what's happening with us. My son (8) draws 5 or 6 pages of comics per night, 99% of them with empty dialog bubbles (except for an occasional "Whoa!" and "Ahhh!"), and I interpret that as a need that isn't being met. I interpret it as "he needs to write, wants to write, and can't." But what you're saying is, it's not important to him right now that he's not "able" to write the dialog. He's fine with it.

 

My son and I talked about this today. He said he doesn't do the dialog bubbles because he doesn't WANT to. It's not fun; he's totally absorbed in the drawing. And yet when he insists on verbally telling me everything that the characters are supposed to be saying, I interpret that as second-best. In other words, here he is weaving this great story and yet he can only do the pictures, not the dialog. I see a deficit. According to what you are saying, my son probably doesn't see it as a deficit; instead it's just that he's not ready.


I think so, yeah... he likes drawing and making up stories, and that's the fun part.

You could offer to scribe for him, if that seems like something you think he would want - offer to write dialog he tells you in the speech bubbles yourself. You know your son, and for some kids that would feel like an offer to be helpful and for others it would feel like what they were doing wasn't good enough. You might even want to make a photocopy of the comic first, so the dialog would be written only on the copy.

I was actually in a homeschool group with this blogger when Rain was little, and we went to a writing group at her house. I think she's more unschool-y than unschool-er, but she's spent a lot of time thinking and learning about how kids learn to write, and she has some neat ideas.

 
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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I think so, yeah... he likes drawing and making up stories, and that's the fun part.

You could offer to scribe for him, if that seems like something you think he would want - offer to write dialog he tells you in the speech bubbles yourself. You know your son, and for some kids that would feel like an offer to be helpful and for others it would feel like what they were doing wasn't good enough. You might even want to make a photocopy of the comic first, so the dialog would be written only on the copy.

Maybe he wants the option of changing the story each time he tells it, too.  There is something so final about writing it down.  Photocopying is a great idea!
 

 


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Old 07-09-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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Maybe he wants the option of changing the story each time he tells it, too.  There is something so final about writing it down.  Photocopying is a great idea!


Photocopying *is* a great idea. If your ds is keen I could see turning dialog-writing into a game. Make a few copies with blank balloons. On one copy fill in the balloons with what you *guess* the characters are saying. Do another copy with the most outrageously random things you can think of. Heck, do a few different comedic versions. Do one collaboratively, where you fill in the bubbles in the first frame, he does the second frame (without being able to see what you wrote in the first frame), you do the next frame (without being able to see what he wrote), and so on. Give copies to his friends, his dad, his aunt, and ask them to make up dialog to fit. And finally do a copy scribing for your ds as he intended the dialog. Save them all, compare them, giggle over them.

 

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Old 07-09-2011, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are all such cool ideas of things to do with the comics. So fun! I really like the idea that he may be leaving the bubbles blank so he can change the story.

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Old 07-09-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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tessie ~ With unschooling, though, the desire to want to knit more or adjust patterns or whatever would then lead the child to want to learn to read more or do more math. The reading and the math don't have to come first. That is exactly the type of interest that leads to learning other skills in order to follow that interest more. Instead of learning to read or doing certain math equations or calculations for some possible future need, the child learns those things for a specific, personal need right now. That makes it much more meaningful.

 

 

I think we're pretty much splitting hairs. The reading/maths skill needs to be there early on to be able to develop the interest further. winky.gif  I agree that a skill learned because it's of interest to you will be more meaningful than once you're forced to learn - at least at the time of learning. But then some things you learn because you're advised you ought to learn them turn out to be jolly useful later on. I'm thinking of my sighs over yet another Friday morning times table test. Something I personally would have been reluctant to learn without a push.  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

 

 


 

 

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Old 07-09-2011, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we're pretty much splitting hairs. The reading/maths skill needs to be there early on to be able to develop the interest further.


Maybe. I'm not sure I agree that those skills need to be there early on. They may be needed at some point to develop an interest further but there's really know way to know when that point will be until it comes. KWIM?

The point is that with unschooling the child is able to develop the skills and knowledge that he needs on his time and in his way and order as he sees fit. The other thing that I think is very different from schooling that a lot of people have a hard time with is that all things are of equal importance. So, learning to read or do math isn't more important than learning to knit. And there are plenty of other ways to learn multiplication than memorizing multiplication tables.

My ds has not been made to memorize multiplication tables so he wouldn't be able to recite them if quized, however he does multiplication and division just about every day without even thinking about it. He doesn't have to count on his fingers or write out the problem. He just seems to intuitively know it, even if he doesn't know what it's called.

Another example using my ds, he doesn't write much but has recently taken an interest in sewing. It just occurred to me that the sewing is probably helping him develop the fine motor skills needed to write. That's not a goal of mine in supporting his interest in sewing. I support him simply because he's interested. The development of better fine motor skills is just a component of the whole experience.

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Old 07-09-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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I'm thinking of my sighs over yet another Friday morning times table test. Something I personally would have been reluctant to learn without a push.  ROTFLMAO.gif


I'm not sure you can say how things would have been i.e. that you wouldn't have ever learned your timestables without being pushed. How do you know? My own kids have all chosen to learn them without being pushed. One at about the usual age, one somewhat early, and two quite "late" by school standards. If those two had been told they needed to learn them when they were at 3rd grade math level, it would have taken pushing to overcome their reluctance, as in your case. Left to direct their own education they chose to learn them when they were about to venture into algebra and could see how much easier it was going to be to do so with the "facts" memorized. It took them almost no time.

 

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:09 PM
 
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I think we're pretty much splitting hairs. The reading/maths skill needs to be there early on to be able to develop the interest further. winky.gif  I agree that a skill learned because it's of interest to you will be more meaningful than once you're forced to learn - at least at the time of learning. But then some things you learn because you're advised you ought to learn them turn out to be jolly useful later on. I'm thinking of my sighs over yet another Friday morning times table test. Something I personally would have been reluctant to learn without a push.  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

 


I love splitting hairs!  Or more precisely, debating whether or not we are splitting hairs and not on a different pelt entirely (forgive the rampant metaphor!).  I've been reading "Instead of Education" by John Holt.  In it, he uses the example of a conversation with a student teacher: " 'Suppose a six-year-old asked you how a jet airplane worked, and suppose he wasn't interested in studying Physics books, how could you explain it to him?' "  (I know this is a bit beyond the issue of "basic building blocks", but bear with me.)   He asked her if she would tell him he had to study physics for "six to ten years" before she could answer?  No, she would use an example he has within his experience (a balloon letting its air out) and explain it as best she could.  

     "But telling the child he had to study Physics in order to find out about the jet plane would be like telling him he had to study initial and final consonants, digraphs, and blends in order to find out what words say and mean.  With such advice we cut him off from his intention, his purpose, send him on a long detour [my italics].  We put things backwards.  Physics is not going to lead the child to jet engines, but wondering about jet planes will lead him to Physics.  In fact, wondering about jet planes is Physics.  The child asking the question is doing Physics."  

   ---from Instead of Education , page 84

 

Where I might have some agreement with you, is that I think some mathematical sense or understanding does precede others.  But so far I see this as completely separated from actually teaching them.  They arrive at this, even if they don't have the vocabulary.  What the vocabulary (number names, for example) does is allow you to know is that he understands this.  And you can communicate to him as well with the same vocabulary.  (Even "more" is at its essence a mathematical concept.)  But what 4yo doesn't count things?  And I might have given them the vocabulary, but they figured out all the rest (so far and still going).  How the hell does my (at the time) 5yo arrive at multiplication all by herself?  

     I know I am not expressing this part as clearly as it buzzes around inside my head.  I can't rightly say whether this vocabulary we give them at the counting stage helps them expand their mathematical understanding, or whether that understanding could continue without it.  I sense that it is a little of both.  So, in that very limited sense, I agree with you.

 

 


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Old 07-09-2011, 10:43 PM
 
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Hmm. That comment is helpful. It helps ease my panic. Because maybe that is what's happening with us. My son (8) draws 5 or 6 pages of comics per night, 99% of them with empty dialog bubbles (except for an occasional "Whoa!" and "Ahhh!"), and I interpret that as a need that isn't being met. I interpret it as "he needs to write, wants to write, and can't." But what you're saying is, it's not important to him right now that he's not "able" to write the dialog. He's fine with it.

 

My son and I talked about this today. He said he doesn't do the dialog bubbles because he doesn't WANT to. It's not fun; he's totally absorbed in the drawing. And yet when he insists on verbally telling me everything that the characters are supposed to be saying, I interpret that as second-best. In other words, here he is weaving this great story and yet he can only do the pictures, not the dialog. I see a deficit. According to what you are saying, my son probably doesn't see it as a deficit; instead it's just that he's not ready.

 



Err... I feel kind of weird posting this but... I urge you to read the book http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Comics-Invisible-Scott-Mccloud/dp/006097625X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310272787&sr=8-1 Understanding Comics.  My husband made me read it ROTFLMAO.gifand it has quite literally changed my life and my appreciation for comic books.  They still aren't my thing but I have a lot more respect for the process.  It would be very worthwhile for you to look at it just for yourself because then you can understand what your son is really building in his drawings.  It's amazing.  

 

Uhm... cause if you have this TOTALLY AMAZING BOOK al about how to make comics better and more awesome... wouldn't that be an awesome book to just leave sitting around the house for your son to marvel at as he develops more of an interest in being able to read it for himself.  But you should just buy it to read it yourself.  It really did change my life and relationship to comic art. thumb.gif


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Old 07-09-2011, 11:28 PM
 
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 I urge you to read the book 


Wow, this looks great! I've tried hard to develop an appreciation for graphic novels and comic books. I have a nephew who is finishing a PhD on Canadian graphic novels and a son who loves reading things in graphical / comic form. I've read a fair number in the past few years... and enjoyed them more and more as I got familiar with the genre. But I still feel like I'm missing some of the cues and conventions. I'm going to order a copy of this for me. Thanks for mentioning it.

 

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Old 07-09-2011, 11:50 PM
 
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this is a great discussion. i would like to chime in if that is ok...

we have 6 children 5 of whom are homeschooled at this time. dd#1 is in HS her choice, this fall ds#2 will be going to JrHS his choice. we tried many alternatives to actual finally being OK with school, but ultimately because i do believe that i need to let them follow their passions, if one of those passions is school then who am i to say no and if they know they can stop at anytime, i think that makes the experience better for them. Yes, they do have to follow the school rules and take classes that they may not be too interested in, but to them it is worth doing a few things they don't really want to do 100% to do the things they really want to do. i mean, i sort of see it like when i went to nursing school. some of the classes i LOVED but i did have to do some classes that really i didn't like so much because in the end i needed them to become a nurse. it is like that sometimes.

as for kids sort of "learning" to read and do math when they find a passion that needs them, i am not sure all kids will do this. my soon to be 10 year old is constantly struggling with his very poor reading and how it affects his ablility to explore deeper the things he loves. yes, he watches TV and does computer stuff, but he misses out (he has said this to me) on somethings due to not being able to read well. and honestly although i see a lot of value in TV and computer there is something about being able to read. so as un-unschoolly as this is, he has to read 20 minutes everyday and he loves it. but i had to sort of make this rule, because although he hated not being a good reader (or at the time even not reading at all) he was totally not motivated to do anything to better this situation. now he reads everyday and he is getting it slowly but surely. and now when we go out he will sometimes bring a book along about a topic he is interested in. he is still struggling, but it is getting better.

we have been dealing with the wanting to go to school thing with our soon to be 7 year old. thankfully there was a sort of middle ground here where we live. the city offers an "enrichment" program for homeschoolers. you can pick between 1-3 days a week to go to a "school" and do stuff. you are there all day like regular school. ds#3 is signed up for one day a week. he has been wanting to go to school since he was like 4. he asks every few months about it. we have put him in "classes" (ie art, gym, kung-fu, etc thru either a homeschool group OR the city) we have a wonderful homeschooling community and we do stuff at least 2 times a week with our friends (at least one day is just playing and hanging out). he loves his friends, but he wants to go to school so badly. i figure what is the harm? if i don't make it a big deal and if he knows he can stop any time then really what am i afraid of? because in the end it is my fears, my holding on to the dogma that is being a good unschooling parent that is keeping him from trying this out. and what does that say about me as a person who is confident in this choice i have made for my family if when it all comes down to it, if i am unable to let him explore this part of being a kid in the USA and i don't trust him, or what he wants then what am i doing this for anyways? it feels like, TO ME, that what i am doing is saying "you can explore and express yourself and learn what you want, only as long as i agree with your methods 100%" now NO i won't let him smoke crack or drink at 10 or join a gang just to try those things out... but to me comparing a test run of school to smoking crack, well that is silly. LOL but maybe to others it is the same thing. 

personally my school experience was really... well heck i don't even remember the names of my HS teachers. lol i wouldn't say it was bad, it just was sort of blaaaah. learning on my own has been much more rewarding for me. BUT dd#1 is LOVING high school, loves it. she loves the tests, the schedules, the ridgedness of it. i think it is nuts, BUT she is thriving and i think had i imposed my will and kept her home i would have a moody angry kid on my hands. instead i have this great human who is trying something out and doing wonderfully. i think the biggest thing to remember is EVERYONE is different, they all learn different, they all have different experiences they want to have. having a large family has really been an eye opener for me. you think everything is going to be this one certain way and then BAM! you get a kid who wants to do it 100% differently. LOL


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Old 07-10-2011, 09:41 AM
 
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mamaofthree, I think made a good point about kids and going to school, especially older kids.  Would you do the same for your soon-to-be-seven-yo?  Has having your older kids in school given you some confidence that school is a good option?  Or would that confidence be dependent on their age and experience?  If your 7yo wanted to go to school, would you let her now?


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Old 07-10-2011, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I'd like to know how you would feel about the youngest going to school full time, too. Like I've said before, I wouldn't have an issue with an older child, especially middle or high school age, going to school if he chooses. It's the very younger children that I'm concerned about.

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Old 07-10-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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if we didn't have this enrichment thing that we could do, i would try to find a good charter school (another benny of being here in AZ). i still think that as long as i don't make a big deal about it, he will do fine. and if say 4 months in he is done, then out he goes. i am not one to say "you have to do school for this amount of time" i have talked to him about trying to give it a couple weeks, but if after the first day he is hating it then out he comes. the same is for my older kids too. when dd was having issues we talked bout her staying home, but she didn't want to. the ball was in her court, if she felt she could handle it then i was ok. i don't see school as being a hellish pit. lol i think HS is way way better then any school, that is why i do it, BUT i don't know, he is so passionate about going that we are going to give it a go.

 

h


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Old 07-10-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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This might be tricky: at what point, when a child asks to go do you let him?  The first time?  When he puts up a fuss?  When he presents a printed and embossed list of grievances you must answer or else?  After a week of asking?  A month?  A year?  

    It seems we generally agree that older children could go.  Some or most would agree that younger children could go if they feel "passionate".  Working backwards from those obvious moments of "of course he can go", where would be the point where you might say, "no, I want you to give homeschooling a try"?

     And do you think that answer has changed now that you have seen that school can work when it is a choice?  If your oldest had asked when she was 7, would you have been so willing?


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Old 07-10-2011, 06:36 PM
 
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And here in PA, if you send a kid to 1st grade, even for a day, you have to begin filing as a homeschooler if you withdraw him.  You have to send in the affidavit, a list of objectives, maintain a book log and attendance, compile a portfolio, and hire an evaluator.  Otherwise, you can wait until the fall after the child turns 8, typically 3rd grade.


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Old 07-10-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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interesting question. my oldest son (who is going to 8th grade in the fall) had no interest at all up until last year and i sort of held him off another year. my oldest child (dd#1) actually went to school thru 1/2 of 2nd grade when i pulled her out because i had found out about this wonderful thing called homeschooling. lol she was miserable and so was i. then around 6 grade ish she wanted to try again so we sent her to a "sudbury" like school but after 6 weeks she wanted to come back to HS. then at about 9th grade she tried again and after a move she didn't want to go back to school until 10th grade.

with ds#3 i have kept him out for 3 years now. one because it would be preschool and two because i just don't know how he would fit into a school. i worry that he might be labeled as ADD. thankfully we have this option or i might still push it back another year, if i couldn't find a suitable charter school. and like i have said if it sucks he doesn't have to go. maybe he will love it. i have no idea. he loves to do workbooks and drills (go figure, that stuff makes me NUTS!)  somedays he will even pack a backpack with books and pretend to be walking to school. and it isn't like we live in this kid rich neighborhood. i mean i know there are kids here because there is a school just a couple blocks away, but NO KIDS ever are outside except mine. even now that it is summer they are the only ones outside playing. so weird. plus the only person his whole life that has gone to school is his big sister. we have always had a great HS community, so it is a bit weird for me TBH that my kids want to go to school, that they crave that sort of structure. it is weird to me that since they have this choice what they choose is something like that. ds#2 has no interest what so ever in going to school, he is very relaxed and isn't a huge fan of structure. ds#4, well he is 4 so he pretty much does what 4 year olds do... lol. i don't know. i know dd#1 was miserable in 1st grade, but at the time it wasn't her choice to go, maybe that has made all the difference. now we HS i can't imagine it any other way, yet here we are being drug back into schools, BY THE KIDS no less. lol the more i am away from the system the more i dislike it. but i feel like i have to at least let them try.

does this make any sense? lol i feel like i am all over the place.


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Old 07-11-2011, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And here in PA, if you send a kid to 1st grade, even for a day, you have to begin filing as a homeschooler if you withdraw him.  You have to send in the affidavit, a list of objectives, maintain a book log and attendance, compile a portfolio, and hire an evaluator.  Otherwise, you can wait until the fall after the child turns 8, typically 3rd grade.


See, this is part of what I'm worried about if I were to let my ds try school for a few days or weeks. We don't have to do as much in NC, just register, keep attendance (which is really silly to me), administer a nationally standardized test every year and possibly be inspected. We are already registered as a homeschool since we had to when ds2 turned 7 but, since he's never been to school, I still feel like we are somewhat off the radar. I'm worried that if he goes to school and then I pull him out, someone at the school might try to investigate us further. I went on the state's department of non-public education website yesterday but couldn't find anything about programs allowing HS children to try school or participate in extracurricular activities or anything like that.

mamaofthree ~ I sort of understand what you are saying. My oldest ds was in public school until about halfway through 7th grade, when I finally pulled him out. He was absolutely miserable in school and I should have pulled him out sooner but I didn't have the confidence. It took him getting suicidal and making violent threats toward teachers and school administrators for me to finally take action. He spent a year at home but the last half of what would be his 8th grade I was talked into putting him in an alternative private school by my dh and a family counselor we were seeing. He seemed to enjoy that ok but we had to move that summer and there aren't any alternative schools where we live now. I gave him the choice of going to the local high school or homeschooling. He chose school. He went for the whole year of 9th grade but never went back. In NC, a kid can drop out at 16 without parental consent so we didn't have to register as a homeschool then. I hoped that he would eventually get interested in homeschooling but he never did. He did get his GED at 18 and tried the community college but formal classes are just not for him. FWIW, he was labeled as having ADHD by school psychiatrists when he was in 2nd grade. So, we sort of went through the choice thing with him except that he had already spent more time in school than out so he had a different perspective than your kids.

Reading about your situation makes me feel a little better about the fact that my middle ds says he wants to go to school, whether I feel comfortable letting him go now or not. It makes me feel less like it's my fault, something I've done wrong or not done that has made his homeschooling life lacking. Of course, we've only been officially homeschooling for a year since compulsory school age is 7 here. I wonder how many parents who send their 5yos to full day kindergarten know that. None that I've mentioned it to did. They are very surprised to hear that they weren't legally required to send their children to school until they were 7.

Since this has come up, he has pulled out the workbooks I got for him and has been working in them almost every day all on his own. So, maybe that's something he needs, a bit more structured learning at home.

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Old 07-11-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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I'm not sure you can say how things would have been i.e. that you wouldn't have ever learned your timestables without being pushed. How do you know? My own kids have all chosen to learn them without being pushed. One at about the usual age, one somewhat early, and two quite "late" by school standards. If those two had been told they needed to learn them when they were at 3rd grade math level, it would have taken pushing to overcome their reluctance, as in your case. Left to direct their own education they chose to learn them when they were about to venture into algebra and could see how much easier it was going to be to do so with the "facts" memorized. It took them almost no time.

 

Miranda

 

 

I can say as I know myself pretty well. ;) I was one of those kids who needed to be pushed to achieve, particularly when it was something I perceived as difficult or boring. I needed direction and a deadline. Still do. Leave me to my own devices and I'll meander along and never get anything done. But then one educational philosophy can't fit all. :)

 


 

 

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Old 07-11-2011, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can say as I know myself pretty well. wink1.gif I was one of those kids who needed to be pushed to achieve, particularly when it was something I perceived as difficult or boring. I needed direction and a deadline. Still do. Leave me to my own devices and I'll meander along and never get anything done. But then one educational philosophy can't fit all. :)

 


 

 


I think the point is that this is an assumption that a lot of people make about themselves and others, especially children, without ever having had the chance to do anything completely on their own. It is very possible that you got so used to having someone else tell you what to do and when that you now rely on that.


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Old 07-11-2011, 03:05 PM
 
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I think the point is that this is an assumption that a lot of people make about themselves and others, especially children, without ever having had the chance to do anything completely on their own. It is very possible that you got so used to having someone else tell you what to do and when that you now rely on that.
 


I am well aware of the point. What makes you think that I didn't also have opportunity to do things on my own terms? Why assume that formal education has turned me into a zombie, unable to think for myself?

 

 

 

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Old 07-11-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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I am well aware of the point. What makes you think that I didn't also have opportunity to do things on my own terms? Why assume that formal education has turned me into a zombie, unable to think for myself?


Nobody's calling you a zombie. You simply mentioned that you are the sort of person who needed to be pushed to achieve. MarineWife suggested that there's no way you can assume that you would have ended up the same way if you had been unschooled. Seriously: it seems to make a very big difference if a child has *never* been prodded, pushed, bribed, pressured or coerced into learning things. I see the difference in my kids an in the unschooled kids I know. If you haven't witnessed it first-hand it can be difficult to believe, but I've seen it: the autonomously educated kids I know have turned out differently in this respect. I suspect you would have too. I suspect I would have too.

 

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Old 07-11-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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Nobody's calling you a zombie. You simply mentioned that you are the sort of person who needed to be pushed to achieve. MarineWife suggested that there's no way you can assume that you would have ended up the same way if you had been unschooled. Seriously: it seems to make a very big difference if a child has *never* been prodded, pushed, bribed, pressured or coerced into learning things. I see the difference in my kids an in the unschooled kids I know. If you haven't witnessed it first-hand it can be difficult to believe, but I've seen it: the autonomously educated kids I know have turned out differently in this respect. I suspect you would have too. I suspect I would have too.

 

Miranda


Can you elaborate on this difference? Is it something you can detect when encountering children? If you met my child, would you be able to detect instantly that his education so far has consisted of being "prodded, pushed, bribed, pressured and coerced"? I'm not being snarky here. You make it sound as though the differences between your unschooled children and my schooled drones (forgive me, but that's the impression your words convey) are so striking as to be readily apparent, and I'm wondering just what it is that you see.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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I can say as I know myself pretty well. ;) I was one of those kids who needed to be pushed to achieve, particularly when it was something I perceived as difficult or boring. I needed direction and a deadline. Still do. Leave me to my own devices and I'll meander along and never get anything done. But then one educational philosophy can't fit all. :)

 


I'm the same way, and it's one of the reasons I'm so pro-unschooling: it really sucks to need someone to hold your hand like that all the time, so it'd be nice if I had gotten more practice at pushing myself when I was younger.

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Old 07-11-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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I am sure that there are some school children whose intrinsic motivation is pristine and strong and who don't need to be pushed to learn things like the timestables or trigonometry. But I do think that unschooling is an almost sure-fire way to preserve intrinsic motivation. No, it's not something you can see at a glance. It's something about the relationship these kids have with their own learning that they can't articulate and aren't even aware of, that shows itself in occasional quirky choices they make about how to spend their time. What I notice in my kids and other unschoolers is stuff like spending 7 hours one night learning trigonometry in order to figure out how computer games simulate 3D physics, or hours a day over Christmas and New Year's reading Canadian history, or doing two hours of A-flat-major 3-octave scales on violin in the hope of nailing a complicated run in a new piece of repertoire, or working out Pascal's triangle for the sheer delight of seeing the numbers accumulate into the tens of thousands, deciding to get fit and training so thoroughly and consistently that resting heart rate drops from 65 to 48 in two and a half months, reading through an entire Psychology 101 college textbook in one sitting, spending two hours practicing giving correct change -- when none of these challenges are assigned or directed by teachers or mentors, they're just undertaken for the pleasure of the challenge or because they'll become tools for greater understanding and facility with something the child desires. 

 

I think that I had a few areas as a child where I exhibited similar high levels of self-motivation. I was considered a very "driven" kid. However almost none of my learning drives strayed into the realm of academics. In academics my motivation came from the various "prods" that are commonly used: conformity pressure, grades, academic awards, teachers' praise, assignment deadlines, making the cut for the advanced stream or the honour roll. My kids are as likely to develop a burning desire to understand the geometry of an ellipse as they are to develop a burning desire to learn to bunny-hop their mountain bikes up onto the deck. And just as likely to spend a sunny afternoon in July working on either of those.

 

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Old 07-11-2011, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Miranda answered the questions much better than I could have.

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