Explaining unschooling to others - Mothering Forums

 4Likes
  • 1 Post By moominmamma
  • 1 Post By moominmamma
  • 1 Post By moominmamma
  • 1 Post By head4thehills
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 27 Old 03-07-2015, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
albanyaloe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Explaining unschooling to others

Hi everyone

I was wondering if this forum had some tips for explaining to people that we are unschooling? I have some really critical friends that have shaken me a bit, challenging me (through gossiping, not directly) about "my children not learning anything" and that they "can't read". It's funny that I never check up on their public schooled children, but anyway.

Although I know these things are not true, it does hurt. I know and understand my children and am giving them time to develop at their own pace, not a government schedule.

I want to know how others have dealt with this.

We also have an issue with relatives and friends cornering my children and sort of "testing" them or checking up on their schooling. I want to help my children to know what to say, and feel comfortable and confident.

I am dreading telling my parents, but will have to soon. They have always been so supportive of our homeschooling, but not sure that they will understand unschooling. My mom was a teacher

We live in a country that is fixated on "matriculation" or other certification for high school. I am not sure we will be going that route, and people have criticized that I am not preparing my children for life and that they won't get a job. I disagree.

I do realize that most these people are actually caring and mean well. But it is so "out the box" for them they cannot believe or trust unschooling.

I know it sounds scary, I was scared at the beginning too, and still have some fears, but .... when I see my children making new connections, and learning, about what they want to, at exactly the time they need it, I trust unschooling and believe, and I know I will continue to bring them up this way, as it will equip them for life.

Regards,
Lindy
albanyaloe is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 27 Old 03-07-2015, 04:01 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 7,454
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)
I think you have three possible choices here:

1. Explain, and then draw really clear boundaries to prevent them undermining what you're doing.

2. Bring them onside through education and discussion (may be preceded by some time spent in option 1)

3. Don't tell them.


With most of our friends and extended family, when asked about our homeschooling, or when there were clearly mistaken assumptions about it that would be awkward not to address, we took the first approach. We explained that for the time being we had gone off-piste, using a child-led approach and dispensing with much of the structure typical of traditional schooling. We said we were doing it because "at this point the kids are happy and thriving and learning like crazy." We said that we had done a lot of research, and addressed many of the obvious objections to our current satisfaction, and we hoped that we would be supported, or at least not undermined, as we continued moving forward on this path.

Then when the inevitable objections or concerns were voiced, we'd just parrot back "I appreciate your concern, but we've done our research and are happy with our choice for now." Or "I know you're just asking out of concern, but I've explained that for now we're not handling their education that way, and I need you to respect our choice."

All the "for now" and "at this point" phrasing helped, I think, because it reassured people that we weren't blindly committing to something forever, regardless of the outcome. If, contrary to our expectations (and more in keeping with their expectations, lol!), unschooling turned out to be a disaster for our kids, we'd be willing to re-evaluate.

We honestly didn't ever have trouble with people pop-quizzing our kids, but for older kids advocating for themselves one comeback that might work in some situations is "If you really don't know I can help you look that up."

When it comes to option 2, that's an approach we took with a couple of our closest friends and with my parents. I think there's a certain amount of understanding of the philosophy of unschooling that is best built through reading and pondering in the abstract. To what extent are humans natural learners? What is the nature of motivation? Is the traditional model of top-down learning of a body of information and skills still as valid in the 21st century? Are most things best learned in a specific sequence? Should learners be the primary agents of their own learning? All that sort of stuff. So for the people that you really hope to get on your side as supporters, you could give them some reading assignments (
Free Range Learning Free Range Learning
might be a good book).

And then, once they have an understanding of the philosophical framework, they may need some help understanding how it works in real life. I've found that sharing a lot of cherry-picked experiences and observations on a family blog has been a good way of showing people how rich and robust unschooling can be in the day-to-day. You leave out the parts where your eldest is moaning about wanting potato crisps for breakfast and the middle two are squabbling over who gets first chance on the computer, but you mention the parts where your eight-year-old explains the Ancient Norse derivation of our words for the days of the week or where your family is harvesting sunflower sprouts from your kitchen sprouting jar project. And you take photos of your youngest with the huge pile of Dr. Seuss books, your of eldest poring over a page of historical costumes and of your family hunting for a geocache at some historical monument.

Another tactic that can help them understand what natural learning actually looks like is to ask them about something they were passionate about learning independently as a child, or about something they got interested in learning as an adult outside of the bounds of structured education. "Think about how you learned to build webpages. You didn't have to be forced. You didn't have to take a course." Or "Remember all the amazing pottery you did as a teen? How did you learn that? No one forced you. You did a workshop, and then you read up on wheels and kilns, and then you signed up for time at the co-op studio, and you found a mentor, and you pored over those supply catalogues, and went to museums and remember trying to fix that wheel? and ... "

As for option 3, that's where we went with my MIL. She is a religiously and temperamentally conservative former schoolteacher in her 80's and we knew there was no way we were ever going to get her on-side. We also knew that she would carry a lot of stress with her even if we managed to draw boundaries. Because she lives on the other side of the country and doesn't see us in person very much, we just allowed her to continue assuming that our homeschooling was very traditionally structured. When she came to visit us for a week here or there, we said we had decided that while she was there we would make spending relaxed time with her a priority. When she left she would always say how thankful and touched she was that we had rearranged our homeschooling to clear our schedule during her visit. Haha, you're welcome, mom!

Miranda
head4thehills likes this.

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups

Last edited by moominmamma; 03-07-2015 at 04:16 PM.
moominmamma is online now  
#3 of 27 Old 03-07-2015, 04:50 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
If someone asks directly 'are you unschooling'? I will say yes, otherwise, I say we are trying different things, and we are still figuring it out, mostly being vague and evasive.
As for people quizzing my kids. I would step in and say don't do that very firmly, which is difficult, but to have a plan ahead of time so you are ready for it.
This podcast has some good advice on exactly what you are talking about
I will post in the next reply, as I will lose this response if I switch tabs.

I'm sorry people were mean and gossiping. I realized today that it really is only safe here and with select few friends.
I will add when my friend first explained unschooling to me, I left that conversation thinking g'that is the craziest thing I ever heard! But the seed was planted and a few years later here we are
Anna

Anna, mom to 4 great kids, homeschooling in Toronto.
Annaintoronto is offline  
 
#4 of 27 Old 03-07-2015, 04:52 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
http://unschoolingsupport.com/relatives/

So good, with great advice, short too, maybe 15 minutes.

Anna, mom to 4 great kids, homeschooling in Toronto.
Annaintoronto is offline  
#5 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 07:27 AM
 
SweetSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westfarthing
Posts: 6,271
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 232 Post(s)
I agree with Miranda. "For now..." works wonders. "For now we are just riding that wave to see where it takes us" is my usual comment (I'm more than a bit of a hippie, so I can say it without irony, you might choose something less groovy ) And I'm wondering if I'm a little intimidating anyway...... hmmmm.... need to consider that one. "Child led", yes.

I'm judicious about using the "unschooling" moniker because not only does it have negative media connotations for most people who have heard of it, but the phrase itself, separated by decades from the original "Uncola" ad campaign that inspired it, can sound very anti-school. Which it is, in a big way, too. But it can become an *instant* challenge to people to defend an institution they never knew needed defending. I use it sparingly, though once people get to know our kids well, I might start throwing it in because it is a handy term.

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
SweetSilver is offline  
#6 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 10:24 AM
 
zebra15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 6,048
Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 237 Post(s)
When DS was younger I thought I needed to say 'unschooling'. Turns out I didnt need to say unschooling. HS was just fine. IF people were interested in U/S there were either doing u/s or heard of u/s. Bringing it up on my own only created un-needed headaches and havoc for myself.
My family still doesn't know the extent of our homeschooling adventures and honestly- they do not need to know. If my kid was in traditional school, would they know the details of every day classroom life, probably not!

Mom to J and never ending 
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
 
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
  
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
  
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
2017 the year of peace and tranquility.
zebra15 is offline  
#7 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 10:44 AM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 7,454
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annaintoronto View Post
I say we are trying different things, and we are still figuring it out, mostly being vague and evasive.
Vagueness is our best ally too. If someone asked me "what are you using for language arts?" I'd smile conspiratorially and say "Well, not a lot of curriculum, since we are fairly, er, unstructured and child-led," like I'm letting them in on a little secret, like I'm confessing that I sometimes feed my family breakfast for dinner. And then I'd follow that with "Some stuff from the internet, real books, a lot of stuff she chooses," spoken nonchalantly and vaguely but confidently. "It works for us."

Miranda

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#8 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 12:08 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: on a (small) mountain in the Trans-Pecos
Posts: 545
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
We seem to have had less "interference" than most...a couple of checkout ladies (including a young woman hardly older than my daughter) who disapproved of us shopping during "school hours", a SIL who (to use Miranda's word) worked at "undermining" us, instructing my daughter with dyslexia how she should be learning to read...that's about it.

I don't tell people we're unschooling...now that my eldest is 17, many assume (partly based on her height) that she's out of high school. Now that I think on it, her employers do some undermining themselves, ironic because the very things that make her a valued employee resulted from her background.

Deborah
transpecos is offline  
#9 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 02:38 PM
 
head4thehills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Somewhere under a mountain of laundry
Posts: 237
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
My children are still very young, so I haven't had to deal with much opposition... so far. I plan on using the term "curriculum-free learning" or "community-based education" sometimes, instead of just HS or unschooling. Many parents of children in school have at least some issues with the official curriculum, standardized testing, etc., so I'm hoping they will have an easier time understanding where I'm coming from if I put it that way.

There are some people I just avoid even mentioning it to, including a friend who is a school teacher. I once read a comment she posted online to a mutual friend who is homeschooling her daughter, and while she didn't say anything overtly critical, I could sense some slight snarkiness in her tone. So I just consider myself lucky that I don't talk with her much these days, because yes, those comments do hurt. Many people I've talked to about it are supportive, and have at least one other friend who is homeschooling. My mother and one of my sisters have been critical or questioning of my choice, but thankfully have not made a big issue of it. Most of their misconceptions come from ignorance or perhaps feeling like I'm judging them for their choices. I'm not very good at selling others on my ideas, so I generally go the avoidance route. But, after reading books like Free Range Learning, and familiarizing myself with our governmental legislation on HS, I've learned to defend my family's choices without having to say too much.
head4thehills is offline  
#10 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 05:19 PM
 
mckittre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,532
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
My kids are little, and I've never needed to use the term "unschooling" with anyone other than my husband. When curious parents say things like "Do you ever have trouble getting them to do what you say?" or "I don't think my kids would let me teach them" then I do say that I haven't found the need to force mine to learn anything thus far -- saying something vague about how much awesome learning comes from following their interests.

But nearly all the pushback or skepticism I've heard thus far is about school vs. homeschool, not about whether I do worksheets or not. Might change as they get older and may or may not get more "behind" in things.

If I were the OP though, I might explain. It's a different situation if folks are spreading negative gossip about your kids. If you don't tell them, they'll assume you're a lazy/incompetent/neglectful teacher or that your kids are less capable than average. If you do, they'll assume that you have some kooky educational philosophy they may or may not agree with. Of course, depending on who they are, maybe you don't care what they think.
mckittre is offline  
#11 of 27 Old 03-08-2015, 07:00 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 7,454
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post
My kids are little, and I've never needed to use the term "unschooling" with anyone other than my husband.
Haha! I think the first time I used it in real life to describe what we do was about 18 months ago, talking to another mom in our DL program and getting pretty strong signals that she too was of that persuasion. It was like figuring out that we both belonged to a secret society, like exchanging a secret password or hand signal. Since then I've used the term a little more boldly in real-life homeschooling circles. I still don't think I've used it out of that context. I tend to say that we're "more on the child-led end of the spectrum ..."

Miranda
head4thehills likes this.

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#12 of 27 Old 03-09-2015, 03:37 AM
 
4GreenBabies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Tel Aviv Israel (not politically aligned) / Pittsburgh, Pa
Posts: 109
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
wow, i really enjoyed reading what everyone wrote, i didnt know that there was a term for what we do with our kids and how many other people are doing it! I Just kept calling it homeschooling, its good to hear what other parents are saying to family/friends who are pretty inquisitive and critical. my moms that way, so i just avoid it, or try to anyway.

Be Good Family =)
4GreenBabies is offline  
#13 of 27 Old 03-09-2015, 08:47 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: on a (small) mountain in the Trans-Pecos
Posts: 545
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
The most common reaction to homeschooling was "Good for you!". Some people who met met kids asked "Do you homeschool?"...they said they could tell because of the way they interacted with adults.

Deborah

p.s. One of my favorite memories of our homeschool group (which we were members of but attended rarely) was the sight of almost two dozen kids of all ages...3 through 15 or so...all playing together outside, running and laughing, the bigs catering to the littles. That was about the time my youngest joined the homeschool Ultimate (frisbee) group...players ranged from 6 to an over 50 dad. My daughter still plays Ultimate two to three nights a week, the homeschool group has aged out into a former homeschool & community group, plus the local college team.
transpecos is offline  
#14 of 27 Old 03-09-2015, 12:06 PM
 
healthy momma's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 268
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Since I too have very young children (6 and 2) I'm sure I have lots of time to run into naysayers but until now I guess I've been pretty lucky. My family is supportive, including the life long educators. Heck, one of those is my Dad and he is one of the biggest supporters and LOVES being such an intimate part of his grandson's lives on a daily basis. My MIL probably has the most concerns but she never criticizes, she asks intelligent, loving questions, and she puts forth a lot of effort to interact in ways that may not be first nature for her but that follows our chosen path for her grandchildren.

As for the general public I mostly just say we homeschool if asked in brief about it. If it is followed up with any further questions I am happy to launch into a discussion about unschooling or life learning, as that is the phrase I prefer, although more people have heard of unschooling. I usually get people asking genuine questions because it intrigues them. I hope that continues to be the case but I also think I give off a "don't mess with me, and I won't mess with you vibe" sometimes so I don't think I'll run into too many people that will be negative to my face.

I certainly hope there comes a day that nobody has to worry about how to explain what they are doing and that we all just get the support we need to do what is best for our families.
healthy momma is offline  
#15 of 27 Old 03-09-2015, 12:49 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 7,454
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)
Have to share this story again...

My dd (then 15) used to work one or two half-days a week at a local café. One day she was at the local grocery store on an errand to buy supplies for the café. Because she often ran this sort of errand, she was chatting away with the friendly 20-something checkout clerk as things were run through.

"So are you taking any courses at the high school this year?" asked the clerk.

"Yeah, a couple," said my dd. "I still mostly homeschool. It's great actually. The teachers let me come and go as I want, so I can be there when it works for me and otherwise I don't have to go. Super flexible."

The clerk smiled and nodded. A guy behind dd in line piped up "Oh, and how's that going to work for you out in the real world when you have to get a job?"

Dd turned to him and smiled. "Actually, I'm at my job right now."

Over and out.

Miranda
head4thehills likes this.

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#16 of 27 Old 03-09-2015, 03:30 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: on a (small) mountain in the Trans-Pecos
Posts: 545
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
A guy behind dd in line piped up "Oh, and how's that going to work for you out in the real world when you have to get a job?"

Dd turned to him and smiled. "Actually, I'm at my job right now."
Priceless...
transpecos is offline  
#17 of 27 Old 03-09-2015, 04:49 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Homeschool 1
Miserable, cynical people 0

Anna, mom to 4 great kids, homeschooling in Toronto.
Annaintoronto is offline  
#18 of 27 Old 03-11-2015, 09:58 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I've been having this issue with my 21 year old son. He went to public school and was traditionally homeschooled for 2 years, and he's constantly after me to send the kids to school. Recently he asked me why I don't give the kids any schoolwork, and I explained to him that we learn naturally following our own interests. He responded that the kids wouldn't learned anything that way, so I asked him what he remembers from school other than social issues. He admitted to not remembering much, so I went on telling him what the kids are up to by their own choice, like my 10 year old daughter figuring out how an electrical circuit works by taking apart a light-up toy, how my 14 year old son with ADHD sat for three hours figuring out how to set up his own Minecraft server, and how my 15 year old daughter is learning Japanese so she can understand her beloved anime. He just grinned sheepishly and said, "Well, I still win."
Shelly S. is offline  
#19 of 27 Old 03-11-2015, 01:33 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: on a (small) mountain in the Trans-Pecos
Posts: 545
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelly S. View Post
I've been having this issue with my 21 year old son.
Haha...my now 23 year old son went to public school for high school and immediately drank the koolaid of "if you don't go to public school, you won't be able to go to college, your life is wrecked". He became strangely silent after his unschooled sister with dyslexia not only went to college at a much more selective school than he attended, but also with a hefty scholarship. He still makes occasional noises about his 17 year old sister, but because she's much better at following her bliss than he is, and makes a higher hourly wage than he ever has for a steady job, no one is listening...

Deborah

p.s. But I'm not gonna say much bad about him...he has just replaced the vital fluids, the rear brake pads, and all four shocks on the family car, which is now 108,000 miles older than we originally intended to keep it...

Last edited by transpecos; 03-11-2015 at 02:08 PM.
transpecos is offline  
#20 of 27 Old 03-11-2015, 02:03 PM
 
4GreenBabies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Tel Aviv Israel (not politically aligned) / Pittsburgh, Pa
Posts: 109
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
to be honest, i do not support the public or private school system, i dont like how many kids are in a class, that information is forced on you to memorize, the molding of obedient workers, and soooo much more, but where i live, it is illegal to homeschool, and so the idea of unschooling would be way too much for people here. i mean, kids run around at recess playing IDF vs hamas which is insane and i dont want my kids thinking that murder is a game or that racism is acceptable in any form, plus all the political ideals that come along with that in this society. I would like to know how the child based learning outside of an institution came to be a more accepted form or education in the states. I know that there are a lot of parents over here that feel the same way i do, but if they dont send their kids to school, they go to jail for 3 months minimum. I want to kind of spark this kind of education 'revolution' (only in quotes since its not really a new idea to teach your own kids, i mean, i feel thats part of my job as a parent, to raise my own children, not pawn them off to a stranger in order to instill values i have no say over) in my area of the world. Its scary when social services comes to your home days after you give birth cause they saw your kids at the hospital visiting during school hours, threatening to take the kids or jail you unless you enroll them in a school by the beginning of next semester. Like i said, there is no such thing as homeschooling over here officially, so what kind of dialogue would help me spark interest in other parents so that together we can cause social change and provide an option to parents and kids? Im sure there is a ton to read on the internet, but i dont have any 'spare' time to do the research on proper wording and thought that someone else might have found something or has found a good 'formula' for presenting this topic to others as a possibility.

(sorry for typos, even tho im from the states and speak english all day long with my family, i tend to forget real simple stuff like spelling and grammar)

Be Good Family =)

Last edited by 4GreenBabies; 03-11-2015 at 02:10 PM. Reason: changed 'house' to 'home', we live in an apartment, and home is where my babies are, and i changed a few of my typos
4GreenBabies is offline  
#21 of 27 Old 03-11-2015, 03:06 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 7,454
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)
It's an interesting question, what are the ingredients and the lines of reasoning that make unschooling likely to be accepted in a given culture.

(Fiona and I attended a screening of Girl Rising earlier this week. It's a great documentary about empowering girls in the developing world ... albeit largely through institutional education. We ended up having a discussion about whether we were ungrateful and selfish to be wanting something "better" than school, whether seeing the shortcomings of the school system for our family was just another First-World Problem. We ended up talking about how unschooling might be viewed in other nations, and why its time probably hasn't come in most of the nations that were the subject of the documentary, and when it might begin to take root.)

Anyway, I think that the US places a very high value on individualism, and unschooling plays into that very nicely. I also think that in North America it has been several generations since institutional school was last viewed as the de facto route out of illiteracy and poverty for much of the population. I think in many other nations the collective good is granted more value, while individualism is granted relatively less, so it's a harder sell. Illiteracy and poverty may loom large in recent memory. The fragile nature of affluence and security are more part of the collective consciousness in nations that have current or recent military conflict on their soil.

I live in Canada, where we are more invested in social programs and the collective good than the US, yet we are considerably influenced by American cultural values, so unschooling fits fairly comfortably here. Additionally we're fairly affluent as a society, suffer under no immediate threat to that comfortable affluence, and have enjoyed this security for a few generations, so the idea of needing school in order to have a better life than your working-class poorly educated parents, or in order to preserve their hard-won gains, isn't all that familiar anymore.

Of course those of us who are familiar with unschooling know that it isn't at odds with the common good ... and we know that education can come from anywhere, not just from affluent well-educated parents. But when you distribute responsibility for nurturing an interest in the common good there's much less of a feeling of certainty among mainstream members of the populace.

I wonder if one might be best to point out how unschooling nurtures the sort of creative outside-the-box thinking that is necessary to solve complex problems in a changing world. Point to examples of grass-roots youth initiatives, to creative problem-solving by unschoolers, by social action and service that unschoolers have the time and passion to pursue. Just a thought.

Miranda

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#22 of 27 Old 03-11-2015, 05:41 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
I would start with the parents of children who aren't thriving at school. Mental health, anxiety, ASD, ADHD, dissatisfied
Parents can be a strong lobby.
Anna

Anna, mom to 4 great kids, homeschooling in Toronto.
Annaintoronto is offline  
#23 of 27 Old 03-13-2015, 11:45 AM
 
head4thehills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Somewhere under a mountain of laundry
Posts: 237
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by transpecos View Post
Haha...my now 23 year old son went to public school for high school and immediately drank the koolaid of "if you don't go to public school, you won't be able to go to college, your life is wrecked". He became strangely silent after his unschooled sister with dyslexia not only went to college at a much more selective school than he attended, but also with a hefty scholarship. He still makes occasional noises about his 17 year old sister, but because she's much better at following her bliss than he is, and makes a higher hourly wage than he ever has for a steady job, no one is listening...

Deborah

p.s. But I'm not gonna say much bad about him...he has just replaced the vital fluids, the rear brake pads, and all four shocks on the family car, which is now 108,000 miles older than we originally intended to keep it...
When can he come and fix my car? ;D
head4thehills is offline  
#24 of 27 Old 03-13-2015, 12:20 PM
 
littleblackdress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 161
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
I use vague terms like "meet the needs learning" or child lead learning. I would also say that it is rude to "test" other people's children... I also share the interests that my kids have. I also dislike the "unschooling" word... because it invokes judgemental qualities... even in people who are supportive... it is almost like once there is a common definition, it calls out people's judgypants. The ones who think bricks and mortar school are antsy about not learning according to a school schedule.... and I have at least one person in my life who tries to catch me going against "unschooling principals"... So... I come up with a very vague response that says that I am following my kids interests, that I am doing "inquiry based learning" or "meeting the needs of my kids as they come up"... sort of thing. Vague answers means people have no clue and are off balance when their natural tendency is judginess.
littleblackdress is offline  
#25 of 27 Old 03-13-2015, 12:24 PM
 
head4thehills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Somewhere under a mountain of laundry
Posts: 237
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4GreenBabies View Post
to be honest, i do not support the public or private school system, i dont like how many kids are in a class, that information is forced on you to memorize, the molding of obedient workers, and soooo much more, but where i live, it is illegal to homeschool, and so the idea of unschooling would be way too much for people here. i mean, kids run around at recess playing IDF vs hamas which is insane and i dont want my kids thinking that murder is a game or that racism is acceptable in any form, plus all the political ideals that come along with that in this society. I would like to know how the child based learning outside of an institution came to be a more accepted form or education in the states. I know that there are a lot of parents over here that feel the same way i do, but if they dont send their kids to school, they go to jail for 3 months minimum. I want to kind of spark this kind of education 'revolution' (only in quotes since its not really a new idea to teach your own kids, i mean, i feel thats part of my job as a parent, to raise my own children, not pawn them off to a stranger in order to instill values i have no say over) in my area of the world. Its scary when social services comes to your home days after you give birth cause they saw your kids at the hospital visiting during school hours, threatening to take the kids or jail you unless you enroll them in a school by the beginning of next semester. Like i said, there is no such thing as homeschooling over here officially, so what kind of dialogue would help me spark interest in other parents so that together we can cause social change and provide an option to parents and kids? Im sure there is a ton to read on the internet, but i dont have any 'spare' time to do the research on proper wording and thought that someone else might have found something or has found a good 'formula' for presenting this topic to others as a possibility.
I'm so sorry that this is the situation you are in!

I'm not sure what the history of homeschooling in North America has been, whether it came to be legal over time, or if it was always legal on some level, and individual states just created their own laws. There was a time when homeschooling was more normal... especially in pioneer times when schools were not accessible to all settlers. I remember reading the Little House series as a child, and how Laura and Mary were actually more advanced in their learning than their fellow students when they first started attending school. Their mother was a schoolteacher, and had them study from simple primers that they carried with them when they lived in areas without schools.

I think the reason school came to be mandated at all had to do with the fact that there were many illiterate parents who could not teach their children, and/or parents were working (yes, both fathers and mothers, and often young children too, very long hours and in poor conditions) and could not keep their children at home to learn. Schools were created to address these appalling conditions. At least, that is the story we are all told. There are many lesser told stories that are only now coming out, such as the horror of the residential school system that many First Nations in Canada and the US were subject to. Children taken from their parents to be brainwashed in large institutions, denied their traditional ways, horribly abused, and now suffering (indeed all of society is suffering) in the aftermath.

Good quality homeschooling used to be a more elitist thing for many cultures. I'm thinking of children of the upper classes who were taught by tutors and governesses. The story that comes to mind for me is that of the Strickland sisters, including the Canadian pioneers Catharine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie. They came from the upper class in England, but as their family actually didn't have much money, they didn't receive much formal education. They learned largely through their family library, playing, writing and dramatizing stories together as siblings. Many of the children grew up to be accomplished writers, the two pioneering women I mentioned living in very rough conditions in the backwoods of Canada, but somehow finding time to write prolifically.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit. One resource that has helped me is this one: http://ontariohomeschool.org/
You can look through it to see how homeschooling works in another part of the world. I consider myself and my family very lucky to live in a region which allows homeschooling without approved curriculum or testing!
Annaintoronto likes this.
head4thehills is offline  
#26 of 27 Old 03-29-2015, 03:13 PM
 
winter singer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: france
Posts: 114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by head4thehills View Post
I'm so sorry that this is the situation you are in!

I'm not sure what the history of homeschooling in North America has been, whether it came to be legal over time, or if it was always legal on some level, and individual states just created their own laws. There was a time when homeschooling was more normal... especially in pioneer times when schools were not accessible to all settlers. I remember reading the Little House series as a child, and how Laura and Mary were actually more advanced in their learning than their fellow students when they first started attending school. Their mother was a schoolteacher, and had them study from simple primers that they carried with them when they lived in areas without schools.

I think the reason school came to be mandated at all had to do with the fact that there were many illiterate parents who could not teach their children, and/or parents were working (yes, both fathers and mothers, and often young children too, very long hours and in poor conditions) and could not keep their children at home to learn. Schools were created to address these appalling conditions. At least, that is the story we are all told. There are many lesser told stories that are only now coming out, such as the horror of the residential school system that many First Nations in Canada and the US were subject to. Children taken from their parents to be brainwashed in large institutions, denied their traditional ways, horribly abused, and now suffering (indeed all of society is suffering) in the aftermath.

Good quality homeschooling used to be a more elitist thing for many cultures. I'm thinking of children of the upper classes who were taught by tutors and governesses. The story that comes to mind for me is that of the Strickland sisters, including the Canadian pioneers Catharine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie. They came from the upper class in England, but as their family actually didn't have much money, they didn't receive much formal education. They learned largely through their family library, playing, writing and dramatizing stories together as siblings. Many of the children grew up to be accomplished writers, the two pioneering women I mentioned living in very rough conditions in the backwoods of Canada, but somehow finding time to write prolifically.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit. One resource that has helped me is this one: http://ontariohomeschool.org/
You can look through it to see how homeschooling works in another part of the world. I consider myself and my family very lucky to live in a region which allows homeschooling without approved curriculum or testing!
Apparently Massachusetts actually had higher literacy rates in the late 18th century, before education became compulsory, than it does now! And there was huge resistance to compulsory education when it was introduced there. It seems that the 'schools-help-to-end-illiteracy' idea we were all brought up on is not always true (I first read about this a few years ago in David Guterson's book about homeschooling, Family Matters, and it really took me by surprise).

There's an interesting Facebook group called 'Unschooling the World' with members all over, including places like India. As Momminmamma says, "To what extent are humans natural learners? What is the nature of motivation? Is the traditional model of top-down learning of a body of information and skills still as valid in the 21st century? " These are questions that apply anywhere in the world.

My daughter is 6 and we're using a lot of 'this is what is working for us right now'-type language with well-meaning people who question our approach to her education.

Recently I had to do a summary of our approach for the French education administration (as part of the paperwork relating to homeschooling here in France) and I used the phrases 'cooperative education', 'respecting the child's rhythm and availability", "making resources available to her when she needs them". Not sure yet what they're making of that!
winter singer is offline  
#27 of 27 Old 03-29-2015, 07:49 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: on a (small) mountain in the Trans-Pecos
Posts: 545
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Actually, now that my youngest kid is a year from traditional high school graduation age, I tell people that we have a completely non traditional approach to education. My always unschooled daughter with dyslexia has just, by the way, been invited to take some classes at Bowdoin, having maxed out some of the course offerings at her school. (The schools have some sort of sharing arrangement.) (I'm encouraging youngest to take welding, get her commercial driver's license, and become a farrier. She'd never do at a desk job.)

Deborah
transpecos is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 11,061

22 members and 11,039 guests
9z3mazawc@moakt.ws , cfaokunla , ChasingLittleFeesers , Deborah , emmy526 , gizzypeach , hillymum , IsaFrench , kathymuggle , Leelee3 , lisak1234 , mary10 , moominmamma , NaturallyKait , neshiarollins , Rikki Jean , RollerCoasterMama , samaxtics , transylvania_mom , unityco , vanerubio416 , worthy
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.