April Unschooling Thread - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-01-2014, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is the place to post general updates about the things you and your unschooler(s) are doing, as well as to muse about current issues and frustrations, to celebrate successes and so on. You can post an overview of what's been happening recently, do some pondering about where things are going, or just give us a "day in the life" snapshot. These threads have grown organically into a monthly tradition around here. Pretty much anything goes, and you're welcome to post more than once or to respond to what others have written. 

 

Let's get started!

 

Yesterday Fiona and I found a bit of our lawn. We raked and shovelled snow off a bit more and we now have a small patch of soggy brown grass. It's finally starting to feel a bit like spring here. Still lots of snow in less exposed areas, but we're getting there.

 

 

Miranda


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Old 04-01-2014, 09:41 AM
 
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We don't have children yet (in the process of adopting) but I'm researching education methods. The more my husband and I discuss unschooling, the more we like the idea. So I've been reading blogs and articles about unschooling, plus I'm in the middle of reading Leadership Education by Oliver DeMille. I myself loved elementary school and parts of high school but find myself unable to learn much on my own now. I flit from topic to topic but can't sit down and learn anything in depth. I hope to find the ability to really learn so that I can inspire my own children to want to learn! 

 

I'm looking forward to reading how everyone else is doing this month!

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Old 04-01-2014, 10:10 AM
 
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 I hope to find the ability to really learn so that I can inspire my own children to want to learn! 

 

I'm looking forward to reading how everyone else is doing this month!

Welcome to MDC, and our little corner of the MDC universe!  We like it here, and it is a cozy place to be, digitally speaking.  It sounds like you are on the right track, starting with yourself.  I was also interested in HSng and USing long before I had kids, though I was nannying and working with kids for a lot of that time.

 

If I could presume to offer advice, I would say to examine what your definition of "learning" is, and why you think you don't have it.  I am willing to bet that you do have it--it just doesn't look like what you have been taught it should look like.  I flit, too.  And I still have plenty of deschooling to do, even though our family has been unschooling for 9.5 years.  Start questioning what learning is supposed to look like, starting with yourself.  You'll be in good practice when you get to that occasional, inevitable point where you ask yourself whether the last month in your child's life was wasted on flitting from task to task, with nothing overtly educational, and no clear "learning" happening.

 

Gook luck!  And so glad you found us!

 

We are awaiting our shipment of baby chicks this morning, probably tomorrow.  The brooder is fired up and ready.  Our mood is a bit sour this morning, but often our mood is touchier when something exciting is going to happen.  We are home all day today.  The weather is cool and gray, but we are definitely in full spring swing.  I wish chickens would eat more slugs.  Sigh!  We just need ducks here, and soon, but we have 15 chicks headed our way.  Enough is enough.


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Fiona and I took part in a photography workshop last weekend. It was designed for people who own a DSLR camera or similar and know how to use it in a general way but want to take their skills to the next level. Since we just bought a nice new mirrorless Sony camera, and Fiona and I are both in the midst of a Photo-a-Day in 2014 challenge, we thought it sounded perfect for us. 

 

There were 9 people attending, and the workshop leader knew his stuff, but wasn't much of a teacher. Fiona has an amazing attention span, but even she was getting tired of sitting around talking about the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture ... especially because she seemed to grasp that information more easily than several of the adults, and of course being a child of the digital age had less difficulty than they did finding the right buttons and menus on the camera. We spent almost no time on photography, almost no time looking at photographs. We'd been told to dress appropriately to be outdoors, but we were only outside twice, in the parking lot for less than five minutes each time. It seemed to me like the workshop could have been much more varied, hands-on and creative. But it was what it was, and the information was useful.

 

Fiona is a little twig of a newly-11-year-old, but she's bright and curious, so although she looked out of place amongst the grown-ups the course was definitely at the right level for her. I love that she participates in group learning experiences appropriately and with the same confidence whether she's in with a group of 6- to 11-year-olds (as in Homeschool Art Classes on Thursdays) or with a group of 30- to 60-year-old adults. I imagine it's the same when she takes electives at the local school with the high schoolers ... that's pretty much what the teachers report. Unlike my older kids, she has no self-consciousness about being the "wrong" age or size; she assumes people will think her participation is appropriate and will take her seriously and respond unpatronizingly, and she acts accordingly and gets back what she expects.

 

I hope this all doesn't come across as nauseatingly braggy, but having watched my older three struggle with social anxieties of various sorts, exacerbated by any perception that they weren't fitting perfectly into whatever other people expected of them based on their age and size, it's just so refreshing to have a kid who has no speck of social anxiety, who is so comfortable in her own skin that she wears it completely unabashedly in public. 

 

We're watching our way through "Call the Midwife." We spent a lovely couple of hours yesterday digging trenches in the ice and mud to try to drain the water off our driveway. We're back to our regular schedule of dance, gymnastics and choir classes in the city this week. 

 

We reached a major landmark yesterday in sibling dynamics: Fiona and her 15-year-old sister attended the same dance class after school, and neither of them felt threatened or annoyed by the other's presence. Overall we've had almost no problems with typical sibling rivalry behaviour, but these two, S. especially, have occasionally been very adamant about their desire to "own" a particular interest or activity. After-School Dance, French language learning, and academic study of biology are the three she's wanted exclusive ownership over. So agreeing to have her younger sister attend After-School Dance, and then enjoying the class and not sneering or rolling her eyes at her sister, even though there were only three kids in the class yesterday, was huge. 

 

Violin. Fiona started violin before her 3rd birthday, after begging and begging to join in on learning what her older siblings were learning. She progressed very quickly, but as she got older and her siblings drifted away from serious instrument study (due to lack of teachers, ensemble experience and eventually interest) she didn't seem to find her own reasons to want to learn. Her motivation really dropped off during the last year my mom was here to teach her (two years ago) and she barely made it through the year of no teacher, just getting a bit of guidance from me (last year) in the hope that the new teacher arriving this past fall would inspire her. But by December she still hadn't found her mojo, so she quit taking lessons. We left it open, that she might return, but I know that seldom happens. 

 

Then a month ago I was explaining to someone that no, she wouldn't be performing on the student recital, because she'd quit violin, and she piped up and corrected me: "I'm just taking a break!" She subsequently told me that she'd like to take lessons again after March Break, with a view to participating in the summer chamber music program she loves. I admit I had mixed feelings about that: she's advanced enough to take part in the chamber program, but it's limited enrolment and is really intending for highly motivated students who are committed to improving their musicianship skills and striving for excellence. I co-administer the program and I had mixed feelings about her excluding a less advanced but more motivated student. I hoped that goal would motivate her, but ... 

 

Well, as it turns out -- so far at least -- she is highly motivated and striving for excellence, and not simply because she wants to participate in the summer chamber program. She just grew into a new violin which has a phenomenal sound, and she is really enjoying practicing. She's working diligently and with more maturity than she's ever displayed. It's too soon to say for sure, but it looks like she might just be discovering that she has her own reasons for playing the violin. I'm sure it helped that she felt absolutely no pressure from me to resume her studies, and so the impetus came from her. It was hard for me to let go of any expectations, but honestly it was such a relief to me not to be stressing over her lack of motivation, wondering what I should be doing or not doing to support her in continuing her studies. I just forgot to stress over whether she'd return to her violin.

 

She has her first lesson back with her teacher tomorrow. I think it'll go well. We'll see how things evolve after that.

 

Miranda


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Old 04-01-2014, 04:42 PM
 
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:22 PM
 
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Hooray for April! and Hooray for finally being able to join in on these threads. After a very cold March, we had this beautiful, beautiful day and we packed it as full as we could. B woke me up before the sun to play scrabble. We play a modified version since he isn't much of a speller. He's been really into board games: monopoly, scrabble, risk, chess. We started monopoly yesterday but I didn't have time to finish, so he finished it up himself playing for both of us. I didn't win ;).

SweetSilver happy chick day!

We've been keeping a flock of laying ducks for three years. Last fall our entire flock dissapeared in one night, so we're starting from scratch this year. B took ownership of these ducklings from the day they arrived. Today was their first day outside. They only stayed out for a few minutes. We still have some snow on the ground and they didn't seem too comfortable. B called them back into the barn and they ate from his hands. He's very proud of them. I'm extra worried about predators after what happened last year and because this is the first year B really feels like these are his ducks.

 

S has a second tooth and we're all very glad. She has a hard time teething. A clingy baby means less Mama time for B. He gets lonely, so I took him to the pool today to swim with some friends. We had a lovely time. B is an excellent swimmer. I've been gently encouraging him to join the swim team, but we have a one sport at a time rule. He picked baseball.

 

So, baseball practice starts Thursday. DH threw the ball around with B a little tonight and pitched for him for a while. He really doesn't hit the ball, even though he does practice. He played last year for the first time. The coach was great, no pressure. The kids range in age from 5-9 so there's a huge variation in skill. It didn't seem to matter to B that he didn't hit or catch a ball. He enjoyed practices and games. He's generally pretty perfectionist and thinks he should be the best at everything. I'm pleasantly surprised by his attitude toward baseball. I hope it keeps up. It just seems like though if he doesn't start being able to hit or catch at least some balls, he's going to reach a frustration threshold (or his coach/teammates will :/).

He's only 6. I know many kids this age are still playing T-ball. We don't have that option here. Still, something must appeal to him about baseball. He picked it over swim team, gymnastics and soccer.

He asks me several times a day how/why something was invented. "When were books invented?" "What was the first tool?" "How was talking invented?" We talk about it and I think I give pretty good explanations. I've been looking for some resources to explore this developing idea that world wasn't always as it is. Books on inventions were well received but didn't really address what he's getting at. I'm going to try and find some books on archeology. I think maybe he's wondering how we figure out how/when technology came about if we don't have a record of it.

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Old 04-01-2014, 10:21 PM
 
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Our days seem to blend in as we seem to be doing the same things everyday.  It doesn't help that my son has been listening to the Oz books since the beginning of January. He listens to it over and over and plays it on our speakers from his ipod. I have loaded other books that I thought would be just as interesting but he hasn't touched them one little bit. So yeah, imagine the oz stories on for several hours a day... I have taken to holing up in my bedroom to get away.  Dd doesn't seem to mind it much though and so the two of them have been working on a lot of minecraft stuff. Yes, I did indeed breakdown and got them the pocket edition.  The "All our friends have it!" argument actually worked this time. Gasp! 

 

Son is reading the Series of Unfortunate Events books on the Kindle. I wasn't sure about the Kindle for kids but it is working out to be a great tool for us.  Both take Taekwondo and art class once a week.  My daughter still draws a lot and is experimenting with painting using cool pastel water soluble crayons I got for her; expensive but turned out to be a great investment. She uses them all the time. She has zero interest in reading but she does some math on a kumon workbook.  Son is keeping up with his Singapore Math and about a month ago, he decided to keep a diary.  He seems to write in it often enough and I have noticed his spelling has improved a lot.  He has recently been attempting rhyming poetry also.  He has yet to pick up periods and capitalization though; so while I can read his writing, it is big blocks of great, wonderful mess. I have been keeping my mouth shut and enjoying his writing development. Now that it is spring, they spend a lot of time outside playing.  All in all, we seem to be on auto-pilot, especially as the kids take larger roles in their days.  They make their own breakfast (with my son at the helm) and eat. Oldest is using knives to cut their apples and actually wants a pocket knife for his birthday. They (mostly oldest) can heat and serve lunch for himself and his sister. Dd is following right along.  There was also an attempt to wash dishes the other day.  It is all one very messy process towards more independence.  

 

I have also seen an uptick in their need for company of children their age. They just can't wait until it is the weekend so they can spend time with friends.  The younger one especially really wants a bigger social life. So, I have to work hard to try that happen starting from Fri evening to Sunday.  Very intense for me.  

 

I just left my job.  I am trying to de-job for a while and hoping some sort of inspiration will hit me.  I spend some time reading and feeling a little lost.  Having a job has always meant something to me... so I am a little off kilter.  Maybe I will watch Call the Midwife too.

 

Good to see and read everyone's update :)  

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Old 04-02-2014, 08:24 PM
 
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I just had to quickly say, before the big snowstorm hits, how happy we have been to have sunshine and see the snow melting for two days. Sigh. I know this snow won't last long now but I sure would like it to hurry up and just be spring - mud and all! :-) 

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Old 04-04-2014, 04:09 PM
 
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My husband woke up yesterday to find our daughter awake before him (6 a.m) working on a math workbook.  She told him excitedly, "I only have 2 more pages then I get to take a test!"

 

I just want to bask in the moment that after all his hesitation regarding  my "crazy" theology on teaching, school, learning, etc, that he can witness his child interested in learning and enjoying doing so.  I was fast asleep so I can not say that I am involved in this any way.  I offer no incentives for completing work, etc, yet she chooses to complete the curriculum I lay around the house.  I can't imagine doing this any other way, and, although I do not fit into a specific category of homeschooling style, I certainly feel that my experiences are such that I support the unschooling/child led home school method, believe that it does work, and would encourage others to think outside the box when it comes to traditional schooling beliefs!

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Old 04-04-2014, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She told him excitedly, "I only have 2 more pages then I get to take a test!"

 

:rotflmao

 

That's so awesome!

 

I have a young adult unschooled friend who chose to attend college at age 19. She needed to do English and Math placement tests -- which she aced, but that's not the point of the story. At the end of the English test, she went up to the front to ask the invigilating professor about one of the reading passages.

 

"I wanted to ask about the excerpt from that short story about the dove..." 

 

He instantly got his back up. "Look," he said, "there's a procedure for registering objections. I'm just here to invigilate. You have to speak to the Academic Advisorship Department. It said that in the handbook..."
 

"No, wait," she said, "this isn't an objection. I really enjoyed the passage, and I want to know who wrote it, because I'd like to track down some more of that person's writing."

 

The professor's jaw dropped. There was a silence.

 

He smiled. 

 

"This has never happened before," he said. "I've been proctoring these exams on and off for fifteen years. Never. Always just complaints. Were you homeschooled or something?"

 

Our kids end up with pretty unusual attitudes to tests. Unusual in a healthy way.

 

Miranda


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Old 04-04-2014, 07:04 PM
 
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We went to the sugar bush today, had a nice brunch and tour with some homeschooling peeps. It was cold and raining but great fun, my sister and mother came with us.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:53 PM
 
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We went to the sugar bush today, had a nice brunch and tour with some homeschooling peeps. It was cold and raining but great fun, my sister and mother came with us.

It seemed like for a couple of years, my girls couldn't get enough sugaring stories, especially those involving horses.  One involved a pair of draft horses who were feeling lazy and noncompliant after a winter in the barn.  That was good for some laughs.  My oldest still wishes she could live where this was part of our yearly cycle.  


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Old 04-05-2014, 05:43 PM
 
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The girls are downstairs with our chicks.  The oldest is cataloguing them by their feather patterns.  The buffs are difficult as they have light yellow feathers. We have 5 Old English Game birds (black-breasted-red, a partridge-type coloring), 6 buff cochins (the breed with the feathery feet) and 6 silver sebrights, these pretty little tiny bantams with black-laced white feathers.

 

Now dd9 talking about the "detailed data" she's getting.

 

What a sciency and academic day.  Mythbusters, "Kings of Camouflage" a DVD about cuttlefish that has been a favorite for years, working on 4-H presentations.  Finished a step for their Snacks badge, read some A to Z mystery.

 

It's an oddly busy AND lazy day today.  I can't explain why that is possible.  

 

Loved the comments about testing, especially that anecdote from Miranda.  I know that my girls are the ones cheering when we have to send out "homework" for Girl Scouts.  It's cute, but it does drive me nuts when my coleader drops comments like "I know, boring work" when the girls haven't expressed any boredom.


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:14 PM
 
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My son has mastered making chapatis.  I still supervise but he is pretty much doing it all on his own; I am just nearby just in case.  He made some for breakfast this morning. Perfect. He loves making bread.  We generally make pita bread and chapatis because I find they are the most versatile in terms of use :) He asked if he could get a cook book; any recommendation for a kid friendly cook book, preferably one that doesn't have recipes that produce a lot of mess?  I am also thinking of taking him to a local place that makes udon noodles by hand.  That should be fun.  

 

Dd is working on a giant bow. She is just a very busy girl. I am really impressed by her ability to continue to come up with projects to work on. She seems to have well-defined, very driven interests. I can learn a thing or two from the way she goes about her days. She is also pretty spunky.  Someone asked her when she is going to start learning to read and she jumped, twirled  and yelled "never!!" and laughed.  

 

Spring is just beautiful! 

 

I am happy.

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Old 04-06-2014, 09:33 AM
 
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We've been cooking our way through My Favorite Recipes by Annabel Carmel.  I like that it is *real food*, not just assembly-type recipes that some kids' cookbooks have, and it has a nice selection of dishes, including a lot of dairy-free options.  AND it's pretty tasty, too.  My 9yo loves the format.  

 

Another favorite of mine isn't a kids' book.  Flatbreads and Flavors, the first cookbook by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.  All kinds of great bread recipes and flatbread recipes (including... bao bing, the pancakes used for mu shu, and they are so incredibly easy).  I have had my copy for 20 years.  All their books, and Naomi's subsequent books, are great reads as well.  Nearly every recipe and section has a story from their travels, and a lot of photographs from their travels.  Their second book about rice dishes around the world is similarly fabulous.  


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Old 04-07-2014, 12:13 PM
 
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We're just starting out with US, so it's going to be a raw, honest post, for the benefit of other newbies.  I am intrigued as I look, listen and watch my children and discover the delights of a lifestyle of learning. 

 

My son, age 12, is still unwinding and I am trying not to put pressure on him.  I think he has suffered the most with the "schoolishness" of HS.  He asked me to read to him today and so we started "Goodnight Mr Tom".  Today he actually took a long nap and I think that is just what he needed.

This morning he showed where he had read in a history book the origin of the word marathon and told me the story.

 

We had to do a lot of traveling today as our one car needed to be towed into town to be repaired.  We used the car time to chat.  I have started a little book to write down ideas, so that I do not forget to try incorporate the children's interests.  My son filled in ideas for "outings" in the book,as we drove and the girls (age 10 and 7) gave their ideas too.  A couple of the ideas are: visiting the various local museums, camping in a tent, bird santurary, horse riding, visit a car factory and such.  It was great hearing about all the fun things they want to do and I feel bad for all the time we haves spent over the boring school table.  On the last trip, the girls spent the time writing notes to each other on pretty paper and giggling in the back seat.  Occasionally they asked me how to spell something, but mostly the 10 year old provided the spelling, sometimes incorrectly.  I tried to get her to think of the correct spelling in a fun way, and tried to approach it in a different way, instead of saying, as I would have previously, "You should be able to spell that"

 

A lot of our time is taken up with me observing at the moment.  I am also trying to extend a response that is filled with frace and honor and trying to model that to my chidlren.  I have already seen a change in the girls, they keep coming up to me and loving me with hugs and cuddles.

 

My youngest child is the bounciest and tends to ask about everything, and question "rules" alot.  We had a good discussion today as we discussed etiquette, informally.  She asked if it was the law to tip a waitron.  So I explained about social customs, etiquette and laws, and their differences casually over lunch. 

 

We finished reading "Ginger Pye" , three chapters this evening, and for the first time, really, my youngest looked at where I was reading and read what I was about to read.  She has always associated reading with pressure so it was lovely to see her doing it without duress.

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Old 04-07-2014, 02:49 PM
 
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I love that my 7yo reads so many science books.  She reads stacks of them, and even recently finished reading every word of a 200-page National Geographic tome on animals.  

 

But regardless, I'm pleased to see her engrossed in something completely different-- a TinTin adventure, our first one.

 

We are otherwise sick (again...) today with a stunningly gorgeous day outside.

 

Albanyaloe, Welcome!


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Old 04-07-2014, 04:14 PM
 
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One more thought:

 

It's a new, slightly unsettling but still incredibly liberating feeling to not know where on your 10 acre property your kids are.  :p


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:47 PM
 
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One more thought:

 

It's a new, slightly unsettling but still incredibly liberating feeling to not know where on your 10 acre property your kids are.  :p

 

@SweetSilver Ha!  I send my kiddos out in our apartment complex with walkie talkies and it used to unsettle me but now I am pretty used to it. The kids seem to deal adeptly with situations that arise.  Thanks for the cookbook recs. Will check them out.  

 

Miranda, I started watching Call the Midwife -- soooo good!  

 

Welcome @albanyaloe :) Sounds like you and your kids are doing great. 

 

Dd is suddenly interested in parachutes, para gliders, and hot air balloons.  She asked when she could get one of those!  lol. My heart skipped at that one!   I have a friend whose daughter free rock climbs and each time I see pictures of her dd some where at the top of the world, I ask the Mama how she sleeps at night. Dd is a bit of a dare devil, I wouldn't put these things beyond her and I have such fear of heights!

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Old 04-07-2014, 09:18 PM
 
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We've taken up Slacklining. We met some folks at the park with a set up. We got to try it there. DS (6) was dancing on it in no time. We did a bit of research then rigged up our own.

We've been working on sign language with some fun videos. Gearing up for communication with 11 month old.

We made this awesome upcycled door mat out of some yard trash previous dog chewed up. DS(6) did his first miter box sawing ever on a garden hose.

Tree climbing. Check
Library books. Check
Take care of "Lots of work" puppies. Check
Occasional mental breakdown. Check
Late night giggles. Check
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome, AlbanyAloe! Great to have you aboard.

 

Ah yes, conversations while driving ... love those. With my older three kids I did so much extended driving during the years we were going to Calgary every month that they perfected the Minivan Coma and they don't really converse at all when we drive anymore. My youngest is more outgoing anyway, but I think she'd remained conversational during drives partly because she didn't habituate to the Minivan Coma as fully, being younger at the time. We had a conversation on the way home from gymnastics last week that started with the First World War and strayed into systems of government, the difference between a republic and an empire, the role of the military in supporting or undermining political power, monarchies, dictatorships, communism and fascism, the fates of conquered cultural groups from assimilation to marginalization, the political situation in North Korea, the Cold War, nuclear weapons test ban treaties, the fall of communism and many other things I've forgotten about.

 

The first violin lesson went okay. She was asked to play through by memory several pieces she'd learned over the past few years. She did well: her teacher was impressed, but that sort of "try to remember this old piece and play it from memory" task is always a bit of a pressure-cooker, in that you don't know for sure whether you can do what you're being asked to do. And she didn't get the chance to show off the work she's been doing on the Csardas, the piece she had started learning before her break from lessons. So she didn't get the confidence and self-esteem affirmation from her lesson that I hoped she'd get. She didn't practice the day after her lesson and I thought maybe that was because she'd been left feeling discouraged by the return to structured study. But she's been practicing pretty well since then: she even asked me to help her practice one day, which she doesn't do unless she's feeling really motivated and pleased with herself.

 

She's grown into her brother's recurve archery bow, so she's been working away at target shooting with that. We did our first trail run of the year last weekend, a 4k section along the lake, where the snow is now mostly gone. We've been doing a fair bit of yard work together, cleaning things off, pruning the fruit trees (yes, we're a bit late), scooping up a winter's worth of dog poop from around the property, re-oiling the deck furniture, working on the herb garden, built a swing out of a broken chair. 

 

Miranda


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Old 04-08-2014, 08:40 PM
 
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I haven't written on here for awhile, but I have been reading posts practically on a daily basis for several months.  I have 3 kids who are unschooling, 2 who are in school, and an 11 month old baby girl.  My oldest in in 9th grade.  She is adamant about staying in school.  Which is fine.  I have been reading a book called "Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School".  It has been great in helping to support my daughter and encourage her to not take the culture of school too seriously.  She knows I don't care for public school and usually rolls her eyes whenever I make any comments.  She fits in well though, and has always been more of a conformer.  I try to be happy when she tells me she is getting a 4.0, but a part of me cringes a little and then my husband, who has always been blunt, remarks, "well, that doesn't really mean you know anything."  Big stinker ;)  We have a lot of good-natured teasing in our home so my daughter just smirks at him.  She is happy and therefore I am happy.

   My 14 yr old ds, is one of my unschoolers.  He has been immersing himself in all things computer.  My husband is very computer literate and I always figured my kids would have a hard time catching up to him, but not anymore.  My son has been learning so much that I think he will surpass my husband in knowledge soon!  He plays a lot of minecraft, spore, and other random games.  I do ask my kids to do a little math here and there on kahn academy just to keep things fresh.  His other passion is snakes.  He has a ball python and a red tail boa (which, he informed me, is actually a common boa, but the pet stores call them red tails in order to sound more exotic and increase sales...) He wants to learn all he can about breeding snakes and has been studying a bit of genetics.  

   My 11 yr old ds is also a big fan of minecraft, roblox, and spore.  He has been watching a lot of Clone Wars episodes lately.  His main passion though, is gardening.  My husband has become an organic gardening convert this year, and he always has ds there to help out. He likes having his own spot of ground to be in charge of.  (We live in a fairly warm climate so are already busy in the growing season).  Ds  is on a soccer team and loves to play as often as possible.

  My 10 yr old dd is in 4th grade at a charter school.  I was homeschooling her last year but we thought we would try out the charter school because of its emphasis on the arts but it didn't really meet our expectations.  Dd really likes her teachers so she wants to continue this year, but will be homeschooled next year.  She loves dancing but refuses to let me put her in dance lessons because she doesn't want to perform!!!  She is in a tumbling class, though.  I go to a zumba class a couple times a week and often take her with me.  She does quite well even though it is very fast paced.  I do wish she felt less shy about performing because she has so much spunk and personality when she is dancing at home or in zumba. 

  My almost 8 yr old dd is just busy all. day. long.  She likes to play minecraft but can only sit still for a short while before she has to get up and run around pretending something.  She has a great imagination.  Before she could read, she would make up her own stories according to the pictures she saw and I was always fascinated about what she would come up with.  She also does tumbling with her sister.  My only worry there is she is quickly becoming more adept than her sister, and there has been some jealousy there.  

  As for the baby, she is busy learning everything she can about everything and sets the perfect example for all of us!  :)

 


Mama to to 2 teenagers, 3 preteens, and a 1 yr old nursling and wife to dh who keeps me young.  Chose to take the pass less traveled by, and indeed it has made all the difference!

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Old 04-10-2014, 08:32 PM
 
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If I could presume to offer advice, I would say to examine what your definition of "learning" is, and why you think you don't have it.  I am willing to bet that you do have it--it just doesn't look like what you have been taught it should look like.  I flit, too.  And I still have plenty of deschooling to do, even though our family has been unschooling for 9.5 years.  Start questioning what learning is supposed to look like, starting with yourself.  You'll be in good practice when you get to that occasional, inevitable point where you ask yourself whether the last month in your child's life was wasted on flitting from task to task, with nothing overtly educational, and no clear "learning" happening.

 

 

This has been floating around in the back of my mind ever since you posted it. Would it be alright if I quoted you on my blog? I keep thinking about what I learn even though I am not taking formal classes. You're right; I am learning stuff. The past week has been spent learning more about compound interest (exactly how much money I will throw away if I keep paying minimums on my student loans), basic home buying information (what types of loans are available, what we qualify for, 15 vs 30 year loans), and some new insights into the Bible. I do still learn. What a powerful thought. :) :)

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Old 04-11-2014, 09:12 AM
 
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You are welcome to quote.  I have been a self-learner (whatever you want to call it) since after my first and only year in college studying theater.  I have had several points where I seriously considered going back to school, but it has always been "not now".  In the meantime I have traveled the US by thumb, learned to cook over a campfire and in a woodfired oven, do beadwork, crochet and knitting, spinning, gardening and landscaping, self-sufficency, child care, understood more about physics than in school, yoga, aikido, world religions, motherhood, chicken raising, wild plants and herbal medicine, and met an amazing variety of people.  That's just in a nutshell.  Now I'm learning alongside my kids, things I've never taken time to give much thought to.  I'm a girl scout leader and a 4-H poultry leader (though my girls are the only ones enrolled in the poultry project), I've been self-employed since the late '90s, doing housekeeping at the moment.  Humbling work, to be sure, but it lets me remain self-employed with a flexible schedule and make a decent wage.  

 

This might have nothing to do with unschooling, or everything.  I firmly believe that we must value what we have become as adults, however humble, whatever our style of engaging with the world, however different it might look to our perceptions of what everyone else is doing or achieving.  And to recognize that what we have become is never stagnate.  We are still learning and changing.  Maybe we didn't go to medical school or finished our masters degree. We might still be at the back of the yoga class instead of up front teaching it, taking the wildlife tour instead of leading it, watching Neil Degrasse Tyson talking science on TV instead of.... you get the picture (and guess what's on the TV?)   I am NOT the same adult I was 10 years ago, and I will be different still in another 10 years.

 

Valuing myself and my skills, valuing the way I connect with the world and everything in it, valuing the path I am following is essential for me to value where I see my girls at this moment.  For me it IS essential to my unschooling to be able to do this. 


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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After reading through SweetSilver's list and feeling very impressed and inspired, I would love to hear what other adults in this thread have learned in unschooled ways! I'm sure we all have at least a few things if we think about it.

 

Miranda


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Old 04-11-2014, 10:48 AM
 
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I know I've already listed a few, but I wanted to add that I make a mean pie crust (a good thing because fruit pie is my Dessert Island Food.... I mean "Desert" Island, I think :p....).  

 

And in the last few days I've had to learn more about my computer software (ugh and ugh, I am unfortunately, the defacto computer "guru" in the house), had to learn how to take the glove compartment off to look for the mouse that is stinking up my car (reached a point where I was unwilling to go further into the fan area, I was amazed I managed to put back what I did), saw a falcon divebomb a pigeon on a wire, and put a weensy bandaid splint on the tiniest chick you ever saw to correct a "splay leg".  I've also learned that while I'm not good for much in the morning beyond slurping coffee and reading, I don't mind taking care of the chicks ("bitty bots" we call them, from "chickie boodies" to "chickie bods" to "bitty bods" to distinguish them from the big chickieboodies, then finally "bitty bots".)   And my spellchecker has whipped my spelling of a few words into shape.  I have battled with "occasional" since I was in middle school.  My brain simply wants an extra "s" in there.


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Old 04-11-2014, 12:07 PM
 
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What a fun question!  I'll start with wilderness expeditions: all the navigation, planning, logistics, scrambling, rafting, etc... skills to handle multi-month journeys in remote Alaska. And writing -- I've published two books now (I went to college, and grad school, but never took a writing class past high school).  And public speaking and media interviews (dreaded this all through school, now enjoy it and am pretty good at it). And gardening to produce as much food as possible in a northern climate. And cooking. And lots about environmental issues. And parenting stuff, of course. Most recently, this winter I've been learning to ski, and to write rhyming books for kids. 

 

On the kid end of things, I think the main thing that keeps me reading about unschooling and heading this direction (my oldest is only 5) is how much awesome learning comes up completely serendipitously.  A day to play at the beach leads naturally into feeling sun-warmed rocks, discussing the heat absorbance of different rock colors, and why shadows move. Then a discussion of what the difficulties of a prosthetic leg would be, then into fish anatomy...  And of course with lots of running and climbing and throwing rocks and snacking on seaweed...  If that's not a kindergarten science lesson, I don't know what is. 

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Old 04-11-2014, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My list ...

 

Sewing insulated and lined outerwear from tech fabrics like GoreTex and Thinsulate.

HTML scripting, CSS, website management, FTP, Wordpress

Chicken husbandry

Distance running training and biomechanics

Vegetarian cooking

Bread baking, from grain to loaf

Bookbinding

Orchestration

Desktop publishing

Bookkeeping

Knitting

Backcountry travel and survival skills

Violin teaching

 

There are probably a few more small ones, but those are the bigger ones that come to mind now. I've been an adult for a lot of years; it adds up.

 

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Old 04-11-2014, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, in the March Unschooling Thread I wrote this:

 

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In the interest of full disclosure, I'll also confess that it seems like she's doing very little else these days, spending hours a day lying on her bed reading or mainlining TV shows. Her structured activities seem to be serving her well, but they're about all she wants to do. My middle kids laugh and tell me she's just entering the early-teen 18-month phase of being a useless lump a year or so early....

 

And then, just when I'd sort of made my peace with this, the ground shifted. This month compared to last ... it's like night and day. Today, for example, she got up and read a hundred pages of "The Book Thief," did math review for ages, asked for more algebra and geometry challenge questions, delightedly worked through as many of those as I could come up with, then diverged into learning about chemistry and spent two hours getting the knack of balancing chemical equations. Then she helped her sister make dinner (Thai tofu and noodles), invented a green tea shortbread recipe and baked that up, and practiced violin until her dad wanted to go to bed. Sheesh.

 

I write these things down to help prevent excessive worry the next time aimlessness seems to have taken root. As the years roll by I'm less fazed by the waxing and waning of apparent interest in learning, but it can still be hard to endure the wanings. 

 

Miranda


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Old 04-14-2014, 04:08 PM
 
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http://www.theonion.com/articles/more-us-children-being-diagnosed-with-youthful-ten,248/

 

An alarming disorder.  Leave it to The Onion to explore these issues in depth.  If not them, then who would?


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