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#1 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi I'm a stay at home mum to a 17 month old and I have a bump due in July. My only knowledge of unschooling is through Facebook and forums but I'd like to apply some of it's philosophies to my parenting.

At the moment we let my daughter play by herself and do what she wants unless she asks for a cuddle, nurse or a story. I'm pretty much a homebody and a couch potato but her dad takes her grocery shopping and we walk to story time at the libary about one week in two(it's held once a week) aswell as an occasional playdate every few weeks. Would you consider this enough socialization and interaction? Should I be making more of an effort to play with her or find her children to play with, take her to the park instead of our backyard etc?

I apoligise if this is more of a parenting than an unschooling question but I'm hoping to get husband used to unschooling so he'll at least consider homeschooling part-time when our children are older.
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#2 of 12 Old 01-30-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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Your know, there's a sense in which unschooling is simply an extension of the sort of parenting most of us naturally do with our toddlers. Unschooling is just a matter of continuing along that merry path, rather than suddenly imposing a curriculum and formal learning expectations just because the child has reached the age of 5 or whatever. So yes, I think you're on the right path. Just stay on it!

And yes, unless you're trying to prepare your child for daycare or institutional schooling at the age of 3 or 4 or 5, I think the amount of socializing you're giving her is fine.

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#3 of 12 Old 01-31-2013, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Miranda smile.gif
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#4 of 12 Old 02-01-2013, 12:21 AM
 
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I think the most important question to ask is "is your child happy?" If she's happy with the level of social interaction she's getting, I say continue as you are now. When she's older she WILL let you know if she wants to see people more often (trust me...they make it VERY clear, lol). Follow her lead. You'll be fine. smile.gif
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#5 of 12 Old 02-01-2013, 04:55 AM
 
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Re the socialisation, just wanted to say I think that any level of socialisation is fine really for a 17 month old. I don't think they need it outside their family at all. The issue I'd say is more whether you are happy with this level of interaction with others, assuming that that is all you get. That would not have been enough for me, but I totally recognise that for many others only seeing other adults a few times a month would be bliss!

 

I also feel that as kids get a little older, in the early toddler years, its not really interaction with others that they need but seeing their parents interact with other adults. Extended family, when doing voluntary work, even at the shops. I don't think they need actual play time with other kids til, not sure really, perhaps 4 or 5 or even older?

 

ETA I would never criticise anyone for sending their child to nursery or being highly social or whatever. However I do feel that there is a trade off here also. I really am noticing now among my nearly 5 year old's small friends who are in kindergarten or school full time that these quite manipulative, bossy, cliquey behaviours are coming to the fore. All this "I won't play with you unless xyz" or "I'm x's best friend not yours", tale telling, strategising etc. This does sometimes happen in HS'd kids too from my observation when they spend a lot of time with other kids, we had a bit of this with my older ones who spent a lot more time on the HS circuit. I think these are necessary skills and strategies when a child spends a lot of time with others, but they aren't developmentally necessary and personally I'd prefer to bypass that stage if possible. I'm trying to say, early socialisation, especially in groups of unsupervised kids, isn't necessarily a great thing. When my oldest was little he had a friend whose mother drove me up the wall sometimes with her hovering and intervening and so on while i just let mine play- but I have to admit that now this kid is an incredibly kind, well balanced child. Peer orientation to me means a child is primarily learning short term adaptive behaviours to survive in a group of equally socially immature kids, and that's not necessarily a great thing.


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#6 of 12 Old 02-03-2013, 06:58 PM
 
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My son is 15 months and spends zero time in childcare or away from me.. He gets socialized pretty much only with me, Dad, grandparent's occasional play dates (aka us moms get together and the kiddos play).

 

Tonight we were over at a friends house with a child who is the exact same age as my son (we met at the hospital, they share a b-day) and I he is in daycare full time. There was a marked difference in their behavior. My D's is a quiet observer and slow to warm, while her Ds was very loud, outgoing, physically more mature, etc. It was interesting to me to see the profound difference. Neither one seemed better or worse, just different. I think both a lot of minimal socialization at this very young age have both pro's and cons. I do agree with the previous poster that many children who are highly socialized from a young age develop certain behaviors out of necessity to thrive in a large group.


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#7 of 12 Old 02-04-2013, 09:11 AM
 
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Avismama24, very interesting observations. 

 

Just to muddy the waters, I think there may also be a "nature" effect on top of the "nurture" effect. Perhaps her ds is temperamentally more extraverted, more physically adventurous, etc. etc., while yours is more cautious and introverted by nature. The difference could be partly coincidental. There may also be a bit of what statisticians call selection bias. And perhaps she and her partner have chosen a two-working-parents-and-daycare model because they are more extraverted, more achievement-oriented (and their child is likely to have similar traits), while you and yours have chosen a simpler more attachment-oriented parenting model because you are more suited to that yourselves (and your child is likely to have similar traits). In other words, the cause and effect relationship may run the other direction: they may have chosen daycare because they (and their child) are well-suited to early extensive social relationships, and you may have chosen stay-at-home parenting because you (and your child) are more suited to a smaller number of more intimate attachments. 

 

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#8 of 12 Old 02-04-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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My daughter is 20 months old and I have to give some agreement to what moominmanmma is saying. I think nature plays a big role in how we socialize. While as an adult I can appear extroverted, I consider myself an introvert and grew up very shy. My Mom always pushed me into groups hoping I wouldn't be alone. That always made me doubt myself. It wasn't fun. If I could do what I wanted I probably would spend most of my time reading on the couch.

 

My daughter however has a lot of both me and her father in her. While she enjoys cuddling, she also LOVES to explore and get out. She also gets energized around people and if they are having fun, then she wants to have fun too. I've learned to follow her lead and if she wants to get out, we get out. If she wants to stay in and cuddle, we do that. Of course there have been times when I can't do what she wants to do, but for the most part it works out. It's so fun to watch her interact with other people. She loves older kids and is always trying to play with them. It will be interesting to see if "peer orientation" becomes an issue. My daughter is VERY strong willed and will probably either learn how to play with others or force her way on them. I feel like I'm watching a great movie and am getting to see how things turn out. I'm just here to support the path she's already on.


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#9 of 12 Old 02-04-2013, 11:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Avismama24, very interesting observations. 

 

Just to muddy the waters, I think there may also be a "nature" effect on top of the "nurture" effect. Perhaps her ds is temperamentally more extraverted, more physically adventurous, etc. etc., while yours is more cautious and introverted by nature. The difference could be partly coincidental. There may also be a bit of what statisticians call selection bias. And perhaps she and her partner have chosen a two-working-parents-and-daycare model because they are more extraverted, more achievement-oriented (and their child is likely to have similar traits), while you and yours have chosen a simpler more attachment-oriented parenting model because you are more suited to that yourselves (and your child is likely to have similar traits). In other words, the cause and effect relationship may run the other direction: they may have chosen daycare because they (and their child) are well-suited to early extensive social relationships, and you may have chosen stay-at-home parenting because you (and your child) are more suited to a smaller number of more intimate attachments. 

 

Miranda

Miranda, i just love reading your responses thoughts on unschooling and parenting in general. And you are spot on with what you said above. I totally agree with you, and I definitely fall into that category and my girlfriend definitely falls into the extroverted category. They are a super busy family, and both her and her husband love their work, and she has said time and time again, she could never stay home...she would go crazy. They also really value formal education and feel their kids "need this type of structured learning" that they can't provide.

 

This woman and I are good buddies, but very different and we raise our children VERy differently. It is difficult for me to imagine sending my kiddo off to school or anywhere for that matter, and feel that he is learning a ton on his own with me acting as a faciliator, not a teacher. Thanks for chiming in on this! Such a great observation.


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#10 of 12 Old 02-10-2013, 01:55 AM
 
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Great posts, just wanted to clarify something. The kids in whom I really see these adaptive, cliquely behaviours are actually the ones who are extrovert, who as younger kids "needed" that interaction. Now I'd class myself as pretty extroverted, I'm not having a dig at extroverts. My feeling-and speaking as an extrovert-is that for an extrovert it is actually potentially harder to develop a sense of self-direction, a strong north star if you like, because one characteristic of being extroverted is that you think and develop your ideas ideally through talking to others.

 

Two of my kids are fundamentally introverted, but my middle child (7 1/2) is quite a strong extrovert and I've had to be far, far more careful in helping her navigate through the quagmire of little kid relationships, because its incredibly important to me that she does not develop these cliquey, adaptive behaviours. My big concern is that once you get into enjoying that particular power trip, its hard to go back.  She is the only one of my three who has any real interest in group approval and so the only one who is really vunerable to adopting the mob mentality. Small group socialisation, very limited kindergarten (she did 2-3 mornings at a Waldorf preschool where many of the families are also/later homeschoolers), coupled with limited HE group/youth activity attendence (guides, scouts, music stuff) and a lot of adult-child time is working ok to fill that extrovert need without putting her in a situation where she finds it too easy to slip into behaviours I don't appreciate.


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#11 of 12 Old 02-20-2013, 01:31 AM
 
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Wow...fillyjonk...thank you so much for explaining that.  I think you just helped me to understand my oldest daughter a lot better.  She is very extroverted and I have always known that I need to be very careful with the people I let her hang around.  

 

When she was younger we spent a lot of time together and she spent a lot of time with different adults(not without me, we just had a very social life, held lots of events, etc.).  She had some play friends but not too many and they were always older than her.  When we took a long trip and started taking her to parks all the time, she started developing some interesting characteristics, or at least they came to the fore-front.  She would engage as many other kids on the playground as possible.  Older kids, younger kids, she would sort of lead gangs of kids in games.  

 

Around the time she turned 3 we met a friend for her who has a very manipulative personality.  It definitely caused some strange issues.  It caused an obsession with the color pink because the other girl would always fight about having the pink thing, and suddenly my daughter started doing that with her younger sister, or anyone, actually.  That's just one example.  A lot of the effect of that relationship is subtle and things that have taken me some time to understand.  After that we had some neighbor friends she hung around all the time.  It was very cliquey although there were only a handful of kids.

 

Since she's been 5, I've done some babysitting other kids and I definitely find that to be a strange experience.  I usually will only have her around kids whose parents I vibe with, if she's going to be around them for a long period of time, but that hasn't quite been the case as of late.  It seems to be okay because we have the ability to talk about how the other kids interact with her together.  I don't babysit a lot, so she is still mostly engaged with me and her sister.  I think this is really preferable at her age, because she kinda makes a big deal out of things and social interactions with other kids seem to mean a huge deal to her.  I don't want her to experience any of those heartbreaking, manipulative moments before she has a chance to really establish more self-confidence and understanding of human behavior.  I still want her to hang out with her friends, but when I do, I try to lead things in a way and have the kids with me most of the time.  I think the regularity that builds in relationships is what allows "mob mentality" and similar adaptations.

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#12 of 12 Old 02-23-2013, 11:31 AM
 
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I tend to agree with the unschooling veterans who say that it isn't unschooling until the child would legally need to be in school, but I do see radical unschooling as an extension of Attachment Parenting and Consensual Parenting and things of that sort.  That is definitely how I came to it...by the time I realized that kindergarten was a complete waste of time for our family (at the very end of the year for my now 14 year old son), when I researched homeschooling, the method that jumped out at me as perfect was unschooling, most likely because it was exactly like what we had done all along prior to putting him into kindergarten.  

 

That being said, by 17 months, all 3 of my children loved going out of the house on a fairly regular basis, maybe 2 times a week, plus sometimes a 3rd time (maybe hosting a playdate at my house).  I know plenty of children who don't crave that until 2 1/2 or 3, though.  I found that my toddlers behaved better when they had regular exercise and fresh air, and activity (physical playing at the playground with plenty of children they see regularly and eventually may become friends with).  I found that before 3, the house stayed cleaner if we had 2-4 activities a week (zoo, park days, craft days, moms club meetings, children's museum, moms club field trips), and my toddlers would nap better, sleep better at night, and just generally enjoy themselves more all the time.  

 

I tend to think that introverted parents tend to have introverted children though, so your 17 month old may never crave as much social interaction as my extroverted children.  That would be okay. Just make sure that within the next year or two, you start exploring a bit more with your child, so you can figure out how much activity your child really thrives with.  17 months is still indeed very young.  

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