What do you consider unschooling? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-10-2004, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am just wondering what the label means to each of us. And am wondering what the generic definaition would be, and also what to tell family when you say you are unschooling. The general response we get it they need school, or structure, or whatever...so I am wondering how you explain it to people when you have to.

For me I think of unschooling as anything goes. I think even if my kids were in public school I would still consider us unschoolers because we would be doing what my kids feel they need. I guess child-led learning is my philosophy for unschooling. Did this make any sense??!! :LOL

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Old 08-10-2004, 05:15 PM
 
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We explain unschooling as delight directed learning. We find out what our child's interests are and use them as a springboard for learning to flow naturally. We approach our education with creative thinking outside of the box. We are looking forward to this school year!
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Old 08-10-2004, 05:18 PM
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This question comes up at least monthly here, so if you go back a page or two I know there's some good discussion on it.

My family is either really cool and understanding or really good at minding their own business, so it's never been an issue. My mom, before she died, once said that the idea of unschooling would make her really nervous if someone else was doing it, but with me doing it she knew it would be fine. I thought that was really nice... and I think they all feel that way.

I don't think kids who go to K-12 school are homeschoolers, or unschoolers - they're kids who have chosen to go to school. I see some wiggle room with college classes and homeschool programs that offer various classes.

I still think the phrase "child-led" ignores the interconnectness of the family, and the role of the parents and other people in the child's life.

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Old 08-10-2004, 05:45 PM
 
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Unschooling for me, is reinforcing and providing resources for my child's natural interests. No matter what the age. I am not the teacher for my child, I'm more like a facilitator/resource person. I encourage the learning of basic skills by doing many tasks with my child. That said, there are still many things that I teach my son.
We use books, the internet, field trips and real life situations to learn. We can also take classes and learn things in classrooms, but that is not the focus of our learning. Practice and repetition, if necessary for acquiring a skill is encouraged but not if it is proven unnecessary.
We do not use a curriculum or workbooks to determine how, why and/or what we learn (but we can and do use textbooks & workbooks if the information in them is useful for explaining a particular learning objective). We believe that learning can happen at any age and that "You can not be Ahead or Behind Yourself" (this is one of my favorite quotes).
Unschooling for me is having faith in my child to let him take the lead in his learning quest. And to provide for him the opportunity to experience life in real settings with real goals, and have those goals be what ever he decides they are going to be. I myself take many classes and I am always trying to acquire new skills so my child sees me as a good example of a life long learner. And my older children, when they were younger and now, have taught me many new things/skills. So in my home, daily learning happens for us all.
I also agree with Dar, if your child goes to K-12 school, they are not unschoolers.

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Old 08-10-2004, 06:30 PM
 
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To me, unschooling is any sort of learning experience which doesn't resemble "school." Even though my kids use traditional textbooks for math and spelling, I still consider us unschoolers because they have so much freedom. I don't use a bell or make them sit until the other is finished working. I don't give them grades. I don't say "You can't eat lunch until your spelling is finished." Our days don't resemble school in the least.

I think the term "unschooling" has been hijacked, just like the feminazis have stolen the word "feminist." I've known several unschoolers who extend unschooling philosophies into all areas of life, and then tell me I'm not unschooling because I have expectations of my children and make them help around the house and such. I feel they are extremists; I think people who let their children take the lead in everything are unparenting, not unschooling. Children were provided with parents for a reason, IMO.

I believe it was John Holt who first used the word, and his definition was far different than that of the radical unschoolers of today.
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Old 08-10-2004, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
I still think the phrase "child-led" ignores the interconnectness of the family, and the role of the parents and other people in the child's life.

Dar
hmmm...interesting, my kiddos and I practise child-led weaning, but there is definately not a lack of connectedness there. there are still many times where we have to work together to come to a mutually agreed upon solution. I am thinking child-led is where the child expresses interest in something, and the parent/family offers guidence. I guess i don't see that as ignoring the interconectedness.
Oh, and I hope "child-led" is not saying to people "un-parenting". We definately set limits and such, we are a big family and can't imagine not doing that, for the good of all. That is definately not what child-led means. :LOL

LOL I had a feeling there would be a lot of different responses, it is very interesting. I will go look up the past threads on this, sorry i didn't look for them before...I generally don't have time to go read lots of past posts with three kiddos at home. :LOL

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Old 08-10-2004, 06:53 PM
 
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For my family it means that the children learn from life and the experiences around them, and from interest as opposed to lesson plans, schedules, tests, and curriculum. My family just wakes up and lives- that is it. We live our lives, and the learning is a by product of that The kids are free to spend hours reading, watching tv, playing video games, surfing the web, riding bikes, cooking, being at the library, or playing outside. There is no time limit on things, and there is no goal they must meet other than the ones they have set for themselves.

I am one of the above mentioned radical unschoolers (Im not saying I was addressed or singled out though...) The freedom my kids enjoy in education extends to other parts of life. They decide what to eat, when to sleep, what to wear, and what to watch. I am their for guidance, direction, opinions, and so on.. but most of the decisions are their own. Not everyone who unschools go to that extent, and I think that is just fine. The bottom line (in an explanation to someone who is questioning it at least..) could be that unschooling is learning by life and by need. We learn as we live it, and as we need or want new information. Kristi

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Old 08-10-2004, 08:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
The bottom line (in an explanation to someone who is questioning it at least..) could be that unschooling is learning by life and by need. We learn as we live it, and as we need or want new information. Kristi

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Old 08-11-2004, 12:18 AM
 
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I try not to use the term "unschooling" because to me it implies that school is the natural base and anything else is a derivative. Same reason I say "natural birth" instead of "unmedicalized birth" or "intact" instead of "uncircumcized." But also I try not to use it because it seems to confuse people who aren't already familiar with that philosophy of education.

Instead I explain. First I say, "no, they're not in school." If asked if we're homeschooling, I say, "no, we don't do school at home." Then if asked what it is we do, I explain that the children themselves naturally initiate learning, according to their needs and what is relevant to their lives, and that it works so well because it occurs in context and exactly when they are developmentally ready for it. Some people take this to mean that the kids are basically on their own (not sure why they assume that) so I then clarify that I provide opportunities, resources, and my own knowledge when appropriate (that is, when they have initiated the exchange or showed me that they are interested in something that I happen to know something about.) They (the schoolers) usually then express concern that children will not learn what "they need to" if they have a choice. Which I have a hard time not laughing out loud at. People just simply do not resist information that is truly valuable to them, unless for the sake of rebeling against some coercive authority. It would be self-destructive to do so. And kids aren't naturally self-destructive.

So that's the gist of it -- instead of talking about why school is bad (UNschool) I think it is usually more constructive to focus on why spontaneous, natural learning is so good. If they insist on talking about school, though, I can do that too. I have PLENTY to say about school.
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Old 08-11-2004, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas! This is great!! I love what you are saying.
It feels good to me to have people around that believe learning at home is a natural occurance.

For the record, I know that if my kids chose to go to ps, I would not be able to label us as unschoolers, but I just meant that I feel like we are unschoolers at heart, and will always feel that way no matter what route my kids choose to pursue at the moment. kwim?

I am also not liking the labels, it feels so confining. Definately the opposite of what we are going for.
I went and read a recent thread about the label aspect, and what unschooling means to you, and I really enjoyed it. I just want to thank you ladies for being here...I am sure I will be frequenting this board!!
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Old 08-11-2004, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
To me, unschooling is any sort of learning experience which doesn't resemble "school." Even though my kids use traditional textbooks for math and spelling, I still consider us unschoolers because they have so much freedom. I don't use a bell or make them sit until the other is finished working. I don't give them grades. I don't say "You can't eat lunch until your spelling is finished." Our days don't resemble school in the least.
So, by "school" do you mean a traditional public school? By this definition a waldorf homeschooler would be an unschooler, and so would most eclectic homeschoolers.

Can your children choose not to work in their math or spelling textbooks at all, with no repercussions (disapproval) from you?

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I think the term "unschooling" has been hijacked, just like the feminazis have stolen the word "feminist."
I find that term very offensive.

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I think people who let their children take the lead in everything are unparenting, not unschooling. Children were provided with parents for a reason, IMO.
For many unschoolers, it seems natural to extend the philosophy of unschooling into everyday life. We live with no chores, no bedtimes, no punishments... and it all works very well. I think the term "take the lead" is a misnomer - Rain has the freedom to make any decisions that only have an impact on her, like how to cut her hair or paint her bed and whether or not to learn multiplication. I'm available for advice and I often offer knowledge and ideas , but the decisions is hers. Decisions that impact both of us are decided mutually, we work it out together. I think this is parenting.

You don't have to live this way to be an unschooler, but denigrating other who do is unkind.

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I believe it was John Holt who first used the word, and his definition was far different than that of the radical unschoolers of today.
Holt's definition of unschooling grew and evolved throughout his life - if you compare his earlier writings with things her wrote closer to his death, you'll see the progression of his thinking. By the end, his definition was pretty close to the way the word is used generally among the "radical" unschoolers today.

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Old 08-11-2004, 11:32 AM
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I certainly am not "unschooling" but had to jump in and give my 2cents worth LOL
I've noticed a trend in my area. Many HS'ers who do not use a purchased boxed curriculum are now using the term Unschooling.

IE... a local HS group was trying to form a girl scout troop. At the meeting one mother made her kids sit at the end of the table and work out of their textbooks. all the other kids were playing on the other side of the room. This mother insisted that the meetings take place in the evening because daytime was school time, her kids had to be doing school work from 8 am -2 pm. I commented that most of the other people in the room were relaxed HS'ers and not school at home. Her comment was "oh we unschool, the kids get to decide what order to do their subjects in and I build lesson plans around their interest".

The GS troop never formed because this mother deicded to raise a ruckus and put herself in charge, it became her way or no way. Same happened with an adult level classical book club. She wanted to be able to pick the books that all the kids in the group would be reading. She seized control and sent out an email of people she aproved of to everyone who was interested in the group. Let me point out that the HS group did not put her in charge of either the GS or book club.
OK Vent over... sorry, can you tell I have issues with this person?
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Old 08-11-2004, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting...so really the range is huge. I guess for me it really is the freedom...we do not force or try to trick our kids into doing "school work". But this is limited to the schooling aspect of our lives to some degree. We are a family of five(almost six), and there has to be some cooperation on "chores" and in the decisions made for what we do during the day. We are extremely flexible on everything...we talk about and ask for input on who wants to do what "chore", but my kids know that in a family everyone has to work together to have a more peaceful life. As a part of this family I think it is fair to expect some help from all of the members...even Sam does a few simple chores to help out(well, more like I find things for him to do because he wants to help). We generally don't have bedtimes, but if someone is acting out we will mention it is probably about that time. And they sleep til they wake up. LOL Wish I could do that sometimes. :LOL
Anyway, I think this is so interesting. Thanks for commenting mamas!
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:41 PM
 
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Interesting...so really the range is huge. I guess for me it really is the freedom...we do not force or try to trick our kids into doing "school work".
What is "school work?" Is it anything in which you use a book, or write things down, or answer questions?

I don't force or trick my kids into doing work, and I don't expect them to sit and do seatwork just for the sake of doing it, either. Someone else asked if my kids have the option of saying "no." My answer is, "to an extent."

I think that some of what people learn in a "school" setting are skills that are fairly essential to living in a modern world. The three R's will be interesting to some children, and they won't be to others. I think those are skills that people need to have, just like people need to know how to brush their teeth properly, how to prepare food, etc. I don't think that all people need to know how to brush their teeth at age six, or that all kids should be writing well by age eight, but I don't necessarily believe that all children will joyfully attack those skills, either.

Knowledge, on the other hand, like History, science, etc., I have no problem with being completely child-led.

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Originally Posted by mamamoo
We are a family of five(almost six), and there has to be some cooperation on "chores" and in the decisions made for what we do during the day. We are extremely flexible on everything...we talk about and ask for input on who wants to do what "chore", but my kids know that in a family everyone has to work together to have a more peaceful life.
Well, we are only a family of four, but I feel the same way. My children know that if they want me to take them to do fun and interesting things, that they need to help me with basic tidiness. Looking for lost items, misplaced shoes and other junk wastes a lot of time. All four of us eat here. It's not fair for only one person to wash dishes when all four are capable. All four of us wear clothing and appreciate clean ones. That means all four of us can pitch in to help with laundry. Dh doesn't do as much housework because he's not here all day, but he does enough.

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Originally Posted by Dar
So, by "school" do you mean a traditional public school? By this definition a waldorf homeschooler would be an unschooler, and so would most eclectic homeschoolers.
Actually, yes... I do mean that. To be honest, I'm sort of sick of the labelling, and the "us vs. them" mentality in the homeschooling community. I've come to the point where I can call anything unschooling which isn't school-at-home.

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Originally Posted by Dar
I'm available for advice and I often offer knowledge and ideas , but the decisions is hers. Decisions that impact both of us are decided mutually, we work it out together. I think this is parenting.

You don't have to live this way to be an unschooler, but denigrating other who do is unkind.
No maliciousness was intended. I said that this is my opinion, and never said that anyone else should do things my way.
There are lots of opinions on these forums that more mainstream people would find unkind. Is it only okay to have opinions about mainstream issues?

At any rate, the sort of parenting you describe is not what I was talking about, so there was no need to take offense. I happen to have known unschooling parents (more than one) who are complete doormats and their kids are mannerless, mouthy, and expect to get their way in everything. Those are the ones I was talking about when I mentioned "unparenting."
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:26 PM
 
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I love the threads that show the diverse folks and ways of life we have here!

I guess I do not ever feel the "Us vs. Them" emotion of it all. Well, I have known people who do not care for unschooling and have told me so, but it's never become more of an issue than that. Whatever way a family decides to educate is their business and none of mine, and it does not make me dislike them or feel as though we are on opposite sides of some parenting/educational/lifestyle fence. I know what my kids are doing, and I am happy with it I don't expect everyone to learn like we do anymore than I expect them to use the same toothpaste we do or love the same foods we do (I like some odd foods I am told LOL)

As far as "mouthy" kids go.. it depends on how we define mouthy I guess. We have encouraged our kids to express themselves as respectfully and constructively as possible (and to keep in mind how they would want someone to talk to them... ) When my mother in law told them they shouldn't be watching some show (I cannot recall what it was now) on tv, they politely told her that in our family everyone is allowed to decide what they want to watch for themselves. She considered that mouthy, and we did not. Our kids, we win lol. Different strokes for diff folks and all that Kristi

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Old 08-12-2004, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
Actually, yes... I do mean that. To be honest, I'm sort of sick of the labelling, and the "us vs. them" mentality in the homeschooling community. I've come to the point where I can call anything unschooling which isn't school-at-home. .
From Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass":

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't--till I tell you. I meant, 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."


You can call whatever you want "unschooling", but words are generally only useful for communication when there's some agreement about what they mean. I don't know anyone else who defines unschooling as "Anything except school at home", but you can be the first.

If you're sick of labels, why do you seem so anxious to claim this one? I dunno, I'm perfectly content with not being a school-at-homer, or a Waldorf-inspired homeschooler, or a unit studies homeschooler, or a Classical homeschooler... those labels don't apply to what I do, and that's fine. I could define myself as a Classical homeschooler and justify it because we do a lot of Shakespeare and ancient Greek stuff... but I don't, because if I look at what Classical homeschoolers are doing it's pretty clear that we're doing something very different. So why does being labeled an unschooler somehow make you "cool" or something?

I guess I just don't see an "us vs. them". I do see people trying to broaden the definition of unschooling so they can claim it too. And yeah, I object to that, because for me the whole point of the term is so that when someone asks about our homeschooling, I can use a word to describe it and people will know what it means. It's like, I can tell people I live in California and everyone understands... but what if some people living in Nevada wanted to start calling themselves Californians, too, because they are geographically close, and they get a lot of California produce to eat and they visit a lot, and they keep up with our fascinating politics... and I'm here thinking, what's wrong with being a Nevadan? Is that not cool or something?

I have lots of friends who are homeschoolers who don't unschool, and it's not an us vs. them at all. We talk about what our kids are doing, we share stories about reluctant writers and burning passions, and our kids run and scream together. I even get some invites to history and science coops, which Rain hasn't wanted to do, but we appreciate the offers. They don't call themselves unschoolers, and they aren't unschoolers, and they don't seem to have any interest in being labeled unschoolers, because they're happy with the way they're doing things. And it's all good...

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Old 08-12-2004, 05:02 AM
 
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well about a year ago we had a really interesting discussion on this subject and I'm sure I said something very enlightened at that time....but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.

I agree that the word unschooling seems to mean different things to different people. I hesitate to use it because where I live pretty much no one has heard it. They understand homeschooling (or think they do) so for the most part I let them think what they want. If people are really interested I will try to explain, but I find the concept is rarely understood....they get that glazed look in their eyes and I know they are thinking "this lady really is odd!" I really only know about 2 other families that are unschooling in a way consistant with John Holt's theories (which, as Dar stated, evolved through out his life.) I do, however, know many families that call themselves unschoolers. I believe many of them are evolving in their homeschooling toward unschooling, but others I'm not really sure of.

Essentially, to me, unschooling is a way of thinking. It does spill over into all of one's life. Or perhaps, better stated, it is an extention of a life, and mindset, that is already thinking outside of the "schooling" model.

I don't think you can put rules on unschooling....such as: Unschoolers don't ever tell their children what to do. or unschoolers don't take classses outside of the home. or unschoolers don't ever use textbooks. For one thing, I refuse to be defined by what I DON'T do! For another, the whole "rules" concept is a schooling concept, which as unschoolers, we are rejecting. Thirdly, the mindset of unschooling is one that thinks outside of the box.....it is organic and evolves with the learner, or the family, as the case may be.

For example, with my son I may have felt the need to distract him from sitting in front of the tv all day by encouraging some other activity, because he needed that kind of help from me at that time. Where as with my dd this simply isn't an issue, yet she often benifits from some encouragement to get away from the barn and hang out with her friends. Maybe those aren't the best examples of what I'm trying to say, but it seems to be the best I can think of at the moment. It just seems that at times a little direction from mom is called for, and at other times I am just getting in the way of their unconventional learning by suggesting something that I have a preconcieved notion is "educational for them."

You have to be flexible to change with the changing needs of your child. Just as you were flexible with your baby or toddler and allowed them to learn to walk and talk in thier own time and way. You adjusted how you treated them as they grew into toddlerhood. You showed them the things that you knew, such as the stove is hot, smiles evoke a nice response in other people, apples taste good, etc. Now that they are older they are learning different things, but the way they learn hasn't changed.

So in a nutshell, unschooling to me is an organic way of learning which is respectful of the individual, and is a natural extention of the infant/parent relationship.
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:12 AM
 
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You have to be flexible to change with the changing needs of your child. Just as you were flexible with your baby or toddler and allowed them to learn to walk and talk in thier own time and way. You adjusted how you treated them as they grew into toddlerhood. You showed them the things that you knew, such as the stove is hot, smiles evoke a nice response in other people, apples taste good, etc. Now that they are older they are learning different things, but the way they learn hasn't changed.

So in a nutshell, unschooling to me is an organic way of learning which is respectful of the individual, and is a natural extention of the infant/parent relationship.
Barbara,
Thank you for such a well written reply. I just love the comparison between unschooling and the toddler learning to walk and talk. It is so sad that natural instinctive learning has been replaced by most in our world with educational goals and artificial milestones. I hope that you don't mind me using your example in the future.

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Old 08-12-2004, 11:37 AM
 
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WOW! I love reading these kinds of discussions. I feel more encouragement for this school year to just let things flow naturally........I have always called ourselves unschoolers just because we seemed to be closest to unschooling than to anything else. I didn't know I was muddying the waters by doing so. I do find myself "putting education" into things. Like yesterday when my four year old was scooping out eight tiny scoops of cat food, I was helping her count to eight. I find out what my kids interests are and sometimes we are able to teach something we think is lacking using the topic they are interested in. I could see how there is a fine line between unschooling and building a curriculum around a childs delights or interests. I like the idea of being more respectful, if whenever your mom found out you had and interest, she built a huge curriculum around it, it could become very irritating!
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
I guess I do not ever feel the "Us vs. Them" emotion of it all. Well, I have known people who do not care for unschooling and have told me so, but it's never become more of an issue than that.
To be honest, I've seen more unschoolers than school-at-homers trying to convert people. It's almost like a religion to some. Ever been to unschooling.com? Good grief! That's one of the most judgmental, condescending forums I've ever seen. You can get flamed and berated just for asking simple questions there. Well, it's been a couple of years since I've visited that site.... maybe things have changed.

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As far as "mouthy" kids go.. it depends on how we define mouthy I guess. We have encouraged our kids to express themselves as respectfully and constructively as possible (and to keep in mind how they would want someone to talk to them... ) When my mother in law told them they shouldn't be watching some show (I cannot recall what it was now) on tv, they politely told her that in our family everyone is allowed to decide what they want to watch for themselves. She considered that mouthy, and we did not. Our kids, we win lol. Different strokes for diff folks and all that Kristi
Your MIL obviously just thinks that adults should set limits for children, and considered it rude that children would question her judgment.

I was referring more to the sort of kids who roll their eyes, make a disgusted face and say "whatever" when someone suggests they do something (or refrain from doing something). I think most kids do that type of thing from time to time, but I personally don't think it's acceptable behavior and I don't want my kids to be overly influenced by it. Yeah, different strokes for different folks.
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
You can call whatever you want "unschooling", but words are generally only useful for communication when there's some agreement about what they mean.
I've yet to visit an unschooling forum where there is total agreement on what it means, except for the forums where the unschoolers are rabid and chase off anyone who doesn't follow their own personal model of unschooling. That's why threads such as this one keep popping up.

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I don't know anyone else who defines unschooling as "Anything except school at home", but you can be the first.
Gee, thanks. I'm glad to have your permission.

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If you're sick of labels, why do you seem so anxious to claim this one? <snip> So why does being labeled an unschooler somehow make you "cool" or something?
Wow! I didn't realize that I came across as "anxious."

Yeah, I guess we're more eclectic, but there are few resources for eclectic schooling, and those that do exist frequently refer to unschooling resources for ideas and information. Eclectic schoolers tend to draw on both unschooling at school-at-home experiences, and the unschooling experiences/discussions are something I personally find more useful for our family. I have no desire to appear "cool," but thanks for the insinuation. Are unschoolers the home-ed version of the "popular kids" in high school or something? :LOL

Funny how you fussed at me for being "unkind."

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I do see people trying to broaden the definition of unschooling so they can claim it too. And yeah, I object to that, because for me the whole point of the term is so that when someone asks about our homeschooling, I can use a word to describe it and people will know what it means.
I think the definition of unschooling was fairly broad until fringe groups claimed it for themselves. I think that if a person is an AP, TCS unschooler, she should call herself that, rather than just saying "unschooler" and trying to make that word automatically include AP and TCS.
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:47 PM
 
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I was just having a discussion with someone else about this whole thing. It seems that there are many out there that feel that they are "unschoolers" if they are just not using a packaged curriculum. Some even do the "school hours" or whatever too. I ran into someone who says they are unschoolers and they do the curriculum thing but don't have regular school hours.

It's all so odd to me.

I've said it lots of times....I also don't really care for the term "unschoolers" for many of the reasons that were posted before. I say my sons are intact not uncircumcised...etc.

I don't really know what term fits best. I sortof just think we are all learning naturally and don't really care what others think about it.
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Old 08-12-2004, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
Yeah, I guess we're more eclectic, but there are few resources for eclectic schooling, and those that do exist frequently refer to unschooling resources for ideas and information. Eclectic schoolers tend to draw on both unschooling at school-at-home experiences, and the unschooling experiences/discussions are something I personally find more useful for our family.
So what's wrong with utilizing those resources without calling yourself an unschooler? Heck, you might even find the people easier to get along with if you hung out with that POV - "I'm an eclectic homeschooler and I find value in what you're doing and want to learn more about it" - than coming in saying you're an unschooler, which apparently didn't work out for you. I hung on some veggie boards for a while and got some great recipes, and great info, and I wasn't vegetarian and never claimed to me, but everyone seemed happy to help me develop more veggie-ness in my life. If I had gone in claiming to be veg even though I regularly ate meat, I may not have received such a friendly greeting...

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I have no desire to appear "cool," but thanks for the insinuation. Are unschoolers the home-ed version of the "popular kids" in high school or something? :LOL
Beats me. I just can't figure why so many people (including you) want the label.

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Funny how you fussed at me for being "unkind."
You were unkind. And offensive. You said that people who extend unschooling philosophies into the rest of their lives were extremists and "unparenting", and then you compared strong feminists to Nazis.


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I think the definition of unschooling was fairly broad until fringe groups claimed it for themselves. I think that if a person is an AP, TCS unschooler, she should call herself that, rather than just saying "unschooler" and trying to make that word automatically include AP and TCS.
TCS and AP have never been part of this discussion. I don't see them as having anything to do with unschooling, and I generally don't claim either label. And the idea that unschooling must spill over from learning to the rest of your life also came from you, although it can... but no one said it had to.

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Old 08-12-2004, 10:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ErikaDP
Barbara,
Thank you for such a well written reply. I just love the comparison between unschooling and the toddler learning to walk and talk. It is so sad that natural instinctive learning has been replaced by most in our world with educational goals and artificial milestones. I hope that you don't mind me using your example in the future.
gee, thanks! Feel free to use the example. Spread the love!

peace,
~b
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Old 08-13-2004, 12:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
So what's wrong with utilizing those resources without calling yourself an unschooler? Heck, you might even find the people easier to get along with if you hung out with that POV - "I'm an eclectic homeschooler and I find value in what you're doing and want to learn more about it" - than coming in saying you're an unschooler, which apparently didn't work out for you.
Okay. I'm sorry my viewpoints bother you.

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You were unkind. And offensive.
So were you.

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You said that people who extend unschooling philosophies into the rest of their lives were extremists and "unparenting"
No, that is how you interepreted it. I said that parents who let their kids run wild and call it unschooling are "unparenting." You and others here have complained that people who have structured days and use textbooks/workbooks, etc., are calling it unschooling. I think it's equally inappropriate to just be a lazy, permissive parent and call it unschooling. I do know people like that, even if you don't.

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and then you compared strong feminists to Nazis.
No, I did not. Feminists are people who believe that women should be treated as social equals to men and that they should have all the same choices that men do. Feminazis are women who hate men and hold them responsible for all of society's ills, think all women should hold careers, and look down on women who stay home with their children. Often, when one uses the word "feminist" in mixed company, it's the latter image that comes to mind for people because the feminazis are the noisier of the two. Strong feminists and psycho, man-hating feminists are NOT the same thing in my book.

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TCS and AP have never been part of this discussion. I don't see them as having anything to do with unschooling
Neither do I. But there are plenty of unschoolers who will not hestitate to tell someone they aren't unschooling if they don't follow those sorts of parenting practices.
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
No, that is how you interepreted it. I said that parents who let their kids run
wild and call it unschooling are "unparenting."
You said, "I've known several unschoolers who extend unschooling philosophies into all areas of life<...> I feel they are extremists; I think people who let their children take the lead in everything are unparenting, not unschooling. Children were provided with parents for a reason, IMO. "

No mention of running wild. You called parents who extend unschooling philosophies into all areas of life "extremists", and said they were "unparenting", and pretty clearly implied that such parents aren't doing their job as parents.

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You and others here have complained that people who have structured days and use textbooks/workbooks, etc., are calling it unschooling. I think it's equally inappropriate to just be a lazy, permissive parent and call it unschooling. I do know people like that, even if you don't.
I've never said that unschoolers couldn't have structured days or use textbooks. We tend to have pretty structured days here, because Rain has a lot of committments (and I have more than my fair share). And some unschoolers used textbooks - my experience with unschoolers has been that really young kids often want workbooks, and so do teens (or textbooks), for whatever reasons. I do suggest that an unschooling parent who finds that her child is wanting a lot of textbook work, especially when it's not related to another goal, should look long and hard at the messages the child has been getting about learning and being smart, because I've know many unschooled kids who at some point start to respond to the societal messages about these topics (pretty hard to avoid).

Lazy and permissive parenting never came up, until now. I'm not sure the word "permissive" has any meaning in my parenting philosophy, because we're into that sort of power structure. And I have issues with the word lazy, just in general... I have a hard time just labeling someone lazy like that. Ariel Gore said, "It takes a heap of loafing to raise a kid" (actually, first Gertrude Steain said, "It takes a heap of loafing to write a book", but the same idea seems to apply) and I'm a great loafer...

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No, I did not. Feminists are people who believe that women should be treated as social equals to men and that they should have all the same choices that men do. Feminazis are women who hate men and hold them responsible for all of society's ills, think all women should hold careers, and look down on women who stay home with their children.
Hmmmm... clearly you have some biases here. I think this is a caricature, not a real person, but there are definitely women who feel strongly about these issues. That's not the point, though. The Nazis committed a horrific genocide, killing millions of people, and using the term to refer to women who hold ideas that you don't agree with is offensive.

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Strong feminists and psycho, man-hating feminists are NOT the same thing in my book.
Psycho as in mentally ill? Another offensive term you may want to delete from your vocabulary.

I've had friend who were gender seperatists, who would probably fulfill your criteria for "pycho" and "feminazi". They basically wanted to live in a world without men, so did their utmost to create a world where they didn't have to interact with men. Were they a little strange? Yeah, totally. But they didn't hurt anyone, and they had some good points buried in their ideas.

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Old 08-13-2004, 02:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ouch! I am sorry that I posed this question...I really had no idea that it was such a touchy subject.

Barbara~That *was* an amazing description, thank you!!
I am going to bow out, too much tension here for me, and I really do appologise for starting this. May we just let it fall to the next page?

Hugs, Debi

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Old 08-13-2004, 01:11 PM
 
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Dar, I'm sorry that I'm not as warm-fuzzy-gentle-PC as you are. If you find my speech and mannerisms offensive, then I suggest you skip my posts rather than lecture me. I already have a mother, thanks.

You say your gender separatist friends never hurt anyone. They were prejudiced against men, but that doesn't hurt anyone, right? So my prejudice against the separatists doesn't hurt anyone either. We're all entitled to opinions. You have every right to live however you want, and I have every right to openly disagree with it, and vice versa. I'm not telling you to change. You're telling me to change.

You may have the last word.

I want to apologize to the rest of the posters for the hijacking of this thread. I'm done with it.
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Old 08-13-2004, 04:15 PM
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Calling the other person "PC", IME, is usually an attempt to defend one's prejudices and the isms behind them. I'm not sureabout "warm and fuzzy"....There have been lots of threads here about re-examining biases, I'm sure you could find them. I find certain words you use offensive, and part of my commitment to creating a less-prejudiced world is calling people on them. There are ways to share your opinions without namecalling - actually, namecalling generally never moves a discussion forward.

If my friends who were gender separatists had gone around calling men Nazis, I would call them on it, but they didn't. Their reasons were similar in ways to the reasons a lot of mamas here give for not shopping at large chain stores and restaurants.

You have the right to believe what you want, and if you post it here I have a right to tll you why I disgaree. You have the right to say what you want, and I have the right to tell you when you're saying something offensive. I do the same with my co-workers, when they talk about how "retarded" a test was. When I taught high school, my kids would say things were "gay" when they didn't approve, and I called them on it.

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Old 08-15-2004, 05:34 AM
 
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In our house, homeschooling is life. I refer to what we do as unschooling, simply to give others a reference point, but basically we don't have any plans for learning anything in particular, ever, we just live and through living we learn the stuff we need to do the things we need and like to do...

We don't do any kind of school, we just live.

We also DO have expectations of our kids; they are expected to participate in the community that is our home, they help with cleaning, gardening, shopping. They also help with planning trips, and make decisions about where we will live, or what we will do on the weekend... So, in our house unschooling is a world than describes that we learn from life itself without seeking out lessons, or being continuously conscious of the process...
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