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#31 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post
I imagine that if you are keeping a log book and examples of work being completed then it's not illegal.
That's not actually required in lots of places - maybe even most places, but I don't know. I never kept a log or work samples in all the years we homeschooled. - Lillian
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#32 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
for those who see indignation and rudeness in posts that have none, just a simple question/statement, trolls I guess is what they are called...what gives...:
Your post suggested that unschooling sounds like child abuse (in later posts you've kind of implied that you may disagree with your friends' opinions, but you didn't say so in the first post, and that left me with the impression that you agree with them). Child abuse isn't an accusation I toss around lightly, because to me it means that children are being directly harmed through malice or negligence, though I suppose your circle of friends might use the term differently somehow.

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Originally Posted by Tigeresse View Post
But what if gaming is your child's passion? When does allowing them to pursue something that gets such a bad rap cross the line from unschooling into "neglect"?
Sorry, I didn't mean it like that.

FWIW, I think peer pressure can be a positive thing, and I think playing video games can be great too. It depends on the context (ie if a kid is a passionate gamer, that's great, if he's playing video games all day because he's not being offered anything else to do, that's not so great). What I meant to say is that playing video games all day is not a central feature of unschooling-- it happens sometimes with some kids, but lots of unschooled kids do other things.

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#33 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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I said that it was a movement and that there are many families who practice it - her argument is this: are there any children who are adults NOW that were unschooled and are active participants in the workforce, went on to higher education. How do they learn to read, do math, if they don't have the foundations (my mother is a school teacher) and how do they learn to write and everything if you don't teach them... so that to her is abuse since they aren't being taught...but they are, just not in a in your face direct way on someone else's schedule...right? or do I have it backwards?
You can tell you know of one (my son) who never had formal lessons or assignments in language arts, but his first two English teachers at college raved about his writing and told him he was the best student they'd had in years. He had two scholarship offers from the first two colleges he applied to before having a chance to get the third in. He isn't what you'd call "gifted" - just bright and curious. Other unschooled friends of his have had plenty of success. He has a friend who unschooled all her life, got great grades while taking the largest load of units possible all through community college, went on to a university, after which she had a full scholarship to a good grad school, and is now working on her PhD at another one. Two of his friends are working in theater lighting in New York, having completed their degrees while working in theater - one won an impressive award along the way. Another, as an anthropology major, got to work on an archaeological dig in the lower level being dug up at Pompeii, and is now back in college on a grad level. Another friend got his degree and is running his own website business among other interesting projects. Those are just a few that I happen to know a little about because of being in touch with their moms and/or hearing about through the grapevine - I've also heard impressive stories about other grown unschooled children of acquaintances I don't stay in close touch with, but I can't recall the details. Lillian
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#34 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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You can learn without being taught. You can be taught and not learn. Think of learning as a living organism, that grows and changes with the environment. What goes into the environment will affect how the organism can achieve and grow.

In NY, I submit a list of texts that cover the areas such as reading/spelling, arithmetic/math etc and quarterly reports. Can I unschool? Sure can, I am just very creative with my documentation. We use authentic books, materials and offer dd as many opportunities as we can, but we mainly follow her lead and help her get what she needs to accomplish her goals.

In a school setting, I would call what we do "emergent curriculum" and "project approach."

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#35 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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Oh my. Yeah, I've heard the "abuse" cry before too. Blech.

It really is this huge concept for people to get a hold of. With an in-law of mine I explained the mindfulness involved presence I tried to have with my kids. I explained the way that information is everywhere for us. I explained the freedom to explore what really interests us. None of that mattered in the face of the fact that my kids were not required to "do anything". So nevermind the fact that my teens can type wicked fast even though they've never taken a typing class, have really great vocabulary and pretty great spelling skills, read a lot, can discuss social events and issues with me, and on and on. None of that matters because I didn't make them do it, and because they learned some of their skills outside of traditional academic material. I say, typing skills picked up via instant messaging, Myspace, and computer RPG's rather than in a class or lesson are still typing skills. And how is it worse that they learned these skills while happily doing something they enjoy?

But it's just too big for some people, especially at first. They may come around, they may not, but it's legal anyway.

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#36 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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Please pass the popcorn! :

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#37 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 04:36 PM
 
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My short answer..

Unschooling is ONE OF MANY WAYS to homeschool.
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states (each state may have different requirements, all of which can be met by unschooling)

Your best answer is going to come from your state department of education. If you have concerns about how to homeschool, contact your state homeschool rep.

As for getting into type of homeschooling with family/friends/etc just dont go there... simply say 'we learn at home'

My family does not understand HS and would never grasp the concept of US.
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#38 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
I've mentioned unschooling to a number of people, explained the philosophy and why people are doing it and they all say that it sounds like child abuse, and must be illegal. Point blank, is it?
wow, are you an unschooler?

i can't imagine anyone who is actually an unschooler explaining it in a way that makes it sound like child abuse.

i am SO involved with every aspect of my son's life, how could i possibly be abusing/neglecting him?

it's not like he is being raised as a wolf-boy...... he uses a fork to eat, washes his hair regularly and does wear clothes... well, usually he wears clothes!

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#39 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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[QUOTE=brendon;11343809]

In NY, I submit a list of texts that cover the areas such as reading/spelling, arithmetic/math etc and quarterly reports./QUOTE]


but you don't need to. you don't need to cite any text, books or curriculums. there is huge latitude in what you need to actually report in NY.

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#40 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 09:57 PM
 
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MommyHawk,
The law here reads "Show evidence of instruction". How I choose to "instruct" my kids is none of the school board's business, as long as I prove that it is being done. They cannot ask for any more than that, legally.
We had our review yesterday and I actually disagreed with the reviewer out loud. She wanted DS to being doing more writing and I said I felt it was inappropriate work for a first grader and that what he was doing as far as reading and writing is all he was going to be doing. She proceeded to write "Good work!" on his official paperwork.
I have to say, I don't think much of the reviewers. This lady yesterday thought that my 2 yr old was the student being reviewed for first grade work. She was looking right at him and thought he was 7. Doesn't seem like she knows much about little kids, and here she is reviewing my kids education. Great, just great...

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#41 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 10:32 PM
 
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Well, here's what's happening at my unschooled/homeschooled house today (not radical unschoolers here, but still ....):

we have the annual Children's Festival in our town this week and we went to see an amazing play called "The Spirit of Harriet Tubman" this morning. A few days ago I began discussing with my dc what we would be seeing and my dd pulled "Freedom Train" off the shelf and read most of it. After seeing the play and discussing it I mentioned that we have several other books on the shelf about the underground railroad and dd8 has spent most of the afternoon lying on the couch devouring "The Last Safehouse".

So, a day full of history for my dc, all without a textbook or workbook. No reports or essays will be written, no comprehension questions will be asked, but we will tell daddy all about it when he gets home!

Should this be illegal? Is it abusive? Would my dc have been better off in school today, yawning and watching the clock?

They also played outside, made lunch, visited with grandparents, helped with yardwork....
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#42 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1growingsprout View Post
Unschooling is ONE OF MANY WAYS to homeschool. Your best answer is going to come from your state department of education. If you have concerns about how to homeschool, contact your state homeschool rep.
But wait... In California, for one, the state department of education used to continually give out misinformation about the legality of homeschooling. It was only their opinion, and an unenforceable one at that - just their own interpretation of the laws we operated under. And they were wrong - the current DOE leadership doesn't interpret it the way the last one did. You don't want to check with the department of education about homeschooling legalities - you want to check with your big state volunteer homeschooling organizations that are run by homeschoolers who have made it their business to know the laws. - Lillian
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#43 of 51 Old 05-30-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I live in Illinois. The laws for our state are pretty lax. Many have told me how horrible this is when I answer their questions about what we "have" to do. No testing, no supervising teacher, no portfolios required. Although, I will keep one for my kids and my sense of security. There is a crazy school superintndant that has harrassed homeschoolers in our area ... showing up with squad cars on their lawn... Although I know I am within my legal rights, I can get a little nervous. I don't tell everyone our style of homeschooling. I have talked to HSLD about joining... just for extra insurance. They said that "maybe" they would accept our application..... not having an actual curriculum makes it more difficult for them to protect us.

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#44 of 51 Old 05-30-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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I live in Illinois. The laws for our state are pretty lax. Many have told me how horrible this is when I answer their questions about what we "have" to do. No testing, no supervising teacher, no portfolios required.
Oh, I remember that! Someone would be all impressed about the fact that we were homeschooling, and would be commenting on how we could do such a better job than the schools - and then, when they found out we didn't have to do any of that reporting, they'd look stricken. They simply couldn't comprehend that this could be possible - they'd keep asking the questions in different ways, because they were sure we just weren't on the same page. - Lillian
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#45 of 51 Old 05-31-2008, 04:10 AM
 
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I don't know if this has already been brought up, but in California, through the private school (R4) option, you have to "offer" certain subjects. There is no requirement for the child to actually do any of it. That seems to describe a lot of what goes on around here - I offer it up, and he's free to say yes or no.

I'm guessing the dialogue the OP had went something like this:

"So what curriculum do you use/subjects do you teach/tests do you use?"
"We don't do any of that. He's free to do whatever he wants during the day."
"You mean, you don't teach him to read or do math or anything?"
"If he's interested we pursue it, but no, I don't sit down with a textbook at a certain time each day and force it."
"OMG, how will he ever learn anything? That sounds like child abuse!"

Understanding unschooling takes the ability to step back and consider the possibility that there are other alternatives completely contrary to what you have always known to be the only answer. I've found that this is really difficult for a lot of people to do.
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#46 of 51 Old 05-31-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I don't know if this has already been brought up, but in California, through the private school (R4) option, you have to "offer" certain subjects. There is no requirement for the child to actually do any of it. That seems to describe a lot of what goes on around here - I offer it up, and he's free to say yes or no.

I'm guessing the dialogue the OP had went something like this:

"So what curriculum do you use/subjects do you teach/tests do you use?"
"We don't do any of that. He's free to do whatever he wants during the day."
"You mean, you don't teach him to read or do math or anything?"
"If he's interested we pursue it, but no, I don't sit down with a textbook at a certain time each day and force it."
"OMG, how will he ever learn anything? That sounds like child abuse!"

Understanding unschooling takes the ability to step back and consider the possibility that there are other alternatives completely contrary to what you have always known to be the only answer. I've found that this is really difficult for a lot of people to do.
That sounds spot on to me. I wasn't offended at all at the OP. I have encountered very few people who are even willing to listen, they hear one sentence about not using a curriculum and can't open their mind to even hear more and let their imaginations run wild.

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#47 of 51 Old 05-31-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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The OP didn't offend me at all. I've had similar experiences as well. I've read, researched, prayed, discussed and worried about this journey. So one day when I was wanting to meet like-minded moms at a HS park play-date, the ONE mom I ended up talking to says "OMG have you heard about those people who UnSchool?...that's just crazy and neglectful!" Well I was one of "those" unschoolers! Sometimes, Even families who homeschool have a hard time wrapping their heads around the USing concept. So now, I sort of take the same stance on USing that I take with no-vaxing...it's on a need to know basis . Only with people who are genuinely interested.
Right now I'm just trying to deal with the in-laws!:

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#48 of 51 Old 06-01-2008, 04:33 AM
 
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I can see how people would think it is child abuse - even with a very good deffinition of unschooling...I have not gotten such comments yet about our family, but when it comes to how we 'parent' - I have. A lot of people think consensual living is permissive...borderline child abuse. I know my MIL thinks a lot of the things my son can do (simply because I trust him and hes comfortable enough to do it - which to me says hes just fine) is bordline neglectful. Just yesterday she had a go at me for letting him try a peanut (nevermind hes has all 20 teeth for over a year now and is nearly 3 lol)...If he puts it in his mouth and attempts to eat it, hes fine! - He spit it out anyhow as he didnt like it (they were salted so I agree lol) - and I let him run barefoot in the grass! lol...I am just so very neglectful!

Very few people I talk to understand unschooling - but this is simply because they have been so schooled themselves, its hard to step outside of that box and see it a different way. I usually just stick with telling people we 'home educate' - only when they ask about what they have to learn and what tests they have to take do I explain a bit about unschooling. The only other comment I get is about my credentials and if I am trained as a teacher - it makes me chuckle a bit because people must really think everyone in the world is extremely dumb. But it also makes me sad because it shows how much people distrust their own children as well (with other comments they make and through their own actions).

personally - I know what I see as child abuse...an unschooling is certainly not that!

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#49 of 51 Old 06-01-2008, 05:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigeresse View Post
But what if gaming is your child's passion? When does allowing them to pursue something that gets such a bad rap cross the line from unschooling into "neglect"?
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IMO, it becomes "neglect" when the child is bored and turns to gaming because there's nothing else to do, no other creative resources to explore, and his or her parents aren't available to answer any questions or interact with the child.

If there are a wealth of resources available and the child still chooses gaming, it's not neglect.
Ok, but I'm going back to Tigeresse's question. I've heard of non-neglect, unschooling families for whom gaming is almost, if not a 24/7 obsession. I could easily see how someone unfamiliar or not quite accepting of unschooling would easily see such an obsession as neglect. This is not to say that the child is bored nor that she/he had sufficient outlets for proper research capabilities and has had an adult to facilitate interest. This is to say that an X neighbor or relative sees this child playing games (again) and now harbors an interests in that child. They wish to know if this child is neglected education simply because the education they are receiving is not the "norm." So they take it upon themselves to call the local authorities.

I can't see this being a norm, but I can't see this from being far off from an true life experience -- that some family who was in the midst of true learning would come under the eye of government authority because someone did not understand homeschooling and didn't bother to ask them what was going on.
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#50 of 51 Old 06-01-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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Thank you to all those of you posters who were nice for explaining how unschooling is viewed by the gov't/legal community where you live.
I just want to point out that states have "home"schooling laws. Unschooling falls under the umbrella of homeschooling. My state requires x number of hours of various subjects to be taught during the school year. It is really hard to live life (the way we live it, anyway!) without reading, writing, talking, doing math, science, etc. I absolutely track the required hours and we have no trouble meeting them well before the school year is over (we unschool year round, of course). Why do government officials, school officials, absolute strangers worry about my family loving to learn? Why do so many people think learning should be unpleasant? Because people can't see outside the box. Its the same narrow-minded view that so many people have/had about breastfeeding beyond infancy or breastfeeding in public. The mentality seems to be if its not the way I did it (or the status quo does it), then it must be wrong.
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#51 of 51 Old 06-01-2008, 03:58 PM
 
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Ok, but I'm going back to Tigeresse's question. I've heard of non-neglect, unschooling families for whom gaming is almost, if not a 24/7 obsession. I could easily see how someone unfamiliar or not quite accepting of unschooling would easily see such an obsession as neglect. This is not to say that the child is bored nor that she/he had sufficient outlets for proper research capabilities and has had an adult to facilitate interest. This is to say that an X neighbor or relative sees this child playing games (again) and now harbors an interests in that child. They wish to know if this child is neglected education simply because the education they are receiving is not the "norm." So they take it upon themselves to call the local authorities.

I can't see this being a norm, but I can't see this from being far off from an true life experience -- that some family who was in the midst of true learning would come under the eye of government authority because someone did not understand homeschooling and didn't bother to ask them what was going on.
Oh I have no doubt that some people (*coughIn-lawscough ) are convinced that I have been totally neglectful with my kids' education. My Ds (almost 17) plays games, mainly PC lately, for hours. I know it's his interest, his passion, what gets his mind working right now, and I know that it makes him happy. I also know that he learns a lot from doing it. My MIL cannot see that at all. She just sees him on the computer. "Doing nothing" I could tell her about the reading he does, the math involved, the crazy typing skills he has, the research he's done, the things he's learned quite by accident from his game plots, etc. None of it would matter because "how is that going to help him get a job and be the future of this country". Apparently, she'd prefer world leaders who never read and can't type? I dunno.

Anywhooo, some people do have a hard time with the shift in thinking. If the authorities were ever, trees forbid, involved in our personal lives and our unschooling came under a magnifying glass I am sure that it would look "bad" to them. But, I know it's legal here, I know I have met my state requirements, and I know that's all that needs to matter to them. The rest? Well they can just go hang out with people they approve of lol.

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