Is unschooling really a good idea? - Page 15 - Mothering Forums

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#421 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 10:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J
And that's what differentiates if from unschooling. The question with an unschooler wouldn't be "I'll see if he can learn it," but "I'll see if he has any interest in it."
And this is pretty much the distinction I've been trying to make all along. I don't think that a parent needs to confine him/herself to only sharing his or her own personal interests with the child or to doing things the child might enjoy. I don't think there's anything wrong with attempting to teach things that are intended to be educational, any more than there's anything wrong with trying to get a kid to eat vegetables (not because he might enjoy them, but because they're good for him).

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efore my son was born, by the way, I was quite the expert about parenting.
Look, I get the point, but at the same time, I'm not going to pretend I don't have any opinions just because I haven't had much personal experience homeschooling my own kids yet. I have been a child, I have spent time with other people's children, I have studied homeschooling philosophies extensively for years - and I wouldn't tell Grace Llewellyn that she might change her mind about the benefits of structured homeschooling once she has kids of her own.
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#422 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 10:26 PM
 
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P.S. I was at one time strongly interested in unschooling - having a child of my own has so far made me less inclined to think it's right for us.
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#423 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 10:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pookel
Look, I get the point, but at the same time, I'm not going to pretend I don't have any opinions just because I haven't had much personal experience homeschooling my own kids yet. I have been a child, I have spent time with other people's children, I have studied homeschooling philosophies extensively for years - and I wouldn't tell Grace Llewellyn that she might change her mind about the benefits of structured homeschooling once she has kids of her own.
: Okay, okay - but I still think you'll find the reality somewhat different from the theory, just as it is for basic parenting. I certainly did! I read a LOT, heard a lot of very convincing talk at conferences from some very impressive people who'd been there/done that, talked to local unschoolers, and I still found that it had to be demonstrated in front of my own eyes by my own son before I got it, and even then I was a little slow. AND if you want to do structured schooling when the time comes, it's no big deal anyway. This thread isn't about convincing anyone they should be unschooling - it's about discussing whether unschooling is a good a idea, which, as some of us have said, is an idea people of other philosophies would have a fit over if anyone started a thread dissecting their choices. I was just trying to explain that unschoolers DO approve of and DO do some of the things that a lot of people assume they don't do - and differentiating between what brings those things into a category other than unschooling. Lillian
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#424 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Roar
Right, all people have a set of beliefs about what will make their kids happy. Why is it okay for you to have a set of beliefs about ballet and to check and confirm them and proceed accordingly, but it is instantly suspect if someone has a set of beliefs about say math. How is your daughter safe from you having a set of expectations when you clearly have one? Because your set of expectations is cooler somehow because it doesn't sound academic?
Huh? Really, have you been reading this thread? I have beliefs about what my child will enjoy in all areas. When I see something that I think will interest her, or that she'll enjoy, I tell her about it. That's unschooling. I'm aware that I may be wrong, and that's okay. If you have close relationships with people, you get pretty good at figuring out what they'll enjoy. That's how I know what to send my family for Christmas... and random times in between.

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Is your belief that the child can always sense the difference? I mean if kids are so darn whipped by their frenzy of dependence
Sre you talking about your child? Surely not mine... it's 8:43 pm here and I have yet to see her or speak with her today, but I'm sure she's fine. Dependent she's not, though.

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on their parents how can they distinguish between "There's a ballet on Thursday to you want to go" and "there's a ballet on Thursday do you want to go" (and I think that it is because the arts are important).
I think that children can often tell when people are suggesting an activity because they have ulterior motives, yes.

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Is it possible that knowing math facts at three could be something really happy for some people? That to think about math is so fundamental to their experience of being human? It wouldn't be for me, but I can imagine for others it may well be
. Math is really a huge subject... a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking of it as simply arithmetic, but that's such a small piece of it.

A few people will want to learn addition facts at 3, sure, although I can't imagine it being fundamental to their humanity... but all people want to be happy. There's a big difference between the two.

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Interesting my take on it is totally different. I see that in a family that pays attention to these concerns and builds a strong relationship a child is at their safest to say what works for them and what doesn't.
And I think a parent who takes the time to build a strong relationship with a child and avoids coercing her will have a child who trusts the parent enough to tell the parent when something isn't working for her... something my daughter has done with classes since she was 3, but your son was unable to do.
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Further, out of their love for the child the parent offers the extra level of protection of really knowing the child and offering some protection. Whereas, you see dangers of "coercion" and "guiding" I see a parent who trusts their kid.
I still don't see how trusting someone means inflicting your agenda on him and not allowing him to make his own decisions.

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On the other hand, the teacher may well not care about this student at all. They may not care about the big picture of what is good for her. For example, they may seek to promote an image of an ideal body that would actually be quite unhealthy or seek to push rapid progress in a subject as means of validating their skills as a teacher.
Right. And Rain at 13 is quite aware of those issues. When she was younger, I shared that kind of information with her, but at 13 she knows a lot more about what makes a good ballet teacher than I do - and she's always known more about what she likes than I do.

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For parents to "guide" is toxic, but for a child to be taught according to a rigid curriculum by a random stranger is entirely safe.
But this isn't a random stranger. This is a well-trained professional who is teaching Rain the way she wants to be taught. She's tried other ballet teachers and left after one class, because they weren't teaching the way she wanted. Why would I think I knew more about which class was right for her? Actually, I started by assuming that she wanted something low-key and fun, and after she tried a few classes it became clear to me that she didn't want that at all - she wanted challenging and intense.

Maybe it's the word "guide" that we're hung up on. When I say guide, I mean To direct the course of; steer and To exert control or influence over.. Do I advise, offer information, share my theories, answer questions? Sure. Then I leave it up to her.

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But, other people who teach about math are "coercive" or engaging in dangerous "guiding" behavior. Double standard if I've ever heard one. Your daugther is some how magically secure enough not to be harmed by your teaching but other kids are not.
Please, take a minute to stop and actually read what I say, rather than dashing off replies where you once again create straw men and knock them down. You're so clearly not understanding what unschooling is, and there are so many great posts on this and other threads.

Teaching is fine, with the freely-given consent of the learner, be it addition, knitting, or how to load a dishwasher. No magic, no double standard. When Rain first learned the standard addition algorithm (from me) she thought it was the greatest thing, and went around asking everyone to write her some very long addition problems. She preferred twenty-plus digit numbers. She'd been able to add 3 and 4-digit numbers in her head for a while, but couldn't keep longer numbers straight. She saw me adding up games scores one day and asked how I did it, and I explained it. It was lovely... and it was all hers and all joyful. She felt the same way when she learned to fold towels. Actually, pretty much all of her learning has been entirely joyful. That's what unschooling - learning without being "guided" or "steered" - is like.

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#425 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 11:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
Teaching is fine, with the freely-given consent of the learner, be it addition, knitting, or how to load a dishwasher. No magic, no double standard..........

She saw me adding up games scores one day and asked how I did it, and I explained it. It was lovely... and it was all hers and all joyful. She felt the same way when she learned to fold towels. Actually, pretty much all of her learning has been entirely joyful. That's what unschooling - learning without being "guided" or "steered" - is like.
This reflects how it works for us too.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#426 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 11:34 PM
 
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#427 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by chfriend
Here's the part of that article that really caught my eye:

"If a complaint occurs when you simply state the alternative, double the consequence. (But make sure you forewarn the child of this result! Otherwise you will produce resentment.) One parent who successfully broke the habit of complaining with his child continually doubled the work so that it filled all of the child's free time for two days. The child stopped complaining.

Tell the child that specific assignments have to be completed before play-time begins. Then carry through; refuse to excuse the child for play until the work is done. A good rule might be, 'If you play during study time, you must study during play time.'"


I could conclude that I don't even have to send my kid to school for them to lose recess!

I don't believe that the vast majority of the WTM parents on MDC use this particular approach. And I don't think it's the method per se that causes this kind of punitive approach. It is the reason that while I enjoy some of the resources parent-structured hsing suggest, I can't see myself going there.
I would agree -- I would never dream of using this method for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it turns the work into a punishment. I don't want her to think of work as a punishment or a tool of punishment, but rather as something positive. I heartily disagree with this method.
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#428 of 591 Old 07-20-2006, 11:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Lisalucy
I've a question to ask, and I'm not familiar with the quote feature, so if you would bear with me...

Going back to the benefit of teaching history in chronological order: If you are presenting history chronologically -- let's say you're studying ancients -- and your child is interested in English queens or flight so you read up about that too, then isn't your child learning out of order?

I guess what I'm getting at is, don't we all have the ability to take in all different kinds of information and put that into a comprehensive whole? Isn't that what our brains just do? Why would learning be so different from the rest of life that it should be so neat and tidy?

I'm nak and this is really slow going, so stopping for now.

--LL
Well, to answer for us, it's no problem for me if my dd wants to read something or learn about a historical figure or period "out of order," because we continue with the chronological history "spine" in addition to the self-chosen historical figure. For instance, we're learning about Dark Ages Europe and the Golden Age of India, but she's also reading one of the Royal Diary books on Isabella of Castile, so that's approximately a thousand years off our chronology.

However, with review (which we do about once a week, and it's pretty comprehensive), the chronological pattern of the spine reasserts itself despite the digression, and when we get to the late 1400s, she'll be even more interested in Isabella because of having read about her before, so I see it as a no-lose situation.

Do we all have the ability to put information into a comprehensive whole? No, no we don't. Some people really stink at it while others are quite proficient -- but my question is this: why compel a child to re-invent the wheel, as it were, reconstructing a chronological understanding of history when it would have been simpler (and just as rewarding) to present it in order?

Here's what I mean: I suppose that, if you wanted to, you could read a book in any particular order you wanted to. Let's say you like the number "sixteen," so you start at chapter 16 and read it. Then, flipping through the book, you notice chapter 45 begins with the word "Cinnamon," which you like to eat, so you read that. Then you read chapter 5, and so on.

Now, after we've read all the chapters -- and man, you'd have to check them off or something in the table of contents to make sure you'd read them all -- I suppose that it would be possible to say, "Now, tell me the plot of the novel from the beginning to 'They all lived happily ever after to the end of their days,'" and people might be able to do it -- but WHY? Why not simply start at chapter one and, well, read it?
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#429 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 12:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
Sre you talking about your child? Surely not mine... it's 8:43 pm here and I have yet to see her or speak with her today, but I'm sure she's fine. Dependent she's not, though.dar
Dar you are the one who is saying because children are dependent on their parents they are desperate to please them and at risk of things like believing they want to be a doctor when they really don't. This is your contention not mine.

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Originally Posted by Dar
I think that children can often tell when people are suggesting an activity because they have ulterior motives, yes. dar
You and I probably have entirely different definitions of ulterior motives. If I believe arts are often a part of having a happy life and I'd like my kid to have a chance to see if that is true for him, I suppose that's an ulterior motive. I don't feel uncomfortable with saying I have an agenda and I seek to guide my child in some ways. I trust both of us to enough to know this doesn't spell doom.

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Originally Posted by Dar
Math is really a huge subject... a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking of it as simply arithmetic, but that's such a small piece of it.dar
Do you mean to be condescending?

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Originally Posted by Dar
A few people will want to learn addition facts at 3, sure, although I can't imagine it being fundamental to their humanity... but all people want to be happy. There's a big difference between the two.dar
For some people math may be the thing that makes them happiest. It may well be the thing at three years old that they spend most of their time thinking about.

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Originally Posted by Dar
And I think a parent who takes the time to build a strong relationship with a child and avoids coercing her will have a child who trusts the parent enough to tell the parent when something isn't working for her... something my daughter has done with classes since she was 3, but your son was unable to do.dar
I trust my child to be able to tell me when something works and when something doesn't. That's why I don't fear guiding his learning at times.

I'm really pleased for your daughter that she had at the age of three the complete ability to know all the options available and which ones she'd love the best. We've found we need to try things out and some work and some don't and we learn along the way. It is a process. For example when my son started working with his math mentor he didn't know that many of the questions he'd wondered about were a part of combinatorics. He knew that what was being offered wasn't exactly it, but had a hard time fully explaining exactly what he wanted. It took a few meetings to tease that out, but it happened. I still try out new things and some work and some don't and I'm fully aware there may be a set of options to learn about that I haven't discovered yet.

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Originally Posted by Dar

and she's always known more about what she likes than I do. dar
Really ahead of time she always knows? I will say that this isn't true for me. Sometimes I'll think a book or a food or an activity isn't something that would appeal to me, but someone I trust might suggest for a particular reason I might enjoy it. They may seek to influence my choices and sure enough more often than not they are right. They may have had an experience with this thing that I have not and I appreciate that they are willing to share that with me. I've seem similar situations with my son. There are things that he thought initially weren't his dream come true that with a wee bit more exposure turned out to among his favorites. You can see that as horrible manipulation, I see it as trusting those around you and being willing to give their ideas a try.

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Originally Posted by Dar
But this isn't a random stranger. This is a well-trained professional who is teaching Rain the way she wants to be taught.dar
If this is a class I presume Rain's interests don't dictate the agenda for everyone in the class correct? At times the instructor may make the choice that they will work on a particular set of skills for that class period. So, while Rain may want to take ballet, every single thing that happens in that class isn't her choice. Sometimes if she wishes to study with this teacher she will go along with an approach that may not be the one she'd choose. Correct?

How does it work for her teacher in those situations to be a guide or to steer Rain's learning. Is that not dangerous because she isn't dependent on him? If you did the same thing would it be okay? I'm trying to understand the distinction that teachers outside of the family are equipped with a different set of options.

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Originally Posted by Dar
Maybe it's the word "guide" that we're hung up on. When I say guide, I mean To direct the course of; steer and To exert control or influence over.. Do I advise, offer information, share my theories, answer questions? Sure. Then I leave it up to her.dar
I see no problem with seeking to influence or steer a child and I believe that any parent who is really being honest will admit it is something they do on a regular basis.

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Originally Posted by Dar
Please, take a minute to stop and actually read what I say, rather than dashing off replies where you once again create straw men and knock them down. You're so clearly not understanding what unschooling is, and there are so many great posts on this and other threads.dar
Do you think it is appropriate to assume that if someone disagrees with you that they aren't reading well or just don't understand what you do?

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Originally Posted by Dar
Teaching is fine, with the freely-given consent of the learner, be it addition, knitting, or how to load a dishwasher. No magic, no double standard.dar
And, if the child says "I trust you and nearly always like what you pick, bring it on" - then the family is unschooling even if the parent picks many of the activities and sets a time when those activities are done? As long as the child expresses their consent to learn by this method and if the parent stops when the kid says no - you don't see this as coercive or damaging?

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Originally Posted by Dar
When Rain first learned the standard addition algorithm (from me) she thought it was the greatest thing, and went around asking everyone to write her some very long addition problems. She preferred twenty-plus digit numbers. She'd been able to add 3 and 4-digit numbers in her head for a while, but couldn't keep longer numbers straight. She saw me adding up games scores one day and asked how I did it, and I explained it. It was lovely... and it was all hers and all joyful. She felt the same way when she learned to fold towels. Actually, pretty much all of her learning has been entirely joyful. That's what unschooling - learning without being "guided" or "steered" - is like. dar
Glad she's got the joy.

Some things, like reading and the four basic arithmatic operations, my son has learned 100% on his own without guidance and those things brought him joy. Some things like Latin he's learned with some guidance and it brought him joy. Some other things like learning to run he learned with an immense amount of steering (sometimes as in "yikes, you are about to run into a tree") and guidance. All of these experiences were full of joy because learning is joy to him. I suppose had we never steered, guided or sought to influence we might believe that the learning that comes was "all his" was what made it joyful, but we've seen lots of kinds of learning and we know better.
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#430 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 12:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Brisen
I agree.
It had never ever occurred to me the unschooling could be judged that it is based on fear. When I first began to homeschool I had these ideas in my head on how it was all going to look. Time has passed and I have let go. When I started to learn about unschooling and the philosophy behind it. I was set free and so were my children. I was functioning in fear before I found unschooling. Afraid they would fail, afraid I would fail, afraid they would look stupid, afraid they wouldn't go to college, FEAR! I was making my daughter learn what our government says she should know and she was miserable and so was I. She lived in fear and I lived in fear. What a horrible place to be. It wasn't until I began to trust her and listen to her and let go that our fear has been replaced with love and learning. I had made her hate reading and I had made her hate (school). She is now learning and taking control of her life in ways I never thought a 10 year old could. If she walks away with one thing from her childhood it will be that she will never have to find out what she loves to do. She already knows and she owns it. We unschool (probably pretty radically - if you are into labels) and we are free and we love each other and we trust each other. That is not based on fear it is based on trust. I hope all of you find that peace someday if you don't have it. I am not saying my head doesn't play games with me somedays. What I do know is that life is way short and I don't want to spend it fighting. I don't want to spend it "making" my children do things they don't want to do. It doesn't work around here, believe me, I have tried.
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#431 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 12:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J
: Okay, okay - but I still think you'll find the reality somewhat different from the theory, just as it is for basic parenting. I certainly did! I read a LOT, heard a lot of very convincing talk at conferences from some very impressive people who'd been there/done that, talked to local unschoolers, and I still found that it had to be demonstrated in front of my own eyes by my own son before I got it, and even then I was a little slow.
It may be true that I'll change my mind again ... but I have been changing my mind more in the other direction over the last few years. There was a time when I was totally gung-ho about unschooling. (I have a bunch of books about Sudbury and Summerhill too. I'm not someone who would insist on homeschooling on principle, I'm more in the "I have to homeschool because the schools suck" camp.) Since reading more about other philosophies and especially since having Corbin, I've been moving away from that.

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This thread isn't about convincing anyone they should be unschooling - it's about discussing whether unschooling is a good a idea, which, as some of us have said, is an idea people of other philosophies would have a fit over if anyone started a thread dissecting their choices.
I don't think that's true at all. I think a thread about whether WTM is a good idea would bring out a LOT more negative comments than this one (negative in the sense of criticizing WTM), and I don't think anyone would be offended that such a thread had been started, either. And threads about stricter school-at-home methods and more rigid curricula even more so.
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#432 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 12:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
why compel a child to re-invent the wheel, as it were, reconstructing a chronological understanding of history when it would have been simpler (and just as rewarding) to present it in order?
But is this a realistic picture of what would happen without a comprehensive history curriculum? Chronological understandings are simply part of the study of history. Most history books (not textbooks, just books) contain timelines, as well as numerous dates, cross-contextual references, etc. Historians think in those terms. All of us make casual reference to the order of events, and to where they fall on a timeline, all the time. For example, "Your grandparents met during World War II. [Insert tale of romance, punctuated by events in grandfather's tenure as a soldier.] They got married in...let's see, 1949. After the war, yadda yadda yadda."

A novel, as a work of art, has a much stronger sense of linear directionality than do human events. Yeah, IRL, one thing leads to another, but there are lots of things leading to lots of other things, and the causes are fuzzy. If I were dreaming up a more rewarding way to learn history, I'd choose to learn it in epistemological order. I'd start out with oral sources (e.g. grandparents), artifacts, old documents. What questions do these raise? How do they help elucidate each other? What kind of narrative emerges? I might go to the local historical society or living history museum for more material, and absorb some disciplinary ideas from the historians there. I would read books that contain not only narratives about the past, but also information about the sources of those narratives. If the main source (as in so much of ancient history) is a primary text, why not read the text and then analyze?

Anyone can pick up a western civ text and be "enlightened" in a week, once s/he is old enough. That's mere information, much of which will be picked up in regular reading and conversation, if one is living in a literate environment. Re-inventing the wheel is how we learn skills. (Granted, skilled people can help and demonstrate, but ultimately, skill learning is always a sort of re-discovery for each person.) Having a profound, useful understanding of an academic subject means being skilled, at least to a limited degree, in the disciplinary habits involved. Not everyone is going to grow up to be a historian, but everyone can use a sophisticated understanding of what history is, what it's for, where it comes from.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#433 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 12:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar

Do you think it is appropriate to assume that if someone disagrees with you that they aren't reading well or just don't understand what you do?
It's just that you never seem to be able to comprehend another's perspective without blowing it all over the place, then declaring it unworthy, or full of hypothetical problems. You come across as extremely defensive and angry. There are others on here who can challenge, disagree, or agree with posts, respectfully; but you seem very vested in an oppositional outcome to the discussion. As you wish. I imagine you'll find what you're looking for.
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#434 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 12:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
It's just that you never seem to be able to comprehend another's perspective without blowing it all over the place, then declaring it unworthy, or full of hypothetical problems. You come across as extremely defensive and angry. There are others on here who can challenge, disagree, or agree with posts, respectfully; but you seem very vested in an oppositional outcome to the discussion. As you wish. I imagine you'll find what you're looking for.
We are all different people, with different ways of thinking and different styles of writing. I don't believe we all need to communicate in exactly the same way to have an interesting discussions and in fact find it more interesting when we don't. The one place I personally am not going to go is in directing posts at a person with lots of "you" statements like in this post. I don't think it is the road to interesting or thought provoking discussion and I'm not interested in participating in that kind of discussion.
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#435 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 01:06 AM
 
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I'm trying to understand the distinction that teachers outside of the family are equipped with a different set of options.
because with a class the child can opt out of the whole deal if they choose to. They don't have that option with their parents. They are stuck with us.

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I see no problem with seeking to influence or steer a child and I believe that any parent who is really being honest will admit it is something they do on a regular basis.
well sort of -- today I steered my kids towards helping pick up all the trash that has collected in our car

I have tremoundous respect for my kids and seldom impose my will over theirs.

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And, if the child says "I trust you and nearly always like what you pick, bring it on" - then the family is unschooling even if the parent picks many of the activities and sets a time when those activities are done? As long as the child expresses their consent to learn by this method and if the parent stops when the kid says no - you don't see this as coercive or damaging?
coerce - (1) to force to act or think in a given way by pressure, threats, or intimidation (2) To dominate

What, in your example, could anyone who knows the meaning of "coerce" find "coercive"?

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Do you think it is appropriate to assume that if someone disagrees with you that they aren't reading well or just don't understand what you do?
It seems to me that you aren't trying to understand. Understanding the definition of "coercive" is basic to this conversation and you didn't know what it meant and didn't bother to look it up.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#436 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 01:37 AM
 
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The one place I personally am not going to go is in directing posts at a person with lots of "you" statements like in this post. I don't think it is the road to interesting or thought provoking discussion and I'm not interested in participating in that kind of discussion.
Oh gosh, I have no idea where I got that observation from.

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Do you mean to be condescending?
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Because your set of expectations is cooler somehow because it doesn't sound academic?
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Okay, you weren't parented in an authoritarian manner but any time someone expects something from you it causes you to "shut down" and that strikes you as an unmovable characteristic, a fact, something perfectly fine?
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Bestbirths,
How do you think this will work out for your son?
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Does this seem fully functional and healthy to you? Do you at all see this developing in a broader context for you? I don't know you, but I will say that other people I know who have voiced this have been people who were parented and schooled in a high authoritarian manner and as a result always felt threatened and unable to easily accept help from others.
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She sounds like a great kid. From a distance anyway it sounds like a lack of trust in yourself and in your daughter that you could "guide" or "teach" without coercion or that she couldn't follow without going against her true feelings out of desperation to please you. I think that is unfortunate.
What kind of life do you see for him when he's 25 or 50?
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Also, do you maintain that you have no agenda at all? No desire to guide your child in any direction - equally happy if she is a serial murderer or loving mother, a homeless person or a midwife? Would your daughter have any idea which of these options you might prefer and if so will it make her do the opposite just to be "free".
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Your contention is that if children want to please their parents than automatically it will lead to guilt, anger or some type of trauma. No doubt your daughter is aware that you'd prefer it if she was kind than if she was violent. If she has a happy family than if she's a hobo. That she is gentle with the pets instead of cutting them with knives. If your daugther has on any level internalized your set of goals or your standards how is she not automatically experiencing the guilt, anger or trauma?"
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#437 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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But is this a realistic picture of what would happen without a comprehensive history curriculum? Chronological understandings are simply part of the study of history. Most history books (not textbooks, just books) contain timelines, as well as numerous dates, cross-contextual references, etc. Historians think in those terms. All of us make casual reference to the order of events, and to where they fall on a timeline, all the time. For example, "Your grandparents met during World War II. [Insert tale of romance, punctuated by events in grandfather's tenure as a soldier.] They got married in...let's see, 1949. After the war, yadda yadda yadda."
Sorry, it's late, but I guess I'm not seeing your point -- I agree; it's very difficult to construct a sense of a timeline without a comprehensive history program. That was what I (thought I) was saying. I don't think it's easy to construct a solid sense of the relatedness of events when history is studied in unrelated chunks. It's not impossible, of course, but why put your child through the effort of trying to piece it all together in the first place?
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A novel, as a work of art, has a much stronger sense of linear directionality than do human events. Yeah, IRL, one thing leads to another, but there are lots of things leading to lots of other things, and the causes are fuzzy.
Any analogy is imperfect because, at base, when you're comparing X to Y, ultimately, X is not Y. The novel comparison was an analogy used to clarify my point about why it was, IMHO, unnecessarily confusing to study history out of chronological order.
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Anyone can pick up a western civ text and be "enlightened" in a week, once s/he is old enough.
Maybe you went to college with smarter people than I did. From what I saw in my various Western Civ classes, it took more effort than that.
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That's mere information, much of which will be picked up in regular reading and conversation, if one is living in a literate environment. Re-inventing the wheel is how we learn skills. (Granted, skilled people can help and demonstrate, but ultimately, skill learning is always a sort of re-discovery for each person.) Having a profound, useful understanding of an academic subject means being skilled, at least to a limited degree, in the disciplinary habits involved. Not everyone is going to grow up to be a historian, but everyone can use a sophisticated understanding of what history is, what it's for, where it comes from.
Okay, again, I used an analogy, and like all analogies, it ultimately breaks down because X is not Y. Yes, inventing the wheel is a skill. However, as I'm sure you probably do know, the phrase "reinventing the wheel" is used to express the idea that a certain idea or method already exists; therefore, it is pointless to "invent" that idea or method from scratch -- or, if not pointless, an effort whose returns are disproportionately small compared to the amount of effort put in to "invent" the idea or method. If my analogy failed to clarify my point, I regret that, but if you're just choosing a rhetorical strategy of disingenuousness here, I don't necessarily think it's appropriate, because you're not actually talking about the main points I was making, but rather, the figures of speech I used to communicate them and make my ideas more concrete and clear. To make an analogy (which you may, of course, feel free to deconstruct if you choose), that's like criticizing the color of a plate when you don't like the meal that's served on it. It's the medium you apparently are finding fault with, not the message.
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#438 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 01:55 AM
 
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And it disturbs ME that so many people are voting without a in-depth and proper understanding of the conflagration otherwise known as "Vietnam," or the Nixon Watergate hearings, or the battle for civil rights - even for those lowly PETA demonstrators - or why exactly we have a separation of powers. Or did. I mean, our own government certainly doesn't, never mind the voters.

Good thing I'm not the educational hall monitor, eh?
Well, those things are important too. But to fully understand those things, don't you have to understand the philosophical basis for them, and the context of those ideas? Where does the idea of separation of powers come from? Where does the idea of free speech for PETA demonstrators come from? This is where I think understanding Western civ. comes in. And if our own government doesn't understand them, doesn't that come back to the voters who elected them, and their (the voters') own civic knowledge or lack thereof?
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#439 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 01:56 AM
 
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It had never ever occurred to me the unschooling could be judged that it is based on fear.
Yes, this is a new one on me too. I think that a lot of what's being said here is being dissected and interpreted in ways that don't portray our reality at all. : - Lillian
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#440 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 02:07 AM
 
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Well, those things are important too. But to fully understand those things, don't you have to understand the philosophical basis for them, and the context of those ideas? Where does the idea of separation of powers come from? Where does the idea of free speech for PETA demonstrators come from? This is where I think understanding Western civ. comes in. And if our own government doesn't understand them, doesn't that come back to the voters who elected them, and their (the voters') own civic knowledge or lack thereof?
Well, if you could work a few corporations, high-concept marketing agencies, and K Street lobbyists in there (and I know you can, Brigianna ), then um, yeah. Sort of. Voters are responsible, but it's one heckuva juggernaut they're up against, and it's not simply reducible to the fact that they don't understand the Magna Carta;or the Know-Nothing party; or any one of many assorted and equally important facets of American history. And in other news, juggernaut is such a great word, and so rarely used.

I would be happy if even all Americans voted, or simply knew where Iraq was on a map. Let's not set our sights toooooo high here.
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#441 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 02:09 AM
 
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Sorry, it's late, but I guess I'm not seeing your point
Yeah.

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I agree; it's very difficult to construct a sense of a timeline without a comprehensive history program.
Then you disagree, because I said the opposite of that. Timelines are everywhere in books, in museums, and on websites, and they are implicit in the way we discuss history in everyday discourse, per my family example. Lots of educated people did not study history in a comprehensive, ancient world to modern world way, yet most if not all could construct a rough timeline and have seen timelines on numerous occasions.

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It's not impossible, of course, but why put your child through the effort of trying to piece it all together in the first place?
Because this effort is what it takes to understand the discipline of history. Not that existing history books and timelines should be kept hidden from the kid, of course.

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Any analogy is imperfect because, at base, when you're comparing X to Y, ultimately, X is not Y. The novel comparison was an analogy used to clarify my point about why it was, IMHO, unnecessarily confusing to study history out of chronological order.
Right, but I was contending that your analogy isn't all that analogous. A strong sense of comprehensive order is not anywhere near as present in the messy real world of human events as in a work of art.

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Maybe you went to college with smarter people than I did. From what I saw in my various Western Civ classes, it took more effort than that.
Clearly, it could occupy a life time. But considerably less for an educated teenager to accumulate information comparable to what a young child could learn from a comprehensive history curriculum.

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Yes, inventing the wheel is a skill. However, as I'm sure you probably do know, the phrase "reinventing the wheel" is used to express the idea that a certain idea or method already exists; therefore, it is pointless to "invent" that idea or method from scratch -- or, if not pointless, an effort whose returns are disproportionately small compared to the amount of effort put in to "invent" the idea or method.
What I said was, "Re-inventing the wheel is how we learn skills." To re-phrase, "We learn skills precisely by 're-inventing the wheel'." Or, "It is precisely by re-inventing the wheel that we learn skills." No, obviously I don't mean that kids should be deprived of books and coherent answers and compelled to piece together their own personal western civ textbook from scratch using Latin texts and arrowheads. I mean that the skills of collecting, analyzing, piecing together, and interpreting historical data and varying viewpoints on history are rarer, more valuable, and more fundamental than accumulating information in the most efficient possible way, at an early age.

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#442 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 02:13 AM
 
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Do we all have the ability to put information into a comprehensive whole? No, no we don't. Some people really stink at it while others are quite proficient -- but my question is this: why compel a child to re-invent the wheel, as it were, reconstructing a chronological understanding of history
I don't compel my kids to do much so I'm sure not "compelling them to re-invent the wheel." We have a couple of very nice history reference books that run through the historic periods, so it's not like I'm keeping it a secret. The basic chronology of world history isn't that complicated; I don't see what the big deal is.

Would my kids have the ability to fit all the separate bits of history they learn together without some help from me? Most likely not, but that is exactly where I see my role -- helping them find the information they want and helping them fit it into what they already know. As they get older I expect this role to fade.

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...when it would have been simpler (and just as rewarding) to present it in order?
I don't think it is ever as rewarding to be spoon fed something as to discover it for yourself for your own reasons.

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Here's what I mean: I suppose that, if you wanted to, you could read a book in any particular order you wanted to. Let's say you like the number "sixteen," so you start at chapter 16 and read it. Then, flipping through the book, you notice chapter 45 begins with the word "Cinnamon," which you like to eat, so you read that. Then you read chapter 5, and so on.

Now, after we've read all the chapters -- and man, you'd have to check them off or something in the table of contents to make sure you'd read them all -- I suppose that it would be possible to say, "Now, tell me the plot of the novel from the beginning to 'They all lived happily ever after to the end of their days,'" and people might be able to do it -- but WHY? Why not simply start at chapter one and, well, read it?
I think that is a poor example. I think that studying history as it comes up is more analogous to reading a book about pets, where one chapter is about cats, another about dogs, and a third about fish. One could read the chapters in any order. You really don't need to know how agriculture arose to learn about Hitler's rise to power, nor will knowing how the Egyptians dressed help a child understand the Declaration of Independance. Even though one happened first, it had nothing to do with the second.

It sounds like what you are doing works well for you. Is it really so hard to understand that something different works well for some one else? The reason we don't just start at chapter one is because that's just not how my kids are primarily interested in history. They like to skip around as things come up

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#443 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 02:47 AM
 
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I worry about coercion. I am concerned about my dd's desire to please, and the fact that yeah, we do have a plan that's basically adult-initiated. To balance that, I try to listen to her, to ask, and not to force things she's obviously not particularly interested in...or wait until later. But who knows???
I agree with you, but I do disagree with the assertion of some unschoolers that any kind of teaching/guidance is inherently coercive because of children's desire to please. Most children (except when going through a rebellious stage) *do* have a desire to please their parents, but there are varying degrees of this desire. And a choice motivated by desire to please is still a free choice, in my opinion, so long as there is no requirement, threat of punishment, or some such. So, in my view, "you need to do your math before you can play outside" is coercive and incompatible with unschooling, but "hey, do you want to do some math today?" is not.

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YES, and that was something I really didn't figure out until college when (surprise, surprise) they taught literature and the history that pertained to it in order, from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf, and I saw the relationship between (for example) Addison and Steele's Spectator papers and Ben Franklin's Poor Richard, from Hume and Locke to Jefferson. The messed-up way it's taught in PS, you can't really make those connections
Yes, and I don't understand the ps way at all. When I was in high school, we took a year of American history, followed by a year of world history, followed by an elective semester of British history and literature. Why?

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and please forgive my disagreement that people will "make these connections for themselves." Some will, I'm sure, but I find them very much in the minority, and more than that, to *make* them make those connections themselves...well, that's really back to that "reinventing the wheel" issue again. Why should they have to when a decent, orderly history program would make those connections very clear??
That's true; what I meant was that some people have to make their own connections because of the way their minds naturally work. I am a little bit like this--you can explain something to me in the most logical way there is, but until I can make the connection with *my own* logic, I'll just sit there and argue with you. I certainly agree with you that chronological history is easier to understand than the random history taught in most schools, but even in the framework of chronology, there will be different elements that people can latch on to and make connections from. For example, some people learn best by using major world events as reference points, while others can more easily understand history as a series of gradual changes in thought, ideas, and technology. The same is true of math, science, or any other subject (very few people understand math the same way I do, although we will get the same answer). So to me this is an advantage of unschooling.

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Then again, sometimes I think that the purpose of PS is to make people stupid.
I don't know about stupid, but I think at least one of the purposes is to make people compliant and unquestioning, which is the opposite of what I think real education is about.

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I would agree, but I'd also like to say that that advantage isn't just exclusive to USing, although I'll certainly concede that USing is the most responsive of the HSing methods to the child's needs and desires.
True, and I think the stereotype of curricular homeschoolers rigidly forcing their children to do hours of boring menial schoolwork is as unfounded as the stereotype of unschoolers providing no teaching or guidance and allowing their kids to play video games all day.
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#444 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 02:56 AM
 
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You and I probably have entirely different definitions of ulterior motives. If I believe arts are often a part of having a happy life and I'd like my kid to have a chance to see if that is true for him, I suppose that's an ulterior motive. I don't feel uncomfortable with saying I have an agenda and I seek to guide my child in some ways. I trust both of us to enough to know this doesn't spell doom.
There are lots of kinds of exposure to the arts, and I don't believe guiding a child to exposure is considered coercive. But what then? Are you talking about showing him some possibilities or insisting he follow through on something you have planned for him? It is easy for an unschooler to expose their children to arts of all sorts. Liking your kid to see if he likes the arts is not a problem at all.

I have an agenda that my 11yo consider what her goals are and make a plan for a few things she'd like to focus on, and I asked her nicely to do so. (She wants to do Algebra this year, much to my surprise) Sometimes I propose things that she might value as an immediate interest or as part of her longer-term goals she is considering, and explain how they fit in and leave it at that for her to mull over and decide about. By the time decisions about details of what to pursue begin to have long-term implications, kids actually have a lot of capacity for considering what is important and making those decisions. When they are younger, I don't think "coverage" is a critical concern, and when they are older they really can develop their own agendas. This is SO cool to see happen! So, in considering the OP's question I would state that even if conforming to a parent's agenda doesn't spell doom, neither does NOT developing an agenda any more complex than the child can navigate as a decision-maker. Maybe you CAN have an agenda, but I propose that it is okay not to have one.

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For some people math may be the thing that makes them happiest. It may well be the thing at three years old that they spend most of their time thinking about.
True. My son was like this at 3/4yo actually. Fascinated by mathematical operations, fascinated by huge numbers, went around chanting math facts, making jokes out of them and challenging sibs, etc. He goes through phases and sometimes seems to completely ignore numbers and operations for a while. However, now it is weight, ages, time, and "how did the first people get on earth and what was it like then?" These are the innocent unprompted interests of my child. I haven't decided to teach math to him, sometimes I consider it (I know he likes it YK) but he always thinks of better things to do before me LOL.

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I trust my child to be able to tell me when something works and when something doesn't. That's why I don't fear guiding his learning at times.
Okay, but I don't think fear need be the reason other people don't do what you do.

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I'm really pleased for your daughter that she had at the age of three the complete ability to know all the options available and which ones she'd love the best. We've found we need to try things out and some work and some don't and we learn along the way...I still try out new things and some work and some don't and I'm fully aware there may be a set of options to learn about that I haven't discovered yet.
I think 3yos probably know enough of the options that matter for a 3yo's real needs, with just "parenting" helping them discover the possibilities. I cannot for a moment believe that there is anything academic or school-related for a 3yo to "miss" that matters much.

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Really ahead of time she always knows? I will say that this isn't true for me. Sometimes I'll think a book or a food or an activity isn't something that would appeal to me, but someone I trust might suggest for a particular reason I might enjoy it. They may seek to influence my choices and sure enough more often than not they are right. They may have had an experience with this thing that I have not and I appreciate that they are willing to share that with me. I've seem similar situations with my son. There are things that he thought initially weren't his dream come true that with a wee bit more exposure turned out to among his favorites. You can see that as horrible manipulation, I see it as trusting those around you and being willing to give their ideas a try.
Nothing wrong with influencing one another. And unschooling is a great way to create and maintain a relationship in which suggestions of this sort can be freely given and received.
Hmmm. I'm wondering if "exposure" is your code word for "pressure" from the way you use the term. Your choices of words including this, "not his dream come true", "wee bit", "horrible manipulation" are so heavily rhetorical that I begin to feel manipulated by them. In other words, they are clearly exagerations and in this case cloud the issue rather than clarify.


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If this is a class I presume Rain's interests don't dictate the agenda for everyone in the class correct? At times the instructor may make the choice that they will work on a particular set of skills for that class period. So, while Rain may want to take ballet, every single thing that happens in that class isn't her choice. Sometimes if she wishes to study with this teacher she will go along with an approach that may not be the one she'd choose. Correct?

How does it work for her teacher in those situations to be a guide or to steer Rain's learning. Is that not dangerous because she isn't dependent on him? If you did the same thing would it be okay? I'm trying to understand the distinction that teachers outside of the family are equipped with a different set of options.
Everything in the class doesn't need to be Rain's choice. Why would you think that? Rain has a goal in taking the class and chooses to be a part of the guided learning situation. She is a human being, a "social animal" who has some understanding of the give and take that define cooperative human relationships and mature enough not to have everything directed by her own immediate whim in every single moment. The teacher-student relationship (the choice to participate) is based on mutual consent. The expectations for the class are decided by the teacher. There is no contradiction at all. Unschoolers participate in all different sorts of learning. As you said "She wishes to study with this teacher" and "she goes along with his approach"... While I believe you see this as contradicting the entire unschooling philosophy this is really because you are operating with a major misconception aboutwhat unschooling means.


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I see no problem with seeking to influence or steer a child and I believe that any parent who is really being honest will admit it is something they do on a regular basis.
Putting the words influence and steer side-by-side as if they were synonymous is an interesting tactic, as they suggest fairly different approaches to me.

Do you think unschoolers really try to not influence their children? This would be pretty ridiculous, I think. (I suppose you think so too) Yet it's not true! Why would we not influence anyone we are in relationships with all the time, and heavily influence anyone we are involved with daily in family life? Won't parents advise, discuss, be an example of their own beliefs in action, talk about their own choices, decide when limits should be set or not, etc? Do you believe unschooling excludes such things? I think unschoolers simply believe that they can be a positive influence without steering esp. in the area of what their children learn and when.

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Originally Posted by Roar
And, if the child says "I trust you and nearly always like what you pick, bring it on" - then the family is unschooling even if the parent picks many of the activities and sets a time when those activities are done? As long as the child expresses their consent to learn by this method and if the parent stops when the kid says no - you don't see this as coercive or damaging?
Maybe they are unschooling and maybe not. It is really the state of mind, not the mechanics. Definitely unschooling kids can ask for formalized instruction or want a schedule, and young ones especially may simply be waiting for the parents to come up with something intriguing to do a lot of the time, and they will enjoy and appreciate that the parent offers them cool materials and ideas for things to do. If the formalized instruction is the parent's idea, but the child "goes along" with that then the parent may have a presentation method the child likes, and the child may have a cooperative personality, and unschooling has nothing to do with it. It's not coercive but may not be unschooling either. An unschooling parent does more than school without using force. An unschooling parent honors the internal learning motivations of the child first and foremost, and that parent is focused on making sure that the child is equipped for hearing that "small voice" within and has the space, time, tools, and habits of communication that nurture that voice into strength as the true guide for the child for all of his/her life.

I hope that makes sense to you. I think the unschooling process is intended to help the child gradually develop full autonomy, and ALSO that unschoolers would think a child doesn't need any more academics than what they can reasonably conceive of and sort through themselves at any given time. Parents can introduce just about anything they like. And they can have broader motives, though unschoolers definitely avoid the curriculum-and-scope-led motive because it's simply backwards to the unschooler and that motive only creeps in as the occasional fear rather than the primary guiding light.


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Originally Posted by Roar
Some things, like reading and the four basic arithmatic operations, my son has learned 100% on his own without guidance and those things brought him joy. Some things like Latin he's learned with some guidance and it brought him joy. Some other things like learning to run he learned with an immense amount of steering (sometimes as in "yikes, you are about to run into a tree") and guidance. All of these experiences were full of joy because learning is joy to him. I suppose had we never steered, guided or sought to influence we might believe that the learning that comes was "all his" was what made it joyful, but we've seen lots of kinds of learning and we know better.
Unschoolers do not corner the market on joyful learning. They really DO get into that part of their success because it is so central to their goals.

While the unschooler would have skipped Latin or maybe talked about a few word roots they found interesting or some of the cool meanings that make sense of Latin botanical names, they would just let it go if there was not any special interest. Maybe later they would talk about it again (since the parent is so genuinely interested in Latin that s/he thinks about it a fair bit), and maybe the child would get interested in the whole topic of etymology without emphasizing Latin. Or not. The unschooler's parents really would not mind whether they dropped it, occasionally pondered it, or pursued it.

Did your son want to learn to run? "Steering" here just sounds like parental helping--I mean you don't need to let him run into a tree if you're an unschooler! LOL

Again, unschoolers can influence and guide their children plenty without a bit of contradiction... It has more to do with the nature of learning and trust in the superiority of the individual's internal drive to learn--yeah the kid does get to drive, and steer, but when you are learning mistakes aren't bad like hitting trees they are just part of learning. And parents are still parents, making so many decisions about how to set boundaries and such--but those don't so much apply to controlling what the child's mind will think about.

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#445 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 03:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
Well, those things are important too. But to fully understand those things, don't you have to understand the philosophical basis for them, and the context of those ideas? Where does the idea of separation of powers come from? Where does the idea of free speech for PETA demonstrators come from? This is where I think understanding Western civ. comes in. And if our own government doesn't understand them, doesn't that come back to the voters who elected them, and their (the voters') own civic knowledge or lack thereof?
No, I don't think there is one direction to come at "full" understanding of those things. Or several prerequisite pieces to make the idea worthwhile. Very little belongs to younger children. And learning about one major human rights topic and its history is just as good as surveying a long series, even for older kids--they will get as much philosophy and as much of a feel for the landscape of political change this way.

To me, history is very web-like and I feel threads connecting distant events and complex organic patterns to all of it, along with complex organic patterns to learning. Linear sequences are one way to conceptualize history, but it is very limited. Nothing is wrong with simply weaving along through many threads and exploring how one thing connects to another in ways different than sequencing or geographical grouping.

I never learned any substantial history until I was an adult. Now I love it, but I am not trying to memorize it at all. I simply connect and reconnect with meaningful things, that also connect with science and agriculture and art history and spirituality and psychology through time. Chronology would seem like a weird little box to learn from.

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#446 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 03:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Well, if you could work a few corporations, high-concept marketing agencies, and K Street lobbyists in there (and I know you can, Brigianna ), then um, yeah. Sort of. Voters are responsible, but it's one heckuva juggernaut they're up against, and it's not simply reducible to the fact that they don't understand the Magna Carta;or the Know-Nothing party; or any one of many assorted and equally important facets of American history. And in other news, juggernaut is such a great word, and so rarely used.
Not that I would consider corporations and lobbyists and their corporate-controlled so-called liberal media (and rigged voting machines, if you want to go there) blameless in the situation, but I think that corporations, advertisers, politicians, and media outlets prey on people's ignorance. Not just ignorance of historical facts, but of broad concepts and ideas. To use my earlier example of the idea that the U.S. was founded on "Christian values," an idea repeated frequently by politicians, pundits, journalists, and random e-mail-circulators. That oft-repeated historical untruth is, I would argue, the basis of far too many "controversies" that could be avoided if more citizens opened a non-Rushdoony history book. There was an article yesterday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that quoted a random Republican primary voter as saying that people without a driver's license should not be allowed to vote, because "voting is a privilege, not a right." I had to wonder if most citizens even have any idea what democracy is supposed to be about. So, anyway, this is probably off-topic, but I was just disagreeing with the idea that Western civ. isn't particularly important to learn.

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I would be happy if even all Americans voted, or simply knew where Iraq was on a map. Let's not set our sights toooooo high here.
Knowing where Iraq is on a map would be good. Knowing that Iraq is an artificially created country whose boundaries have no basis in the native population would be better. As would knowing that in every military occupation in history, native insurgents have had a strong advantage over foreign occupiers.

Western history may not be the end-all be-all of education, but I think it's certainly useful.
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#447 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 04:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I don't think it is ever as rewarding to be spoon fed something as to discover it for yourself for your own reasons.
Maybe this is part of the fundamental philosophical divide here. I, personally, don't find discovery very rewarding, especially not when what I'm discovering isn't in any way new or original. When I laboriously figure something out for myself and then see a text that explains it all, my reaction isn't "hey, I figured that out on my own first, cool!" It's "well, there was a waste of two hours, I guess I should have just looked this up."

I find *knowledge* to be rewarding - and the fewer steps there are to gaining that knowledge, the better. Having to figure something out on my own that someone else could have just *told* me is immensely frustrating to me, and always has been. (Yes, even before I had formal schooling. This is an innate personality difference, not a result of bad public school experiences, although I did have those.)
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#448 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 04:14 AM
 
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Maybe this is part of the fundamental philosophical divide here. I, personally, don't find discovery very rewarding, especially not when what I'm discovering isn't in any way new or original. When I laboriously figure something out for myself and then see a text that explains it all, my reaction isn't "hey, I figured that out on my own first, cool!" It's "well, there was a waste of two hours, I guess I should have just looked this up."

I find *knowledge* to be rewarding - and the fewer steps there are to gaining that knowledge, the better.
That is interesting. I'm the librarian, so I find the process of obtaining information to be fascinating, for myself or for others. And did you know that whole departments of Information Science have studied this phenomenon...but I love the flow of how one interest will lead to another; or how the information you thought you wanted wasn't actually what you ended up with, or found something more interesting along the way, the knowledge that one thinks they want is contradicted by other, newer information...etc.
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#449 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 04:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by deeporgarten
No, I don't think there is one direction to come at "full" understanding of those things. Or several prerequisite pieces to make the idea worthwhile. Very little belongs to younger children. And learning about one major human rights topic and its history is just as good as surveying a long series, even for older kids--they will get as much philosophy and as much of a feel for the landscape of political change this way.

To me, history is very web-like and I feel threads connecting distant events and complex organic patterns to all of it, along with complex organic patterns to learning. Linear sequences are one way to conceptualize history, but it is very limited. Nothing is wrong with simply weaving along through many threads and exploring how one thing connects to another in ways different than sequencing or geographical grouping.

I never learned any substantial history until I was an adult. Now I love it, but I am not trying to memorize it at all. I simply connect and reconnect with meaningful things, that also connect with science and agriculture and art history and spirituality and psychology through time. Chronology would seem like a weird little box to learn from.
That is true, but I think it's easier to understand those other things if you have some basic knowledge of the chronology. That doesn't mean there aren't other connections too, but I don't see how there can be much meaningful understanding of an event without understanding when it happened and what factors caused it or contributed to it. Of course it's good to learn about a few select topics in detail, but I think there should be some general understanding of "the big picture" too.
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#450 of 591 Old 07-21-2006, 10:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Oh gosh, I have no idea where I got that observation from.
I'm flattered (and maybe a wee bit concerned!) that you've got free time to look through all my old posts.

What I notice is that the posts you pulled were all questions. Personally, I find it appropriate to ask other people questions about how unschooling works in their family when what we are talking about is how unschooling works. I see it different than making a post for the sole purpose of personally criticizing the style in which person reads, speaks or writes. We all write, read, think and speak in different ways and there isn't one right way and one wrong way.

It reminds me of a recent homeschooling experience our son had. He received a rather harshly worded note from an online math course instructor. The instructor said "you made careless mistakes, I have no tolerance for students who haven't read the examples". In reality he'd been trying hard, struggling with the material that week and had poured over the examples. We had a great talk about what his teacher really knew about him and what he didn't and the ways he could have phrased this not as a personal criticism but instead addressed the substance of the matter. What our son made clear is that if the teacher asked "did you read the examples?" or "How much time did you spend on the problem?" he would have felt really differently about it.

I will conclude by stating my goal is to discuss the learn how other people homeschool and think and to discuss and debate the substance of these issues knowing that when we do we all benefit from clarifying our thinking and from getting new ideas. If I've ever tread into the personal, I apologize because it was certainly not my intent. And, that for me concludes my interest in discussing poster personalities because it is personal and not about the issues which is why we are here.
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