Just a little unschooling/school at home vent - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is going to drive me crazy one of these days (as my mom often says "did you have far to drive? :LOL)

So the other week we start "school" because she's not satisfied with our loose and easy homeschooling and wants to do "school school". Ok, fine, whatever. It was tiring the first few days but then we got into the swing of things and it's kinda fun.

So today we're learning about butterflies (at her request - I'm a believer in child-led so everything is at her request, I'm just presenting it in a schoolish manner since that's what she wants). I write words on the chalkboard and draw (crude) pictures there and talk about the life cycle of a butterfly. I ask her to copy the words I'm writing. That's schoolish right?

She copies egg. She copies caterpillar. She copies chyrsalis. In between we talk about things, I draw pictures, she draws pictures, I show her pages I printed off the internet, yada yada. Finally we get up to butterfly. I tell her copy that one and she sighs and starts writing. I ask what's the matter and she says "do I *have* to?"



So I tell her no, she doesn't *have* to do anything. I tell her that's what's so great about homeschool, she doesn't *have* to do anything she doesn't want to do. I tell her to just tell me if she doesn't want to do something.

URGH. We've danced to this song already. A few times before she asked to "do school" so I made an attempt but I dropped it when she stopped asking. Which is why I was blindsided when she told me last week that she wants to go to SCHOOL because we never "do school" at home.

So I don't want to just drop it this time. She *wants* more than what we were doing before, but she doesn't want the school at home I've been giving her either. Really, I don't think she knows *what* she wants.

So now I have to figure out what this kid needs. What is she asking me for??? All I know for certain is that she wants to sit at a table for school. She has even asked for a desk too (my mom's getting her one for Christmas). Ok, so when I get her at the table, what am I supposed to do? She really enjoyed the immune system thing I thought up with the games and crafts. Maybe I just need to sit her down and do crafty things and tell her it's school?

I'll figure it out, I just wanted to whine a bit
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#2 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 01:07 AM
 
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My dd's thoughts on school at that age were not very logical. We have desks and tables all over our house--kid-sized work spaces are essential for us.

I guess she must sense that she is missing something. You're never really going to be "school." When my dd wanted to go to school in firts grade, we let her go. Then she missed her family and wished she could be home with us and she grumbled about all the little things that bothered her there. She didn't know what she wanted, she was primarily aware of what she immediately experienced and desired. I have become less fond of negotiating anything with important long-term implications with children this young over the years. That's just not their perspective on life.

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#3 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 02:44 AM
 
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I have no good advice but






will cut the cheese for you to go with your whine
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#4 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 03:10 AM
 
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Maybe "doing school" in shorter increments? You didn't say how long the lesson was before she'd had enough, but maybe having timed lessons that end a bit before that length of time could help.

Children DON'T always know what they way, and they don't always know what they need. I'm big on following my child's lead as well, but I wonder if this is a situation where you child would be relieved to have mom just "take command." Some situations are like that. There are times when giving children too many options, is overwhelming for them. Even as adults, sometimes it's just nice for someone else to take the responsiblity of making the decisions.

So I wonder about trying to combine following your child's lead and also taking on greater authority. Perhaps you two could make a list together of some of the things she's like to learn about, and then you could "command" the how/when/where/for-how-long? part of it (with flexiblity).
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#5 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 03:12 AM
 
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I agree with everything deeporgarten said. I just wanted to add my own encouragement, and say that you will figure it out.

Laura
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#6 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 09:22 AM
 
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It sounds like she wants to "play school". There's something about it that she wants to try- but who knows what? Being bossed? Wearing a uniform/ID badge? Special little work areas? Stickers? Watching the clock to know what is next? Bells? Bookbag, pencil case, nametags? Papers that are completed & returned, and displayed?

To me, it seems like she is wondering about/wanting to try parts of school. Maybe you could do your best to "play school" and do all that stuff for an hour a day, for a week, and try to give her a taste of it.
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#7 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 11:39 AM
 
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You may want to look into buying a used curriculum to follow loosely. My daughter doesn't know what she wants either. She wants something different for the most part, something surprising. If she has to think of it herself then it's neither. She doesn't want me telling her what to do, but if the curriculum says to, well then it must be important. I don't get it, but with my darling Miss Divatude I latch on to anything that works. We have the Oak Meadow kindergarten curriculum and it works well for us. This week we're studying the letter D, the number 2 and falling leaves. It's pretty easy to follow rabbit trails from such a loose framework. We studied a lot of butterfly stuff the week we did B. The academics are light for my type-A overachiever, but that's what gives us time for child led learning. So far this is what works for us. I know it won't work for every family or every child but like I said before I'm just thrilled to find anything that minimizes the conflict with my drama girl.

Thanks,
Crystal
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#8 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 01:17 PM
 
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I think it's really common for kids not to know *what* they want. Heck, there are times when I don't know what I want from life. Nothing lives up to my ideal, kwim?

Perhaps a relaxed curriculum would fit the bill. Nothing strenuous or forced. But consistent. If it's something that is routine perhaps your DD will come to the conclusion that she's not 'missing' anything.

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#9 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 01:20 PM
 
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Oh boy, I can relate! My 6.5 yo daughter set a goal for herself of finishing both the first and second grade "Learn at Home" workbooks before the end of the school year. So typically our conversation goes something like this:

Nan: Can we do my workbook, Mommy?
Me: Sure, of course we can.

[Five minutes later]

Nan: Do I HAVE to do this?
Me: No, you don't have to. You can do whatever you want.
Nan: But I WANT to do my workbook! I want to!
Me: Umm, okay. So let's finish this page...
Nan: No!!! I want to do the other page first!
Me: Okay, that's fine. It doesn't really matter what order you do the pages in.
Nan: Yes IT DOES!!



It must be the age...
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#10 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions I do think she wants to play school. But, having never been, she has no idea what it is. And I, having been through the whole nine yards, gave her what I remember school as really being. Well, no, I didn't give her everything. No mean teacher, or bullies or having to ask to pee in front of a classroom of kids - I gave her my *good* memories of school but it was still too schoolish I think.

I talked to her this morning a bit and I think I have more of a handle on it. It's just that I wish she would tell me she doesn't want to do something right away, instead of drudging through until I realize she's not happy. Not gonna happen though, is it?

I also talked to my friend who's dd also went from unschooling to full on curriculum (by choice) and then (mostly) back again. She said that what her dd wants is always changing. of course! Kids aren't static right? So I just have to keep working at finding what she wants until I get it right. And then she'll change what she wants again :LOL

We're going to try crafts this afternoon. I think we'll make a chart of the butterfly lifecycle out of construction paper and egg cartons. And I'll write the terms for her since she doesn't want to. We'll see how that goes

lckrause, that is hilarious!!! :LOL
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#11 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz
Heck, there are times when I don't know what I want from life. Nothing lives up to my ideal, kwim?
That's it. She has this ideal of school in her head from PBS (dang PBS - my anti-PBS friend was right! Stupid school propaganda). I have no worries about her learning. She was doing just fine with unschooling and she will do just fine with whatever we do. I just want her to be happy with what we are doing instead of feeling like she's missing out.
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#12 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 08:29 PM
 
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I don't have any experience with this yet, but one of my homeschooling friends knows an unschooling family with grown (or nearly grown?) children. Unfortunately, the children are of the opinion that their mom was just too lazy to teach them anything! This same friend is taking a relaxed approach with her would-be 1st grader and recently over heard him telling a stranger, "I'm homeschooled, but sometimes my mom forgets to teach me."

So maybe she just wants to be sure you are doing your job! :LOL It's amazing what a different point of view kids can have. Good luck!

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#13 of 19 Old 10-06-2004, 09:20 PM
 
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Just an idea, but have you read the little house or first little house books? Maybe you could read them together and then "play" old-fashioned schooll? Or maybe read other read-alouds about school to feed her imagination? (I'm thinking of the Ramona books maybe) My kids don't watch TV and still have these weird ideas about what they're missing- for Michael, it's all about the bus!
Hope this helps!
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#14 of 19 Old 10-07-2004, 12:12 AM
 
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annettemarie
my youngest thinks ps is like the magic school bus videos & books and all teachers are like Ms Frizzle
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#15 of 19 Old 10-07-2004, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
"I'm homeschooled, but sometimes my mom forgets to teach me."
:LOL That's my dd

I tend to avoid books about school. I'd worry that it would make her want to go more, yk? Except we do read Magic School Bus which she loves. But then, MSB totally idealizes school now doesn't it? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Anyway, today went well We did the butterfly life cycle chart. Cotton balls for eggs glued on a construction paper leaf. An egg carton caterpillar of course. She drew a chrysalis and then we made a rather elaborate butterfly with marker decorated, tissue paper wings and pipe cleaner body. I did all the writing because she didn't want to. She declared it loads of fun We then read two books on butterflies and moths.

Tomorrow we're going to play with yeast and make bread by hand so that should be fun. And then friday is her b-day and we're going to the museum to see the dinosaurs I'll make sure to have her bring her sketch pad and call it a field trip :LOL
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#16 of 19 Old 10-07-2004, 02:24 AM
 
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We love our desk!!! HEM had a wonderful article a while back about why desk are good things. It is a place for them to create, store things, to focus out the rest of the world, a place to let the glue dry, a place to remember were they sat the book down, and for my three children a MINE ALL MINE. lol

One of the ups to having a properly fitting desk easier handwritting, not cutting the couch because they think it is a good table, and no paints on the couch (LOL, our home adventures)

Also have you thought that maybe she wants to be told "Yes, you have to do this?" Is she testing boundries? Does she need want a definded expectation you have of her. Does she need something to judge herself good at? Does she want responciblities, she's no dummy she knows that you have things to do "because you have to" does she have this need? Is this her way of saying "Hey mom I am 5 and I need you to expect more of me?" Is she insecure (she is growing) and wanting stable expectations to make her world "stable"?
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#17 of 19 Old 10-07-2004, 09:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
, "I'm homeschooled, but sometimes my mom forgets to teach me."
LOL! I have a very relaxed, unschoolish approach to homeschooling too. A few weeks ago Maia (my almost 6yo) said "but mom, you don't really TEACH me anything, you know!".
LOL...only almost 6yrs of living and learning with her and she sees it as nothing.

But when I responded with "do you _want_ me to "teach" you?" she said no. Hmmm.
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#18 of 19 Old 10-07-2004, 09:29 AM
 
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Wouldn't it be fun to get our 6-ish unschoolers together for a playdate? Just a little fantasy from the mom with no unschooling support group IRL.
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#19 of 19 Old 10-07-2004, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A few people have suggested it, but I really don't think she wants to be told she has to do something. I think it's more what annethcz said that she has this ideal in her head of how wonderful school is. Her imagination is obviously more fun than what it really is so she's disappointed when faced with the reality.

Ann Marie, bummer. I'm guessing you don't live in NJ. We know plenty of unschoolers here (not sure if I can still use that label but she *is* asking for this so . . . . )

Heh heh. My dd is totally freaking out a friend of hers. He is 7 and a radical unschooler who is extremely anti-school. He attended for 1 year of Montessori pre-school and school became his idea of Hell. When he found out what Bridget was asking he told his mom she's nuts and why would anyone *choose* the schoolish way :LOL We *have* to have a playdate soon so he can see she is still a fun, free spirited, wild little girl who hasn't sprouted horns or anything
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