I need help from unschooling moms - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-14-2005, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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First I want to say I LOVE UNSCHOOLING. It has worked very well for my spirited dd (J, 8). I was so happy to have my mom's support and at least some trust in me from MIL. I have an older dd (K, 11) who is in public middle school and although academically she is doing wonderfully, socially, she is having a hard time. Girls are HORRIBLE in middle school. She is part of the popular group who will just turn on you for any little reason. She has come out of school crying a couple of times and has even stayed home so as not to face her "friends".

Anyway, I was complaining about all this to my mom, who said I should be doing more about and even change her school if necessary. I am doing everything possible right now. K begs me to not get so involved because it's embarrassing to her and can make the situation worse. So I told my mom that homeschooling is still an option for K. Boy, you'd think I was suggesting the worst thing in the world! She said I can't do that since I "have no schedule with J as it is and K can't learn like that because she will be bored to death".

I was so upset about that. It seems she is actually concerned about J's lack of schedule and thinks I'm not doing enough and probably ruining J's life. I have been keeping an awesome log of the things J's done and I even email it to my mom every now and then. J has been homeschooled (unschooled) for about 4 months and has already completed the 3rd and 4th grade typical course of study (from worldbook.com) on her own! I keep a printout of th TCoS in a notebook and look at it on occasion and realized that she has not only covered all of this years work, but next years work as well. And this is through unschooling.

How can I get my mom (and everyone else) to realize that unschooling is not "unparenting" and that J is not just sitting around all day watching tv and being bored. I usually leave out the unschooling part when I mention we're homeschooling since no one really understands that, but mom knows and she has been telling others her feelings. : . I'm so sick and tired of the naysayers who have no idea about homeschooling and even less of an idea about unschooling. I feel like I have to walk around with J's weekly academic accomplishments stapled to the front of my shirt.

I know I shouldn't worry about others' opinions, but having to be on the defensive gets tiresome after while. How should I handle this??

DD(23) Hair Colorist/Stylist, DD(20) Dancer/Dance Teacher, DS(16) Unschooler
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#2 of 5 Old 06-14-2005, 04:23 PM
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Sorry I don't have any advice.

Our boys are 5 and 3 and we have just reached the age where we are "offically" homeschooling. I have a feeling I will be in your shoes soon with my MIL. I have not even mentioned unschooling as she has no idea what the word means and will probably freak when I do explain it.

My only hope is she dose think DH and I are thoughtful people, and trusts us. Maybe if she can trust me, she can let go and trust our homeschooling ideas.

That said I think, once a mother...always a mother. If you are confident in your decisions (in front of family anyway. Save your homeschool concerns/worries for other HSers who will understand) it will be easier for her to trust your decisions.

Hopefully others will have some good advice!

Michelle , 20+ years with a wonderful DH
Mama to two boys, 12 and 10

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#3 of 5 Old 06-14-2005, 04:54 PM
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Ive been here with my Dad. He thought my son wasn't learning enough because he didn't know about the idea of "absolute zero" and something else I don't remember now lol. I started to feel like a broken record saying things like "Unschooling is learning because we are alive to do so. It doesn't need anything forced onto it, or to be scheduled into neat little time blocks" "We just live and learn together, and we find info as we find we need it or as we are interested in something"

I bought him a copy of The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffiths and I think that has helped a bit. I think my being positive about unschooling has helped too. It's hard for others (or harder at least) to pick at you for something after they've already heard how terrific and wonderful you think it is lol. "Unschooling has been so wonderful for us. We love the freedom" or something like that. Hang in there...

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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#4 of 5 Old 06-14-2005, 04:57 PM
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I'm so sick and tired of the naysayers who have no idea about homeschooling and even less of an idea about unschooling. I feel like I have to walk around with J's weekly academic accomplishments stapled to the front of my shirt.

I know I shouldn't worry about others' opinions, but having to be on the defensive gets tiresome after while. How should I handle this??
Of course you're sick and tired of it - I found myself feeling irritated over the irrationality you're describing - your daughter is excelling by anybody's standards, and yet your mom and others want you to change your whole way of life? My inclination would be to stop defending your position. It seems to me that some boundaries need to be set. You might provide a few good books or magazines to your mom on the subject of unschooling, but I wouldn't continue to engage in conversations in which you're on the defensive. You could continue to share your daughter's successes and such, but I'd do it at times when you're not answering to criticisms. I wish you and your family all the best with this - hang in there and stand tall. It's your territory - and you're obviously doing great. Lillian
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#5 of 5 Old 06-14-2005, 04:57 PM
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We have been "officially" homeschooling/unschooling for 15 years. Our sons are 20, 16, and 6.

There is nothing you will ever be able to say to convince someone that a child does not have to be in the "government" schools to learn, and it is actually preferable NOT to send a child to school, if that is your choice...

BUT, I can tell you that if they are going to be "convinced" it will be after you have been doing this for a while.

My father always thought it was great, ironically so did my FIL. Funny, how the men thought it was the right thing... After, oh, I would say a good 3-4 years, my mother started mentioning things, like how bad the schools were, how "smart" and well-mannered my children were in comparison to others she came in contact with, etc. She actually became a great supporter. My MIL, however, is one of those people who enjoys dissecting everyone's lives and is manipulative and judgemental. After all these years, you would think somehow it would change, but no. I posted about this last year.


So I guess the short answer is, give it time, don't explain your choices, just do what is right for your family, and in time, others will see how beneficial it has been.

But some people will never agree with you, so don't worry about.

I hope I have helped in some small way...

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