Are some kids/families just not cut out for homeschooling/unschooling? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 02-25-2005, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm starting to question my decision about homeschooling/unschooling lately. My preference is to unschool, but ds (4yo) gets bored to easily, that I've started to do activity books (pre-school based stuff) and he loves them. Now the only thing is that I don't see myself having patience to teach him all these things he "needs" to know, nor do I have faith that he'll learn them on his own. He constantly craves to be around other kids, and I feel bad that he really doesn't have consistent interaction with other children (except for his lil sis and bro). So I guess my questions are:

1. If you have a kid who is a social butterfly, how do you allow him to naturally be so if you're homeschooling and don't get to be around other kids much?

2. Am I just not gettin it.....do you have to have the "right" environment at home in order to unschool? If so, what things help facilitate a self-learning environment?

3. What do you do if you live in a state that has very harsh homeschooling laws? If homeschooling in general is seen as a hard task, how can you get away with unschooling and still comply with the laws?

4. How do mamas with 3 or more kidds homeschool? I have a hard enough time as is just being SAHM of 3, how on earth can I homeschool and it not be so hard/draining?

I am so confused at the moment. When we started having kids, we knew we'd homeschool...but didn't actually give thought to how to go about it. I absolutely LOVE the unschooling philosophy, it compliments our lifestyle wonderfully.....but as time goes on I have less faith that it's gonna work for our kids and that it'll be do-able, considering we're about to move to VT where the homeschooling laws are pretty hard (from what I've read).
As a back up plan, we've chosen an area of the country to go to that has a Sudbury-based curriculum school (basically an unschooling philosophy, except that it's in a setting with other children of mixed ages), in case I feel I have to put them in a school.
Anyways, I'd love to hear about how unschooling is "done" in other families.
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#2 of 6 Old 02-25-2005, 01:48 PM
 
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I can answer a couple of your questions:

Quote:
1. If you have a kid who is a social butterfly, how do you allow him to naturally be so if you're homeschooling and don't get to be around other kids much?
My ds socializes all the time...with his siblings, with people at the grocery store, etc. We also go to parks and he's got a HS PE class once a week so that he is around other kids. His social skills haven't been hurt (we came out of public school this past year). In fact, he interracts more than I'd like sometimes, lol. I'm constantly saying "come on...let's go...ok, time to get moving..." because he's chatting away with someone.

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2. Am I just not gettin it.....do you have to have the "right" environment at home in order to unschool? If so, what things help facilitate a self-learning environment?
You know, I think it's harder with a pre-school aged child, but not much. Just have things around that he enjoys, switch them out. Different books that he can do alone, colors, if you have the room set up a "him area" for nobody but him that he'll think is special. Put all sorts of things there. Half the time when kids are learning they don't realize they're learning anyhow. Set aside paper and pencils and have him write numbers and letters and keep stickers in a drawer. He'll keep himself entertained doing school for hours just for that sticker!

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3. What do you do if you live in a state that has very harsh homeschooling laws? If homeschooling in general is seen as a hard task, how can you get away with unschooling and still comply with the laws?
I don't really know. I came from Oregon where we had very limited hs laws. I'm in CA now where I'm supposed to keep records and, being the very unorganized person that I am, have had a hard time doing so. I think the best approach is to "make" him do as much practical work as necessary for your record keeping and unschool the rest. Someone else may have a better solution though.

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4. How do mamas with 3 or more kidds homeschool? I have a hard enough time as is just being SAHM of 3, how on earth can I homeschool and it not be so hard/draining?
I have found, actually, that having them home all day is SO much less draining than having to get them off to school every day! I don't have to school by schedules, I don't have to drag everyone out of bed when they are obviously very sleepy and grumpy, I don't have to structure my day around when they get home from school and worry that I'm going to get stuck in traffic and find them waiting on the front porch for me (which actually happened once last year!), and they are a great source of help at home. I really thought it would be hard, and some days it is, but generally, I am really, really glad that I decided to hs them.
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#3 of 6 Old 02-26-2005, 04:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mellie-bellie
1. If you have a kid who is a social butterfly, how do you allow him to naturally be so if you're homeschooling and don't get to be around other kids much?
We invent reasons to be around other kids. I started a homeschool support group, and at this point it's mostly a glorified playgroup. My niece and my son are both very social people and they find plenty of ways to interact with other children.

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2. Am I just not gettin it.....do you have to have the "right" environment at home in order to unschool? If so, what things help facilitate a self-learning environment?
I'm not an unschooler, but my guess would be that the best way to facilitate self-directed learning in your children would be to let them see *you* learning. What do you do when you want to learn something new? Make sure that your child has the opportunity to do the same things.

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3. What do you do if you live in a state that has very harsh homeschooling laws? If homeschooling in general is seen as a hard task, how can you get away with unschooling and still comply with the laws?
I live in PA, which has the second strictest set of laws for homeschoolers. It took me a while to figure it out, but this is what I've learned:
a) It's much more difficult to exclude things from your "school day" than it is to find things to include. I count hours instead of days despte the fact that my niece is in elementary school (we have a choice of counting 900 hours or (I think) 180 days in elementary). She's already completed a school year; once we got up to 900 I stopped counting.

I've heard of people who just check a box on a calendar. Very simple.

b) You have to provide an outline along with your affidavit, saying that you'll cover the required subjects. So you write something like "Math: explore mathematical concepts with the child." It's true, you're very likely to explore mathematical concepts during the year, but you haven't painted yourself into a corner with a statement like that.

c) We're required to submit a portfolio. For some people, a portfolio is a shoebox with evidence of activities done during the year. For others, it's a scrapbook type deal with samples of the child's work from the beginning, middle, and end of the year. So, the child draws a picture at the beginning of the year, one in the middle and one at the end, and you save them in the scrapbook. Get writing samples of whatever your child has written, and that's finished.

d) Standardized testing is required in certain grades in PA. The thing is, you decide what grade your child is in, so if you were so inclined you could say that your child was in 2nd grade one year and 4th the following year (or 2nd both times) and avoid the 3rd grade testing. It's entirely legal to do that, though it might be irritating to school boards.

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4. How do mamas with 3 or more kidds homeschool? I have a hard enough time as is just being SAHM of 3, how on earth can I homeschool and it not be so hard/draining?
My niece is 7, my son 2 and my daughter 8 months. There are very few things that I do with my niece which my son can't participate in somehow if he so desires. When I need to work intensely with her, it waits until BeanBean is asleep. BooBah lives in a sling, and most of the time she's very easy to deal with. I think that there are as many solutions to this question as there are homeschoolers, though.

Quote:
I absolutely LOVE the unschooling philosophy, it compliments our lifestyle wonderfully.....but as time goes on I have less faith that it's gonna work for our kids and that it'll be do-able, considering we're about to move to VT where the homeschooling laws are pretty hard (from what I've read).
Some kids are not meant to be unschoolers, and some parents arent. We use Taking Children Seriously as a parenting philosophy and it works very well for our family. For many people, that translates into unschooling but for us it doesn't. My niece gets upset and frustrated if she doesn't have some structure to her day, and I'm way too tense not to be able to see progress and chart it and such. So we don't unschool, despite the fact that most TCSers who homeschool would probably say that it's the best way to go (because it's the least coercive/restrictive). It's just not right for us.

I don't know much about the laws in VT, except that they're easier than PA. There's a website, I'm sure. If you do a search here for "Vermont" and "homeschool law" I'm sure something will turn up. Good luck!

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#4 of 6 Old 02-26-2005, 07:16 PM
 
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1. If you have a kid who is a social butterfly, how do you allow him to naturally be so if you're homeschooling and don't get to be around other kids much?
Well, thankfully my social kid is not *that* social and is happy with her home days Having said that, can't you just see other kids daily? (unless *you* would hate it of course). Now I know I'm lucky in our area, but where I live I could have my kids in some sort of class, activity or playdate 7 days a week if we wanted. I would go stark raving mad of course :LOL How about just playgrounds? My dd (the social one) makes friends with total strangers in the playground. Something I don't think I could ever do, even as a kid. So going to the playground is social for her. It doesn't matter that she's never met the kids before and might not see them again. *I* prefer to have playdates with people we know. We do a mix of both here.


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2. Am I just not gettin it.....do you have to have the "right" environment at home in order to unschool? If so, what things help facilitate a self-learning environment?
He's four? Most little kids (most, not all!) need mom. The younger they are the less self directed they are. Please note I said "most" and I'm sure you know 2 year olds who are self directed and independent.

And, to digress for a moment, you said he loves workbooks? Well then why not do them? That's unschooling. Letting the child learn what they want, when they want the way they want to is unschooling. My dd went through a heavy workbook phase when she was younger. Not so much now but she still picks one up every now and then.

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3. What do you do if you live in a state that has very harsh homeschooling laws? If homeschooling in general is seen as a hard task, how can you get away with unschooling and still comply with the laws?
You have to research exactly what is needed in Vt. I remember months ago HEM had a letter from someone in Vermont who wanted to unschool and didn't know how. Uh, it was the column with the woman at the desk I think :LOL I'll try and find it later. Also, ask around for other Vermont homeschoolers (on this board and others) and ask how they do it. Maybe you won't be able to completely unschool but I somehow doubt you'll have to completely give it up.

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4. How do mamas with 3 or more kidds homeschool? I have a hard enough time as is just being SAHM of 3, how on earth can I homeschool and it not be so hard/draining?
Well, I can't help you there :LOL Except to ask is your 4 year old your oldest? If so, you have your answer. As they get older, they will be more self directed and independent and you won't be as frazzled. Right now my 2 year old can actually *play* with my 6 year old as opposed to taking her stuff and hitting her :LOL Nothing like the first two years of his life with us

Quote:
I absolutely LOVE the unschooling philosophy, it compliments our lifestyle wonderfully.....but as time goes on I have less faith that it's gonna work for our kids
If it doesn't work for your family don't do it. Simple. It's not all or nothing. There are plenty of happy families out there using WTM or Oak Meadow or radical unschooling. As long as you are happy and the kids are happy, then don't worry about the label
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#5 of 6 Old 02-26-2005, 09:24 PM
 
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I just want to add that you also check with the HSing laws in regard to what the compulsory age is...IOW...at what age to you have to be accountable for your dc's schooling. Where I live, I didn't even have to register dd until she was 7!! That may be the case for you....if so....relax. 3 under 4 is a handful to keep you stressed about everything!

Before Five In A Row is a *very* relaxed, laid back way to preschool at home.
You can probably buy the book online, or go to their site www.fiveinarow.com you can read the suggested booklist(which is almost all classical) and either create one little activity to do a week or just read.

As for socialization....my dd is a major socialbutterfly. I did do 1 year of preschool with her just for that reason....and I regreat it! I observed the bad kind of socialization. :

Anyway, for ds, I am planning on putting together a playgroup, and plan on doing a "daddy and me" cook n' book class. Add in the park and library, and that's good enough for that age!

Good Luck!!

mp
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#6 of 6 Old 02-26-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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I just want to add that you also check with the HSing laws in regard to what the compulsory age is...IOW...at ehat age to you have to be accountable for your dc's schooling. Where I live, I didn't even have to register dd until she was 7!! That may be the case for you....if so....relax. 3 under 4 is a handful to keep you stressed about everything!

Before Five In A Row is a *very* relaxed, laid back way to preschool at home.
You can probably buy the book online, or go to their site www.fiveinarow.com you can read the suggested booklist(which is almost all classical) and either create one little activity to do a week or just read.

As for socialization....my dd is a major socialbutterfly. I did do 1 year of preschool with her just for that reason....and I regreat it! I observed the bad kind of socialization. :

Anyway, for ds, I am planning on putting together a playgroup, and plan on doing a "daddy and me" cook n' book class. Add in the park and library, and that's good enough for that age!

Good Luck!!

mp
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