Is unschooling really a good idea? - Page 7 - Mothering Forums
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#181 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 02:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
It seems odd to me that you find practicing a few times a week to be some kind of insanely compromising kind of commitment. I see it simply as no big deal.
I realize that you're speaking to Yooper (although you seem to be ignoring many of her points,) but I've been saying basically the same things as her, so this applies to me too. Have you read any of what I wrote? Did you hear me say that if my parents had required this I would not be the musician I am today? I can tell you that it *was* a big deal to me, a huge deal, and still is. I don't learn well when held to someone else's expectations -- sometimes I just shut down entirely. It seems odd to *me* that there exist people who are perfectly fine and happy to do what others tell them even if it's not what they feel they need to do. If a music teacher told me that he would teach me only if I fulfilled certain conditions, that would be fine with me, and then I would say "good-bye", because it *would* be insane to do it even when I did not feel that fulfilling those conditions would serve me.

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Originally Posted by Roar
Kids who primarily play video games and are academically really lacking - about half of the unschooling families I know. Kids who aren't prepared for college - we are a bit early to say, but unless kids somehow totally turn around from video games on to anything else it will be several.
How many unschooling families do you know, and how well do you know them? How involved are you in their day-to-day lives? I'm just curious (*really* curious) because I know quite a few, and this describes none of them.

But it may be also that we have different perceptions of what's going on. You might see my chidren as academically lacking, heck, you might see *me* as academically lacking for all I know. Perhaps our standards are different, perhaps we value different things. Perhaps unschoolers in general value different things than schoolers. Well, yes, that's probably true. My son enjoys reading and writing science fiction -- I am thrilled with that (as I love sci-fi) and could care less that he's not knowledgable about ancient Rome or whatever.

I know a 17-year-old boy who until just recently did a lot of gaming. Probably several hours a day. On the surface, that isn't as impressive to most people as someone who's, say, spending 6 hours a day on an adademic curriculum. What isn't so easily seen, until you've spent in depth time with this boy, is his interest in philosophy and his knowledge of Japanese history and culture, and his desire to earn money and steps he's taken toward that. Because none of this is overtly obvious, I'm skeptical when you put down these kids who "do nothing but play video games". I'm wondering if you know the real story.
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#182 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 03:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
Kids who primarily play video games and are academically really lacking - about half of the unschooling families I know. Kids who aren't prepared for college - we are a bit early to say, but unless kids somehow totally turn around from video games on to anything else it will be several.
Remember my 9yo introverted perfectionist partaking of college-level Teaching Company courses in science and music history that we were discussing in another thread a week or so back? He's also a computer game geek. He spends probably 4-6 hours a day on average on the computer, a couple of hours a day playing viola, another couple playing soccer or another sport, an hour or two on academic-type stuff (reading, doing math, etc.) and at least a couple of hours involved in imaginative play. Full days which include piles of gaming. Though he's less academically inclined than his elder sister was at his age, I don't think he's likely to end up unprepared for college, considering what he's already doing!

I'm not sure lots of gaming necessarily means the kids are not learning academics at a pace and in a style that suits their needs.

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#183 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 03:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
That's ridiculous. They didn't have to waste money doing it in college, they could have simply worked for a year, saved money, and learned these simple things on their own time, and saved college for the things they felt they needed guidance on.
My impression at the time was that these girls didn't know that there were other skills they needed than the ones they already had. They did what they needed to get in, and discovered while they were there that they didn't know how to do things that other students took for granted. If only the search function was up...

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Originally Posted by UnSchoolnMa
If there are required, mandatory assignments, curriculum, goals, benchmarks, studying schedules, tests (Personal tests. Not the required state ones.) and just "stuff that must be done or covered" and this is all set and enforced by the parent whether the child wants it or not, it's not unschooling to me.

If the child can tell you "I don't want to do this. It's not interesting/fun/important to me at all. I'm going to go play outside." and you respect that consistantly..well then it starts to look like unschooling. When there are forced assignments, schedules, subjects and areas to be covered set by the parent it doesn't fit for me.
Well, I do have goals but they don't really have a set-in-stone deadline. I'm trying to work on more scheduling for all of us, not just a routine but an actual schedule, so that we'll be able to plan more activities outside of this apartment (which gets mighty depressing) and with other people. Most of the time, my kids are willing and eager to do any work that I present to them, but sometimes they're not and that's okay. I don't see any point in coercing a child at this age. Encouraging, yes; I will not permit my child to quit working on something just because it's difficult for him, or he has to think about it, but if he's bored and fidgety or his brain's still stuck on that puzzle he left half-finished last night he's not going to register anything that I might try to teach him anyhow.

I do have a plan, I have a scope and sequence in mind, but again the timeline is much less important. I make the decisions, though I'm not tying my kid to a desk.

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Originally Posted by eminer
Rynna, I don't really understand why it makes sense to generalize about the pitfalls of unschooling. Just as you continue to observe and respond to your own ds, parents who choose unschooling may do the same. It's not some big mystery to me whether my dd is going to turn out illiterate or not.
I never said they couldn't, only that I can see how certain happen with unschooling more easily than with other flavors of home education. : I don't see how I can say that any more clearly than I already have. Just because I believe that something is more likely to happen in a certain situation doesn't mean that I think it happens often, let alone every time. I think that my sister is more likely to be involved in a car accident than my husband, but that doesn't stop me from buckling up when he's behind the wheel.

If it makes you feel any better, I think that school-at-home folks are probably more likely than other homeschoolers to have children who don't particularly enjoy learning.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#184 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 03:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I am just impressed you know what bindweed is. We should swap tips sometime. Now, if one were to create a machine that could harvest bindweed and spin it into gold...
Well, I *didn't* know what it was until I had to deal with it. But by golly I learned fast. (Evil stuff, it is)

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Originally Posted by CB
I honestly think that if she'd never built up her...what shall I call it? Frustration muscles? Frustration calluses? Frustration tolerance? over time, that the first time she really encountered it as a hypothetically always-unschooled adult, she might not have the emotional wherewithal to deal with the consequences.
Well, I can tell you non-hypothetically what has happened with my always-unschooled children. They've encountered plenty enough frustrating situations just living life, without needing to create them artificially.

One example is when my son learned to ride a bike. Wow, that was a great lesson for him. It took him, oh, a day and a half to learn. Those first several hours were extremely frustrating. He would get angry, take a little break to calm down, then start up again (he was determined.) He really thought it might take him "forever" to learn, and wasn't sure whether to believe me when I said it wouldn't take much longer if he just kept at it. Then, on the second day of trying, he suddenly could do it. Now whenever a similar situation comes up I'll say, "Remember the bike?" And he laughs and nods. It makes it easier for him to be patient and wait for things to work out in their own time.

I didn't have to make that happen. That sort of thing just does, when you're living life.

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Originally Posted by Eilonwy
How many unschoolers have I met in real life? About two dozen, so not many all told. None of them are talking about college, as far as I know. I don't believe that all unschoolers are neglectful by any stretch, only that I can totally see how certain outcomes are more likely with unschooling than with any other home education method.
True enough. And I can totally see fewer unschoolers going to college, but not because they couldn't if they really wanted to. Unschoolers tend to be less impressed by college, less fearful of building a life without it, and more honest about whether they're suited for it and what it can do for them. They also tend to be more self-directed and confident that they can learn what they want/need to without it. They probably also tend to be more liberal/outside of the mainstream, so less likely to be interested in being part of the rat race, which is what most colleges are there to prepare people for. So yes, I can see fewer unschoolers going to college than schoolers.
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#185 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 03:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
I make the decisions, though I'm not tying my kid to a desk.
Well that is the difference between us as far as methods go. I don't make the educational decisions for my child. I do a lot of stuff...but not that.

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#186 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 03:42 AM
 
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I never said they couldn't, only that I can see how certain happen with unschooling more easily than with other flavors of home education.
Ah-ha!

Here's how this seems to me:

I think parents who homeschool with a rigid closed idea of what their child should think or do or believe are going to produce the kids you are talking about~kids who cannot function well or fit in to society later.

Unschooling seems the least likely to do this. Children are typically more curious than adults. If a learning style depends on supporting what the child wants to learn, I think the diversity will be a given.

Most of the people homeschooling in the backwaters of the Ozarks are not unschoolers. If you get my drift.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#187 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 04:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy
I never said they couldn't, only that I can see how certain happen with unschooling more easily than with other flavors of home education. : I don't see how I can say that any more clearly than I already have. Just because I believe that something is more likely to happen in a certain situation doesn't mean that I think it happens often, let alone every time. I think that my sister is more likely to be involved in a car accident than my husband, but that doesn't stop me from buckling up when he's behind the wheel.
Right, but the idea that this "more/less likely" attaches to the method abstracts the method from its context in use by actual families. You do not seem to be ok with people generalizing about the potential affects of things you do with BeanBean (e.g. "early reading instruction is more likely to lead to xyz") outside the context in which you do them (i.e. as a responsive parent who knows your own child). It seems to me somewhat unmeaningful to generalize about the probable outcomes of unschooling as a method, outside of the context of how and why parents implement it.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#188 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 04:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
Label it what you like, for a parent to push a child according to the parent's expectations and for a parent to allow a child to come to something in their own time and way are two very different things.
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Originally Posted by Roar
I think it is a lot more complex than an either or choice presented in that manner. We have a lot to offer kids besides saying "you'll come to it in your own time".
You're responding to my words completely out of context. I wasn't saying that it's an either/or choice at all. I am saying they are two different things, in response to your assertion that for me to allow my child freedom is imposing my will on them as much as for someone to coerce them. (post #88)

In any case, I agree. We have a lot to offer kids besides saying "you'll come to it in your own time". And they will come to what they need to in their own right time.
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#189 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 04:12 AM
 
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What about the idea that academic learning isn't that important? What if, in the end, WHO YOU ARE is more important than what you KNOW?
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#190 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 06:49 AM
 
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I should probably point out before answering that although we identify as "mostly unschoolers," we are not radical unschoolers by the more rigid definitions. Essentially, I don't require my kids to do "schoolwork" or anything else, but I do teach them, and I do have a (very loose) general idea of what I should teach them, although I also respond to their own interests.


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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I'm trying to ask this question as politely as I can -- please forgive me if I show lack of tact -- because on more than one post over time here on MDC, I'll read a situation like, "My son/daughter is 6/7/8/9 years old and since we've unschooled during our homeschool years, she or he can't read/do math and we now have to enter him/her in the public/private school due to XYZ circumstances."

If I were an unschooler, this would really concern me.

I have a few basic questions:

1. If you're an unschooler, aren't you concerned that your child will never learn some of those skills that are fairly fundamental to almost every other form of learning -- and I'm thinking specifically of reading and math?
Not reading and math, no. I think those things can be learned in some way, at some point, for almost everyone. Unschooling to me is being open to differences in learning styles and abilities. I don't think that a more structured approach would be any more beneficial in this regard. With higher-level skills this might me more of a concern, but I don't have any doubt about the basics.

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2. If your answer is something along the lines of, "I want my child to decide for him- or herself what's important," what about the fact that she or he may decide they need a particular skill long after the optimal "window" for learning it is gone? For example, research very clearly demonstrates that optimal foreign language learning takes place before about age 12, and that after that approximate age, you can pretty much count on never speaking without an accent and (probably) never being truly fluent.
I don't think there is an "optimal window" for everyone; I think that each person has his or her own optimal window and optimal learning style.

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3. What if they decide at, say, age 17 that they want to go to college, but the unschooling method has left them very much unprepared to do that in terms of basic skills?
I do expect that my kids will probably choose to go to college, although it will of course be up to them. I believe that the most important thing for them to learn is how to learn--how to think logically, how to find information, how to remember facts, etc. I think that as long as I can give them this foundation, needing to lean something in the future (for college or anything else) won't be a problem. Of course there are still natural strengths and weaknesses, but the same is true of more formally schooled students. The biggest problems that I remember students facing from when I was in college were those related to not knowing how to learn, not anything resulting from not having been taught some fact or skill. I'm not explaining this well, so let me put it this way: I think that a kid entering a college math class who understands linear mathematical thinking but doesn't know (maybe) how to find the derivative of an equation will be much less disadvantaged than someone who learned how to find a derivative of an equation in high school but doesn't understand linear mathematical thinking.

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4. What if your circumstances change, as in the example I posted above, and you now are faced with the fact that your child is considered "behind" when he or she gets into school?
This is a possibility, but it's a possibility with any type of education--a child who's been more formally homeschooled could still be "behind" in a subject not covered by her curriculum, or a child in school could be "behind" if he moves to a different school with a different timeline. I went to several different schools as a kid because my parents were a bit transient, and there was always something that I either missed or already learned. Public school curricula are so nonsensical (in my view) that this would be inevitable regardless of what kind of background the kids were coming from.
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#191 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 07:05 AM
 
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Also, I think that if a kid just wants to play video games all day and do nothing else, there are other problems besides unschooling. I do actively teach my kids and initiate lessons, but only as far as they are willing to learn. That doesn't mean they don't get frustrated--life itself is quite frustrating, especially when you have the attention span of a small child. I think the pride of accomplishment that comes from succeeding at something frustrating can be a strong motivator without any parental pressure. I agree that building up a frustration tolerance is important, but I think that this can be done without things like required schoolwork.
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#192 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 08:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pookel
This is the part I don't get about unschooling. Why wait until someone comes to you? Why not go to them?
I think that one of the differences is whether or not the parent is so invested in the plan they have drawn up for their child's learning that the plan becomes more important than the child's interests. For example, if a parent decides that the child should learn the life cycle of the frog, and approaches the child with that idea, and the child says, "No thanks," yet the parent continues to try to tweak the approach because the parent is invested in the child learning the life cycle of the frog right now, that's where the problems start.

I have done that with Ramona. I have put a lot of effort into planning something "educational" for her only to have her show no interest. It was when I realized that I was getting honked off *at Ramona* for her lack of interest that I realized there was a problem.

Namaste!
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#193 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 08:45 AM
 
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I really appreciate this thread. I'm interested in the unschooling philosophy, and (almost) everyone's posts have been fascinating and educational.

Thanks, CB, for starting this thread.
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#194 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
I just asked my daughter half an hour ago if she wanted to do some Algebra stuff with me. There's no unschooling rule against offering to do something with your child because you think it's cool, or you think your kid will have fun with it, or because he's asked you to spend some time working on it with you. Unschoolers offer to do stuff to our kids all the time, because that's what people who life with each other and care for each other do.

Of course, as you said on a previous thread, you don't want to talk about what unschooling really is... you just want to keep knocking down the straw man you've created.

dar
Then I think I'm operating on a misconception here. My impression -- and please do correct me if I'm wrong -- is that an USing family waits until the child spontaneously demonstrates an interest in something (let's say trucks) and then offers to feed that interest (e.g., with Internet research, library visits, visits to construction sites with trucks).

I thought it was an USing no-no for the parent to offer a curriculum or subject because it was or might be seen as coercive on the parent's part.

So, let's say I'm sitting here at the computer reading about how Latin (for example) is a great language to learn, and I say to my dd, "So, do you want to learn Latin?" and she says yes, then what happens if we're USers? I order a curriculum -- do we then...
... decide we'll do Latin every day (that is, unless she really hates it)?
...work on the Latin only if and when she spontaneously mentions it, e.g., "Mom, can we work on Latin today?"
...work on the Latin only until she experiences frustration?
...work on it with gentle encouragement ("I know it can sometimes be tough, but I'll bet you can do it")?

Would someone paint me a picture here? Thanks.
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#195 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar

Of course, as you said on a previous thread, you don't want to talk about what unschooling really is... you just want to keep knocking down the straw man you've created.

dar
Dar,
I think you are moving from being civil in this discussion.
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#196 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
All without my pushing, or needling.
I don't recall seeing any posts from homeschoolers about pushing or needling their children. I know I've never needed to.

That said I fully recognize there are homeschoolers who do this and I feel no need to pretend they don't exist or say they aren't really homeschoolers.
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#197 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
I think that one of the differences is whether or not the parent is so invested in the plan they have drawn up for their child's learning that the plan becomes more important than the child's interests. For example, if a parent decides that the child should learn the life cycle of the frog, and approaches the child with that idea, and the child says, "No thanks," yet the parent continues to try to tweak the approach because the parent is invested in the child learning the life cycle of the frog right now, that's where the problems start.

I have done that with Ramona. I have put a lot of effort into planning something "educational" for her only to have her show no interest. It was when I realized that I was getting honked off *at Ramona* for her lack of interest that I realized there was a problem.

Namaste!
As I said before I believe unschooling works well for some children. So, I'll state I fully accept your assessment that with Ramona this would cause problems. Maybe it is Romona's personality, something about the way she defines herself, the way you present the subject, a conflict in your relationship or something else.

That said, is is possible for you to acknowledge that for some of us this causes absolutely no problems. What you are describing of the parent getting testy or the child getting upset isn't something I can at all relate to. That isn't "where the problem starts" but it may instead be where a good thing starts happening because the child finds out the life cycle of the frog is so darn intersting the next thing you know they are composing an opera about it, playing it with their friends and saying "thanks mom, I thought I'd hate it, but you have the best ideas and I loved it".
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#198 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma

I'm not sure lots of gaming necessarily means the kids are not learning academics at a pace and in a style that suits their needs.

Miranda
Do you agree though Miranda that kids who primarily play games, don't read, don't play an instrument or the other things you are describing may well end up unprepared and with fewer options?
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#199 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
So, let's say I'm sitting here at the computer reading about how Latin (for example) is a great language to learn, and I say to my dd, "So, do you want to learn Latin?" and she says yes, then what happens if we're USers? I order a curriculum -- do we then...
... decide we'll do Latin every day (that is, unless she really hates it)?
...work on the Latin only if and when she spontaneously mentions it, e.g., "Mom, can we work on Latin today?"
...work on the Latin only until she experiences frustration?
...work on it with gentle encouragement ("I know it can sometimes be tough, but I'll bet you can do it")?

Would someone paint me a picture here? Thanks.
Well, I doubt most would go from an expressed interest to buying a curriculum.

I would more likely Google "Learning Latin,"

check out some interesting websites,

follow the labyrinth of the internet to some more interesting albeit less relevent websites (where say they discuss how latin came to be a "dead language", talk about other dead languages and what that means, who originally spoke Latin, who still speaks Latin--Catholic masses for example),

might go to Amazon to see if there were any cool books on the subject,

might brainstorm who we knew who knew Latin (and talk aobut how/why they knew it),

might add "Books about Latin" to the library list,

might point out common words today and their Latin roots,

and if after a time all of this was still so compelling to my kid that they were still looking like they wanted more info, I might order a curriculum.

And if at any point along this way, the kid started to become not interested, I wouldn't force the issue. I might ask if their interest has been satiated, but I'd probably still point out other cool Latin things that we ran across--NOT as a way to push the Latin agenda, but just b/c it's cool to find related things.

So that's just what I might do....does that give a better idea?
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#200 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
I do trust myself to teach, when someone comes to me wanting to learn. I can't do a damn thing with someone who isn't ready or willing or, gasp!, eager - been there, tried that, it sucked, not doing it again. I can't teach unless the other person is eager to learn, and has chosen to be there. And I can't teach in a particular order - I can only help someone try to understand the concept they are wrestling with at that time. That's self-directed learning, and that's the basis of unschooling, in my understanding.

And I think classes can be great, although they have their downsides. School, however, in my experience, is not the same as taking classes one is interested in. It was not particularly enjoyable being in that algebra class because it was soooooooo slooooooooooooooow, and the teacher was such a stickler for having to do the busywork, whether or not one had already gotten the concept(s) and whether or not the busywork actually was helping the students learn the concept(s).

I've found in my college experience that the classes I enjoy and have done well in are classes where everyone, including the teacher, is wanting to be there and has chosen to be there to learn and discuss and explore a particular topic or area. That doesn't describe most American pre-college (or most college!) schools or classes that I've encountered or heard of.

Even in high school, where basically no one wanted to be there, the classes I took that everyone had to take were basically useless, and I remember almost nothing from them. The classes that were "optional", the language and advanced math and science classes, were bearable (barely), and I learned a little, though not nearly as much as I would have if I had just been put in a room with a bunch of other people interested in the subject(s), and we had gone about exploring and learning and teaching with each other.
I can't argue with that. It's a big reason I teach in a magnet school and it's a big reason why I've campaigned to teach AP for the last ten years. Now, if only I could do something about the kids who'll be in my class because their parents are making them...
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#201 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:04 AM
 
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I can tell you that it *was* a big deal to me, a huge deal, and still is. I don't learn well when held to someone else's expectations -- sometimes I just shut down entirely.
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.

I will say that I see a MAJOR difference between the ways that kids who have been gentle parented and kids who have been in a broader context of authoritarian parenting handle this. Our son sees us as on his side because we've always demonstrated that we are. So, hearing that for example regular practice is part of learning an instrument to him doesn't seem like a plot dreamed up to shut him down, but instead useful information. Thanks mom.

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If a music teacher told me that he would teach me only if I fulfilled certain conditions, that would be fine with me, and then I would say "good-bye", because it *would* be insane to do it even when I did not feel that fulfilling those conditions would serve me.
Why do you believe that fulfilling the conditions isn't serving you? My son's persepctive is that this is a good teacher, she knows a lot more about this instrument than I do, and I trust her. There have been times when a certain approach didn't work for him and he happily voiced that and together they figured out something new. It is very much a learning process where they are both participating and sharing. Learning to say "hey this doesn't work for me, let's try something else" is exactly the kind of skills I'd like him to develop. If she shut down and ran away that would never happen and that would be a loss for him.

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How many unschooling families do you know, and how well do you know them? How involved are you in their day-to-day lives? I'm just curious (*really* curious) because I know quite a few, and this describes none of them.
Around 10 pretty well more in the broader circle. And, what you are saying in this post is exactly the sort of thing I hear many unschooler say. In my opinion they are extending their own childhood emotional experience to believe that their kid will feel the same way. My reaction is that it is an overreaction and often not really serving their kids.

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I know a 17-year-old boy who until just recently did a lot of gaming. Probably several hours a day. On the surface, that isn't as impressive to most people as someone who's, say, spending 6 hours a day on an adademic curriculum. What isn't so easily seen, until you've spent in depth time with this boy, is his interest in philosophy and his knowledge of Japanese history and culture, and his desire to earn money and steps he's taken toward that. Because none of this is overtly obvious, I'm skeptical when you put down these kids who "do nothing but play video games". I'm wondering if you know the real story.
And, for me the real story there would be hours spent on video games are hours not spent reading, talking, writing, drawing or learning about Japanese history or culture. I'm not saying he is a child devoid of other interests or passions, but that he is wasting his time playing video games.
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#202 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
Another straw man. Teaching is fine, with the consent of the learner. Being taught is certainly not the only way to learn, though....

dar
Ah, but in the case of the music teacher who says regular practice is required that wasn't fine. That alone was coercive, unreasonable, should cause a child to shut down, etc.

Oh and I guess you would say that a child who is being schooled at home full time with a rigid curriculum like Abeka or Calvert could consider themselves unschoolers as long as their kid doesn't cry about it?
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#203 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:13 AM
 
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And, for me the real story there would be hours spent on video games are hours not spent reading, talking, writing, drawing or learning about Japanese history or culture. I'm not saying he is a child devoid of other interests or passions, but that he is wasting his time playing video games.
Have you ever played video games?

Because there is very often reading, IM'ing, writing, drawing, and learning about other histories and cultures.

But even if there weren't, there is still lots of other stuff going on and lots of learning taking place.
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#204 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well then! Why is it so difficult to wrap your head around the idea that not every attached parent will be an unschooler? Is it so impossible to concieve of someone who follows their child's interests, provides their child with what they need to be happy and thrive, but *doesn't* make them primarily responsible for their own educations? Not every child is going to be comfortable with that, nor is every adult.
And to add to what Rynna said, I think there's a real continuum among non-unschooling-homeschoolers from the noncoercive, "Do you want help with that? If you agree, I'll show you.." (to paraphrase the wording above) all the way to, "We will be sitting down now to do 1/2 hour of algebra whether you like it or not."

Like many of you folks, I have come to a point where I realize I can't teach the unwilling -- I really CAN'T; this is not a matter of my strong preference, but my absolute inability. Unless my dd actually wanted to sit down and learn, I really couldn't teach her jack squat -- so in what, exactly, lies the difference between me and an unschooler? In the fact that we chose the curriculum?? :
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#205 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:16 AM
 
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This only matters if you care about being academically ahead or behind. And I don't. If you believe, as we do, that learning is in all of life then it all we have to do is live and follow our interests in order to be learning. Academics, and certainly this idea of being "behind" or lacking is just not a part of our world.
If you believe that video games are good and fun and academics are icky and boring, I can see why you come to this view point. We don't see academics that way at our house. It isn't about ahead or behind because it isn't about linear progress. It is about worthwhile use of time and recognizing that intellectual fulfillment is a part of being human. And, yes, I think it is very appropriate for parents, including homeschooling or unschooling parents, to embrace the goal of having their children grow up to be functional people who are capable of living independently and doing something other than being plugged into a video game ten hours a day.

Again this implies that anyone who plays video games (or for any time over what you feel is excessive?) will be uneducated. My son plays a lot and yet has a better than basic handle on grammar and general writing, addition/subtraction/mult, his research skills are pretty great, he's read at a so called "adult" level since he was around 11 or 12, and he does well on the computer. I have every confidence that college will be a challenging and rewarding experience for him.

There are 24 hours in a day for all people. Time spent plugged in is taking time away from something. It may be from exercising, socializing, playing an instrument, reading, learning another language, serving the community, etc. It comes from someplace.
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#206 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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We are in some peoples opinion, the "worst nightmare" of an unschooling family. My son has played video games consistantly 16 hours a day since he was 12 (he is 17). He doesn't *only* play video games. He stops to go to the bathroom. He stops to eat. Once a week or so he will take a shower. He has recently started going to a LAN party every two months. Once, he took two weeks off to teach himself algebra. A couple years later, he took two weeks and taught himself geometry. On Algebra 2, he just did half of it and got tired of it. Will that cause him problems in the higher math? How would I know? He just read some math book about discovering the infinate. He asked me for Trig, and Calculus materials. I checked them out when I drove to the library. He hasn't touched them, they have just sat there for two months, so I just keep renewing them.

He has beautiful handwriting and can write a perfect essay... and could do that since he was ten years old.

He doesn't learn in a "classroom setting" in slow little 1/2 hour time slots. When he decides to learn something, he will throw himself into in and not sleep for two weeks obsessing over it until its done. If he discovers he needs to go back and review Algebra 2...I think he will figure this out on his own...he's got himself this far. Who knows when he reaches the point of "having learned enough math"...I think we all have our math saturation point.

He is reading the drivers manual like that (all in one big dose, saturate himself with the material). This has been the way he has studied since I can remember. He is sick with an illness that causes him brain fog and a lot of pain. He studies when he feels up to it and when he has the brain capacity to do so. It is amazing to me that someone can learn a whole subject of math in two weeks, and spend the rest of their time playing video games. So there it is. I don't know how our son is going to "turn out", or if he is ever going to stop playing video games. I think as he matures and finds out that you need *money* for things, he is going to more and more want to study computers and figure out a way to make money with them. Two years ago we got him 3D Studio Max...he has yet to make it through the tutorials because of computer issues. A week or so ago he stopped gaming and totally worked on his computer for 48 hours without sleeping. This is kind of how it goes.

Unschooling just really *looks* different than school schooling, so much so that you can barely recognize it in some cases. If we died, why couldn't they just keep on unschooling?....a will and trust with guardians could provide for this. If we both had to work, why couldn't they just unschool themselves? That is what they are doing now...

And Yes, I think that being thrown into a public school setting would be traumatic for my unschooled children. On so many levels it boggles the mind.: Not just academically, but the rigid schedule, the social aspects, the lack of individuality, the loss of control of their time..

I've known other unschoolers who went to public highschool for six weeks, then came home deciding it was a huge waste of time. Which is so ironically funny that some unschooling critics think that these kids are wasting time at home....and these kids go to public school and the time wasting in school drives them nuts.
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#207 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by monkey's mom

Because there is very often reading, IM'ing, writing, drawing, and learning about other histories and cultures.

But even if there weren't, there is still lots of other stuff going on and lots of learning taking place.
And, this gets back to the Playboy thing. Yes, you could learn your colors, numbers, etc. from reading Playboy. Would it be an ideal or efficient way to accomplish this? Do you honestly believe that the most ideal and most efficient way to learn about Japanese history or culture is to play video games?
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#208 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:20 AM
 
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Bestbirths,
How do you think this will work out for your son?
What kind of life do you see for him when he's 25 or 50?
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#209 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:21 AM
 
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This thread is just too busy! Sorry for any posts I've missed, but we have a busy day out of the house planned so off I go.
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#210 of 591 Old 07-14-2006, 10:23 AM
 
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And, this gets back to the Playboy thing. Yes, you could learn your colors, numbers, etc. from reading Playboy. Would it be an ideal or efficient way to accomplish this? Do you honestly believe that the most ideal and most efficient way to learn about Japanese history or culture is to play video games?
Porn and video games are hardly in the same category.

But, yes, if a kid became interested in Japanese history and culture b/c of video games or as a way to improve his gaming, then that would be the "most ideal and most efficient way to learn" b/c he would be interested and there would be some relevance.
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