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#1 of 31 Old 01-13-2012, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

-ask or model that kids use the above items

-insist kids use these items.

-kids have chores

-kids have bedtimes

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

 

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 

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#2 of 31 Old 01-13-2012, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My own answers:


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

almost never.  I have nothing against it, but I am simply a fairly direct person.  I am much more inclined to say "here is a cool book, thought you might like it"  than leave it lying around hoping they see it.  I understand the value of strewing for some kids, though.  

 

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

In between.  We have had 3 math curriculums and  one writing (the writing is unused - kids did not go for it). We also have numerous science kits as well as non-fiction that is educational in nature, but not curriculum or textbooks. 

 

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 For non fiction, I tend to let the kids know we have them, and then they hang around in the book case - sometimes used, sometimes, not.  I model reading them.  i will share tidbits.  

 

For the curriculum I have asked that kids use them.  I will call them to the table and say "let's do this."  Sometimes they are game, sometimes not.  If they are not game, I try to switch things up so they still have the same knowledge poured into them, just in a different way (ex:  a computer game instead of a workbook).  I will also fiddle around with things like the environment  to see if it increases focus.  At the end of the day, though, if the kid does not want to do what I am proposing, I will stop. I have faith they will learn it organically or will be more willing in the future when they see a need for it.    There are exceptions (explored quite thoroughly in other threads) but I see those as rare.

 

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

No. 

 

-kids have chores

Yes - they are at a minimum and people have input into what work they do - but they do have to do some work.

 

-kids have bedtimes

My youngest does - my older kids do not.  If my youngest challenged me on this issue, I might change it- as long as she is not cranky the next day, sickness prone, and can truly entertain herself in the late evening. I do not feel like being "on" at 10:00 p.m., yk?   She can sleep in as long as she wants.  I am happy with things the way they are, though, so I am not telling her she has the power to change this, lol

 

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

I did not.  I think both placing limits and not placing limits have learning opportunities.  

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

Yes - we have done quite a few.  I have not placed limits on activities (they do not have to be free-flowing in nature) but my kids have placed their own limits.  In a nut-shell - if the teacher or leaders seem mean, not invested, or even prone to busy work without explanations as to why, my kids balk.  Can't say I blame them.  

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 



 

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#3 of 31 Old 01-13-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

For my daughter, frequently.   But I gave up on doing this for my son. He just doesn't respond to it at all.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

We have a couple of textbooks that the kids have picked up at garage sales or library tag sales.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

Nope.  Actually I get asked to read from a reading textbook with the most annoying stories. I try not to groan and roll my eyes.

 

-insist kids use these items.

Obviously not.

 

-kids have chores

Not with any regularity.  Sometimes when I am overwhelmed and it seems as if no one has picked up after themselves in a long time, I will insist on help.  If I feel burnt out, something needs to change, I need help, and I say so. For the past few weeks ds has taken on a short list of chores in exchange for pocket money because he wants a video game. He may quit when he has enough, but he says he feels good about his new level of responsibility so it may continue for the foreseeable future.

 

-kids have bedtimes

Ds - self-imposed; DD - mommy-imposed, but flexible; DS is old enough to recognize how insufficient sleep affects his health and the well being of the family, dd hasn't gotten this yet, so she will stay up very late and get up very early and basically scream at people constantly if I don't intervene.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

Not as such. We talk a lot about our screen use and how to make sure we are leading healthy, balanced lives. This has led us to decide together to put specific limits for short periods of time for all of us, to get us out of a rut.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

DS has kung fu, co-op, scouts, and park day.  Our limits are purely logistical, whatever our schedules, transportation availability, and finances support.

 

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 


I was thinking of posting a day in the life of... because I posted some things in another thread that I think gave some mistaken ideas or seemed self-contradictory.  Also I like how we live; I like talking about how we live; I like hearing about others' unschooly lives, too.

 

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#4 of 31 Old 01-13-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

Infrequently.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

At the primary level, few. From a ~7th grade level on up a fair number because I've already raised three kids through those years, and they all had fairly academic interests here and there. Our umbrella program was happy to buy such resources for us even if there was little likelihood of them being used systematically.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

Only if the kids had requested that I create that expectation for them.

 

-insist kids use these items

Once or twice ... again, only because the kids had explicitly said "I want you to make me do this, even when I don't want to."

 

-kids have chores

Collaboratively derived and agreed-upon chores, yes.

 

-kids have bedtimes

No.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

No.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Yes. These are limited based on availability, personal preference of the children, scheduling obstacles and the realities of transportation and travel time. 

 



 


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#5 of 31 Old 01-13-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

Not "strew" so much, as in leave it for them to come across without saying anything.  But I do say "look what I got from the library!" Then I leave it out for them to look at, especially if it is a book that is not a good one to sit down and read cover-to-cover, like one of my favorite Rock and Mineral coffeetablebook-sized guide book.  I am pretty proactive about sharing what I've brought home and why.  I also am pretty proactive about choosing new things to bring home, usually based on their interests (e. g. sharks to dinosaurs to dragons to English myths to monster to Greek myths and on and on.)  Or I simply wonder if they are ready for, say "Anno's Math Games", and if they are we might have it around for a while, then some weeks or months later I might bring it home again from the library.  That also works with favorite stories we have read as a family that 7yo dd1 might be ready to read on her own.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

Kids are 5 and 7, so no, not yet.  I am not thrilled with textbook-style learning, but that could be because of my girls' ages.   We do 4-H, and are following the "Horseless Horse" curriculum, so that should probably count.  I also bought a set of wilderness awareness books for the kids with activities, so perhaps that should count, too.  Then the girls have their puzzle books from Highlights which come every month.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 

I ask if they would like to, and will sometimes suggest at some moments when the girls' motiovation is tanking that we haven't worked on them for a while.  But just as often I suggest we all go outside, or come help me with my chores, or at least keep me company while I am doing them, or suggest we read for a bit.  And, of course, I do read through stuff myself because I am interested.  I have been known to sit down on the couch with, say, a horse encyclopedia and have them come over to see what I am looking at.  I don't do something unless I am truly interested in it, however, which includes being interested in their interests.

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

No.  However, with 4-H I have pointed out that if they want to show chickens in the fair, we need to show up at the meetings, which can be less than thrilling for kids so young.  The Horse activities we are doing on our own as a family, so I don't bring that up when we talk about 4-H.  The fact is, we need to discuss the 4-H situation as a family because it is resulting in some mild resistance, and I need to know whether to continue through the year and the fair with the group, drop it and try next year, or continue it as a family group, which we can do.  (Or drop it entirely and just learn about the chickens and horses in our own way.)

 

-kids have chores

 

No.  We are working on getting the girls to take on responsibilities without actually imposing chores, and we have had some moderate, encouraging success.  (Modeling behavior, etc.)  Started a whole thread on that ("The balance between unschooling and chaos") which included the topics of messiness and bossiness.  Just to preserve my own sanity, I did start a rule that I don't look for individual lost toys, and after some fussing from 5yo dd2 that seems to be working and she is taking more responsibility for her things.  

 

-kids have bedtimes

 

Yes.  I've tried to lift that requirement, and all hell breaks loose!  I sometimes wonder if I had started being flexible from the very beginning I might have avoided this, but I too don't like being "on" all evening, which would happen!  Bedtime rules is something I hope to evolve out of.  

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

Yes, screen time.  This is something I have not regretted in the least, though I am not an evangelical about limits for other families.  I find TV and computers and video games very addictive, especially where dh is concerned, and the limits extend to the whole family.  We have no video games.  During illness, we have "extra video days" which early on were hard to wean the girls off of, but now they are simply tired of the TV being on.  I attribute a good chunk of their energetic self-motivation from not having the tube on.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

Yes, gymnastics and riding lessons,  4-H, "wolf camp".  Finances are a big part, as is travel distances and feeling overscheduled.  Plus, even though I don't shy away from the structure, I am mindful of the teaching styles and my girls' continued interest.

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 

I am a pretty proactive parent in general, and don't shy away from letting the girls know about things, sometimes extending a conversation started by them.  But it is always because of my own personal interest and energy and wanting to share my own discoveries, and they share theirs.  I also actively fight against my personal parental torpor and try to be doing something they can join in with (even "just" chores or plopping on the couch with something to read).  I have the computer off during the day (usually!) because it distracts me from the day at hand.   It is a continued learning experience for me too! 
 

 


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#6 of 31 Old 01-13-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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My answers in purple :) I only have one school-aged right now -- young elementary-aged, the other's a babe.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

Hmm, I don't like the term 'strew' but I know what you mean lol Sometimes. My daughter is the type to be suspect of anyone trying to tell her what they think she should be learning, even if it's totally something she'd be interested in. So, sometimes I'll say things like 'hey I got this cool thing you may like', other times I'll just leave it in her craft area or room or wherever. There is no illusion that it 'accidentally' got there. She knows it's me and I know she knows that it's something I thought she would think was cool. I think she just likes discovering it herself and not feeling any pressure (even implied) to do it or not.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

Curriculum, no. Textbooks and other learning materials, sure. We find cool stuff at the thrift all the time for ridiculously cheap prices so I feel good about re-donating if it's not used or when she's done. We have lots of different learning materials that we just thought were cool and picked up.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 

Sometimes model, because sometimes I'm interested myself so I'll look through or even do stuff like cool little projects or whatever. Or if she wants to do something and asks me to model it.  Ask? Hmm... sometimes I'll ask her to give it a try and it's up to her.

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

I've been a bit insistent on her using visual aids when she has a question instead of me just answering it for her myself. For example, when she was learning double digits and would ask me what number came after 93 or whatever, I'd be like, go look at the number chart and see if you can figure it out and if you can't, I'll help.

 

-kids have chores

 

Yes. We don't call them chores but I suppose they are. There are things expected of her that fall outside of the things I am willing to do for her regularly that help our family run smoothly. Although I will do them occasionally to be nice :). Things such as taking her plate to the sink when she's done eating, straightening her room, hanging up her clothing/putting it away (I wash and fold) etc. I don't call them chores because we've just always done it that way. It's just 'what we do'. There are monetary or other incentives for going above and beyond. For example, I don't expect her to clean up after her brother but if she's so inclined to put all his toys away (which is a favor to me not to him as he's way too little to even haphazardly put things anywhere lol) she gets $.50. Stuff like that - but it's optional :) That said, there have been times when she's done things like that without being asked and without the monetary incentive so that's pretty cool too.

 

-kids have bedtimes

 

Kinda, sorta. It's not strictly enforced by any means. It's more a routine than anything -- between 8-9... but many times there have been things going on -- relatives or friends visiting, we're out at an event, a program she wants to watch and so on and then she just stays up, and it's cool. She wanted to stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve, for example.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

I place limits on screen content, not so much screen time. There have been times when it seemed like she watched tv all day, every day for a week. Then others where it won't come on at all for weeks and weeks. I do place limits on content though. She doesn't watch anything violent or overtly sexual or anything like that. We try to keep it age-appropriate and non-commercial. Me and dh mute the commercials anyway and don't prefer violent programs so it fits with our general family principles/practices anyway.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

Sure, if she wants to and it's within our financial means. There are limits in that I don't want to shuttle a kid all over town 5 days a week to 10 activities -- that's beyond my comfort, energy, and financial level lol  If she had 1-2 structured activities/classes she wanted to explore, we'd find a way to support that.

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 



Thanks for the thread!

 


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#7 of 31 Old 01-15-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

I don't strew with the intention of getting my kids to learn about or do something specific.  And I really don't strew at all for my 10 y.o. at this point.  I do sometimes set up art supplies or an activity of some sort for my 7 y.o., but it's in the spirit of having some stimulating/interesting things for her to do.  And I do get library books that look interesting to me, which I put on our shelf and the kids may or may not read.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

Curriculum no, textbooks/learning materials yes.  A few.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 

Not really, unless they've asked me to (sometimes my 10 y.o. and I work out "assignments" for her--this process has been initiated by her.  I do sometimes pull stuff out if it is in line with current interests or for whatever reason I think the girls might find it compelling.

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

no

 

-kids have chores

 

a few (animal related).  My 10 y.o. steps up to help with other things as needed, my 7 y.o. not so much.  I trust that she will as she gets older.

 

-kids have bedtimes

 

yes--my younger dd really needs one (otherwise she stays up to the point that she is exhausted and hysterical) and my older dd has enough activities and the like that she needs it to get enough sleep---older dd is in agreement about the bedtime, although in the moment she mostly always wants to stay up later.  : )

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

Yes.  Although I don't have a strict scheme on this front.  I just notice that at times that things are getting out of balance, and then we all sit down and talk about it.  I notice that if I set some basic limits for all of us (no computer before breakfast, for example), our days go better.  But we also have days of marathon movie watching or video-game playing.  But at this point, it is not a top-down situation--we negotiate a plan that works for all of us.  It does seem like sometimes we get in a rut of one sort of another (which might be something screeny or could be listening to audiobooks and building with legos) that seems to get in the way of doing ANYTHING else, including having friendly conversations with members of your family.  So then we regroup and figure out how to shake things up a little.

 

With my older daughter (10), she has asked for my support in setting up "schoolwork times" in which she works on the academic work and projects that she wants to do.  So this isn't exactly a limit placed by me, but we do have some structure in place at her request.  This is partly due to the fact that she has a lot of outside activities, and she needs some structure in place to accomplish what she wants to do.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

We do a lot, partly because my older daughter is really passionate about dancing and takes a lot of classes.  We're still trying to find the right balance!

 

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 



 

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#8 of 31 Old 01-15-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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I wanted to add to my "strewing" reply.  I don't know if this is "strewing", but I do keep many things at arm's reach for them, like camera, binoculars, measuring tools, scissors, tape, art supplies, flashlight, beadwork materials, etc. etc. and they have free access to all that.  (Though the plywood board with the lego creations on top is still up!  We have an extensive collection of handmedown legos.  Teeny, tiny, itty bitty pieces, thousands of them.  Yup, they stay up until they ask!)


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#9 of 31 Old 01-15-2012, 08:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

Occasionally.  I'll leave reading material in the backseat for ds to "discover" when we go on a car ride.  Sometimes it is just in the spirit of a surprise.  Sometimes it was when he was a new reader and I hoped he might be willing to puzzle out a new comic book or science magazine while he was on a car ride and knew he couldn't just ask me to read it to him.

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

No.  Ds loves science kits, though.

-ask or model that kids use the above items

No

-insist kids use these items.

No

-kids have chores

No.  We tend to have a family clean up time where we all help each other rather than specific chores.  I expect ds to clean up after himself; put trash in the trashcan, dishes in the sink, etc. 

-kids have bedtimes

No.  Ds is good about telling me when he is tired and wants to go to bed.  There was a time when he was younger when he had difficulty knowing when he was tired and would get hyper because he was too tired.  I initiated bedtime, then, to nip the too-tired-crazy-mode from taking hold.  But he'd tell me it was bedtime some of the time even back then. 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

No.  Ds wasn't interested in tv until he was 3 and he thought much of it was pretty freaky.  After that, he started wanting the tv on constantly as background noise.  I liked that because he stopped being glued to my side.  He always had a strong startle reflex and as a toddler/preschooler he'd jump if the phone rang, the mail was delivered between the doors, someone would speak suddenly, etc. 

He was fascinated by computers since he was a young toddler and has been using them since he could sit on someone's lap and work the keyboard and mouse.  But he's always happy to interact with people instead.  I try to make sure he has other activities as options because the computer is frequently a default activity. 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Ds prefers less structured activities.  But we have a hard time finding other families to do things with.  We're in a school at home sort of area because PA's requirements make people nervous about unschooling.  He'd like to get together with other kids for random adventures and trips to places like laser tag and science museums.  Right now, he has outside activities twice most weeks.  I would probably limit lengthy outside activities to every other day if there was more available. 

 

 

 



 


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#10 of 31 Old 01-15-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

No, I don't strew.  I will pick things up for the kids and say "Hey, I thought you might like this."

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

We have some.  I don't distinguish strongly between textbooks and other books, so I'd have to go stare at bookshelves to decide if we have lots.

-ask or model that kids use the above items?

I have been reminding my kids to do math lately, at their request. We're also doing a science curriculum at their request, and I invite the kids to join me in lessons for that (there's usually set up, so I need to be able to plan for it somewhat).

-insist kids use these items.

I asked my oldest if she thought I was making her do math against her will, and she said "Not really" because she's on board with the goal, she just likes to gripe a little about doing the work.  It's like me and cleaning. duck.gif The other kids are pretty happy to do this stuff when I bring it up.

-kids have chores 

Yep, a handful of things they do routinely, and they are expected to pick up their own messes (just like everyone else in the house).

-kids have bedtimes

Sort of-- there's a time when they need to be quietly employed upstairs.

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

Not a formal limit, but if things seem out of balance and it's making people crabby, we turn it off.

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Yes, we're in a coop, music lessons, 4-H, and sometimes sports.  There is a practical limit to what we can afford and what we can get to.  I think we're about at our max at the moment.

 

 

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 



 

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#11 of 31 Old 01-15-2012, 02:41 PM
 
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I have one child, aged seven. -strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

Infrequently. Mostly if I come across something I think he'd like I just give it to him, but I do occasionally leave books in the back seat of the car or magazines on the breakfast table-- as much for me as for him though.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Few or many?

 

We have tons of non-fiction books, games and science kits but no actual curriculum or text books. Wait- not quite true- we have a Rosetta Stone science program for Spanish.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 

I use the Spanish program and he will often join me, but it's his call.

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

No.

 

-kids have chores

 

No, but I'll ask him to help me clean up and he's usually pretty willing to do so.

 

-kids have bedtimes

 

Yes. If he was more self-sufficient about bedtime, I actually wouldn't mind if he stayed up later or chose his own schedule, but we seem to have developed a very lengthy bedtime routine which he loves... and if it gets too late, I'll fall asleep reading to him :)

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

We do limit computer games to about 45 minutes a day.

 

-do structured activities out of the house. Any limits on this?

 

Yes, we sign up for whatever he wants-- pottery classes, computer stuff etc. I suppose finances might limit this but it hasn't come up as he generally doesn't want to sign up for too many classes and prefers unstructured time at home.


Writing, reading, unschooling. 

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#12 of 31 Old 01-17-2012, 09:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

I have in the past. When DD was younger I would often go the library myself on weekends (for a break) and on a few occasions I'd pick up a book for DD that I figured she likely wouldn't pick out on her own and was perhaps a subject she hasn't considered before (religion, history, social studies, etc) and hand it to her in a pile of books saying "I picked out some books I thought you might like". When she picked out books she tended to hit the same non-fiction sections over and over so this was a way of introducing new topics. I'll admit I had an agenda behind my choices when I did this. For example, several years ago she saw a black person and reacted negatively. I tried to talk to her about the recognizing where her reaction comes from (fear of the different) but she was resistant to my opinion and the discussion. So I picked up a kids story about racism and brought it home one day in a pile of the usual dinosaur and animal biology books and she ended up reading it. I know she never would have picked the book, and if I had said "hey I thought you would be interested in this" she would see it as me pushing the topic again. She knew that I had brought the book home for her but by simply not talking about it at all she was willing to pick it up and read it a few times without feeling like she was "giving in to me".  

 

I only did that on a few occasions and I haven't done that in a long time. She is naturally a resistant person but years of me showing that nothing would be pushed on her has built up her trust and now I can say "Hey, I brought home this history activity" and she may even know that I thought she should take some interest in history but she won't get resistant, even if she has no interest in history right now. She will either use it or say "no thanks" but there is no battle because she trusts now that I won't push her into anything she doesn't want to do. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally she is far more likely now to give such things a try, even if she had expressed no desire in that particular topic, than she used to be. 

 

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

No curricula but I would get one if I thought the kids would be into it. I know right now they aren't. When the kids were 4 - 6 they liked to do math games in these little workbooks you could get for kids (much more so DD but also DS at times) but they haven't done them in years now. We don't have textbooks but we have plenty of non-fiction books on a variety of topics with a heavy emphasis on science since that is what DD is interested in. They are placed where the kids can access them and DD regularly picks them up to read. 

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 

We occasionally have "Project Time" where the kids have an hour of one-on-one, focussed time with me to work on a project or activity of their choosing. I will sometimes make a list of suggestions based on the above items (or other things we have) and they are free to choose to do that or pick something else. 

 

I love to read non-fiction and the kids see me doing a lot of learning that way. Books on homesteading, permaculture, natural building, knitting and crocheting are just some of the reference books I own and refer to often. DS isn't one for reading books, though he can read way above grade level, other than Manga comics but the modelling of using books to learn is always around him. He prefers to learn by doing, that's just his style.

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

No.

 

-kids have chores

 

No. I like a particularly level of "tidy" in the home that seems to be more than the rest of the family is happy with so I do most of the cleanup and I'm okay with that as it makes me happy. However, I do sometimes ask for help and they are often quite willing to do so (DD more so than DS, though she was just as "less willing" when she was his age). I do ask DD (9) to put away toys that she has brought out into the living area and she has gotten really great at doing that herself with no resistance and at least half the time without me even having to ask. DS (7) needs help with cleanup and sometimes is a bit resistant. I only insist if it's a mess he has made himself and I always offer to help and that way he does it. But it's on an as-needed basis (i.e. when he's made a particularly big mess). Both kids have, on occasion, asked to do extra help around the house to earn money for something and we come up with stuff together. 

 

-kids have bedtimes

 

Yes. DS has a bedtime routine of stories and snuggling with me until he falls asleep. If I don't do this then he will goof around in bed (he shares a room with his sister), start playing with toys and making a ruckus that not only disrupts the adults but obviously his sister as well. He will stay awake far longer than if I actively put him to bed, and next thing you know he's not falling asleep until 1 am and he's sleeping in half the day. He's hard to handle when he's tired (he's autistic and prone to meltdowns) so this is for everyone's sanity as well as his own good. He doesn't like it and it is most definitely being imposed on him. ;-)

 

With DD I tried to let her regulate her bedtimes and it was okay until she got into the habit of watching YouTube at night while lying in bed. The plus was that she would put herself to bed and didn't need me to fall asleep so that made evenings less work for me, but she would stay up to crazy hours (at one point she was going to sleep around 4 am) and then sleep all day and if I had to wake her up to go somewhere she was grumpy and made life tough for the rest of us. We talked about it and tried to resolve the issue together - I really worked hard to solve the problem collaboratively - but she couldn't break herself of the notion that she "needed" the TV on to go to sleep, and she refused to consider that this might be why she had "sleep problems". So finally I had to put my foot down and in fact this just happened last week. We've started having me put her to bed, reading to her until she falls asleep. It's a lot more work for me since now I have to do two kids at night but I'm seeing good results, her bedtimes are getting earlier, she is sleeping better, and she is getting up earlier. She will soon adapt to this "new normal" and then we'll work on strategies for not needing me to be there until she falls asleep (she used to listen to audio books at night so we might reintroduce that - right now she is resistant to the idea because she sees it as being forced on her as a TV replacement, but I know eventually she will remember how much she loved listening to the books).

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

Until I declared no movie-watching at bedtime for DD we had no limits at all. Unless you count that we got rid of cable TV years ago. We actually got it back for free when we recently upgraded our internet service but we disconnected it after one week. I hate the marketing messages that come via TV (even the so-called "ad-free" stations have "messages from our sponsors" which is basically an ad for junk food usually) and they would watch something stupid just to have the TV on rather than consciously choosing something like they do with watching Netflix or YouTube. Cable TV is a treat when they visit with Grandma and I like to keep it that way. 

 

We do, however, have Netflix, Apple TV, Wii, Playstation and various computers around the home (DH works in the tech industry). There are no limits on how many hours they can use these things but that's because I've never seen it interfere with the variety of activities they choose to engage in at home. I would say on average they may spend about 3 or 4 hours of screen time per day, some days more some days less, but they also engage in a variety of other activities, including imaginative play, collaborative projects, etc. It is this variety I have always watched for as my gauge for how things are going with no limits on screen time. I've also seen over the years (both kids started using computers at age 2) that they go through phases where they are using screens a lot and then phases where they use it much less. If I thought it was interfering in some way I would limit it as I recently did with DD and not allowing movie watching in her room at night after bedtime. I think video games and computers are a valid and valuable learning resource so that is part of why we don't treat it as anything different than any other activity they choose to do at home.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

Over the years we've done swimming lessons, gymnastics, martial arts, art classes, workshops, riding lessons, nature club outings, etc. We belong to a Learning Centre which is funded by our homeschool program and we get together regularly with our group for outings and field trips. The limits are mostly that the kids can only handle so much and I like our schedule to be relatively light. We all like to have plenty of unstructured free time at home. 

 

 



 


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#13 of 31 Old 01-21-2012, 08:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

Infrequently.  When I find something neat, I do.  i dont make a point to anyway

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

Yes, more than enough leftover from before, but we do use a math curriculum b/c that is within our unschooling comfort zone

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

-insist kids use these items.

Just the math

 

-kids have chores

Yes, but we all do them at the same time together, so it isnt' 'go do that" its, we need to get this place tidied up.  Eveyone knows their domain, and get to it

 

-kids have bedtimes

Yes, mostly for the sleep needs of our small people.  Soon the big boys will have their own room and be able to dictate their bedtime a little more freely.  My DD has her own room and stays up later reading

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

Just a little.  Mostly they can use the computer/tv whenever they please, but I do ask them to go do somethign else if I notice they have been on it for too long or else are getting grumpy

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

yes, they dont have to participate, but they cannot ruin it for everyone else.  They have to come with me on field trips/playdates/etc b/c they aren't big enough to stay home alone yet

 

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 



 


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#14 of 31 Old 01-26-2012, 05:56 PM
 
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I'm moving away from unschooling... quite a bit quicker than I thought I was so... 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly? Nah

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many  Textbooks yes, Several middle school to high school level : math and science.  Looking for a French 'book' right now.  I do not like curriculum.  DS loves online classes from his program.

-ask or model that kids use the above items Its required for many of DS online classes that he use the books.

-insist kids use these items. see above

-kids have chores DS has things that need to be done on a daily/weekly basis.  Its just the 2 of us and there are only so many hours in a day.

-kids have bedtimes not really.  he tends to stay up VERY late reading or working with legos.  (2-3am)  Thats fine because I WOHM most days and the longer he sleeps in is less time awake w/o me.

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example) no, just $$ limits or what physical limits asthma places.

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this? financial limits  DS is on swim team and does theater as time/finances allows.  He also takes classes at the library which are no cost.

 

 

 

 

I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

 

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    

 



 


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#15 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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I love all these responses!  My girls are young (5) and fraternal twins, so in some ways it's easier and in others it's more difficult.  We are easing our way into the US/HS world.  Here is where we are currently:

 

-strew

All the time, usually weekly, sometimes daily.  I often use strewing as a tool to reinforce what they are already interested in and (frankly) sometimes I do it just to buy myself time to pack the car for a trip or make an important call

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Few or many?

Some "workbooks" have made their way into the house.  I follow their leads on when they want to do dot-to-dots or similar activities.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

Rarely

 

-insist kids use these items

Rarely

 

-kids have chores

The girls help me nearly every day at the end of the day to put things away or to at least tidy up projects.  Some days we leave puzzles covering the floor wall to wall, other days (like when we need to vaccuum) I insist it all gets put away. Interestingly, we all do this with joy and enthusiasm.  I'm not sure exactly how I/we created this, but it's working and the girls are awesome about it.  We live in a small house (1000 sq ft) so I think even at this age they understand that we need space to move.  I've often said things like, "let's put away our things where we know we can find them when we want them" and "let's clean up so that we can play with daddy when he gets home."  I'm frankly amazed, but I love it!  The house is tidy before dinner and the girls draw while I clean the kitchen after dinner.  The house is clean-ish before they are in bed.   I love my family for all they do!  I feel very very lucky and I tell them how much it means to me!

 

-kids have bedtimes

Yes.  I let them have lots of freedom/natural flow during the day, but I need some downtime.  This is easy for us as well.  I think it's because they get so much attention and activity and fulfillment all day long.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

Yes.  Screen time is max 30 min per day and we often skip it.  Screen time must be PBS/nature shows/how things work etc (which, at this age still follows their interests).  The exception is when my mother watches the girls and sneaks in things like Tom and Jerry! 

 

-do structured activities out of the house. Any limits on this?

Yes, we have some favorite activities.  Limits yes because I believe in lots of unstructured "play" (aka learning) and time with family.  Budget is an issue and time is an issue too.  I try to get a day (preferably two days) a week (in addition to weekends) where we don't leave the house and/or just go to a nature spot.  I think this helps with balance for us all.

 

Looking forward to more responses!

 

 

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#16 of 31 Old 02-16-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

No

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

None

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

 

No

 

-insist kids use these items.

 

No

 

-kids have chores

 

Yes, otherwise the house gets too messy. We are all messy folks and hate chores but the floor does need sweeping, the table does need clearing so that we can sit down and eat, someone has to take the toilet roll tubes out of the bathroom and the non recyclable and recyclable rubbish has to get from the kitchen bins to the street bins out or we all drown in rubbish. Everyone does something but we don't have a chart or anything like that and there is no reward for doing anything that needs doing in order to keep our home livable.

 

-kids have bedtimes

 

Times to be upstairs but not times to sleep.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

 

No

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

 

dd9 does one art class, one recorder/music class and goes to brownies (all her own choices)

dd5 goes to a drama group for little kids and loves it. Sometimes she doesn't want to go but we drive her there anyway and she always comes out bouncing and full of ideas.

 

We also go to two home ed groups, one is ice skating every fortnight and none is a casual activity thing every fortnight. At the moment that is enough as it gives us time to hang out at home or go out or visit friends as we wish.

 

 

 

 

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#17 of 31 Old 02-18-2012, 11:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:



I want to start this off by explaining that I've known about unschooling for about 8 years, and had wholeheartedly planned on our lives unfolding in that way instead of my children going to public school. I posted on these forums before it was a separate forum, and really was enthusiastic about it. Somehow we ended up swept up in school, and even though it broke my heart to send my children away every day.. when the next child became school age, off she went. I finally had enough of the school trying to force my daughter to conform and act the way "normal" kids act. (we are aspies) I found the courage to do what I wish I had done in the beginning. I took my daughter out of school last Wednesday and she will not be returning. My 6 year old would like to finish this school year out and then stay home as well. My 13 year old wants to stay in school. (and because of shared custody there really isn't a choice anyway) I have a 4 year old ds, and a 2 year old dd and I plan on keeping them both at home.
Unschooling is very much how we have parented all along. I wore my babies, still sleep with the youngest, practiced child led weaning, nursed three at a time for quite awhile as a result. Nothing much has changed around here except my 8 year doesn't have someone yelling at her, and we don't have to wake up super early to hop on a bus.
I am new to homeschooling, but not really unschooling.. if that makes any sense.

 

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

 

I strew naturally, long before I considered myself to fit in the "Unschooling" category. Its important to recognize that I don't strew purposely. It just so happens that I like to share interesting things with them, just like I share interesting things with my husband. Sometimes this leads to talking about something, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes kids pick up things and ask questions, sometimes they don't. There are no expectations on them. I am simply living my life. We love books, so there are always books everywhere.. but because its just how we live, strewing is normal for us.

The other day we watched "How It's Made" (we love that show) and we saw how they made globes. I had never thought about how they were made and found it particularly interesting. I thought about buying a globe because it would be cool to have one. A sneaky thought popped into my head "OMG how can you teach these kids without a GLOBE??" For a split second I considered dropping everything and buying one. Then as fast as it entered my mind, it left. I know how to use a map on the computer. The library even has globes if we really need to use one immediately. There are a lot of ways to look at the earth without a globe as well. I'd *still* love to have one someday, and I'm putting it on a list of things I want to buy *because I want to have it* not because I think the kids can't learn without one. If one of my kids asks me for one or expresses an interest in looking at a globe, I wouldn't have a problem with purchasing one so we could enjoy looking at the earth in a different way. Watching that show however didn't spark the same interest with my kids. They were happy to watch it and learn how the globe was made, and it stopped there. And I'm okay with that. Maybe on our next shopping trip, we'll see a globe and someone will say something. Maybe the spark will ignite tomorrow or next year. Maybe it won't. And between now and then, its okay if I decide to buy one because my spark was ignited and I really do want one. As long as I don't buy it with expectations that its the key to learning and they must use it, then its okay.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

 

This is another area that is just natural for us. I love textbooks. I always have. I grew up in a house with books and I spent so much time reading and enjoying it. Books of every kind are welcome in my house. My 13 year old (who has always been in public school and will remain because I have shared custody of her. Also, she wants to remain in school.) was very much into workbooks as a child. I used to LOVE workbooks before I started Kindergarten... afterwards.. not so much. So we DO have workbooks of various ages and levels/grades kicking around here and there. I'm quite sure in the cupboard theres at least 20 of them. Sometimes my kids ask to do worksheets, so they get them out and do some. Textbooks are the same as books to us. We love reference books, and any book that is deeply about something. How-to books. We love them!  I've never felt the need to buy curriculum, but we're pretty new to *legally* homeschooling. Who knows what we'll want to buy in the future? So I guess the answer is for us, we have no curriculum right now and may never.. but we have borrowed lots of textbooks from the library and likely will continue.


-ask or model that kids use the above items
Again, I am just living life. I don't model on purpose, no. And I don't ask or require they use anything that I bought.


-insist kids use these items.
Nope.


-kids have chores

They help clean up, sometimes they feed the cat. My oldest has a few things she does daily but its because we have a rhythm that works for us. We don't give an allowance, and I don't require that they do XYZ before they get something else. There are a few things I'm anal about, like putting the covers back on the markers. LOL We struggle a bit with kids getting out art supplies and then wandering off, because we have 5 children and it can quickly turn into a chaotic mess. I do ask that they help me pick up before moving on to a new activity, but usually its me that does most of the cleaning up. I'm working on being happier about this instead of feeling resentment. I'm learning as I go. :)


-kids have bedtimes

My oldest does not have a bedtime. She does have to come inside at 9pm, but she is free to stay up or go to bed. Usually she stays up until 9 or 10 and then goes to her room. Often she is up very late, but because her consequence is being tired in the morning.. she has gotten better at choosing to go to sleep earlier. Bedtime for my younger kids is still something that I enforce because of a combination of factors, the first being... they don't have any problem with our bedtime routine and really like the way it flows now. Its not a struggle for us and so far I have never had anyone complain that they didn't want to go to bed. They are in bed between 6 and 7pm every night, and I'm sure that as the 8 and 6 year old get older they will want to stay up later than the 4 and 2 year old. We'll most likely flow into a different routine then. They are all in one bedroom and they are all very loud. Right now what works for us is dinner, teeth brushing, story time, and then bedtime. The number on the clock isn't important though, its how everything follows that the children themselves like to adhere to.
 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

We do place time limits on activities, but only because there are 5 of them and a limited number of hours or resources. We have one laptop that all the children have to share. One Ipod touch. One Nintendo DS. One Playstation3. If money and time were not in the picture, then I don't think there would be the type of limits we have. Again, its simply the way things flow. Its okay to put on a timer for 60 mins, because your sister wants a turn. There are no fights or arguing about this because its how we function as a big family.


-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Financial/time limits yes.  We believe in a lot of unstructured time, and also because as a family we have both adults and children on opposite ends. A few are outgoing and love to do things, and a few of us absolutely loathe leaving the house every day. Somehow we'll meet in the middle. Finding that balance will be our biggest issue I believe. I'm nervous because it does mean I'll be out of my comfort zone a lot more than I'd like, but I'm optimistic that between my husband, myself, our family, and our friends.. we'll be able to have wonderful opportunities for fun and excitement, and also plenty of that dreaded "s" word lol .

 


 



 

 


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#18 of 31 Old 02-21-2012, 07:26 PM
 
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

I offer things, but don't really strew.  Earlier on it was because we had a baby/toddler- choking hazards, damage, etc....  Now it's because they're not interested.  Stuff is available, but I don't just throw it out there- most likely the cat would be the one to play with it.  

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

We have some textbooks given to us by others, my teen has some "Great Courses" that he was interested in, and we have various instructional things....but not really curriculum.  Oh, I think I do have Oak Meadow kindergarten laying around somewhere.  Unless you're counting things like alphabet go-fish cards, or other "learning" or "skills related" apps and games- which we pick up as interest dictates.  

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

No.  I do try to model following my own interests and assist them in following theirs.  I'll invite them into a game or show them how to use something- and I'll let them know what benefit they might find in it.  

 

-insist kids use these items.

No.

 

-kids have chores

No chores, but that doesn't mean I don't ever ask the kids to do anything.  Tonight I put out a call for a person to empty the dishwasher- my 11yo just got up and did it.  We ask our teen to put out the garbage weekly.  They can say no.  But they usually don't, unless they're really wrapped up in something at that moment- and even then they usually say "when I'm done with this".  The one exception about saying no is my youngest (7yo), who does say no quite often.  But she'll also do things like scoop the cat litter or clean the bathroom without being asked. 

 

-kids have bedtimes

If they require assistance from me to go to sleep, it needs to happen before I'm crashing out tired....I hit a wall at one point with lack of sleep and we came to this agreement consensually.  This goes in phases here.  If my youngest wants to sleep in her room, she usually wants my help to fall asleep (sometimes my 11yo as well, but not as much lately).  But sometimes she's content to climb in bed with me when she's ready- and she has at times simply gone to bed on her own too.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

our limits are based on "my rights end where yours begin" and availability- no arbitrary limits, but things like hurting another person or damaging their things are tended to- feelings are validated and harmful actions prevented through direct intervention.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Not right now because my children don't choose them.  But we've done dance, fencing, gymnastics, art classes, etc... The only limits are budget and time.  

 

 

I'd say the bulk of our learning happens through casual conversation and play. Though I'd venture to guess that the bulk of everyone's learning comes that way- most just don't realize it.  


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#19 of 31 Old 02-23-2012, 08:18 PM
 
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

I don't lay things out around the house but I do get books from the library for them.  We have a library basket for them to choose from. 

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

We have textbooks but just for them if they want them.  We have Right Start Math and they love it.  If they didn't I would find another way to have them understand the concepts.  We have gone through Sonlight and have many of their books.  They choose what to read and when though.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items

A few nights a week I grab a stack of books and read them on the couch with the kids.  If they aren't interested in a particular book they can not pay attention.  I will take out math and the kids get excited.  I never make them do something they aren't interested in.  I don't see the point.

 

-insist kids use these items.

No 

 

-kids have chores

Yes they have chores.  We have three main sections in our house.  The living room, the kitchen and the middle section. (entryway)  My three older children (9, 7 and 6) each have a section a day.  If the house is getting messy I will have them help tidy it up.  They don't do dishes or the counter but they can sweep and tidy off the table if it needs it.  I want them to understand that they are part of a family and we need to work together.  I appreciate their help.

 

-kids have bedtimes

Yes.  By 7pm I need some me time.  In the summer usually it ends up being much later.  My three oldest read books or draw in their beds.  Sometimes I have the older two girls come out and be with me for a while once the others fall asleep. (We have a 9yo, 7yo, 6yo, 4yo, 3yo and 9 months)

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

Sometimes.  It depends on how much they have been watching.  They could literally watch movie after movie.  After a couple I will suggest they do something else like building with blocks or coloring.  In the summer they are outside more.  It bothers me if they are watching too much tv.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Yes.  In the summer they all play soccer.  Sometimes one won't want to play that year and that is fine.  If they want to stop half way through that is fine too.  I wouldn't want to have to stay in something if I lost interest or didn't want to do it.  They all have swimming in the summer.  My one daughter wants horse riding lessons and the other wants gymnastics so we will see what happens.  For us the limits would be time.  We have one vehicle with 6 children.  We can't be everywhere at once. 

 

 

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#20 of 31 Old 02-26-2012, 05:02 AM
 
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly? Yes, sometimes, but it's just with stuff ds already has and hasn't looked at in a while. 

 

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Few or many? none

 

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items?  no

 

 

-insist kids use these items.  no

 

 

-kids have chores - Nothing regular yet, but ds is still young and I do forsee him having chores when he gets older.  Everyone in the house has to help out

 

 

-kids have bedtimes - Yes we have a regular bedtime and routine

 

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example) - We do have limits on screen time, but that's about it.

 

 

-do structured activities out of the house. Any limits on this? - We do lots - no real limits, it just depends on what else we have going on


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#21 of 31 Old 02-26-2012, 09:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?Sometimes
-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Yes Few or many? Many (IMO)
-ask or model that kids use the above items No
-insist kids use these items. No
-kids have chores Eldest has 1 chore - to feed the chickens in the morning. Gets her outside to help reset her body clock, otherwise she i more of a nightowl than we can happily kive with
-kids have bedtimes No
-place limits on some activities (screens, for example) Firm limits, no. Suggested limits & discussion, yes
-do structured activities out of the house.  YesAny limits on this? Physical/time constraints. I don't drive so DD can do only the activities that DS and I can handle thetravel for




I often think the picture we, and others have of what USing looks like is lacking.  I am simply interested in what you do and if you feel like sharing - why.

Oh, and if you can think of something  I missed on the above  list, let me know and I will stick it in the Op.    


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#22 of 31 Old 02-27-2012, 06:01 AM
 
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

I stumble across books, ideas, kits, thoughts, quotes, oddities and such all the time...if I think anyone in my family might find them interesting, I share - this includes my hubby and he does the same for me. 
For me strewing isn't something we *do to* the children and there is nothing covert about it -- we all just know one another and one another's interests really well and are delighted to share 'finds' 

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?

We have textbooks that one or the other of us found at a used book store. As I mentioned above, we all have our interests. If my hubby or one of the children see a knitting book -- they direct me to it because they know that I will probably be interested -- same with my middle child about birds, etc. So the textbooks we have around are what someone found and acquired to feed a passion.
We have some oak meadow curriculum too. My eldest son and I have fun learning together and we use this as our medium -- this year it is taking us (quite willingly!) down the *rabbit hole* of ancient civilizations. ;)
We do have far fewer textbooks, curricula and just plain ole books in the house than what we used to, though. Previously I had been diligent about keeping lots of reference materials on the shelves -- 'just in case' -- I'm not sure quite what I was preparing for. But after multiple interstate moves I realized that we did not much use them. So I gave 75% of the materials away. Now we utilize the library liberally and do lots of google searching for discrete pockets of info that we probably wouldn't have had a book about anyway. 

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items
-insist kids use these items.
Nope. But neither could I stop them. ;)
I wouldn't check a book out from the library, give it to my hubby and insist that he read it. That would be rude. But we have such a trusting relationship that if I offered him a book and suggested that it might be useful/interesting, he'd have a look. I try to have that same trusting, non-manipulative relationship with the children. AND to be totally ok with it if they take a look and say 'no, thanks.'

 

-kids have chores

-kids have bedtimes
Not really. We have a time at night when we all head to our rooms -- but none of the children are expected turn off their lights and go straight to sleep. We ask that they go to their rooms and respect the need for quiet and calm. They are each more than welcome to read, write, create as long as they wish as long as it doesn't prevent any other family member from getting the rest they need. Same thing for in the morning. The earlier risers are asked, simply, to let the later sleepers sleep until their body is rested. 
Like most things, we try not to rely on 'rule's but principles and the basic principle is to respect that a body that is asleep (or wants to be) should be left in peace.

As for chores, there are things that each child enjoys helping with -- one child geeks out over being able to mop the kitchen -- another loves to vacuum -- a third thinks it is great fun to clean the windows. Yay! I get help with chores and they get to have fun. :D
There are (plenty) of tasks that no one likes. But when I ask that they clean the legos up so that I can vacuum -- they help, usually. ;)

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)
Not for the purpose of controlling their activities -- but rather for balance between the three of them. With three children (12, 8, 5) and one big tv for watching netflix and playing Wii games -- referring is my sometimes job. 
Same with the tablet computer that the three of them share for playing on pbskids or Roblox or doing lego research...
Most of my task, with regard to the screens, has to do with helping them to be aware of one another. And redirecting. Especially my 5yo daughter. Redirecting her to the craft supplies in the kitchen isn't about limiting her screen time -- it is about helping her to not be so mad that it is someone else's turn to use the screen. :D
Beyond the issue of sharing, though, they are just happy, curious, intelligent children who very naturally drift away from the screen when they are ready to engage in something else. There's lego structures to be built, glue to be applied and dungeons and dragons characters to create.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?
Sometimes one or the other of them wants to take a class -- though this is almost always the eldest. The other two are just happy to visit parks and play spaces and friends and just be at home.
If all of them were clamoring for structured activities more then my limits would be a) time constraints, and b) budget constraints. Right now (besides memberships to area museums and attractions) most of what they want to do costs nothing more than the gas to drive there. 

 

 

Really our family has been just grooving along really, really well in the last year. We've gotten into a good unschooling groove that is predicated on the idea of being mindful. We are all aware of one another's interests, needs, limits, neurosis and (mostly) work to have good relationships within the family. Yes, the children squabble at times and at times seem to be devoted to annoying one another. But mostly, we are just happy to be together. We are all inquisitive, compassionate and loving human beings. And we geek out over supporting one another's interests.
 

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#23 of 31 Old 03-23-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly?  -- Not really sure what this is.

 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many? -- A few and most are not used.

 

-ask or model that kids use the above items - We have a math workbook that the kids do use. We have cursive books, but they wanted me to get those for them.

 

-insist kids use these items. -- I don't think I insist too much.

 

-kids have chores -- Yes, but they aren't set. They have to do two things to help about the house every day to help with life skills. They change based on our daily needs. You might have take out trash or unload silverware or sort your undies.

 

-kids have bedtimes-- They have times to be IN BED. My son typically reads one picture book and falls asleep. My daughter will often stay up until 10 or 11 reading alone in her room. We're usually OK with this as long as she doesn't have to get up early the next morning. Both the kids can get REALLY grumpy when there's not enough sleep.

 

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example) Most definitely. I'd rather them do something else than stare at a screen, but they do get screen time each day.

 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this? My sanity and our finances are the limits. We have cut things out when I find they're taking up too much family time. Currently our son has baseball, tennis and golf. Daughter has tennis and ballet. Both do co-op and PE.


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#24 of 31 Old 03-23-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?  -- Not really sure what this is.

 

Strewing in unschooling is, more or less, leaving books or other things around the house for kids to discover (or simply use) on their own time.

 

I do leave stuff around occasionally and not say anything, but more often my version of strewing is "look what I brought home" then I leave it out for them to decide whether they want to look at it or not.
 

 


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#25 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 10:45 AM
 
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Let me premise by disclosing that I have 4 boys, 21, 8, 4 and 8 months. I did home/unschool the oldest for a few years and do consider ourselves as currently unschooling our preschooler but currently only have the one compulsory school-aged child.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If you self define as an User and have school age children/ youth, I would be interested in knowing if you:

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

Not for my younger kids. I show my kids what I have for them that I think they'd be interested in rather than just leaving it for them to find. Apparently, my mother strews when she comes to visit, though. I always find reading and activities books that she has left after she's gone.

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Few or many?

Yes, I have one set from when we were homeschooling my then (2004) 7th/8th grader before we were unschooling but nothing new for my younger kids. We did just buy a bunch of school-type workbooks yesterday at my 8yo's request. We have a lot of non-fiction, reference books.

-ask or model that kids use the above items

No

-insist kids use these items.

No

-kids have chores

No, but I do expect them to help clean up after themselves and frequently ask them to help around the house. Sporadically, they will offer to help and I always accept.

-kids have bedtimes

Sort of, I guess. We all go to bed at the same time. There's not set in stone time but it usually ends up being between 10 and 11 pm.

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)

No

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Yes, if they want. My 8yo has done Tae Kwon Do, basketball and dance and taken a homeschool choral class. He is going to play baseball for the first time this spring. We also go bowling and to the park on regularly scheduled days with a local homeschool group. It's all voluntary, though. We don't make our children join or try something or continue it if they don't enjoy it.


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#26 of 31 Old 04-11-2012, 02:18 PM
 
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

No. I've always found the concept a little manipulative. I wouldn't like it if my friends covertly "exposed" me to things as if I'm incapable of defining my own interests. But I DO show them new things and ask them if they're interested. We went to the craft store to buy paintbrushes but the kids found felt and embroidery thread and we've been making our own pirate themed ugly dolls for two days. I might suggest things to do if they're bored or if I need some down time, or if they're tired and need some down time. 

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house? Few or many?

Yes. I'm in love with them (I was unschooled personally and feel a textbook void in my life) but my kids could care less. Sometimes we do some workbooks for a month, a page or two a day, and then they get tired of it and we move on to other things.


-ask or model that kids use the above items

Sort of.

-insist kids use these items.

It depends on what the kids need/want to accomplish. For instance, my son made pancakes by himself last week and I found a few workbook pages on fractions so that he could sort of reinforce those concepts. I said, hey, this might help you sort out the recipe when your cooking on your own. He was thrilled to be doing it so he did it. He's eight.

-kids have chores

Yes! Taking out the garbage and recycling and cleaning up their room. They also do little jobs for my husband when he gets home from work and he pays them. This is particularly useful for helping them learn how to manage money, add, subtract, multiply, figure out percentages, etc. My eight year old loves it. My four year old could care less right now...haha.


-kids have bedtimes

Yes. Nine-ish. But that is subject to change when there's something loud/interesting going on.


-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)
 

Yes. No violent video games. No hitting, kicking, punching or screaming at each other. I tried the limiting screen time thing and we ALL got pretty frustrated. Now we use the crabbiness/bugged-out eyeballs meter and turn screens off when the sun's out and we should be getting some fresh air or reading or learning applique or something. Some days are Phinneas and Ferb marathons...what can I say? 

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Money is the limit on that. And how much I feel like being a chauffeur is my calling in life. An activity 2 days per week is nice, maybe three. Most of our activities are through the community center and I have to hang out with the nannies/moms for an hour during the kids' classes and get quizzed on homeschooling. LOL  

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#27 of 31 Old 04-11-2012, 04:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riversmommy View Post

-strew. Infrequent or regularly?

No. I've always found the concept a little manipulative. I wouldn't like it if my friends covertly "exposed" me to things as if I'm incapable of defining my own interests.


Yes, I find it very annoying when my mother leaves stuff lying around my house. To me it's just more crap I have to clean up and throw out. I'd much rather she show it to me or the kids and ask if we are interested.

But my 21 year old is different. He will reject outright just about anything that anyone suggest to him. He is much more likely to at least consider something if I leave it out for him to discover.

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#28 of 31 Old 04-12-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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Strewing can definitely have hidden-agenda. Depending on how it's done it can feel dishonest, sneaky or manipulative, in a passive-aggressive way. But I don't think it necessarily has to be that way.

 

I strewed things when my kids were young. Strewn resources were sort of like little surpises they could stumble on and take delight in. They were too young to be aware that such resources were available, to young to know to ask for them, and it was fun for them to find new toys or activities. Yet if these things were uninteresting to them, they felt under no obligation to feign interest.

 

Sometimes my strewing was just me thinking "This is neat, and it will probably come in handy with at least one of the kids at some point. So I'll buy it so we have it on hand. And who knows, maybe someone will be interested in it now...." We live in the boonies without resources being readily available; I tend to stock a large pantry in the same way. It's nice to have a stockpile of stuff, and if someone wants to get into it now, that's fine.

 

And sometimes my strewing is a case of thinking "This will probably be right up ___'s alley." So I bring it home and in my typical way forget to mention it, and then a kid will find it and ask what it's for, and I'll say "Oh yeah, I saw that and I thought it might interest your brother. Or you. Feel free to try it out."

 

I don't think of any of these styles of strewing as being particularly manipulative.

 

Miranda

 


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#29 of 31 Old 04-18-2012, 03:33 AM
 
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I strew activities more than things. I have plans to get some books and have some ideas of activities that i hope they will join me in (eg. gardening, juicing, crochet etc). Just things I think they might like and I csn offer., to give them ideas etc.I don't like clutter so its not in the way I have read about.

I don't offer texbooks or workbooks but twe have been given some. Also my daughter was at school so there are few textbooks around, they are not evil to me, just another tool that may be useful.

I love the idea of learning as a family so strewing is definitely a family thing, so I model with my interest in things. I wouldn't insist, I am not interested into coercing at all. I don't think learning willl happen in that way.   I have suggested that my 6yo learn to read so he can enjoy things more but I know it will happen when he is ready (he knows a lot of words, sounds and has a great vocab and comprehension so I think that is just as important and reading will be easy when he is ready - he could read a simple book if I insisted but I rather not).

No bedtimes, never been my style. I think being told to go to sleep when not tired doesn't work.  I rather they have rst time (for respect for the tired people who want to sleep) and see their own signs for tiredness.

No chores except we do have a few jobs we share.

We don't limit screen time. At the moment kids don't watchTV.  They prefer internet, my daughter likes videos, my boys like video games.  

We are open to activities they want to do. We are limited by budget and time.  oherwise we spend a great deal of time going out s a family. 

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#30 of 31 Old 04-21-2012, 10:21 AM
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-strew. Infrequent or regularly?
I don't strew. I share. I think it was Barbara, here on this board, who first put it that way, and I've been using it ever since. Sharing, to me, is a normal and natural thing for people who care about each other to do. I do it with many people in my life - sharing articles, ideas, information about museums or talks or workshops, books, tools, tv shows, and lots of other stuff. And, of course, people do this with me, too, and we all say, "Thanks for thinking of me" and take it or leave it.

I also find the idea of strewing manipulative. I think open communication is important...

-have curriculum or textbooks in the house?  Few or many?
We have/had some... I'm not sure how to define few or many, or what things count as curriculum. When Rain was little, for example, we had stuff like pattern blocks and puzzle books - do they count? As she got older, we acquired lots of actual textbooks, for her college classes and a couple for the SAT IIs she self-studied for... when she was little, I think we only had 2-3 actual textbooks, from the thrift store. We had some math workbooks, too, maybe 3-4? And then when she got a little older we had a whole series of Key to books, so she had "homework" to do backstage like the other kids..

-ask or model that kids use the above items
I did with the pattern blocks and cuisenaire rods, because I thought they were so cool and I wanted her to get into them and think they were cool. I had such great childhood memories of cuisenaire rods. Sadly it never really worked... she played along for a bit but really only liked using them to build towns and farms and amusements parks.

-insist kids use these items.
No
-kids have chores
Not really, although I expected Rain to help with things, and I did share my irritation when I felt I wasn't getting any help...

-kids have bedtimes
We tried this before we started unschooling (so, ages 3-5, basically) because I was in school and we would have to wake up early in the mornings... it was never much of a success. She was still young enough that bedtime meant we both went to bed, although if she fell asleep I would get up again and work...

-place limits on some activities (screens, for example)
We'd talk about it a lot, but not really limits... well, that's not true. Rain remembers me implementing some sort of tv time limit back when she was 6 or 7. As she recalls it didn't last long, and it irked her. We never had a lot of success with stuff like this, really.

-do structured activities out of the house.  Any limits on this?

Oh, tons, whatever she wanted to do, as long as we could afford it and it didn't make our lives too insane (theatre and soccer was a mistake).




 
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