just wondering if my mental gyrations around unschooling are unusual... - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-16-2003, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi all, looking for a bit of encouragement as i prepare to make the unschooling we do for our 5 yo dd official in the coming year.
i find myself vacillating between thinking--
we're doing just great and i haven't had to put much effort into planning/strewing/guiding my daughter in her educational interests, feeling like this is natural and easy and all i have to do is stay present to her and meet her educational needs and desires as she expresses them,

and waking up in a cold sweat thinking, ohmygod, i need to read up on all the unschooling theory so i can defend my choices to child protective services, i need to be sure that i'm guiding her into literacy in the best possible way, i should be researching waldorf unschooling curriculum, and so on, ad nauseum...

i guess i'm wondering, can it really be as easy as it feels, or do i need to work harder at it?

thanks in advance for your words of wisdom, i've already found so much to support my choices here...
warmly,
susan
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:31 AM
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I like the way you put that - and yes, I think it's exactly as easy as it feels. At least, it is for me. The secret is hat I -and you, I think - have already put in lots of time unlearning a lot of society's mesages about how children grow and learn, and you've already found your "groove". If you were coming at unschooling still in a mindset of "how can I make sure she learns multiplication and reading while we unschool", it would be difficult to get to that groove.

I don't plan much either, and my kid is 5 years older than yours, and it's still working great!

Dar

 
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Old 10-17-2003, 04:03 AM
 
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I am not in your shoes yet, but I think a lot about my kid's education. Unschooling makes more sense to me than any of those lesson plans, tests, and grades. You are doing a nobel and loving thing by going against the norm and following your heart when it comes to your kid's education. Your child has everything it takes to be as successful as they want to be--in the ways that they want to be--they have natural curiosity and a love of learning that isn't going to be beat out of them through repitition and boredom. All you have to do is make sure they have the tools and they will learn on their own.

I can understand the thoughts like "am I going to get in trouble for this?" and "is this really going to work?" it is different than what 95% (or something, not an exact figure) of people do with their babes, but I am sure you don't want to be "some people."

Stick to your guns and your beliefs, and if you still have doubts, take a look at you child and compare him/her to the other kindergardners you know. Big difference, huh?
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Old 10-17-2003, 12:15 PM
 
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I think that all the thoughts and concerns you have are natural and we have all been there on occasion.

I agree with what Dar said....Yes it really is that easy once you have "un-schooled" your mind!

I think we tend to complicate life. In my experience, when things become too "hard" that is when I need to step back and look at what I'm doing and what can be eliminated; re-prioritized.

As attached parents we are very much aware of what our children are learning. The problem often arises when we compare ourselves (or our children) to the report card crowd. I worried about math skills for awhile so I bought a math game called "Math-it" and the book "All the Math You'll Ever Need." So my kids have these resources easily available when the desire strikes them, and it does strike.

My dh asked me to keep some records, so I keep a journal and try to write down a few things we do each day. Sometimes I feel like this is a waste of time since in 15 years I've never had anyone interested in looking at it except dh. Yet, I've come to find it helpful as I easily forget the fun stuff we have done and how much we have learned along the way. It makes for a great book of memories as well. I have a friend who is taking a lot of pictures this year to make a visual memory book of the things they do. These things can be helpful, especially when you are starting out, to remind you that you really are "doing something" even if it feels easy.
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Old 10-17-2003, 01:31 PM
 
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Just a side note:
Waldorf does not use unschooling- they delay academics until first grade, but then it is very structured, albeit imaginative.
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Old 10-17-2003, 02:26 PM
 
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by the late great John Holt:

How Children Learn

and

Teach your Own

Are very empowering, and can help you to relax.
I have 3 kids, 12, 15 and 17, unschooled since birth.
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all, that was just what i needed to hear...
why *does* my mind insist on complicating life so?

thanks, darylll for the holt book reccs. i've read some of his essays but not any books. i'll get those and call my homework done!

(hi khris -- i did know that waldorf was structured, but it seems to be appealing to some unschoolers. i ran across an unschooling mom in a local group who was telling me about her waldorf-inspired unschooling and that triggered my latest round of self-doubt...)

gotta keep remembering to read my own sig line...
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:17 PM
 
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Hi sueami,

I just started unschooling a couple weeks ago after a few wobbly weeks of kindergarten, so I'm new to it too.

When I get those uncertainties I keep reminding myself that there *is* an expert I can listen to infallibly--my child. Just like with breastfeeding her when she was younger, I can tune into her needs and never go wrong, even though that is infinitely easier and simpler than the mainstream approach. What lights her up? That's where her learning is. That's what I keep bringing myself back to, and it's like coming back home.

(Defending that choice to those in the mainstream--that's another whole ball game! We're going to a faculty gathering tonight and I am not looking forward to the cross-cultural exchanges! But then again I've been a freak in their eyes since we started doing the AP thang anyway, and our tandem nursing was the signal that we were way beyond the bend. :LOL )

I appreciate the BTDT moms like Dar who can help corroborate this rather revolutionary approach to learning, just like all those moms who helped me trust my child with breastfeeding!
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Old 10-18-2003, 01:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by NoraJadesMama
I appreciate the BTDT moms like Dar who can help corroborate this rather revolutionary approach to learning

Heh, I know you meant Dar, but that happens to be my nickname too!

--Daryl
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Old 10-18-2003, 01:17 PM
 
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DaryLLL, you're the best!

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Old 10-18-2003, 05:45 PM
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My full name is Daron, although I've been Dar online for years and years... I did have a RL woman friend named Daryl for a while, but I've never met another woman named Daron.

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Old 10-18-2003, 08:32 PM
 
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Thanks, NoraJade, but to what do I owe the honor?!!

Dar, thanks for the explanation!
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Old 10-19-2003, 09:58 AM
 
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DaryLLL, I see your good works on the breastfeeding boards particularly!
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