Unschooling Stress - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-17-2005, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I debated about posting, but I really need some advice. I read these posts and it appears to me that unschooling is this rosy picture to all of you that practice it. I don't feel like I fit in.
This is our first yr homeschooling our 9,6 and 3 yr old. I started out with a pretty laid back learning style. Then I read Dumbing Us Down in December and I really wanted to give it a try. It seems like ever since we started unschooling my kids have been very disrespectful towards us. My dh thinks it's because they don't have any rules to follow so why would they care if they listen to us or not?
We're planning on moving across country and I'm sure there is a lot of emotional issues there. I just don't know what to do? Maybe they need some more structure?
~Kelli
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Old 01-17-2005, 10:59 PM
 
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things to prove to himself he was learning and getting better at the things he wanted to do. He craved the structure and was unhappy until I gave it to him.

I would not dumb the things you read in “Dumping Down” but use them to add to your more structure curriculum. It should be OK to deviate from the plans. It should be ok to have them pick topics to study. My son is doing US History because that is what he wanted to study. Yes, I do structure but he did pick the topic.

I now give my children science topics let them choose which oneand then we do something as a family. We did crystals because that is what my son wanted. My daughter had wanted to do mammals (animals) so we are now doing mammals. Sort of had to let them take turns on this.

There is no reason I have to stay on a topic and there is no reason why I have to move to the next. I don't work much by a bell. LOL

I did use a timer to stop my son from dawdling but it has been a while since I used it. He has learned that it is easier to do it right the first time and to work hard on a task. He will have more time to play.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:47 PM
 
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I am reading Teach Your Own by John Holt. My kids are only 2 and 3, so I can't say much from my own experience, but my kids are radically different from each other, and respond in completely different ways to everything we do. I know they will need to learn differently, which is why what John Holt says makes so much sense to me. His definition of unschooling is not one method of teaching, but the idea that each child is different and needs to be treated accordingly. He says that unschooling to one child may mean using something like Calvert Curriculum, while to another child it may mean a completely unstructured day, with the child reading what he or she picks out. The point is that the child is directing it: the curriculum is made to fit the child, not the other way around. If I were you I would probably try something different, and not feel guilty about it. Your child will show you the best way to help them learn.

On the other hand, moving is a big stress. Even if the kids are not stressed out firsthand, they may be picking up on any stress you or your husband are feeling.

Follow what you think is right, not what the other posters think, and not what a book says. You know YOUR kids, after all!
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Old 01-18-2005, 01:35 AM
 
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Kelli, unschooling isn't for everyone. Definitely not for my family. I loved "Dumbing Us Down", but there's a whole spectrum from homeschooling to unschooling to choose from.
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Old 01-18-2005, 03:30 AM
 
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I am not sure I would blame the lack of respect on unschooling. How have you been handling the disrespect? I think you need to get to the root of why they are acting this way. It could be the learning style, or it could be a new stage of development that the kids are going through. ( Im not saying it's good for them to be rude to you of course) Perhaps it's time to have a family meeting type thing and discuss respect for everyone, and what it looks/sounds like. You might point out that you work at being respectful to them, and you and your husband deserve the same in return.

Also, I think discussing how to express being angry or upset at someone respectfully is very important, because often when someone is expressing anger or frustration they come off as disrespectful. (Especially when it is a parent-child situation) We encourage our kids to be honest about their feelings even when that means that they disagree or are angry with us. We have modeled and openly discussed how to do that respectfully. Unschooling shouldn't change the need for respect from and to parents and kids. In fact, I feel that unschooling is based on a very high level of it. This could be a great opportunity to really work through this and come out really great on the other side. I guess what I am saying is that it could be the way you are learning that has caused this, but I have a hard time seeing how. Wishing you and your family the best in all of this!

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirlow
It seems like ever since we started unschooling my kids have been very disrespectful towards us.
I always find it difficult to respond to general statements/problems like this--would you be comfortable describing a particular problem or incident?

Quote:
We're planning on moving across country and I'm sure there is a lot of emotional issues there. I just don't know what to do? Maybe they need some more structure?
~Kelli
I would think this could cause a lot of stress (even if it's a happy event.) How involved are the kids in the planning of this move? Maybe they're taking some anxiety about the move out on you? Have you done much talking with them about the move? Is there anything they can be involved in as far as planning goes that might make them feel more in control of the situation? Have you discussed the friends issue and ways to stay in touch, etc.? I know my dd doesn't *do* change very well. When she goes off I know it's past time to sit down and have a chat about what's bugging her.

Single Mom to 3 (12, 17 & 21)  luxlove.gif and dog2.gif.

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Old 01-18-2005, 12:47 PM
 
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NOt sure how "unschooling" you are doing. When people ask me, I claim eclectic, since I am all over the board. I do believe in some structure, and I don't believe in the free for all that is related to the polar end of the unschooling term. IMO there needs to a balance of structure and non-structure. We have rules and expectations, but they are not intense or militant, nor are they lax. IMO it's not an all or nothing thing, you have to find your own balance with in your family structure and philosophy.

a move does't help with the stressors in the home either. change is hard on everyone. find your families balance with discipline (doesnt=punnishment always), learning, rules ect.

nakig sorry for mistakes

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Old 01-18-2005, 03:51 PM
 
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I don't think that unschooling necessarily means you have to have no rules or guidance. The Moores have several books out on homeschooling and in one they recommend not doing "schooling at home" for the first year after you take them out because they need to unlearn some school behaviors. I don't know what your kids are doing but maybe when they were away at school and you only had limited contact- due to homework and other activities.. that they could follow your respect rules better, now that you see them all the time you might be seeing what the school system has brought home. Disrespect is pretty much a social disease- rude kids and adults everywhere. When my kids were younger and occasionally now I have to remind them about what I find unacceptable. Some kids really need a bit of guidance- not necessarily enforced work- I can and have read for 15 minutes or told a story for that long, worked on comparing prices at stores and showed the kids what I am doing- then if they wanted more i could easily show them or help them by providing or finding resources...in our homeschool group recently we talked about unschooling-which is what we have always done, that maybe there could be a better way to describe it - like child led learning or???? When our kids were young it was a title taken on by us or give to us by people who had "school in home" everyday- desks, black boards textbooks the whole nine yards and we all wanted to differentiate the way we helped educate our children from that, but it does not mean that you DO NOTHING, I think that that would be just as much a construct as a school. when you have them home full time yes they are going to be bored and it is not our job to keep them entertained, we can provide tools and environment but I think it would be the rare parent who would let a child learn about something like fire without some safety training and instruction and some define rules, you could use this analogy for weapons, violence, and even rude behavior- so what do your kids learn from rude behavior? that you do not like it and ????? insert a natural consequence, that would involve your cooperation/ non cooperation, the way to get people to do things you want is to work at getting along this is an important skill for all children and we all depend on you holding up your end of it.
I would also recommend getting out of the house atleast 1x a week, go to a support group, the thing is homeschooling can be isolating for parents far more than children and being able to get support and ideas from other moms is what has kept me going all the years we have homeschooled.
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your input. I think what is hard for us is that we didn't start out homeschooling and we are making a big move. I guess none of us quite know what we're doing? Which can make life a bit stressful. I think I've been a little more on edge and so it makes me focus on the negative more so than the positive. My dh reminds me that we are around each other all day every day. Deciding to unschool is a lot like when I decided to have a home birth or stopped vaccinating my children. I knew I wanted to do it but I was second guessing myself. Then there came a time where I was at peace with the decisions. I'm not at peace with the decision to unschool, at least not yet.
I'll get a little help from my homeopath next week
Maybe I jumped the gun by posting on here, but I'm thankful to be able to get some suggestions to help with the transition.
I'm very happy with our choice to homeschool and only regret that we didn't do it sooner. Now if we can just get through the bumps along the way.
Today we did go out with our homeschooling group. We went to the stock show and my kids did a good job. I had a couple of situations where my 6yr old had a hard time listening (climbing over the stadiumm seats and throwing his Gameboy instead of handing it to me).
We just have to take it one day at a time.
~Kelli
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