Does anyone think there are any legit & intelligent arguments against Unschooling? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-10-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wolfmeis View Post
I have met people who really, truly believe that the television and the people they happen to stumble upon will be enough of a launchpad to make a whole person, a whole education.
"We worry about what a child will be tomorrow, yet we forget that the child is already someone today." ~Stacia Tauscher

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You did what you're describing, I do what you're describing. That's how unschooling in particular is so darned effective. But if the parent doesn't bring those opportunities, unschooling doesn't work, at least not on a par with other homeschooling modalities. I think a parent can come at it with the very best intentions and just not "get it," that the unschooling parent is more active than they might appear at first blush. It's our language, I think. We don't like words like "teach" or "assessment" or "schedule."
Unschooling is an engaged process of facilitation and connection. Learning happens organically when following our passions.

It is proscribing an agenda for another's life/learning which is the issue.



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Old 01-10-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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How do you "know how to know" or "learn how to learn?"

When I was in graduate school I was very interested in social philosophy. When I first encountered the German social theorist Jurgen Habermas I found his work very interesting but extremely difficult (Habermas is a complex thinker, and English translations of his theories are dense and difficult to say the least). But, I knew that if I slogged through each sentence over and over again, in combination with reviews and commentary on his work, that eventually I would come to understanding. How did I know this? Because I had had the experience of learning the discipline of working on something that was initially incomprehensible. Some might say I had been "forced" to learn things that were very difficult for me. I had had the experience of struggling through a curriculum, and learning that I could learn things that without some structure I probably would have abandoned.

This skill was invaluable for me in doing what I wanted to do. Had I not had someone earlier in my life sit down with me and say "keep at it, even if you don't want to, even if you think it is irrelevant or difficult..." I doubt I ever would have reached that light bulb moment where something incomprehensible became accessible. That skill gave me the confidence necessary to tackle other "incomprehensible" texts and ideas.

So I don't necessarily think there is a incompatibility between "learning how to learn" and "pushing someone to master something."
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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Had I not had someone earlier in my life sit down with me and say "keep at it, even if you don't want to, even if you think it is irrelevant or difficult..."
I blogged about this last year. It's not my first-hand experience, it's the experience of a friend who allowed me to share his story on my blog.

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Old 01-10-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Had I not had someone earlier in my life sit down with me and say "keep at it, even if you don't want to, even if you think it is irrelevant or difficult..." I doubt I ever would have reached that light bulb moment where something incomprehensible became accessible.
I had a couple thoughts when I read this. The first was I think this must be a personality issue because everyday I see DS and some of his unschooled friends push themselves like crazy to master things. DS was born competitive and determined. I don't think I could get him to stop something frustrating him until he mastered it if I tried. So when he drops something I know it's because he knows it's not something worth pursuing in his life.

The second thing that struck me was that the majority of North Americans are and were schooled and the majority of people I know (all of whom were schooled or schooled at home) have issues with sticking with stuff that is frustrating and stressful, especially if it's something they know inside themselves to be of no real use to them. I think most people know when it's something worth working through and struggling for and when it's not.
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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I really disagree with this notion of it being a matter of pushing someone to master something vs. letting them just flounder cluelessly for the rest of their lives, not understanding that they can accomplish an challenging task if they want. I think we need to give children a lot more credit than that. Living together, having ongoing communication, and naturally modeling the things we think are important is effective in itself, for that matter.

I've been thinking about these unschooling discussions and feeling that a lot of what we're talking about is really about parenting rather than about a "style of method" of homeschooling. So much of this is about how you see your child as a person and what you feel your role is in all that. And that's kind of a whole other conversation, although these things do always come into the discussion.

As for the question of who's doing what at home - whether it's really accurate that some people ever do anything but watch TV and play video games, I know firsthand that things can look awfully different from the outside. My neighbors used to get a very different picture of what went on at our house, based on reports from their son, my son's friend. I think he got the picture that my son did nothing but sleep and play video games during some periods - because those were the things he didn't get to do, and those were the things that caught his attention. And yet, years later, when he wrote a letter of recommendation for my son's college application (they wanted one from a friend), he commented quite eloquently about how he often felt smug about his own education, only to be humbled by finding out that he didn't know nearly as much as my son about any number of things he'd formally studied but my son had learned about in more informal way. So much of what seems to go on is really about perception and assumption.

In fact, I was kind of stunned when I called our neighbor to share with her that our son had two scholarship offers from the first two colleges he'd applied to, thinking she'd be thrilled for him, having been very fond of him since he was tiny, and she quite cooly responded, "Well...that's nice. He followed a different path...and it worked for him..." It kind of hurt - but I thought about it and realized that she clearly didn't realize what all had gone on in his life to bring him to that point.

- Lillian
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:54 PM
 
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Many unschoolers believe that these are completely normal and valuable ways to spend time. My family has learned a lot from watching TV, and my son learned so much mental math from video games. Unschooling embraces and welcomes the radical idea (lol) that knowledge can come to us from a variety of different sources.


Define lazy In this case it sounds like lazy might mean "different than me" or "different than how I think it needs to be done".
The parents I am refering to with my comment truely believe their child will learn simply by osmosis. Now things are a bit different around here because the school boards give you money for materials etc based on how you register. One family I know registers blended which means following the provincial curric in some classes, in order to get more $$, but claims to be a radical unschooler. 2 weeks before evaluations which we have with our school board at the end of every year she makes the boy cram all his material for those subjects to "show" how much they did all year. HE doesn't actually know what he is doing, retains none of it, and is being taught to be dishonest about what they are doing. I know one family, that were unschoolers, claimed the kids would only learn what they wanted to when they wanted to etc, had plans to homeschool right through graduation. Parents planned a separation, kids went back to ps halfway through last year, one kid was almost 3 years behind, the rest were 1-2 years behind. Even then she had no plans to help them catch up, she stuck with "if they want to catchup they will figure it out on their own". I do know of one family that unschooled and the kids did great and were able to fit right in when they went back to ps last year, she worked darn hard to make sure her kids did well, had a very rich learning environment, did strewing etc. That family is the only one out of they 8 or so I know that really made unschooling work. The rest took it to mean they could ignore the kids all day and claim they were unschooling.

I pulle my kids out of ps in order to hs because I wanted the best education for them, for them unschooling is not the best. For those on here who think it is that's great, but for my kids no way. Take for example my 9 year old son, he has LD as well as severe anxiety disorder. HE would rather do nothing all day then prove he can not do something. Left to his own devices he retreats into a world of star wars, and drawing. I love that he has those interests and I work with them but I do expect him to learn other things, I also want him to learn how to break a task down into a manageable peices to succeed at it. If I had just let him pick and choose things he would have never learned that he loves copywork, Latin and History. He never would have learned that he CAN do math, and writing which he thought he couldn't. WHen I pulled him out of school he was talking about suicide because he was so stupid, he was 7! I was told when he was 5 to make him literate and leave him be because he would never succeed in life. I refuse to do that. I will make sure he succeeds at anything he does. We follow a curriculum, but we do so at his pace. I use his gifts and talents to work with him, he is a prolific artist so I had him start writing comic books, to boost his confidence in his writing skills. HE still follows a writing curric, he does journal writing for me, but now he has the confidence to do so because of his comics. I simply will not allow him to stop at just comics. History we follow a curric but I add lots of supplements into it to bring it to life and have retained learning. It is one of the favorite subjects for all the kids, growing up I hated history. I do not believe in unschooling for my kids, because I want to introduce them to all of the wonderful materials and resources out there, and use them and not just leave everything up to them. I take my role as mother seriously, now that I have added teh cap of f/t teacher as well I owe it to them to be the best at it I can. For me sit around doing my own thing while ignoring their learning like so many so called unschoolers I know do, is not an option.

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Old 01-10-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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I really disagree with this notion of it being a matter of pushing someone to master something vs. letting them just flounder cluelessly for the rest of their lives, not understanding that they can accomplish an challenging task if they want. I think we need to give children a lot more credit than that. Living together, having ongoing communication, and naturally modeling the things we think are important is effective in itself, for that matter.
I agree. With DS he knows he can accomplish what he wants, even when it's hard, because we've always given him that message just in living our lives together. He's never needed to be pushed.

I also think we don't give adults enough credit when we have these discussions. I would think if you find you're 22, 34, 41 whatever and have a pattern of not following through and it bothers you you can decide to change it. There's no need to blame parents. At some point we take on, and our kids take on, responsibility for their own direction and decisions. I find with unschooled kids there is a greater sense of this.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:00 PM
 
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I had a couple thoughts when I read this. The first was I think this must be a personality issue because everyday I see DS and some of his unschooled friends push themselves like crazy to master things.
And even then, we all have a lot more levels to us. You should have heard my husband and son laughing heartily with surprise when I mentioned all the hours I'd been putting into learning how to work with html code to work on my website. It's a part of me neither of them dreamed was there. It's a part I knew was there - but my surface level and biggest drives are a lot more right brained, to say the least, so I could see why they were surprised. Lillian
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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I think that everyone here has had great arguments for and against unschooling. I think that the problem may lie within the word "unschooling" It's too broad. It includes all of the people who don't follow a prescribed curriculum to the lazy parents who expect their children to automatically pick something up when they're ready, but don't give them any inspiration of opportunity to pick it up. Yeah, kids will learn stuff. We can't prevent that no matter how we might try. But the term unschooling can have too many meanings.

I've heard arguments that even a child who watches t.v. all day is still getting what he needs because if he desires to learn it, he will. I've heard that "real" unschoolers are really hardworking educational magicians who know how to inspire children to learn and develop passions on thier own. I think most are somewhere in the middle, but the term "unschooling" applies to all of them.

What we have now that our "unschooling" ancestors did not is all of the passive entertainment that we have now. T.V., Video games, computer, etc. We get entertained so much that we might not get that inspiration the same as, say, Lincoln and other famous unschooled inspirations.

Some have disagreed with the Charlotte Mason quote that I wrote about earlier. That's fine and I understand the disagreement, but that quote was what made me realize that it's ok to expect my children to learn certain things and to push them to master those things.

Lisa

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Old 01-10-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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I certainly don't want to imply that your family shouldn't do what you feels is best, but I just wanted to talk about some stuff. Just a disclaimer.

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Originally Posted by swellmomma View Post
That family is the only one out of they 8 or so I know that really made unschooling work. The rest took it to mean they could ignore the kids all day and claim they were unschooling.
Of course ignoring one's children all day is actually a parenting problem rather than an unschooling one.

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Left to his own devices he retreats into a world of star wars, and drawing. I love that he has those interests and I work with them but I do expect him to learn other things,
You have already decided which things he needs to learn and which things are important to spend time on. It's not quite that black and white in my family, or in many unschooling families. Individuals have different needs, personalities, and interests. They also learn best in different ways. Someone who thinks it's appropriate to decide what a child will learn likely isn't going to have a positive experience in unschooling because unschooling asks us to ditch that way of thinking.

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I take my role as mother seriously, now that I have added teh cap of f/t teacher as well I owe it to them to be the best at it I can. For me sit around doing my own thing while ignoring their learning like so many so called unschoolers I know do, is not an option.
Careful... Unschoolers are no less serious or mindful of their role as parents.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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Careful... Unschoolers are no less serious or mindful of their role as parents.
Yeah that.

I respect that you are doing what works best for you and your children, swellmomma; however, I would like to point out that just because those are the "unschoolers" you have experience with does not mean that is how unschooling would have to be for your family. Kwim?
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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Oh and I can't think of any legitimate arguments against the philosophy of unschooling except that I would rather it be called something else. Like life or something.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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You have already decided which things he needs to learn and which things are important to spend time on. It's not quite that black and white in my family, or in many unschooling families. Individuals have different needs, personalities, and interests. They also learn best in different ways. Someone who thinks it's appropriate to decide what a child will learn likely isn't going to have a positive experience in unschooling because unschooling asks us to ditch that way of thinking.
Yes, and it's hard to really understand this unless you've lived it. When I first started homeschooling, I had misconceptions about what unschoolers did, even though I'd read all the John Holt books - and I pretty much wrote "the unschoolers " off as far as being people who didn't have much of anything to contribute to what I felt I needed to know about homeschooling. Hey, after all - I was an expert, being that I'd never done it yet....kind of like we're all experts about parenting before we have a baby.

I remember going to one of my first park days, starting off asking what spelling books people used - yeah, I really did that - and I had no way of understanding at the time how homeschoolers could be so uncaring about spelling books... But as I began to experience my son as a self-motivated learner outside of school, I started to get the picture on my own. Wow. And we never did a "spelling book," by the way - but he became a very competent speller and writer.

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Careful... Unschoolers are no less serious or mindful of their role as parents.
I had to back off and resist the impulse to respond to that one, myself...

Lillian
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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I really disagree with this notion of it being a matter of pushing someone to master something vs. letting them just flounder cluelessly for the rest of their lives, not understanding that they can accomplish an challenging task if they want. I think we need to give children a lot more credit than that. Living together, having ongoing communication, and naturally modeling the things we think are important is effective in itself, for that matter.

I've been thinking about these unschooling discussions and feeling that a lot of what we're talking about is really about parenting rather than about a "style of method" of homeschooling. So much of this is about how you see your child as a person and what you feel your role is in all that. And that's kind of a whole other conversation, although these things do always come into the discussion.


- Lillian
I was thinking about this discussion today and that's what came to mind for me. I am glad you wrote that out. It's well nigh impossible to accurately describe successful unschooling without attaching a certain parenting profile to it. If a parent really thinks kids are lazy or empty vessels to be filled or naturally devious, or whatnot, that informs how they would perceive a free childhood. Unless you're an optimist, perhaps this is one of those things you have to see to be believe. I can be honest here, before I met my daughter I would have had a hard time accepting unschooling even as a possibility. I once told Lillian how amazing it was to me, like a veil lifting, to first see that hunger kids have for learning. It's a privilege.

As far as instilling tenacity and perseverance into my kids, they learn that, as Lillian suggests her, through modeling. They know I don't always get it right the first time. They know that it takes more than one (or two, or three...) attempts to make something work. That sometimes, information itself is not easy to come by. That's a life lesson, a parenting lesson, not necessarily an academic one.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:51 PM
 
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As a result, I feel better with the "eclectic" label, because while I am an unschooler in practice, I do have goals for my children about which they know nothing about -- yet. .
I guess this describes me, too.

I realize that it is possible that my dc will meet my educational goals for them naturally through living. So far, that has been the case! I am open to unschooling as long as it best meets my dc's needs, but I do not think that unschooling is perfect, or even best, for all children or situations. I don't know if I am a realist or just a complainer, but I have a hard time viewing anything (even the things I practice and advocate) as perfect for every person and every situation. I do think that unschooling is an incredibly valid and powerful educational approach, however, and that it can work extremely well for many families and children.

I believe it is important to trust our dc, but it is also important for our dc to trust us. I believe there is a time and a place for both.

I can give a personal example of a time that dd has benefitted from trusting me and doing something she *did not want to do*. It is not academic, so I don't believe it relates directly to our unschooling....but it definitely goes against radical unschooling. We moved a few months back, and dd (6) had an extremely difficult time adjusting. Her anxiety (normally high) soared, while her development regressed. I knew that an important part of making this adjustment was getting out and getting busy--starting a class, joining the hs club, going to church. Well, dd resisted. She was scared, and she didn't want to do any of those things. Giving her more time was one option, but in the meantime we were living in a war zone (multiple rages a day). As her 34 yo mother, who knows her better than any other person in the world, I *knew* that getting out and getting busy was the key--and waiting in that war zone for her to gather her courage was destroying both dd and our family (really, it was that bad). Dd, as a emotionally wounded 6 yo child, couldn't see that. Meeting new people, and doing new things, seemed so intimidating that she preferred to be home and be miserable. So I didn't give her a choice. We just *did* it. I asked her to trust me, I took her hand, and we took one step at a time together. The payoffs were immediate--she had friends! She had things to look forward to. She had happy moments. She still had pain, but the healing process had begun.

Having been through that with my dd (who is now very grateful that I dragged her to that first hs meeting, cheerleading class, and church service!), I can envision times when we might face similar academic challenges. And if I see anxiety holding her back--keeping her from doing things that I know will ultimately bring her great happiness--I will have no hesitation stepping in, asking her to trust me, and holding her hand while I lead her through the process.
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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I've read the whole thread, and it seems (to me) that all the arguments against unschooling are based on faulty ideas about what unschooling is, or faulty ideas about human nature and how people learn. Right off the top of my head, a couple of these are:

Fallacy #1: That unschooling requires parents to leave children to themselves, and never make suggestions or introduce new experiences: the child lives in a vacuum, and never gets to learn about anything she doesn't happen to stumble across on her own.

As many unschoolers have shared, one of the ways we're responsive to our children is by learning what they're interested in, and seeking out a variety of materials and experiences that can help them go further with these interests than they would on their own, and even discover new interests in the process.

We're also busy pursuing our own interests (I guess that's what one critic means by "doing our own thing") -- and, contrary to the feeling of some that this is neglect, it actually tends to be just the opposite. For instance, dh got started gardening a couple of years ago, and our oldest has been going out and digging with him, and selecting her own seeds. They learn together when something doesn't work, and they do it differently next time. Our toddler's getting interested now, too.

As long as we're not abandoning our children, and shutting them out while we go off to "do our own thing," our act of "doing our own thing" is actually a great catalyst in helping our children to expand their worlds and broaden their interests. The key is for us to welcome them when they want to join us.

Fallacy #2: That it takes a full 12 years to prepare for college.

I think this fallacy is mainly due to the way our public schools keep lowering the ages that they teach things like reading and math. The minute it's discovered that some children "can" learn something at a younger age, it becomes "policy" to try to get all children to learn it then.

So the ones that weren't ready at the early age, end up mentally "blocked" because of their previous experiences of failure in that particular subject. They're scared to try it again, and tend to quit at the first difficulty, because their previous experience was that no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn't do it (because they weren't ready).

It makes more sense to me to listen to my children's dreams and goals, and as they get closer to the age when they could begin college or vocational training, or start their own business, to help each find out what she needs to know, in order to succeed in the things that matter to her.

Before my child has some specific idea about where she wants to go in life, there's no way for us to know what "holes" need to be filled in --and I agree with the pp's who said that there are bound to be holes regardless of the form of education, simply because it's impossible for one human being to ever learn everything there is to know in life:

That's the beauty of lifelong learning, you've always got a chance to learn more -- and you're free from the "blockage" that often occurs when someone tries to force knowledge on a child, because that person (and not the child) thought it was "time."

If, say, my child decides at 14 that she wants to go to college and needs to learn higher math to do well on the entrance exams (and she hasn't even done algebra yet) -- well, IMO a few years is plenty of time for her to gain what she needs. Learning occurs much faster when the learner's the one who's motivating herself.

Well, I could go on and on (and already have) -- but since the OP asked for arguments AGAINST, not for, I probably should refrain from writing a novel on her thread. This is sure an interesting discussion.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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Subbing b/c I'm very intrigued by Unschooling (and I have to give a shout out to UnSchoolnMa for a large part of my interest).

We are considering for our son who is 2:

-Homeschooling
-Unschooling
-a Private School
-Our Local Public School

We have a LOT of work to do to make our decision.
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Careful... Unschoolers are no less serious or mindful of their role as parents.
Just as those who choose to school at home or us other methods are no less respectful of their children. It has been said many times in the threads I read (the ones linked from this one and this one itself) that if we respected our kids we would unschool, that is an unfair assessment. I respect me kids greatly and treat them with respect even while teaching them the materials to be covered

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Old 01-10-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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I believe that respect is treating people how *they* wish to be treated.


Pat

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Old 01-10-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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I believe that respect is treating people how *they* wish to be treated.


Pat
Amen to that!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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Oh and I can't think of any legitimate arguments against the philosophy of unschooling except that I would rather it be called something else. Like life or something.
We prefer the term "self-directed learning," because it's not about schooling... or not-schooling... it's about learning. And because it's a lifelong thing, not a K-12 thing.

We may choose to learn some things in a classroom setting, and others not. But that's just it; it's our choice. It's our children's choice. We each take responsibility for our own education, and we encourage each other to be continually learning.

DS is only 16 mos old, but DH and I already consider our family to be a family of "self-directed learners" (i.e. "unschoolers") because we are firmly entrenched in that lifestyle already.

So it means that I don't hesitate to explore things like ASL or Portuguese, both inside and outside of classroom settings. It means that DH reads the daily Wikipedia article on the homepage, because he enjoys learning new random facts. It means that we encourage DS to explore his environment, experiment, develop independent skills, etc.

I don't know. I guess it's hard for me to buy arguments against "unschooling" because self-directed learning doesn't seem all that complicated.

I've known very few kids who were mindless slugs that wanted to do nothing but play video games all day. Except for the ones who have been rather beaten down by some overly boring schooling, anyway.

Rebecca, mama to M (08/06) and E (04/09)
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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[QUOTE=LizD;10241046 I have seen quite a few families whose children really *aren't* doing anything all day. They cannot carry on a conversation with a peer, let alone an adult, they can barely read in their teens, etc. [/QUOTE]

I have a couple of questions about this statement.

#1: Are they actually doing "nothing"? I have a really hard time picturing a child doing nothing. Sometimes my DS stares off into space and looks like he's doing nothing, but when he shares his thoughts with me I'm blown away by the things he's pondering. Sometimes he plays around the house and looks like he's doing nothing, but he's building pyramids with blocks based on the book on Egypt we read that morning, or he's reading the ingredients list on the cereal box, or he's building a craft and learning about structures. My kids have never done "nothing" despite having many hours of unstructured free time.

#2: Are you certain you're getting an accurate picture of their overall education? Not being able to read at a late age doesn't necessarily mean that they haven't excelled in other areas. Some people feel more drawn to more hands-on activities and focus on those strengths. When reading becomes important to them, they'll put the effort into learning.

Kim - Wife to Liam , Unschooly mama to Nick (10/00) Lily (09/05) and Olivia (07/09)
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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I've known very few kids who were mindless slugs that wanted to do nothing but play video games all day.

Have you tried video games?
I find them challenging, hardly mindless. Frustrating, aggravating, strategical, fast paced, intense~YES!! The persistence, consistency, responsiveness, struggle, race, mental gymnastics, effort, and systematic engagement required to achieve the varied, complex and realistic goals (which are sometimes economic, social, history, etc.) is exhausting!

The breadth of exposure to myriads of life in a little game is astounding. Don't judge a book by its cover, or its rumor. Wisdom is knowing how little we know.


Pat

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Old 01-10-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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FYI, I also am a professional editor who works from home. I know what a gerund is, but I don't think I need to know the definition of a gerund to be a good editor. I believe what has helped me the most has been reading, reading, reading. You can be an expert with tools and not know what they are called...my DH is an amazing cook, but I'd venture to say even he doesn't know the proper names of all the fancy knives he uses.....

A writer/runner/thinker/wife with two daughters (11/02 and 8/05), one dog, three cats, seven fish, and a partridge in a pear tree... in Vermont.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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I play video games. The kind I enjoy involve crafting scenarios and playing them out. We adults do things like Age of Empires, the Sims, Simcity etc. The kids have a little v-smile thing, and they do some But I would never espouse any of them quite as passionately as you did here. I do allow that AOE has launched some interesting historical- cultural discussions, though. As part of our balanced breakfast life-day, yes. As the "core curriculum," heck no. People need to MOVE, and I think we get too much screen time as it is.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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"Every time you use an apostrophe to pluralize, a kitten dies"

Each time I read that I laugh so hard I cry, WP. It's my favorite sig line of all time.

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Thanks ) Sometimes when it's not a derail, ask me to describe my 8 yo's graphic "eat, shoot and leaves" picture.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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Just want to note that I assume this was an oversight in wording - meaning to refer to "unschooling," rather than the more general term, homeschooling, since the comment actually came from a homeschooler who likes homeschooling. Lillian
Thanks for the catch, Lillian.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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It doesn't make any sense to you because you would never, ever do that. I have met people who really, truly believe that the television and the people they happen to stumble upon will be enough of a launchpad to make a whole person, a whole education. Some people really believe that, Lillian. I promise! (and yes I do agree with your assessment)

You did what you're describing, I do what you're describing. That's how unschooling in particular is so darned effective. But if the parent doesn't bring those opportunities, unschooling doesn't work, at least not on a par with other homeschooling modalities. I think a parent can come at it with the very best intentions and just not "get it," that the unschooling parent is more active than they might appear at first blush. It's our language, I think. We don't like words like "teach" or "assessment" or "schedule."
If more of the unschoolers I know took a path, say, like Lillian's, I don't think I'd question US. Like I said, I think it can work beautifully with the right combo of parent and kid. But I think it particular abput some of the families in our group- the mother who takes advantage of having two teens ( plus some three younger kids)in the house to persue her own education to the almost total exclusion of the kids ( she admits getting upset when they interrupt her to play games or read to them), or the mom who couldn't understand when the neighbor called CPS because her three year old was standing in the street several times a day- and the mom never realized that was where her kid was.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post

Have you tried video games?
I find them challenging, hardly mindless. Frustrating, aggravating, strategical, fast paced, intense~YES!! The persistence, consistency, responsiveness, struggle, race, mental gymnastics, effort, and systematic engagement required to achieve the varied, complex and realistic goals (which are sometimes economic, social, history, etc.) is exhausting!

The breadth of exposure to myriads of life in a little game is astounding. Don't judge a book by its cover, or its rumor. Wisdom is knowing how little we know.


Pat
Ok, fair enough. I have played a few... Zelda, Mario, etc. They make my head hurt.

I agree that they require persistence and skill-building that I lack the patience for.

(My point was that few kids will spend all their time doing just one thing, especially if it's something like video games, for 18 years.)

Rebecca, mama to M (08/06) and E (04/09)
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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People need to MOVE, and I think we get too much screen time as it is.
The interesting thing about my kids is, I don't have to tell them, "It's time to get up and move around now." They feel frequent urges to be active, and when the urge hits, it doesn't matter if the TV's on or the computer game's going (though if it's a favorite game, my oldest may wait 'til she comes to a stopping place!).

I got such a laugh when I was reading another thread, and someone talked about how harmful it is to "sit toddlers down in front of the TV for hours at a time" -- as if a toddler's a potted plant and wherever you set her down, that's where she stays 'til you move her.

I certainly think it's harmful to do coercive things like strapping babies into highchairs and leaving them in front of the TV, when they'd rather be down on the floor getting into stuff. It's also harmful to prohibit children from doing anything they'd naturally like to do, such as playing outdoors or making messes, to the point where TV/computer is all they have left.

And of course, it's profoundly harmful to deny our children our attention and companionship, to the extent that Barney and Mr. Rogers are their only friends.

But the idea that simply making TV and computer available to our children when they want to use them, is going to keep them from moving around, just doesn't gel with my experience of my own children.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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