The not unschooling spouse. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-13-2012, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am looking for feedback regarding a spouse who is just not "getting" unschooling and keeps trying to feed in management of, and busy work, and undermining progress.

He feels he is helping-to quell the chaos.

I have noticed, in his various jobs that he brings home whatever system of management he is under.

Because of that, and because his employment is important,I am not sure how to bring this to his attention in a stronger manner without insulting his efforts for our family.

Help?


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#2 of 8 Old 11-14-2012, 06:01 AM
 
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I suspect you need to have a longer deeper discussion of what unschooling means to you and get him to sign on fully, to really commit to that path.    But aside from that, if he wants to help, help him come up with a list of things that you know he is good at or would enjoy, and things that actually need to get done or would be of the most benefit to you and the household. He could take them on an adventure so you could get some quiet time, maybe get some things done at home. Or he could clean up while you engage them in an activity.  Or he could play a board game, invite one of the kids to participate in one of his hobbies, get involved in one of theirs, go for a bike ride or walk with them, or just ask the kids to tell him about something they did that day.  If he needs some quiet time after work, perhaps watching a movie together would do the trick. It really depends on his interests, your kids interests, and what kind of "chaos" we're talking about. Is it mess, noise, or just what he sees as a lack of leadership and hierarchy making him uncomfortable? How many kids, how much space, and what ages will all play into this too. 
 

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#3 of 8 Old 11-14-2012, 10:39 AM
 
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Maybe he can have/do something 'structured' with all or each kid individually on a regular basis. (scouts? volunteering somewhere (food shelf, senior home, animal shelter)? story time at the library? community ed sports? karate? )

If there is some committment weekly or monthly, that would be some 'structure' and offer other opportunities for learning.

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#4 of 8 Old 11-14-2012, 08:15 PM
 
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I think it is very difficult to unschool/homeschool if both parents are not on board.  You need to work on addressing his concerns before this turns into "Hey, they are my kids too! I get to have a say in this as much as you!" -- because once the conflict gets here, it is hard to turn it around and the resentment that arises will erode everyone's peace.  

 

If he doesn't come on board fully, then you may have to let him do "structured" learning time with the kids which will give him some ownership/say into the situation.  And then who knows, he may decide it is not for him....

 

Whatever you do, be careful of pushing him against a corner.  

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#5 of 8 Old 11-14-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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I agree with what the PP said about addressing those concerns first, before leading DH towards a more unschooly approach.  It will really only be meaningful if he is motivated personally.  Reflecting on the whole idea of unschooling, it seeks to foster individual motivation.  Which doesn't just apply to our children, but also to ourselves and our partners.  So, balancing DH's motivation to manage with children's internal motivation to explore their interests is the key.  

 

I appreciate what the OP said about wanting to honor DH's contributions.  I think, try not to come from the point of view of trying to change his mind and lead him in the direction you have chosen.  Rather, continue having open ended discussions about methods of schooling and why different ways work for different people/kids.  Be open to his perspective, too.  Just talk about it.  Find the common ground between you.  


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#6 of 8 Old 11-15-2012, 09:07 AM
 
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I get the impression that he is enthusiastic about homeschooling in general?  It could be that your husband just doesn't really understand unschooling.  You also don't say how young your children are.  Most of us get more confident as the kids get a bit older and we have some positive feedback that unschooling is "working".

 

How is he undermining your USing efforts?  It would be nice to know more specifics.  Is it "radical unschooling" you are doing?  Or unschooling more as an educational philosophy?  

 

********************************

 

Unschooling is easier to embrace if a parent feels that their own success and path in life was largely self-driven, whether it involved school or not.  Harder if you give credit for your success to the system you moved through.

 

I don't know if I'm making sense.  

 

DH fell naturally into unschooling.  DH was an artist and gardener and never felt school really worked for him.  He was in his third year of college before finally seeing that what he wanted to do wasn't offered the way he wanted it.  He is a professional gardener and landscaper and he is largely self-made.  I did well in school, but dropped out of college to be a tripping hippie and pretty much wound up unschooling myself in the things that interested me.  For us, accepting unschooling as the right path is a no-brainer.  It's not a leap of faith, it is a certain confidence we have learned by making our own lives.  

 

People who had a difficult time making school work for them are going to find unschooling easier to embrace.

 

For others who have worked their way clear through school and college, it would still be easier to embrace unschooling if you felt like your interests and goals were the main drivers of your education.  School, especially college, offered the tools and resources to meet those goals.  School is a means to an end, a useful tool to complement your internal motivation.

 

I think that the more credit you give the schools and external motivation for your success, the more difficult it is going to be to embrace the philosophy (especially if you believe this benefits people in general, not just you personally). 

 

Those who find unschooling easy to embrace have a high level of trust in kids' natural-born abilities. They tend to see kids as capable, motivated, willing to learn.  They tend to see that learning to focus is something they learn with time and practice, not assignments.  They also tend to be a bit more patient, or perhaps it's more that they have faith that not giving writing reading and math homework early will not doom their children. 

 

Those who find unschooling easy to embrace tend to see life as having multiple paths and ideas of success.  They tend to accept that their particular path that worked for them might not work for others.  

 

They are often comfortable with a bit more randomness (educationally, developmentally) and, yes, a bit of chaos.  Anyhow, it makes it easier.

 

Those who put high value on having children work on stuff they don't like, doing things they don't want to do and learning to deal with that are going to have a harder time embracing unschooling.  (Because achieving goals--and life itself-- involve doing things you would rather not be doing, it is best to start learning to deal with this at a young age, so goes the belief.)  

 

If you think that learning is best proceeding in a certain order, with a particular schedule, then unschooling is not going to be as easy to accept.


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#7 of 8 Old 11-16-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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How do the kids feel about it?  That is really where it would all hinge for me.  We live in a house with 7 adults, some of those adults will do activities with ds that might feel more "schooly" to some people.  But he likes it/ doesn't mind/ really, really loves it, depending on the specifics.  

 

When we go visit my IL's ds craves doing craft projects with his second grade teacher aunt.  Many of her craft projects are very product oriented and not open ended (three white circles glued on top of one another to make a snowman etc).  Well, the other day ds said to me: 

 "When do we get to go see aunt again? She does craft projects with me"

I said, "I do craft projects with you. We do craft projects all the time"

Ds: "Yeah, but when I make stuff with Aunt it actually looks like something."

 

 

This made me think that *my* focus on being all process based and open ended wasn't always filling ds up.  He wanted to do some product based art!  He wanted a snowman that looked like a snowman.  He didn't want to do a sewing project where he made random stitches on the fabric, he actually wanted to make it look like something.  I had to rethink some of the ways I thought about meaningful activities and that what *I* saw as particularly meaningful or deep didn't necessarily mesh with ds's interpretation.  This isn't to say that we have switched to all premade craft projects, but I do let him peruse pinterest and pick things he'd like to do and I scaffold him to be successful.

 

 

All this is to say that just because you want to unschool and you dh maybe wants to do more structured activities it doesn't mean your kids can't do both if they are comfortable and happy and all that good stuff.

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#8 of 8 Old 11-19-2012, 12:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

How do the kids feel about it?  That is really where it would all hinge for me.  We live in a house with 7 adults, some of those adults will do activities with ds that might feel more "schooly" to some people.  But he likes it/ doesn't mind/ really, really loves it, depending on the specifics.  

 

When we go visit my IL's ds craves doing craft projects with his second grade teacher aunt.  Many of her craft projects are very product oriented and not open ended (three white circles glued on top of one another to make a snowman etc).  Well, the other day ds said to me: 

 "When do we get to go see aunt again? She does craft projects with me"

I said, "I do craft projects with you. We do craft projects all the time"

Ds: "Yeah, but when I make stuff with Aunt it actually looks like something."

 

 

This made me think that *my* focus on being all process based and open ended wasn't always filling ds up.  He wanted to do some product based art!  He wanted a snowman that looked like a snowman.  He didn't want to do a sewing project where he made random stitches on the fabric, he actually wanted to make it look like something.  I had to rethink some of the ways I thought about meaningful activities and that what *I* saw as particularly meaningful or deep didn't necessarily mesh with ds's interpretation.  This isn't to say that we have switched to all premade craft projects, but I do let him peruse pinterest and pick things he'd like to do and I scaffold him to be successful.

 

 

All this is to say that just because you want to unschool and you dh maybe wants to do more structured activities it doesn't mean your kids can't do both if they are comfortable and happy and all that good stuff.

 

thumb.gif  I love this.  I think unschooling, by virtue of allowing more process-oriented/open-ended learning, is often mislabeled as being exclusively that.  To me, unschooling is a creative, child-led process - highly individual, endlessly adaptable.  Sometimes, kids may want some structure, and that's perfectly fine.  Some unschooled kids even take school classes.  I think it's just about helping your kid meant their own educational needs - whatever they may be.

 

That said, unschooling without your DH on board with the basic philosophy is hard.  Perhaps he could trust you in certain areas, and he could do more structured work with the kids where they want that approach (as long as it's coming from them, not imposed on them).

 

Also, I know if I'm trying something new and crafty (or cooking or whatnot) I sometimes like to go by the book, produce a product, and then evaluate it (and how I would change it) or use those skills in a more creative way, once I've got them down.  Product work definitely has its place.


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