Liberate your Education - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This article really spoke to me and I thought a few of you might appreciate it too.

 

http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/1304/liberate_your_education_unschooling_is_not_one-size-fits-all.htm

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#2 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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I have mixed feelings on this article.  I've encountered (online and IRL) unschooling families that have accused me of being not unschooly enough and some that have considered me too radical or permissive.  Mostly I am amused by this. My ideals and limits have evolved as my kids have grown and taught me what they needed, but unschooling is still the most closely aligned ethos.  Unschooling, as a philosophy and learning style, has evolved, too.  The fact that it continues to evolve after you start participating in it doesn't mean that everything that changes is invalid.  Nor do newcomers necessarily gain the right to dictate what the movement should be or whom should participate.  I appreciate that she advocates for acceptance, but it seems dishonest to do so immediately after accusing people on the radical end of the spectrum of not being real parents (unparenting) or parents trying to figure out whether or not to place limits of being sheeple.

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#3 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont think she is saying that newcomers should dictate the movement at all.  Nor do I see anywhere that she accuses radical unschoolers of unparenting.  What I took from the article is that unschooling is a wide spectrum and that we all should be understanding of each other as we grow and learn within the movement.  Many of the online unschooling communities have become very hateful.  A lot of the "unschooling gurus" speak to  people who are asking simple questions as if they are stupid and pick apart every minute detail of thier posts tearing them apart.  This behavor has turned many people away from unschooling.  Instead these self named "unschooling gurus" might try to treat others the way they say they are treating their children.  Step back, listen, offer gentle guidance and offer their personal stories.  Then they would be so much more effective IMHO.  I love Pam Laricchia because she has this style. 


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#4 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 07:10 PM
 
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I really enjoyed this article. I am one of those people that was turned off from unschooling by being accused of not being unschooled enough or radical enough. This gave me a better sense of what child-led learning really means. We are just starting homeschooling (since January) and the last 2 weeks have been a struggle. We are still finding out way and I can tell it will take awhile to see what will work best with DD1.  I liked the PET idea, it gave me some ideas with how to deal with some of our issues. In fact, I enjoy everything from Natural Life publishers! 


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#5 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ambersrose View Post

Many of the online unschooling communities have become very hateful.  A lot of the "unschooling gurus" speak to  people who are asking simple questions as if they are stupid and pick apart every minute detail of thier posts tearing them apart.  

 

I find that there is a negative, competitive environment in some of the unschooling communities online.  It is like people have something to prove or want others to prove that they are real unschoolers. So I have stayed away. Unschooling as a movement doesn't seem to have matured yet and has a lot of divisions and arguments.  However, this doesn't bother me.  I do what I do for as long as it works for my kids.  I have no attachment to unschooling as a philosophy.  I benefit from the ideas great unschooling parents share here on the MDC board and I am grateful for the educational experiment mom's with older kids have done before I came along on the scene.  While this section is not the busiest, I got to say it is my favorate homeschooling hang out.  

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#6 of 8 Old 03-02-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

  While this section is not the busiest, I got to say it is my favorate homeschooling hang out.  

Mine, too.  I haven't personally encountered the intensity you'e spoken of, thankfully, and won't go looking for it because it might irritate me.  I feel like "unschooling" is being appropriated by RU, if for no other reason than the media focusses on RU because of its sensational qualities, and stamps it "unschooling".  If the families ever mentioned during their interviews that unschooling is a spectrum, it seems to be edited out of the final story.  Eloquent and sensitive understanding like this has no place in stories that seem intent on making the philosophy seem as "out there" and nutso as possible.

 

I liked the article.  It reminds me that I am apologetic on so many fronts about my choices.  I don't push chores, I let the girls choose what and when they want to eat (mostly), I don't force the typical methods of sharing and I don't force apologies, I give them the reins in decisions where other families simply would not.  Their hair only gets combed once a week.  Their education is entirely free of restrictions.  I find myself explaining, or completely avoiding talking about these things with people and feeling a bit sheepish about the whole thing.  I invariably say to these people "We are child-led" and leave it at that.

 

On the other hand, I have bedtimes, rules about teeth brushing and baths and their hair gets combed once a week orngtongue.gif.  I don't give them total and free rein on the TV.  I limit sweets.  I often play the heavy and "pull rank" on them to address many of the issues I've written about.  We are not run by consensus.  I find myself feeling apologetic that we are not RU, and feel a little defensive at times, hanging on jealously to my self-awarded Unschooling Badge even though, at 6 and 8, they still have had no curriculum, no formal academics whatsoever, no expectations as to what they "should" be doing with their education.

 

One of the things I like about this forum is that the conversations about what is and isn't unschooling invariably end with conversations about the pros and cons of labels, and not being tied to the definitions.  There are parents "brave" enough to say that what they do looks an awful lot like unschooling but they don't identify with the label.  I don't get that at the few places I've hung out.

 

My friend down the road says she's unschooling.  Well, she's not the way I understand it, but you know?  I'm starting to not really care anymore.  When I first identified with the term, it was more important to me to fit the description, and now it is less so.  It is nice to have one label to neatly sum up what you are doing.  But that notion is simply impossible.  Homeschooling and unschooling have so many different flavors, it is impossible to say "I unschool" and have that be enough.  So, my friend.  What she is doing is awesome, it is child-led, her boys have amazing freedom to follow their bliss.  She gets resistance on phonics, she backs off.  She doesn't abandon the notion she wants to do curriculum still, but she is sensitive to what is working and not working right now.  I don't care anymore that I would call what she is doing "eclectic".  She will not be chained to a philosophy her family as a whole doesn't groove with.

 

As Elizabeth Swan said, "Hang the Code!  They're more like guidelines anyway!"

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#7 of 8 Old 03-08-2013, 11:23 AM
 
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God yeah, to the intensity and unfriendliness of some unschooling sites. I'll be honest, I happened upon them around the time when, anyway, because of things closer to home I was really questioning whether unschooling could work for my son-and I was shocked, really, really shocked, by what I saw there. I remember on one site, seeing a super-well known unschooler, like one of the founding mothers of the movement, rip to shreds an unschooled teen for, bascially, just wanting to share how much she loved unschooling with a few more people. (you could argue about this kid's tactics, which were a little off the wall. But at the end of the day it comes down to how you conduct yourself, as a grown adult twice or three times this kid's age, on a public-access forum). Truly, I was shocked, and it taught me, in the months that followed that I spent digesting what had happened, that it is incredibly important to me that I don't use a label for us, that what my kids seem to need must come before what community I want to be part of.

 

I came to unschooling and identified as an unschooler prior to this as a result of Holt's books. But actually, when I look at how Holt's books have influenced my parenting, it actually hasn't been so much educationally but more in adopting a consensual living approach (or trying to....not the easiest thing, especially with 3 kids under 10. Also, I have my points of limit with the CL approach, like anything). And then education has come from that, and not always in an unschooling form IMO.

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#8 of 8 Old 11-08-2013, 10:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Emaye View Post
 

 

I find that there is a negative, competitive environment in some of the unschooling communities online.  It is like people have something to prove or want others to prove that they are real unschoolers. So I have stayed away. Unschooling as a movement doesn't seem to have matured yet and has a lot of divisions and arguments.  However, this doesn't bother me.  I do what I do for as long as it works for my kids.  I have no attachment to unschooling as a philosophy.  I benefit from the ideas great unschooling parents share here on the MDC board and I am grateful for the educational experiment mom's with older kids have done before I came along on the scene.  While this section is not the busiest, I got to say it is my favorate homeschooling hang out.  

This is SOOOO true.

 

I've been commenting so much on recent threads here in part because I've just been so shocked at the civility level here!! It's amazing we can all be adults and answer people's questions in a respectful manner! Haha!! :) :)

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