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#1 of 63 Old 10-05-2012, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, before beginning to home-school my kids, I thought the whole idea of unschooling was nutty.  But here I am, veraciously reading and becoming more and more convinced that, at least for now, it is the right path for our family.  I watch my kids learn everyday and be excited the stuff they are learning through avenues they are freely exploring themselves without much direction.  I provide the tools, they pick and choose.  Everyday, they are doing SO much!  

 

I feel like I have fallen in love with this whole process and I don't see myself ever going back!  And I am realizing just how much this one change can free us from many things including being able to freely choose where we live (without worrying about the school district too much) to traveling whenever we would like (without being bound by a strict school calender!).  

 

So yeah, def. in the honeymoon phase, I know! But what a fun, FUN journey to undertake, and all seemingly by accident...) 

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#2 of 63 Old 10-05-2012, 04:30 PM
 
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That's so exciting! Enjoy the honeymoon, and the whole grand adventure. I'm going through a phase of worrying about our unschooling, so it's nice to hear your enthusiasm and to remember that as much as child-driven enthusiasm for learning sometimes wanes, it inevitably waxes again anew.

 

Miranda


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#3 of 63 Old 10-05-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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I had never heard of unschooling before reading this post:  http://marvelouskiddo.blogspot.com/2011/10/some-thoughts-on-unschooling-rather.html 

 

While my husband and I will never have the capability to pursue this as a full-time option (we both work fairly demanding jobs), I do look forward to destructuring the learning process into something more child-driven as much as we can.  

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#4 of 63 Old 10-07-2012, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I'm going through a phase of worrying about our unschooling, so it's nice to hear your enthusiasm and to remember that as much as child-driven enthusiasm for learning sometimes wanes, it inevitably waxes again anew.

 

Miranda

 

You know, show me an engaged parent who does not worry about their kids' education.  I think we are programmed to!

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While my husband and I will never have the capability to pursue this as a full-time option (we both work fairly demanding jobs), I do look forward to destructuring the learning process into something more child-driven as much as we can.  

 

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#5 of 63 Old 10-08-2012, 11:49 AM
 
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I want to read so much more about this! Just starting homeschool with our oldest and I am constantly worried that we are not focusing on the right things. Always doing and learning something but I get caught up in what others are doing in a school setting and what he "should" know by now. Can't wait to see what is going on in this forum!!

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#6 of 63 Old 10-08-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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A month in, I'm starting to kinda lean that way, too.  I mean I bought curricula to deal with some topics, and I'm a stickler on math and spelling/handwriting at the moment until they get to where they're doing it on their own (which I realize is not overly unschool-y) but I figure the further we go, the more ownership they'll be able to take ownership.  That said, I do require them to do math and spelling/handwriting, but everything else is sort of taking it as we can.  We started Story of the World, and they've gotten really into the Egypt stuff, where they weren't that into the pre-historic humans... so we're focusing more deeply on egypt and covered pre-history only in a cursory way.  They've been learning tons of vocabulary from "Martha Speaks" lately.  Today my son "decided" to do a spelling project despite my not expecting it to be planned.

 

At this point, I'm calling it "eclectic, relaxed homeschooling", but I could see easily moving further and further toward unschooling over time.


Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#7 of 63 Old 10-09-2012, 10:56 AM
 
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Emaye - I am right where you are, bu ta tad more nervous than you seem to be.  I really enjoy it, but I already get a lot of criticism when I am just doing HS with a full curriculum, I can only imagine what will happen as people slowly start to figure out we are unschooling.  I am also really into reading up on it right now & figuring out how it will work for us & what that will look like in our house.  Right now I've been doing a lot of reading here too: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/methods/Unschooling.htm#.UHRk_a4qyIt  and it seems to be helping me gain some confidence going forward.
 

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#8 of 63 Old 10-09-2012, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Emaye - I am right where you are, bu ta tad more nervous than you seem to be....

Oh I am nervous alright!  lol.  But really, the more I see it work, the more I am comfortable with letting my anxiety go.  

 

The thing is, I really enjoy finding the most efficient way to do things.  Unschooling seems to be more efficient than using a curriculum to teach my particular children.  Don't get me wrong, I still sort of indirectly provide a framework  for their learning by the very fact that I present them opportunities to explore certain things but I just follow closely what they are into.  I pay attention when their interest is piqued and I take advantage of it.

 

I found the idea of following a curriculum too stressful therefore I never purchased one.  I think it would have been a quick way to a homeschooling hell for us (too many deadlines and HAVE TOs, ugh).  Without a curriculum, we can just combine subjects and jump around and learn different things whenever we (they and I)  want to and they are actually ready.  My kids were interested in butterflies and other bugs so we did life cycle stuff.  They are now interested in how plants grow, so we planted some beans... etc.  We will do this for as long as it works.  And if it does not work, we will change it.  For now, it is pretty awesome! 

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#9 of 63 Old 10-10-2012, 12:55 AM
 
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Do you get any heat from anyone (grandparents, friends, etc) for going unschooling?  It won't change my mind (and never has on anything else) but I do tire of it being another thing for people to rag on.  LOL  First it was my unmedicated birth (because you don't get a medal for being a martyr you know) then it was breastfeeding - and then breastfeeding past a year & then past two & then through pregnancy & then breastfeeding two at a time & somewhere in there was a whole slew of other things like the bedsharing, not circing them (we were the first people we knew that didn't) and all of the rest.  Sooooooo - I feel tired.  Really really tired out on how to graciously deal with questions when the questions are just criticisms cloaked as a question...things like "Aren't you worried about their socialization?"  "How are they going to know how to function in the world without you"?  (Which is FUNNY since they are 5 & 2 & right ...but you get my long winded drift (I think).  I just feel pooped out on defending parenting stuff.  Frankly I am waiting & longing for the day that something "everyone else" is doing seems like a good fit for us so people won't say a word about it! :P  So I JUST finally got everyone's criticisms questions answered on homeschooling with a full curriculum & now we've basically tossed it aside 2 weeks in realizing that won't work well for us (mostly because my kid is past most of it & I don't want to invest in more when we prefer a free form learning anyway) & I have been a closet unschooling homeschool momma on the learn for just a few weeks & already dreading explaining all of this again.  LOL  And I *would* kick all the critics out of my lif e& just be done with them, but they are nealry every person we know & love along with all of our relatives. hahahhaha
 

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#10 of 63 Old 10-10-2012, 03:54 AM
 
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When my son was young, and I had no Internet, and no support, I got a lot of criticism about homeschooling. I never told anyone that we were unschooling. Actually, I didn't know we were. I found as he got older, the criticisms were less. Not because they could see that he was learning and doing well, but because they gave up on changing me. I found those early years to be hard, because I wasn't sure things would work out. Now I have the confidence, from seeing the results, as well as online support, and now there are no comments. Go figure!
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#11 of 63 Old 10-11-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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That's so exciting! Enjoy the honeymoon, and the whole grand adventure. I'm going through a phase of worrying about our unschooling, so it's nice to hear your enthusiasm and to remember that as much as child-driven enthusiasm for learning sometimes wanes, it inevitably waxes again anew.

Miranda

What could possibly worry you about unschooling after all these years and after seeing your kids succeed using this way of learning? I've found your family's experience incredibly inspiring and motivating and hearing that unschooling still worries you sometimes after all these years, worries ME just a teensy weensy while I stand at the beginning of my family's own unschooling journey.
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#12 of 63 Old 10-11-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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What could possibly worry you about unschooling after all these years and after seeing your kids succeed using this way of learning? 

 

Lol, well, you know how it is when you have this lovely child with neat interests and a fascinating personality, and she has good friends and lots of social grace, and people like her and comment about how polite and helpful she is, and you know deep down in your heart that she's good, and kind, and turning out fine... but then you have a few days when she is in some sort of self-centred funk and it seems like every second sentence that comes out of her mouth is a complaint, and you've asked her at least five times to put away her clean laundry and it still isn't done, and she's lost her brand-new jacket somewhere earlier this week, and has spent all day playing on the computer and then at dinner she's rude to both her brother and her dad ... and you think to yourself "What am I doing wrong? What is wrong with this kid?" 

 

It's kinda like that. You know deep down that everything is okay, but that doesn't stop a run of a few less-than-stellar days from setting you to worry and frustration. And if anything, having experienced a lot of pretty awesome self-directed learning by my kids raises my expectations, setting me up for a situation where small lapses in interest and motivation feeling bigger than they should. I mean, really, I was stressing over the fact that my kid has recently shown no interest in higher math. She's 9. It's been all of two weeks. Why is that a problem? It's not, of course. It's only that I'm used to her being enthusiastic over stuff like computing the volume of a volleyball. Big hairy deal if she's not interested right now.

 

Miranda

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#13 of 63 Old 10-11-2012, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you get any heat from anyone (grandparents, friends, etc) for going unschooling?  It won't change my mind (and never has on anything else) but I do tire of it being another thing for people to rag on.  LOL  First it was my unmedicated birth (because you don't get a medal for being a martyr you know) then it was breastfeeding - and then breastfeeding past a year & then past two & then through pregnancy & then breastfeeding two at a time & somewhere in there was a whole slew of other things like the bedsharing, not circing them (we were the first people we knew that didn't) and all of the rest.  Sooooooo - I feel tired.  Really really tired out on how to graciously deal with questions when the questions are just criticisms cloaked as a question...things like "Aren't you worried about their socialization?"  "How are they going to know how to function in the world without you"?  (Which is FUNNY since they are 5 & 2 & right ...but you get my long winded drift (I think).  I just feel pooped out on defending parenting stuff.  Frankly I am waiting & longing for the day that something "everyone else" is doing seems like a good fit for us so people won't say a word about it! :P  So I JUST finally got everyone's criticisms questions answered on homeschooling with a full curriculum & now we've basically tossed it aside 2 weeks in realizing that won't work well for us (mostly because my kid is past most of it & I don't want to invest in more when we prefer a free form learning anyway) & I have been a closet unschooling homeschool momma on the learn for just a few weeks & already dreading explaining all of this again.  LOL  And I *would* kick all the critics out of my lif e& just be done with them, but they are nealry every person we know & love along with all of our relatives. hahahhaha
 

 

I just don't say mostly.  And for those who know the details, I present it as something we are trying out.  This is actually true too.  I am not married to any ideology or ideals. If it works, we will keep it and if it stops working, we will change it.  So, I say that to the concerned people around me and they feel better about my choices.  I don't go into unschooling much at all.  I tell people I am homeschooling.  Unschooling makes people cringe and is hard to explain.... So, I just go with homeschooling.  

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#14 of 63 Old 10-11-2012, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know deep down that everything is okay, but that doesn't stop a run of a few less-than-stellar days from setting you to worry and frustration.

Miranda

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#15 of 63 Old 10-12-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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I don't know Miranda but I think she sounds pretty normal! My dds both act like this on occasion and it drives me bonkers but I take comfort in the fact that I know it'll pass with time! This recent phase seems to be lasting longer than usual though.....and it's the reason why I am considering us'ing at the moment.
They are fighting me every step of the way when it comes to doing any thing school related these past few weeks. So I just stopped and now they are questioning why we are not " doing school work," so I tell them that if they don't want to do it and aren't interested that I am not gonna force them or fight with them.....I said for them to tell me what and when....they've just been playing for a week now and I'm fine with it. Now I just want to find some good books to read on the subject of us'ing! I'm kinda excited!


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#16 of 63 Old 10-12-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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I don't know Miranda but I think she sounds pretty normal! 

 

Oh, yeah, she's normal. But I just kinda made that example up to illustrate how that sort of normal parental frustration surfaces over a spate of less-than-stellar behaviour even when you know you've got a great kid. The same way unschooling frustration crops up after a fallow period in learning even when you know it's a great fit educationally for your family. 

 

Sounds like you're enjoying some pretty awesome deschooling in your family. Enjoy!

 

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#17 of 63 Old 10-16-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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I LOVE unschooling!!!  Now Ive only been doing it with my 5 year old for a few months.  But shes already learned way more than she ever did in preschool.

And I LOVE challenging peoples opinions!

"Oh you're homeschooling?  How will you do that with a toddler home too?  Do you have any experience teaching?"

my response: "Oh were unschooling.  So I don't have to DO anything.  She just teaches herself, like she did to walk and talk.  I'm just there as a guide.  It will be interesting to see if it works right?"

bahahaha!!  drives people batty.  what do you even say to that? "uh.... okay"

I might start guiding a bit more on reading.  But I don't have a schedule for her development if shes 6 and reading great!  If she 8, cool!  I trust her intelligence and motivation and refuse to use fear or coercion (positive reinforcement) to make her into the person I (aka society) wants her to be!

unschooling is funschooling jumpers.gif


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#18 of 63 Old 10-17-2012, 12:35 PM
 
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delurking for a moment...  My oldest is just 3.5, and goes to part-time preschool (play-focused). But that will probably be the end of it.

 

I was captivated by the idea of unschooling as soon as I read about it years ago. And as my kids get older and I see just how much they're learning all the time from life, I really can't imagine sending them to sit all day in school 5 days a week when they turn 5. Both my husband and I value freedom and flexibility highly for ourselves (work part-time at home as contractors - largely on things we want to work on, spend lots of time outside, etc..), it seems kind of wrong to give less freedom to our small children.

 

I do worry a bit that I'm being too heavily influenced by my own past (I would have loved to be unschooled) than by really thinking about what is best for my kids. I also worry about the implications of not supporting our small community school -- and by extension, not supporting the community.

 

But my kids aren't really old enough to belong here. ...back to lurking and learning...

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#19 of 63 Old 10-19-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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It's nice to read about other people who are in love with unschooling and just starting out.  I've popped up here and there on this forum, but I'm sure it's gotten a lot of eye rolls, since DS is only 18 months! duck.gif

 

On the flip side, aside from the bureaucratic aspects, it doesn't really matter how old DS is - because the style of learning he engages in now is more or less what I'm seeking to preserve.  He leads, I guide and provide.  I love the philosophy behind unschooling, and I think it makes all the sense in the world - especially for our values and lifestyle (not being restricted by labels and scheduling is a huge plus).  Of course, I would never force him into anything that wasn't a good fit for him, but for now, I can't see changing the status quo.  He learns so much every day, and is so curious and inquisitive - launching all kinds of "experiments" - exploring and asking about the world around him (including letters/numbers - but also different kinds of trees, etc.).   He helps us with laundry, cooking and cleaning.  Learn alot through his obsession with trucks.  Have random family jam sessions and dance parties.  And we read, read, read. smile.gif


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#20 of 63 Old 10-19-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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It's nice to read about other people who are in love with unschooling and just starting out.  I've popped up here and there on this forum, but I'm sure it's gotten a lot of eye rolls, since DS is only 18 months! duck.gif

 

No eye rolls from me!  Unschooling is hard to separate from everyday life-- it is everyday life!--especially at the younger ages.  If someone like you says they are unschooling, I understand what that means for their family.  It almost makes more sense then "we are going to be unschooling".  That leads me to to questions like, "are you doing something fundamentally different now?"

 

I was in love with the idea of unschooling for years before having my own kids.  I forgot about it during a brief love with the beauty of Waldorf, until I visited a kindergarten and it turns out that Waldorf is SCHOOL!  duh.gif  That experience not only shoved any desire to send my girls to that school, my old unschooling ideas came roaring back and we have been unschooling ever since--even though my daughter was only 18 months at the time, and my youngest growing large in my belly.


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#21 of 63 Old 10-19-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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It's fun reading about others who are just starting out. We're nearing the end. My son is sixteen, now. I hadn't heard of unschooling, but just did what came naturally. Now I know that can be called 'unschooling'. I won't be telling my family, though. They are uncomfortable with homeschooing, so unschooling would put them over the edge!

To all with young children, enjoy this time as much as you can. Don't let others' fears make you doubt yourself. I regret how much I wasted worrying, because of things people who didn't even know my child said to me! Consider the source before you decide to worry. And enjoy all the discoveries!
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#22 of 63 Old 10-21-2012, 02:39 PM
 
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No eye rolls from me!  Unschooling is hard to separate from everyday life-- it is everyday life!--especially at the younger ages.  If someone like you says they are unschooling, I understand what that means for their family.  It almost makes more sense then "we are going to be unschooling".  That leads me to to questions like, "are you doing something fundamentally different now?"

 

I was in love with the idea of unschooling for years before having my own kids.  I forgot about it during a brief love with the beauty of Waldorf, until I visited a kindergarten and it turns out that Waldorf is SCHOOL!  duh.gif  That experience not only shoved any desire to send my girls to that school, my old unschooling ideas came roaring back and we have been unschooling ever since--even though my daughter was only 18 months at the time, and my youngest growing large in my belly.

 

Thank you, SweetSilver! smile.gif  You explained that really well, and it's definitely how I felt in my gut.  I see how we are embracing this lifestyle every day, letting DS "help" with bathroom repairs, answering questions, exploring new concepts - and the more I read the more excited I am about its potential. Oh, and ditto with Waldorf! upsidedown.gif

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It's fun reading about others who are just starting out. We're nearing the end. My son is sixteen, now. I hadn't heard of unschooling, but just did what came naturally. Now I know that can be called 'unschooling'. I won't be telling my family, though. They are uncomfortable with homeschooing, so unschooling would put them over the edge!
To all with young children, enjoy this time as much as you can. Don't let others' fears make you doubt yourself. I regret how much I wasted worrying, because of things people who didn't even know my child said to me! Consider the source before you decide to worry. And enjoy all the discoveries!

 

This is really great advice - we are already navigating this, especially since we live in the city (I'm not sure those who are "concerned" get any comfort from my answer, though, wild.gif).


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#23 of 63 Old 10-21-2012, 03:35 PM
 
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I am into my second year unschooling my 9yo and 3yo and we love it.  The toddler just amazes me because I was very nervous about teaching someone to read/write.  But she's picked up so much and writes as well now as my eldest was at 4-5.  And the 9yo is well above her 'grade level'.  Not to mention the time we get together, and the fact that I am not missing out on watching them grow.  Enjoy.

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#24 of 63 Old 10-21-2012, 09:27 PM
 
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Im so glad this thread is picking back up!! 

I hope we can find more unschooling moms out there to share their wisdom!!  I am loving reading these!!

Im right now grappling with how to help my daughter get interested in actually reading.   Right now she just picks up books and pretends.  Im trying to think of a way to let her just BE who she is and not force her to learn my way.  Its definitely tough though when everyone around me is homeschooling like school.  Work books, practicing, schedules.  

At 5 she will grab books and copy the letters and words (all on her own with ZERO direction from me) into her own notebook.  Or she will ask me what certain words are.

I do wonder though, is letting her learn organically to read more important than forcing her to learn now so that she can LEARN other subjects on her own accord because she is able to read younger....

I just dont know.  So far, I just stay back and let her go.  But I do sometimes wonder if it will ever happen.  Shes only 5 though, so I guess she has time to learn to read...


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#25 of 63 Old 10-22-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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I do wonder though, is letting her learn organically to read more important than forcing her to learn now so that she can LEARN other subjects on her own accord because she is able to read younger....

I just dont know.  So far, I just stay back and let her go.  But I do sometimes wonder if it will ever happen.  Shes only 5 though, so I guess she has time to learn to read...

I do think it is more important.  There are other ways to learn things without reading about them.

 

But you knew I would say that.

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#26 of 63 Old 10-22-2012, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 4.5 year old dd does this too.  She copies letters and wants to write books and signs all her drawings with her name.  She has been picking up a lot of stuff.  I think she knows most of her letters, although I am not really sure how many.  Sometimes, she plays letter games on the ipad.  

 

At this age, I just figure it is too early to even think about reading.  So, I really don't worry about it.  

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At 5 she will grab books and copy the letters and words (all on her own with ZERO direction from me) into her own notebook.  Or she will ask me what certain words are.

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#27 of 63 Old 10-23-2012, 03:02 PM
 
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What do folks think about rural vs. urban unschooling?

 

I start doing reading, and when "making your kids part of real life" is brought up, it seems inevitably followed up by lists of things like museums and zoos and classes in anything imaginable. City stuff. But I don't live in a city. I live in a vibrant, wonderful, isolated community of a few hundred people. Community offerings are abundant, but necessarily eclectic. So we might have ukelele and unicycling and Nepali cooking, but no clarinet or gymnastics or chess club. Options to go to the beach daily or track a wolverine through the snow, but no options to see a real train or live action play. Etc... Of course, we do have the internet and books.

 

But I guess that's true for everyone? It seems like what kids can choose to learn or do is inevitably limited by where they find themselves (geographically, income-wise, etc...). Does that matter?

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#28 of 63 Old 10-23-2012, 06:38 PM
 
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first of all, wish i lived with you there!

 

secondly, doesnt matter at all!  they can learn cool stuff anywhere :)


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And it varies according to the house.  Our friends down the road and handy with electricity and wood and stuff, dh and I are gardeners.  I was shocked to see their 3yo operate a cordless drill until I said "yes" to my kids borrowing the hand pruners without a second thought.  Aha!  I thought.  I guess it's the same thing.  We will have a lot to complement each other.  


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#30 of 63 Old 10-23-2012, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do folks think about rural vs. urban unschooling?

 

I start doing reading, and when "making your kids part of real life" is brought up, it seems inevitably followed up by lists of things like museums and zoos and classes in anything imaginable. City stuff. But I don't live in a city. I live in a vibrant, wonderful, isolated community of a few hundred people. Community offerings are abundant, but necessarily eclectic. So we might have ukelele and unicycling and Nepali cooking, but no clarinet or gymnastics or chess club. Options to go to the beach daily or track a wolverine through the snow, but no options to see a real train or live action play. Etc... Of course, we do have the internet and books.

 

But I guess that's true for everyone? It seems like what kids can choose to learn or do is inevitably limited by where they find themselves (geographically, income-wise, etc...). Does that matter?

 

We are definitely limited by our geographical location.  There is no library, for example and I have had to make sure that my kids have book access as possible through the ipad.  I have had to make adjustments to accommodate my location and it has been easy with the internet.  It does make me think and appreciate old time homeschoolers though.  Sheesh!  

 

Your location sounds fantastic, by the way.  Wish we could visit!

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