positive term for unschooling? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 11-23-2004, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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is there a positive term for unschooling that flows better in conversation than 'learning at home and beyond'?

i think pretty soon we are going to have to start 'explaining' to relatives etc what we are doing ... and i can already tell it is not going to be easy at ALL. people really think this is WRONG. who'd've thunk.... though i am sure that i would have reacted just like them before reading and thinking about it as i have in the past couple of years.

of course breastfeeding and diaper-freeing and even gentle disciplining invite sometimes critical comments but it is soemwhat easier to a)assert that i am doing what i feel is best and b) show the positive results for people who actually care in a relatively short time

but i dont think this will be the case with unschooling at all. and whenever something we do comes under criticism in this way it is too easy to fall into a holier than thou (aka full of oneself) mentality where e.g. you come down hard on the school system, for example. sure we have decided that we don't want to be part of it, but it should not require / incline us to look down upon those who do ... kwim? how to maintain this sense of common humility while defending a choice that most people feel free to criticise?

so if there is some positive, unpretentious way to describe unschooling i think it might help - it may not convince anyone, but at least it would help me communicate it positively and without having to put down anyone else's choices.

no longer momsling.GIF or ecbaby2.gif orfly-by-nursing1.gif ... dd is going on 10 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?

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#2 of 22 Old 11-23-2004, 08:27 PM
 
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child led learning
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#3 of 22 Old 11-23-2004, 09:38 PM
 
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I always like autodidactic, but I don't think I've ever actually used it in conversation.

 

 

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#4 of 22 Old 11-23-2004, 10:36 PM
 
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How about self-schooling?

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#5 of 22 Old 11-23-2004, 10:38 PM
 
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free range education

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#6 of 22 Old 11-24-2004, 04:23 AM
 
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natural learning, or freeschooling (though that often sets people off too...). I've used both those terms before, but I usually just say that we unschool. The criticisms don't much matter to me these days.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#7 of 22 Old 11-24-2004, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks fo rthe terms. how do you get to the point where you have acceptable ways to respond to the criticisms - those coming from people who really care, i mean, not from general public. i find that in order to block out hte negative vibes i have to criticise *their* choice of schooling ... surely this is not the way....

no longer momsling.GIF or ecbaby2.gif orfly-by-nursing1.gif ... dd is going on 10 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?

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#8 of 22 Old 11-24-2004, 07:47 AM
 
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You have to get to the point where you're so sure this is the best thing for your child and this feels so great to you and to them....absolute confidence. Then the "well-meaning" criticism just seems, well, sortof ignorant. It becomes almost funny that some person who doesnt know your child as well as you do (even a grandparent) would dare to question you on what's best.

and hey if all else fails, feel free to borrow my favorite line..."you had your chance to screw up your kids" (usually said to my mom or mil )
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#9 of 22 Old 11-24-2004, 10:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5
free range education
I like that one. My family doesn't unschool.... we're very relaxed schoolers, though. We do "work" for math and spelling and the rest is interest-led. So can't call what we do "free range," but maybe I can call it "cage free."
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#10 of 22 Old 11-25-2004, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumi
thanks fo rthe terms. how do you get to the point where you have acceptable ways to respond to the criticisms - those coming from people who really care, i mean, not from general public. i find that in order to block out hte negative vibes i have to criticise *their* choice of schooling ... surely this is not the way....
Basically, I am just honest with people in that I find very serious flaws with other types of education and that we are most comfortable with unschooling. I try hard to not sound "holier-than-thou" though. I don't think my way is the only way, it's just the only way for me, ya know?

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#11 of 22 Old 11-25-2004, 09:14 PM
 
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We call it life-learning. Our "official" name is ELFscholars ... ELF stands for Enchanted Life-learning Family scholars.

When people ask, we say we are life-learning. We learn together as a family and use the many teachable moments throughout the day to learn about things. We give examples such as ... when we bake bread, we learn measuring, addition, subtraction, division, fractions, reading, following directions, creativity (when varying a recipe) etc. When we go for a hike in the woods we learn about plant life, wildlife, survival, reading a compass, ecology, etc. We visit museums to learn about natural history, history, art, creativity, the natural world, etc. We volunteer at different places, learn many things from friends and family, socialize through all of our various activities, etc.

It helps that my almost-6 year old is reading at 5th grade level (he just finished the first Harry Potter book), seems to know something about everything, and is good at math ... and my 4 year old is reading ar first grade level, doing basic math, and knows tons about animals and other subjects. Most of my family and close friends can't imagine my kids in a school setting.

Most of the questions I get asked are about what cirriculum we follow, what is required by the state (nothing here in CT ... Yay!!!), etc. I use general answers, such as "We are following all state guidelines." unless people get specific. Then I answer truthfully. We don't follow a cirricullum, don't plan to, and that the state doesn't regulate what we can and can't teach our children ... and that we're thankful of that fact because we can fully explore all subjects that we're interested in without limitations and as a result, our kids learn more, learn faster, and retain the knowledge much better than they would in school. We are able to help "teach" each child in a way that they learn the best (which is different for each child), while in school, a teacher usually has one or two teaching methods and can't change her teaching methods for each individual child.

I could go on and on ... but I won't!

Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels. 

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#12 of 22 Old 11-28-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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I have used the term "home learning" when explaining it to my 3 year old. For her, the term "homeschooling" seems confusing because the word "school" is still in there and that is not where she will be going.

Since we haven't had to discuss it with many people yet, I will probably still use the term "homeschooling" with stranger adults if they are asking why she's out on the town on a Tuesday morning.

But, if somone would really like to discuss the approach, I would probably use "home learning" or "child-led learning".

Mama to Ainsley (7/01) , Finley (10/06) and Jade (10/06)
 

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#13 of 22 Old 11-28-2004, 09:13 PM
 
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"Delight Led Learning" is a term I have seen and like
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#14 of 22 Old 11-28-2004, 10:41 PM
 
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My daughter is fond of telling people, "I don't have to go to public school or home school, because I'm a world schooler and I get to learn anywhere I want to."
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#15 of 22 Old 12-02-2004, 10:48 PM
 
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I find it helps for me to focus on my child, saying things like, "Dd is very self-directed in her learning" [sometimes people repeat this phrase, like it reassures them] and that indeed when she is directed in her learning she tends to bristle or shut down.

I also talk about how she is thriving, it really is just what she needs right now. And that each year we're assessing what her needs are and how best to meet them, and we'll just take it from there.

I am sure folks sometimes think we're crazy anyway, but they don't say so. I think the I-statements might help, because then it doesn't mean that I'm suggesting there's anything wrong with what they've chosen for their children. Now, get me with another unschooler, and then we'll chat more about our philosophies about the whole deal.
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#16 of 22 Old 12-03-2004, 09:48 AM
 
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Quote:
So can't call what we do "free range," but maybe I can call it "cage free."
:LOL That's cute!


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Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#17 of 22 Old 12-04-2004, 03:00 PM
 
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I didn't see delight driven learner.
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#18 of 22 Old 12-05-2004, 05:10 PM
 
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I found this yesterday on the unschooling.info forums...
***********************************************
[To the frequently voiced complaint that the word "unschooling" seems negative, this was written years ago and has not been bested:]

"Lots of people make this point, but I never see the negation as negative in a value-judgment sense when I use the word--to me unschooling is as positive as unchaining, unbinding, unleashing, unfolding, unfurling, unlimiting....

"All mean freedom and growth and vast possibilities to me."


Suzanne Carter
***********************************************

Yesterday I went to an unschooling talk with Sandra Dodd and Pam Sorooshian...if you're on any of the main unschooling lists, you know who Pam is, and of course...most unschoolers know of Sandra Dodd.

It was just what I needed. I had been struggling with the label "unschooling" since it sounds so negative, so I had been shying away from the lists and identifying with other unschoolers. I knew we were unschoolers at heart, but I was resisting the name and therefore, those associated with it, if that makes any sense.

These women are just so wise and I related to so much of what they were saying, at times it felt that in a room full of people, they were speaking only and specifically to me. Every so often I need to see someone like that in person to re-affirm that I'm on the right path with my kids
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#19 of 22 Old 12-05-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandyMama
These women are just so wise and I related to so much of what they were saying, at times it felt that in a room full of people, they were speaking only and specifically to me. Every so often I need to see someone like that in person to re-affirm that I'm on the right path with my kids
They rock. I am so glad it was good for you and helped you out. Unschooling is so cool and so freeing. I definately agree with the quote you had here. "Un" doesn't have to mean something negative. My family is loving being unbound and unlimited.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#20 of 22 Old 12-06-2004, 07:10 PM
 
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When I first read what Suzanne wrote, I thought, yeah, that makes sense, but.... there's a little more to it. I agree that the "un-" prefix doesn't necessarily carry negative connotations. But I do balk at taking something so elemental and labeling it according to its relationship to something else, as if it is essentially reactionary or derivative rather than a thing in its own right. And that's just not the message I want to send when I'm trying to explain what it is that we do. But I haven't yet been able to come up with a label that I *am* happy with.
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#21 of 22 Old 12-08-2004, 04:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueviolet
...I do balk at taking something so elemental and labeling it according to its relationship to something else, ...
Well said blueviolet! I completely agree!

I have always used the term Home Education. It seems to satisfy people that our children are getting an education, without my having to justify our means of educating. To me unschooling does imply that one is not "schooling" which we are not, however, we are educating our children, or rather they are educating themselves with our loving assistance. We do so much more than simply not schooling, IYKWIM.

So for us the term Home Education explains that learning is important to us and that we do it primarily in the home vs. an institutional setting (i.e. school) where as unschooling can sound like we don't put much value on learning, which is far from the truth.

If someone is interested in knowing more I'm happy to explain what we do, and don't do, and how this life style and learning style works. For the most part people are satisfied with the term Home education and don't care to know the details.

BTW, we used the term Home Education before the term homeschooling became popular and well known, and even then people understood what we ment. Most folks back then thought it ment we were doing an independent study program through the schools, but understood that we were doing it ourselves outside of the school building, anyway.
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#22 of 22 Old 12-21-2004, 02:03 AM
 
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I also went to the unschooling conversation that Brandymama heard and was so inspired and calmed by hearing it!

I don't know how I am bein constructive toward making "unschooling" a better term. I know that I will probably use the term with other homeschoolers to differentiate as I have with AP/ vs mainstream mamas. However, I had an insightful discussion with my Dad and Uncle this weekend. My Uncle is a USC/UCLA graduate who is so "SCHOOLY" and um in the box. My father is also so "school minded" although he did VERY poorly *in* school. So here I am giving a lot of how when we started this conversation I had the right as did they to agree to disagree on many levels. We did, they did. I *think* however we have the same goal...just very different methods to getting there with our knowledge. I want to *know* things...they do too...my kids do too. Soooooo we all take different paths based on our different drives and persuasions. I find that *certain* people *can* persuade me better then others...why is this? I just hear better in a certain tune...as do they....as do others to a different note....la la la... Anyhow, after a lot of conversation and a lot of arguments on *their* part they came back at me. I found that I still sat there agreeing to disagree respectfully and here I gained their respect and EARS for once. They listened because I SHUT UP and just AGREED TO DISAGREE!!!!!!!!!! Wow! what a powerful moment for me to not get sucked in and to hold my ground. Here is where I said....this is UNSCHOOLING. It is a "thinking outside of the box and with your child that can bend your mind in a whole new way to learning".

Thanks for letting me dump. Oh and please forgive my spelling as that is not in my awareness in this post.
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