I am no longer a supporter of unschooling :( (BIG vent, dont read if ur going to be offended) - Page 13 - Mothering Forums
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#361 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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Now she could very well have just picked up reading all on her own, we will never know. But by being taught to read and needing to work at it ....
Okay, I'm not picking on you, I swear. But seriously, what continues to convince people that unschooling means not being taught?

A person can follow a child led path and teach them to read. I know. I've done it twice.

My kids choose their learning path and *really work very hard.* And really love it...to the point of being very insistent when they feel they aren't getting where they want.

They get frustrated, happy, involved, bored, distracted, focused, pissy and pleasant. They get anxious and perfectionistic.

I'm mostly supportive, sometimes short, tired and cranky.

I draw lots of good ideas about what resources they might use from all over the place. They learn.
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#362 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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I think the thing most people get annoyed about with unschoolers is they seem the think(or that is how I see it portrayed via message boards) that unschooling is the only way/best way. Children who are not unschooled are deprived, don't have rich experiences , hate learning, etc. Frankly it just isn't true. While learning to read can be very hard work for some children it is also very rewarding. I have seen my own child's confidence skyrocket as she has learned how to read. Now she could very well have just picked up reading all on her own, we will never know. But by being taught to read and needing to work at it she has also learned the value of hard work and perseverance.

I'm not anti unschooling, it's the dogma that school(even at home) kills a love of learning, kids will always pick everything up easily, etc. that turns me off. Kids learn differently. There are bound to be kids that are under served by unschooling, just like there are kids that thrive.
I'm very sorry that when I talk about my choices, I am not constantly supporting your choices.

Sometimes people disagree. I believe things you do not believe. You believe things I do not believe. If you don't enjoy the unschooling perspective, we're easy enough to avoid.
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#363 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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My point is parenting is unschooling. It's just schooled children (whether home or in school) are getting both.
No they don't. Sorry. And I say this as a parent who has one child in school, and who fully supports that experience. It's not the same.

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But by being taught to read and needing to work at it she has also learned the value of hard work and perseverance.
I just explained this, but I'll mention it again. My 7-year-old has been taught to play the violin, and has worked hard at it, for an average of 30-45 minutes a day almost every day of the year, for the past 4 and a half years. She too has learned the value of hard work and perseverance. She is working on her second Vivaldi concerto -- it doesn't come easily. I'm not sure where you got the idea that unschooling means no teaching, no hard work, no perseverance.

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#364 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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Okay, I'm not picking on you, I swear. But seriously, what continues to convince people that unschooling means not being taught?

A person can follow a child led path and teach them to read. I know. I've done it twice.

My kids choose their learning path and *really work very hard.* And really love it...to the point of being very insistent when they feel they aren't getting where they want.

They get frustrated, happy, involved, bored, distracted, focused, pissy and pleasant. They get anxious and perfectionistic.

I'm mostly supportive, sometimes short, tired and cranky.

I draw lots of good ideas about what resources they might use from all over the place. They learn.
I think that you are raising a very good point, and those of us on the thread who I think are slightly more critical of unschooling should really keep this in mind. There is a spectrum of unschooling (like most things in life). It really means different things to different people. At least once a week I see a post on the unschooling forum titled "Am I still unschooling if..." or "Unschooler not sure how to handle that my child wants something very structured" or "if I make my child practice reading/math, can I still be an unschooler?" So I don't think that it's only on this thread that we are all having this vocabulary issue! As has been covered in this thread, it's a fairly vague term that is open to interpretation and dissection.

Heck, even "homeschooling" means different things to different people. I've seen threads where people say that if you use something like k12 you're not a real homeschooler.

I do think that there is a vocal minority of unschoolers that make those of us who aren't unschoolers (and thus we only maintain a cursory understanding of unschooling) the impression that all unschooling is extreme radical unschooling. I do think that there have been a few posters on this thread who lean that way. But I think that most unschoolers fall somewhere on the spectrum where there is a plenty of adult-led influence and plenty of traditional "sit down and I will work through this lesson with you." It may be couched in nicer phrasing, and it may be more dependent on when the child is showing certain signs of interest (as identified and interpreted by the parent), but it still exists.

So I think it behoves us all to remember that, while there are indeed extremes, it's important that we not take some stereotype of a few examples that we read about somewhere about some cliche unsocialized, illiterate, never leaves the house, now unable to get a job unschooler and think that this is in any way the norm.

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#365 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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all unschooling is extreme radical unschooling. .
I have never met, in real life or online, someone whose unschooling philosophy prevented them from teaching a child a skill or finding the child a teacher for a skill that the child themselves requested.
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#366 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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My point is parenting is unschooling. It's just schooled children (whether home or in school) are getting both. A child who learn about something in school and goes home excited a delves deeper. To me this is just parenting.My oldest is a total naturalist. She spends many hours observing animals/insects. She is extremly self motivated and learns a ton.....

I think the thing most people get annoyed about with unschoolers is they seem the think(or that is how I see it portrayed via message boards) that unschooling is the only way/best way. Children who are not unschooled are deprived, don't have rich experiences , hate learning, etc. Frankly it just isn't true. While learning to read can be very hard work for some children it is also very rewarding. I have seen my own child's confidence skyrocket as she has learned how to read. Now she could very well have just picked up reading all on her own, we will never know. But by being taught to read and needing to work at it she has also learned the value of hard work and perseverance.

I'm not anti unschooling, it's the dogma that school(even at home) kills a love of learning, kids will always pick everything up easily, etc. that turns me off. Kids learn differently. There are bound to be kids that are under served by unschooling, just like there are kids that thrive.
I do agree, but I think that it's unfair to say that this is specifically an unschooling trend. I think that it's a recurrent attitude that I've seen on homeschooling message boards and blogs. I think that many homeschooling families are on the defensive, because there is a lot of societal criticism placed on homeschoolers. Everyone's an expert on homeschooling 'cuz they saw an episode of Wife Swap or Supernanny And I think that in being defensive, it sometimes comes across as criticism of families who choose traditional schools. And I think that sometimes the criticism is purposeful, but I think more often it's just poorly worded.

I think we all agree that most involved parents (and, yes, there are plenty of neglectful parents out there who never talk to their kids and never buy them a book and never take them anywhere... but let's leave them out of it and just compare active, involved parents) care deeply about their child's education and want what's best. And whether these children are in school or homeschooled, their parents make sure that they can pursue their interests and take them to museums and talk to them about their own areas of expertise. Obviously, homeschooled families have more time for these things. But I do agree with meetoo that sometimes it seems like some homeschoolers are saying that traditional-schoolers NEVER do these things, or at least when they do it's a subpar effort.

So all that was just a long way of saying that I don't think that this in an unschooling PR issue, it's a homeschooling one in general. And I've said it before, and I'll say it again... one of the reasons the MDC homeschooling forum is my favorite homeschooling forum is because that attitude is so much LESS prevalent than it is on some other homeschooling message boards. But, yes, it does still exist here... usually, I think, because of poor phrasing and not any true criticism meant.

As for the running through fields looking at tadpoles thing, that sounds like a summer activity. When bricks and mortar schooled kids are at home anyway

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#367 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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So, what do you do, as a non-unschooling parent, if your child says, "I'm not doing this. I don't want to"?
Reading and writing are skills needed in life whether or not a child wants to learn them. I would handle this with discussions about how learning these skills will enhance my son's life--now and in the future. My take on it would be, "Look, you have lots of freedom in how you live and learn. This is one thing that you'll have to take my word on."

I don't buy into a child only having to do what he or she wants to do. I respect my son's abilities and areas of challenge, his interests and preferences. But I also expect him to accept that I know a little more about the world than he does and that when I insist on something, there's a good reason for it. I don't abuse that though. Because he has so much freedom in other areas, he accepts that basic skills aren't optional.

And I see that as balance. That's mutual respect. I see our homeschooling as cooperative--and not soley child-centered.

My son doesn't flat out refuse to do skill work. If he did, I guess I could refuse to drive him to one social event after another, spending hours making small talk with my son's friends' moms. If it's all about only doing what we want to do, I'd rather stay home and read!

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#368 of 455 Old 09-16-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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I do think that there is a vocal minority of unschoolers that make those of us who aren't unschoolers (and thus we only maintain a cursory understanding of unschooling) the impression that all unschooling is extreme radical unschooling. I do think that there have been a few posters on this thread who lean that way. But I think that most unschoolers fall somewhere on the spectrum where there is a plenty of adult-led influence and plenty of traditional "sit down and I will work through this lesson with you." It may be couched in nicer phrasing, and it may be more dependent on when the child is showing certain signs of interest (as identified and interpreted by the parent), but it still exists.
.
Yes! And many of us choose other labels (or none) such as "relaxed homeschoolers". It's much safer!

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#369 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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As for the running through fields looking at tadpoles thing, that sounds like a summer activity. When bricks and mortar schooled kids are at home anyway
Tadpole season here is June. School ended June 30th this year. Sorry my example didn't compute for your school year.

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#370 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I'm not anti unschooling, it's the dogma that school(even at home) kills a love of learning, kids will always pick everything up easily, etc. that turns me off. Kids learn differently. There are bound to be kids that are under served by unschooling, just like there are kids that thrive.
I think this is a good point. And it can be helpful for parents interested in unschooling to hear both sides.

Something else to consider is that some kids have true learning challenges. Visual or auditory processing issues, motor control issues, etc... Sometimes these things are roadblocks to naturally picking up skills. And if something is hard, that can affect a child's interest. Sometimes what appears to be a lack of interest may really be insecurity about one's abilities or a low frustration tolerance.

For example, my son was hesitant about learning to read. He loved to be read to, but avoided books with lots of words on the pages. We discovered that visual processing issues were getting in the way. Vision therapy helped, as did switching the way we approached reading instruction. He discovered he loves reading and now it's where he shines. If I'd just accepted his lack of interest, and not been proactive about it, he would have been missing out for the past two years. His success with reading is something he is really proud of. It compensates for his struggles with writing and spelling. Most importantly, despite his early frustration and lack of interest, it's now one of his greatest sources of joy.

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#371 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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I'm late to the discussion here, and haven't read all, what, 19 pages? Wow.

But I thought I'd share our experience with the OP. I'll admit that I was never fully on board with unschooling. (Radical unschooling was always out of the question for us - I'm just talking about academic unschooling.) However, my plan was to wait until third grade before beginning anything "parent led." But when we got to that point, we were so ensconced in our lovely unschooling lifestyle that it was really hard to get on a schedule and get disciplined enough to make progress in any subject. (BTW - I was only planning on teaching math and language arts - social studies and science I was fine with letting him discover on his own terms.)

My older son asked to start school for 4th grade. I was pretty panicked about where he was academically, so we did hire a tutor for a few months before school started, but could only afford one hour once a week. It did help, but was nothing magical.

School started, and the only thing that's been a real issue is his writing. He does bemoan being such a slow writer, and his handwriting and spelling is horrible. Math has only been an issue with respect to speed - they do timed drills sometimes, and he can only finish about half the sheet because he doesn't have his facts down like he should. However, the teacher has taken it all in stride, and doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. She doesn't cut him any slack, however, and I'm not sure there will be any A's on his report card. I don't personally care, but I know he will feel bad, and for that I feel responsible.

Anyhow, I wanted to let the OP that I really relate to the feeling of failing your child. I felt really bad that simply due to my own inability to get organized and disciplined about a schedule that my son started 4th grade behind his peers. I just try to remember that I wasn't neglecting a curriculum because I was out partying or something. We were busy having playdates, going to science classes, parkdays, field trips, etc. I wish I had made his academics a higher priority, but we did have a lot of great experiences and tons of fun.

I don't know your son's particular situation but for third grade I do believe that much can be brought up to speed with a tutor. And I do believe you can learn 1st and 2nd grade math in a few months. If he would still like to try school, I'd try to identify the most serious areas of concern, and concentrate on that. From what I've experienced, in general, reading would be the first priority, writing second, math third.
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#372 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 01:03 AM
 
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Reading and writing are skills needed in life whether or not a child wants to learn them. I would handle this with discussions about how learning these skills will enhance my son's life--now and in the future. My take on it would be, "Look, you have lots of freedom in how you live and learn. This is one thing that you'll have to take my word on."

I don't buy into a child only having to do what he or she wants to do. I respect my son's abilities and areas of challenge, his interests and preferences. But I also expect him to accept that I know a little more about the world than he does and that when I insist on something, there's a good reason for it.
My kids have to do lots of things they don't want to do. We're a family of six, and I can't imagine how it could be any other way, to be honest. But, having to do things one doesn't want to do and having to learn things one doesn't want to - or isn't ready to - learn, are two different things, imo. YMMV.

That said, if it looked as though my child were never going to be interested in reading, I'd push it. But, at that point, I'd probably stop calling myself an unschooler (if I ever had). And, while I know more about the role reading plays in day-to-day life (not sure how much more, honestly - both dd1 and ds2 pay pretty close attention to things, and know how often I navigate through life by using the printed word), I don't know more about what's going on in their heads. DD1 still has some challenges, because of her temperament, but I do think she's now developmentally ready for reading. She wasn't a year ago, and definitely wasn't two years ago, and I can't see how she would have benefited by having been pushed into it.

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I don't abuse that though. Because he has so much freedom in other areas, he accepts that basic skills aren't optional.

And I see that as balance. That's mutual respect. I see our homeschooling as cooperative--and not soley child-centered.
Fair enough. I think the use of "child-centered" in this discussion is fairly close to meaningless, though. All education of children is child-centered, in at least one sense.

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My son doesn't flat out refuse to do skill work. If he did, I guess I could refuse to drive him to one social event after another, spending hours making small talk with my son's friends' moms. If it's all about only doing what we want to do, I'd rather stay home and read!
I guess I don't get this. What does refusing to practice a skill one isn't ready for, or interested in, have to do with driving around to social events? I can't see any way I'd be able to just stay home and read, even if we weren't going places, though.

I think we're all just tackling this whole issue from different angles. I definitely want my kids to learn to read. I just have no reason to think there's any benefit in forcing them to practice said reading when they have no interest in it. I have yet to see a kid who didn't want to read do particularly well at it.

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#373 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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I, for one, have a hard time reconciling the oft given advice to "relax and not worry," in the face of a parent's concern about a learning disability, with the oft repeated assertion that US is actually harder than "school at home (although honestly I have never heard anyone other than unschoolers say this)," and that US parents are engaged in a much more extensive effort to provide a constantly rich, creative, exploratory environment for their children.
Right. Sometimes a little worry is warranted, and a little intervention can make a difference that makes life and learning easier for a child.

Regarding whether USing is harder than school at home, I think it depends on a lot of variables (personalities, learning styles, community offerings). And on what you mean by "harder".

USing is harder for me emotionally, because I worry a lot. It seems that it would be easier for me anxiety-wise to just follow along with a curriculum. Someone else would have already done the work for me. I wouldn't feel as much pressure to be creative. I could just assign pages and give the quizzes in the book and know that I'm following a time-honored method of teaching. The conventional people in my life couldn't blame my wacky educational methods for for any bumps along the way.

But the volume of work required to school at home seems overwhelming to me, and the scheduling/lesson planning would seem like drudgery. Some of the school at home moms I know spend 6-7 hours a day actively homeschooling! And another couple of hours on the weekends doing lesson plans for the next week. I don't think I'm that disciplined or structured. And I know I don't have that much energy. While there'd be less pressure to be creative, there'd be more pressure to get everything done and not get behind. I definitely think that school at home is more "work". I think it would be harder for me mentally (stress! pressure!) and physically (I have a chronic illness and my daily functioning varies).

My son would say that USing/relaxed HSing is easier for him emotionally and mentally (and probably in every other way!) And I agree. With his learning challenges, school at home would be exhausting for him and full of frustration. USing/relaxed methods allow him to focus on his strengths and not spend each day struggling with his weaknesses.

So overall, I think USing is easier. (Yeah, I said it.)

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#374 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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My kids have to do lots of things they don't want to do. We're a family of six, and I can't imagine how it could be any other way, to be honest. But, having to do things one doesn't want to do and having to learn things one doesn't want to - or isn't ready to - learn, are two different things, imo. YMMV.
Yes, and having to do/learn things one doesn't want to and having to do/learn things one isn't ready to are two different things. I have no problem with waiting for developmental readiness. I'm all for it, in fact. I diverge from the USing perspective when the determining factor is whether or not a child wants to learn an important life skill.

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I guess I don't get this. What does refusing to practice a skill one isn't ready for, or interested in, have to do with driving around to social events? I can't see any way I'd be able to just stay home and read, even if we weren't going places, though.
My point is, if my child only has to do what he's interested in or wants to do (and can therefore refuse to do skill work, assuming he's developmentally ready for it), then it follows that I can also only do what I want to do--and spending hours chit-chatting with women I don't know well so that my son can play with their sons is not necessarily something I want to do every week. But I do it for my son out of love and respect for his wishes and needs.

Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do--that's part of living cooperatively. I think we do our children a disservice if we don't require anything of them. They deserve a lot of freedom, yes. But there needs to be balance.

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#375 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 04:46 AM
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I'm very sorry that when I talk about my choices, I am not constantly supporting your choices.

Sometimes people disagree. I believe things you do not believe. You believe things I do not believe. If you don't enjoy the unschooling perspective, we're easy enough to avoid.
I think it is the jabs thrown in at ps'ing more than anything. When I was going to sleep last night, I was thinking about this thread and some unschoolers I 'know'. Dar is someone I can point to and say that I respect her educational decisions with her DD. There is someone else who unschools and I think does a fantastic job. I love the idea of unschooling. It isn't a reality for us, if no reason other than homeschooling is illegal, but DD loves her kindergarten and that is OK too.

Earlier in this thread, someone made some comparison using tadpoles and how the ps'ed kids would get the tadpoles from some educational supply company and wouldn't really know the tadpole cycle. That bugged me. I am sure it is true in some cases but again that is not my DD's reality.

I posted this to fb yesterday: another language mixup. DD was supposed to be in school but I found her and a couple of friends outside. She ran up to me all excited holding dandelion leaves and said that her teacher sent them to get leaves for their schnack. I thought she was joking until she pointed out what I forgot - in Swiss German, schnack = snail and znueni = snack. I was relieved her teacher wasn't feeding her leaves.

Their class has pet snails. The kids were sent out to the yard to scour (not hard here) for snails and each child picked out one for their terrarium. They pick leaves to feed the snails. I don't know how they will be 'done' with the snails but I am sure that it will be handled appropriately.

Right now, DD's kindergarten class is in the forest picking their 'tree friend'. They spend every Friday in the forest learning about nature and the forest for 4 hours. Today is the first day in the forest and they pick their tree friend for the rest of the school year.

What does this have to do with unschooling? Nothing. What happens in DD's ps does not take away from unschooling or another parent's educational choices. There is a lot of criticizing ps'ing here, not necessarily based on reality. It isn't about your choices supporting/not supporting others, it is the over-generalizations and criticisms.
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#376 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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Well, fwiw, I was public schooled, and this has happened to me at least a dozen times in my life. I have an extensive vocabulary, but I learned almost all of it from reading, and I mispronounce the less common words a lot. DH has probably corrected me half a dozen times since I met him...and I was already in my 30s then.

What really jumped out at me from your example is that she was mocked for it. I never have been, but I never took an honours tutorial, either. Is it common for people involved in that kind of thing to mock each other?

It was her tutor that mocked her not the class. She had an awkward manner partly from having spent most of her time with her sister and not that much with other age-peers, and she says she had no context for what other people might or should know (another friend who was Waldorf schooled in Germany but came to uni in scotland had the same problem - no educational context so she could know is what she knew was "normal" or not) and thus she had already corrected people, stated things she knew to others as if THEY should know them and on at least one occasion corrected the tutor. So he went for the jugular when he had his chance. He taught me too, he was kind of a UAV at times. What can i say, college people are people like everyone else, and might be defensive and behave less-than-perfectly like everyone else.

Her manner is personality, not schooling, but it's likely she'd have had those corners knocked off in childhood at school, she found it really tough to face the class afterwards. And in fact if one goes to school one knows the difference between the stuff most people will know and that which you'd have to do a lot of extra-curricular reading to find out, and she just didn't. Her mother maintains, with the PhD as proof, that her daughters success is all down to her own relaxed and non-mainstream approach to their schooling, but both daughters feel she has consistently failed to help them but taken glory for their hard work, and that they have gained their qualifications by the skins on their teeth.

The whole tadpole thing is a bit baffling - are children in school for longer hours in the US? Here they only go 9-3, that leaves really a LOT of time in the daylight for watching frogs grow up. And in fact they don't go to school until they're 5 or so, my DD is 4 and has known about metamorphosis in it's most familiar forms (butterflies, a few other insects, frogs, newts) since she was 3 merely because there's a park with a stream/pond next to her daddy's house and she was interested.... Are BaM (bricks and mortar?) schooled kids in the US in the actual building the whole day? Surely there's lots of time to learn what you are personally interested in outside of school hours? When i was a (BaM schooled) kid i knew MASSES that i wasn't taught in school. All those evenings on my belly in a rock pool age 6 began paying off in biology at 14

Of course i'm not saying unschooling is a bad idea, just that it's not the only way to skin the educational freedom cat (unfortunate image, sorry!).
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Oh and moominmamca, I am really enjoying your posts on what works for your family.
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#378 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 07:31 AM
 
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Here they only go 9-3, that leaves really a LOT of time in the daylight for watching frogs grow up.
That's a pretty American schedule too. My DD goes 8:30 - 2:30. Which is why I'm always confused when people say that kids in school spend "more time with their peers than with adults." In one day I count 6 hours in school, 8 hours with family, and 10 hours sleeping (with family!) Yup, that 6 hours is spent with peers (and adults---lots of teachers!) But it's not "more."
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#379 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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Okay, I'm not picking on you, I swear. But seriously, what continues to convince people that unschooling means not being taught?
Because that is the rhetoric that is spewed a lot. Reading will come when they are ready. They will organically pick up math through day to day life. Etc etc.
This is only true some of the time. I have a feeling a lot of it depends on the family true teaching. I have seen families "teach" with out "teaching" I have a feeling that is what a lot of successful unschoolers have done. That is not that way all people take unschooling though. I do not believe a child living in poverty, spending all day playing video games, is going to spontaneously gain all the skills they need to survive in the world.
This is not to say that unschooling is wrong and always a bad choice. I love Lillian who posts on the board and she seems to have done a wonderful job. I have also read some wonderful books/articles about unschooling success stories. I absolutely think unschooling can be a wonderful and valid choice.
I do not however believe it is for every family/child. I think the problem many of us who have posted in this thread (including the OP) have is the reluctance for unschoolers (in general) to admit that unschooling might not be right for a certain child/family. When a poster comes to this board saying their 8 year old is having trouble reading, they are offered a suggestions from a new curriculum to try, visits to the eye Dr., waiting longer, getting an evaluation from a public school etc. On the unschooling forum the only thing you ever see is "wait it will come". That is just not always true.
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#380 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:12 AM
 
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Reading and writing are skills needed in life whether or not a child wants to learn them. I would handle this with discussions about how learning these skills will enhance my son's life--now and in the future. My take on it would be, "Look, you have lots of freedom in how you live and learn. This is one thing that you'll have to take my word on."

I don't buy into a child only having to do what he or she wants to do. I respect my son's abilities and areas of challenge, his interests and preferences. But I also expect him to accept that I know a little more about the world than he does and that when I insist on something, there's a good reason for it. I don't abuse that though. Because he has so much freedom in other areas, he accepts that basic skills aren't optional.

And I see that as balance. That's mutual respect. I see our homeschooling as cooperative--and not soley child-centered.

My son doesn't flat out refuse to do skill work. If he did, I guess I could refuse to drive him to one social event after another, spending hours making small talk with my son's friends' moms. If it's all about only doing what we want to do, I'd rather stay home and read!
I have many friends that do this type of homeschooling but they don't call it unschooling at all.... eclectic, relaxed, home learner etc...

We don't do "skill" work unless they are the one that want it. I don't talk them into it, or insist on certain "skills" because I do have confidence that they will learn it... I don't see how it can be unschooling when you coerce learning experiences or insist on academic things like reading and writing and math.... I am not saying that it is not good for your family, I am not saying that your children are not happy in it. I just don't think that we are on the same page or have the same ideal.

My family is not child-centered, but their learning is. I do see the difference. There are things that need to be done in the house, there are ways to treat others, there are certain rules that need to be followed... when it comes to what and when they are learning, it is their lead and my role is to help them without taking over. It is my role to expose them to things but I won't insist.

 
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#381 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:16 AM
 
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No they don't. Sorry. And I say this as a parent who has one child in school, and who fully supports that experience. It's not the same.
Your right, I apologize. Unschooling/homeschooling are different. What I meant was the activities unschoolers engage in are not exclusive to unschooling. Homeschoolers and public schoolers do all the same thing unschooled kids do. The follow their intrests, spend hours observing nature, reprogram their computers, build endless Lego buildings, etc. It is not all or nothing like most of what I read about unschooling would lead you to believe.

Just so we are clear I am not anti unschooling. I just do not believe there is a single educational choice that works for every kid/family all of the time.
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I think it is the jabs thrown in at ps'ing more than anything. When I was going to sleep last night, I was thinking about this thread and some unschoolers I 'know'. Dar is someone I can point to and say that I respect her educational decisions with her DD. There is someone else who unschools and I think does a fantastic job. I love the idea of unschooling. It isn't a reality for us, if no reason other than homeschooling is illegal, but DD loves her kindergarten and that is OK too.

Earlier in this thread, someone made some comparison using tadpoles and how the ps'ed kids would get the tadpoles from some educational supply company and wouldn't really know the tadpole cycle. That bugged me. I am sure it is true in some cases but again that is not my DD's reality.

I posted this to fb yesterday: another language mixup. DD was supposed to be in school but I found her and a couple of friends outside. She ran up to me all excited holding dandelion leaves and said that her teacher sent them to get leaves for their schnack. I thought she was joking until she pointed out what I forgot - in Swiss German, schnack = snail and znueni = snack. I was relieved her teacher wasn't feeding her leaves.

Their class has pet snails. The kids were sent out to the yard to scour (not hard here) for snails and each child picked out one for their terrarium. They pick leaves to feed the snails. I don't know how they will be 'done' with the snails but I am sure that it will be handled appropriately.

Right now, DD's kindergarten class is in the forest picking their 'tree friend'. They spend every Friday in the forest learning about nature and the forest for 4 hours. Today is the first day in the forest and they pick their tree friend for the rest of the school year.

What does this have to do with unschooling? Nothing. What happens in DD's ps does not take away from unschooling or another parent's educational choices. There is a lot of criticizing ps'ing here, not necessarily based on reality. It isn't about your choices supporting/not supporting others, it is the over-generalizations and criticisms.
Gently, my local public school doesn't spend 4 hours a week in the forest. That sounds lovely, and if my kids could participate in that part of your curriculum, I'd love it. Around here, the kids spend lots of time sitting in their desks listening to their teacher and performing the tasks she assigns. I believe this is how the vast majority of public schools in the US work. If I don't want that for my kids, there's no way to say so and explain why that isn't at least somewhat critical of public schools.

I'm sure there is someone out there who is going to reply to this with "that's a myth, children in public schools NEVER sit in desks and do assignments." But based on what I know about our public schools, in our area, this is what a child's school day is, predominantly. I'm sure that sometimes the assignments are fun, and I'm not suggesting that school kid's lives are utterly joyless. But there is a significant difference between what my kids do, and what school kids do, and there are some benefits to unschooling.

I'm not saying that unschooling is perfect all the time for everyone, but it seems like there are a fair number of parents with kids in school who can't bear to hear anyone suggest that another option might have any advantages at all over what they've chosen for their child.

Regarding the length of the school day: 6 hours of school is common, but that doesn't include riding the bus to school, playing with friends after school, doing homework, and going to extra-curricular activities. We rarely see the schoolkids in our neighborhood during the week after school starts. They get on the bus at 8:30 and get off again about 3:45, and we live in town, easily close enough to walk to school, in decent weather. I know there are kids in our area who spend a solid hour on the bus morning and night (so 2 hours total). I understand that not all public school kids have days like that, and if I wanted to, I could drive my kids to school to save them the long bus ride, but this is a common part of the school day for many kids, and I think it ought to be acknowledged when you're doing the "how long is a kid in school" math.
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Gently, my local public school doesn't spend 4 hours a week in the forest. That sounds lovely, and if my kids could participate in that part of your curriculum, I'd love it. Around here, the kids spend lots of time sitting in their desks listening to their teacher and performing the tasks she assigns. I believe this is how the vast majority of public schools in the US work. If I don't want that for my kids, there's no way to say so and explain why that isn't at least somewhat critical of public schools.
Yes! That school does sound wonderful. There are schools like that here in the US, but I've never heard of a public school like that (not that there couldn't be any other there, just that IME I have not found or heard of any). My son goes to a waldorf pre-K and it is like that, they spend a significant amount of their time outside every day no matter the weather (and believe me I had to bring enough clothes for all kinds of weather to keep at school so they can do this no matter what it is like outside).

But yes, the vast majority of public schools in the US do spend a lot of time with kids in desks listening to teachers and performing assigned tasks. I grew up in public school that was like that (and I moved quite a bit so I have firsthand experience in quite a few schools in different areas), and from what I can gather from friends with schooled children, there is even more time spent in desks now than when I was in school (more academics pushed in earlier grades, even homework in K, I was just talking to someone a few weeks ago who had to hire a special reading tutor for her K child last year so she could keep up with the class) and far less time outside for recess or even gym class. Many schools have also cut their music and arts program. I don't know about the schools here since we recently moved, but where I lived previously there was only one elementary school (a charter school) that had any kind of music program at all. When I was in school, they all had music programs and kids were either in choir or band from 4th grade on up. Now they spend that time learning more academics (I would assume, since they aren't spending it on longer recess).
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#384 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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I do not however believe it is for every family/child. I think the problem many of us who have posted in this thread (including the OP) have is the reluctance for unschoolers (in general) to admit that unschooling might not be right for a certain child/family. When a poster comes to this board saying their 8 year old is having trouble reading, they are offered a suggestions from a new curriculum to try, visits to the eye Dr., waiting longer, getting an evaluation from a public school etc. On the unschooling forum the only thing you ever see is "wait it will come". That is just not always true.
What unschooling forum are you reading? On the MDC unschooling forum, people recommend a large range of options, absolutely including vision checks, whenever someone posts a concern about an older child not reading.

I'm curious, since you clearly are not considering unschooling for your family, why do you read an unschooling forum? I get the uncomfortable feeling that you read it for the same reasons people watch Maury Povich.
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#385 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:48 AM
 
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Gently, my local public school doesn't spend 4 hours a week in the forest. That sounds lovely, and if my kids could participate in that part of your curriculum, I'd love it. Around here, the kids spend lots of time sitting in their desks listening to their teacher and performing the tasks she assigns. I believe this is how the vast majority of public schools in the US work. If I don't want that for my kids, there's no way to say so and explain why that isn't at least somewhat critical of public schools.
Do you have PTA's in the US? Our local school's PTA is very successful in making sometimes quite sweeping changes to things they don't like (new head teacher, PE replaced with gardening half the time, etc.), but of course one has to find a specific school, and enrol one's kids, to have any leverage, the system won't change in advance of people using it (i can see that is a problem is BaM schooling is very very far from the ideal one is seeking).

Quote:
I'm sure there is someone out there who is going to reply to this with "that's a myth, children in public schools NEVER sit in desks and do assignments." But based on what I know about our public schools, in our area, this is what a child's school day is, predominantly. I'm sure that sometimes the assignments are fun, and I'm not suggesting that school kid's lives are utterly joyless. But there is a significant difference between what my kids do, and what school kids do, and there are some benefits to unschooling.

I'm not saying that unschooling is perfect all the time for everyone, but it seems like there are a fair number of parents with kids in school who can't bear to hear anyone suggest that another option might have any advantages at all over what they've chosen for their child.
But the same is true for the unschoolers - many on BOTH sides seem to be finding it difficult to admit that something they aren't doing might be better in some cases.

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Regarding the length of the school day: 6 hours of school is common, but that doesn't include riding the bus to school, playing with friends after school, doing homework, and going to extra-curricular activities. We rarely see the schoolkids in our neighborhood during the week after school starts. They get on the bus at 8:30 and get off again about 3:45, and we live in town, easily close enough to walk to school, in decent weather. I know there are kids in our area who spend a solid hour on the bus morning and night (so 2 hours total). I understand that not all public school kids have days like that, and if I wanted to, I could drive my kids to school to save them the long bus ride, but this is a common part of the school day for many kids, and I think it ought to be acknowledged when you're doing the "how long is a kid in school" math.
Those are whole other things though - why are playing with friends, homework and extra-curricular activities (of which, btw, i would think watching tadpoles grow IS one) all a given? Every child won't do all of those. And if they DO do them, are they not learning at the same time? I did a lot of MY "unschooling" WHILST playing with friends, doing homework (we were usually given self-led projects to work on at home) and during "extra-curriculars". Some of it i did at school during our free learning times. The bus-ride is kind of moot for us, since we live close enough to walk, there is a walking bus, and the parents who run it time it so there is time to stop and listen to the blackbird if they hear one. But i rode the bus as a kid and we learned songs and sang them (and enjoyed singing them)

It's weird - unschooling to me seems to say "learning is possible and perhaps optimal outside of formal school" but simultaneously doesn't seem to admit that in that case pretty much EVERY child is being unschooled for at least the part of their day they aren't in school.
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#386 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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I'm curious, since you clearly are not considering unschooling for your family, why do you read an unschooling forum? I get the uncomfortable feeling that you read it for the same reasons people watch Maury Povich.
Perhaps she is unschooling herself in more than just the methods she chooses to use? Interest led me here, isn't it what leads most of us to question, explore and debate?
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#387 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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It's weird - unschooling to me seems to say "learning is possible and perhaps optimal outside of formal school" but simultaneously doesn't seem to admit that in that case pretty much EVERY child is being unschooled for at least the part of their day they aren't in school.
I think if you take unschooling to mean the child is not physically in school and spends time pursuing their own interests, then yeah sure all kids are unschooled for at least part of the day when they aren't in school. But I think for most people who choose unschooling, it is more than that. I'm not sure how to explain it honestly. I think I would consider the average schooled child's time out of school more of a period of deschooling than unschooling. Even people who bring their kids completely out of public school talk about a period of deschooling that their kids go through before they really get into an active interest led learning.

I don't really like the term unschooling. For me, life learning is a better descriptor. It is a lifestyle, not just a method of homeschooling. But I can only speak for myself and I know for others it means something different.
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#388 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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But yes, the vast majority of public schools in the US do spend a lot of time with kids in desks listening to teachers and performing assigned tasks.
I don't know about this. That just hasn't been our experience. I have kids in K-5 and they don't sit for long at all. I wish they sat a learned more "lessons". That's just the way I grew up.

I would describe the school as a beehive. You can walk into the classroom and many different kids are doing different things. Some leave the classroom to see other teachers or go to the library, they are doing a science lab, some are on computers, some are getting one on one help from the teacher. It is like this even with the little ones. It's frenetic and exciting. I really commend the school for keeping the wheels turning WITHOUT just having kids in desks all day.

I think it's great that there are so many choices and that people can choose what is right for their family, but I don't think it's valuable to guess what the "other half" is doing.

As my homeschooling sil says she gets so frustrated when a family on a show like Wife Swap as homeschooling, the parents usually appear to do "nothing" and the kids are portrayed as way behind.

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#389 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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I think if you take unschooling to mean the child is not physically in school and spends time pursuing their own interests, then yeah sure all kids are unschooled for at least part of the day when they aren't in school. But I think for most people who choose unschooling, it is more than that. I'm not sure how to explain it honestly. I think I would consider the average schooled child's time out of school more of a period of deschooling than unschooling. Even people who bring their kids completely out of public school talk about a period of deschooling that their kids go through before they really get into an active interest led learning.

I don't really like the term unschooling. For me, life learning is a better descriptor. It is a lifestyle, not just a method of homeschooling. But I can only speak for myself and I know for others it means something different.
But what does deschooling look like and how does it differ from unschooling? Because i WAS formally schooled and i DID learn a whole lot outside of school off my own bat. Deschooling like detoxing? I guess for all the language to make sense you need to already be thinking of school as a malign place where the child suffers?
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#390 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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I would describe the school as a beehive. You can walk into the classroom and many different kids are doing different things. Some leave the classroom to see other teachers or go to the library, they are doing a science lab, some are on computers, some are getting one on one help from the teacher. It is like this even with the little ones. It's frenetic and exciting. I really commend the school for keeping the wheels turning WITHOUT just having kids in desks all day.
That sounds like a great school. My own experience in school was nothing like that. We were in our desks and expected to be quiet for 50 minutes at a time. I don't know what our local PS is like because I decided to homeschool and I have not checked it out. I am not unschooling. But I do make sure our homeschool is not like the school experience I had.

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