If you went from unschooling to more structured learning.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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how old were your kids when this happened?

We definitely lean more towards the unschooling side of the spectrum but since my kids are still young (6.5, almost 5 & 2) I don't feel confident that this will be our eternal path. I actually tell most people I'm a "better late than early" hs'er than an uschooler but whatever about the labels!? I'm wondering when most people make the transition from unschooling to more structured learning. Last year I thought this year & this year I think next year. Ha! And maybe I'll continue seeing the kids grow & learn without any heroic measures & keep thinking the same thing each year.

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#2 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 04:44 AM
 
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Hi there!

We made the transition (by accident?) one subject at a time based on my priorities. Reading came first, followed by math. We spent 1st grade doing only structured reading....by that it was 15-20 min lessons off and on 3-4 times a week and then a ton of reading at bedtime.... then around when 2nd grade started, I felt a vacuum where math skills should be...so we worked on that quite a bit and continued with a lot of reading at bedtime. He would read a chapter of something to us and then we would read from a novel, and then a history book (usbourne). This year (3rd) we are spending a lot of time on extra curricular so far. He plays instruments and is learning languages. those are pretty time intensive in the morning...so then math and reading at bedtime. Fill in the rest of the day with playing, soccer, swimming, cooking...and that is what we do

HTH!

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#3 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tassy,I like to hear that it's possible to transition smoothly, which is sounds like you are did/are doing! I actually can see us taking a similar path with reading & then math, etc. My DD can read but we don't have required reading times. She definitely reads throughout the day, though, to herself & to her younger sibs. And we read a lot before bed, too, but I need to read to them more during the day.

Thanks for sharing.

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#4 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 09:33 AM
 
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Just add one thing at a time. I started with reading more stories, ones I carefully selected from the library as "literature" (just really good, classic stories). Then we added phonics and BOB books, after that handwriting, then math. Once all of those subjects were going well we added history, science, and everything else. It took about six months for me to get everything up and running.

I totally believe in unschooling until children are ready for first grade. Then an hour of serious academics (the three Rs) with an hour of lighter academics (everything else) per day is fine. That leaves plenty of time for play and free learning, unlike the kids next door who leave for school shortly before 8 and arrive home around 4:00 - that is a long day!

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#5 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 10:22 AM
 
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well, i don't consider myself an unschooler. however, i don't consider my children homeschooled until they're about 5 1/2 or 6...so maybe this will help? i dunno when my children are younger, we learn at their leisure & i have absolutely no agenda for them, no structure, no goals. during this stage, it probably resembles unschooling, as they are still learning a lot - but it is completely child directed and i have no expectations in any way. if my ds played all day or all week...i didn't care one bit.... but then another day he might want to watch 9 episodes of brainpopjr. and that was fine too. by age 5 1/2 or 6 though, i like to start working more on the 3 r's a little each day.

this year my ds is in kindergarten & i know that this is a transition year for him. i don't have a time-table for each day, week, or month... but i do have kindergarten goals that i want us to cover by the end of the year. we usually spend 30 minutes a day on school - (however, the first 2 weeks it was only about 15 minutes). next year it will increase a little more and each year after that. my daughter currently does about 2 hours of work (usually from 10-12), and that is more than enough. half of our time is snuggling in my bed reading or sitting on the porch when weather permits. hth.

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#6 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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We fell into unschooling when dd was 8 and newly out of school. She created her own structure (or none at all) and I provided what she needed to fulfill that. 4 years later both kids (dd was 12 and ds was 7) decided they wanted a more structured day - nothing extreme, just a nice routine with some definite direction. So, we all chose a pre-made Charlotte Mason curriculum that was exactly what they had in mind. We've been with that curriculum over a year now and they still love it. The kids have tweaked things periodically, but it's going really well and we all have a lot of fun with it.

So, for us, the transition was made naturally when the kids wanted to change up what they were doing. What keeps them adhering to the structure is knowing it was their idea to implement it and that they are free to make changes when they want. I believe we're still an unschooling family, even with a curriculum. The underlining philosophy never really goes away.

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#7 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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I didn't start homeschooling until DD2 was in the middle of 5th grade. We basically deschooled for all of 5th grade. At the end of the year, she took one standardized test for the "end of year evaluation" required by NYS. After taking that test, she told me she felt unprepared in the math section, and wanted to do more math the next year. So, in 6th grade, we used a math textbook and pretty much finished the book (although we didn't really use it with much consistency.)

In 7th grade, DD1 decided to join us at home as well (DD1 was in 8th), and things were a lot more structured because DD1 wanted the structure and DD2 kind of "tagged along." We still didn't finish any textbooks.

For 8th grade, DD2 decided she wanted to return to school, and she's thriving there. If she was still at home, we'd probably be using a math textbook and nothing else.

I think that if you just follow the child's lead, you'll be adding in more structure as you go along. Preteens and teens tend to request more academic structure as time goes on- at least that's the impression I got from all the "eclectic" homeschoolers we met, who told me they used to unschool when the kids were smaller.

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#8 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Angela & Ruth, thank you, thank you! This is exactly what I wanted to hear. (not that I don't appreciate what you other mamas had to say ). I desperately want to have unpressured, relaxed learning in my home & to hear that your children eventually asked to do a bit more in certain areas in encouraging to me. DD1 is definitely not at the point of asking to do math but she does request to read books about certain subjects or do various crafty things. That's about it (and that's fine with me!). I don't do anything at all with DD2 & DS. I suppose in my head I have age 8 as some magic number when kids start being able to "tolerate" more organized learning (sit down & write this sorta thing) but I know it's individual to each child. At times I wish I were definitely in one schooling camp or the other but I feel stuck in the middle...

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#9 of 13 Old 10-07-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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Stephanie, I am in a similar place as you, my oldest is 7 this week, 4.5 yo, and 2 yo, (new baby due next month for us), and I was wondering the same thing this week that you posted ! I am loving the responses, too, and thinking of how things may go. Anyway, so glad you asked, this was helpful for me, too. Gives lots of think about...

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#10 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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Ages 9, 7, 4, 2 ,and newborn. It was just overwhelming me. Sounds weird how unschooling could be overwhelming, but it was for our family. I did not feel available enough to unschool the way I felt it should be done.

So now, we are lightly structured. Things are better, though we are still trying to really find our flow

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#11 of 13 Old 09-15-2010, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm re-reading this old thread of mine & laughing because I obviously have this crisis each fall. Ha! I set out to be more structured this year & we've already fallen off the wagon. Not in a bad way, though....we just lost a lot of steam doing the "boring" stuff. I can see this being a super slow progression towards more organization. I have definitely learned, though, that DD1 & now DD2 really love learning & working on projects & even doing math. I'm already feeling like they want more but I'm not prepared. Eek! It's a delicate balance between offering too much & overwhelming them & offering too little & not fulfilling them. My girls are now 7.5 & almost 6 (with 3.5 y/o DS) so they're still very young but definitely capable of telling me what they want & don't want. Lol!

I love being very relaxed but I can see how my girls would thrive with a bit more routine.

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#12 of 13 Old 09-15-2010, 02:17 AM
 
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My son went to K and 1 month. When he came out we deschooled but after about 6 months (7) he craved structure. Just like a baby having a set routine made him happiest. My girls were flexible but since there brother was doing it they followed suit.

I think some of there is a balance. I feel many unschoolers do not always get that some kids thrive best in a structured environment. He liked having something to compare to. When he struggled with a concept he like being able to take baby steps to meet a goal.

I was flexible enough to have forward movement but free enough not to miss opportunities to "go with the flow" and let him experiment and take him to advents even if they were not related to the topic.
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#13 of 13 Old 09-15-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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Even though we don't follow a Waldorf curriculum, I am following the Waldorf markers of maturity as we move into a more structured and formal first grade year (DD is 6.5). She's lost a few teeth, grown taller and clearly matured in a lot of ways in a fairly short amount of time. All the adults in her life have been commenting how suddenly she seems like a girl and no longer a small child. We have never been unschoolers though, just more relaxed.

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