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#1 of 6 Old 08-02-2002, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a four year old (and a 11 month old) who we are strongly concidering homeschooling using the unschooling method. Actually we've been doing it for three years and not even knowing it. Last year Nigel was really into writing, so I went with it and I taught him how to read and write. Now he's into skateboarding. So we took apart a skateboard so he can see the "mechanics" of it. He sucked the info up! He's reading books on skateboarding and he's so into it. This is what I want to him and my daughter. He is ,however, attending a preschool a couple days a week now. I purposely found a preschool that does not teach academics, but rather lets the kids play and be kids. Even though we may homeschool, I want him to be exposed to groups and learn to work with other people. All the other people in my area who homeschool do it for religious purposes and use a strict Christian curriculum. We don't fit into that. We are moving next year and from what I hear there is a good earth based homschooling community there!!!

OK...now to the point! For those who use the unschooling method, how is it for you? Do you work with other unschooling parents? My husband is going to teach the kids as much as me, but we need support. With all the state legal BS, how do you make sure the kids are "up to date" while staying with the unschooling method? How do older kids do ith homeschooling?

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#2 of 6 Old 08-03-2002, 01:27 AM
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I unschool a 9 yr old, 4 yr old, and 2yr old. We are lucky to live in an area that has a great homeschooling group that has a full range of types of schoolers. I find that the only differance in homeschooling an older child is that it can be a bit more work to get them the information they crave. It's amazing how much they end up doing on their own. I really think that a big part of unschooling is helping them learn how to find what they need by asking the right questions, using friends & family as resources, and of course using the library. Sounds like you are off to a great start!

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#3 of 6 Old 08-03-2002, 10:27 AM
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Even if it seems like all the homeschoolers in your area are Christian, its likely that if you really searched you'd find some likeminded people, but since you're moving I guess that's not too much of an issue for you.

We unschool and love it. I wouldn't worry too much about state regulations, there are unschoolers in every state, including the states with really strict homeschooling laws. The best thing to do is to find some experienced unschoolers in your state who can give you advice on the legal aspects (as well as general support!) Even if you can't find anyone in your town, try to find an online group for your state - search yahoo groups and there's a good chance you'll find an unschoolers support group for your area.

Personally, I don't worry too much that my kids are up to date. In most states tests only have to be taken every 3 years (if that) and I'm not real concerned about it. Studies tend to show that homeschoolers are grades above their PS peers and that they do better on tests. It makes sense to me! Your son being only 4 yrs. old you could have years still before any homeschooling laws affect you.


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#4 of 6 Old 08-03-2002, 03:55 PM
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I second Kel. It's likely that if you looked around, you'd find some unschoolers. We tend not to organize and gather the way that school-at-homers do, lol, we tend not to be very organized at all

I live in an area where we don't have to really do anything, regulations wise (we have to submit two progress reports, but don't have to give any real information on them. "I am satisfied with my son's progress this year" is enough.) I still keep my own records, though, for myself, in case I do ever have any trouble with any authorities, and to be able to prove to my family that stuff is actually going on. It always amazes me at the end of the day how much we did, and how it can apply to so many different subjects, making the whole concept of subjects a moot point

If you are really nervous about covering everything they would have at ps, write down everything you do for a week or two, and translate all of it into "educationese", like being read to counts as language arts, social interaction, verbal and oral language practice, depending on the book, it could also be science, art, history, social science (read your kids a book about, say, Egyptian science advancements while they are rolling around on the floor, and you've pretty well covered every single subject a ps would, LOLOL) Then go sit in on a class in the local ps, to see how much they actually do in a day, how much time is spent waiting in line, sitting in circles, waiting for permission from the teacher to do anything (or sitting in time out if the child couldn't wait any longer

I don't really work with any other parents, last year was our first full year hsing, and we're still getting our bearings (I kinda suspect we'll still be getting them 10 years from now, LOL.) I don't think that I'd like to do that, anyway, ds and I are both kind of loners, like to read, spend lots of time in libraries, or hiking around the river bank nearby, exploring. We do spend a lot of time hanging out with other hsing families, but not in any formal way, in playgroup and park day kind of things. Ds stilll gets a lot out of these meetings, was taught to fish, and where and how to catch frogs and garter snakes near our building, by one boy. Most of the kids are quite a bit younger (ds is 9), so he winds up being more of the mentor, which is great for him.

What exactly do you think you need support in? If you're thinking in terms of specific subjects (like math or science), then you could look not only at the hsing community, but the larger community, find college students to mentor your child, stuff like that. A big part of the fun of hsing for me, though, has been to learn (or relearn) things along with ds. I've finally cracked math, 15 years after high school convinced me I'd never learn the subject, and have even learned to really, really enjoy it. That's been a huge revelation for me.

So, to cut this short, lol, my advice would be to jump in and figure out when you need while you go along. As you said, you've been unschooling for years without knowing it. You don't have to change anything now that you know there's a word for it.

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#5 of 6 Old 08-03-2002, 11:15 PM
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I think that going into unschooling, which focuses on allowing your child to grow and learn and develop at his own pace, and worrying about keeping "up to date" with the school system is putting yourself in a real double bind. If you're truly unschooling, you don't have an agenda, like "It's third grade now, so I need to make sure he learns multiplication". Part of unschooling is believing that one size does not fit all, and that some 8 yr olds may love playing with numbers and learning about multiplication, while others may prefer to explore musical theater and sing all day, and other may spend most of their time reading science fiction, while others may not be reading at all but spending all their time kicking a soccer ball around. It's all okay...

My daughter is nine. She's been reading at an "adult" level for a few years now. OTOH, her spelling skills were right around first grade level until this summer, when she suddenly took an interest in spelling. Now they're probably close to the typical kid her age in school, but last year they were definitely not. And that was okay. She's played with pretty advanced number concepts, like algebra, binary numbers and other number bases, logic, negative numbers... but she doesn't yet know anything about the metric system, she subtracts large numbers with difficulty and rarely, and she's not really interested in multiplication or division (although she finds doing huge addition problems to be a lot of fun). It's all fine, it's her own pace. She's also excellent at softball and soccer and does tons of musical theater with community groups, and she's most excited right now about singing.

We love unschooling, we're totally happy with how things are going, and I can't imagine living any other way.

We're lucky in that our state (California) doesn't require any testing or assessments. Still, in most states there are ways to get around regulations that seem to require lots of stupid stuff - your local groups would know more, or you can check your state's board at www.unschooling.com (that's also a great place to go and learn about unschooling).


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#6 of 6 Old 08-04-2002, 05:43 PM
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Here is an example of how to fill out forms~
if I can help you with a specific form pm me no prblem,

In case an unschooler is required to submit a curriculum, here is one Carol wrote, and has generously offered as a model for other families in need.
Brandon will use a developmentally-appropriate, integrated curriculum. We will plan his learning together, based on his interests, so I can't state in advance which specific topical areas we will cover, however we expect to cover the following subjects.

He will read from self-chosen and parent-chosen literature on a daily basis. He will engage in reflection on those literature pieces in one or many of the following ways: journal writing, book reviews, conversations, drama based on the books, book clubs. My goal is for Brandon to continue to enjoy reading, to read for pleasure, to gain exposure to a wide variety of genres, and to be able to reflect critically on what he reads.

Brandon will read content-area non-fiction materials as needed to support his chosen areas of interest. He will reflect on these pieces in one, or many, of the following ways: journal writing, writing an article for submission to a magazine, discussions, development of a scrapbook in an area of interest. My goal is for Brandon to learn to read critically for information, to understand and be able to reflect on the materials he
reads and to be able to compare them to other sources of information, and to learn how and where to find written resources as needed.

Brandon will study science as it relates to the areas of his interests by watching science videos, reading related written materials, conducting scientific experiments, gardening, keeping journals, making and recording observations, visiting scientists in their work places, taking classes at the Dayton Museum of Discovery, participating in science fairs, earning science merit badges through Boy Scouts, visiting museums such as COSI
and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and through cooperative classes with our homeschool group. My goal is for Brandon to experience a wide range of scientific exposure in his areas of interest, to develop a positive interest in science, to learn to think scientifically, to develop a respect for the work scientists do and to understand the importance science has in his daily life.

Writing, spelling and grammar will be covered as part of Brandon's writing processes. He expects to write creatively, to write letters and lists, to create and write drama pieces, etc. He will also write in conjunction with Boy Scout merit badges. My goal is for Brandon to enjoy writing, to gain skills in both the writing process and in technical skills required of an edited piece, and to develop a sense of power over the written word.

History and geography will follow the same plan outlined for the above subjects. Brandon will read historical fiction and non-fiction, participating in field trips such as the Renaissance Festival, Carillon Park, Union Station in Cincinnati and the Fair at New Boston. We expect to integrate history and geography into our study of other subjects through one or many or the following ways: the use of time lines and maps, discussion, journal writing, cooking, plays, road trips, invention building, Scout camping trips and art. My goal is for Brandon to appreciate the nuances and fluidity of history, to recognize his place in history, and to enjoy and understand the importance of his knowledge of history.

Health, physical education and safety will be continued as a part of our daily living skills. Brandon will learn to care for his body and his physical environment through one or many of the following ways: shopping for and preparing food, discussing the necessity of a healthy diet, participation in fire drills and other emergency preparedness, exercise both as play and as part of a structured group experience, and through Boy Scout camping, merit badges and classes. My goal is for Brandon to appreciate the necessity of a healthy body and to learn to care for his
body's needs as he understands them.

Brandon will learn art and music through both self-chosen and
structured methods including one, or many, of the following: art classes at Rosewood, DAI, or the K-12 Gallery, piano and guitar lessons, choral singing, listening to various styles of music, learning through reading and videos about the people who have influenced music through history, and working on self-chosen art projects and Boy Scout badges that relate to music and art. He has been and will continue to be active as an actor and performer in various community theaters in the Dayton area. My goal
is for Brandon to appreciate a wide variety of art and music
experiences, including performance, while understanding the importance of art and music as it pertains to history. In addition, he will be spending time at our family framing and print store where he will meet a variety of artists and learn about many facets of the art business.

Brandon will learn math through participation in daily living—cooking, building, shopping, etc. In addition, he will continue using the Key to…math series for algebra and geometry as well as Mathematics a Human Endeavor and Algebra by Harold Jacobs. My goal is for Brandon to gain conceptual knowledge of mathematics as well as an appreciation for the daily application of math in his life.

List of basic teaching materials.

reference books and materials ( such as textbooks, field guides,
books, timelines, globe maps, etc.)
magazines (including Muse, Zillions, Boys Life, Reader’s Digest,
Newsweek, Scientific American Frontiers)
library loan books, tapes, magazines, etc.
educational games
educational computer software and on-line services
calculating and measuring tools and utensils
art, craft and writing supplies
musical instruments
audio-visual equipment and materials
religious materials
science lab equipment
sports equipment
kitchen equipment
gardening tools
carpentry tools
home maintenance equipment
community resources (such as museums, stage performances, sports
programs, private lessons, volunteer opportunities)
Boy Scout materials
live animals—dog, rats, horses, etc
garden and yard
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