If you're NOT unschooling... - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 03:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds:

As an unschooler, I see coercive instruction as neither efficacious nor moral, and I do not want my children to become dependant on others (meaning, not themselves) to make decisions for them about their intellectual lives -- in other words, I wish for them to have the confidence and power that comes from being self-directed, and I wish to avoid undermining that by telling them that they should or must learn this or that at a certain time or in a certain way.
Originally posted by chalupamom:

Ahh...now I think I'm getting somewhere.

I *do* believe that there are certain (correct) ways of doing things and certain times at which they should be done. I don't consider acting on these beliefs to be undermining or somehow lessoning confidence or self-discovered intellectual power. On the contrary, I see acting on them as both moral, nurturing and loving.
I should clarify -- it's not that I never tell my children what to do about anything. We don't do TCS (sometimes it is confused with unschooling, and some believe they go hand-and-hand.) I also believe that are certain best ways to do things and sometimes make choices for my children. I think they do need some direction. and some judgement calls from me, especially when very young. I don't think, though, that's it good for them if I do so frequently and for arbitrary things -- that ability to rely on their own intuition and self-knowledge has to be encouraged and allowed to function or it will atrophy. I suspect you agree with that to some degree -- for instance, you probably allow your kids to pursue their own interests. We just draw our lines in different places.

Also, you mis-paraphrased me. I didn't say "self-discovered intellectual power", I said "the power that comes from being self-directed." Both good things, but the latter is the one I feel is really crucial.

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Moreover, I feel that acting on these beliefs as providing my children with the tools and foundation they will need for independent decision making of all kinds as they mature.
I'd like to hear more about this. How do you think it will do so?

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So, yeah, it appears that our respective motivations are worlds apart.
Not at all. Well, not as far as what you've written anyway. We both want our children to be able and healthy and to have rich lives, no? We just have different ideas about how best to help (or allow) them to achieve that.
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#62 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 03:34 PM
 
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it seems that the original question has evolved and has also brought on/illustrated definitions of unschooling so I am adding a bit of our experience to that aspect of this discussion and not really to the original question
we have unschooled through the years- but I have offered info and even required certain things of my children-- like not hitting each other , their friends or their enemies for that matter , to not be destructive of x,y,z.. table manners, manners in general, and household chores. An example probably having to do more with the common definition of education --
Our youngest (15-16 at the time) who has wanted to be a scientist through-out childhood- had an opportunity to take a very advanced biology class from a young -previously-homeschooled graduate student -- he went to the class, but then he didn't do the homework reading, and wanted to stay home- I said nope you are going, he went and it was ok because she reviewed all the reading material in class- then he did it again, didn't do the reading or finish the homework, I still said you have to go. After that he would come home and do the reading and homework for the class ASAP because he really liked the class and he didn't want to be lost or behind.
3 of our 4 children have taken college classes and usually excel in those classes- something that they have all noticed is they are usually the only young people who sit and listen and come to class prepared, because of this the teachers really like them and teach to them - I think that the rest of the 18/20 somethings are burnt out from years of class room sitting . But this does not make for an error free college experience- our oldest was in one of the English classes 101 or 102 and for an end grade/final the teacher told them to pick out their favorite papers and put them in a portfolio so DD put the papers she liked in the portfolio, I looked at it and some of the papers did not have the best grades and I told her - that if she wanted a good grade she was going to need to put all the A papers in it-- she disagreed quoting the teacher's instructions to pick out the favorites -- sure enough she got a lesser grade and he told her if she had put all the A papers in she would have gotten an A.
we are unschoolers but I am not sure I like that term anymore, lifetime learning is probably more appropriate.
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#63 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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Intresting discussion.

Count me among the group of not buying into the whole unschooling philosophies. I am also not to impressed by the lifestyle of unschoolers I have seen. it just does not match up with our goals. My teaching my children and guiding them where they need to go is an experession of love to them from me. I wouldn't be comfortable just leaving them hanging. I tought them from birth to latch properly. pee on the potty. speak correctly. why would I just sit and hope they learn everything they will ned to knwo. we do a Charlotte Mason aproach. our days and lives have structure and so do our studies. I am older and know more of the world than they do and it is my job to help them learn the things they need to know. I don't cram it down thier throats but i do firmly and gently lead them where they need to go accademically. also spiritual, physical, emotianal and social growth. I take care to help them grow and develope in all areas. but it is a fart cry from school at home. much of our learning comes from just being together and interacting as a family. My chidlren are almost always within speaking distance from me. there is a lot of spare time in thier life for them to explore and learn freely. We don't waste time watching TV, playing video games or putzing on the computer (OK I waste plenty of time putzing).

Occaisionally I impose my will on them and do not have any guilt about that. There simply are things I feel they need to kow at certain times. And how thery learn it is at my discretion. I am confident that the things I impose of them are for thier benifit and growth be it accademic, character growth, spiritual growth or physical growth that they may not be able to see the long term nessecity of learnging. Good habits start young and some things you just can't go back on (health) and other things can be changed but might be a long hard fight (habits). and it is hard for a small child to know the implication of, lets say eating a lot of candy and not brushing thier teeth, as a way of life.

I know a couple of adults who were unschooled and neither of them appreciate it. as a matter of fact while they both love thier parents they do not have good things to say about them in regards to thier education. They look at thier parents as lazy and themselves as uneducated. despite thier early sucess in may avenues (one had a succesful singing and recording carear as well as many national and international travels amoung indignous people world wide working and living and learning. one can hardly say she lived a life void of stimulation, education and growth. Not to mention the bonds she had with her sisters. but she thinks she missed what would have enabled her and her sisters to be easily sucessful in life.) granted 2 is hardly a scientific sampling but enough for me to see that this was not the life I wanted for my children.

Also the superiority complex of unschoolers I know is realy off putting. They know the right way and heaven forbid you can't make it work for your family. Some have implied I am ruining my children others have implied that I am abusing them. One said to my face inf ront of a crowd of people that she feels sory for my poor dd having to love ith me in this restrictive life. how would hse ever be intellegent or creative. I just don't need that in my life.

I am not saying Unschooling can't work. but it can't work in this house and that is fine. I don't care how other people educate thier children. I htink children can grow and thrive in a variety of situation. This is how we grow and thrive best.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#64 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LeftField
*Hands unschooling card back and exchanges for 'really relaxed eclectic with largely child-led approach and a play-it-by-ear method, but still attracted to tenets of unschooling' card*

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#65 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 04:45 PM
 
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I don't understnd those here who are saying they don't "buy" into the whole unschooling thing. If it didn't work for your family or you know it wouldn't work then I don't understand why you need to be so negative about it. It's not like unschooling is even close to the norm. No one is trying to force you to unschool (at least not here that I've seen). I am sorry some of you have had bad experiences with unschoolers IRL but that doesn't make all of us that way.
I hardly ever over up, irl, that I unschool unless someone specifically ask how we homeschool. I mostly only talk about it here or with the unschoolers in my homeschool group. I most certaintly don't tell people they are homeschooling wrong or will mess up their kids. I also don't make a point to say, I don't buy into this classical , eclectic, Charlotte Mason ect... thing either.

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#66 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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what I mean when I say I don't buy into it is that i don't believe it is in any way better, accademically superior, more natrual, more healthy, morally superior etc. . . . It seems like everyone I have met believes it is the only right way to educate your children.

I am a person who shuns chaos. I want plans, vision and direction. it is important to me that I present stuff to my chidlren in an orderly fashion. provide long and short range goals to achieve anda plan for reaching them. that I am not trying to teach them something they have no foundation or background in (how frustrating that must be). And my children are like me. They need those things as much as I do. believe it or not. I look at unschooling for our family and all I see is chaos and disorder. no vision. no goals. no destination. it is enough to paralyze me educationally speaking. Just thinking about what it would look like in this house and this family is giving a panic attack. (a little one but still) But our need for order, visions and goals and plans and direction does not make us immoral, does not make my children uncreative or unspontaneous, does not make them less motivated or intellegent. it does not make me coersive, mean or unattatched. It does not make my children unhappy or people to be pittied. We realy are all quite happy, and an learn in any and all situations weather it is something that intrests us or not. It is just a different path that, like unschooling, can produce very good or very bad results depending on the family, implimentation and childrens natrual abilities.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#67 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 05:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka
what I mean when I say I don't buy into it is that i don't believe it is in any way better, accademically superior, more natrual, more healthy, morally superior etc. . . . It seems like everyone I have met believes it is the only right way to educate your children.
Oh okay because when people say they don't buy into something it usually means they think it's complete BS and quite frankly as an unschooler that insults me greatly. Do you think unschooling is on level with other types of homeschooling or do think it is inferior?
So where you live unschooling is the norm? It is no way near the norm here. It is actually infact a small minority. Most people as far as I have experienced only have negative things to say about unschooling/ers.
I don't know any unschoolers who have chaotic homes (sometimes sure but not most of the time). My house isn't normally chaotic either. Of course you might view it as such, it's subjective.

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#68 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 06:17 PM
 
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"It seems like everyone I have met believes it is the only right way to educate your children."


I think of this as ethnocentrism, and often leave it at that-- most parents I know do things the "right" way to their way of thinking and I would not expect less of any parent. But allow us the same - do what is right for you and yours-- our oldest son who is now 25 is a bit critical of homeschooling in general because even though he is successful none of his long time friends are he feels on many levels socially out side- some of this is developmental as you can feel the outsider no matter the setting- but he hasn't found complete resolve for these feelings yet, and all I can say to his criticism is we did what we though best at the time.
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#69 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 06:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 3momkmb
It a bit to much of a leap of faith for me

I do *kinda* unschool DS in that I let him follow his interests but we also use workbooks (mostly at his request, although I may suggest now and again) and I do introduce topics in a unit study kind of way. I don't think we are wholly unschooling though as I do expect him to do something I ask some of the time. We also do a lot of reading and about 1/2 of it his choice, 1/2 mine.

DD is not unschooled. She has lessons each day I expect her to finish. She is older though (just turned 12) and I think some structure is important as she enters the middle school years. However, we only do school 1-2 hours a day and she still has plenty of time to follow her interests, which at this point revolve entirely around Harry Potter We have switched to a more literary approach this year which seems to be working well.


this sounds like my house ,although my dd is 11.
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#70 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sheacoby
Oh okay because when people say they don't buy into something it usually means they think it's complete BS and quite frankly as an unschooler that insults me greatly. Do you think unschooling is on level with other types of homeschooling or do think it is inferior?
I understand what you're saying. Perhaps some people are expressing that they don't believe unschooling would work for their family. But it's another thing to say that one can't understand how unschooling would work at all. The latter implies unschooling is inferior and that statement would be invalidating (this has nothing to do with Lilyka's post or any specific posters). To put the shoe on the other foot, it's one thing to say that unschooling is the best choice for one's child. But it's dismissive to say that it would be the best choice for all kids, because that implies that the other choices are inferior. Again, this has nothing to do with specific posters. I can see how unschoolers and non-unschoolers could feel like their viewpoints are being invalidated by others, depending on what sentiment is expressed.

I do love how this forum is a nice mixture of multiple types of homeschooling. I just wanted to say that. I love the diversity here and I hope it continues.
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#71 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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Can I be immature for a sec and laugh at your typo, lilyka?:

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but it is a fart cry from school at home

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#72 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 08:59 PM
 
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but it is a fart cry from school at home
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Intresting thread

I would class ourselves as very relaxed eclectic unit study cm'ers.
In one sense I am 'teaching' dd to read in that I am purposly exposing her to letters and sounds. I did a little theme on the letter P to see how she would like it, and she did, so I will do more. We made letter 'p's out of salt dough, and we found letter 'p's in some books. We also went on a pink tresure hunt and made a pink pig craft.
When she is older I am planning on teaching her history chronologicly in unit study form. This is something I am currantly writting myself as the mood takes me. Which is why I would not class us unschoolers even though this is what we are mostly doing at the moment.
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#73 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 09:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sheacoby
I am finding from the post here that some homeschoolers are what would seem resentful to us unschoolers and the advice we offer.
I only got this far before I felt I had to respond.

I am not in the least resentful to the advice that the unschoolers at MDC offer. I NEED that advice to lay back , take it easy , look at it from a different angle. I tend to lean to extremes. Either I'm very permissive (which isn't good for our family structure) or I'm very punitive. (which is equally bad imo). To come here and read the unschoolers , I see large areas in my homeschooling that I can relax in. Unschoolers remind me to look at the child and not "the standard".

Off to read rest of thread.......
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#74 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LeftField
In past threads, a couple of methods seem to come up, IMHO. Method 1 is where the child seems responsible for indicating interest. Method 2 is where the parents involve the child in their own hobbies and family trips, to provide modeling and exposure to new things.
I guess I'm mostly Method 2, except that I do deliberately bring things home that I think Rain will enjoy - I mean, doesn't everyone do this for people they care about? I'm also bringing a bag of chips to one of my tutoring clients on Thursday, because I think she'll enjoy them. I don't see any difference between doing that and brining home a book about John Wilkes Booth for Rain (when she was interested in him). I also think it works both ways, with the child involving the parent in her own hobbies and interests. I would never have done the last 2 shows I was in if Rain hadn't been into theatre.

I also think there's this impression of unschooling as anti-intellectual, while and I'm sure that's true for many unschoolers, it's not true for most of the ones I've been close friends with, or for us. Because unschoolers don't worry about the "correct time for things to be done", we could read Homer at 4, or go to the opera at 6, or whatever she seemed into. For example, Rain and I have discussed word roots ever since I could remember, and she knows a fair number of Latin and Greek roots, enough to decode many new words. No, she didn't say, "What is the etymology of that word?" at age four , but she connected 'homicide' (a new word) with 'suicide' (a word she knew) and asked what 'cide' meant, and so we discussed etymology, and then the next time she noticed a similar connection she had more information and could ask more questions.

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#75 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 10:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sheacoby
Do you think unschooling is on level with other types of homeschooling or do think it is inferior?
So where you live unschooling is the norm?
I think it is on level. and where I live it wasn't the norm but the majority of my friends (and even I) have at one time or another been unschoolers. most people have settled into a relaxed ecclectic mode. I think only one is completely sold on a totally unschooling lifestyle.

and I have a very low chaos tolerance level. anything without a plan, mission or purpose can become chaotic. The diapering forum makes me panic. I find myself wanting to scream "why can't you just pick something and stick with it!!" (nothing like MDC to make me realize how much I need professional help ) It doesn't have to be loud or boisterous or even disorganized (and conversely, loud, boisterous and disorganized need not be chaotic so long as there is a purpose and end to it). it just has to lack vision and prupose.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#76 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 10:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
If you are not unschooling...why not? It seems to me that there are a lot of unschoolers here at MDC, but I know that I am not alone in making a different decision for my family. I'm not an unschooler, and I've got lots and lots of reasons for that (which I'll go into later, when I'm awake) but I'm curious-- why aren't *you* unschooling?
Wow! What a great question!

I stayed home with my kids so we could share this incredible life together. Sometimes we explore something because my child is interested in it, sometimes we explore something because I am or because I believe that this is a good thing to study - so I GET myself interested in it. We homeschool because it is fun and invigorating and it brings out the best in us...and its ok to share that whether it is my child's best or mine.

Our days have a structure, a flexible rhythm to them, so that we can be sure to stay balanced. We breathe in our information, with inbreath, taking in new experiences/information, and outbreath, sort of processing that new stuff, each on our own terms. To me it seems that if we approach our days with no structure, we get bogged down in the mundane. That doesn't mean that unschooling wouldn't work for others, and that I don't have respect for them and value them...it just isn't the best fit for us.

We do have a syllabus we generally follow, but not everyday, always,...and yes, sometimes! Life's just full of unexpected turns, and we follow them, but we balance them with a certain stability that comes from our structure.

You know, sometimes I think that talking about this stuff can get really hard online, just because we have to use words and those words mean different things to different people. So when I say "structure" to some people, there's a little image in their heads of me standing in front of a little blackboard in front of a little desk in our extra room - it couldn't be further from the reality of our messy dining room table, the experiment on the kitchen counter, and the books scattered all over our home.

At the same time, the very things that I call structure - walks in the park, meals together, quiet times to share stories and create, planned activities, and skating in the park....those might be just as big a part of their un-structure as they are of my structure...I just don't know, it sort of depends on the unschooler.

I appreciate the exchange here of many different approaches. This is why I've visited this forum more often lately. I like the variety and the fresh insights I can gain from people who have similar goals, but approach this journey in a different way.

Regards,

Lucie Smoker
Wonder Ranch Homeschool
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#77 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 10:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by folkypoet
Homeschooling for Excellence is often brought up in unschooling discussions, but it's really not an unschooling book. I'd call it more eclectic homeschooling. It's a great read, but they definitely don't unschool (and I'm not talking radical unschooling - just plain ol' unschooling).
I don't have a copy of the book anymore, so I can't take a look at the pages you mention, but when you read their next book, Hard Times in Paradise, you see a very different picture of what actually went on. In fact, their oldest son - the one who later graduated from Harvard's medical school on the Dean's List - didn't even read till he was past 9.

At one point, I heard that they had encouraged their kids to study at least 20 minutes a day, but hadn't insisted on it. I repeated that in a workshop I presented at a conference - and later that day, someone stood up during question time in the auditorium and asked them if that were true. They were on stage with their third son, Reed. They all looked at one another, seeming stunned and perplexed, and finally Reed leaned to the mic and said, "Well, I don't know where that came from - there were months at a time when no book was opened at our home! We were too busy working on our homestead."

So I think a lot of things in the first book might have seemed as if they happened more often than they did. I know there were some texts and workbooks at times, but they certainly don't seem to have been required on a regular basis. They've even said that there were a lot of times when their kids might have been taken away from them if child welfare services had shown up. They've also said that the kids were in charge of their own education in their teens. They didn't consider themselves unschoolers - they had never even heard of that concept - but it wasn't a school-at-home situation, that's for sure, unless you consider having the whole family working, thinking, problem solving, and researching together to be school. Lillian
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#78 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 11:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka
I tought them from birth to latch properly. pee on the potty. speak correctly
my daughter learned to latch, learned to pee on the potty, and is discovering how to speak 'correctly'. this does not mean that i am not involved, it is after all, a reciprocal process; but it is much more of her own learning, rather than of my 'teaching'.

i think this is at the very basis of why some unschool and others do not.
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#79 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 11:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds

I'd like to hear more about this. How do you think it will do so?

There have been a few requests for me here to outline my feelings, interpretation and beliefs with regard to classical ed and I'm very reluctant to do so. I feel as if any attempt to produce an apologia for classical education, or rather my personal spin on it (which is less Eurocentric than is common among those using the model), could be interpreted as an in-your-face denigration of others' homeschooling choices - as we have seen here and elsewhere on MDC, advocacy for one's own position is often felt to be insensitive to others who have chosen different paths and I would regret causing offense amongst HSing moms who I respect and whose methods and beliefs on the subject I do not share. Further, I don't wish to debate the tenets of classical education, which such a post could invite.
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#80 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
eally? I have the opposite feeling-- that unschoolers are the majority here. Not only that, I think that the unschoolers here are a lot like the homebirthers; even if they are not the majority, they are the most vocal "faction." Look at any thread asking "is my child doing enough?" or "what else can we do?" and you'll find many many responses saying things like "just let them play" and "have you read John Holt?"
Two different issues often get mixed up - one is about unschooling, but the other is simply about age-appropriate activity. Once upon a time, many of us went to kindergarten and just played, heard stories read to us, did some group singing and dancing, etc., and didn't start learning to read or do arithmetic till 1st grade. This worked out very well for a long, long time - and then things started to change and to eventually lead to today's growing pressure on younger and younger children. Dr. David Elkind, discusses this in his article,
Much Too Early. An excerpt: " The movement's beginnings lay in the fears sparked by the Soviet Union's launching of Sputnik in 1957. The civil rights movement and the growing public awareness of our educational system's inequality led to the creation of Head Start, a program aimed at preparing young disadvantaged children for school. Although Head Start is an important and valuable program, it gave rise to the pernicious belief that education is a race - and that the earlier you start, the earlier you finish."

- Lillian
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#81 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 11:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J
I don't have a copy of the book anymore, so I can't take a look at the pages you mention, but when you read their next book, Hard Times in Paradise, you see a very different picture of what actually went on.
I'd been meaning to read Homeschooling for Excellence for years and finally sat down with it last week. Their second book sounds like it actually might be more interesting to me than their first (though I did enjoy HfE).

I think of HfE as one of those books you recommend to discouraging friends and family, simply because the kids did quite well, traditionally. More interesting to me (though I'd never share it with those same friends and family members) is something like Heather Martin's How to Unschool College website. Very cool.

I'll have to look for Hard Times in Paradise. Thanks!
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#82 of 234 Old 11-06-2005, 11:56 PM
 
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The last couple posts as well as several in the middle of this thead are illustrative of the point I made earlier about feeling dismissed and drowned out as a non-unschooling (holy double negative, batman!) mom. We start by talking about why those of us who have chosen to unschool aren't doing it and we end up with those who do unschool discussing the thing above and around those of us who are trying to explain why we don't, or trying to explain that the reasons we have for not are wrong or based on inaccurate understandings of unschooling - implying then that if we only understood unschooling better, we'd certainly be onboard and lining up to do it! Insulting, no? There are any number of threads here seeking to define homeschooling or asking how unschooling works in individual households or why some have chosen that approach. Why do we have to do it here?

I do not unschool because I believe in systematic, chronological, rigorous education. I believe that it's not an undue pressure to teach four-year olds how to read and write. I want my children to "stand on the shoulders of giants" and join the Great Conversation of the human experience with a thorough understanding of how we got to where we are. Further, I believe that a classical education is a loving gift, the very best possible education. In the words of David Hicks:

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"The beauty of the classical curriculum is that it dwells on one problem, one author, or one epoch long enough to allow even the youngest student a chance to exercise his mind in a scholarly way: to make connections and to trace developments, lines of reasoning, patterns of action, recurring symbolisms, plots, and motifs."
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#83 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
Heh. I did that.
Rynna, you have to admit you're the exception, not the rule!!
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#84 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LeftField
I *think* (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that many unschoolers deliberately expose their kids to new things (like calculus), because they know that the child can't choose something that they don't know exists. Some parents probably try harder than others to do this. Strewing is talked about a lot, which is the idea that unschoolers toss stuff out there that the child doesn't know about. The catch is that, if the child says, "I really don't want to do this.", they don't do it.
That makes sense to me, and we kind've do that too -- we'll go to the library or to the expensive school curriculum store and I'll basically start handing stuff over to my DD and if she's interested, we'll get it or check it out, and if she's not, we don't. At my age, I'm sick of shoving things down people's throats.

However, where I would have a tough time doing that would be in subjects or areas I consider absolutely core and essential: reading, math, science, and history. Luckily, the only one that DD has a tough time with sometimes is math, and we try to vary how the information's presented and she can choose from games, computer games, rods, Math Shark, or whatever interests her. Kind've like, she has to eat the ice cream, but she gets to pick the flavor, KWIM?

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Actually, I've mostly seen Method 2a, which is involving the child in parental activities and doing some light strewing. Most people seem to think of Method 1, but I'm not sure that's really common.
Method 2a is very popular around here, but I see it as an addition to the core stuff.
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#85 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by folkypoet
I'd been meaning to read Homeschooling for Excellence for years and finally sat down with it last week. Their second book sounds like it actually might be more interesting to me than their first (though I did enjoy HfE).

I think of HfE as one of those books you recommend to discouraging friends and family, simply because the kids did quite well, traditionally.
Yes - when we began homeschooling, I just handed each of the grammas a copy of Homeschooling for Excellence. My mother read it and said, "Hm... Well, what do you know - I guess you could teach himself, couldn't you..." And my m-i-l read it and never said much of anything the whole time. Neither ever seemed to be concerned, which is pretty impressive when you consider that he was the only grandchild on both sides of the family.

Hard Times in Paradise is fascinating. By the time I finished it, I was actually briefly feeling as if my own son was disadvantaged in having such a cushie life with no serious challenges. But if you ask the grown Colfax kids, I get the feeling they'd be saying they'd just as soon have had it a lot cushier, thank-you-very-much. I think we all have our own advantages and disadvantages, though - Lillian
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#86 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
Not sure what you are trying to get at here. Do you mean that you think that no one would decide to learn calculus of their own volition? Or are you suggesting that unschoolers believe that these things happen in a vacuum?
Well, here's what I mean in tangible example form. My daughter's four, and she loves Shakespeare. She loves it, though, because she's been exposed to it through decisions that ultimately originated with me: I was the person who did dramaturge work on a zillion Shakespeare plays and so I needed to see every version of 12th Night I could get my hands on, KWIM? The repeated exposure predisposed her to like it.

I doubt, though, that if she'd just heard of Shakespeare somewhere in conversation that she'd be automatically interested. In specific reference to unschooling, how is a kid supposed to know she'd want to learn calculus without your "strewing" the information about it, as others above have put it? Pardon my ignorance, but I thought in the purest definition of unschooling, the kid decided what she wanted to learn, when, and how much.

And I don't know about you, but when I "strew," I "strew" very selectively: when we go to the library, I'm not strewing a bunch of Disney Princess books in front of my kid -- I'm choosing a wide variety of stuff that I think has value (and hope sincerely that she likes) from which she can choose, but I'm the "gatekeeper," KWIM?
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They're not.

As an involved and loving parent, I expose my children to all sorts of things. I share information with them, answer their questions, and show them how to do things they want to know how to do.
Okay, maybe this is an absurdly ignorant question, but suppose your kid just wanted to know how to get to the next level in some computer game on the Xbox?

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As an unschooler, I see coercive instruction as neither efficacious nor moral, and I do not want my children to become dependant on others (meaning, not themselves) to make decisions for them about their intellectual lives -- in other words, I wish for them to have the confidence and power that comes from being self-directed, and I wish to avoid undermining that by telling them that they should or must learn this or that at a certain time or in a certain way.
I value what you're saying and I want that for my child also, but I think maybe the disagreement comes in when making that decision is appropriate. I see my role as diminishing in control or direction over time as my daughter becomes more proficient at a skill and more focused on what she wants to do. Even within a specific discipline, I try to be hands-off when she has mastered the basics: the point is that she learn, not that I show her how to do everything. Basically, I'm working toward my own obsolesence as an educator.

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Well, I don't really know how to answer because I don't know what the root of your difficulty in understanding this is -- perhaps it would help if you explain why you think school is necessary for it?
I don't think "school is necessary" for much of anything, actually, but I do think that having a structured approach to learning history teaches the subject more effectively than what might be a more random and haphazard interest-driven approach.

See, I learned a great deal of history completely at random: I'd read a novel about ancient Greece, another one about England during the Restoration, a Civil War novel, and so on. What I didn't get was the "whole picture" or even the connective tissue that linked major events. It came as a real shocker to me to realize that the U.S. Constitution was being written about the same time that Mozart was doing some of his best composing, and many years after high school passed before I realized the influence that Addison and Steele had on Benjamin Franklin, or that the problem with Irish unification really goes back to the time of Cuchulain, and so on.

That's because as far as a lot of school subjects went, I was autodidactically educated -- I followed my own interests, but I missed out on the sense of sequence and connection that a good history curriculum would provide. Kids who direct their own educations usually don't do things in chronological order, KWIM?

Hope that helps clarify what I meant.
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#87 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:33 AM
 
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But it's another thing to say that one can't understand how unschooling would work at all. The latter implies unschooling is inferior and that statement would be invalidating (this has nothing to do with Lilyka's post or any specific posters). .

Why? One would think that, as an unschooling mom, you'd welcome the opportunity to educate someone about a genuine question. I really *don't* get it, and my post was both a response to Rynna's post and a request for information.
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#88 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by chalupamom
We start by talking about why those of us who have chosen to unschool aren't doing it and we end up with those who do unschool discussing the thing above and around those of us who are trying to explain why we don't, or trying to explain that the reasons we have for not are wrong or based on inaccurate understandings of unschooling - implying then that if we only understood unschooling better, we'd certainly be onboard and lining up to do it!
I don't think that's the implication - but I also don't think it's possible to disucss why one doesn't do something when one doesn't have a clear and accurate understanding of what that something entails. If I went to the Life with a Babe forum and started a thread about why I don't use cloth diapers because they're so much more expensive than sposies, and it's so hard to deal with all of those pins, I'd expect someone to explain how my understanding of cloth diapering was in error. I might still have legitimate reasons for using the sposies, but I would be basing them on correct information.

FWIW, plenty of posters in this thread have posted reasons for not unschooling that are based on a very clear understanding of what unschooling is and is not...

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#89 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:38 AM
 
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Chalupamom, when you say "I do not unschool because I believe in systematic, chronological, rigorous education," that's a statement about why you do what you do - and no unschooler here is going to argue with it in the context of this thread. But - when people say they do not unschool because they don't believe in the things unschoolers do or don't do, describing things that unschoolers don't feel are accurate about what they do or don't do, that's a whole different thing, and it brings unschoolers into the discussion to say, "But wait...wait a minute - that's not what I do!"

There are a lot of misconceptions about what unschoolers do - and that's unfortunate. The unschoolers I have known care very much about their kids' education - they simply have a different sense of how it should be facilitated, so I think they just want to make that clear when they see themselves misunderstood. Lillian
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#90 of 234 Old 11-07-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire

See, I learned a great deal of history completely at random: I'd read a novel about ancient Greece, another one about England during the Restoration, a Civil War novel, and so on. What I didn't get was the "whole picture" or even the connective tissue that linked major events. It came as a real shocker to me to realize that the U.S. Constitution was being written about the same time that Mozart was doing some of his best composing, and many years after high school passed before I realized the influence that Addison and Steele had on Benjamin Franklin, or that the problem with Irish unification really goes back to the time of Cuchulain, and so on.

That's because as far as a lot of school subjects went, I was autodidactically educated -- I followed my own interests, but I missed out on the sense of sequence and connection that a good history curriculum would provide. Kids who direct their own educations usually don't do things in chronological order, KWIM?
Actually, this is an issue to me too. It reminds me of what Gatto said about teaching stuff without revealing how it is connected together. Of course, he says it's on purpose and I'm not that cynical. But that really killed me in school. I liked to read and learn, but I really struggled with random topics, because they were presented out of order and in separate "subjects". It's only now, as a 30-something, that I'm having "a-ha!" moments where I see that some scientific event and some great piece of literature received similar historical and cultural influences. In school, we had to be taught the same stuff repeatedly throughout the years, because (I believe), it wasn't presented in a connected and meaningful way that would lead to us remembering it. I'm not sure what I'll do about that, as I'm now in homeschooling methodology limbo, but it's an issue to me.

I like what you said about being a gatekeeper. I do that too.

Honestly, because there is so much diversity within unschooling, the lines just get all grey and fuzzy to me. There are people in past threads who called themselves unschoolers but said that they require their kids to do certain study topics. I'm sure that's not unschooling. I don't want to contribute to muddying the waters and I'm not sure how things will turn out with us, so I cannot call myself an unschooler anymore. I follow the "Leftfield methodology", whatever that is.
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