A Thousand Rivers - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-14-2015, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A Thousand Rivers

An amazing essay that takes an anthropologic view of unschooling, and learning, and the development of literacy ....

It resonates so strongly with me:

Quote:
"But she did not read early.

"She did not go to school, so this did not pose a problem for her or for anyone else. She was part of a group of kids whose sense of politeness dictated that they not make a big issue about reading or any other skill that one kid had and another kid lacked. ...

"Six months later Isabel was reading Harry Potter independently. ....

"How did this happen? We don’t really know. This is an important point. You don’t know. I don’t know. Nobody really knows. The cognitive processes which underlie literacy are complex beyond your wildest imagination; our scientific understanding of them is in its early infancy. But people whose kids don’t go to school are nodding their heads in recognition at my story, because among kids who don’t go to school, or who go to democratic or free schools, Isabel’s pattern of learning to read is common. It happens all the time. The fact that most literacy “researchers” and “experts,” not to mention school psychologists, don’t even realize that it is possible is something that should concern us all."

"Children’s resistance takes many forms; inattention, irritability, disruption, withdrawal, restlessness, forgetting; in fact, all of the “symptoms” of ADHD are the behaviors of a child who is actively or passively resisting adult control. Once you start to generate this resistance to learning, if you don’t back away quickly, it can solidify into something very disabling."
I am clearly not the only parent who has kids like this.

Such a beautiful essay. It is long but it is worth the read, several times over even.

Miranda

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#2 of 9 Old 07-14-2015, 10:20 PM
 
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Do you have a link to the essay?

It's not that I don't think this could happen, but I just wonder if it is the norm. Is there any other anthropological evidence besides the one you mentioned? I'd love to read the article. Is the point that focusing on literacy so much makes children not want to read and therefore unwilling to try/unable to learn? Is it specifically related to the education of literacy? Other questions: are unschooled children often read to / have frequent access to books? How would literacy related items differ than say just a regular schooled child?

Sorry I'm not trying to be rude or come across anyway, I'm just very curious about this topic! Thanks!

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#3 of 9 Old 07-14-2015, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://schoolingtheworld.org/a-thousand-rivers/

Sorry, I totally meant to include that!

Miranda
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#4 of 9 Old 07-14-2015, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Nemi27 View Post
How would literacy related items differ than say just a regular schooled child?
I'm sure you'll understand the point of the article better now that I've actually included a link!

But with respect to this particular point...

I think that unschooled children tend to honestly exhibit their natural variability in reading readiness (whether "readiness" is defined in terms of intellect, emotion or interest) without shame or other emotional baggage if they happen to fall on the 'later' end of the spectrum.

When I first was considering homeschooling 18 years ago, a homeschooling mom told me that her biggest piece of advice to parents of young children was "don't send them to school until they're reading." Why? Because if they go to school at age 5 and turn out to be 'later-readers,' the cost to their self-concept and confidence will be immeasurable. Don't risk it, she was saying.

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#5 of 9 Old 07-15-2015, 10:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I'm sure you'll understand the point of the article better now that I've actually included a link!

But with respect to this particular point...

I think that unschooled children tend to honestly exhibit their natural variability in reading readiness (whether "readiness" is defined in terms of intellect, emotion or interest) without shame or other emotional baggage if they happen to fall on the 'later' end of the spectrum.

When I first was considering homeschooling 18 years ago, a homeschooling mom told me that her biggest piece of advice to parents of young children was "don't send them to school until they're reading." Why? Because if they go to school at age 5 and turn out to be 'later-readers,' the cost to their self-concept and confidence will be immeasurable. Don't risk it, she was saying.

Miranda
Thanks! I'm eager to read it. We will most likely be doing homeschooling and so right now im learning all about the different theories and ways to do it.
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#6 of 9 Old 07-15-2015, 10:33 AM
 
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Very interesting essay. One thing I wish the author had done was to take those half-anecdotes from other cultures and fleshed them out a little. What skills were those kids learning, exactly, and did any of them seem to click magically and instantly the way reading did for Isabel? Where are the anecdotes about kids that could barely count and were doing algebra six months later? It seems like that should be more common, really, since there are such a small number of facts and rules that underlie math. What does that learning pattern look like in other domains, and do kids that learn reading that way learn other things the same way?

A sudden leap from non-reading to reading excellently makes a good story to retell, so I wonder how average that is. Or do more kids follow a slow, basic, practicing, creeping skill development trajectory at whatever age they choose to start?
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#7 of 9 Old 07-15-2015, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, there is this Sudbury Valley School story about kids learning all of K-6 math in 20 instructional hours (plus some homework).

My own ds was 9 when he went from being at a late 2nd grade math level with almost no previous instruction to completing Singapore 6B (~7th grade level) in six months, 20 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week... about 30 hours of study, with no additional 'homework' or practice.

I have a young adult friend who at age 19 sat down with a SAT prep book and worked through it over the course of two weeks, having only ever "studied" math using bits and pieces of Miquon Math (purportedly for 1st through 3rd grades). She tested out of all high school courses and into calculus at her community college. She was a musician, spinner/weaver and cook, having never had an interest in maths or sciences, but had suddenly decided she wanted to study green architecture at college.

I think people are less likely to share stories of dramatic leaps in mathematical prowess because there isn't a math equivalent of that startling moment when you find your recently non-reading child curled up in an armchair buried deep in Harry Potter. I also think that because math is about manipulating symbols and ideas to solve problems, unschooled mathematical learning tends to be more apparent to the observer than is unschooled literacy learning.

Miranda

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#8 of 9 Old 07-15-2015, 06:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
When I first was considering homeschooling 18 years ago, a homeschooling mom told me that her biggest piece of advice to parents of young children was "don't send them to school until they're reading." Why? Because if they go to school at age 5 and turn out to be 'later-readers,' the cost to their self-concept and confidence will be immeasurable. Don't risk it, she was saying.

Miranda

I wish I was given that advice five years ago!
My son started PS in first grade as a young 6yo. He was told by the teacher within the first few weeks of school, after taking the DIBELS test, that 'he was the worst reader in the class and that he wasn't even at level A'. He came home crying and saying he wasn't fluent enough. He only stayed in PS the one year, spent two years in Montessori, and now two years HS'ing with one day/week at a Democratic school. It took years to undue the damage and for him to finally get some confidence. I don't think the damage will ever be completely undone; he was changed. He decided in 1st grade he was stupid.

p.s. The teacher (a different 1st grade teacher because we pulled him from the first class) said there was no way he would get to the necessary level 'I' by the end of first grade. In October they were already talking about holding him back. But he did get to level I. Instead of congratulating him, she told him 'You made it to 'I' but you are a weak 'I'.


I once read an article that said we do not have a reading problem in our schools. We are creating the reading problem. I agree.


Sorry for the disjointed rambling - thinking about it brings back the emotions.
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#9 of 9 Old 07-15-2015, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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'You made it to 'I' but you are a weak 'I'. '
What an unbelievably heartless comment! Mind-boggling that teachers like that exist...

Miranda

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