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#121 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
As far as I know, homeschooling is not defined as "something you do in lieu of sending a child away to school" but "educating your child at home." I see it as taking responsibility for being your child's primary educator, just as being a SAHP is being your child's primary caregiver; It's the same at three years as it is at eight or ten.
Your first definition is exactly how I define homeschooling. It's the only definition I've seen that encompasses the full spectrum of homeschooolers, no matter what they do. Most of the parents of young children I've met would define themselves as their child's "primary educator", whether they're planning to homeschool or not, so that definition definitely wouldn't work for me. Likewise, I don't "educate my child at home" now and I never have, and I wouldn't define myself as her "primary educator", so by that definition I'm not a homeschooler, even though my 12 year old doesn't go to school. Do you not consider unschoolers to be homeschoolers?

I think you have a skewed perception of what many parents of young children do with their kids, as well. In my neck of the woods, the norm is for parents to "work on" various skills with their children before they hit school age - everything from cutting with scissors to simple academics and more. These are parents who fully intend to send their kids to kindergarten, too, and do. Most of my friends who school also do lots of learning with their children outside of school - that's not homeschooling, it's just good parenting.

I also think of WOH moms as their child's "primary caregiver" as well, but that's a different topic.


The other quote attributed to me isn't actually something I said, so I'll leave that. I do want to comment on this, though:Another question, then:
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There are many adults who require outside direction in order to accomplish anything. Is the premise of unschooling, then, that those adults were simply taught to require that direction, and that no child will naturally require direction in order to learn or accomplish anything? I have a very hard time accepting this. Kids have lots of different personalities. Why is it easier to accept that there are adults who need/ed direct instruction to learn things, but not kids? Is it really that unnatural to learn from others?
Are you talking about direction or instruction? You're using the words interchangably here, but I see them as being different things. There's certainly nothing wrong with unschooled kids receiving direct instruction on how to do things - if you read this board you'll find countless examples of that very thing. Knitting comes to mind right away... many of us have posted about our kids learning to knit, through direct instruction. The important piece is that our children wanted to learn how to knit, and they wanted that instruction. I think we were also careful not to gove more instruction than was asked-for - Rain still doesn't know how to increase, but I imagine she'll ask some day, and I have offered...

Direction is okay, too, if the child wants it. If my child asks me for direction I consider myself a consultant, and she's free to take my advice or discard it. At the end of the summer, Rain asked her dance teacher for direction on what classes to take next semester, and he gave her a list and some advice, which she chose to take. That was great...

Must go teach.

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#122 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 02:50 PM
 
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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...but she thinks she missed what would have enabled her and her sisters to be easily sucessful in life.)
Speaking as the mother of three adult children who had great childhoods(their words ), there will always be things that you as parents miss doing for or with your children.
When they become adults, you probably will see missed opportunities and ways that you could have made life easier for them if only you had made different choices(or encouraged them to make different choices) when they were younger.
And at times of stress, conflict and or struggle, those missed opportunities may be brought out as evidence of some great parental oversight by you, by your children and/or others who have observed their childhoods(even if only anecdotally).
What we all need to realize is that all choices that we make for ourselves and our families out of love can be later seen as wrong for a whole host of reasons by our children and/or others. Even if things are going great for them as adults.
So while I don't doubt that you met adult unschoolers who felt that their parents did them a disservice by unschooling them, I feel that at times most adults have problems with some of the choices that their parents made in raising and educating them.

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#123 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 03:07 PM
 
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couldn't have said it better myself
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#124 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 04:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SunRayeMomi
We use an approach in which we "connect" history to ourselves, as opposed to a timeline or other events. In the early stages of learning about history, we find it's most important and keeps dd's interest most piqued when it is somewhat relative to her. children tend to be innocently self-centered for most of their first years (not to mention the first few decades ) Dates, events and specifics like "charters" or "treaties" can come later, if they really are important at all. What is first is geographical position and relevance to herself.
That's the approach taken by many schools -- the "I-search" idea that one begins with oneself as the center of the world and then expands their horizons outward, but just for myself, I've always been philosophically and ethically opposed to this notion because it fosters and validates precisely the same sort of narcissism and literal self-centeredness that you alluded to yourself. Hey, people do what they want, sure, but this approach to teaching history is specifically one of the reasons we're not sending our child to school: because although I love her more than myself, more than my life, she is not the center of the universe and I don't want her to think so or have that reinforced in our teaching of history. Too many of my students believe that all history before 1987 or so was completely irrelevant. Why? Well, that's basically what they learned in school...that it's all about them. The self-centric universe.





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I have seen a few comments from ppl on this board that imply that helping a young (3,4,5) child learn to read is not what unschooling is about or is inappropriate. They may not have meant to, but they made me slightly less proud of my helping my daughter to do this, even though I know she learned because she was capable, not pushed to "win a race" (which I recognize some parents do). That frustrates me, because I know learning to read is something my dd was very passionate about and just because she did it at three doesn't mean she was pushed to. (not that the comments I am referring to said "everyone" but it still stung a little)
Oh, I know where you're coming from on that one -- we've heard a lot of snide, snippy comments from many people ranging from family members to total strangers. Actually, total strangers have been a great deal more complimentary about dd's desire to read than my family members.
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#125 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 06:15 PM
 
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My point about the unschooled adults was that unschooling in and of itself is not superior or the best way to educate a child. not all kids grow up, look back and thinnk that is so much coler than what I would have learned in school. Some see the system, appreciate the system and are ticked off about not being given a running start in said system. and yes it is all a crap shoot basically but that one is not better than the other.

and i am surprised to see such an open definition of unschooling here. we used to be unschoolers who taught a couple of subjhects and we were grilled by people who said "either you believe it works or you don't. you are not an unschooler at all. it isn't something you do for some subjects" i was by the way. teaching my child to read and some basic math. And I don't see the superiority and narrow approach here so much as I do in real life. IRL I do know a lot of homeschoolers and hear the remarks about how I am stifeling my child, how they feel sorry for her, how much mroe creative and thinking thier children are, how I am doing it wrong and if I were smarter i would get it. but that isn't why I don't unschool (yeah that is weird to say ). I don't unschool because it isn't what works best towards meeting our goals asa family and in this life. It just isn't right for us. But it does seem like part of hat I got from the unschooling community and most of the literature i read was that it was the right way and if it isn't right for your family you need to readjust your goals and get out of you childrens way. I do not believe my leadersghip in my childrens education is my getting in thier way. I believe it is leading them towards a place they will appreciate.

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#126 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 08:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
That's the approach taken by many schools -- the "I-search" idea that one begins with oneself as the center of the world and then expands their horizons outward, but just for myself, I've always been philosophically and ethically opposed to this notion because it fosters and validates precisely the same sort of narcissism and literal self-centeredness that you alluded to yourself.
Yes, you're right that is the approach that schools use. The difference is that in ps she would be surrounded by a bunch of other "self-centered" peers. At home, she is surrounded by adults and other children raised by the like-minded adults and behaviour modelled the way we would have her learn it. By no means is this the approach we will use forever. To be honest with you, I am not planning on "teaching" history officially at all in the near future. I'm just telling you what we are doing now. As in, she is very interested in Dinosaurs. She has me read her encyclopedias about them and for a awhile mostly learned things in relative to anything dinosaur, including things about history (obviously, since much of what dinosaurs are about is history).

Anyway, I don't know how old your children are so perhaps you just can't relate to my examples. But right now, even though you say it's similar to ps, I find using ourselves as the "connective tissue" for learning historical facts and events a perfectly appropriate approach for us.

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Hey, people do what they want, sure, but this approach to teaching history is specifically one of the reasons we're not sending our child to school: because although I love her more than myself, more than my life, she is not the center of the universe and I don't want her to think so or have that reinforced in our teaching of history.
It depends on when you find her ready for a different approach to learning. Certainly at four, I don't sit down at the table with a book and say "Okay Raye, now we are going to start from the beginning....." BUT, perhaps when she is a little older I can tell her that we will be studying specifics historical events. So then, what are all my options here? I could instead go get a book and she is expected to learn them and their relation to others in history. This sounds a lot like ps to me too. What are you suggesting is a better way to teach history to a child under 10? And when does teaching history not veer too far from either side of the spectrum? How can I teach history and still consider myself an unschooler when the approach that seems to work for us seems too akin to ps? Maybe I still have to unschool myself more before I figure out how we will do it.

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Too many of my students believe that all history before 1987 or so was completely irrelevant. Why? Well, that's basically what they learned in school...that it's all about them. The self-centric universe
I think what you're really referring to here is an attitude of indifference to the importance of what is or is not supposed to be learned. In ps, such things are supposed to be learned. For hs, and esp unschooling, there are no "supposed ta's". I also think that this attitude is fostered in ps and therefor doesn't apply to most homeschoolers because our way of thinking doesn't involve such attitudes about learning. This is from what I can tell.... correct me if I'm wrong.

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#127 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 10:04 PM
 
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When my five year old was out and people would say "do you like school?" and she'd answer "I'm only five. School age in Missouri is seven. Then I'll be homeschooled".

Yes I did small educational activities with her , at her request. Yes I made sure her mind was activated every single day , with things she wanted to do. Yes , my ultimate goal was to homeschool her.....but NO I was not homeschooling her at age five. Or three. Or six. Not until seven did I start more formal activities with her. I am now homeschooling her.


I got into an argument with a lady irl who insisted she was homeschooling. When I asked where her children were she said "at school". Her definition of homeschooling was "educational stuff at home". When the child sat down to do homework or play and educational hand held electronic game , the mother thought she was homeschooling. That isn't homeschooling. That's called helping a child with homework and buying good toys for your kids. That's called being a good parent. That's not homeschooling.

A child being taught abc's and 123's under school age at home is just a child under school age at home with some educational structure.

A child of school age being taught (or learning themselves) abc's and 123's at home is being homeschooled.
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#128 of 234 Old 11-08-2005, 11:45 PM
 
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When my five year old was out and people would say "do you like school?" and she'd answer "I'm only five. School age in Missouri is seven. Then I'll be homeschooled".
.
Cute. My youngest dd is 6 and she cannot be bothered. Today at the dentist she was asked by the hygenist what grade she was in. She rolled her eyes and said "I am homeschooled and don't have a grade".

While i'd like to say she sounded all sweet, she did not. She sounded aggravated. Which sort of surprised me because we are never questioned or hassled about hsing here in MA. It's very common.

When the dentist came at the end to count her whole 24 baby teeth , she said " I think I remember you're homeschooled. How is that going?" My dd replied "Great". The dentist then turned to me and said 'I wasn't sure whether you were doing any set year".

Gotta love it. I dod give here some crumbs for trying. "She's a joy. If we did grades, she'd be about first grade".

It's *such* a non issue here.
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#129 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 12:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jen123
I got into an argument with a lady irl who insisted she was homeschooling. When I asked where her children were she said "at school". Her definition of homeschooling was "educational stuff at home". When the child sat down to do homework or play and educational hand held electronic game , the mother thought she was homeschooling. That isn't homeschooling. That's called helping a child with homework and buying good toys for your kids. That's called being a good parent. That's not homeschooling.
There's actually a thread somewhere now where a public school Mom is referring to after-school enrichment as "homeschooling". I've heard lots of people say that their child goes to public school and they also "homeschool" them when they get home. If that's true, then everyone is a homeschooler. It could be called "after-schooling" or "after school enrichment", but it's not homeschooling.

In the same vein, perhaps there should be a term called, "home preschooling". Again, it's very unusual to skip preschool where we live, so we find it useful to tell confused/concerned people that we are making a different lifestyle choice that will continue into the school years. Simply saying, "We plan to homeschool." works too. I just don't care. I do hate being blown off by the, "It's just childhood." line, however. I guess you'd have to hear it in context; it goes with that whole "Children shouldn't do xyz before this specific age." It bugs me.
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#130 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 12:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka
and i am surprised to see such an open definition of unschooling here.
I think I am confused by "unschooling" at this point, because of the multiple open interpretations. Going by some of the definitions, with strewing and asking the child to do certain subjects, it sounds like everyone is an unschooler, which isn't true. Very few people actually force their child to do things, so the absence of overt coercion can't solely define it. I'm checking my understanding that it's child-led learning free of parental expectations, but yet not everyone in this forum agrees with that. I think I've read this thread and thought about this too much in the last few days. It's all running together at this point.

I have enjoyed this thread immensely, however. It's been very thought-provoking.
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#131 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 12:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mumto2
And while we're talking about preschool homeschoolers, I am sometimes amazed at the advise given to posters with school aged children by unschooling parents of preschoolers.
Fair enough. I once saw a thread about extended crying tantrums by 3yos and parents of infants insisted that it was "CIO". If you've never had a 3yo before, then you can't usually have a realistic understanding of what it involves. A newborn left to cry and a 3yo freaking out over the wrong sippy cup color are not the same thing; CIO...gosh.

I think it's human nature to often get passionate about our vision and then have some universal beliefs that may or may not be true. I've looked back on things I thought even a year ago wrt parenting and I've chuckled over how wise I thought I was. We're learning everyday. Thanks for this reminder...
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#132 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lilyka
and i am surprised to see such an open definition of unschooling here. we used to be unschoolers who taught a couple of subjhects and we were grilled by people who said "either you believe it works or you don't. you are not an unschooler at all. it isn't something you do for some subjects" i was by the way. teaching my child to read and some basic math.
I'm not seeing the definition to which you're referring ... when did anyone who is unschooling say that unschooling was something you could only do for some subjects? I definitely wouldn't agree with that. To say you're unschooling in some subjects is meanignless... I mean, you could say that most children are unschooling in basket weaving and kite flying and lego-building, because they're able to determine their own learning in those areas... but that's not what determine unschooling.

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#133 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 02:34 AM
 
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And while we're talking about preschool homeschoolers, I am sometimes amazed at the advise given to posters with school aged children by unschooling parents of preschoolers.
Why because we can't have a single useful idea in our heads because our kids are under official age? :
I suppose you think we should only post on toddler threads about wet pants and tantrums.
I've reserched homeschooling now for 5 years, and occationaly feel like I have something to add. Especially to someone who is just starting to look into it. But then I'm from another country also, so I guess I better not say anything about anything!
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#134 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 02:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
It seems like every other article I read about unschooling teenagers suggests that it's very reasonable for a boy to teach himself to read at 14 because he wants to be able to read video game magazines and has no other goals.
Hm...My son pushed his level of reading up when almost age 8 in order to read his video game magazines, and I've heard of many others doing the same thing - but I've never heard this of teens. I find it very hard to imagine a boy who was a video game player suddenly deciding at age 14 to learn read in order to read video game magazines he would have been wanting to read for many years already.

As an aside, a friend just told me today about a letter from her grown son that really moved her. He just graduated from college, and is applying to law schools. He's been writing essays that describe what an amazing and unique education he feels he was able to get because of unschooling, and what a valuable influence the experience has been on his whole way of thinking and being (similar to things my own son wrote in his college applications). He told his mom that while reviewing his education and writing these essays, he's come to a fresh realization about "the gift" she gave him by bringing him up with that kind of experience. - Lillian
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#135 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 03:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LeftField
Very few people actually force their child to do things, so the absence of overt coercion can't solely define it.
Oh, hunny, I just wish that were true. I even ran across one thread where people were discussing whether or not the grades in their gradebooks should be changed if a child does better on a test he's been made to repeat because of having failed a previous one. A couple moms laughed about their toughness, saying they refuse to change the old grade in the grade book even when the child has improved mastery of the subject - because the bad grade has already been earned. One extremely popular author even suggests in her website making up a written chart that shows what consequences there will be for whining, complaining, or crying instead of complying with assignments. - Lillian
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#136 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 07:39 AM
 
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When my five year old was out and people would say "do you like school?" and she'd answer "I'm only five. School age in Missouri is seven. Then I'll be homeschooled".

Yes I did small educational activities with her , at her request. Yes I made sure her mind was activated every single day , with things she wanted to do. Yes , my ultimate goal was to homeschool her.....but NO I was not homeschooling her at age five. Or three. Or six. Not until seven did I start more formal activities with her. I am now homeschooling her.
Well, in the UK, official school age is 5. So from age 5 ds will be 'officially' home educated. However, in the UK, almost every child starts nursery (our pre-school) at age 3. It is VERY unusual not to. So, I always say we are home educating when I am being grilled about WHY ds is not in nursery. I really don't need anyone's permission or approval for saying this. I'm sure people are aware that home education at this point is different than from what it will look like in a few years, but it helps others understand where we are coming from. We're also members of the national home education organization, and no, they don't have an age limit either.

The condescending attitude towards 'preschool home educators' in this thread is really not warranted. I'm feeling inclined to not participate in this forum anymore if this dismissive attitude towards young children & home education prevails.
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#137 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 02:05 PM
 
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The condescending attitude towards 'preschool home educators' in this thread is really not warranted. I'm feeling inclined to not participate in this forum anymore if this dismissive attitude towards young children & home education prevails.
aye,aye

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#138 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 02:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J


Oh, hunny, I just wish that were true. I even ran across one thread where people were discussing whether or not the grades in their gradebooks should be changed if a child does better on a test he's been made to repeat because of having failed a previous one. A couple moms laughed about their toughness, saying they refuse to change the old grade in the grade book even when the child has improved mastery of the subject - because the bad grade has already been earned. One extremely popular author even suggests in her website making up a written chart that shows what consequences there will be for whining, complaining, or crying instead of complying with assignments. - Lillian
Wow! I think I lead a sheltered life sometimes.
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#139 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The condescending attitude towards 'preschool home educators' in this thread is really not warranted. I'm feeling inclined to not participate in this forum anymore if this dismissive attitude towards young children & home education prevails.
I'd really like to know where it's coming from, because frankly I don't get it. Does it somehow invalidate your homeschooling experience if I refer to what I do with my three year old as homeschooling?

Around here, most people don't "work with" their young children. They send them to Head Start and/or preschool, and most kids attend k-3 (at 4.5) and k-4 (at 5.5) before kindergarten (at 6). Maybe it's because I live in a poor neighborhood where all of the kids are considered "high risk" by virtue of their parents' incomes, but most people in this neighborhood don't feel like they could possibly be up to the task of homeschooling. It may not be the case where you live, but around here it's just plain weird not to send your child to Head Start and if you don't people ask if you're homeschooling. I think it's really silly to say that a kid can't possibly be homeschooling until they're mandatory-school age because, again, I think that's the whole "kids can't/shouldn't do x until they're y years of age." It's a seriously schoolish mindset.

joandsarah77-- I think that what the poster talking about advice was getting at was this: when the parent of a 9 year old is concerned that their child is not reading and they get advice from the parent of an unschooling three year old saying, "Just let them play," it doesn't really help the parent of the 9 year old. It's a different issue; most parents of three year olds aren't going to be concerned that their child has no interest in learning how to read, but with a 9 year old it's an entirely different story. Nine year olds are more likely to have friends or siblings who read, so there may be social pressure. They may have an issue which is preventing them from learning to read, or they may need some encouragement. None of those things will come up for a three year old-- the parent of said three year old couldn't possibly know what's going on, or be able to relate to the issues that the parent and child might be dealing with.

They're not saying that you should limit your posts to toddlers, not at all, only saying that you should keep in mind the person you're speaking to when you're giving advice.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#140 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 03:01 PM
 
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...And...fourlittlebirds-I don't think unschooling is lazy, but maybe why some may hear that term and think so is b/c they feel at least if you're sending the kids to school, at least you're "trying" to educate them, whereas the term sounds to the uninformed like maybe the parents don't care about their kids education,or not "trying"?
I think it all goes to show how entrenched the notion of "school" as the vehicle for learning is in our minds. We've come to associate learning with school, whereas deep and extensive learning can take place outside of that institution and without duplication of its model. When people hear the word "unschooling," they often automatically think it means non-educating. It's convenient to use the term "homeschooling," but it can really present an image of a school scenario in a home. There are even people who begin by ringing a bell, saying the Plege of Allegiance, etc. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with ringing bells or saying the Pledge - it's just that I personally ("in my own humble opinion," as we used to say online and perhaps should be saying more often today) find it sad that we've woven the idea of learning with the ideas of "school" to the extent that it's hard to separate the two ideas from one another. Lillian
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#141 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it all goes to show how entrenched the notion of "school" as the vehicle for learning is in our minds. We've come to associate learning with school, whereas deep and extensive learning can take place outside of that institution and without duplication of its model. When people hear the word "unschooling," they often automatically think it means non-educating. It's convenient to use the term "homeschooling," but it can really present an image of a school scenario in a home.
This is interesting to me, too. I have never associated "learning" or even "education" with "school;" in my mind, those things have always been separate. The more time I spent in school, the more distant these concepts became to me. The thing is, even thinking that way didn't lead me to unschooling (according to most of the definitions of unschooling that I've read). Anti-schooling, perhaps, but not anti-education or anti-learning by any stretch of the imagination. I think that there's a misconception among unschoolers about what non-unschooling homeschoolers do. I guess that "home educating" would be more accurate than "home schooling," but I find that it doesn't roll off my tongue as easily... I should work on that.

Anyway, my point: just because someone is educating their child at home and using a more structured or parent-directed approach doesn't mean that they're doing anything like "school." While there are homeschoolers who simply seek to duplicate the school environment at home, I think that the majority of us (especially here at MDC) just don't see the point of that. It's a lot of work, and for what? To duplicate a system that seems to be hell-bent on screwing kids over? Why would anyone bother?

Very little of what we do at home could be found in the average classroom. There's no one telling my kids how to do things and chastising them for doing things "incorrectly." Their teacher/facilitator/whatever is very interested in what they do and how they do it, and has a vested interest in each individual child's performance, rather than the performance of the family as a whole. It's not like I can afford to let BeanBean slide because BooBah and NewBean do really well and my overall "grade" would be okay. It's important to me that all of my children learn and grow, not just as students but as human beings. I have the time to invest in them because I don't have to spend 20 minutes of every hour dealing with other children and trying to get them all to focus on the task at hand, and another 20 minutes getting all the kids to line up and walk in said line to go somewhere else.

When it comes to actual learning, I have an interest in seeing to it that my children thoroughly understand the concepts that they are dealing with. I don't need (or want) to just let them slide if they understand 65% of what they're doing-- we'll keep working on it until they understand 95%. I don't need formal tests to find out how much they understand, it will be very apparent to me as we go over the concepts how much the kids are retaining from the very beginning. I only need to keep track of these things in my head, in order to know what materials to present next-- can we move on, or do we need to review? There's no need for "testing" of any kind in our "home school", but you'll find it in just about every kind of school classroom. It's totally different.

I don't *like* the things that go on in school classrooms. If I did, I wouldn't bother home educating my own children. However, my dislike has nothing to do with formal instruction or education, two things which, again, I don't really associate with school at all. Even though I think that most of what goes on in school classrooms is abhorent, I'm not drawn to radical unschooling as an alternative. I don't see the path away from "school as education" as being that simple.

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#142 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 03:37 PM
 
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I think it's really silly to say that a kid can't possibly be homeschooling until they're mandatory-school age because, again, I think that's the whole "kids can't/shouldn't do x until they're y years of age." It's a seriously schoolish mindset.
I don't think that is it at all. The distinction for me is that school IS mandated and preschool is not, no matter how common it is in your neighbourhood. The difference may only be in matter of degrees to you now, but there is a fundamental difference between not sending your child to preschool which is only an option and not sending your child to public/private school for their k-12 education which our society has declared in its laws as essential.

Fifteen to 20 years from now your child is not likely to feel he had a dramatically different experience from his peers b/c he didn't go to preschool but he is likely to feel that way if he is homeschooled for a significant portion of his life.

The choice to forego mainstream school in favour of homeschooling is truly activated at school age, although you may be thinking and planning it well in advance. Kind of like a wedding - you might be planning it in advance, you might know that you are not going to change your mind about it - you might even feel married - but in societal terms until you sign that paper, you are engaged not married.

Its got nothing to do with a schoolish mindset or the assumption that kids can only do math once they are 6 for example. ( this made me chuckle that you used this argument in a debate with a self proclaimed radical unschooler).

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#143 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 04:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J


I think it all goes to show how entrenched the notion of "school" as the vehicle for learning is in our minds. We've come to associate learning with school, whereas deep and extensive learning can take place outside of that institution and without duplication of its model. When people hear the word "unschooling," they often automatically think it means non-educating. It's convenient to use the term "homeschooling," but it can really present an image of a school scenario in a home. There are even people who begin by ringing a bell, saying the Plege of Allegiance, etc. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with ringing bells or saying the Pledge - it's just that I personally ("in my own humble opinion," as we used to say online and perhaps should be saying more often today) find it sad that we've woven the idea of learning with the ideas of "school" to the extent that it's hard to separate the two ideas from one another. Lillian
because we were not duplicating the school model was one of the reasons we self-defined as" unschoolers" I think John Holt's newsletters also put us around this definition as well-- I agree too that many people associate unschooling with -non-education or even anti-education ( the uncola of learning).
because schools and education are so entwined is partly why we have people who say parents do not educate children under school age- my mother swears I was reading by age 3, and our older daughter read at 4 so was education/unschooling, homeschooling going on? here in Az the mandatory school age is 8, and yet many children are institutionalized from soon after birth in educational day cares. I think that many SAHMs are often self-defining in reaction to a mainstream system- and are unschooling/homeschooling their children even if they only do it for a period of time.
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#144 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
None of those things will come up for a three year old-- the parent of said three year old couldn't possibly know what's going on, or be able to relate to the issues that the parent and child might be dealing with.
That's probably somewhat similar to people (perfectly intelligent and sensitive people) who haven't had children trying to advise people with children as to how they should be raised. Who among us hasn't looked back and realized we knew a lot less than we thought we did before we had children of our own?

It's also kind of related to a different dynamic that I've seen a lot of - and maybe this is even the wrong thread to mention this in, but this discussion does seem to be going into a lot of depth and breadth, so I'll go ahead and share my thoughts... Something I've noticed over the years is that a large amount of strong advice about a wide number of homeschooling issues is given by people who have just barely begun the journey themselves - and I've definitely been there/done that myself! I think that when we first begin, we're really excited and enchanted with the whole new wonderful world educational theory, methods, materials, styles, and ourselves as teachers, etc., but a lot of that changes with more and more experience, giving way to the individual child being more the center of the experience rather than the parent being so much of it.

I know a whole lot of people who have succesfully completed the homeschooling journey, their kids now articulate, thriving, independent young adults, many of whom are doing very well in various good colleges - and they tend to have strong opinions, from experience, that there's really no reason to put so much into trying to school young children. It's not as if all these people began thinking like that - not at all - but they did find themselves moving that way as they went along, and grew to feel that their earlier anxieties had been undue.

A friend was putting together a book by parents whose kids had "graduated" from homeschooling, and was drawing writing contributions from a community where she expected to find an overwhelming number who had done highly structured school-at-home - but she found herself surprised to find that almost all the respondents had moved away from that along the way and ended up much like people who refer to themselves as unschoolers. She really had to wrestle with whether to go out and beat the bushes for people who had stuck with other methods, but finally realized she had already done what was reasonable. I realize full well this isn't always the case at all, but it is more of a trend than a lot of people realize. Lillian
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#145 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J
That's probably somewhat similar to people (perfectly intelligent and sensitive people) who haven't had children trying to advise people with children as to how they should be raised. Who among us hasn't looked back and realized we knew a lot less than we thought we did before we had children of our own?
That's exactly what it is.

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Something I've noticed over the years is that a large amount of strong advice about a wide number of homeschooling issues is given by people who have just barely begun the journey themselves - and I've definitely been there/done that myself! I think that when we first begin, we're really excited and enchanted with the whole new wonderful world educational theory, methods, materials, styles, and ourselves as teachers, etc.,
Yeah, that's pretty much the same thing. It's one of the reasons that I don't like to speak in absolutes when I'm giving advice to people, and I don't think I will be even after my kids have "graduated" and left home. I can advise people who are interested in various curricula, and give my opinions, but I can't say "This will work for your family!" because all I've really got to go on is my own kids (who are quite young) and anecdotal evidence from people I've known in real life.

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She really had to wrestle with whether to go out and beat the bushes for people who had stuck with other methods, but finally realized she had already done what was reasonable. I realize full well this isn't always the case at all, but it is more of a trend than a lot of people realize.
I don't know-- most of the homeschooling books that I've read have said or implied strongly that as children get older, most structured-method families move to a less structured method. I can't imagine that all families will be this way (and have personally met a few families where this is definately not the case) but I can see how it would happen, particularly if you start with a highly structured, parent-intensive method and take scheduling very seriously. I can't imagine being that structured for kindergarten or elementary school, but... to each his own.

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The distinction for me is that school IS mandated and preschool is not, no matter how common it is in your neighbourhood. The difference may only be in matter of degrees to you now, but there is a fundamental difference between not sending your child to preschool which is only an option and not sending your child to public/private school for their k-12 education which our society has declared in its laws as essential.
Okay. The mandatory school age in my state is 8 years. The thing is, most people (outside of the homeschooling community) are not aware of this. They're also not aware of the fact that legally a child cannot be forced to attend school after they've completed the 8th grade or attained 16 years, or that the school districts are required to keep a student until he/she is 24 years old, if they haven't managed to graduate and choose to stay in school. Does that mean that Pennsylvanians who homeschool are only doing so between the ages of 8 and 14 or so?

It's like hospital birth vs. homebirth-- if people don't *know* that they have a choice, do they still have one? Around here, people don't know that they have a choice. Many know that Head Start is optional, but I've met very few who know that k-3 is also optional, and the overwhelming majority "know" that k-4 is mandatory (and, in fact, the way that the laws are going k-4 may become mandatory in the near future). I've told many people that the mandatory school age in PA is 8 years, and they were *shocked*. They'd never heard of a child who didn't start school until they were eight years old! I've never met one who wasn't home-educated.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#146 of 234 Old 11-09-2005, 05:55 PM
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The choice to forego mainstream school in favour of homeschooling is truly activated at school age, although you may be thinking and planning it well in advance.
Yep.

Being a math person, I googled some stats. The estimates on the percentage of 4 year olds in some sort of preschool program was 50-70%, which sounds reasonable to me, especially considering how many children this age are in childcare so the parents can work. So, a lot, but not "almost everyone", and white kids were significantly more likely to be in some sort of preschool than Black or Latino kids. In contrast, 98% of children were enrolled in a public or private kindergarten... the rest were homeschooling.

Preschool programs also can be very different from regular school. I've known quite a few homeschooling moms whose preschoolers went to preschool, because they loved it. The kids spent 3 hours twice a week painting and playing with toys and hanging out with other three year olds, and then they went home. The local parks and rec preschool where we lived in the bay area was great for this - very low-stress fun stuff. They also generally went for 6 weeks at a time, and then stopped for a few months, and then picked it up again... Kindergaren, OTOH, is every day, all day long, and there are grades, 20 kids in a class, state standards to be met, tests to be taken, and the pressure is on.
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Its got nothing to do with a schoolish mindset or the assumption that kids can only do math once they are 6 for example. ( this made me chuckle that you used this argument in a debate with a self proclaimed radical unschooler).
Yep again. I'm not seeing how not considering 3 year olds to be homeschooled translates into not believing that 3 year olds shouldn't do anything academic. It's called home*schooling*, so defining it in relationship to school makes sense. Defining it in relation to teaching formal academics makes no sense, because by that definition plenty of us unschoolers are not homeschooling, even though our kids are definitely school-age and they're not in school. I think it's funny to define homeschooling in a way that could include infants and exclude teenagers who have never been to school.

Oh, and based on my completely unscientific poll, 58% of parents of young children believe that the child's primary educator is one or both of his parents, 4% believe it's his preschool or childcare teacher, 29% believe that the child is his own primary educator, and 8% believe that the question doesn't apply to the parents' worldview. So, defining homeschooling as being your child's primary educator seems to be a faulty definition.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ts&pollid=3677

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#147 of 234 Old 11-10-2005, 03:24 AM
 
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I really think this depends on the kid, because it didn't mess with my kid's thinking process; it aided him.
I think that for me to mention that my son did worse after the instruction obscured the point I was trying to get across (and I think maybe it was more clear with the example of the artwork) which is that there is a kind of process of the brain that I regard as extremely valuable that gets turned off when another process is imposed from without. In the case of the puzzle he and I both experienced great delight in seeing him approach it intuitively and on a different level of conscious thought than rule-following requires -- almost a magical thing, because our society doesn't encourage it and therefore we don't get to see it very often -- and certainly there is a difference in how that feels, and how it feels to approach something according to a preordained set of rules. So that was lost, and to me that's not a small thing. But it's true that in terms of the end goal -- a completed puzzle -- it's going to be the same no matter how you come to it. It can only go together in one way, obviously. Not so with some things, for instance art and theoretical science and philosophy; the way in which the brain approaches these things very much does have an affect on the end result.

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If you wanted to change the oil on a car, there is a correct way of doing it.
Oh, the automotive reference reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance! Addresses this very issue.

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Some people might prefer to figure it out on their own and other people might prefer someone to show them how.
Yes, and actually I'm not arguing against that at all. Instruction can work very well and be a very good thing. I just see it as being potentially harmful if used too early and too often, if imposed, if regarded as the default mode of learning, if relied on solely.
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#148 of 234 Old 11-10-2005, 04:39 AM
 
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The thing is, even thinking that way didn't lead me to unschooling (according to most of the definitions of unschooling that I've read). Anti-schooling, perhaps, but not anti-education or anti-learning by any stretch of the imagination.
I'm sorry, but I think I must be reading this wrong. Could you clarify what you mean by the second sentence in relation to the first? It sounds like you're implying that unschooling is anti-education and anti-learning.
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#149 of 234 Old 11-10-2005, 05:24 AM
 
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I think that there's a misconception among unschoolers about what non-unschooling homeschoolers do. [...] Anyway, my point: just because someone is educating their child at home and using a more structured or parent-directed approach doesn't mean that they're doing anything like "school." [...] Very little of what we do at home could be found in the average classroom.
Maybe there's a misconception among homeschoolers about what unschoolers think non-unschooling homeschoolers do. (sorry, couldn't resist )

Seriously though, I'm a little taken aback at the assumption that unschoolers think that non-unschooling homeschoolers just do "school at home". I guess I would have assumed that as a group we come off a little smarter than that. Eek. I have to admit, though, that I hadn't considered that to use the term "unschooler" to differentiate what I do from what you do is implying that you do do school. (And doo-be-doo-be-doo... geez, maybe I should just go to bed and start again when I can manage clearer sentence structure.)
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#150 of 234 Old 11-10-2005, 08:33 AM
 
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I wouldn't consider a child younger than school-age to be homeschooled or unschooled, no matter what he's doing.
Really, Dar?
I know one (pre-schooling) homeschooling family who's currently halfway through Story of the World I, reading a kids' version of The Iliad, in the second book of Miquon Math (after a year spent doing Saxon 1A), learning beginning Spanish and chemistry...but they're not really homeschooling?

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To me, you're only homeschooling when what you're doing is in lieu of school, and I don't include preschool (which is, really, pre-school). Why is it so important to have his achievements defined as "homeschooling"? Why can't a child just do things as part of childhood, without a formal label for it?
What if it certainly is in lieu of school? What if, for some children "pre-school" (i.e., when education is informal) really only meant age 1 through age 20 months -- due to their needs, their abilities, their desires to learn?

To answer your question, I would say that it is important to have his or her achievements defined as "homeschooling" because a label has the power to define one activity as distinct from another activity -- "homeschooling" as opposed to "playing," for example. Why can't a child do things without a label? They DO do things without a label, Dar, whether we want them to or not, and they continue to do (or not do) things whether or not a label is applied to the activity. The label has use among adults because (like I said above) it defines a specific activity. It has a use among children because it helps to define their educational status when asked.


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I've also known plenty of people who "work with" their children when the children are too young for school, and state loudly and often that they are homeschooling and will continue to do so... and then when the child gets old enough for kindergarten or first grade, he's off to school. It happens every year on this board, and in homeschool groups.
I would say that they were homeschoolers who changed their minds. People do that.

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To me, there is a fundamental difference when a child is at the age when nearly all of his peers are in school (and , again, childcare is not the same thing) and he's not. To me, that's when you're homeschooling.

I also think it's great when people planning to homeschool join homeschooling boards or lists or groups, for the record...

dar
But again, Dar, what if a child's age and a child's abilities don't run in sync? What if a child's differences demanded an approach that was fundamentally and measurably different from the approach necessary for that child's peers? Is it homeschooling then? Or does the activity I described above only become "homeschooling" when the child in question turns school age...in a year?
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