School is healthy, right? Some perspective, please. - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by odenata View Post
I want my child to learn how to learn, and to love learning.
I don't want to pick on you and I know you granted us that how one learns is not necessarily the point. I'm glad Montessori works for your family (I went to Montessori school as a child as well). But... I don't think that my children or anyone for that matter needs to learn how to learn. We learn all the time through experience and trial and error as we need to know information. The only thing I need to do as their "facilitator"/parent is help them to find information and new experiences. I just don't think of it as learning how to learn, but discovering ways to find the information and tools we need. It's just different in my mind...

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#62 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Anony-mouse View Post
I want my child to have the best education possible and I want them both to succeed beyond their wildest dreams... I want them to live "outside the bubble" and be exposed to other adults, have friends their age....and I'm giving that to them.
Me too.

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#63 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
I'm still working to the root of dh's concerns about homelearning. We had a better discussion about it last night - at the core, he does think that children need an adult outside the family to push them to do their best, because otherwise they will not do good work. I think that "good" work is motivated by intrinsic enthusiasm. I also admit to being the enthusiastic-but-mentally messy one in the family. Perhaps I just need to find some good examples of people who've excelled on their own, without being pushed to do so. However, one of our core disagreements seems to be a disagreement about how people become motivated. Ah, philosophy!
I think that maybe you and DH need to discuss what it is you really expect for your child(ren) in the long-term. Do you expect that they go to college? What if they don't want to? What if how you define success is really not what they want for themselves?

Anecdotally, my husband and his friends went to the best public schools in our area. They were on science teams and academic decathlons and several were certifiably geniuses early on - one even scored highest in math out of every kid his age in the country in some competition. My husband didn't do all this because he wasn't motivated as a student, despite very similar upbringing. He graduated with a 2.1 or something ridiculous.

Twelve years later, out of all of them (they call themselves The Losers), one went on to New York fanciness, but most struggled through their bachelor degrees and had personal failure after personal failure (DUIs, failed relationships, serious relationship problems like unintended pregnancies) and really just struggled as adults to try to define their own success and to discover what they really want out of life. My husband is 7 months away from a PhD and has the best relationships personally - two children, married for ten years, major involvement in the community/politically, etc...

This is not to say how it will be, but my husband and I decided early on that what we value most for our children is that they find their own way and that they have the secure foundation of trust, respect, and an understanding of interdependence to move forward with what they want for themselves, for them to have the confidence to discover how to be who they are.

That's what is most important for us. For both of us. Which is why we choose unschooling. It has nothing to do with external, narrow definitions of success because we have seen that come to nothing good. Pushing people too much makes them unable to trust themselves. I'd much rather have control, as a parent, over how much my children are forced into. I'd rather they have choice and learn how to exercise it.

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#64 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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Anony-mouse, even though you're done with this thread, I though I'd respond anyway, for myself and anyone else who might be reading.

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Originally Posted by Anony-mouse View Post
As for the "unschooling makes absolutely no sense to people who see learning as so boring and/or painful that the only way anyone will do it, is for them to be motivated by some source outside themselves.", I completely disagree.

I disagree with unschooling, not because I think learning is "boring and painful". I disagree with it because I think, as parents, you're setting your children up for failure.
I, in contrast, agree with 4evermom that we are giving our children the best educations possible. Just as you give no good reason why you're accusing me of "setting up my children for failure," so I feel no need to defensively justify my position.

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So far, on the unschooling board, I've seen mothers worrying about CPS visits, "I lied to the school" thread, and other things that I can't even name because I don't want to be offensive. How is this *good* for a child?
Oh. Well, since I don't go through the "learning at school" forum ferreting out information on all the problems those families encounter, I guess I don't have any cool comeback to this question.

But I think there are stressors in every way of life. I won't claim that parents being stressed is "good for children" -- but I actually think it is good that many of us come here to unload and process our stress with understanding people, rather than over-burdening our families.

And it's been so beneficial to me personally, that I'll continue doing it, even knowing that people like you are lurking here, grasping onto anything they can use to build a case against unschooling. Lurk away -- you might learn something and it might even be fun.

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How is letting your child watch cartoon network all day in their jammies "learning"? You're right, I don't think playing with Barbies all day is "learning". It's not. It's play. There's a huge difference.
The happiest adults I know are the ones who get paid to do the work they love -- the work that feels more like play to them. Actually, some of the best scientific discoveries were made while people "played around" with different ideas -- so I don't think there need be this artificial dividing-line between "play" and "learning." It's all life, it's all learning, and it's all good.

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Children also need to be exposed to other adults and children that aren't family. That's just life.
I so totally agree with this statement -- and I'll add to that that it's better for them to be exposed to a wide range of different adults and children, and not just a bunch of children the same age.

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I want my child to have the best education possible and I want them both to succeed beyond their wildest dreams. By going to school, I'm giving them the tools to achieve whatever they want in their life. I want them to live "outside the bubble" and be exposed to other adults, have friends their age....and I'm giving that to them.
Again, I echo 4evermom's sentiments on this topic.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#65 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:43 PM
 
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I'm a "schooling" parent, but I just want to point out that I read the below over and over and it just seems illogical to me:

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it's better for them to be exposed to a wide range of different adults and children, and not just a bunch of children the same age.
I'm not denying that there may downsides to school for certain children/families, but this isn't one of them, IMO. There are lots of different adults and children in school. My dd sees her teacher, her reading teacher, the gym teacher, the art teacher, the French teacher, and lots of lots of parent volunteers and lunch helpers each day. She's in kindergarten but has first graders in her reading group. She has an 8th-grade "buddy" (they assign all the kinders upper-class buddies for a little extra read-aloud time, someone to say hi to in the halls, etc). She plays at recess with kids from all different grades, and plays chess with fifth graders one day a week after school.

I'm not trying to argue against home- or unschooling, I just don't understand this statement that schooled kids only experience 1 adult + a class of same-age peers. It's not true and it becomes even less true as they age (think of high school and switching classes every period).

sorry to be pedantic.
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#66 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Anony-mouse View Post
How is letting your child watch cartoon network all day in their jammies "learning"? You're right, I don't think playing with Barbies all day is "learning". It's not. It's play. There's a huge difference.
That's interesting, because most child psychologists talk about how children do learn through play. They use play as a way of understanding the world. Which is why child psychologists have children play with dolls in their offices, to try to understand their experiences. I believe it's pretty widely accepted that play is learning.

I think that adults cling to school because so much of life is unpleasant that we want to guarantee that our children experience misery early on. I think there's enough misery without forcing children (children!) to sit still for 8 hours a day.

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#67 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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I think that adults cling to school because so much of life is unpleasant that we want to guarantee that our children experience misery early on
.

And I think that you're assuming a lot when you say that school is miserable. It was intensely enjoyable for me, and it seems to be just as enjoyable for my child.

Plus, she certainly doesn't sit still for eight hours a day. Not even close.
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#68 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
I'm not denying that there may downsides to school for certain children/families, but this isn't one of them, IMO. There are lots of different adults and children in school. My dd sees her teacher, her reading teacher, the gym teacher, the art teacher, the French teacher, and lots of lots of parent volunteers and lunch helpers each day. She's in kindergarten but has first graders in her reading group. She has an 8th-grade "buddy" (they assign all the kinders upper-class buddies for a little extra read-aloud time, someone to say hi to in the halls, etc). She plays at recess with kids from all different grades, and plays chess with fifth graders one day a week after school.

I'm not trying to argue against home- or unschooling, I just don't understand this statement that schooled kids only experience 1 adult + a class of same-age peers. It's not true and it becomes even less true as they age (think of high school and switching classes every period).

sorry to be pedantic.
I think the difference is, and I don't mean to be argumentative or rude, but I believe that school and teachers set up a dichotomy of authority figure/passive recipient that is not helpful to maintaining autonomy, or understanding interdependent relationships. The adults my children meet are closer to a peer relationship.

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#69 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
.

And I think that you're assuming a lot when you say that school is miserable. It was intensely enjoyable for me, and it seems to be just as enjoyable for my child.

Plus, she certainly doesn't sit still for eight hours a day. Not even close.
I'm sorry. I was being snarky. I apologize. I was responding to Anonymouse's perspective, which does seem to say that children must be forced to do things they don't want to do.

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#70 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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I think the difference is, and I don't mean to be argumentative or rude, but I believe that school and teachers set up a dichotomy of authority figure/passive recipient that is not helpful to maintaining autonomy, or understanding interdependent relationships. The adults my children meet are closer to a peer relationship.
Great point!

waiflywaif -- I'm glad that you had, and your daughter is now having, a wonderful and varied experience at school.

My experience was one of spending most of my days with teachers and same-or-similar aged peers. It was so refreshing to get out into the real world, and discover that most people weren't evaluating whether I was "cool" or "weird" or a "nerd." In real-life jobs, people are mainly interested in how well you do your job, how reliable you are, and how well you work with a team and get along with others.

It took me some time to learn the "team"-part, since my school-experience had me thinking more competitively.

I'm glad that it sounds like some things are changing, in at least some school districts. But I'm inclined to think that for some children (especially those in the non-accredited schools that serve my own low-income neighborhood), things probably aren't all that much improved.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#71 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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The thread is too long for me to read ALL of it, but I will add that I find the fact that your DH against homeschooling interesting. My dh works at a public high school, and each year is increasingly insistent that we are doing the right thing by homeschooling.
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#72 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
It's funny, I have asked him how he learned things, and most of it was when he was asked to sit down and do it. He went through quite a rigorous education that really challenged him mentally, and this suited his learning style. Lots of required reading, sources, and the like. My learning style is totally different, though! I think that this is one of the reasons we are having trouble discussing this.



Yes, and this is generally my point to him. The career that I have and value is one that is totally unvalued by society as a whole, but I love it. I think that he is concerned that I will raise someone who can only live outside social norms. I'm perfectly fine with that (I'm not overly fond of social norms}, but he's not! kathymuggle, I totally agree that the routines of school are not necessarily good practice for all forms of adult life - rather for the standard format of adult life.
This made me think of DH--he felt completely bored and unchallenged at school, and since he was tagged as "trouble" from the beginning, he put on that label at school and completely lived up to it. He never touched his books, never studied for exams, and barely squeaked by.

But since he wasn't doing homework in the evenings, he instead was outside, thinking, dreaming, finding out things he was interested in, talking to people he encountered and learning about them (he lived in a small village where he was free to roam).

And now, he's in what would be considered a "standard" job, one that requires a lot of "people skills"--but he is so much more creative at it than anyone else in his department and is constantly winning prizes and getting recognition and rewards.

I think my point is that "standard" education can sometimes squelch the creativity and "outside the box" thinking that actually can help you succeed at any job, even the "standard" ones.

I also wanted to say that it sounds like your DH is an unusual kind of teacher--one who really does try to instill love of learning in his students b/c he loves it so much. But he is truly unusual. Being that kind of teacher in today's schools takes more and more effort.

My mom is that kind of teacher, and she's actually the one who first suggested unschooling to me. She has seen how children learn things when they're ready and interested, not when we want them to.

My feeling about schooling in the early years is the direct opposite to your DH's. The younger they are, the less likely they are to learn to "hold their own" and the more likely they are to internalize the messages they get from teachers and students alike, many of which are quite negative.

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#73 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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widemouthed, I haven't read the whole thread :, but wanted to suggest Alfie Kohn's book on schools, "The Schools Our Kids Deserve" I think that's the title. It's a good book and talks a lot about some of the things in schools that can impact kids negatively (rewards, punishments, etc) and also some of the things that schools can do well.

I don't think school or homeschooling is the answer for all kids. I'm very homeschooling friendly as some who frequent this forum can attest, but for my kids their particular schools work. My older dd is in an alternative (hippie-ish) project based mixed age private school. She would flounder in what your dh describes. It truly would be awful for her, but staying home with me would not allow her to stretch through some issues she has (anxiety-based primarily, but others as well) so this is really the best fit that DH and I can find right now. I'm home today with both the kids 'cause they were sick yesterday and they're driving each other and me crazy. It's clear they'd rather be at school!

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#74 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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just thought i would mention to anyone who is interested that i went to catholic school... you wanna know what my classmates we doing? probably not. do i think you're kidding yourself about the fabulousness of catholic school? absolutely. k-12 i went to catholic school my friend who came to my school in 9th grade was home schooled before this and was light years ahead of the rest of us. she still is and we are seniors in college.

if you want to feel morally superior to someone go right ahead but it is unjustified. you know nothing about unschooling. if you did you wouldnt be saying the things that you are. there are unschoolers who are incredibly happy and successful.. and its not like it is rare or something. some people are wise enough and open minded enough to understand that the status quo of k-12 and on to college is not the only way or the best way for everyone. they want to do what is best for their kids not what is best for them. for many of them if their kid wanted to attend school and loved it they would let them stay in school b/c it is what their child loves and is what is best for that particular child. people who are secure im their choices don't generally feel the need to berate people who disagree with them.

o and my son is only 9 months old so we are not even thinking about schooling yet i just couldn't read without saying something.
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#75 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 03:14 PM
 
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I haven't been following this thread, and haven't read the rest yet, but I do have thoughts about the questions in the original post:

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Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
He believes that it is good for children to be taught things that they may not want to learn at that moment. This is good practice and develops good work habits. It is also good for children to encounter difficulties with other children and with teachers and be exposed to social pressures. These are also learning opportunities.
I think your husband is overthinking all this - or maybe I should say underthinking - a combination of both, really...These are a lot like the arguments that they need to go to school in order to learn to get up early when they don't want to and to learn how to stand in line. Those arguments are simply not realistic. There comes a time in life when people realize full well that there are some things they might not particularly care to learn but need to learn anyhow - and they just go about doing it. Good work habits don't need to be practiced up on from an early age in that way - there's plenty of other types of real work to be done in the normal course of living without conjuring up work in the form of going along with whatever might be happening in an elementary school classroom. And what I've seen time and again with homeschooled children is that they actually grow stronger and steadier from being in healthy environments rather than being folded, stapled, and mutilated with social pressures from too young an age.

My son unschooled in the country, and didn't even have much in the way of chores to do, but when he got to a time in his college years when he wanted to take a year to go work in a soup kitchen/shelter/social services center in a big city, he simply switched gears into full time grueling physical/emotional work, having to be up till as late as 11 p.m. sometimes to catch up on cleaning in the building, or getting up at the crack of dawn to drive a truck around time to pick up food contributions at various stores. It's not as if human beings as so stupid that they can't just figure out how to get things done when they're called for. Nature made us a lot more intelligent and flexible than that :. Otherwise, we would have been extinct eons ago. - Lillian
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#76 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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I finally grabbed some time to read through the rest of the thread, and one of the things that kept coming to my mind was the Unschooling Forum Guidelines that are posted at the top of this forum.

But about your dilemma, Tricia, you can find some very useful ideas in this other thread as well - how to teach dh about homeschooling - it leads to a number of other threads in which people tell their stories, offer tips, suggest further reading, etc. Two books that come up again and again are by former teachers - these books have been very influential in opening minds to different ways of thinking about school vs. homeschooling:

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education. John Taylor Gatto. Gatto was a former NY State Teacher of the Year, three time NY City Teacher of the Year, and he finally left the system he could no longer support. In this book he discusses the nature of education, and urges parents to re-engage their families in their culture, economy and society.

Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense. David Guterson. As a former high school English teacher, Guterson found himself constantly having to defend to his colleagues his decision to homeschool his own three sons. He wrote this eloquent book to explains why he chose to homeschool his own kids, and he addresses all the common criticisms.

Also poke around in my (non-commercial) website a little and you'll find some pretty helpful articles, plus links over in the left hand column to other helpful ones in other sites - there are links over there, too, to some of John Taylor Gatto's writings.

Lillian

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#77 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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I imagine that this thread will be going away...

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#78 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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I imagine that this thread will be going away...
Yeah, I've been afraid of that, too!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#79 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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I hope it does not get pulled.

A bit of UAV aside, I think it is a really good thread with lots of info.

Peace,

Kathy
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#80 of 138 Old 11-03-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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Okay, going back to the OP I'm going to try to tackle your original points and offer some perspective as requested.

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He believes that it is good for children to be taught things that they may not want to learn at that moment. This is good practice and develops good work habits.
Certainly I think from a parenting standpoint if we wrack our brains most of us can probably come up with something to meet this. For example, my kids may not want to learn some organizational skills such as picking up their toys and putting them away where they go. If they can be bothered to pick them up they may just want to throw them in their room and not put them away in even a semi organized fashion. (Confession: I am by no stretch of anyone's imagination a neatnik, so they come by this honestly.) I think it would be good if they would learn to pick up after themselves! I would be happy for them to take initiative on the organization, but throwing it all in their room so that I can't even walk across the floor to put clean clothes in there is not really an organizational system. I would agree that picking up after themselves is something that, while they might not choose it, is a good habit and can help them develop a good work ethic.

If you want to extrapolate this to school, a child may need some encouragement to learn to read or learning math facts. My dd1 for example has a lot of anxiety and will avoid something she's not confident about, but avoiding only exacerbates the problem. Repeated exposure and coaxing serves to help her have small successes which she can build on. She might never choose to work on reading if left to unschooling, though. I don't actually at this moment think she would continue to avoid it, but at times I have felt that way. (This is off the topic at hand, but she approaches things in a sidelong manner and rarely tackles something she's feeling anxious about head-on, and she feels anxious and less than confident about many, many things.) If she works a little bit on reading every day she does develop good habits and perhaps a work ethic (although that doesn't seem to be a high priority with her).

I think that what your DH is saying does work well for some kids and the overall idea can be adapted to work well for most kids, even, but the same idea approached from a very rigid standpoint can turn off a huge number of kids. The old-fashioned drill method, "See Dick run. Run, Dick, run. Look, Jane, look," can backfire in a huge way for some kids. I loved it, though, in the olden days when I was in elementary school : . I can look at my dd1, though, and see that it would not work at all for my kid. I think a lot of unschoolers, homeschooler, and alternative schoolers fear that all or most schools will be rigid. I know that I have some of that fear about our very highly rated public schools. The school we've found is very loose and allows each child to learn at their own pace. I think that can certainly be done in public school, too, but I wasn't willing at this point to take a chance on that with my dd1. Her school approaches every one having a little reading/literacy time every day in a way that is not rigid and allows dd1 to have freedom to learn at her own pace in her own way.

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It is also good for children to encounter difficulties with other children and with teachers and be exposed to social pressures. These are also learning opportunities.
Well, I do think it's good to work things out with other kids and I think it's good to work them out amongst themselves with only the occasional reminder from the adults as needed. I have this philosophy about siblings and friends, too, so it's nothing that has to happen at school only. I think most of us with kids past toddlerhood have had to referee the occasional squabble on a playdate or at home. Working through things at school only reinforces this for us. Again, our school is a hippie-crunchy-project-based private school where games are elastic and the staff and teachers know how to facilitate the kids working through disagreements in a positive manner. I learn things from the teachers and staff that I wouldn't have come up with on my own.

So, does that help? I think you both probably need to bend a little bit. He might like that Alfie Kohn book I mentioned earlier. It's from a schooler perspective and doesn't really touch on homeschooling if I remember correctly, but it talks about positive non-rigid ways to set up schools.

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#81 of 138 Old 11-04-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Without reading the entire thread, just wanted to say that I believe school is an unhealthy place, in a variety of ways. In fact, that is such an accepted truth in my mind that I have a very hard time understanding how anyone can think otherwise.

Just for starters, the idea of the State requiring a parent to hand their 5 year old child over to them for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week of training is incredibly absurd. How anyone can think that is healthy, I just don't get it.

My dh took my dd to a field trip recently with other homeschooling kids. It took place in a planetarium connected to a public elementary school, available to all the schools to use. While they were waiting for the planetarium doors to open, they witnessed what appeared to be a kindergarten class walking down the hall. The kids were required to clasp their hands behind their backs as they walked down the hall. They stopped at the bathroom and one little boy didn't want to stop playing in the water washing his hands afterward. When they made him stop he started to cry. They told him if he was going to cry he could go back to the classroom until he could stop crying. My dh said he thought that maybe sounded reasonable. But then he witnessed two adults grab either arm and drag this small boy down the hallway by his knees. WTF?

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#82 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 02:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Here I thought that there were a couple of replies, logged on to twenty or so...whew.

Thanks again for the links, book lists, and the reminders to consider dd's learning style. I have some understanding of my dd as a learner. The problem is that when we're discussing homelearning, we both see it as something that happens when she is five or six. That's when the cultural expectation of school becomes a reality. So then we start discussing the future five-year-old dd, forgetting about the learner she is right now.

I love the three different motivators mentioned on...page three? I see that school placed me firmly in the academically motivated camp, while life has since placed me much more into the creative arena. I do view my work as play and activism, while dh views his as a very important social responsibility. I think that our visions for dd are based (again) on how we see our own careers. I'd like her to feel free to play, dh would like her to get the appropriate schooling to become a socially responsible adult.

I wanted to respond to waiflywaif's discussion about the number of adults in a school. I find that the adults in school (while generally lovely people) all have something in common: they work in a school. Adults we meet in the rest of the world are in more diverse contexts - they might be janitors, museum guides, our grandparents, the vet. I like it that dd hangs out with all of these adults regularly too.

I work with groups of children at my job, but in a context that is quite different from school. Having volunteered in a classroom and at dd's parent participation preschool in the last few months, the thing that is getting me down is similar to what wugmama just mentioned. I feel that any time large numbers of children gather and people organize them, the restrictions and penalties we place on their behavior are things that I would not accept in my own home. I think that I am becoming much more consensual than coercive. In my opinion, any time there is a large group of children with a small number of adults, rules and consequences become more prominent. I'm interested in the democratic school and Montessori methods of structuring classrooms to deal with this, especially since one of the part time school options available to us is a democratic school.

BTW, I volunteered in classrooms discussing human rights and social responsibility, just in case you're wondering why I'd be there .

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#83 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 08:48 AM
 
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Adults we meet in the rest of the world are in more diverse contexts - they might be janitors, museum guides, our grandparents, the vet. I like it that dd hangs out with all of these adults regularly too.
I hear you, but does your child really "hang out" with janitors or the vet? I mean, we also visit our grandparents, take our cats to the vet, and meet other people in the wider world as well.

We have a friend who is a custodian, so I guess my kid does sometimes "hang out" with a janitor. Plus my uncle is a vet!

I honestly see no difference in the variety of adults a schooled and unschooled child sees. I haven't read anything here yet to make me think differently. If anything, the schooled child has one "extra" variety of adult in his/her life: teachers and administrators.

Annakiss makes the point that the dynamic of relationship is different between teachers/children and other adults/children. I don't agree, but I think her point is valid. And regardless, what I said above: schooled children see all those "other" adults daily as well.
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#84 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 10:39 AM
 
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Annakiss makes the point that the dynamic of relationship is different between teachers/children and other adults/children. I don't agree, but I think her point is valid. And regardless, what I said above: schooled children see all those "other" adults daily as well.
we hang out with our vet! she's the mom of my DS' best friend!!

anyway, i agree but having had a schooled stepchild and now a HS child i believe the nature of those relationships to be vastly different. my DSD seemed way more peer focused than DS is. the top down power dynamic of schools i think drives kids to seek refuge with their peers. and frankly, children aren't really able to judge with quality of those relationships. (or at least my DSD couldn't) she seemed to have "the friend of the moment," (which DS has also at the playground or store) and it didn't really matter if the other kid was mean or cared for her one bit. DS seems more able to judge if a friend is actually functioning as a friend. i'm sure there are a million reasons why this might be, but it just seemed to me at the time that DSD was so desperate for a friend in a place were she couldn't really attach to any of the adults because their function was to control her or teacher to her serve her lunch or empty the waste baskets. now, she did go to what they call "early head start" (all day school at 3), but this behavior was present way past the age of toddler neediness. at home she was very clingy to adults... friend's moms, the girl scout leader, the woman next door. obviously she needed more adult attention than she was getting and she got my full attention when she was home.

again this could have been related to many things, but it just seemed a shame she was around so many adults from age 3, but none of them, in their professional capacity, could meet her needs.

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#85 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 12:08 PM
 
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[COLOR="DarkRed"]
[COLOR="DarkRed"]I hope that my family will continue to be very close knit as my kids enter adulthood (around the corner for us actually), and that I will continue to be a trusted source of info and someone to bounce stuff off of.
Unschooled dd is going to be 22 in a month (! I remember posting about her teenage trials & tribulations here in 2000 *sniff*), & it is so extrordinarily cool. She knows we can discuss anything, & we do.

And amazingly, she chose *herself* to immerse herself in algebra for her
16th year, though we both find it exceedingly loathsome. (I still think her time would've been better used focusing on her strengths than her weakness; we both scored the same on the maths part of our college entrance exam, and believe me, I would've skipped it entirely with no loss to my nearly 46 year old quality of life. But it was her choice, nu?)

Now geography & the periodic tables... That's fun stuff, who minds memorizing that? (Says the lady who memorized British king & Roman emporer lists for sheer delight.)

PS Geography is a *much* more meaningful learning experience when one has the freedom to travel; my dyslexic 6 yr old has a better grasp of it than most college students. Not being shackled to a government-imposed schedule certainly does give one more time for *that* (in fact, when the school declined to 'excuse' my 9 yr old dd's trip in the face of my insistance that she learned a hellacious lot more than she would've filling out worksheets in class, it gave me the impetus to pull her out & say 'enough with the stupidity, I know better'. She has since bought her own house in the place we travelled to that trip; I'd say it made a difference in her life . She's flying back from Puerto Rico tomorrow, btw- she still loves learning through travel. And now she loves Puerto Rico; its history, its culture, its beauty. <g> I am looking forward to checking it out soon myself.)
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#86 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 12:15 PM
 
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If anything, the schooled child has one "extra" variety of adult in his/her life: teachers and administrators.

And regardless, what I said above: schooled children see all those "other" adults daily as well.
We see administrators and teachers at the B of Ed almost as frequently as public schooled kids get time to interact with the wide world. (And fine, decent, sincere people with their hands full who recognize the value of homeschooling they have been, to a T. And grateful I haven't added to their overburdened load, besides. I reckon my kids have talked to more admins at the B of Ed than the average 6 & 7 yr old .)
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#87 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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I agree that all children get to interact with people in the "wide world," regardless of whether they're schooled, homeschooled, or unschooled.

However, my experience of school was that of being the nerd, who was always painfully conscious of my social lack. I was "schooled" into believing that it was essential for me to have "friends my own age."

So, while I enjoyed interacting with older people and younger children out in the community, there was always this nagging sense that that wasn't good enough, that I hadn't really "made it" until I was accepted by my same-age herd.

In my experience thus far with unschooling, I do see that both my girls are highly interested in playing with friends close to their own age. But I'm happy that they're not going through the pain of getting "squeezed out" to the same extent that I did -- some of you may know about this pain, it's the pain of having friends who will play with you when no one else is around, but as soon as other kids come along, they go off with them and it's like you're not even there.

My oldest has sometimes had the experience, but it's not the day-in, day-out experience that I just had to live with as a defining-factor of my life. At homeschool co-op, we stayed for lunch one day, and dd told me her friend said she wanted to sit with someone else for lunch. Dd seemed a little sad for a moment, but then she ate with me and her sister, visited with us, and ran off to play in the gym with the other kids.

For the other lunch last week, I noticed those 2 little girls had paired up together again, but dd didn't say anything, just happily ate with us and ran off to play. Dd and her friend seem to have a great time playing when we get together with her family for playdates - but at co-ops she pairs up with the other girl.

So, the "squeezing out" is a reality that seems to happen regardless of educational experience, and I can see my girls are going to get a taste of it, in spite of not going to school. I'm just so glad that they're not getting a full-course meal of it, day after day after day ...

And, yeah, I realize some kids never, or hardly ever, get squeezed out -- but I'm guessing that then they're most likely (but certainly not always) the ones who stay oblivious to how it feels, and are still clicking up and leaving others out as adults.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#88 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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We see administrators and teachers at the B of Ed almost as frequently as public schooled kids get time to interact with the wide world.
I'm curious...why is that?

It's interesting to me how much baggage everyone (myself included) brings to the table when deciding on schooling for their children. Those who remember social issues focus on that, those who remember being bored worry about that. It's only natural, but it sometimes reminds me that we all (me too!) need to be open to looking at the kid in front of us and seeing what kind of school experience THAT KID needs, and not strictly try to replicate or do the polar opposite of what we ourselves remember.
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#89 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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It's interesting to me how much baggage everyone (myself included) brings to the table when deciding on schooling for their children. Those who remember social issues focus on that, those who remember being bored worry about that. It's only natural, but it sometimes reminds me that we all (me too!) need to be open to looking at the kid in front of us and seeing what kind of school experience THAT KID needs...
And even whether that kid needs a school experience at all!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#90 of 138 Old 11-05-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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Well, "unschool" has the word "school" in it. Education, in all its forms.
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