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#1 of 19 Old 03-13-2012, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering if others find themselves periodically feeling a pull to assess, evaluate or measure their kids' learning, despite a strong belief that this is unnecessary.

 

We've been unschooling for 18 months or so, after a year of kindergarten in a small public school, and I still catch myself wondering what grade level my son is reading at, or comprehending particular subjects at. I'm not sure why-- he's only seven, very bright, with lots of passions and endless curiousity. We're both enjoying home learning. So just habit, maybe-- my own years of schooling-- or the predominance of the attitude that children need to be continually assessed...

 

I have no plans to send him to school at this point, though he may choose to go later on, so it doesn't matter if he is in step with the provincial curriculum. I don't test or assess his learning in any formal way, though of course being with him all the time I have a sense of what he understands... but I'd really like to stop wasting time looking at provincial learning outcomes (ugh, who writes those?), or thinking about whether his reading or math knowledge is at grade whatever level etc!

 

Any thoughts?


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#2 of 19 Old 03-14-2012, 02:42 PM
 
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I am constantly tormented by it. It's like a worm in my brain.

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#3 of 19 Old 03-14-2012, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So how do you explain that? Is it just that we are so socialized into this need to assess that it is hard to fully step out of it? There's such dissonance there for me. I really see no logical reason to do this... but like you, I have this worm in my brain (ugh! that is a rather nasty image!).


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#4 of 19 Old 03-14-2012, 10:58 PM
 
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Instead of "fighting" this urge, I try and channel it. I have the Living is Learning Guides, written by an unschooler http://www.fun-books.com/books/living_is_learning_guides.htm

 

These guides are put together by Nancy Plent, founder of the Unschoolers Network in New Jersey and a long-time homeschooler. She reviewed the scope and sequence charts and curriculum guides of dozens of schools in various states, then combined the highest standards of elements from each to create these guides. Why purchase these curriculum guides? 1) They may help you to fulfill your state's legal requirement to provide an educational plan 2) They allow you to see some of the highest standards for schools at various grade levels, just in case you are curious about what the schools expect or are anxious about what you are doing 3) They provide record-keeping space that can help organize a portfolio.

 

I look at those and see what society thinks my kids should be learning. Then I decide if "I" think there are specific skills my kids would benefit from and, if so, how can I help them to achieve them in a fun way. So, for example, counting by twos is a first grade math skill. I think there is value in my child having that skill. So I count by twos out loud when my son is around. Guess what, now he's doing the same. It is a skill he acquired naturally with absolutely no direction or coercion from me. 

 

We also have the math book "Family Math." It's got math games in it that my son likes. He's learning skills, but all he knows is we're having fun. We also have "Happy Phonics" a way to learn phonics by playing games.

 

I think it it a parent's responsibility to provide opportunities for our kids. Their world view is very limited. They don't know that things like counting by twos even exists. So, I show them to my kids and they decide if they want to incorporate that into their knowledge base or not. By utilizing those guides (or even a local school district list) I don't have to recreate the world and figure out if there are some basic skills I could introduce to my kids.

 

You may also enjoy reading Legendary Learning: http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331791022&sr=8-1

 

This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#5 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 07:08 AM
 
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This is something I think about all the time. I wrote about it in my journal the other day, because I realized something not too great. It was this:

 

We might live the unschooling life, but unless we FULLY BELIEVE IN IT way deep down in our hearts, we are still going to give off a vibe of "this isn't good enough," or "look at him! he's just doing video games all day; this isn't how I envisioned it," or "jeez he still doesn't show ANY interest in math."

 

I believe that it is harder than I ever realized, to go against our own upbringing and our own society, EVEN when we see those two things and passionately believe that they were wrong, wrong, wrong and we want to do things 100% differently. I've come to the conclusion that we humans must be very very very social beings to have parting from the tribe be so gosh darned difficult. I find that I still want the approval of "the authorities," and of course this makes sense because my house of origin was a strict-father family model. On some level I still feel like I'm "going to get in trouble," and this takes the form of my kid failing (and me failing). It's complicated! How I envy those moms who don't ever suffer these moments of doubt. It is immeasurably helpful to be surrounded by other moms unschooling, whether in real life and online. I don't think I could do it with just my trusty John Holt books....I need desperately to check in with my unschooling friends whose kids are so nice & happy & doing things & be reassured that it's possible for it all to work out.

 

All I want is for my son to be happy, so naturally I pursue the unschooling approach (that, plus his intelligence, creativity and probable ADD makes any other approach impossible); and yet I believe that happiness also comes from being competent in this world--"having what it takes." I want to make sure that later, when I am long gone (I am an older parent) and he comes up on one of the gates that society puts up for people to pass through, such as a test to get into college, that he has what he needs (internally) to take on that challenge.  And I believe that the way we get that internal confidence is through doing the thing over & over again, mastering it and feeling the pride. Unschoolers aren't made to do that, and avoidance is possible. I see it in my son daily, and I just FREAK OUT that I am doing him a disservice by not pushing him. And yet pushing is what creates the aversion to learning that I don't want. UGH!!!

 

Yes, it's easy to get wobbly. Luckily we have a Sudbury Valley (democratic free school) near us and we are considering sending him. It's still all the freedom of unschooling, but it's WITH other kids and the place is full of stuff to do, musical instruments, computer lab, a large property to play outside, etc. I believe if he's in a varied and interesting (and still free) environment, he's likely to have more challenges placed before him (i.e. things he will WANT to do), and he will more naturally grow in the ways that concern me.

 

It's just expensive and I don't know how we will do it yet.....
 

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So how do you explain that? Is it just that we are so socialized into this need to assess that it is hard to fully step out of it? There's such dissonance there for me. I really see no logical reason to do this... but like you, I have this worm in my brain (ugh! that is a rather nasty image!).



 

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#6 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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I do occasionally look at the guidelines, and "ugh!" is right.  I can find it somewhat useful for ideas that I can turn into unschoolish things to have around the house.  Patterning for kindergarteners turned into beading supplies.  Naming shapes became flat wooden shape blocks we call picture blocks.  They love these and I wish I had more because the kaleidoscopic pictures they make are gorgeous.   And, yeah, once or twice they asked about the shape names.  On the flip side, I read about kids in 2nd grade learning to recognize by name "digraphs" and "dipthongs" and I thought to myself "Why?"  My daughter (both) are busy in their own way learning to read, and why do we need to know that?  (Yawn!)  No thanks.

 

It's easy for me to say I have faith in unschooling because my girls make all this supremely easy.  They read on their own time.  They use math because it's fun, and in situations I never would have thought to use it.  All I have to do is keep my ear open, and I *know* they are easily at grade level in most areas, excepting those inane lessons on digraphs, of course.  

 

So, how do I feel about all this?  Needing to wonder if they are in step with their peers?  I suppose it's not much different than walking and using words, which we have also wondered about.  Would my faith in unschooling be shakier if my kids were like many other normal unschooling kids in not wanting to engage in any obviously "schoolish" things?  Very possible, but also depending on their ages; mine are 5 and 7.  For *now* I don't think I'd be bothered by it too much.  My oldest is behind in writing.  Sparkle notebook.  A clipboard to doodle on while we read stories.  Horse-themed crossword puzzles.  Her own motivation jump-started her finally, and I have these things to help give her reasons to keep practicing.  If she was 10 or 11 instead of 7?  And no sign of any motivation?  Hmmmmm........

 

I guess for me, knowing where they are in general gives me a guilt-free reason to step back.  Counting to 100 in kindergarten?  Done. Well, close enough anyway.  Let's go play!  If unschooling was the paradigm we would not second guess ourselves so much.  But then, I am a mother and I think I will forever be second guessing myself.

 

 


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#7 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for your posts! Glad to know I am not the only one feeling this way.
 

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I believe that it is harder than I ever realized, to go against our own upbringing and our own society, EVEN when we see those two things and passionately believe that they were wrong, wrong, wrong and we want to do things 100% differently. I've come to the conclusion that we humans must be very very very social beings to have parting from the tribe be so gosh darned difficult.
 

 


Nellie Katz, I think this says it so well. Unschooling is a huge paradigm shift and I maybe I shouldn't be suprised that I still feel, as you put it,  "wobbly" at times. It's nice to be able to talk about this wobbliness without people assuming that I am arguing against unschooling ;)

 

Sweet Silver... I can't remember what digraphs are, and am not sure I ever knew! Like you, I feel that my kid makes it easy. He reads well, and is interested in math and science and history and, well, pretty much everything really. Knowing he is above grade level in most areas (writing being the notable exception) does make it easier for me to relax. But really, I don't think it matters if he skip counts by 5s in second grade or not. He's got a good grasp of numbers and how they work-- he likes that stuff-- so it's not like he's going to be 18 and unable to count by 5s. So I wish I could stop even paying attention to details like skip counting (or digraphs!). But just the other day, after reading some school-y blog post, I found myself saying, "hey, can you count backwards by 5s?" Which earned me a funny look and a dismissive "I guess so. 100, 95, 90, 85... etc etc.) Usually I manage to resist the urge but I wish I could just get rid of it completely.

 


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#8 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 01:58 PM
 
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 Usually I manage to resist the urge but I wish I could just get rid of it completely.

 

Me too.  

 


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#9 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 02:30 PM
 
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I'll add a twist to this. My kid was like that too. He was a learning MACHINE from the beginning. If he had an interest in something, he would attack it from all angles: he'd draw about a thousand of them, then make them out of clay, then have me read to him about it, then watch videos about them, then play-act how they are, and so on and so on. Total Renaissance kid. When, at age 6, he took an intense interest in chemistry, I felt on top of the world. Look at this, I thought. Love of learning in action.

 

However, he is 9 now. Not wanting to be over-protective, I have allowed kids TV programming into his life (Phineas and Ferb, Kung Fu Panda, Ninjago, Power Rangers etc). Not much, but enough, I think, that he has experienced the kid-vs-parent dynamic that you see in a typical show; the snark; the kid-vs-teacher dynamic too; how to lie and deceive a teacher or parent; what the brand names are (luckily, his favorite is Lego which is a very creative brand name to know) but still....between his exposure to mainstream kid stuff and, most likely, my weakness and making him do "lessons" for a while there.....that voracious appetite for learning is only showing itself in very limited areas: his favorite (and first) video game, Minecraft, is most of it. The rest is passing conversation, like "what does this word mean" or some other off-the-cuff explanations we might give.

 

Which could be just fine. Learning can ebb and flow like the tide and that's great, as long as I'm sure I didn't ruin his unschooly brain by letting in some of this other nonsense.

 

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Sweet Silver... I can't remember what digraphs are, and am not sure I ever knew! Like you, I feel that my kid makes it easy. He reads well, and is interested in math and science and history and, well, pretty much everything really.

 

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#10 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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I have a different perspective.  My feeling is that, while I do believe in unschooling, basically, I don't have unlimited faith in it.  And so, every year we test, not because my kids need to be "at grade level" but because I want to be aware of where they are, and if they are very far behind, or not progressing, I'm going to take a look at that, and try to understand what's going on.  With my oldest we have shown her her test results and talked about how we might want to react to the results.

 

I know lots of homeschooling parents don't feel like they get new information when they test, but I find them helpful, and my kids don't mind taking them.  shrug.gif

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I know lots of homeschooling parents don't feel like they get new information when they test, but I find them helpful, and my kids don't mind taking them.  shrug.gif

In my state, from the time you declare, you need to have a test or evaluation done each year from a third party.  The results are for parents' use, but they are required.
 

 


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#12 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're not required to test at all. I wasn't really thinking of formal testing anyway, just this annoying impulse I have to figure out whether my son knows something merely because I notice that my friend's same age kid is learning it in school. You know, I see a page of another kid's second grade homework in which they are practicing putting capital letters at the start of sentences as periods at the end, and I have to fight the urge to immediately check if my son knows this or to point it out to him-- never mind that he reads years above grade level and presumably will notice these things without anyone needing to tell him.

 

Nellie Katz, that is interesting about your son. Mine was chemistry obsessed at 6 too. It is certainly easier to support the interests that one shares, that are socially valued, or that one can easily see value in. I have to work harder to embrace the passions that don't really thrill me so much (um, nerf guns).


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#13 of 19 Old 03-16-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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What I try and do with the video game thing (and I only got him one--Minecraft is pretty darned creative) is to see what OTHER skills he is developing by using it. For example, he's the expert in that world. Parents are not going to help him. So he's got to do all the problem-solving and decision-making, which I think is good for him, since 9 year olds don't often get that many chances for that in the course of a day. So he's developing skills that are not immediately visible to me. Then there's the reading. He wants to know how to do something, so I print him out Wikipedia pages he can read about how to create this or that within the game.

 

Our problem does become "balance," of course. He'd spend 9 hours down there if I let him, and then he'd come upstairs all whiny and cranky and out-of-sorts because of the lopsided nature of a day spent screen-staring.  :-)

 

It's funny you mentioned the punctuation/capitalization thing. We were lucky in that I'm a pretty good typist, and he loves to tell stories. The combination is perfect for story-dictation. I make the type nice & large so he can see over my shoulder. He sees me make mistakes, and asks about it when he sees spell-check underline something in red "why doesn't the computer like what you typed?" Then I get to explain a bit about the error or the word. Also, I sort of get to comment on punctuation while we do that too "Oh, look. haha, I left out that quotation mark at the end so you can't tell where that character's words ended. Duh!" And so on.

 

Then of course I'd print out the stories and he would read them to himself in bed at night. (He's not a big reader but he is interested in his own stories!)

 

And of course we have the whiteboard so I'd occasionally put up a few things and make it a game "spot the one that's wrong." Whether a spelling error, a punctuation error, or a math error, he does love to catch me being wrong.

 

As for the test, I've decided to order the California Achievement Test. At least that way he can know what other kids are expected to know. He may get curious. He may not want to be "left behind" or whatever. OR, he may discover that he knows a lot and be pretty pleased that he did all that without having to sit in school. All of these things are very likely--IF I can get him to actually take the test. There's so much perfectionistic fear and emotion surrounding anything that he perceives to be a test or worksheet at this point, he never even gets to see how well he probably can do.

 

But one weekend of nuttiness (i.e. test-giving) per year doesn't seem like too high a price to pay for him at least knowing what the rest of the world is doing. He can decide after that if anything needs to be done about it.

 

 

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#14 of 19 Old 03-16-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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You know, I see a page of another kid's second grade homework in which they are practicing putting capital letters at the start of sentences as periods at the end, and I have to fight the urge to immediately check if my son knows this or to point it out to him-- never mind that he reads years above grade level and presumably will notice these things without anyone needing to tell him.

 


I peek at homework, too, when we are at gymnastics.  But I peek to see if it seems useful or just busywork.  I suppose it's because I so firmly believe so much schoolwork in the early years is a colossal waste of time.  Just peeking to confirm my suspicions.

 

No, *I'm* not biased.  2whistle.gif

 


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#15 of 19 Old 03-16-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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I am so vulnerable to this in math, mostly because I think that without the foundational stuff, the bigger stuff will remain elusive. My son takes classes at a local place that serves homeschoolers as well as kids from school, and when I recently saw a boy busily working away in a math workbook, it pushed all my buttons. My worry buttons "how will my kid EVER learn to work hard like that on math?"  to my I-failed buttons "If I had made him do math he'd know how easy it is and be done with it." and so on. Ugh.
 

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I peek at homework, too, when we are at gymnastics.  But I peek to see if it seems useful or just busywork.  I suppose it's because I so firmly believe so much schoolwork in the early years is a colossal waste of time.  Just peeking to confirm my suspicions.

 

No, *I'm* not biased.  2whistle.gif

 



 

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#16 of 19 Old 03-16-2012, 10:33 AM
 
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I'm a long-term survivor of these moments of unschooling panic disorder. For years our family was part of an unschooling-supportive umbrella program (SelfDesign in BC) which gave us access to the provincial learning outcome expectations and a record of how our child, through our anecdotal reports, had or had not accrued evidence of achieving those expectations. It was all neatly hidden away in this Pandora's box part of the umbrella program's website and we were perfectly able to live our lives and do our reporting without ever peeking in there, and in fact were sometimes explicitly discouraged from stressing ourselves out by looking at them. But we knew they were there, and that our children's official school records had to make reference to them. The temptation was sometimes too much for me. I would peek in. And it would unleash all this indignation and panic and anxiety in me. "I know my kids know that, it should be checked off!" Or "Oh my gosh, we never covered that!" Or "How stupid is that?! Why would 8-year-olds need to know that? How many will remember any of it?"

 

Like several of you who posted above, I'm lucky in that my kids tend to gobble up academic milestones easily, enthusiastically and ahead of schedule. In a big-picture sense I was always able to feel confident that they were growing up pretty capable and well-educated. But that still didn't help me avoid my petty anxieties over little "gaps" and "lags." In fact, in some ways I think their academic precocity made my anxieties linger longer, because I was able to cling to this secret half-belief that unschooling was a way for kids to learn basically the same skills and content that schoolchildren did but sooner, and more joyfully and more efficiently.

 

But of course unschooling is no such thing. And inevitably I had to come to terms with this: gradually and painfully. Deschooling ourselves takes so long! And even when you think you've evolved into unschooling enlightenment you find yourself excited that your 15-year-old's honour roll standing in his first-ever year of school somehow "proves the value and efficacy of unschooling." Which of course it doesn't. It only proves that this particular kid made a choice to attend school and managed to achieve within that model. The value and efficacy of unschooling was there before he made that choice, and it would have been there even if he'd flunked his math midterm and reverted to unschooling in October.

 

Anyway, the strategy that has helped me the most in quelling my anxieties is to pay particular attention to the unconventional skills, knowledge and expertise that my children are developing, the things that are not only not taught in a typical school classroom for their age, but aren't normally taught in school at all. For my kids these are things like knowing when to separate and transplant the strawberry runners. Understanding microbial fermentation composting systems. Knowing who Antonin Dvorak was, and that he was one of the world's first train-spotters. Recognizing a tune as being in Dorian mode. How to convert a digital microscope into a primitive webcam. The modern political history of Myanmar. The difference between first-past-the-post and pro-rep voting systems. The biomechanical differences between humans' natural vs. shod running gaits. 

 

Focusing on these things through observation, the provision of support and ongoing documentation helps me get past the worry that my kids are missing out on learning school-based stuff. If I give myself copious ongoing evidence of all the things they're learning that their schooled counterparts aren't, it's easier for me to see that it's just a big, worthwhile trade-off. They miss some things, sure, but those schoolchildren miss so many more things. 

 

Miranda


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#17 of 19 Old 03-16-2012, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyway, the strategy that has helped me the most in quelling my anxieties is to pay particular attention to the unconventional skills, knowledge and expertise that my children are developing, the things that are not only not taught in a typical school classroom for their age, but aren't normally taught in school at all.....

 

Focusing on these things through observation, the provision of support and ongoing documentation helps me get past the worry that my kids are missing out on learning school-based stuff. If I give myself copious ongoing evidence of all the things they're learning that their schooled counterparts aren't, it's easier for me to see that it's just a big, worthwhile trade-off. They miss some things, sure, but those schoolchildren miss so many more things. 

 

Miranda


Yes. This makes sense, and I couldn't agree more with your last sentence. I love that my son has so much time to do the things that interest him. He is very passionate about electronics and circuitry and robotics-- all topics he wouldn't even get to touch on in the classroom before high school-- and his understanding of certain topics far exceeds mine. We travel, read, and talk all the time about all kinds of subjects and his general knowledge is wonderful. More importantly, he is happy and loves learning and is insatiably curious... and if unschooling allows him to stay that way, in my mind that more than compensates for any gaps in knowledge. Now I just have to keep telling myself that. This deschooling thing is so much tougher than I thought it would be.
 

 


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#18 of 19 Old 03-16-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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Focusing on these things through observation, the provision of support and ongoing documentation helps me get past the worry that my kids are missing out on learning school-based stuff. If I give myself copious ongoing evidence of all the things they're learning that their schooled counterparts aren't, it's easier for me to see that it's just a big, worthwhile trade-off. They miss some things, sure, but those schoolchildren miss so many more things. 

 

Miranda

As always your insights and experience are so helpful, especially to this unschooling mama just starting out.
 

 


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Originally Posted by Cassidy68 View Post


Yes. This makes sense, and I couldn't agree more with your last sentence. I love that my son has so much time to do the things that interest him. He is very passionate about electronics and circuitry and robotics-- all topics he wouldn't even get to touch on in the classroom before high school-- and his understanding of certain topics far exceeds mine. We travel, read, and talk all the time about all kinds of subjects and his general knowledge is wonderful. More importantly, he is happy and loves learning and is insatiably curious... and if unschooling allows him to stay that way, in my mind that more than compensates for any gaps in knowledge. Now I just have to keep telling myself that. This deschooling thing is so much tougher than I thought it would be.
 

 

Here, too.  My girls talk endlessly about farm stands or toy shops.  We have the luxury of being able to do this that help support this.   I have no doubt that in a couple of years, we will have a little market stand (like Miranda's kids!).  Already they have a good sense of money and what they can do to earn it.  We are in 4-H and riding lessons and learning about horses and buying chickens (and soon ducks) and they are sucking this knowledge up.  My 7yo is eager to apply herself to baking, so she can make cupcakes to sell.  And they really can do this!  These are not the only interests of theirs but these are the ones I feel it would be difficult to pursue so ardently at so young an age.  I suppose that's not necessary a quality of unschooling only, but still...... 
 

 


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#19 of 19 Old 08-02-2012, 02:09 PM
 
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I don't compare my daughter to her peers or other schooled children, but I know so many OTHERS around us *do.*  

 

I wrote this in May, and it seems kind of fitting for here:

 

 

 

Quote:
 We call ourselves "eclectic unschoolers." That doesn't mean Kiddo's life is entirely in her hands. It doesn't mean she gets away with not doing things she doesn't want to do. It means I help facilitate her learning based on things she wants to learn, things I think will interest her, and things which I believe she should know right now because it will be meaningful to her life where she is at this moment.
 
Does this mean that if she were to walk into a 4th grade classroom right now and plunk herself down that she would be "up to par" with her grade? Nope. Am I worried about that? Nope. My kid can read. She can write. She can add, subtract, multiply, and is starting to divide. She understands fractions. She knows place value. She understands money.  She can tell time. She can tie her shoes. She can pour her own milk. She can talk a walk around the block independently. She can ride a bike. She can skateboard. She can converse, and joke, and ask questions. She can look up the author or title of a book at the computer kiosk in the library. She can ask a store owner to break a $5 bill so she has change for the gumball machine.
 
She may not know too much about the history and founding of Canada, or may not be able to name and locate all the provinces, but she knows a lot of world history, can place her own province and city on a map, and knows things that are relevant to her in the moment, to where she is now - like the history of her own city, or some information on and the location of the countries we receive postcrossing.com postcards from.


Kiddo's schooling is different but that doesn't make HER different. And just because the way we do things is different doesn't mean she isn't learning. Do you have kids or do you know kids? Do they soak up information like sponges? That doesn't change as you age - you still absorb all types of information around you in various ways. Kiddo is no exception.
 
The point I'm trying to make is ... she is a normal 9-year-old girl who CAN do everything her same-age peers can do. She may not know all the exact same things as her peers but she knows a lot, some of which are things that her peers don't know, either. 

 

The most wonderful thing, for me, about homelearning is that the child can learn, and master, something on their OWN timetable. When my daughter finally understands something, she GETS IT completely.  I can remember back to when I was a kid and I'd understand something, say in Math class, but it wouldn't fully sink in and I'd lose it before the next lesson and the teacher had to go over the whole thing again - lather, rinse, repeat.  What I am seeing in my own daughter is that she is learning when she's ready for said learning, and because her brain is ready for it, it sticks with her.

I'm not saying all public schooled kids aren't "getting it" but I'm thankful my daughter is living on her own timetable, so to speak.  So she doesn't know much about caterpillars (pretending that was a unit which was studied in Grade 4 this year)? In the grand scheme of things, she knows so much more about the real world, I think, and how to live in it. If she wants to learn about caterpillars she can go to the library and look it up on the computer, or google it at home. And because the interest was hers, that info will stick and be more meaningful.

 

I kind of went off on a tangent ... sorry ;)

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