I am no longer a supporter of unschooling :( (BIG vent, dont read if ur going to be offended) - Page 15 - Mothering Forums

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#421 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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Ok, I think I've pretty much caught up on this thread now .

OP, wow, sounds like such a tough experience! I hope your little one isn't too bruised up by all of it. Having a teacher who is biased against homeschooling must be awful.

I recently re-enrolled my oldest in ps (8th grade) and the secretary asked me to bring in a portfolio of his work; when I did, she took it and said the principal would look it over to place him...then said, "You can tell a lot by these porfolios...some people are good homeschoolers but some people really abuse the privilege."

I loved reading this thread though because the diversity of choices about learning are all brought together really well...I do think that there are pros and cons to any approach and that no one homeschool, ps, or unschool approach is identical to another.

I took my then 8 year old out of public school a year and a summer ago because he was almost a total non reader after homeschooling for K, then doing planned retention and K again in ps, then first grade in ps. The school was pulling him out for a remedial reading class but it wasn't helping, and his self esteem was taking a major, major hit. He's reading Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing this week--he is a real reader now. Learning in a relaxed home environment with less pressure and a schedule matched more to his style, I think was part of it, but it's also possible he just wasn't developmentally ready before.

I guess my point is that it can go both ways...this point was made before on this thread I think...and no approach will work for every family and for every kid. Being flexible about our parenting choices and responsive to our kids' needs, to the extent we are able without violating our ethical principles, seems key.

OP, just curious, what are your plans looking like right now? Next steps? How is your little one handling things?
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#422 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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I wasn't specifically referring to you. I'm just finding this strong undercurrent of "those horrible unschooling families are trying to lead us all into a path that doesn't work for us".
Really? I've found there's a lot of respectful, thoughtful discussion about unschooling including by those who aren't interested in trying it and those who have tried it but don't unschool anymore. Far more respect than is often given to schooling. If the unschooling movement is robust and confident, it can withstand acknowledging where problems have arisen and identification of confusing and contradictory statements and positions without becoming defensive. It's even a beneficial process, if one is open to the idea that recognizing an issue isn't the same as refusing to tolerate something.

For hostility, I could link to posts in Homeschooling and Unschooling that use "fascists" when referring to public schools and make other inflammatory comments.

Schools are the target of on-going, incessant criticism from both within the system and outside. Some of it is justified and some not. Some of it produces positive change - which is a good result. I find the response fascinating when unschooling receives a smidgen of that kind of scrutiny.
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#423 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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Everyone is different and everyone's opinion is different, about everything, to varying degrees. No sense getting the dander up here because there will be no consensus reached, ever. We are all doing what we think is best for our kids.

For the OP - I'm sorry your DD feels bad about what has happened.
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#424 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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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.
LOL, isn't reading about something a good way to learn and understand it?

Even is someone isn't going to try something, they should be applauded if they want to become a little more knowledgeable about it. Sharing information and opinions is a good thing.

I have never understood the kind of cliquish, inward-looking attitude that suggests everyone must "stick to their own kind" and that an interest in how others live is suspicious. It's a real problem with social and political discourse today.
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#425 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Really? I've found there's a lot of respectful, thoughtful discussion about unschooling including by those who aren't interested in trying it and those who have tried it but don't unschool anymore. Far more respect than is often given to schooling. If the unschooling movement is robust and confident, it can withstand acknowledging where problems have arisen and identification of confusing and contradictory statements and positions without becoming defensive. It's even a beneficial process, if one is open to the idea that recognizing an issue isn't the same as refusing to tolerate something.

For hostility, I could link to posts in Homeschooling and Unschooling that use "fascists" when referring to public schools and make other inflammatory comments.

Schools are the target of on-going, incessant criticism from both within the system and outside. Some of it is justified and some not. Some of it produces positive change - which is a good result. I find the response fascinating when unschooling receives a smidgen of that kind of scrutiny.
Most of the comments I'm referring to are of the "those unschoolers led me astray" type. I failed to check my dd1's vision when I should have. My mistake - period. Nobody led me astray. If I end up unschooling and it doesn't work for my family, I'm not going to turn around and say, "well, all those other people told me it would work". It's my responsibility to look at it and evaluate it, not theirs.

Schools are a whole different issue, because they're the dominant educational option, and they frequently have the force of law behind them. If you've never encountered the kind of crap in the school systme that many of us have, that's great. But, my views on the school system weren't formed in a vacuum, and certainly weren't formed by somebody who had never tried it. I don't think the system is fascist, but I do think it's incredibly flawed, and many of the people involved with it are completely unreasonable.

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#426 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
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.
I'm assuming your child isn't considering living as a nomad in Pakistan, but would you be "curious" and "uncomfortable" if he wanted to read Shabanu? Folks like to read about people and lifestyles different from their own. It's one of the ways we learn about the world. Isn't that what unschoolers do?
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#427 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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LOL, isn't reading about something a good way to learn and understand it?

Even is someone isn't going to try something, they should be applauded if they want to become a little more knowledgeable about it. Sharing information and opinions is a good thing.

I have never understood the kind of cliquish, inward-looking attitude that suggests everyone must "stick to their own kind" and that an interest in how others live is suspicious. It's a real problem with social and political discourse today.
I was actually only addressing one person. It makes me uncomfortable that someone would choose to lurk at the unschooling board, and then take the biased impressions she's gathered in that activity and demand that we explain them out of context. I don't mean to suggest that non-unschoolers are unwelcome on the unschooling board. Many people would argue that I am not an unschooler (including me, sometimes).

I do think that it's odd that people are apparently angry that the unschooling board is a place where unschooling is supported and other choices are generally considered to be inferior. If I went to the Montessori board, I'd expect to find proponents of Montessori education, and people for whom Montessori education works well. To expect otherwise seems irrational.
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#428 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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I'm assuming your child isn't considering living as a nomad in Pakistan, but would you be "curious" and "uncomfortable" if he wanted to read Shabanu? Folks like to read about people and lifestyles different from their own. It's one of the ways we learn about the world. Isn't that what unschoolers do?
Shabanu is a novel. A message board is a place to connect with people. I'm aware that lurking is possible, and I try to be careful about what I share there, but nonetheless, I'm uncomfortable with being lurked at, with what seem to be questionable motives.
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#429 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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I was actually only addressing one person. It makes me uncomfortable that someone would choose to lurk at the unschooling board, and then take the biased impressions she's gathered in that activity and demand that we explain them out of context.
This very thread isn't in the unschooling forum, yet here you (and many other USers) are. And no one is complaining about that.

There are plenty of pro-USing threads over in the USing forum. What's wrong with a thread about how it hasn't worked for some families in the general HSing forum? Isn't this the appropriate place to discuss it? If "school at home didn't work for us" is allowed here and in the USing forum, why not "USing didn't work for us"? Perhaps the title of the thread could have been less inflammatory, but the OP made it clear that she needed to vent and that sensitive types need not apply.

Besides, I think the discussion is going well. The only disrespectful comment I've read here recently is yours with the Maury Povich reference.

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#430 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 08:47 PM
 
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Most of the comments I'm referring to are of the "those unschoolers led me astray" type. I failed to check my dd1's vision when I should have. My mistake - period. Nobody led me astray. If I end up unschooling and it doesn't work for my family, I'm not going to turn around and say, "well, all those other people told me it would work". It's my responsibility to look at it and evaluate it, not theirs.
Unschoolers often give the same advice over and over, and part of that advice is to not evaluate, but just wait and trust. For many people (maybe even most people) that advice works out just fine.

But for some people, it doesn't. For some kids unschooling really isn't going to work out for a variety of reasons, including learning disabilities or changes in family circumstances that force them into formal schooling.

My point, and I'm saying this as nicely as I know how, is that unschoolers could really learn from the experiences of former unschoolers and temper their comments to those seeking support. Some times what you are saying isn't going to be true for the person you are talking to.

I'm not angry. I don't want my money back, but I feel strongly that by shooting down the voices of those of us for whom unschooling didn't work out, you are being less that totally honest with others.

I don't hang out on unschooling boards, and very seldom visit the homeschool board. I spend most of my time on the special needs board. But if you value learning from a variety of sources, why not let former unschoolers be one of those sources?

Please tell moms that their child *might* have an undiagnosed LD and giving it more time could just make it harder for the child.

If you are giving advice and support, don't you want to be accurate? And if we never come back and say how things turned out for our kids, how can you be?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#431 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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This very thread isn't in the unschooling forum, yet here you (and many other USers) are. And no one is complaining about that.
The general Homeschool forum is inclusive of Unschooling. Unschooling is homeschooling. The Unschooling subforum is specifically the forum for unschooling support for those who are not seeking debate about it's merits. THIS forum is the one for debate about homeschooling styles. No one has cause for complaint because it is appropriate for unschoolers to post here.

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#432 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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My child was in the public schools from 3 yrs old through 2nd grade. She came out behind national standards. I homeschooled/unschooled her for 5 years. I tried to put her back in to the public schools, but she was sooo far ahead that the school was an academic joke. Ok, it was horrible in many ways, but my daughter scored 99th percentile across the board on standardized testing. SO, I guess we can say, I no longer support the public schools.

Oh wait..I guess I have to support the public schools, through my pocket book, or some judge will take my house from me and send police my way with guns to force me out to take my money to support the God awful yucky nasty public schools.

Why is it that we focus on the one occassional homeschooler/unschooler for whom it did not work, and forget the millions of people in the public schools for which they are learning sex, deviant behaviors, on drugs, committing suicide, graduating illiterate, etc etc etc?
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#433 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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Why is it that we focus on the one occassional homeschooler/unschooler for whom it did not work,
because one of the people for whom it did not work out started a thread so she could vent.

We may be *occassional* but we are real.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#434 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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This very thread isn't in the unschooling forum, yet here you (and many other USers) are. And no one is complaining about that.

There are plenty of pro-USing threads over in the USing forum. What's wrong with a thread about how it hasn't worked for some families in the general HSing forum? Isn't this the appropriate place to discuss it? If "school at home didn't work for us" is allowed here and in the USing forum, why not "USing didn't work for us"? Perhaps the title of the thread could have been less inflammatory, but the OP made it clear that she needed to vent and that sensitive types need not apply.

Besides, I think the discussion is going well. The only disrespectful comment I've read here recently is yours with the Maury Povich reference.
What I'm referring to are the posts discussing posts from the unschooling forum, and either comments about how they aren't sufficiently supportive of other choices, or the comments that say something along the lines of "when I read the unschooling forum, I shudder at the thought of 9 year olds who can't read, etc..." If you were posting there, you might dislike seeing your posts looking for support being drug into this debate.

I'm not referring to the OP at all-- I think her post is completely appropriate and I wish her the best. I don't have a problem with this discussion as a whole, either. I think the ex-unschoolers in particular have some great insight, and I've enjoyed reading their perspective.
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#435 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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What I'm referring to are the posts discussing posts from the unschooling forum, and either comments about how they aren't sufficiently supportive of other choices, or the comments that say something along the lines of "when I read the unschooling forum, I shudder at the thought of 9 year olds who can't read, etc..." If you were posting there, you might dislike seeing your posts looking for support being drug into this debate.
Ah yes, like the one where someone went through someone's back posts in the unschooling support forum just so she could post here her opinion that the unschooler was teaching her child to hide his illiteracy, pass tests through tricks, skirt rules and then begged her to stop teaching her child to "fake it."

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#436 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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Please do not discuss other threads/posts/forums and avoid negative characterizations of unschoolers and public schoolers. Thank you! LAHB forum is for discussion of topics related to homeschooling, but not for a debate between public schooling and homeschooling (of any type).

Public schooling does come in the discussions, but bashing of any person's educational choice is not hosted here.

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#437 of 455 Old 09-17-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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Interesting thread. As an elementary school teacher, and a parent who gave up unschooling unwillingly, I feel a burning need to get my 2 cents in.

OP, third grade is a horrible time for switching from unschooling to school (not blaming you, just saying). Third is a very transitional year. Children do a lot more writing, a lot more independent reading. It's a year where many kids who have been in school all the way through struggle, too.

If you happen to have a choice, sending an older child to school often works better. In theory, they've gotten past all the "learning to learn" years, and are ready to handle the work, the regimentation, and the social scene.

Last year, for personal reasons, I had to go back to my fallback profession of teaching, and put my sons in school. Luckily, they were at "good" ages for the change-- 4.5 and 12. There weren't too many expectations placed on my preK guy, and my older ds tested into the grade above his "age placement." He had been unschooled for 7 years-- so there's a bit more anecdotal evidence that unschoolers aren't always "behind"!

Both boys were academically successful and had social issues-- just like when they weren't in school.

Their school is really good, and we're all happy (I teach there), but, send me a winning lottery ticket, and we'll be unschoolers again in an instant! There's just nothing like it.
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#438 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 10:00 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.

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.
I can handle ungently as long as it is honest.

I agree that some school districts in the US spend most of their time behind a desk. I was educated in a US school district. I also remember going to a farm and getting eggs that we then put in an incubator in school and watching the chick embryos develop. When they hatched and the chicks were big enough, we gave them to a farm to be slaughtered or whatever. The thing is, I grew up in an area that, culturally, was very pro-nature. We moved here from Dallas, which is about as anti-nature as I've ever seen. I can see that the schools there would follow the cultural trends (pro-Christ, pro-spanking, anti-nature) and a lot of things would happen before I'd stick any of my kids in the ps there.

There is a difference between saying, "at my local schools, they tend to spend most of their time behind a desk and I prefer hands-on learning for my child" and "my kid wanted to know what it was like to go to school so I threw some worksheets, told him to sit still and not move until he was done." There is nothing wrong with wanting a particular learning model for your child but there is something wrong with saying that a learning model that does work for a lot of children is horrible and then misrepresenting it.

As for the forest, I think it is a wonderful program but the mom of one of DD's classmates called it a throwback to old Swiss hippies. : Can't please everybody.
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#439 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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I've been reading this thread for a few days and have found it really interesting. I thought I might share my own experiences.

Note: My daughter and I are highly gifted, so that may be coloring my perceptions somewhat.

I started PS (Kindergarten) at almost 6 years old, as I hadn't met the birthday cutoff for starting the year before. My birthday was Oct. 29th and this was back when school started after Labor Day, so I was 6 for most of my K year.

The school I attended was entirely full-day, sit-down instruction -- even in K. We did have five or six 15-20 minute recesses each day. Whether I liked school in any given year depended on whether I got along well socially (which I did at this school) and whether I liked my teacher.

I excelled in school, made straight As, got tons of compliments from teachers, etc. But the fact is, I only learned two things in school: basic phonics and math. As soon as I picked up basic phonics, it was like unlocking a magic door. By the end of my K year (or maybe that summer) I was reading at an 8th grade level. Spelling, grammar, composition, science, social studies, and everything else were useless to me because they were just teaching concepts I already knew inside-out. Almost everything I learned, I learned on my own by reading tons of books and exploring the forests at our rural home.

For the most part, from K through 4th grade, I liked school. I fed off of the praise and had tons of friends who asked me questions about anything and everything they could think of. I was known as "The Brain" and well-liked at that school.

There were some bad points. I had one teacher (1st grade) who was particularly problematic. She complained about my packed lunches to my parents incessantly, because I ate my meat and bread separately instead of as a "proper sandwich" and I brought a thermos of vegetable soup instead of carrot sticks or something "normal". She also yelled at me repeatedly for "lying" when I would finish reading an assignment before she did.

At the beginning of fifth grade, we moved and I went to a new school. That was when everything changed. I had great difficulty making friends and many of my teachers were unkind. Things came to a head in 7th grade when I let someone know that I was an atheist. I was pelted with Bibles (literally -- and had bruises from it!) while a certain teacher looked away. I was given an F in English -- my strongest subject -- because a particular teacher didn't like me. I wore dresses all the time (because I felt they were more comfortable) and was ostracized as a result... also because my "fashion sense" was more adult than pre-teen. Less than halfway through the year, I began attending school once a week, on Friday. I would bring home all of my makeup work, have my parents drop it off on Monday, and basically unschooled myself for the rest of the week. I received perfect grades except from that one English teacher.

Another reason I basically "checked out" of the school system is that the Gifted & Talented pull-out program was cancelled. It was the only part of school I liked.

My mom pulled me out of school before I began 8th grade and I was "homeschooled" from that point onwards. The subject material I was ready for was over my mom's head, so I studied from college textbooks on my own, graded my own papers, etc.

I never did any kind of extracurricular activity at any age and never wanted to. My parents never pushed for it.

I did not attend college but I did make a great living as a freelance writer and editor until I became disabled due to multiple sclerosis.

My husband (also highly gifted) attended preschool starting at age 3 and went to a very well-regarded public school in a very wealthy district. His grades tended to be poor and he was punished harshly for receiving anything less than a B. (For example, he got a C in AP English -- his worst subject -- and was banned from the computer for six months.)

He was required to attend many different extracurricular activities. He especially resents that his mother required him to take music lessons (cello at one point, handbells at another, piano at another) and despite the fact he is an excellent pianist, he refuses to touch a piano because it just reminds him of his anger at his mother forcing the issue.

By the time he turned 18, he was completely burned out on academics. He dropped out of high school with only a few weeks remaining and moved out of state while his parents were at work one day. He worked in a couple of different jobs for about three years then returned to college, burnt out again, dropped out for a year, and went back to finish his final year last spring. He graduates in December, has a great GPA (despite missing most of his classes and skipping several major assignments) and should have no trouble getting a job in his field.

My daughter was "unschooled" at the preschool - Pre-K level and for most of her K year. I taught her basic phonics and some math during the last couple of months of K, but we only spent an hour or so on "school" each day. Like me, once she learned the consonant sounds and short vowel sounds, she picked up reading extremely fast.

Based on my experiences, and those of my husband, we have chosen a relaxed homeschooling approach. DD is working at a wide range of grade levels and we focus on her interests in most subjects. We've stopped teaching Language Arts except for a bit of grammar and composition because she is teaching herself reading, spelling and advanced phonics at a faster pace than I can keep up with. She is 6 years old and reads an average of 12 books a day, mostly at a 2nd - 3rd grade level but her reading level is rapidly increasing and she reads as fluently as she speaks. Her spelling is at a similar level, and she is moving rapidly through an accelerated 2nd grade math program.

I could not, in good conscience, move her into a typical public school system. She has little tolerance for boring or "easy" school work and has penmanship difficulties that we are gently remediating. Nor does she have any desire to attend a public school. If push came to shove and our circumstances changed to the point the only other option was living in a box on the street, I suppose I would put her into school but (thankfully) I can't see that happening.

I will say she is a heck of a lot happier than I or my husband ever was in school, and she's also learning much, much more than we did. But a lot of this, I think, is because there is little available to public school students who are both highly gifted and asynchronous learners. She could skip a grade or two, but then she'd be behind in some areas and ahead in others.

One thing I will say is that I have never seen a public school that had the kind of resources some of you describe. My husband's "excellent" school certainly never had anything like that. It was 100% sit-down-and-learn academics, as were the two schools I attended, both in poor rural areas. I'm not saying they don't exist, simply that I think such schools are probably not the norm.

I also don't think that my own daughter is suited to unschooling, or at least not the radical sort. We are pretty much radical unschoolers when it comes to *parenting* however. (Does that make us radical parents, or what?) She spends as much time as we'll allow playing online games, which I'm fine with -- we are a really geeky gamer family -- but we do require six hours a day of pretty much anything other than gaming or non-educational videos. This is mostly a side effect of where we live, however, which is just a terrible place to raise a child, especially as a SAHM with MS. The heat is overbearing (over 100 degree highs, UV index of 12 or higher) nearly every day for nine months out of the year. I cannot drive and there is no public transit system. We are socially isolated except for relatives because of language barriers and cultural differences (as in, others will not accept us.. not vice-versa).

Depending on how DD chooses to spend her free time once we move to an area with a cooler climate, public transportation, a secular homeschooling group, and actual things to do, we may move to full-blown unschooling. We'll find out soon -- we are moving in late winter or early spring.

TL;DR? My family consists of highly gifted individuals. PS was a terrible experience for both my husband and I. As a result, we have chosen a relaxed homeschooling approach and so far our (6 year old) daughter is at least one year ahead in every subject (except for penmanship) of her expected grade level for age. We feel extracurriculars are just that -- extra -- and will pursue them only if DD expresses interest. She has not, so far, and we're fine with that.

I personally don't think every child is "cut out" for unschooling, but I think some are. I'm certain I would have excelled with that approach but I think my husband would not have. He didn't really develop much motivation until his mid-20s.

--K
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#440 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Lisa1970;15855045
Why is it that we focus on the one occassional homeschooler/unschooler for whom it did not work, and forget the millions of people in the public schools for which they are learning sex, deviant behaviors, on drugs, committing suicide, graduating illiterate, etc etc etc?[/QUOTE]

You cannot honestly believe that public school is the only place "bad apples" come from?

Why is it when the "occassional homeschooler/unschooler for whom it did not work" comes out and tells their story a 22 page long debate ensues and those who are in agreement with the op are treated as terrorists that are trying shake the very foundation of parental choice?

Most of us that posted in this thread still believe homeschooling/unschooling can work. I know 1 family who unschools and the boy (10 now) can read at a college level, his math skills far outweigh any I have seen at his age and hes a social butterfly..HOWEVER that child IS gifted. Not all kids are, some have learning disabilities, some just aren't interested, some even WANT to go to school *shudder*. I really feel it is a disservice to the community at large particularly those parents on the fence about their choices to not give them BOTH sides of the story and let them decide what is right for their own children.

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#441 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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OP, third grade is a horrible time for switching from unschooling to school (not blaming you, just saying). Third is a very transitional year. Children do a lot more writing, a lot more independent reading. It's a year where many kids who have been in school all the way through struggle, too.

If you happen to have a choice, sending an older child to school often works better. In theory, they've gotten past all the "learning to learn" years, and are ready to handle the work, the regimentation, and the social scene.
That was my personal suspicion, that 3rd grade could be a harder time to transition than 5th or 6th or so... I feel like unschooled 8 yos are more asynchronous with regards to basic academic skills. And those are the things that are hard to be in school without. The older kids have the reading and writing skills more mastered so it's just a content issue. They just need to cover whatever content is a prerequisite for their current classes which might not even be all the content covered by all the grades up until then.

Of course, YMMV, yada yada, all kids are different, etc, etc

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#442 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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Remember, hindsight is always 20/20. Today is a new day! Big hugs to you!

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#443 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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Most of the comments I'm referring to are of the "those unschoolers led me astray" type. I failed to check my dd1's vision when I should have. My mistake - period. Nobody led me astray. If I end up unschooling and it doesn't work for my family, I'm not going to turn around and say, "well, all those other people told me it would work". It's my responsibility to look at it and evaluate it, not theirs.
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#444 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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What a long, interesting thread! OP, thanks so much for sharing. Hugs to you and your dd.

I am a long time home/unschooler and after many years immersed in the philosophy and I do believe in so many aspects of it....especially freedom. All my children can be considered late readers, and 3 of 4 have learned so far without being taught. I have 1 child who taught himself quite a bit of math through play. They have learned a ton of history, among other things, through gaming. And they are delightful human beings.

I don't, however, believe in unschooling as it has been presented to me at conferences and online (not so much in my local IRL community), as my family's experience with it led to more chaos and disharmony than when we injected a healthy dose of discipline and direction into our lives. I know that many die-hard unschoolers would say that I never truly understood the concept or was not properly focused on the joy of never-ending Disney Channel, but my kids themselves have expressed some of the disdain I have read in previous posts, about not feeling prepared for things, feeling stupid, etc.

My kids need direction from me, at least my 2 oldest boys seem to. I expressed to them (during our more fervent unschooling years) that they could pursue any interest they wanted and I would help them with any skill they wanted to develop. It was a rarity they would ask for such a thing. They would rather take the easy road and avoid or adapt before applying the effort needed for an end result (not in all cases, but there are definitely areas where they have expressed they wish I would have pushed them more). They wanted the end result but they did not want it to come from them. They wanted me to initiate or require it so that, I believe, the responsibility was on me. Even though unschooling espouses the joy that comes from pure freedom, but neglects to mention the comfort that comes from parental guidance and direction providing a safety net for kids who are a little less motivated.

Our style has morphed into a nice relaxed place, more disciplined but still a very healthy dose of freedom. Less chaos, more harmony, more focus, some goals in mind. Recognizing that Disney Channel is not a "need". Recognizing that my instincts are worth listening to an that my kid's needs are not always what they express outwardly.
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#445 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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Why is it when the "occassional homeschooler/unschooler for whom it did not work" comes out and tells their story a 22 page long debate ensues and those who are in agreement with the op are treated as terrorists that are trying shake the very foundation of parental choice?

Most of us that posted in this thread still believe homeschooling/unschooling can work.
yep.

Why is it that a parent saying "different things work for different kids" such a threat?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#446 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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yep.

Why is it that a parent saying "different things work for different kids" such a threat?
I think the reason there has been so much seeming disagreement on this thread is that those who post here on MDC's unschooling subforum invariably add that caveat. Someone always seems to suggest ruling out vision problems and learning disabilities, as well There's always someone posting that they aren't Radical Unschoolers and here's what works for them.

I don't personally recall the OP ever even posting on the unschooling subforum, not that I have combed through all her past posts. When people post on MDC to complain about the advice unschoolers give, it's easy to assume they mean advice from the MDC subforum and it's natural for MDC unschoolers to want to point out that they don't tend to make such blanket statements as unschooling always works for everyone. Possibly, the OP never even asked for advice from MDC unschoolers and yet has come here to vent. I certainly would never suggest someone unschool if they thought it likely that their child might need to transition to school. So to have someone who hasn't even asked for advice from us (recently, at any rate) come and post that we are full of B.S. and are actually lying (meaning with intent to deceive) is just a little offensive.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#447 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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I think that unschooling can work. . .

But for me? I regret it. I was unschooled from 7th grade on. Seriously, a nightmare. I liked it at the time but when I enrolled in college, I really noticed how much common knowledge I was lacking. Most of my public schooled peers knew SO much more than me. I'm talking basic knowledge, like geography, history, etc. I ended up graduating with a high GPA but I struggled the whole time and felt inferior. I had to over compensate and study all the time. I studied all the time because I had to look up things I never learned; I didn't understand what the text was referencing to. For example, when taking Art appreciation, I had NO concept of the "historical periods" the text was talking about. So while most of my peers focused on studying the actual art, I had to try to figure out what I was suppose to already know.
ps in your area introduced art history eras well enough for people to use the info in art history classes in college? Wow. Heck of a curriculum. My school sure didn't teach that unless you took a specific class. The little I know about romantic vs impressionist vs modern has come entirely from non-textbook sources e.g.fictional characters talking in books, going to the art museum
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#448 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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The general Homeschool forum is inclusive of Unschooling. Unschooling is homeschooling. The Unschooling subforum is specifically the forum for unschooling support for those who are not seeking debate about it's merits. THIS forum is the one for debate about homeschooling styles. No one has cause for complaint because it is appropriate for unschoolers to post here.
Right. And no one has cause for complaint about a thread discussing the downsides or negative personal experiences with USing here because it is appropriate for non-unschoolers and former USers to post here as well.

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#449 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Oh, the funny thing I always ran into on standardized tests was that there weren't enough little squares to write my name anyway. And my childhood name only had 16 letters, first and last.
The teachers always came over and helped the kids with longer names on that part when we did standardized testing as kids.
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#450 of 455 Old 09-18-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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What I'm referring to are the posts discussing posts from the unschooling forum, and either comments about how they aren't sufficiently supportive of other choices, or the comments that say something along the lines of "when I read the unschooling forum, I shudder at the thought of 9 year olds who can't read, etc..." If you were posting there, you might dislike seeing your posts looking for support being drug into this debate.
That makes perfect sense. I gotcha.

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