Unschooling middle school - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 12-27-2001, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is anyone else out there unschooling their middle school age kids? I have a twelve year old son who has been at home for two years now and I am getting more and more comfortable with unschooling but still have trouble completely letting go. What does your unschooler do?

We have started working on some Boy Scout merit badges because he wants to and most of them are such great life skills. He started piano lessons this fall, he plays soccer and we hang out with other homeschoolers once a week. He's a great reader and writer. I'm not worried, just curious what other ideas you guys have?
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#2 of 15 Old 12-28-2001, 09:15 AM
 
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My kids are much younger than that, but some of the older unschoolers in our homeschooling group are involved in volunteer work, learning computer programing, designing their own web pages, chess clubs or other game clubs, and competing in science or essay writing.

Have you read the Teenage Liberation Handbook?
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#3 of 15 Old 12-28-2001, 04:46 PM
 
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I second the suggestion to read the Teenage Liberation handbook! Its a great book.
My oldest is 13 and my dd is 9. They pursue their various interests throught the day. My ds is really into math , so has decided to work his way through an algebra text this year.DD plays outside a lot and is really into animals.
They are both in a writing club that meets monthly and get together fairly regularly with other unschoolers. We have a really laid back group that meets at a park on fridays just to hang out.
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#4 of 15 Old 12-29-2001, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do have the Teenage Liberation Handbook, and got about halfway through it immediately and then haven't gotten back to it. I should get back to it, I really like it. My son has read a little of it too.

He also does a monthly writing group and has had his own website based on a fantasy world that he's created and his first love is working on that and other things on the computer. We've been limiting him to an hour a day on the www. I wonder if we should consider expanding that since it's his primary interest right now. He's teaching himself HTML and lots of computer stuff by reading and experimenting. What time allottment do others give their kids for the Internet when it's their main interest, and not just for goofing off.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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#5 of 15 Old 01-04-2002, 07:07 PM
 
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Watch the computer time, even if it's educational and he's creating with it. Eyestrain, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck problems - these are realities for many people and kids are turning up with them as well. Make sure the computer is set up ergonomically for his size (check out the consumer reports computer equipment issue for guidelines). There is still a lot to be learned out there without computers. If it's really his thing, he'll turn it into a profession when he's 18 or so and then he'll be at it 8 hours a day.
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#6 of 15 Old 01-05-2002, 02:00 PM
 
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#7 of 15 Old 01-09-2002, 10:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by larsy
Rainbowmom, I'm curious about what specific things can a kid read and do to access info on HTML and computer programming? We have some interest here in that, and I am looking for resources, as I am totally ignorant about it myself.
I just had to do a search for a budding HTML'er for an online HTML tutorial and the one that I thought looked the best and so far is also liked the best is this one: HTML: An Interactive Tutorial for Beginners

Pat
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#8 of 15 Old 01-10-2002, 03:32 PM
 
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Most Excellent! Thanks, Pat!
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#9 of 15 Old 01-22-2002, 06:02 PM
 
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I hope to unschool some day so I was excited to see your question

I just got a really good book with many ideas called "The Unschoolers Handbook". I can't remember off the top of my head who the author was, but it's great!
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#10 of 15 Old 01-28-2002, 02:32 PM
 
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I thought I would add some help for learning computer skills etc. I do this kind of thing for a living and was lucky enough to grow up in a household where there were always computers around.

I must admit I worry about the effects of excess computer time. Even as an adult. One way to get time away from the computer iteslf, yet get in learning about computers, is to read books [library, amazon.com, whatever] about it instead. Too much computer or book reading is "bad" mostly because of the strin on your eyes. You need to change focus of distance every 10 to 15 minutes so your eye muscles dont get tired. [Mostly why you get a head ache working at a computer 12-16 hrs a day FYI] Switching between books and computer and "outside" is great though. And very easy.

The O'Rielly series of books are excellent technical manuals. The HTML and DHTML are practically a "must" as are the newer ones on C# and ASP.Net etc. There are also SO many others out there for "getting started" at what ever you like. I personally find the Dummies seris to be very easy reading and positive reinforcement. [I dislike the title tho, since it really isnt about "dummies" but hey, they sell?] There are many topic too from publishing to web master to hardware engineering. One of the best for expaining a nice overview of the majority of computer architecture out there is "Client/ Server Computing for Dummies." I recommened a copy to ALL of our interns be they HS, College, or Graduate. It helps them put things into perspective.

Well, GOOD LUCK and I hope this might help someone.

Sandie

PS. One other non-computer tool for computer learners that is good besides books... sounds silly I know but... get a white board. The majority of work on computers is in drafting. Drafting documents, code, layouts, modeling, etc. In fact the majority of the time is spent working on notebooks, draft/graph paper, and white boards not typing as you may imagine. Learning [and liking] to outline or draw schematics on a white board is an EXCELLENT talent to have. This is why you find the majority of computer speciallists in the world are actually "artists" at heart too.
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#11 of 15 Old 01-28-2002, 02:36 PM
 
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Sorry to post again. I seem to be full of ideas I want to share today. Anyhow, what about gardening? There are an unlimited number of things you could do with that. Landscaping, Botany, Micro Biology, Art, etc. And there is the all popular spirituality of it too. My son is too little now for formal education, but we still go out in the yard every morning before work and get a little gardening in. And I am sure many here had parents, grandparents who did the same. So that might be a nice educational activity too.

--Sandie
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#12 of 15 Old 01-28-2002, 07:19 PM
 
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hi everyone
new here, but was interested in the comments re computers. there are so many options and possiblities both possitive and negative. i completely agree with considering the eurgonomics of the computer with your child. another suggestion is to ensure your child is stretching out his/her wrists, forearms, and neck. another useful practice is to ensure s/he sooks away from the monitor every 15 min and does some eye strengthening exercises. and i do agree with limiting the time one spends in front of the computer as there are so moany other ways to develope the skills that are useful in the programing world. ex. if your child is really interested in graphics, drawing, lego and blocks are a great way of developing their abilities both creatively, and mathematically. just some ideas anyways.
does anybody know of a great development book for com? reading comments re html i thought someone may know...
thanks
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#13 of 15 Old 01-28-2002, 09:03 PM
 
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Well, I haven't gotten there yet (son is almost 10). Just the other day we discussed his feelings that he wanted more interaction with others his age(or thereabouts and more time away from home/parents.
We decided to go out and check out the Boys and Girls Club closest to us(still pretty far!) and arrange for him to spend a few afternoons a wk there.
Plus karate and other sports which he will be signed up for this yr.
Our "curriculum" is rather flexible; some days he demands a worksheet or "test" others, he balks at anything structured. I try to take my cues from his interests, but after our recent discussion(in which he expressed a desire for more "routine") we decied to plan out our week, post it,(so he can remember what to expect), and set aside a time for "school" stuff daily. (as I said, I am following HIS lead on this! Not my first choice, but...
I can only imagine it will become more challenging as he grows older, but I hope that by listening and responding, he will be able to pursue his learning/interests/needs within an Unschooling context.
Kimberly, mom to Forest, 9 and Lily, 2
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#14 of 15 Old 01-29-2002, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! What a surprise to get back on the boards after three weeks of having our computer disabled by a nasty virus and find all these responses. My son is ecstatic! Larsy, to answer your question of several weeks ago, he started with the Dummies version of Webmastering and for Christmas got HTML for the World Wide Web, 4th ed., by Elizabeth Castro. My husband has set him up with a neighbor who works in the field who will help guide him to setting up a website for his dad's business. I don't think it would be wise to make him wait til he's 18 to really get into this. The main reason we homeschool is to allow him the time to get into what really interests him. So far he's limited to one hour a day on the Internet for fun stuff like updating his website. He may spend an additional half hour or hour typing assignments, or doing research, or 'painting". We don't have Nintendo, etc., and he watches very little t.v. compared to most kids, so I feel he's not overloaded on the video stuff. It's a good suggestion to stop and stretch. I'm always on him about his posture at the screen (the massage therapist in me). Anyway, those books seemed to have really helped him, and thanks, everyone for all the other suggestions.

I love to garden, Sandie, and am hoping to get him more interested in it this spring. One of the Scout merit badges includes making a cold frame, something I've always wanted but never yet done, so that may be a project for us for the spring, as he's also gotten into some woodworking this winter with his grandfather. Thanks!
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#15 of 15 Old 01-30-2002, 05:19 PM
 
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