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#61 of 70 Old 02-06-2014, 05:14 AM
 
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College isn't everyone's goal. But some people take community college classes starting at 16 and then go on to a 4 year college after that. Some people take the GED. Some people have parent issued diplomas. Some participate in accredited diploma programs. And there are accredited high schools and colleges that don't give grades to their students. Grades aren't the only way for a college to assess a potential student.  


Once college became the New High School, and it became widely accepted as "Everyone's Goal" and something you can't support yourself as an adult, without, the advantages of a college degree started degrading markedly. It's no longer an advantage to have one, when everyone has one. When you have to have a Bachelor's to even be in the running to pour coffee, the joke is on all of us, and the colleges laugh all the way to the bank.

The tipping point has been coming for some time, of people realizing how backward of a bargain "just any old college degree" has become for people who were not intending to be brain surgeons, and that taking out debt the size of a starter home, that you then can't pay off while pouring coffee with the degree, is a very bad bargain over people who became plumbers out of high school.

 

I'm just glad my kids are still a few years away from having to figure all that out! Because my generation was raised with the ingrained message of the only way to get ahead is to be smart, get a good degree, and out the other side, you get a good lifestyle, and for a few, that worked out, but not for most. Most found that the price of college wasn't justified by the earning potential it generated, even though without a degree, you are hardly qualified to pour coffee.

 

It's a catch 22.

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#62 of 70 Old 02-23-2014, 06:17 PM
 
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Once college became the New High School, and it became widely accepted as "Everyone's Goal" and something you can't support yourself as an adult, without, the advantages of a college degree started degrading markedly. It's no longer an advantage to have one, when everyone has one. When you have to have a Bachelor's to even be in the running to pour coffee, the joke is on all of us, and the colleges laugh all the way to the bank.

The tipping point has been coming for some time, of people realizing how backward of a bargain "just any old college degree" has become for people who were not intending to be brain surgeons, and that taking out debt the size of a starter home, that you then can't pay off while pouring coffee with the degree, is a very bad bargain over people who became plumbers out of high school.

 

Amen, Amen! Very nicely put.


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#63 of 70 Old 02-23-2014, 06:29 PM
 
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I also wanted to comment on the subject of regulating screen time.

 

I'm not one of those people who think all kids should have no limits on screen time. I get that for some kids this is challenging, and while I may use a different approach than directly limiting the screen time, i would definitely address this if I felt it were an issue in our family. It hasn't been for my kids, but that is not everybody's experience.

 

I said it mostly because I think people have this idea that kids don't want to learn and will always take the easy way out, which they usually equate with "watching TV all day". IMO, school kids have had their natural drive to learn driven right out of them and most people have never seen what Natural Learning looks like, by that I mean kids learning the way they are biologically programmed to learn. So they assume that without a curriculum or structured learning imposed on them, they will choose not to learn.

 

I don't buy it.

 

I do think that school can dampen down this drive until it appears almost non-existent, and schooled kids may need a period of de-schooling before they find their mojo again. But the idea of "I could never unschool because my child would just watch TV all day" is, from my perspective, simply a reflection of the lack of trust we have in kids to learn what they need to learn, or at least to be driven to do so with some assistance. Most parents of school kids think that kids HAVE to go to school in order to learn, so wrapping their heads around a child choosing to do something other than TV, even if that option were made freely available to them day or night, is a tough one.

 

I think it is very hard to assess screen addiction without going through a period of deschooling. When I consider how very little "down time" kids in school have, it is no wonder to me that they want to spend 3 or 4 hours a day with screens. But for an unschooled kid, who has 12 hours a day of free time, that 3 or 4 hours represents only a small amount of total time for creativity. 

 

Dr. Peter Grey has addressed the issue of "screen addiction" and using that word to refer to some children's struggles to self-regulate, which have little to do with screens themselves, and more to do with the screens filling some need that the child cannot then move away from when that need is met. Or with kids having not enough down time in their lives and TV being an easy way to grab some when perhaps another activity would do in its place.

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#64 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 10:29 AM
 
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Can I just say, I really do appreciate this forum.

 

Being able to ask a straightforward question like "what is unschooling" and getting - how many? - ten or twenty well thought out individual perspectives, with no one jumping on anyone else's and being critical, all of us confident enough in what we're doing to accept that one person may have one perspective, another might have another and that's ok...that unschooling can be a diverse field and that our differences are not something to attack but something that is interesting, something to celebrate...I am feeling very grateful for this forum, and the way that it always, always, makes me think and so often makes me question my own views, tonight :-). 

 

Just wanted to say that. As you were :-)

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#65 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 08:04 PM
 
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goingonfour - I hear you on the college thing. We are not pushing college for any of our children. Both of us were also told it was "the only way to get ahead" (although now I ask, ahead of what?! Ha!)

to make a living, ect. Well both DH and I have an absurd amount of education and degrees between us and we aren't using ANY of it to support ourselves.I really wish I had at the very least taken some time off, worked a little, traveled more, and then really figured out what I wanted. It may work for a small fraction of the population but for many people, college is no place to find yourself (despite popular opinion). I don't know how many students I met as a TA while in grads school that were paying through the nose (or mom and dad were), and they had no idea why they were there or what they were going to do. And a bunch more had very unrealistic expectations of what life in the real world was like after college. DH and I are very thankful that we had scholarships and the military paid for the rest so only I have a relatively small amount of student debt. Other friends of ours will be paying off theirs into retirement and aren't much better off with the degrees they have.

 

piglet68 - your comments on screentime are very helpful to me. We struggle with screentime and DD1. She can be glued to it for hours and it will tend to be all she will talk about even though it is a relatively small part of her day. Her behavior goes way downhill after too much of it as well. But, you put it in perspective for me in how little time we do spend on screens and how much more time she spends learning, reading, doing crafts, playing outside, gardening, ect. Most school kids don't have that kind of time anymore, even at her young age of 6. We do still have to regulate somewhat due o the behavior issues (and mom's sanity) but overall I guess we aren't doing too bad.


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#66 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 08:15 PM
 
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I was unschooled, or self educated as we liked to call it. In my experience, every family has their own unique understanding of the terms homeschooling and unschooling. To me, the simplest and most general way to put it, is that homschooling is when academic requirements are decided and enforced by the adults. Unschooling is when there are no academic requirements. Children choose what they want to learn and when.

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#67 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 08:19 PM
 
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Ok. I'm totally new here and probably being very ignorant (and definitely not taking the time to look this up), but can someone tell me what the difference is between homeschooling and unschooling? I don't want to form any preassumptions on what unschooling is....as the name itself seems to say something. Nevertheless, very curious and wondering where my kids will ''go to learn'' when they get ''of school age''.

Thanks in advance for the replies!

I was unschooled, or self educated as we liked to call it. In my experience, every family has their own unique understanding of the terms homeschooling and unschooling. To me, the simplest and most general way to put it, is that homschooling is when academic requirements are decided and enforced by the adults. Unschooling is when there are no academic requirements. Children choose what they want to learn and when.

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#68 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 08:51 PM
 
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In answer to the original question:

 

Think of a child's first 2 or 3 years of life. In that brief time, they learned to walk, talk, and interact with their world in a myriad of ways. No one ever "taught" them. Structured curriculum was not necessary. They learned by observation, trial and error, practice, and a thousand other ways. The parents' role is to model what is possible, provide a safe environment and opportunities, and let the child get on with what comes naturally. Nothing needs to change at some arbitrary age, or for certain kinds of subjects.

 

Walking and talking are arguably far more complex and difficult than reading, math, or any of the academic subjects. My children, now 17 & 18, are interested in their world, and their education reflects that. BigGirl is less interested in physics than YoungSon, but she knows more about international affairs than he does. Both of them are articulate and generally use proper grammar, although neither of them were ever corrected or "taught" vocabulary.

 

This is what radical unschooling is for me - a continuation of the natural style of learning each child was born into. Our home is full of books, and we love museums, so we still regularly visit them. But we see it more as recreational than intentionally educational. We have craft supplies around because we like being creative, not for "art class". The Dumplings are nearly grown, and ready to go out on their own soon. But I am confident they will both continue to learn all their lives - through reading, museums, whatever life courses they choose, whether they include college as part of that or not.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen :)

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#69 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 09:15 PM
 
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I'm another curious mom wondering how unschooling works. Here's my main question...left to his own devices, my 4 year old son would watch TV all day long, so I'd like to know from the unschoolers: what restrictions do you establish to prevent a child from getting in a rut of all-day TV, or even playing alone with one toy for hours on end, which my son would also do, but isn't always healthy.

I was unschooled. My mom is a huge advocate for freedom, but she would never hesitate to put an end to things she felt were unhealthy. She threw out the TV when I was a baby. I find it a rather common misconception that the term unschooling means kids get to do whatever the hell they want. Everyone does unschooling different, the variations are uncountable. 

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#70 of 70 Old 03-02-2014, 11:37 PM
 
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daughterspeaks your perspective is really interesting :-)

 

I'm a really big believer in families doing what is right for them. I think, if we want to get into real semantics, we do all shape and mould  our kids lives, our kids environments. I expose my kids to quite a lot of craft, art, music and science. I don't expose them to much kid-orientated tv, and at the end of the day that's because I have made a deliberate decision about what I prioritise. We put put money into music lessons, not xboxes. We have one car, and that limits us. We do make choices and if I felt that my kids needed to watch less tv I wouldn't be overly worried about sitting down and discussing this with them. If, after a lot of thinking, I genuinely believed that my kids were actually addicted to tv-and I'm not really a believer in "tv addiction" or "gaming addiction" but I know some parents are, so if that was my understanding of what was going one-then I guess I might take quite strong, nonconsesual, action. I wouldn't be overly worrying about whether or not that made me an unschooler, not if I was worried about my child! And what action I actually took would be so dependent on age, personality, etc.

 

My kids often do change their behaviour when they have been sedentary for long periods watching tv. Where I do think tv can be problematic is that I think it encourages kids not to listen to the feedback from their bodies. My kids seem to have a high level of need for physical activity. Last week, for example, they cycled two miles each way to the pool, stayed in the pool for about 3 hours, they often did a class or two at the centre too like trampolining or badminton, and then cycled back. And they were not actually tired at the end. This was every single day for a seven day week. They are 10, 8 and 6. (this isn't our usual schedule-it was a week long school holiday meaning that there were great free activities, free swimming, etc on locally which we thoroughly milked). But we'd normally be out and about, swimming or rollerblading or what have you. For them to spend a day at home on a computer therefore means a real change of pace and they get antsy and grumpy. Nowadays its something we can talk about but when they were younger, I did just have to say that we needed to get out of the house. I think physical activity can be an odd one in that you don't always get a desire to be active when you need to-you more get negative cues and need to have learnt that this is due to inactivity. For my kids, it makes sense for me to keep an eye on their computer use with a view to making sure that this is balanced with physical activity, TV doesn't happen to be an issue in our family, I don't know why but aside from watching films as a family my kids don't go for it at all. I kind of wish they did as they tend to miss great stuff like the Attenborough documentaries, but its just not something that seems to really appeal. Dp and I don't tend to watch much tv either. But my kids do like certain computer stuff a lot. They also like to read which, again, is sedentary.

 

Balance is the key, I feel, and actively teaching kids about the need for balance. Which to some isn't unschooling, I know. Teaching kids about nutrition, about the biochemical effects on the body and teeth of, say, sugar, isn't unschooling to some. But that's cool, I'd much rather not be considered an unschooler than not have my kids know this stuff :-)


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