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#31 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LuckiestGirl......thank you so much. I have read John Holt and loved it! I refuse to back up why we unschool. My 17 yo.....someone has been reading my very old posts! He is an amazing kid who is a life learner and has nothing to do with this post at all! My 6yo whom this post is about hasn't played xbox in about 3 weeks. He doesn't sit for hours and hours gaming.......he plays and excels very quickly. I know he wants to read, and I know he sees that its hard work and he gives me the amount of time he can and I work with that. I assume these replies are from Americans, who have access to daily papers and libraries and museums and all sorts of free activities. I have very very limited resources, which makes it a bit more frustrating. However what child at the age of 6 can live on a island in the Caribbean and go snorkeling and exploring and hiking and cave jumping. He will forever remember this time of his childhood and living beach side.

Someone posted to write down everything he does do and your right, it is a lot!
Thanks to the mama's who have defended unschooling, I don't have the energy or time to do so.
If you haven't read John Holt........I suggest you do so asap!
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#32 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 09:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

I don't mean to be rude, but are you yourself an unschooler?  Have you read John Holt's work?  Or Alison McKee's Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves? 


Phew! Thank you, Luckiestgirl. This board is supposed to be a support board. There are at least a couple of people posting in this thread who don't seem to understand unschooling in the slightest and I was getting all hot under the collar reading my way through their posts as they seemed to be kicking away at the philosophy itself. Perhaps unknowingly, if they're truly uninformed about unschooling.

 

Thank you for your post. Now I don't have to spend an hour calming myself down so I can write one.

 

Miranda

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#33 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 09:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post

I think that video games and unschooling are pretty much atithetical to each other. To develop a spirit of discovery and follow interests that teach you about the world you need to not have that massive time and attention suck and deficits in attention span that video games offer. It's like trying to get a child to eat normal food for dinner when they have McDonalds for lunch every day.


What video games have you been playing?! bigeyes.gif When I was little, I learned to read primarily by playing video games. Ten years later, I learned to read again, in Japanese, by playing video games. Even my anti-unschooling mom counted it as reading homework when I played video games (it'd probably depend on the video game). I think video games can be especially good reading practice because (1) it's often frustrating to not be able to read them BUT they still offer fun even if you do have reading difficulties, whereas a book would be nothing but a chore, and (2) they tend to have more interesting stories than kids' books.

 

Never mind the math practice and all the things video games inspired me to learn about. History, various mythologies, storytelling, Japanese culture, drawing, etc.... And that's when you're just talking about playing video games. Most gamers have at least a little interest in how video games are made, and since they're by far the most cross-disciplinary medium in existence (storytelling, writing, project management, 2D art, 3D art, animation, programming [algebra, trigonometry, and sometimes physics], music composition, cinematography, acting)....

 

I think you need to already have a spirit of discovery for video games to even be fun.

 

It's one thing if you don't like kids using electronics, but to take one little line in the OP's list of positive things about her son and act like that must be the cause of all his education-related problems...?

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#34 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 11:01 PM
 
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My ds (15) has recently emerged from a solid five years of nearly obsessive computer gaming. The things he has learned ... wow! He improved his reading, his critical thinking, learned to touch-type at a blistering pace, he learned a lot of physics and trigonometry from tinkering around with physics game engines, chemistry (from research when modding WX Sand), 3-D mapping (from the sandbox modes in many games), economics (from following video game development and marketing models), computer programming, basic wiring using logic gates (from the simulation in Garry's Mod), world history (from the settings of many games), developed a passion for swing music (thanks to Galaxy New Radio on Fallout3), learned to write to express ideas and opinions (on developers and modders forums), learned video-editing and through machinima, HTML coding, web-page design, Photoshopping, computer tech support, hardware repair and trouble-shooting .... I'm sure I've missed many things.

 

He managed to make the time to become a wonderful classical violist, and sings in an awesome auditioned youth choir that tours a fair bit. He also bakes a lovely loaf of herbed French bread from scratch. But there's no doubt the majority of his learning has emerged from his interaction with the computer and his passion for gaming.

 

Anyway, the reason I'm posting is that he started school part-time a month ago after being always unschooled. And even by the school's standards his video-game-centred unschooling seemed to have been judged very effective. He's been placed in academic grade-level courses in English and History, advanced (11th grade) writing and math and he's doing very well in all of them.

 

Miranda

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#35 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 11:46 PM
 
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ok first of all I need to apologise. I'm not a huge user of Mothering and I didn't quite realise that this had been posted under unschooling. I have a lot of respect for unschoolers, but I wouldn't call ourselves unschoolers. Didn't mean to invade a support forum, and also didn't realise that the OP wanted unschooling specific ideas. Sorry about that.

 

Just a bit about where i', coming from, in case you can glean something of use from it. We did start out as unschoolers, but I found, with my oldest, that he often needed or wanted help that he struggled to articulate. Reading would be a great example of this. I suspect strongly he is quite dyslexic, and so, although he did want to read, he was not able to do so without fairly systematic phonics instruction (basically a computer based program and a lot of us telling him what each word meant. he STILL, at 8, struggles with bdqp though despite being a fluent reader). I did have to ask him to read some days, this was more about a lack of confidence than a lack of willing on his part (had he said he REALLY did not want to then I would not have made him), and a lot of my job was providing a jollying along role. OTOH, he wasn't the OP's child, he was teaching himself to read but struggling with certain things (classic dyslexia stuff) and also with confidence.

 

I've read pretty much everything by John Holt. I mean everything, including back issues of GWS. I was SURE I would unschool before ds was born. I converted others to unschooling. Then I got ds, who both really wanted to read, and tried to teach himself for about 3 years before I intervened. It made me realise that we are not unschoolers, or not unschoolers according to how I understand unschooling, because I do believe that there are certain issues a child can have with reading (Holt didn't believe in dyslexia, iirc) and that sometimes, in this situation, it can be beneficial for a parent to step in and take control. The reason I stepped in with my son was not that I believed he needed to learn to read aged 7 because it was an important thing, it was because HE wanted to learn to read, and it was making him miserable for him not to do it, but at this point he utterly lacked confidence that he would ever learn. I had a strong unschooling-based belief that all kids can teach themselves to read. And maybe he would have with time-but in the interim, he just couldn't read the stuff he wanted to read. I do believe in sometimes saying to smallish kids, this is a decision that is too big for you to make and I am going to make it for you. The other point to make about my son is that he has a lot of strong interests, and so wanted to access stuff (programming manuals, fact books) that he did need, ideally, to be able to read to do, I have 3 small kids and am not available to read 24/7. Not trying to get into a debate at all on an unschooling support board-just trying to explain why I posted what I did, it was not intended to be disrespectful. Like I say, my aim with ds is now to get him to a point where he has the skills to unschool in a way that makes him happy. I can totally see that with my daughters, who are quite different, we might well just carry on as we are, ie unschool.

 

If both the OP and her son are truly happy that he isn't reading, then I think that's a great situation. I do feel that early reading changes your view of the world, how you classify things etc, and is not necessarily a straightforward positive.

 

No but using the xbox doesn't preclude reading. Sorry if I wasn't clear, what I meant was that with computer use, I think the argument would be that the one skill doesn't detract from the other. You can be a heavy xbox user and a heavy reader, and I know kids who are both.
Like I say, for a a youngish child I would not want them to be using the xbox that heavily, but that's not becuase I think it detracts from reading really, its because I don't think that level of computer use is a good idea for a 7 year old.

 

There is a whole other debate here on media use. I've realised that we don't actually restrict it per se. We provide other interesting alternatives (eg computer programming, building computers) and also talk to the kids about our feelings on excessive media use. We don't actually outright ban the tv, I don't think-tbh it doesn't really come up, I haven't thought about this one since my kids were very small.
 

(jsut to say too-I haven't actually played a computer game in i don't know how many long years. Would a 7 year old being able to keep up with a 17 year old indicate lots of work on the 7 year old's part? Sorry, that didn't occur to me)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post

 

Fillyjonk, I agree that they are not necessarily opposed, but it depends entirely on how you use the computer. Halo on xbox, for example, is not encouraging of read, or of learning.



 


Raising Geek_Generation_2.0 :LET ds= 10 ; LET dd1= ds - 2; LET dd2=dd-2; IF month=0.67 THEN LET ds = ds+1; 
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#36 of 41 Old 10-07-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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Unless I missed something, it does not sound like he is stressing too much over his lack of reading - and you are going to be back in the states in a few months.

 

Why don't you enjoy these last few months on a Caribbean island and put reading on the back burner?  Learning Spanish, exploring the environment, and swimming are great skills!  To everything a season.  Focus on reading later, as long as your little guy is OK with waiting.

 

If you (both of you) do want to pursue reading now, let me know and I will post more.  My youngest was (still is, in some ways) a reluctant reader.  

 

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#37 of 41 Old 10-07-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

The reason I stepped in with my son was not that I believed he needed to learn to read aged 7 because it was an important thing, it was because HE wanted to learn to read, and it was making him miserable for him not to do it, but at this point he utterly lacked confidence that he would ever learn. I had a strong unschooling-based belief that all kids can teach themselves to read. 

 


I would definitely hesitate to believe that "all children" can teach themselves to read.  I think it's great you stepped in.  Some kids will welcome this, others resist so much that it leaves a parent feeling a bit helpless.


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#38 of 41 Old 10-07-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

 

ok first of all I need to apologise. I'm not a huge user of Mothering and I didn't quite realise that this had been posted under unschooling. I have a lot of respect for unschoolers, but I wouldn't call ourselves unschoolers. Didn't mean to invade a support forum, and also didn't realise that the OP wanted unschooling specific ideas. Sorry about that.


Speaking for myself, Fillyjonk, I didn't find your posts disrespectful of the unschooling approach at all. Quite the contrary, in fact.

 

(Also, I was quite amused, and found it very appropriate, to have someone with your username popping up on a thread entitled "getting nervous" ROTFLMAO.gif)

 

Miranda

 


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#39 of 41 Old 10-07-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamato3wild ponnie View Post

LuckiestGirl......thank you so much. I have read John Holt and loved it! I refuse to back up why we unschool. My 17 yo.....someone has been reading my very old posts! He is an amazing kid who is a life learner and has nothing to do with this post at all! My 6yo whom this post is about hasn't played xbox in about 3 weeks. He doesn't sit for hours and hours gaming.......he plays and excels very quickly. I know he wants to read, and I know he sees that its hard work and he gives me the amount of time he can and I work with that. I assume these replies are from Americans, who have access to daily papers and libraries and museums and all sorts of free activities. I have very very limited resources, which makes it a bit more frustrating. However what child at the age of 6 can live on a island in the Caribbean and go snorkeling and exploring and hiking and cave jumping. He will forever remember this time of his childhood and living beach side.
Someone posted to write down everything he does do and your right, it is a lot!
Thanks to the mama's who have defended unschooling, I don't have the energy or time to do so.
If you haven't read John Holt........I suggest you do so asap!


Mama, are there many websites blocked for you there? If you can find one of those IP workaround sites and access some English language sites those are a totally fine substitute for newspapers. But you can't really teach someone to read with a newspaper because apart from the high level of language to get any sense out of it, the subject matter is often entirely inappropriate for the age. You need to find written things which appeal to his interests and have high print-to-picture correlation and lots of repetition so he can puzzle through them and be interested and successful. One of the big breakthroughs in early literacy has been the realisation that "see dick. See Jane. see dick run. see jane run" is a boring as bat guano. If you're reading something boring there's no incentive to read it.

 

It would be easy to make your own books as a family - decide on a story, print out or cut out photos and make a book out of paper stapled together. Stick the pictures in and write the story underneath. Then "read" it with him. One of the aspects of early literacy is understanding there's meaning in print, understanding it runs left to right, top to bottom, etc.

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#40 of 41 Old 10-07-2011, 12:49 PM
 
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Here is a link for Tumblebooks - you can find many books online.

 

http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/asp/home_tumblebooks.asp

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#41 of 41 Old 10-11-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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I second the idea of making books together, if your children are interested   Use photographs, your children's drawings, etc.   It can be about experiences you've had as a family, fascinating facts learned, dreams for the future, etc.   Have your children dictate the stories while you model saying the words slowly and writing the sounds.   Link the sounds to known words (i.e., "M-e-x-i-c-o, that starts just like 'mom' with a letter m, M-e-x-i-c-o, I hear 'ex' like the exit sign, etc.")  

 

Would he be interested in having you create his own word bank.   Have you read any of Sylvia Ashton Warner's work on the key word approach to reading?   With the key word approach you ask children what words they want to learn and put their words on cards, doing just one or two words a day.   They keep their word cards in their own special box.   At first you can spread out the words and ask them to find certain words, as identifying and finding are easier tasks than reading the word on their own.   Eventually you can add a verb such as "loves," "likes,"  "wants," and your child can make their own sentence with their name, the verb card, and their special key words.  Rather than teaching your child the phonics and then teaching them how to read words using the phonics, you are helping them develop a love of learning words, then connecting it to the phonics ("Look 'monster' and 'mom' both start with M!   Can you hear how they start the same?")  Some children respond better to learning to read in this way as it makes it more meaningful for them

 

Another idea would be to create a family alphabet book or an alphabet book for each child, if the child is interested in learning letters.   Use big pages and have a page for each letter.   Write both the uppercase and lowercase letters on the pages.  Put family photographs and names on the correct alphabet page and then have fun finding pictures or drawing pictures for other letters.   Work on one letter at a time or add to it periodically throughout the year.  Model excitement of discovering about letters and sounds, "Wow, this is such a cool seashell!   Let's take a picture of it and put it on the S page of our alphabet book"

 

Children learn so much from us modeling our interests.   Do you model reading and writing for your children?   Not just reading, but actually talking about what you read or write.   Maybe keep a journal, write in front of them, talk about why you want to write down your thoughts and experiences.   Stop in the middle of your own reading to share interesting ideas with your children.  Model your own excitement for reading and writing. 

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