Non radical unschoolers, are you out there? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,
Just wondering if there are some unradical unschoolers laying around out here. We are a family of four (soon to be five). DS is almost 5, DD 2 1/2. We are unschooling, but the whole children without parental limits (free reign on tv, no help choosing bedtimes, etc) thing really isn't sitting so well with me. I feel really conflicted about the whole thing, seeing my child as a happier kid when he sleeps, and me as a better parent when I can firmly and calmly set some limits for our family.

There have to be some of you out there right?

Anno
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#2 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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I go back and forth-but you have to do what is best for your family. My kids cant regulate their own sleep scedules at ages 5 and 2.5 either!!!!

I think young kids need limits.

(although respectful ones)

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#3 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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We are not radical. I think of us as either VERY liberal homeschoolers or very conservative unschoolers.

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#4 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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We're not radical unschoolers. That approach would be detrimental to my individual children, as well as to my entire family unit. We're just unschoolers, or child-led learners, or whatever.

You can find me on Facebook. PM for info.
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#5 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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Thanks for asking this question! I've kinda been torn about it as well. My dc's are very self-led learners, but if I didn't put some kind of guideline in place for them, it would be complete chaos! My rested kids are much happier kids. We do have a relaxed schedule. Whatever comes up, we go with it! But sometimes I feel like there is time and a place for certain things.
One day I met a hsing mom and her kids at the park. They were very traditional curric. hs-ers. We got to talking and She asked me if I'd heard about "those radical unschoolers"? I was kind of put off - I mean, hey, whatever works for your family, right?

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#6 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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I don't consider us to be radical at all. We have limits on things and (reasonably) enforced bedtimes. We aim to parent in a respectful and aware manner and in our family that plays out by enforcing some limits.

Kim - Wife to Liam , Unschooly mama to Nick (10/00) Lily (09/05) and Olivia (07/09)
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#7 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this lately too, was pondering starting this thread myself

My ds has, while being fully supervised and constantly directed by adults, been hit by a car, dragged by a golf cart down a gravel road, stomped on by a deer, fallen 30 feet down a pine tree (leaving an 8 inch wide racing stripe scab from nose to navel), bitten by dogs (repeatedly, he kept trying to hug them), ridden a lawn mower (not a riding one) down a hill, jumped off roofs (repeatedly, once was off a boat house roof into a semi-frozen lake.) None of these have happened when I'm around I can't imagine what he would do if he had total free reign to follow any impulse.

I don't want to start any sort of debate on RU or denigrate any family that practices this, every parent makes the decisions they feel are the best. But I have a problem with the fundamental idea of defining any sort of parental intervention as "coercive" or "manipulative". I don't think that it's disrespectful for me to make decisions for or strongly advocate to my ds based on having more experience and better (much better ) foresight.

So I don't fall into the RU camp, though I do try to constantly to be respectful of my son's needs and wants, to talk through and work out any difference of opinion or conflict, and to analyze my own motives behind my decisions.
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#8 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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We're not radical unschoolers. That approach would be detrimental to my individual children, as well as to my entire family unit. We're just unschoolers, or child-led learners, or whatever.
: I admire those families where RU works, but it's not us. Though I generally think that RU works better when the kids are older
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#9 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 04:02 PM
 
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Hey, us! We're not radical unschoolers at all. I don't subscribe to a philosophy of moral relativity. We feel that the children need some structure in their lives in regards to diet, bedtimes, TV, that sort of thing. However, we trust them to know what they need to learn and how to learn it without imposed structure.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#10 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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Not RU's here. I let my boys have free rein on their learing, but not in other aspects of life especially if it interferes with the rest of the family. I believe in limitations and rules, but things are negotiable in our family. The boys are allowed to plead their case, we debate, negotiate then try to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. But there are times when things are non-negotiable and there are a few unhappy faces.

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#11 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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We have limits and family rules here, too. I'm sure when the kids are older, bedtimes, TV usage, etc will become much more relaxed, but for us, for now, it works best with having some limits.

That said, we *always* explain things to the kids when they think something is unfair and because we give them valid reasons for why we do certain things, they agree to do things the way we suggest the *vast* majority of times. If/when my kids come up with valid, responsible, reasonable alternatives, then we'll most likely implement them. My oldest is only four, so he's not quite at that stage yet.

I've noticed that even when my reason for saying no to something is that I'm so very tired, my back hurts, whatever, the kids are able to be really compassionate and don't push the matter. Not sure if it's their personality or a function of how we manage our family, but it sure is nice.

I think there's a big difference between setting limits with respect for your children and coercive parenting. Sure, I lose my temper and tell them to "Just come over here and put your shoes on *now*!" But I almost always take the time later to explain that we had to be somewhere at a certain time (most likely a playdate so *they* can play with *their* friends), it's not polite to keep people waiting, and that I had already asked them several times nicely, and I was getting grumpy, and I apologize.

We're definitely unschoolers when it comes to their education, though. If I don't see a need to set a limit, I don't.

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#12 of 117 Old 03-03-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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We are unradical. To us, unschooling is an educational choice, not a parenting choice. (Yes, of course, there is overlap). I don't believe that kids benefit from has no restrictions, so we have some. I also believe that unnatural things like refined sugar and television are addictive and unhealthy, so I limit those things.

Radical unschoolers frequently mention trusting children, but we live in a world where most people don't have my kids' best interest in mind, and I don't think it's fair to expect a young child to navigate a world created by adult desires (such as making money and ensuring consumption). I believe it is my job to stand between my kids and those who would seek to use my kids for their purposes.

I do a lot of what RU say they do: discuss values, problem-solve, give my opinion, serve as a sounding board, etc., but in the end, I will step in to keep my kids from harm (as I define it).

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#13 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 05:06 AM
 
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We began homeschooling this year with ds who is 6 with the idea of being relaxed or eclectic homeschoolers, but grow more and more unschooly everyday! We attend our local unschool park day where there is a good mix of RU and nonRUs.

For my child these are the RU principles that don't work:
*Food, my kid would eat three bags of marshmallows in one sitting, throw up and do it all over again the next day. Plus I am very into the idea that are cells and our DNA are made of what we take in. Plus, we don't have health ins. right now. We can't afford to be unhealthy!
*Bedtimes, DS is very very active. I need a little time at night to think and process the day's information. I don't have to coerce ds to bed, but the established routine from his very earliest days stuck and I don't see myself saying, "you know, you don't really have to go to bed right now if you don't want to."
These RU principles do work for us:
*All the learning stuff. No purchased curric. and no outside imposed timetables of what should be learned and when
*Media, DS self regulates this very well. He'll go on Nintendo DS streaks and then no turn it on for days. Some TV is really really cool. I like it myself. We can't afford the good cable right now, but he was good at self regulating even when we did. Now we have most of our channels coming in in Spanish which we don't speak! LOL!

We pick and choose our Unschooling and Parenting philosophies like an all you can eat buffet. (OT: Has anyone been to a Todai, very very yummy!)
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#14 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 05:21 AM
 
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I've been thinking about this lately too, was pondering starting this thread myself

My ds has, while being fully supervised and constantly directed by adults, been hit by a car, dragged by a golf cart down a gravel road, stomped on by a deer, fallen 30 feet down a pine tree (leaving an 8 inch wide racing stripe scab from nose to navel), bitten by dogs (repeatedly, he kept trying to hug them), ridden a lawn mower (not a riding one) down a hill, jumped off roofs (repeatedly, once was off a boat house roof into a semi-frozen lake.) None of these have happened when I'm around I can't imagine what he would do if he had total free reign to follow any impulse.

I don't want to start any sort of debate on RU or denigrate any family that practices this, every parent makes the decisions they feel are the best. But I have a problem with the fundamental idea of defining any sort of parental intervention as "coercive" or "manipulative". I don't think that it's disrespectful for me to make decisions for or strongly advocate to my ds based on having more experience and better (much better ) foresight.

So I don't fall into the RU camp, though I do try to constantly to be respectful of my son's needs and wants, to talk through and work out any difference of opinion or conflict, and to analyze my own motives behind my decisions.

Your son sounds like a really interesting kid! The quote about cats having wheels made me laugh so hard and think, what a cool kid!!

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#15 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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I dunno what we are. I don't really like to label. However, I don't think I am a radical unschooler.

I do ask and sometimes insist that dd brush her teeth or let me brush them. Sometimes, we compromise and she brushes them without toothpaste but they still get brushed. At times, I let it go and then I see that they are "gross" and her breath is repulsive so that is when I insist.

I am having issues with food. Not "what" exactly...just that I'm expected to prepare food every 30 minutes. Also when I cook dinner, if she doesn't like it or eat part of it, she falls back on unhealthy eating habits. It wouldn't be unhealthy if it was an occasional thing (I believe in balance and am not a "restricter") but it seems she regularly doesn't like what I cook. (And I try to cook as plainly as possible but add stuff later for DH and I.) Anyway, it's all so complicated. NOT the thread for this.

Also, I do ask that she give me and her dad some alone time once in a while. I don't tell her to Go To Sleep but I do ask to be left alone for the rest of the night, barring an emergency. We set her up with food, drinks, movies, games, toys, music...whatever she wants. But we do insist we get time alone some nights before my DH falls asleep. Sometimes, after he falls asleep, if she's up, I hang with her.

Still, she sleeps with us about 85% of the time! (she's 9, by the way) And with the craziness of this super-quick move we are undertaking, she's been sleeping with us so we can all stay "connected." She needs lots of snugglin' and kissin' and late night/early morning quiet talk.

We are also butting heads on keeping communal areas tidy enough for all to enjoy.
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#16 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by canadiangranola View Post
Hi all,
Just wondering if there are some unradical unschoolers laying around out here. We are a family of four (soon to be five). DS is almost 5, DD 2 1/2. We are unschooling, but the whole children without parental limits (free reign on tv, no help choosing bedtimes, etc) thing really isn't sitting so well with me. I feel really conflicted about the whole thing, seeing my child as a happier kid when he sleeps, and me as a better parent when I can firmly and calmly set some limits for our family. There have to be some of you out there right? Anno
I like that you say the part about firmly and calmly setting limits. I think part of being a respectful parent is teaching your kiddos appropriate boundaries, respect, and responsibility. Notice I didn't say 'beat it into them', but I do think 'firmly and calmly' is an excellent way to put it.

I have experienced being treated with what can only be described as disdain by some RU moms because I do believe it's my responsibility to set limits and boundaries in certain areas of my kids' lives, and I think it's a shame to deny your kiddo the security of basic limits. I think it's all a matter of perspective, really. Plus there's just so much pressure to 'label' your style of homeschooling that I think the entire point gets missed. If someone's family works well with a more (or less) structured approach, whether with schedule or curriculum, then so be it. I don't think it's ok for any other homeschooler to say that is a right or wrong approach. The only "right" approach to homeschooling is what works for your family and children, and the only "wrong" one is the one that is disruptive or interferes with your family's sanity. I think that's where folks get burned out and frustrated with the process...they are trying to hard to 'fit a label' that they forget the entire point was to meet the needs of their family.

*sigh*

Anyways, here's how we do it:

I don't 'do' packaged curriculum but I have a kiddo who wants to be an engineer (and he's got a genuine aptitude in that area). He's learned that in order to get into college for this major he needs an extensive math background. He's 14, and he's using a curriculum because he wants to qualify for college level math courses in a few years. Now, he hasn't ever used a math curriculum before but he now works diligently to get through 3-4 lessons a day and takes at least a test a week. He has the answer key himself and just comes to me for the tests. I don't even check his daily work, that's up to him. He's decided that in order to 'pass' a test he needs to get 90% correct. If he gets less than that, he goes back and keeps working on it.

The rest of our family's world doesn't have curriculum, which is why we gravitate towards the unschooling camp of thought. But I do make a point of introducing topics and ideas for them to explore if it grabs their interest, and I don't see that as 'anti-unschooling'. We get lots of magazine subscriptions (Highlights, Ranger Rick, Big Backyard, Time for Kids, Muse, National Geographic, Top Secret Country Adventures etc.) that they love to peruse and it frequently sends them off exploring topics in more detail that they never would have even considered otherwise. I also buy neat games that are probably more 'educational' in nature than not, and the kids love playing them for hours on end, learning everything from spelling & vocabulary (scrabble, upwords etc) to logic and strategy (Rush hour, Blokus) to money management (monopoly). We do lots of area 'homeschool classes' and I usually sign them up for one or two sessions and then see if it's something that they are wanting to pursue. I've learned if I ask if they 'want' to do a class the answer is usually 'no', but if they try a couple they will frequently (but not always) really enjoy it and want to continue. Granted, I don't force the issue if they can't stand it, but they wouldn't have the opportunity to make an educated decision if I didn't nudge the first part of the way. So,it definitely is part of my job to introduce the idea in the first place. As for media, bedtime, etc. it depends on the kiddo really. My son *needs* a clear (although not ironclad) bedtime as well as limits on TV/PS2 etc. Without these limits he doesn't get enough sleep, he obsesses, he's miserable, and he takes it out on the rest of the family. There is ample clear evidence that teens need a LOT more sleep than adults, so it's important that we make that a priority. My other teen doesn't have a 'lights out' time, but she is expected to head downstairs at a certain time so DH and I can have an hour or so to ourselves at the end of the day. My 6yo has a 'bedtime' but she stays up reading until she falls asleep, as long as we don't have somewhere to be in the morning, which we usually don't.

I love the analogy of an all you can eat buffet regarding homeschooling, as I think that's an EXCELLENT portrayal of how the process works. There is so much to choose from ranging from uber-structured to RU that it's important for everyone to pick and choose the pieces that fit. At the same time, if you follow what can be construed as a 'hard nosed' RU philosophy, even bringing the child to the buffet is 'pushy' and not respecting the child's lead, which IMHO, means they miss out on the experience. So, compared to 'school at home' folk we are very RU, but compared to RUs we are probably pretty structured. It's all about balance, right?!?!?!?!

Thanks for the great topic!
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#17 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 12:58 PM
 
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My son does well with a bedtime, as my daughters did at that age. And it's not just because he's still enrolled in school right now- even over the summer he needed a bedtime or he became cranky and irritable and unpleasant to be around, and the girls liked having some "little kid free" time before they went to bed.

Neither of my daughters have set bedtimes, as they're old enough to regulate their own sleep. I also insist on family mealtimes, and chores, and just general household routines that keep me feeling sane (and thus help them indirectly.)

I couldn't imagine being completely "radical" with several children and only one adult in the house. At least, I can't imagine myself doing it.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#18 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
I don't believe that kids benefit from has no restrictions, so we have some. I also believe that unnatural things like refined sugar and television are addictive and unhealthy, so I limit those things.

Radical unschoolers frequently mention trusting children, but we live in a world where most people don't have my kids' best interest in mind, and I don't think it's fair to expect a young child to navigate a world created by adult desires (such as making money and ensuring consumption). I believe it is my job to stand between my kids and those who would seek to use my kids for their purposes.
See now, while I'm adamantly opposed to things like enforced bedtimes and meals etc., I agree with what you've written here. I think sometimes people make the mistake of looking at it as an either-or issue, and it isn't really. There's actually quite a spectrum.
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#19 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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I'm a Virgo. I love labels I call myself an academic unschooler.

I'm not radical and sometimes I feel bad about it. All the RU moms I know IRL (I admit there aren't many) are really nice, friendly, interesting people to hang out with plus their kids are great too. I tend to get along better with people who are relaxed and laid back and so far, the RU moms I've met IRL fit that bill. I certainly haven't run into anyone who looks down on me because I'm not a perfect unschooler. I've mostly seen that sort of thing online (I can think of a few homeschoolers IRL who I feel looked down on by but for the record, they weren't unschoolers and they didn't even know I was so that wasn't an issue).

I don't believe in "because I said so". And I have way fewer rules than most parents I've run into. We have a few though.

We have bedtimes. I didn't for years. I finally put on a bedtime after my 9 year old kept being destructive when I wasn't awake. Not destructive on purpose - it was mostly art projects gone awry, but the last one involved a lot of glue purposely dripped in patterns all over the (hardwood thank goodness) floor which I thankfully found before it completely dried. I flipped out and instituted a bedtime that very night.

Bridget was Not Happy at first but I said tough luck, no choice. When I calmed down I almost re-thought it but I'm so glad I didn't. Bedtimes have been AWESOME. I'm getting more rest because when she stayed up I kept waking up - I sleep more soundly when I know she's in bed. She's getting more rest too and it shows. Plus we actually see her more instead of her staying up hours later and then sleeping in half the day. Oh, and getting her to things she actually wants to do (like ice skating in the morning) is MUCH easier on both of us. I think that might be the #1 reason she's ok with the bedtime now. This past week for some reason she's wanted to sleep in my room so she's going to bed when Owen does (an hour earlier than usual). Because of that she's getting up earlier too. It's been really nice. But yeah, it was something I imposed on her with no choice. Definitely not RU.

I also have to keep on my daughter about food. She has meltdowns if she doesn't eat enough which yes, I know, all kids have the potential to do but you have to see her. Seriously. I try to involve her in this as much as possible and we often talk about how she thinks it's working, what she wants to eat, how she can help herself remember, etc. But when it comes down to it, I will and have carried her screaming to the car to leave someplace when she's melting down. If we can avoid this by simply making sure she eats something every 2 hours or so, I'd much rather do that. We also have to avoid soy for her and make sure she has enough protein and fiber (they digest slower). Again, I get her input as much as possible on all that, but I still have to step in sometimes.

We also have chores but not only do I get my kid's input on what they want to do, my daughter actually whines when we forget them, Both kids were fighting over who "got" to clear the table the other week so now we have a schedule for that. So that's not something imposed on them I guess. I do insist on them though, on the rare occasion Bridget doesn't want to (Owen always does - their personalities are very different). The whole thing about the family helping out as needed just didn't work for us (um, Bridget) and I was feeling really martyred for awhile there. But she loves lists and responds much better when something is written down and done the same way every time (instead of the vague "gee, what needs doing today?" - doesn't work for me either). I also made an effort to find chores she'd like to do, so she gets to have fun AND check off boxes. That works for us

Honestly though, at times I've been worried about me and Bridget and our relationship. I'm sort of quirky and she's just like me. We were just fighting too much and I finally decided I need to do what I can to improve our relationship. And that includes bedtimes for us all, making sure we eat (because I have the same food/cranky thing she does - I'm just not as loud) and, yes, having chores. I am a bit scatterbrained and need help focusing and I find that lists and schedules help me. I think it's the same for Bridget. I do wish I could be more radical. I don't know if it's me or Bridget or both of us but I don't think we can ever be all the way there. I'm willing to accept that I can't do it because of me though. I just made the decision that I'd rather impose some rules and have a better relationship (ie: not yell at my kid). So that's where we are.

Other than that . . . the kids do what they want. They watch all the tv they want, play all the computer games they want, read whatever they want (we love "twaddle" ). We eat junk food when we feel like it, they jump on beds, they get dirty. Life is pretty good
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#20 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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I think sometimes people make the mistake of looking at it as an either-or issue, and it isn't really.
Unfortunately, the place where I have run into that most is among the RU crowd. Many RUers seem to see it as you're either respectful of your children (the RU way) or you're not (every other way). I know that I and others here at MDC have wasted a lot of breath (figuratively speaking) trying to convince some people that there isn't only one, sacred, irrefutable right way. But some people choose not to see/believe that.

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#21 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 04:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by canadiangranola View Post
Hi all,
Just wondering if there are some unradical unschoolers laying around out here. We are a family of four (soon to be five). DS is almost 5, DD 2 1/2. We are unschooling, but the whole children without parental limits (free reign on tv, no help choosing bedtimes, etc) thing really isn't sitting so well with me. I feel really conflicted about the whole thing, seeing my child as a happier kid when he sleeps, and me as a better parent when I can firmly and calmly set some limits for our family.

There have to be some of you out there right?

Anno
I could have written almost the exact same thing. I do think we're pretty relaxed but we do have some rules/limits about eating, bedtimes, and tv time (I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out here...). I am a firm believer that you do what is best for your family. I take what I need from the unschooling philosophy and leave the rest that doesn't work for us.

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#22 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JillChristina View Post
I could have written almost the exact same thing. I do think we're pretty relaxed but we do have some rules/limits about eating, bedtimes, and tv time (I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out here...). I am a firm believer that you do what is best for your family. I take what I need from the unschooling philosophy and leave the rest that doesn't work for us.

Jill
:

Totally how I have approached hsing, and parenting in general. If it works for us, it's in. If, or when, it stops working for us, it's out.

I had planned on becoming more academically structured when ds was around 13/14 (based on my own childhood, the Moore formula and CM, which I also use a bit of), but that wasn't working out great. Ds is still unsure of college and career, but he's very techie and mechanically oriented, and everything he's interested in requires at least a bit of math, so we're keeping a slighty more stuctured math study (he really likes Math-U-See and we'll keep doing that, but ds will decide how fast and how far he wants to go.)

Neither ds nor myself do well with no structure or rules, we both just kind of drift. Neither of us are really driven people and we tend to spend weeks on end watching tv and playing video games and avoiding doing the things we really want or need to be doing, and regretting wasting our time in the end, so a rough daily routine and some limits on passive entertainment are absolute necessities for both of us.
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#23 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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nak


our dds are 10 months and 2.5yrs so we are sorting all this out. I hate labeling myself, i prefer to do what works without trying to fit in to a certain category or whatever. We have a lot to learn, right now I guess we would be 'Waldorf inspired, child led learners' or something like that Most of the unschooling philosophy speaks deeply to me but not all of it. We don't watch TV, we try to avoid plastic toys, and I am not comfortable letting dd self regulate food...... We don't enforce mealtimes, although I do encourage it. Sitting down for dinner is much more than just eating.....its more of a ritual that nurtures us as a family unit. Ultimately it is up to them. I believe strongly in child led learning but will probably be more structured than most. But of course my girls are very little right now, we have a lot of evolving to do as parents....one thing is for sure, this journey is very exciting. I have no idea what the future holds but I know we will have many moments of enlightenment and change!!
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#24 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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We're life learners, but we're not RU. We just try to all live together the best we can.

We don't have set/regular bedtimes here though. Sometimes I wish we did : , but we don't.

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Though I generally think that RU works better when the kids are older
I think so too. I agree with the principle of communicating honestly with our children, and do so. But before a certain age/developmental level, it only does so much. When DS1 is older, I suspect that he'll better be able to understand when I explain that eating 12 yogurts/day makes him constipated, and make his decisions accordingly. But right now, he either doesn't really understand the explanation or 'get' the connection, or he's just too living-in-the-moment to care -- he just really likes yogurt. But I'm not going to keep handing him yogurt cups indefinitely if I know that doing so will cause him to be crying on the potty three days later. If I know that his decision is going to end up hurting him, and he doesn't really understand that, it would be insensitive and uncaring of me to keep implementing it anyway.

I don't really understand why not saying "No" to our children is considered to be an unschooling issue. John Holt never said that we should never say "No" to our children; he just said that we should say "No" as kindly and respectfully as we would say "Yes". And that's the approach I take. I try to say yes whenever I can, to be flexible and respectful of our children's needs and feelings and desires, but there are still times when I have to make decisions that one or both of them simply don't like. Whether it's for health and safety reasons, or part of living together in a family and trying to consider everyone's needs (like my need to dim the lights if I have a migraine, or DS2's need to not get bopped or pushed over), sometimes I just have to say "No".
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#25 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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we try to avoid plastic toys
I feel that it is our responsibility as inhabitants of this world to do what we can to protect its people, nonhuman animals, and environment. I believe that part of doing this is teaching our children what we believe is right. I do teach my children to consume thoughtfully. We don't buy frivolously, and I forbid purchases that I believe will have overt, tangible, negative impacts on the world. When my kids grow up, they are free to live according to their own values, but I believe it is my job as a parent to impart my values. To me, some of the RU stuff I have read implies that children's decisions on many things are morally neutral, and I don't believe that. I don't think it's ethical to use other people's disadvantages as "learning opportunities" for children (i.e., if you buy cheap plastic crap at the dollar store, it will break because it's not well made ... and now you know).

dm
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#26 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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I feel that it is our responsibility as inhabitants of this world to do what we can to protect its people, nonhuman animals, and environment. I believe that part of doing this is teaching our children what we believe is right. I do teach my children to consume thoughtfully. We don't buy frivolously, and I forbid purchases that I believe will have overt, tangible, negative impacts on the world.
I agree with this as well. I respect my children's desires, but I'm still not going to make purchases that go against my moral compass. That wouldn't be being true to myself. DS1 discovered at Hallowe'en that he likes Smarties... but I boycott Nestle, so regardless of if he'd like them, I'm not going to buy any.
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#27 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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: I admire those families where RU works, but it's not us. Though I generally think that RU works better when the kids are older
I used to think this, but ds is almost 15 and he still "chooses" to eat a lb of cheese at a time (he's lactose intolerant) and he still "chooses" to spend 12 hours straight playing video games, even while complaining that the game is boring and his eyes hurt.

I really dispute the whole "no child will choose to keep doing something that isn't good/healthy/appropriate, etc, if left to their own devices". People who say this never met my kid Ds has Tourettes (as do I), and there are neurological differences between us and the larger population, but still, he's completely cognitively normal, there is absolutely nothing wrong with his decision making skills, he just will often "choose" not to choose, to take the easiest, funnest, tastiest way out. Left to his own devices he would never choose vegetables over sausage, cheese or chips, he would never choose to play outside over sitting on the couch watching video games.

And because of his "choices" he weighs over 300lbs and is starting to have trouble with his joints. And he still won't choose to exercise, and has asked me to make him exercise. Sticking by a theory that he would learn to choose what is good for him given enough time and space would be actively hurting him, it would be, in my opinion, in this particular case, child abuse to let him keep "choosing" his way into chronic disease and early death.

I'm finding that in the early teen years his capacity for reason has gone down and his impulsiveness waaaay up and I'm having to interpose myself into his decisions much more than I did when he was about, oh, 10, or imposing myself in different ways, not necessarily saying no right off the bat, but reminding him "didn't you tell me yesterday you wanted to go out for a run today?" or "didn't you tell me you wanted to save your money for a laptop instead of buying junk food?"

Another thing that has come up in the teen years with ds is that he has always been very, very happy to be a child, he's never been in any hurry to grow up and he's holding on to his childhood with both hands and both feet He gets very exasperated with me when I try to discuss things with him. If he doesn't feel very strongly about something (and he's a very laid back kid, he doesn't feel very strongly about a whole lot of things outside of video games, politics and his friends) he just doesn't want to discuss it endlessly-which to him means more than 2 or 3 words.

He'll say things to me like "Just make a decision already, I don't care what we do" or "If you don't want to make the decision, just say that, but don't make it my job to make your decisions for you" or "Whatever, I'll do whatever you say, just tell me what you want." He very, very vocally does NOT want to be consulted on every family decision. He's fine being in the back seat, stretched out, listening to music and enjoying the ride
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#28 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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We set limits. Recently I have been rotating media and non media time. The boys also go to bed between 7-8pm. I also make them go outside once a day.

Be well,

Shane

Shane - Homeschooling mom to three boys (12, 1-, 8) and living the open life with my husband.

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#29 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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imposing myself in different ways, not necessarily saying no right off the bat, but reminding him "didn't you tell me yesterday you wanted to go out for a run today?" or "didn't you tell me you wanted to save your money for a laptop instead of buying junk food?"
This sounds exactly like RU to me.

Not to gate crash, but I consider myself RU and still do many of the things people are listing here as things that make them not RU. I certainly don't simply let my children do whatever they want all the time, regardless of the consequences. I don't endanger them and I don't give them choices that are bigger than their ability to reason.

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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#30 of 117 Old 03-04-2008, 07:33 PM
 
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This sounds exactly like RU to me.

Not to gate crash, but I consider myself RU and still do many of the things people are listing here as things that make them not RU. I certainly don't simply let my children do whatever they want all the time, regardless of the consequences. I don't endanger them and I don't give them choices that are bigger than their ability to reason.
thank you! i've been trying really hard not to respond here because i know you are all looking for non-RU support, but i feel like a lot of what i'm reading is NOT RU.

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