I am still reading one of the links recommended yesterday, I'm on page 13 my gosh it is a lot of information.
Please bear with my longwinded ramblings, so many thoughts going on and I want to get them all out.
ANyway I was thinking about this all lastnight and how is is not showing respect to "force" a child to do school work or really anything they don't want to. It had me wondering if as unschoolers you require your children to do chores around the house or if you just pick up after them. I do not know many children who *want* to clean up (after 19 years in daycare working with ages birth through 12 plus my own kids and babysitting, I have worked with thousands of kids over the years). My children are no exception, They do not *want* to haul out the trash for garbage day, or pick up their toys, or make thier beds, heck my 9 year old does not want to take a bath/shower or brush his teeth. I "force" them to do these things. They are part of this family and they will help with the chores this family has. I still do 95% of the work around here, and I guarantee I don't want to, but part of growing up is learning that sometimes you just have to do something even if you don't want to or don't like it. The same can be said for so much. Out in the work force, there will be time s a boss asks them to complete a job that they perhaps find boring or don't want to do right then, but tough luck, you suck it up and get it done, their boss doesn't care if they want to do it or not. Even in a career that is your passion which I have working in childcare their is still tasks I'd rather not do, but saying no and skipping them is not an option. My kids best get used to that now, the world is not going to cater to their whims. They are free to learn whatever they want in ADDITION to the curric that is laid out as that is their job right now.
In my home when it comes to extra curric's for example, my kids can choose what they want to try, but they have to finish it through to the end of the session/season. IMO they have taken that spot away from a child who would have stuck with it and let down their team etc if they suddenly quit. They never have to take it again if they don't want to. FUnny thing about this, my son has played baseball for 3 years now, mid season every year he claims he wants to quit because he isn't learning anything new. I make him stick with it, by the end of season he has learned a new skill, his team has won the tournament, yet again, and he is passionate about the sport. We have done this every year for 3 years. If I had not made him stick with it the first season he would not have learned how much he loves it, or felt the joy over winning that trophy, or seen me cry when he brought in the winning run. That said when he was in soccer I let him quit the first half of the season(it was indoor soccer so 10 month long season), not because he hated the sport but because the coach was emotionally abusive to my son. SO I do not force them t stay in unhealthy situations.
I wonder too how many of you make your child go to the dentist, or get vax'd, etc these are not fun experiences for kids, again I have never known one that wanted to do them, but for their health it was important to do so regardless. Is it disrespectful to make them go? They certianly would have been happier if I just left them alone. What about medical interventions? My son requires daily medication to function, he would be more than happy to never touch the stuff again, he does not want to take it. IMO it is not an option to stop taking it if I want the best outcomes for him.
To me their education is no different. They have no choice in whether or not we seek medical attention, or take vitamins, or whether they do chores, or even what is served for meals, they eat what is served or they wait until the next meal, it is not a restaurant. Over all I work with their interests, but whether or not they want to be doing schoolwork is not an option. My son still goes through bouts of not wanting to try anything new because he thinks he is "stupid", I make him do the work, with the attitude of tough luck, suck it up and do the best you can. I do not expect perfection, I am working on him seeing that doing the best you can is all he can do and not to beat himself up if it is not perfect. Case in point, he usually hates writing, common for many boys his age. So I had him start making comic books. While he did that to help to get his creative thoughts on paper he still had to do dictation and writing exercises for me to build up is sentence and paragraph composition. Last night he asked if he wrote a book if I would take it to be bound. To which I answered yes of course. Writing a book is not required by me, whether he does so or not is up to him, I will encourage him to do so. In the meantime I will continue to work with his writing level with dictation and writing exercises. Even if he writes me 10 books we will still work with other writing styles since short stories is only 1 genre.
There may be many misconceptions about unschooling, but I think there is just as many about homeschooling by the unschoolers. From waht I have been reading onthis thread and the other is that if you are not unschooling you are imposing a rigid, inflexible program on your child based on your own interests. From my experience with my own family and fromtime spent with other hser's there is very few families that have that rigidity. MOSt of us may use curriculum and expect our children to complete assignments etc BUT we build on their interests as well. So my son will write his comics or his new book and he will still follow my curric for writing in other styles. I do not feel it is disrespectful to worry about his over all education and want it to be well rounded as opposed to allowing him to focus only on one thing all the time.
As for the question about how much time is spent with the unschooling families to know what they are really doing. THe one family that I consider the most lazy, was my boss and friend, I saw her daily at work, I spoke with her daily outside of work, our kids were best friends and say each other often. In addition to what I witnessed daily is also what she told me about how little they did, or how they spent their days. Another one I mentioned I admit I did not see often, I spoke with her online daily, she is actually the one that told me she calls herself a lazy schooler because she does nothing with her boys. They leave her alone because they are on video games all day and she likes the quiet. NOw they have been doing alot of travelling this year so they are doing something now. It was her son that was 10 who still couldn't read, she told me the reason was he had never asked her to show him how so she never bothered to bring it up. The rest are in my homeschool support group, so no I don't see what their families are like day in and day out, I can only go based on what they THEMSELVES have said about what they do and do not do with their children. None of them spoke of doing the types of things you ladies have with your children, the kids could describe in detail the goings on of the various soap operas though. And the parents often complained the kids were bored and had nothing to do, but because they were unschoolers they didn't want to suggest things to them. The one with the chlidren who went back to school and were years behind, made it seem funny they were so behind and stuck with her belief that as an unschooler at heart she could not help them catch up to their peers, they would do it on their own if they wanted to.
Brandy Single momma to A(11), C(10), H(6) and I(2)