Anyone unschooling? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-19-2005, 07:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
Thanks for that definition. It helps even some of us who have been studying it.
Very welcome! I am glad it helped...or at least made sense lol.

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I still am contemplating certain issues related to unschooling such as the fact that I'm unwilling to buy a TV. I gave up that addiction years ago and won't invite it back into my life.
Well perhaps your child could have their own TV if they decided that was something they had interest in?

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Old 10-19-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BethSLP
Do you have any research to support this? I would like to know how this is possible without any instruction in math, science, social studies, etc. It sounds like you would be at an extreme disadvantage.
If you search for "unschooling" on the hsing board, you'll find lots of discussion about this. Unschooling is not new, but there isn't a lot of "research" done on unschoolers, so you're not likely to find any hard numbers. But it's not that unschoolers recieve no instruction--they just direct their own learning. THEY choose what to learn and when to learn it. Math, social studies, science, etc. are all around us and unless one lives in a vaccum, it's pretty much impossible to grow up without exposure to these things. If they choose to go to college and find that there is an area in which they are lacking, they can review or learn what's needed. Schooled children certainly go through tutoring and coaching before taking SATs or other college admissions tests.

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Children do not always make the best decisions for themselves.
No one always makes the best decisions for themselves. Usually, we make what looks like the best decision at the time, though. And with learning, the door never closes. So, if a child decides at the age of 15, "Gee, this math would be easier if I memorized the times table" then he could do that. Everything is easier to learn when a person is motivated and interested in it.

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Some, esp. those who struggle in reading, would choose never to read.
I've seen kids refuse to read after struggling to learn under forced conditions (like in school) but I've yet to meet a kid who didn't look forward to reading, or a kid who didn't learn to read at all. From my experience, I think kids struggle with reading when it's being taught before the child is ready to learn.

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This to me, is not helping a child have all doors open to them later.
No one has all doors open to them. Unschoolers learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. The motivation comes from within, rather than from a teacher telling them what they'll be learning.

You really should look around this board and read a bit--we're not just discussing theory here (although, that happens too ) there are many of us living unschooling and seeing our kids learn to read, and learn history and geography and math concepts, etc. etc. You don't really need to see the research when it's happening in your own home, yk? Although I understand it's difficult for someone who's not doing it, to imagine it.

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Old 10-19-2005, 07:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
I think those children wouldn't choose to learn to read in the difficult school setting that has been provided to them. But, I highly doubt that a person, given relaxed opportunties, is going to go into adulthood refusing to learn to read. If they did, then why would they need it at all? My feeling is that if they need it, they'll be motivated to learn it, given the right atmosphere.
The "what if they never read" thing is a common concern. It's right up there with "What if the never memorize their times tables" I think. I understand it...not forcing kids to do stuff we think must be forced freaks people out. Obviously though, it doesn't have to be forced. Unschoolers know this to be true. I have never heard of an unschooler that never learned to read. (though I don't claim to know all the unschoolers everywhere of course lol) I read a comment about it that was something like: "Some kids learn to read at 5 and some learn to read at 11. By the time they are 24 no one can tell the difference." I agree.

My children were never, ever forced to read a single thing in their lives. Reading was just part of the world around them. Letters are everywhere on signs, clothing, food boxes, toys, etc. They figured out (with our help along the way) that letters make sounds that make up words that convey info. Info that was interesting, informative, and helpful. They figured out that reading helps us know stuff, make decisions, and so on. There was no pressure so there was never any "I hate reading! I wont do it!" kind of stance. If you need help with something you get it at our house...to the farthest extent we can give it anyway.

I do have a couple of friends that have made it thus far without reading. It might not be perfect, but it's possible.

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Old 10-19-2005, 10:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
Well perhaps your child could have their own TV if they decided that was something they had interest in?
Aside from the fact that I'd end up watching it myself, I don't think TV is a good thing. I think it has warped our culture. When I tried to watch it at a hotel last winter, I couldn't believe how bizarre it has becoem. My background is in psychology, and I do believe that there are things for which children are not developmentally ready. I understand that it works in other people's families and that they're perfectly happy with the results, but I can't personally live with it in my house.

I'm not closed off completely from being more flexible about thest things in that I'm still giving all of this a lot of thought. I'm thinking about how I was raised and what feels right to me. I wish that when I asked my mother if I could read Jaws she would have said that she thought I should wait. She was of the mindset that all reading is good. I can think of a handful of books that I wasn't ready for and which did have a negative impact.

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Old 10-19-2005, 10:41 PM
 
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I think it's so important to remember here, that unschooling cannot really be defined, b/c if someone tried, it would only be their personal definition of what it should be- AND- if everyone had to fit into a certain category, then it would no longer be something that comes from within each of us, and our kids, but would merely be trying to adhere to a set "curriculum " of ideas and concepts.Which would be ...school!
I believe John Holt set out the guidelines for how he believed kids grow best- Not the rules...
I consider us "unschooly"- but I hesitate to really label our family... the kids have so many interests and talents- we learn many things from each other every day! But our family also has certain requirements. It's the way our family is. I truly believe that each unschooling famliy has it's own criteria-of course we all do!
It might be simple like" wipe your shoes on the front mat please" or
" we need to study some basic math concepts together for a short period of time, b/c it's important for xyz..." or
"everyone in this house must brush their teeth at least once a day" or
"mom hates tv, so we're not getting one till you save your own money and buy one..."
my dk's are 12 and 6- I love them dearly, my oldest is my unschooloing mentor...he taught me long ago the importance of his needs
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Old 10-19-2005, 10:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BethSLP
Are you actually insinuating that some people don't need to learn to read?
No, not at all. I was trying to insinuate the opposite, that because they will need it, they will want to learn it if given the opportunities.

When I was in college, I was a tutor for PLUS, a literacy program. I worked with adults who had recently become literate. All of these adults came out of the public school system where they had never learned to read. All of these people were extremely bright, a fact which was demonstrated by the fact that they had managed to be successful despite being completely illiterate. The reason they were illiterate was because they had had trouble learning in the beginning (probably started being pushed to learn before they were ready) and because they were bright and because they were afraid to appear like failures, they faked their way through years of school without ever learning to read.

Anyway, my feeling is that the kids in school who don't want to learn to read are just not ready yet, but they will need to learn to read and so they'll have a desire to do it when they are developmentally ready.

I don't know why I piped up to answer, though, as I'm not an experienced unschooler. I'm just an excited one in training so my opinions are based on my experiences elsewhere.
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hsmamato2
" we need to study some basic math concepts together for a short period of time, b/c it's important for xyz..." or
See that just doesn't fit into my definition of unschooling unless the kids decide they want it. I do not get to say they need to study it. I can tell them I think they might want to, or "If it was me I would..." but they decide if what they are actually going to do.

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Old 10-19-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Joan
If you search for "unschooling" on the hsing board, you'll find lots of discussion about this. Unschooling is not new, but there isn't a lot of "research" done on unschoolers, so you're not likely to find any hard numbers. But it's not that unschoolers recieve no instruction--they just direct their own learning. THEY choose what to learn and when to learn it. Math, social studies, science, etc. are all around us and unless one lives in a vaccum, it's pretty much impossible to grow up without exposure to these things. If they choose to go to college and find that there is an area in which they are lacking, they can review or learn what's needed. Schooled children certainly go through tutoring and coaching before taking SATs or other college admissions tests.

No one always makes the best decisions for themselves. Usually, we make what looks like the best decision at the time, though. And with learning, the door never closes. So, if a child decides at the age of 15, "Gee, this math would be easier if I memorized the times table" then he could do that. Everything is easier to learn when a person is motivated and interested in it.

I've seen kids refuse to read after struggling to learn under forced conditions (like in school) but I've yet to meet a kid who didn't look forward to reading, or a kid who didn't learn to read at all. From my experience, I think kids struggle with reading when it's being taught before the child is ready to learn.

No one has all doors open to them. Unschoolers learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. The motivation comes from within, rather than from a teacher telling them what they'll be learning.

You really should look around this board and read a bit--we're not just discussing theory here (although, that happens too ) there are many of us living unschooling and seeing our kids learn to read, and learn history and geography and math concepts, etc. etc. You don't really need to see the research when it's happening in your own home, yk? Although I understand it's difficult for someone who's not doing it, to imagine it.
Joan,
I just love your reply! Thank you for such a thoughtful and well reasoned response. I for one really appreciated it.

Take Care,
Erika

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..."
"I am learning all the time, the tombstone will be my diploma"- Eartha Kitt
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
No, not at all. I was trying to insinuate the opposite, that because they will need it, they will want to learn it if given the opportunities.

When I was in college, I was a tutor for PLUS, a literacy program. I worked with adults who had recently become literate. All of these adults came out of the public school system where they had never learned to read. All of these people were extremely bright, a fact which was demonstrated by the fact that they had managed to be successful despite being completely illiterate. The reason they were illiterate was because they had had trouble learning in the beginning (probably started being pushed to learn before they were ready) and because they were bright and because they were afraid to appear like failures, they faked their way through years of school without ever learning to read.

Anyway, my feeling is that the kids in school who don't want to learn to read are just not ready yet, but they will need to learn to read and so they'll have a desire to do it when they are developmentally ready.

I don't know why I piped up to answer, though, as I'm not an experienced unschooler. I'm just an excited one in training so my opinions are based on my experiences elsewhere.
I have a lot of exp w/ adult tutoring, and my exp is a little different. Most of my clients were foreign -born, or had undiagnosed learning issues. i don't think I ever encourntered an English-as-a-first- language adult without particular learning challenges who could not read.

Ime, reading happens totally naturally at some point, if brain issues do not factor in. Some children learn to read later, but unless a person is dyslexic or has other particular special learning needs, they learn to read without a heap of assistance.
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BethSLP
Children do not always make the best decisions for themselves. Some, esp. those who struggle in reading, would choose never to read. This to me, is not helping a child have all doors open to them later.

XOXO
Beth
I think all people, including children benefit when they can make their own decisions. Children who get to practice making their own choices likely get better at it as they get older. When a child decides they are ready to learn to read, or learn calculus or whatever, they have the intrinsic motivation to do it. They own it, they have a vested interest in it's success. That's not the case (usually) when they are told "now that you're 'X' years old, it's time for you to learn such and such". I'm amazed at the things my kids decide to learn about and how quickly they learn when it's what they are truly interested in. And I don't believe that a child would choose never to read. I think that kids who are forced to do this before they're ready, might go that route.

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Old 10-19-2005, 11:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom
I have a lot of exp w/ adult tutoring, and my exp is a little different. Most of my clients were foreign -born, or had undiagnosed learning issues. i don't think I ever encourntered an English-as-a-first- language adult without particular learning challenges who could not read.

Ime, reading happens totally naturally at some point, if brain issues do not factor in. Some children learn to read later, but unless a person is dyslexic or has other particular special learning needs, they learn to read without a heap of assistance.
Because I was an undergraduate tutor, I was not given those with learning disabilities to tutor. ESL students were sent to ESL, not PLUS. When I first started working with anyone, they would tell me their story. It seemed to me that these adults had been, shamed or become ashamed, from the beginning. My sense was that they weren't ready to learn when they started lessons in reading at 6 or so, so they hid this. I suspect that if they had been allowed to learn at their own pace, they would have learned much sooner.
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
Because I was an undergraduate tutor, I was not given those with learning disabilities to tutor. ESL students were sent to ESL, not PLUS. When I first started working with anyone, they would tell me their story. It seemed to me that these adults had been, shamed or become ashamed, from the beginning. My sense was that they weren't ready to learn when they started lessons in reading at 6 or so, so they hid this. I suspect that if they had been allowed to learn at their own pace, they would have learned much sooner.

I do agree that children can be turned off to reading. If reading is forced before children are cognitively ready, it's a chore and not a joy. It's a huge job for parents to continue with sharing the printed word with children who have been turned off to print in school. We know that children who learn to read easily and who 'succeed' in school have parents who own books. A child without a disability will learn to read in such an environement. It's the children who don't have access who don't read. Schools can help, but it's parents, period, who hold the most statistical sway.

One would think most children would be turned off to reading, given our mediocre system. Yet, most kids can get beyond this and learn to read though exposure to the printed word and desire to read.

Those children with issues are the ones most affected in the early years by poor teachers and poor reading currics. If most kids were turned off by poor teaching, our literacy rate would be even lower.

The fact is, most children do learn to read, no matter how crappy, or how early they were 'taught'. The ones 'left behind' are those with issues. IME.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:44 AM
 
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Joan,
I just love your reply!
Aw shucks! Thanks.

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Old 10-20-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom
Those children with issues are the ones most affected in the early years by poor teachers and poor reading currics. If most kids were turned off by poor teaching, our literacy rate would be even lower.
This is one of the reasons I'm attracted to child-led learning and maybe even unschooling. I really struggled with math because of my pride and because of poor teaching/overwhelmed teachers. At the same time, I was bored with reading because I was more advanced than most of the class, or at least to the lowest common denominator, to which my teachers possibly were possibly catering.
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Old 10-20-2005, 11:47 AM
 
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Quote :See that just doesn't fit into my definition of unschooling unless the kids decide they want it.


That is exactly what I am talking about... you and I and a lot of other people I know have different ideas as to unschooling. We unschool in a way that works for our family, as I'm sure you do also.
***John H. did NOT create the "rules" for unschooling. He began a massive, decades long discussion of what education/unschooling could and should be-***
Unschooling is a philosophy on life, a constantly evolving set of ideas and inspiration. There are many who consider themselves unschoolers who may not fit into someone elses definition of such, as evidenced by many who have posted here -they feel it's a lifestyle philosophy, and there are as many ways to unschool as there are to "do school at home" I have seen some other boards deteriorate into a lot of finger pointing, a result of these differences we all have... it's not cool at all to see that...
We homeschool- and we are unschoolers,(we actually have unschoolers all around us in our area,and yes, we talk about these things...)
My little sister was unschooled, she is now 18,and has some interesting insights to share with my "unschooly" ds......
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Old 10-20-2005, 11:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
This is one of the reasons I'm attracted to child-led learning and maybe even unschooling. I really struggled with math because of my pride and because of poor teaching/overwhelmed teachers. At the same time, I was bored with reading because I was more advanced than most of the class, or at least to the lowest common denominator, to which my teachers possibly were possibly catering.

I think the biggest problems with reading currics for small children is not that they don't teach kids to read, it's that they teach it in a way that makes kids hate reading.

The slower approach seems to create life-long lovers of books.

Too often you hear kids says "I hate reading. It's boring', when what they really mean is 'I hated the boring way I was taught to read". They don't have any sense of the joy one can get from reading.

I don't have any clue why reading exciting stories to small children isn't the main thrust of a reading 'program'. Gettting kids fired up about what's in a book should be the goal, not stupifying, too-early 'instruction'.

I am not talking about those 3 yr olds who seem to learn by osmosis.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:00 PM
 
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hsmamatotwo, where is that quote from? I can't find it in this thread anywhere.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:09 PM
 
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UUMom, I agree.

My nephew swore he hated reading, except that he read all the Harry Potter books and then the Da Vinci Code.

All his childhood, he railed against reading, yet, it was obvious that he did like to read some things. When he was a Junior, he ran for class secretary and won. It involved much writing and reading and now he's a junior philosophy major which involves reading even I can't force myself to follow.

It just goes to show how interest drives reading. When I got interested in writing a work of fiction, I actually read grammar rule books cover to cover with great joy, real true joy.. My Freshman year highschool English teacher would never believe that! I was supposed to learn to diagram sentences and never got past nouns, verbs, adjectives, and such lower level diagrams.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
UUMom, I agree.

My nephew swore he hated reading, except that he read all the Harry Potter books and then the Da Vinci Code.

All his childhood, he railed against reading, yet, it was obvious that he did like to read some things. When he was a Junior, he ran for class secretary and won. It involved much writing and reading and now he's a junior philosophy major which involves reading even I can't force myself to follow.

It just goes to show how interest drives reading. When I got interested in writing a work of fiction, I actually read grammar rule books cover to cover with great joy, real true joy.. My Freshman year highschool English teacher would never believe that! I was supposed to learn to diagram sentences and never got past nouns, verbs, adjectives, and such lower level diagrams.
it's so true that interest drives reading! it makes me crazy to hear some folks knocking certain 'light' reads--like Pokemon handbooks etc. If a reluctant reader gains mastery, and learns joy through comic books and Pony Pals, they can go on to the next level. I also think lots of very capable readers just aren't into reading at a young age. That's fine. Read to the child, listen to books on tape, watch some great old movies based on books.

One of my children (who learned to read easily and wasn't turned off by reading) just wasn't into reading for a time, and spent a good year only reading Calvin and Hobbes. I can hear the Well Trained Mind people groan. lol Yet, now that child is reading everything *and* writing some really incredible stories.
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Old 10-20-2005, 01:19 PM
 
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I agree that there is no set definition of unschooling, but I also think that telling a child they have to do school work doesn't fit I don't think it's deteriorating into "finger pointing" but I do think it helps to have an idea of what a term means. If unschooling can mean anything, then it means nothing, kwim? If *any* term is so undefined that it can cover anything then it's become a meaningless and useless term.

Hey, what's wrong with Calvin and Hobbes? Lots of good vocabulary in there. Last night my dd learned "defenestration" :LOL

I also agree with the idea that, barring any disabilities, kids will learn to read when they are ready. Now, maybe you can also put a bad home environment as a disability, I don't know. My mom read once that a child "at risk" for illiteracy was one who grew up in a house with less than 10 books. TOTAL. Ten books or less in the entire house. Can you imagine??? I don't think there's a single *room* in this house that has less than ten books (not even the bathrooms : )
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Old 10-20-2005, 02:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BethSLP
Do you have any research to support this? I would like to know how this is possible without any instruction in math, science, social studies, etc. It sounds like you would be at an extreme disadvantage.

Children do not always make the best decisions for themselves. Some, esp. those who struggle in reading, would choose never to read. This to me, is not helping a child have all doors open to them later.
It's very possible to get into a good college without formal instruction in those things. My son is a perfect example. He was unschooled, and he had unsolicited scholarship offers from two of the first three colleges he applied to. He's not what people refer to as "gifted" - he's just a bright guy who enjoys learning. He read only for information until age 12 when he had vision therapy and finally started reading on his for pleasure. I read to him up till then - just for the sheer pleasure of reading. It's pretty unusual for a homeschooled child in a home with parents who love reading to remain uninterested in reading as he grows up.

We have a friend in Tufts' grad school right now on a full scholarship after getting herself into Boston University and doing very well - and she was one of the most radically unschooled kids around. My son's grown unschooled friends - and grown unschooled kids of other parents I know - are doing very well. One friend of mine has an unschooled son who just graduated from a well respected college (can't remember the name) and an unschooled daughter at Mt. Holyoke.

Children don't live in vacuums - they're an organic part of the family and community. If they're brought up in a rich environment where curiosity and the natural joy and pursuit of learning are modeled, it's perfectly natural for them to absorb that way of being. Human beings wouldn't have made it this far if they didn't have a natural drive to learn about the world - it's just built in. If a children are given the idea that learning is all about "work" or drills to stuff down facts about things that don't interest them, then yes, there's a possibility that they won't be interested - but learning simply doesn't need to be like that. You can inspire and influence a child all along, support their interests, and bring lots of great resources into their lives - it's not as if an unschooling parent would be ignoring them and waiting for them to spontaneously develop interests about things they know nothing about.

People hear terms like "child led" and "unschooling" and assume those parents are just hanging around doing nothing - but that's not the way normal families live. That isn't child led learning or unschooling - that's just neglect. When you're homeschooling/unschooling, you need to be a good docent in introducing them to the world - but that does not imply that you need to orchestrating their learning and running them through formal lessons. Learning comes so much more naturally than we tend to realize - because we all grew up bring processed through a school system, and so assume that's how learning happens.

A couple of articles to take a look at:
Students Don't "Work" - They Learn, by Alfie Kohn
and
Homeschooling - A Wonderful Way of Life - this is my own family's story, although it was written right before my son went on to do very well on the SAT and get accepted into his first choice of colleges.
Lillian
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
I still am contemplating certain issues related to unschooling such as the fact that I'm unwilling to buy a TV. I gave up that addiction years ago and won't invite it back into my life. Also, sugar is an addiction in my extended family the way heroin would be for some people. It killed my dad and has made nearly everyone obese and put me on medication to control my insulin, so I gave that up and can't have it in the house. These aren't things I'm going to bring back into my life with or without kids, so I guess I won't be a radical homeschooler because of that, which I don't mind, but I like to know that I do have some things in common with a particular group so that I can share and learn.
Ruby, I'm not really clear on what definition of unschooling you might have come across, but I want to assure you that unschooling doesn't have anything at all to do with whether you have TV or eat sugar. It's simply a matter of not using traditional school methodology to promote learning. Instead, you just model a healthy curiosity and love of learning, provide a lot of rich learning opportunities and resources, share your own knowledge/wisdom/enthusiams/skills, and support your kids' own interests as they come along. You don't set up academic "lessons" and assignments - because they're not needed in order for learning to take place effectively - but you go ahead live your life in the way you deem most healthy and wholesome for your family.

I don't understand where all these misunderstandings about unschooling are coming from. The reason I get so concerned about them is because once there's such a perception about what a philosophy has to offer, it's pretty unlikely for a lot of people to look further into it - so the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J

I don't understand where all these misunderstandings about unschooling are coming from. The reason I get so concerned about them is because once there's such a perception about what a philosophy has to offer, it's pretty unlikely for a lot of people to look further into it - so the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.
Lillian
From within this thread: Riversky has said that she calls herself an unschooler despite regulating sugar and TV; UnschoolMa and Dar do not regulate these things. Beyond that, many unschoolers - please do correct me if I'm wrong - see unschooling as involving self-regulation as their child's responsibility.

I'm saying that at this point, I don't see myself doing that 100% I say, "At this point," because my thoughts and ideas do change over time and I acknowledge that and am open to it.
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J

Ruby, I'm not really clear on what definition of unschooling you might have come across, but I want to assure you that unschooling doesn't have anything at all to do with whether you have TV or eat sugar.
So true. I think where the mix up happens is that many unschooling families also do not use traditional (for lack of a better word?) parenting methods. In said families the children also decide for themselves about TV, eating, and just about everything else an adult would. This is where unschooling mixes with TCS (Taking Children Seriously) or at least some of it's ideas.

"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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Old 10-20-2005, 03:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
From within this thread: Riversky has said that she calls herself an unschooler despite regulating sugar and TV; UnschoolMa and Dar do not regulate these things.
Dar and I (and Joan I believe ) are families that believe in the TCS philosophy.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:46 PM
 
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I made a poorly worded remark I want to clarify before I run out the door to do errands:
"Ah! Well, I think the term "unschooling" is usually just used to describe a philosophy that has to do with how we go about learning the things we need to know for successful living."

Maybe I should have said it's usually just used to describe a philosophy that has to do with how we approach the things we need to know for successful living that are the subjects traditionally covered in schools. But even then the definition is fuzzy, because there are a whole lot of things covered in schools these days that didn't used to be - they're often trying to do a lot of what parents should be doing. So maybe I should have just left it as the most simplistic definition - which is that it has to do with not duplicating school methods and philosophy at home? It's just that a lot of people assume that means not providing a learning experience, which couldn't be further from the truth. Lillian
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
I think where the mix up happens is that many unschooling families also do not use traditional (for lack of a better word?) parenting methods. In said families the children also decide for themselves about TV, eating, and just about everything else an adult would. This is where unschooling mixes with TCS (Taking Children Seriously) or at least some of it's ideas.
Yes! I think there are a number of philosophies these days that are getting mushed together because of their having some common threads of thinking in terms of having a lot of respect for the child as a full person. Lillian
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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I also agree with the idea that, barring any disabilities, kids will learn to read when they are ready. Now, maybe you can also put a bad home environment as a disability, I don't know. My mom read once that a child "at risk" for illiteracy was one who grew up in a house with less than 10 books. TOTAL. Ten books or less in the entire house. Can you imagine??? I don't think there's a single *room* in this house that has less than ten books (not even the bathrooms : )
One time, we had dinner with people we recently met. We both had 15 month olds and the parents were about our age. Since dinner was at their house, they gave us the grand tour of their house. The friendship had some big issues, but those issues weren't the thing that dh was turning his nose up about in the car. His issue was that they didn't have any books that he could see. I, honestly, didn't notice it. Apparently, he noticed that not one book was in sight in any of the rooms in their house. My dh, the one who hated English class in school (but is a voracious reader) was deeply bothered by their lack of books. :LOL

I really think that, barring disabilities, that people who love books will have children who love books. I cannot imagine ending up with a non-reader or even a reluctant reader. We love books. I read them. Dh reads them. We read them to the kids: all types and levels, the only criteria is that the books are fun. I read IRL for practical purposes too: recipes, directions to places, instructions, mail...My kids see that reading is useful, necessary and lots of fun. I'm not worried about them. I don't know what studies have or haven't been done. But I would bet that the biggest issue with school-aged children who don't read or barely read, barring disabilities, is lack of interest and support at home.

Unschooling doesn't mean leaving them to the wolves. It just means we don't force them to do things when they don't want to; that doesn't mean they won't get there and catch up. IIRC, the OP is a school teacher. Am I right? I think you will notice a fundamental paradigm shift with unschooling. In my limited exp with school, there seems to be an underlying assumption that children must be taught to learn and made to do it. With unschooling and many types of homeschooling, the underlying assumption is that children are born with the insatiable desire to learn and master.
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:09 PM
 
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quote was from unschoolnma...about personal definitions...
not trying to knock anyone at all here, but in my opinion and experience with this homeschooling journey, there's a difference between forced school at home, and parents and kids coming to an agreement on certain issues in life, as I have done with my kids. I strongly believe in my kids rights and showing respect for them and their judgements, but I also feel it's important to guide in some decisions. My ds and I have come to a mutual decision regarding math basics... we both know that there's some basic stuff that's holding him back from easily and joyfully learning more- so we have a program that we both agree we like, and we use it to our own level of comfort.(not the truly great awesome, higher math that's just plain fun to absorb like a sponge...which we spend a lot of time doing, just for the pure enjoyment of it...his first math term was at 4 years old, he was fascinated with rhombicosidodecahedrons... and googols)
I know that to some this may not feel like unschooling, but John H never said that unschooling meant that in every aspect of everyday life, we should let our kids decide what's best...all the time- to the exclusion of what we as parents may think of as common sense, we after all , have come a bit further in life, and do have greater experience than young ones...
He believed that learning was best accomplished by those who were motivated to do so,and had a reason for learning.
That is 100% the truth. That is the essence of unschooling.
The rest is personal. John Holt wrote his ideas before a LOT of damaging media was invented, aimed directly at children, to the tune of billions per year. There is now 24 hours+ a day visual media entertainment, much of it really harmful to people of any age- this is well documented, that parents are up against a huge obstacle, a billion dolar industry,aimed directly at your kids hearts and minds. If a parent feels like t.v. is harmful, they can still parent their kids and make decisions like that, and still be unschoolers. It's about choices. I Know some Unsch.who haven't limited t.v. at all, and some Unsch. who have.
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LeftField
In my limited exp with school, there seems to be an underlying assumption that children must be taught to learn and made to do it. With unschooling and many types of homeschooling, the underlying assumption is that children are born with the insatiable desire to learn and master.
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