School is healthy, right? Some perspective, please. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 02:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dh (an elementary school teacher) and I are in a constant discussion about homelearning. Dd is three. Ideally, I'd like to do this p/t and continue to work p/t. There are a couple of options to do this in our area. If we did homeschool, I'd be more on the unschooling end of the spectrum.

My dh, inlaws, and parents are all very set against homeschooling. I haven't discussed it to a large degree with most of them, but I've been discussing it with dh for some time now.

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.

While I can discuss most other points with him, I am stuck on these ones. Can anyone provide me with some perspective into...his perspective? Not necessarily so that I can argue him down from it (though that would be nice ), but so that I can understand it? This is where our conversation gets stuck.

I have told him that I want dd to stay as excited about learning and being as she is now (albeit in different ways, over time). I don't see that school always fosters this. He believes that most children do really well in early-mid elementary school for the reasons above, and believes that children do need to sit down and learn the three R's.

Interestingly enough, he thinks that once dd has reading, writing, and rithmetic down...and a more mature sense of herself, he might be ok with homeschooling when she is 9-10+. He wants her to be old enough to make that choice for herself.

Thoughts? Insights? Thanks!

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#2 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 02:59 AM
 
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OK, I will put forth no opinion at all on HS vs. PS. I will, however, tell this story.

My kids went to a tiny private school during their very earliest years. They had a project based curriculum, got to follow their interests, all that good stuff. When the school closed and I was faced with HS or PS, I chose HS because I didn't want them to lose all that enthusiasm.

Except that HS was not right for us at all and (very long, painful story made short) my kids ended up in PS. Many pros and cons, of course, but their interest in certain things has never wavered. As long as I make sure they have access to computers and books so they can get the info they need, they still follow their interests wherever they go. My son has a broader understanding of natural science than any 8th grader his teacher has ever met. This is not because my DS is a stellar student; he makes mostly Cs, but that one area of interest has kept him going.

Same with my DD, but with her it's writing, publishing, editing, literature; basically, all things books. She writes thoughtful, tight reviews on books all the time in hopes of becoming a book reviewer someday. This summer, I hope to get her interested in starting a zine of her own, maybe with a couple of friends. I'd donate the paper, ink, computer time, and editorial assistance.

So I guess that I just wanted to say that PS and some features of unschooling can go together. True, my kids don't have nearly as much time to pursue their own interests as if they were genuinely unschooled, but it's working for them.

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#3 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's great, uptown! I think that is the way my dh constructs his classroom environment, which is why he is really ok with early elementary school. And I connect with a lot of wonderful teachers at work, ones who I'd love dd to have. If only I could put them all into our local school.

I was teased terribly in early elementary. Free learning wasn't the issue for me then, but I must say that I didn't find my negative interactions with other kids to be a positive area for growth!

I'm wondering what the difference is between your children and my own experience. I stayed true to my passions in high school, but I also felt so much pressure to be a smart, A+ student. I often wonder how much more joyfully I would have pursued those passions had I not felt the social pressure to be the smart girl.

I also have a hard time understanding dh's "it's good to be forced to learn things" concept. I'm a very self-directed learner who is also very stubborn. I can't stand being told what to do. I think that he sees himself as a teacher-directed learner (to a degree) and he likes to draw on expert opinions to guide him.

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#4 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 06:00 AM
 
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I'm sure you'll get some replies from more experienced unschoolers. My DS is only 7, but so far, so good. He is happy, sociable and learning so much.
I don't think school, an artificial environment, is healthy. I don't think it is necessarily unhealthy for every child, but certainly it is for some. It's not necessary for learning the 3 Rs or social skills as many homeschooled children prove.

I think it might help to reassure your DH that you'll "work" with your DD on the 3 Rs (there are lots of fun ideas out there so it doesn't have to be sitting down with workbooks--though some kids enjoy that too). When I'm talking to in-laws about anything learning-related I change what would be "play" in my mind to "work". "We've been working with his electricity set", "he's been doing work with his microscope", "we've been working on reading words" (instead of playing around with words!).

If you've been using the term unschooling with your DH, I'd stop and only say "homeschooling". Unschooling is hard to defend and explain before you've done it.

I also think your DH's arguments are pretty vague. Being taught things you don't want to learn is "good practice" for what exactly? What kind of "good work habits" are developed? For what kind of work? I'm not saying I would challenge him on his arguments though. I would be more likely to say, for example, "yes reading is important, especially enjoying to read and I've seen too many kids in school end up disliking reading and books. I'd rather keep it interesting and individualized--you can't do better than one-on-one instruction."

And it's not as if your DD wouldn't be in plenty of social situations, but if she is in a bad social situation she can choose to leave it--something more people would have done well to experience growing up.

And you can always do the "let's take it one year at a time" plan that seems to help some DHs feel less anxious about it.

Best of luck to you!
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#5 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 07:34 AM
 
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School is such an artificial construction.I have trouble with the -you need to interact with others ,you need to experience bullies,you need to learn to spell,do math read,when WE decide you should ,argument-
Granted most people wouldn't want to give up the bigger part of their day to hang out with their children,thus the need for "school"


Hs IMHO is far more than learning the 3rs,although a savy parent is certainly going to incorporate those,it's about relationships,it's about life and learning the ins and outs of those rythms in a healthy nuturing environment instead of a rigid regimented institution.
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#6 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 08:21 AM
 
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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.
I'd suggest thinking about how he has learned various things. Even if he says, "I was made to learn ___ and today I'm thankful for it." ask him to think about something he really enjoyed learning at that moment. Something where he was totally in the flow and excited about the topic. I think learning joyfully is better than not.

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This is good practice and develops good work habits.
I suppose it depends on the kind of life you're practicing for, and how important the present moment is. To me, the present is very important. My kids wouldn't want to be miserable now in order to practice something someone else says they need to know for the future.

The idea of people being able to decide what's important to their own lives, and learning how to take charge of their own learning is so vastly different from a classroom setting where the scope and sequence and materials are all assigned. I think jumping from a "school is good for you" position to unschooling takes a bit of time. Would your dh read anything by John Holt?

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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.
Difficulties with other people happen, whether one is in school or not. Frankly, I think we do a better job of finding common ground here at home than a school would. Teachers can't see everything, and can't know the dynamics of every relationship. Parents can give 1:1 advice in helping kids work things out. I'd rather be there for my kids when they're young and figuring all this out so that when they ARE out on their own they have the tools to resolve the difficulties they encounter.

I'm not sure what's good about social pressures. I'm glad that my kids have been free to be themselves and decide for themselves what's right for them without the daily social pressure of a classroom. Now that I have teens, I still see them doing things not because everyone else is doing it, but because it's right for them.

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Can anyone provide me with some perspective into...his perspective?
I didn't realize this was what you were asking when I replied. You might find more of his perspective on the schooling board.[/QUOTE]

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#7 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
My dh, inlaws, and parents are all very set against homeschooling. I haven't discussed it to a large degree with most of them, but I've been discussing it with dh for some time now.

He believes that it is good for children to be taught things that they may not want to learn at that moment.

I will be honest and say I struggle with this one. I do believe it is important for children to learn some key concepts - and sometimes I think it is better to learn them even if the child is not so keen. For example - I am actively trying to teach my DD (almost 6) to read. She enjoys it, but does not ask for it, yk? For the most part it is coming from me - although sometimes spontaneous practice "that sign says "milk" mommy" comes from her. I have seen too many late readers have power struggles over reading with their parents, and I wish to avoid that. So on rare occasion, and while looking at the whole picture, I do think it is sometimes best for children to be introduced to things on an adults timetable.

However this is definately do-able in a home environement. In a home environment I am also more able to see when something isn't working and I need to back off - something a teacher cannot always do.

Last thought on this point - while I do insist on a minimum amount of academic work - and it does come from me - it is really small. In school there is so much busy work!!! Who cares if they learn about photosynthesis (for example)this year or next - or in ten? I do not know if this supresses permanently the desire to learn - but I am sure it deadens it in many people while they are in school. Who wants to waste so many years of their life doing things that have no relevance or joy to them?


.... This is good practice and develops good work habits....

I do not find this arguement to be true. The arguement that "getting up early, developing work habits, dealing with bullies, etc" will prepare for later life, is in my opinion, a bunch of rubbish.

This sounds like you are setting them up for a dreary adult life.

The reality is my life is not dreary.

I do not get up early for work - I am not a morning person - and it has been many years since I accepted a job with an early start time. For the most part I love my job , as per bullies - well, to be frank - the lessons I learned at school about bullies have not helped me in any way deal with adult nasty people. In fact, probably the opposite. School taught me that bullies have all the power and there is nothing I can do to stop them and that no one really cares about my feelings. Is that really something you want your child to learn? Because IMNSHO schools have a lousy, lousy track record of dealing with bullies - and is an excellent reason to consider HSing.


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.

See above. Why is it good for children to be exposed to difficulties with teachers and social pressures?

Yk - some of those kids succumb to social pressure. And it is not always pleasant and recovery is not always easy.

Isn't much wiser to wait until a child is older and strong enough to deal with this sort of nonsense or opt out of it, before plunging them into it?

Moreover, HS is not a bubble. They will meet other children - both Hs and otherwise. The difference is the ratio of adults to kids will be so much better - and you can help them deal with the situation. Teachers do not always see, care about or have the resources to help. You can also model when it is healthy to leave a situation - something often not possible for school kids.


Thoughts? Insights? Thanks!
Despite all this, I do not think school is always horrible. It is the best choice for some families and some children. I think it is a bit of a crap-shot (more than HSing is) and not one I think is worth it . I just think his arguements are flawed.



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#8 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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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. 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 agree that children need to be taught things that they may not want to learn at that moment. Children learn that from day one. I have yet to see a mom that will let a kid run out in front of car while crossing the road. Parents don't typically let kids steal when at the grocery store. If a kid picks up candy at the store, mom isn't going to let them walk out the door with it unless it is paid for at the register. My DD is homeschooled and we are constantly learning lessons that we don't want to learn at that moment and we are on the unschooling spectrum. If you take your kids to the park or the grocery store, you will encounter other people of all ages. I have had a lot of bad interactions and social pressures while going about my daily life. I think exposing kids how to react to social pressures and "real" people is also a great learning experience. If homeschooling did not include going places and doing stuff, then I agree with your husband. I would counter his argument by completely agreeing with him and stating that school is a great place for kids to learn if they cannot get those things at home or in other places.


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Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog View Post
I have told him that I want dd to stay as excited about learning and being as she is now (albeit in different ways, over time). I don't see that school always fosters this. He believes that most children do really well in early-mid elementary school for the reasons above, and believes that children do need to sit down and learn the three R's.

Interestingly enough, he thinks that once dd has reading, writing, and rithmetic down...and a more mature sense of herself, he might be ok with homeschooling when she is 9-10+. He wants her to be old enough to make that choice for herself.
I absolutely agree that children need to learn the three R's. If you child has a personality that is conducive to school, then yes, your DH is right in that your child will succeed and be fine. Some children have personalities that are not well suited for school. My sister is the perfect example. She had nothing but trouble in school even though she is wicked smart. She has never done well when you tell her what to do. At her jobs, she excells because she doesn't take crap from people. She has a lot of good ideas to share with people and does it because she has never allowed the system to beat her down. I did well in school because I was a people pleaser and I would abandon my wants and dreams to make the teachers happy. I am not as successful as my sister because I tend to tow the line too easily.

My oldest DD is like me and I don't want her to conform to make someone else happy. DD is 7 and is reading really well. Her writing stinks but we have been working on it. Her math is okay but again we work on it as often as possible. Her big thing is science and I am not talking about stuff that you learn in elementary. She would be bored to tears in a regular classroom. We have been doing astronomy, which includes stargazing with the telescope at night. We have also been studying molecules, anatomy, physiology, and some other stuff that is pretty advanced. DH has a microscope and we have gotten some prepared slides that DD loves to look at and discuss. I don't think you can get that level of learning in the mid to early elementary.

As for making the choice herself, I think that is tough to do when they are young because the media and everything you see brainwashes little kids into wanting to go to school. They may legitamately want to go but it is not always based on accurate information. A little kid would be crazy to not want to go to school based on the way it is presented in the media and everywhere else.
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#9 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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My dh (an elementary school teacher) and I are in a constant discussion about homelearning. Dd is three. Ideally, I'd like to do this p/t and continue to work p/t. There are a couple of options to do this in our area. If we did homeschool, I'd be more on the unschooling end of the spectrum.

My dh, inlaws, and parents are all very set against homeschooling. I haven't discussed it to a large degree with most of them, but I've been discussing it with dh for some time now.

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.

While I can discuss most other points with him, I am stuck on these ones. Can anyone provide me with some perspective into...his perspective? Not necessarily so that I can argue him down from it (though that would be nice ), but so that I can understand it? This is where our conversation gets stuck.

I have told him that I want dd to stay as excited about learning and being as she is now (albeit in different ways, over time). I don't see that school always fosters this. He believes that most children do really well in early-mid elementary school for the reasons above, and believes that children do need to sit down and learn the three R's.

Interestingly enough, he thinks that once dd has reading, writing, and rithmetic down...and a more mature sense of herself, he might be ok with homeschooling when she is 9-10+. He wants her to be old enough to make that choice for herself.

Thoughts? Insights? Thanks!

I am a huge time lurker, but had to jump in on this one.

First, let me start by saying I have 2 kiddos...My daughter, who just turned 7, is in the 2nd grade. I also have a 2 year old son.

My daughter goes to a private, Catholic school.

I agree with your husband in many ways.

"He believes that it is good for children to be taught things that they may not want to learn at that moment."

It IS good that children be taught things because, at the end of the day, YOU'RE the adult and you know what's best for them. If I left it up to my daughter to decide when she wanted to learn to read or learn cursive, she would NEVER want to do it. She's more interested in playing Barbie dolls and video games than schoolwork.

BUT, she goes to school and has been reading for over a year. Why? Because, I as her mother, MADE her go to school and learn these things. Being her mother entails making decisions for her that are best for her. She's 7. She can't make life-altering decisions for herself.

"This is good practice and develops good work habits."

School is good practice. Is it repetitive? Of course it is. But, that's how you learn...by practice.

For us, school gives my daughter a schedule and structure. Without it, she would be sitting in her jammies all day long, watching cartoons.

My daughter gets up at 6AM, takes a shower everyday, gets dressed, eats breakfast, brushes her teeth....She has a routine, a schedule. She knows she has xx amount of time to get something done and she learns to manage her time.

"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, myself, was picked on as a kid because I was overweight. Do I *love* that I went through that experience? Heck no! But, it taught me that the world isn't full of people that will be nice to me. It taught me to love myself, no matter what *others* thought of me.

This year, as my daughter was starting second grade, she told me that she was nervous because the second grade teacher was "bossy". I explained to her that she needed to be on her best behavior and make sure she listened to her teacher.

So far, we have 2 months down and my daughter absolutely loves the teacher. The teacher is structured and my daughter responds well to it.

Things that kids are exposed to at school, social interactions with kids and adults, PREPARE them for life. In LIFE, you will interact with other adults. Some interactions will not always be pleasant.

As for the "social pressures"....if you teach your kids right, they'll say "no" to the pressures that are put in front of them. At the end of the day, I know that I'm instilling good moral values into my kids. Eventually, I will have to "cut the cord" and let them go and *trust* that I've done my job as their mother and that they will make the right decisions.

I also wanted to say that I think the separation during school is good for both parents and kids. I miss my daughter when she is in school, but she needs that time and not always be "mommy's little helper" all day long, KWIM? I want my daughter to grow up to be an independent, self sufficient woman and "sending her off to school" is preparing her for that.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide!
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#10 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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As someone who has both homeschooled and public schooled, I have different opinions on some of this educational stuff. My kids are now both back in very good public schools where they thrive. However, having once homeschooled, I wouldn't hesitate to pull them home again if I felt the situation warranted it.

Do kids have to learn things they don't want to learn?

Absolutely. I don't think any of us really wanted to learn the states and capitals, the periodic table or algebra... but I'm glad I know them. I'm glad my kids know them, too.

Good habits and work practice?

I think both types of schooling can offer this. The main thing with public schooling is that have to get along and work with kids who aren't related to you. In homeschooling... you just have to get along with your siblings and your teacher mom or dad. Consistency in work and work habits is a must for both settings. I do think this helps kids later in life as well.

Encountering difficulties and social pressures?

While not all positive, my kids have had to navigate a broader social world at the public school. Most of the time.. kids who act up at school have difficult home settings. Maybe they don't get enough love or food to help them behave properly. I think its important for my kids to see this and realize how fortunate we are in the scheme of things. As far as pressure, my kids know who they are and they are very hard to sway. Not once has my child been coerced into doing something that we, their family, would not approve of.

I notice that you posted in unschooling. I don't approve of unschooling in its most relaxed form. I think kids do need to learn "how to learn".
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#11 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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Do kids have to learn things they don't want to learn?

Absolutely. I don't think any of us really wanted to learn the states and capitals, the periodic table or algebra... but I'm glad I know them. I'm glad my kids know them, too.

:

any of us? really? REALLY????

this is not an unschooling perspective, eh?
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#12 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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any of us? really? REALLY????

this is not an unschooling perspective, eh?
Hey, my dh was not so fond of the trigonometry and calculus he had to learn in college either. He did learn it though, to earn his degree and get a great job that supports us.
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#13 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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I think unschooling, like any educational system, can be done either well or badly. The mistake I believe some unschoolers can make is that they give up too easily when they expose the child to something and he doesn't respond immediately. While it's absolutely true that you can't make someone learn something they really don't want to, my experience has been that a good teacher can motivate people to learn things they don't think they want to learn.

That said, I think it's wise not to try to push learning on a kid who isn't really ready for it. I'm a teacher, and I've seen kids who have been forced to learn, for example, reading at a very early age (3, for instance), and they are often bitter, sullen students who aren't excited by learning.

Thus, when homeschooling my own kid, I started teaching him phonics at about 4, but he wasn't really getting sounding out words right away, and I put it aside for a while and just played phonics games with him. I tried the sounding out again this year (he's 5), and he totally gets it! All I had to do was give him time and keep trying. He asks for a reading lesson before breakfast is over most days. He always asks me, "Mom, do I get to learn today?" ("Learning" is what he calls schoolwork.)

Anyway, with unschooling, I think the key is not to make too many judgments about what your kid does and doesn't like (I'm sure there are many mamas who do this already), and give them a chance periodically to try again if you really strike out with something. We already know from feeding them food that they change their preferences all the time and without warning. It probably depends on the kid, too. Some of them seem much more open to trying new things than others.

OP, does this help you at all?

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#14 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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It IS good that children be taught things because, at the end of the day, YOU'RE the adult and you know what's best for them. If I left it up to my daughter to decide when she wanted to learn to read or learn cursive, she would NEVER want to do it. She's more interested in playing Barbie dolls and video games than schoolwork.
(bold emphasis mine) Hi there. It looks like you might be new to MDC and to the unschooling forum. This is not really an unschooling perspective. Unschoolers do not force their children to do cursive or reading. We see learning as a very personal and naturally occurring thing.

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BUT, she goes to school and has been reading for over a year. Why? Because, I as her mother, MADE her go to school and learn these things. Being her mother entails making decisions for her that are best for her. She's 7. She can't make life-altering decisions for herself.
Unschooling families seek to be a trusted guide and helper to their child. We often make decisions together.

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For us, school gives my daughter a schedule and structure. Without it, she would be sitting in her jammies all day long, watching cartoons.
Were you spying on my family yesterday? Seriously though, many unschooling families find value in those very things.

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As for the "social pressures"....if you teach your kids right, they'll say "no" to the pressures that are put in front of them. At the end of the day, I know that I'm instilling good moral values into my kids.
I think if I do well by my kids they will examine what is in front of them, and have the strength and bravery to do what they feel is truly right regardless of whether or not it's what everyone else says is right or wrong. But then we don't see all the "pressures" you might be referring to as negatives to be avoided, either so there's that to consider. Also, good moral values have nothing to do with going to school or not. One can have good values (the definition of which can vary from person to person...) regardless of educational setting or approach IMO.

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Eventually, I will have to "cut the cord" and let them go and *trust* that I've done my job as their mother and that they will make the right decisions.
Though I am not a huge fan of the "cut the cord" phrase or line of thinking, I agree with your overall statement here. True story, eventually kids are grown up and making decisions in the moment and on their own. 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.

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#15 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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Hey, my dh was not so fond of the trigonometry and calculus he had to learn in college either. He did learn it though, to earn his degree and get a great job that supports us.
Sure. That makes sense to me.

Of course, an unschooler can totally grasp the need to get through the craptastic trig/calc courses required to get the degree they really want, too. Stranger things have happened...

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#16 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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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. 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.
You can "teach children things they don't want to learn at the moment" without putting them in school, by adopting a more "school at home" kind of approach. Even 15 minutes of "formal academics" per day may satisfy your DH's concerns. Just knowing that Unschooling isn't the only Homeschooling approach out there might make him much more comfortable with the idea of Homeschooling.

Besides, there's a difference between "introducing ideas that kids might not have thought to explore on their own" and "forcing kids to learn something they're clearly not ready for or interested in." I suspect your DH is primarily concerned that kids may not naturally think of all the things they "need to learn" but would be excited to learn them anyway- I'm sure he's got plenty of personal experience with kids being excited about science or literature in the classroom, when the child wasn't showing interest beforehand. Unschooling does NOT mean "ignoring" your kids- it means introducing exciting ideas, having rich materials available to explore, but letting kids set the pace. Most unschooled kids do get a firm grasp of "the 3 Rs" even without formally being taught, or with a handful of lessons only when specifically requested.

Exposing kids to social situations, including difficult ones, are indeed learning oportunities. IMO, it's best to navigate these new situations with a caring, concerned adult nearby, ready to step in and help you if you get overwhelmed. This is extremely difficult in a school situation, as the adult/child ratio is much smaller. Children, when left pretty much on their own in social situations, may develop unhealthy social skills: bullying, leading/following, excessive conformity to peer pressure, etc. All of these social pitfalls can be avoided by having mom or dad around while learning to socialize- not "on top of you" interfering, but nearby and ready to step in if you need help learning to be assertive (so you neither become a doormat nor a bully), and stopping you if your behavior is completely out of line.

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#17 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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(bold emphasis mine) Hi there. It looks like you might be new to MDC and to the unschooling forum. This is not really an unschooling perspective. Unschoolers do not force their children to do cursive or reading. We see learning as a very personal and naturally occurring thing.


Unschooling families seek to be a trusted guide and helper to their child. We often make decisions together.


Were you spying on my family yesterday? Seriously though, many unschooling families find value in those very things.


I think if I do well by my kids they will examine what is in front of them, and have the strength and bravery to do what they feel is truly right regardless of whether or not it's what everyone else says is right or wrong. But then we don't see all the "pressures" you might be referring to as negatives to be avoided, either so there's that to consider. Also, good moral values have nothing to do with going to school or not. One can have good values (the definition of which can vary from person to person...) regardless of educational setting or approach IMO.


Though I am not a huge fan of the "cut the cord" phrase or line of thinking, I agree with your overall statement here. True story, eventually kids are grown up and making decisions in the moment and on their own. 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.

Just because I decided to post here for the first time today doesn't mean I don't understand what "unschooling" entails. I am quite familiar with the concept and I don't agree with it. While unschoolers don't "force" their children to learn, I DO, which was the point I was trying to make.

I am the mother. I know what's best for them. It's not up to my child to make their own educational decisions. That's MY job.

I don't feel that learning should be an "all" natural process, as described above. I feel that it's my job, as a parent, to make sure my children learn what it's important....whether they "want to" or not.

You're right, good moral values have nothing to do with school. But, I am confident enough in my parenting skills to let me kids go and trust that they will make good decisions.
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#18 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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If I left it up to my daughter to decide when she wanted to learn to read or learn cursive, she would NEVER want to do it. She's more interested in playing Barbie dolls and video games than schoolwork.
Your daughter is still very young. Just because she doesn't want to learn cursive NOW doesn't mean that she'll never want to learn it! The same is true of any other academic skill- unschooled kids won't always learn skills at the same age as their schooled peers, but they do learn the skills when they need them and when they're developmentally ready to learn them. IMO, 7yos should have lots of time to play and explore their worlds, although they are also ready for more intense learning on topics that interest them.

There can be damage in pushing kids to learn things they're not ready for- the damage comes from losing the "spark" of wanting to learn, and from internalizing the message that they're "not good at" something. Of course, this damage doesn't always happen- maybe a child was pushed to read a few weeks before she would have learned on her own, and is fine. If she was pushed a few YEARS before being ready, it's much more damaging.

Last year, my daughter (11 at the time) informed me that she'd never learned cursive writing (even though it was "taught" in 3rd grade) and wanted to learn. So I downloaded some cursive writing sheets and she taught herself cursive writing in about an hour or two. There was no need for endless repetition at age 8 to get here there.

I'm not saying you're doing anything "wrong" by sending your child to school, but I am saying that school isn't the ONLY way children learn. You and your child benefit from the time apart; in other families this separation would have a detrimental effect.

Your perspective is very different from the Unschooling perspective that this particular subforum is about- although your input certainly answers the OPs question and gives her some more food for thought.

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#20 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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Your daughter is still very young. Just because she doesn't want to learn cursive NOW doesn't mean that she'll never want to learn it! The same is true of any other academic skill- unschooled kids won't always learn skills at the same age as their schooled peers, but they do learn the skills when they need them and when they're developmentally ready to learn them. IMO, 7yos should have lots of time to play and explore their worlds, although they are also ready for more intense learning on topics that interest them.

There can be damage in pushing kids to learn things they're not ready for- the damage comes from losing the "spark" of wanting to learn, and from internalizing the message that they're "not good at" something. Of course, this damage doesn't always happen- maybe a child was pushed to read a few weeks before she would have learned on her own, and is fine. If she was pushed a few YEARS before being ready, it's much more damaging.

Last year, my daughter (11 at the time) informed me that she'd never learned cursive writing (even though it was "taught" in 3rd grade) and wanted to learn. So I downloaded some cursive writing sheets and she taught herself cursive writing in about an hour or two. There was no need for endless repetition at age 8 to get here there.

I'm not saying you're doing anything "wrong" by sending your child to school, but I am saying that school isn't the ONLY way children learn. You and your child benefit from the time apart; in other families this separation would have a detrimental effect.

Your perspective is very different from the Unschooling perspective that this particular subforum is about- although your input certainly answers the OPs question and gives her some more food for thought.
My 7 year old DOES have alot of time to play and explore. She's a very gifted dancer and takes jazz, ballet and tap lessons weekly.

Just because a child "loses spark" for learning about a particular subject doesn't mean they're going to think that they're "not good at it". I don't see the correlation there.

To be quite honest, I am PROUD that my 7 year old has been reading for a year already. I am PROUD that later on this year, she will know how to write in cursive and won't be learning at age 11. When I tell her how proud I am of her for excelling, SHE also gets proud of the things she's accomplishing.

At age 8, there IS a need for "endless repitition" because they're only 8. It's different when an 8 year old is learning cursive versus an 11 year old.

I know that sending my child to school isn't "wrong" at all. I see how much she excells and how much she knows at such a young age and she's exactly where she should be.

Separation from a child is detrimental? Are you serious? What's going to happen when they're 18 years old and leave for college? If there's absolutely NO separation, when does it end?

I want my child to be an independent, strong woman when she grows up. Going to school instills this independence. She knows she can go to school without mommy and make it on her own, which can only make her more confident of herself.

The OP was asking for perspectives that are unlike the unschool philosophies...hence the reason I posted. I am against unschooling 100%. I think parents that do it are doing a great disservice to their children and are holding their children back from learning the fundamentals of life.
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#21 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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My 7 year old DOES have alot of time to play and explore. She's a very gifted dancer and takes jazz, ballet and tap lessons weekly.

Just because a child "loses spark" for learning about a particular subject doesn't mean they're going to think that they're "not good at it". I don't see the correlation there.

To be quite honest, I am PROUD that my 7 year old has been reading for a year already. I am PROUD that later on this year, she will know how to write in cursive and won't be learning at age 11. When I tell her how proud I am of her for excelling, SHE also gets proud of the things she's accomplishing.

At age 8, there IS a need for "endless repitition" because they're only 8. It's different when an 8 year old is learning cursive versus an 11 year old.

I know that sending my child to school isn't "wrong" at all. I see how much she excells and how much she knows at such a young age and she's exactly where she should be.

Separation from a child is detrimental? Are you serious? What's going to happen when they're 18 years old and leave for college? If there's absolutely NO separation, when does it end?

I want my child to be an independent, strong woman when she grows up. Going to school instills this independence. She knows she can go to school without mommy and make it on her own, which can only make her more confident of herself.

The OP was asking for perspectives that are unlike the unschool philosophies...hence the reason I posted. I am against unschooling 100%. I think parents that do it are doing a great disservice to their children and are holding their children back from learning the fundamentals of life.
Hi,

There is alot about your post I disagree with - but that is OK. We are not all going to agree.

I did highlight something I think you need to take a look at - as food for thought.

Why are you proud that your DD will learn cursive this year instead of at age 11? What difference does it make? In some ways the same holds true of reading. My hope for my children is that they become life-long readers - because reading is so enjoyable and educational. But that is just my hope. What difference does it make when they learn to read - as long as they are ready and it is a pleasant experience?

The flip side is what scares me though. There will come a time when your DD will struggle with something - and maybe learns it after her peers. Are you going to be unproud of her then? How disabling that can be.

I think your DD needs to feel you unconditional pride - but it should not be linked to academic achievement.

YK - I always got better marks than my sister (and tried less, I might add) - in many ways academic performance is a gift. It is not something to be proud of (just like I am not proud of my blue eyes or freckles). One may be proud of the work involved to achieve the goal - but that is different. I am very glad for my sister that my mom did not link pride and academic achievement together. Just saying.

Kathy
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#22 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 03:14 PM
 
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Hey, my dh was not so fond of the trigonometry and calculus he had to learn in college either. He did learn it though, to earn his degree and get a great job that supports us.
See this is the fantastic thing about unschooling; the freedom to decide what you want and when you do choose to take a journey it is fully your choice. I know a homeschooling family right now whose 13 year old joined a music group playing an instrument. He had to go to "band camp" as part of this experience. He did not like waking up early and some other aspects of the camp and when he called his mom to express this she asked him if he wanted to stay. He did choose to stay, but now he is taking full responsibility for his choices. He knows to participate in band these are the requirements. I think that is just amazing. So much energy in childhood is spent on blaming parents/schools etc for doing things they don't want to do, but to truly teach you children about living in community and allowing their natural desire for learning to lead them is imo a very healing and natural thing.

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Just because I decided to post here for the first time today doesn't mean I don't understand what "unschooling" entails. I am quite familiar with the concept and I don't agree with it. While unschoolers don't "force" their children to learn, I DO, which was the point I was trying to make.

I am the mother. I know what's best for them. It's not up to my child to make their own educational decisions. That's MY job.

I don't feel that learning should be an "all" natural process, as described above. I feel that it's my job, as a parent, to make sure my children learn what it's important....whether they "want to" or not.

You're right, good moral values have nothing to do with school. But, I am confident enough in my parenting skills to let me kids go and trust that they will make good decisions.
Anony-mous, please don't take anything too personal. It's quite obvious that you are on the exact opposite spectrum of unschooling and it is just a little odd to find this voice within the unschooling forum. I know the op asked for other opinions but maybe it wasn't the best place to ask....or maybe she was really wanting unschooling opinions and support. I think the pp just thought you landed in the wrong spot and since you only had 4 posts assumed you were a little "lost".

No worries mama, we all have to do our own thing and I trust your children chose you for just as important of a reason our unschooling children chose us.
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#23 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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Anony-mouse, if you are against unschooling then you shouldn't be surprised to encounter resistance when posting in an unschooling forum.

My DD is almost 6. She is doing 2nd grade math and reading at grade level. She loves learning about any sort of animal, the weather, the stars (she's fascinated with the moon), negative numbers, geography, building things, how trees grow, and about a thousand other things.

She's also unschooled.

"Forcing" your child to learn does not mean the learning will stick. And, it doesn't make learning enjoyable. For us, it's more about the process - I want my kids to love learning and be confident in their abilities to learn information and find the answers they need (and think critically about that information and those answers). For now, unschooling does that for us.

I guess I also don't understand why you are proud that your 7-year-old is reading and will learn cursive soon. I am proud of my kids, but not because they learned X when someone told them to.

Finally, independence is important - but it depends on age. I don't think a 5-year-old needs to be out of the house all day with a teacher. I'd rather have her home with me and her dad. As she gets older, she gradually gets more independent (ie., she now goes out and plays in the neighbor's yard without our supervision).

By the time she's 18 I imagine she'll have a strong sense of self and be willing and able to be independent, rather than waiting yet again for someone else to tell her what to learn, and when, and how.

I'm not against school, but it's clear you're very against home/unschooling for some reason. That's fine, but I would not expect to change any minds in the unschooling forum.

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#24 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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Hi,

There is alot about your post I disagree with - but that is OK. We are not all going to agree.

I did highlight something I think you need to take a look at - as food for thought.

Why are you proud that your DD will learn cursive this year instead of at age 11? What difference does it make? In some ways the same holds true of reading. My hope for my children is that they become life-long readers - because reading is so enjoyable and educational. But that is just my hope. What difference does it make when they learn to read - as long as they are ready and it is a pleasant experience?

The flip side is what scares me though. There will come a time when your DD will struggle with something - and maybe learns it after her peers. Are you going to be unproud of her then? How disabling that can be.

I think your DD needs to feel you unconditional pride - but it should not be linked to academic achievement.

YK - I always got better marks than my sister (and tried less, I might add) - in many ways academic performance is a gift. It is not something to be proud of (just like I am not proud of my blue eyes or freckles). One may be proud of the work involved to achieve the goal - but that is different. I am very glad for my sister that my mom did not link pride and academic achievement together. Just saying.

Kathy
I am proud, because at age 7 (barely), my daughter is learning something that is quite difficult to accomplish at the age she's at....because at age 11, a child should be at a completely different level, educationally.

My daughter already struggles with her religion classes. As I stated before, she goes to a Catholic school. She is not Catholic and was baptized Lutheran. We don't go to church on a regular basis like the other children in her class.

My daughter has gotten less than 70% on a few of her religion tests. Does that make me proud? No, but it's a sign that this is a subject we need to work on. My daughter knows she didn't get a good grade on her religion test, but that makes her strive and work that much harder for the next one.

Flowers, I am not taking anything "personal". I know that I am doing something wonderful for my children....giving them an excellent education, giving them tools for their future. I want them to strive to be "all that they can be" (forgive the cliche). Getting the best education possible allows them to do whatever they dream of doing with their life.

In fact, the reason I visit this forum is because reading posts about unschooling just makes me that much more confident in my decision to send my daughter to the school that I send her to.

I didn't come on this thread to offend anyone and certainly apologize to anyone if I have. But, again, the OP was asking for opinions ABOUT sending kids to school, so I had to jump in.
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#25 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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Anony-mouse, if you are against unschooling then you shouldn't be surprised to encounter resistance when posting in an unschooling forum.

My DD is almost 6. She is doing 2nd grade math and reading at grade level. She loves learning about any sort of animal, the weather, the stars (she's fascinated with the moon), negative numbers, geography, building things, how trees grow, and about a thousand other things.

She's also unschooled.

"Forcing" your child to learn does not mean the learning will stick. And, it doesn't make learning enjoyable. For us, it's more about the process - I want my kids to love learning and be confident in their abilities to learn information and find the answers they need (and think critically about that information and those answers). For now, unschooling does that for us.

I guess I also don't understand why you are proud that your 7-year-old is reading and will learn cursive soon. I am proud of my kids, but not because they learned X when someone told them to.

Finally, independence is important - but it depends on age. I don't think a 5-year-old needs to be out of the house all day with a teacher. I'd rather have her home with me and her dad. As she gets older, she gradually gets more independent (ie., she now goes out and plays in the neighbor's yard without our supervision).

By the time she's 18 I imagine she'll have a strong sense of self and be willing and able to be independent, rather than waiting yet again for someone else to tell her what to learn, and when, and how.

I'm not against school, but it's clear you're very against home/unschooling for some reason. That's fine, but I would not expect to change any minds in the unschooling forum.
Definitely not surprised to encounter resistance...was expecting it.

Independence is very important. I would rather my child be in school all day with a teacher, at 5 years old, than to be attached at my hip, thinking she can't go anywhere without mom or dad.

How are you going to instill independence in your children while "unschooling"? How do you teach them that it's okay to be on their own when they've never had that chance?

I'm not here to change anyone's mind.
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#26 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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Independence is very important. I would rather my child be in school all day with a teacher, at 5 years old, than to be attached at my hip, thinking she can't go anywhere without mom or dad.

How are you going to instill independence in your children while "unschooling"? How do you teach them that it's okay to be on their own when they've never had that chance?
I think you are assuming that homeschooled kids stay with their parents all day every day and are never given the opportunity to do things away from the parents. My 7 yo is very independent. She goes places without me all the time. I don't have a problem with her going places with other family members or other adults that I trust. When she was 5, she went on a trip across country with her grandparents to pick up a player piano that they bought for her. After a hurricane, my 7 yo went to our elderly neighbor's house to help them pick up sticks and rake leaves. She takes piano lessons and doesn't always like to practice but realizes that in order to learn, she must practice. At 7, she is remarkably independent. Going to school is not the only way to foster independence in a child. I agree that it can be considered one possible way but it is not the only way nor is it always the best way.

My 4 yo is old enough to express a desire to go place and do things separate from mom. The big difference is that nobody is forcing my kids to go somewhere that they do not want to go. It is a continuum where as they get older, they venture farther and farther from the nest. One day, they will venture away and will only come back for a visit. Ultimately, we are all just trying to prepare our kids for life and adulthood the best way we know how.
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#27 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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IIn fact, the reason I visit this forum is because reading posts about unschooling just makes me that much more confident in my decision to send my daughter to the school that I send her to.
Seems weird that you read this forum to feel more confident about sending your DD to her school or needed to come out of lurkdom to post rants about unschooling on the unschooling forum.

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#28 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 04:10 PM
 
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the unschooling forum is one of support, respectful requests of information, and sharing of ideas and experiences. To uphold this purpose the board will not host discussions of debate or criticism. Disagreements about unschooling should be set aside out of respect for the diversity and varying interpretations and beliefs that we hold as a community.

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#29 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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"Forcing" your child to learn does not mean the learning will stick. And, it doesn't make learning enjoyable. For us, it's more about the process - I want my kids to love learning and be confident in their abilities to learn information and find the answers they need (and think critically about that information and those answers). For now, unschooling does that for us.
I've been lurking, but wanted to comment about the bolded part. My dd currently attends a Montessori school, specifically b/c I agree so strongly with your statement. I want my child to learn how to learn, and to love learning. For me, that's the most important part of an early education, whether it's done through school or unschooling. Montessori works well for us.

The whole notion of developing good work habits through forced learning, being exposed to "social pressures" in a contrived setting, and the emphasis on rote memorization is why we are avoiding traditional public school for now. Just like homeschooling and unschooling come in a variety of forms, so do schools.

OP - Do you see school the same way your DH does? Obviously, I don't see those points as positives and I disagree that those things are intrinsic elements of schooling. If they were, I would definitely be homeschooling right now.
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#30 of 138 Old 10-28-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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The point I was making about "endless repetition" is that, if you wait until the child is TRULY ready to learn something, they can pick it up faster and easier and without the boring repetition. It's a valid way to approach education, even if it's not the one you choose.

I'm glad you're comfortable with your educational decisions. This is a public forum, and there's nothing to stop you from reading this, even if you vehemenently disagree with everything we post. I've lurked on bottle-feeding message boards- there can be a lot of good from "learning about the other side"- a chance to understand others, learn tolerance, etc. But, when posting somewhere you "don't belong" you need to be careful.

You seem rather unfamiliar with MDC's overall childrearing philosophies, especially based on your "how will they learn independence" questions. The entire AP (attachment parenting) philosophy is that children need comfort when they're little, and then they grow to independence all on their own. Push them too hard too fast, and they feel unsecure and cling even more. This is reflected most strongly in the boards about infant and toddler care (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing) and slightly less so as kids get older. By the teenaged years, it's all about letting go and building trust in your children.

I think it's pretty clear that you're not an unschooler- but there's a wealth of forums MDC has to offer and you may very well fit in and be comfortable in one or more of those. We have a "learning at school" forum, a "childhood years" forum, forums about health and nutrition and green (ecological) living. Wander around MDC and see if you feel comfortable in some of the other forums, and give this educational debate a rest.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
Ruthla is offline  
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