so what about teaching "the real world" in unschooling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is only one REAL argument that has me wondering about HS - how do you teach the real world?

The other one is about socialization, but that is more of "how to do it question"

 

When I say the "real world". I'm talking about the lessons we all learn in school that sometimes not everyone likes you, sometimes you have to do boring stuff, sometimes you have to finish stuff you don't want to finish, sometimes you get tired, bored, sometimes you have to ...

 

I have a friend in Germany that is a teacher. She spoke with me about HS and about a specific private school style (can't remember name) that uses many HS principles. She and her friend that went to that kind of school and they notice one thing: kids that went through that homeschooling are generally sad people - the world and life is not as cool as they thought or not as cool as it was when they went to school. 

 

any thoughts?

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#2 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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Sometimes your siblings don't like you.

 

Sometimes there are kids at the park who don't want to play with you.

 

Sometimes you have to clean out the litter box.

 

Sometimes you have to wait in line at the grocery store. 

 

Sometimes you have to put in grunt work learning A in order to be able to do B, which you're stoked to master.

 

Sometimes you have to spend 6 hours in the minivan driving to fulfill family obligations.

 

It's called the real world because it's how the real world works. You don't have to contrive experiences. They happen naturally even if you're outisde the walls of a school.

 

As for "sadness" that seems really odd to me. It doesn't jive with my experience. The grown homeschoolers I know are empowered and enthusiastic and out there making the lives they want to live. My own eldest just moved away from home. She's pursuing an intensive orchestral training program and she is thrilled beyond belief. She's loving the independence, the challenge, the world of impassioned and talented peers, the high level of instruction. She's going to be living in a new city in the fall and can't wait to start that adventure either. 

 

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#3 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by happy2 View Post. She and her friend that went to that kind of school and they notice one thing: kids that went through that homeschooling are generally sad people - the world and life is not as cool as they thought or not as cool as it was when they went to school. 


 

My 16yo son said you can either have sad children who turn into happy adults (school), or happy children who turn into sad adults (homeschool). He's homeschooled, by the way, and he's not sad. I don't think he'll be sad in the future, because I don't keep him locked up in his room and he has experienced the real world. He also has a great sense of wit and likes to speak "tongue-in-cheek." winky.gif

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#4 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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Perfectly said, moominmomma.  You don't need contrived experiences to simulate the real world... you just live in the real world.  The question presupposes an assumption that homeschooled kids are sheltered.  And while it's probably true that many homeschoolers consider it's important to shelter their very YOUNG children (like a sapling that needs support until it's strong enough to stand on its own), once they're old enough, they're out there with us in the REAL real world, not the artificial world of the schools.

 

Homeschooled teens can get part-time jobs just like public school kids, and I think most kids will tell you that they learned a whole lot more about the 'real world' from their jobs than they ever did in school.  And here's another tidbit as food for thought. Talk to any employer, and talk to any university professor, about how ready most kids they see are for the 'real world'.  Let them tell you about kids' high sense of self-entitlement, poor work ethic, attitude problems, inability to think for themselves with a need for everything spelled out and spoon-fed, etc etc.  They'll tell you quite clearly that whatever experiences they're getting in schools, they're not about the 'real world'! 

 

 


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#5 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 03:36 PM
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I'm curious about this school that uses "homeschool principles", because in my experience there are very few universal homeschool principles, exccept maybe "don't go to school".... which wouldn't apply.

As for the rest - most homeschoolers spend a lot of time in the "real world" - and I don't see school as a good representation of the real world, really.

My grown homeschooler is a happy person... she just got back home after a month as a camp counselor (and goes back for the second session in a week). It was a tough job but she did well, worked hard, enjoyed at least parts of it, has great stories, made some good friends (she's going to a party tonight with some of the other counselors)... for her, the world really is a very cool place. (And she is really a cool person, and I'm so glad that the new people she meets generally seem to think so too. smile.gif)

 
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#6 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happy2 View Post

There is only one REAL argument that has me wondering about HS - how do you teach the real world?

The other one is about socialization, but that is more of "how to do it question"

 

When I say the "real world". I'm talking about the lessons we all learn in school that sometimes not everyone likes you, sometimes you have to do boring stuff, sometimes you have to finish stuff you don't want to finish, sometimes you get tired, bored, sometimes you have to ...

 

I have a friend in Germany that is a teacher. She spoke with me about HS and about a specific private school style (can't remember name) that uses many HS principles. She and her friend that went to that kind of school and they notice one thing: kids that went through that homeschooling are generally sad people - the world and life is not as cool as they thought or not as cool as it was when they went to school. 

 

any thoughts?



Isn't homeschooling illegal in Germany?  So how is it possible for her to know any homeschoolers?  (assuming these homeschoolers grew up and live in Germany)

 

What are homeschool principles?

 

Those sad people that went through that program weren't homeschooled if they went to a school everyday.  It sounds more like they were in some sad alternative school. 

 

It doesn't sound like they were homeschooled at all.  I don't really understand the situation.

 

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#7 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happy2 View Post

 

I have a friend in Germany that is a teacher. She spoke with me about HS and about a specific private school style (can't remember name) that uses many HS principles. She and her friend that went to that kind of school and they notice one thing: kids that went through that homeschooling are generally sad people - the world and life is not as cool as they thought or not as cool as it was when they went to school. 

 

any thoughts?

 

Since homeschooling is illegal in Germany, I wonder what kind of experiences with homeschoolers your friend (who is a teacher!) might actually have.

 

OR, are you talking about people who went through a school that uses homeschooling principles (Sudbury?) and not those who actually were homeschooled? I'm not sure how this relates to homeschooling at all.
 

 


My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#8 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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OR, are you talking about people who went through a school that uses homeschooling principles (Sudbury?) and not those who actually were homeschooled? I'm not sure how this relates to homeschooling at all.

 

That's what I'm guessing. And of course that's very different! There are some similarities to unschooling in terms of who motivates the direction and pace of learning and perhaps in the consensual rather than top-down rule-making, but those children are still *out* of the flow of real life, in a contrived pseudo-community of supposed peers. Their lives are still separated in time and location into "learning" and "living." Their parents are uninvolved in their day-time activities, passions, pursuits, conversations and so on. 

 

I'm pretty sure that at least three of my four kids, who love unschooling, would run screaming from a Sudbury style school. They are very different. I don't think you can draw conclusions about one from what you've see in another.
 

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#9 of 29 Old 06-29-2011, 09:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Sometimes your siblings don't like you.

 

Sometimes there are kids at the park who don't want to play with you.

 

Sometimes you have to clean out the litter box.

 

Sometimes you have to wait in line at the grocery store. 

 

Sometimes you have to put in grunt work learning A in order to be able to do B, which you're stoked to master.

 

Sometimes you have to spend 6 hours in the minivan driving to fulfill family obligations.

 

It's called the real world because it's how the real world works. You don't have to contrive experiences. They happen naturally even if you're outisde the walls of a school.

 


 


I loved this!  I have watched this with my children.  I think unschooling is much closer to "real life" than school. 

 

~Christy

Mama to Ainsley (7/01), Finley (10/06) and Jade (10/06)
 

 


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#10 of 29 Old 06-30-2011, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First off, apologies for being unclear. Yes, the friend was talking about an alternative school. Non the less, your responses were great. I am not as familiar with hs as you ladies are, my baby is 8 months old, but I am starting to look around slowly while I have the passion and energy for research NOW. Hehehe. Un-schooling particularly interests me. It is important for me to teach my kids to follow through, and have a work ethic - and be better at the two than their mom :) is that possible? to teach more than you yourself know/do? - Its obviously impossible to model ;)  

 

In all honesty ladies, the more I think about it, the more I don't need counter arguments for anti- homeschoolers. I just know I want to do it. Plus it will allow me to do all the things I want to do.

 

Thank you all!

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#11 of 29 Old 06-30-2011, 09:17 PM
 
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Hahah, I remember my mom saying that my teenage sister needed "to learn she can't always get what she wants" in the most condescending voice possible. I was like, "Really, Mom? What's going to happen if she doesn't ever learn that? She might accidentally go through life getting what she wants i.e. being successful?" Of course she couldn't give me a good answer. She had only said that because she wanted to be vindictive. (Partially because my sister is a brat, and partially because my mom is the sort of person who can't ever decline requests politely, i.e. if a family member wants something, Mom either has to provide it or has to villanize the family member.) I feel that the idea that kids need to be forced to learn all those vague negative lessons about the "real world" (from school) came from adults who are all bitter and jealous over the idea that that kids might have the audacity to go around being happy.

 

If anything, I think school is more likely to teach distorted versions of those lessons, and we just have to hope the student overcomes it later on. Think back to the last time you did boring stuff. Was it because some authority figure told you to, and you had to worry about your parents inflicting some punishment on you for not obeying? Or was it because you considered your options and decided that was the best course of action for getting what you wanted? Hopefully the latter. That's how I'd prefer my kids to go about their adults lives, but from my experience, school isn't really supportive of that mentality.

 

Plus, I totally have that "the world and life is not as cool as they thought" problem. In my case, I feel it was actually a result of being conventionally schooled. I didn't get to have much say in my education, and looking back, I realize that I put a lot more effort into school than I think was wise. (And to think that I had it so much better than so many others! I was academically talented and was able to get good grades with less effort.) I did it because my parents and others essentially told me things that amounted to, "Put everything about your life that makes you happy on the back burner for 13 years [plus college] and focus on this other boring tedious stuff instead. If you do this, you will then be able to get a fun and exciting job, that pays lots of money for you to use to buy fun and exciting things and experiences! But if you don't do this, you will have a physically painful, boring, low-paying job! I mean, look at [insert pathetic extended family member]." So I trusted them, got good grades, when in debt to go to college, got good grades again, and... I have a physically painful, boring, low-paying job! With zero benefits and zero job security! I can't pay my own bills, and I've almost been fired because I'm not even very good at the one job that'll hire someone with as few job skills as me. So, yeah, I feel a little betrayed. I sacrificed 13 years of my life for this? That's why I'm so drawn to unschooling (and democratic schools and relaxed homeschooling to a lesser extent): I figure there's no sure-fire way to make sure your kids are prepared to obtain whatever careers will make them happy, so you might as well at least let them enjoy their childhood.

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#12 of 29 Old 06-30-2011, 10:41 PM
 
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There is not much that is taught in regular schools that applies to life or is taught in an effective way. I don't know that I am an unschooler...maybe I am. I cover math and phonics and spelling and handwriting. I cover more when they are older. But I am child led. But...oh..I am saying but a lot, LOL

 

Sorry about your troubles at work! I have spent a lot of time on why not to go in to debt, finding funding for college, budgeting, etc.

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#13 of 29 Old 07-01-2011, 05:22 AM
 
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I wonder if this article is relevant to this discussion:

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/8555/1/ 

 

It's about how the good-job, participation-trophy environment of raising children these days may be causing them to think something's wrong when they grow up and it stops.

 

Perhaps your friend's alternative school provides a situation where almost all of the child's choices are praised or never criticized, or they never experience working hard, missing the goal, and keeping on with the work anyway.

 

I have always thought home schooling offered much more opportunity to learn to cope with the ups and downs of long term goals.

 

As to "not all people like you," they are socially immersed.

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#14 of 29 Old 07-01-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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I think it is incredibly easy for hs children to get real world experiences because they are in the real world. They interact with people of all ages- not just people their own age or a contrived situation.

My dd is well aware that we have to do things we don't enjoy and don't get everything we want without ever being in a school.

 

I do think that there could be a concern about teaching your child to work with deadlines, set schedules  or within someone else's rules if they are never in that situation. That might be resolved by simply having a stricter schedule yourself, deadlines for projects or putting your child in a class or something. Not impossible to do as a homeschooler.

 

A schooled child might be learning that you only do things because you have to or because there is a grade/trophy/reward offered. They might never learn that it is fine to do something just for the sake of learning.

 

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Originally Posted by happy2 View Post

There is only one REAL argument that has me wondering about HS - how do you teach the real world?

The other one is about socialization, but that is more of "how to do it question"

 

When I say the "real world". I'm talking about the lessons we all learn in school that sometimes not everyone likes you, sometimes you have to do boring stuff, sometimes you have to finish stuff you don't want to finish, sometimes you get tired, bored, sometimes you have to ...

 


This makes no sense to me. If these things are the "real world", then why would we have to teach them at all? My kids know that not everyone will like them, because they play with other kids, and they have squabbles and personality conflicts. My kids know they sometimes have to do boring stuff, because they have to do things at home that are boring. Sometimes, they get tired. Sometimes, they're bored. Sometimes, they have to wait for things (ds2 finds this especially difficult). These things happen in the real world, and that's where we live.


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#16 of 29 Old 07-01-2011, 02:39 PM
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This makes no sense to me. If these things are the "real world", then why would we have to teach them at all? My kids know that not everyone will like them, because they play with other kids, and they have squabbles and personality conflicts. My kids know they sometimes have to do boring stuff, because they have to do things at home that are boring. Sometimes, they get tired. Sometimes, they're bored. Sometimes, they have to wait for things (ds2 finds this especially difficult). These things happen in the real world, and that's where we live.

 

Yup. School is the furthest thing from the real world that I can think of.
 

 

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#17 of 29 Old 07-01-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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My grown son has said that he had an idyllic childhood - but that isn't something that made him sad about the rest of the world at all. It simply gave him the benefit of being able to grow up healthy and happy. He didn't grow up with schoolwork assignments or tests or busy work - he learned about things he was interested in and about things the whole family was interested in. But when he went into college classes, he simply went along with whatever assignments or practices they required - there was nothing complicated in that. And when he later went on to a four year college, that was also easy to march into step with - and he enjoyed the education it offered.

 

He had earlier signed on with AmeriCorps at an age where many kids are heading off to college. and worked for them in a soup kitchen/shelter complex. It was there that he met people who had missed the kinds of advantages he'd had, and he simply resolved to be involved in helping the less fortunate. In his job there, he worked long, arduous hours under a lot of stress - he often had to get up quite early to go out in awful weather conditions to collect food contributions all over the city from the donor businesses. He often had to work at janitorial chores into the night after a long day of cooking, serving, and cleaning, or after a day of doing piles of laundry that were bring brought in all day by the homeless. He saw drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness all around him. It opened his eyes, obviously, and there were times when he was very sad for the people around him there that he'd grown to care so much about - but it never made him a "sad" person. 

That's just one person's example, but I really haven't heard of homeschooled kids having the kind of responses you've been told about. They're IN the "real world" a lot more than kids in school are - school is a world unto itself.  

 

As for relating to people, homeschoolers have lots of opportunities to be with peers and people of all ages - they like some and not others, and they're liked by some and not other. No big deal. It's just life - you don't need to be in school to experience any of that.  Lillian

 

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#18 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your responses!

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Originally Posted by happy2 View Post

First off, apologies for being unclear. Yes, the friend was talking about an alternative school. Non the less, your responses were great. I am not as familiar with hs as you ladies are, my baby is 8 months old, but I am starting to look around slowly while I have the passion and energy for research NOW. Hehehe. Un-schooling particularly interests me. It is important for me to teach my kids to follow through, and have a work ethic - and be better at the two than their mom :) is that possible? to teach more than you yourself know/do? - Its obviously impossible to model ;)  

 

In all honesty ladies, the more I think about it, the more I don't need counter arguments for anti- homeschoolers. I just know I want to do it. Plus it will allow me to do all the things I want to do.

 

Thank you all!



Remember, you are your child's first teacher, no matter how you school.  Schooling doesn't start at some arbitrary age, learning begins at brith (I believe even before).  Learning doesn't not occur inside a particulur building during a prescribed time. Learning happens now. And you CAN show your kids to do better than you think you can.  One of the great things about HS is that you can learn things you never had the opportunity/motivation to learn before. 

BTW, the public school environment is nothing like real life.  And the socialization that occurs is not optimal, or even marginal. 

 

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#21 of 29 Old 07-08-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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As for the rest - most homeschoolers spend a lot of time in the "real world" - and I don't see school as a good representation of the real world, really.
 


THIS! What school represents is NOT what I want for my children. I do NOT want them to sit at a desk working a 9-5 job 5 days a week. I want them to explore and follow their passions and live life to the fullest. My children do not need to learn that sometimes you have to do boring stuff - they learn that mom doesn't mind doing housework because it blesses her family and she ENJOYS taking care of her family. They learn that waiting in line happens because others need the bank/ grocery store too and that they barely notice it because we are chatting. I can not think of a single "boring" thing I HAVE to do.

 

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#22 of 29 Old 07-09-2011, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by miriam View Post

‎"If everyone is constantly learning, and each child's life is his education, why the need for formal education? " - Murray Rothbard,  http://mises.org/daily/222​6

 

This is taken out of context and doesn't mean what it appears to mean here in this thread.

 

From the same article:

 

 

Quote:

"But there is one area of education where direct spontaneity and a few precepts will not suffice. This is the area of formal study, specifically the area of intellectual knowledge. That knowledge beyond the direct area of his daily life involves a far greater exercise of reasoning powers. This knowledge must be imparted by the use of observation and deductive reasoning, and such a body of thought takes a good deal of time to learn. Furthermore, it must be learned systematically, since reasoning proceeds in orderly, logical steps, organizing observation into a body of systematic knowledge.

 

"The child, lacking the observations and the developed reasoning powers, will never learn these subjects by himself alone, as he can other things. He could not observe and deduce them by his own unaided mental powers. He may learn them from the oral explanations of an instructor, or from the written testimony of books, or from a combination of both. The advantage of the book is that it can set forth the subject fully and systematically; the advantage of the teacher is that, in addition to previous knowledge from the book, he knows and deals with the child directly, and can explain the salient or unclear points. Generally, it has been found that a combination of book and teacher is best for formal instruction."

 

 

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#23 of 29 Old 07-09-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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Alfie Kohn has a great book, What Does it Mean to be Well Educated, which addresses the idea that knowledge and formal learning come from people determining that there is a set way that children should and must learn. Children are born learners, observers who can reason, make decisions, reflect and obtain knowledge. Teachers standing at the front of the room lecturing, is one way kids learn but it isn't the way the have to learn. If the idea that children only learn in school lessons that they need to know, then we might as well take them from birth from their parents and put them in school- this way, we ensure they will learn everything they need to learn. Honestly, that is a rather absurd idea, but I have seen it toted before.

 Alfie also talks about the idea of having to do boring stuff to learn to do boring stuff (of insert test taking, or homework). He really nails some of the ridiculous assumptions that are made about education and learning.

 

In our house, the everyday stuff is what keeps life humming- it is necessary, it is part of life and yes, sometimes it isn't fun. I don't find washing the toilet fun, but yes, it needs to get done. Life lessons are learned whether we homeschool or not, since we are a family and as a family, we have obligations to each other, the planet and our neighbors.


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#24 of 29 Old 07-28-2011, 12:12 AM
 
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My husband had the same concern-- how will they learn that life isn't perfect and you don't always get what you want?  That you have to wait and be patient?  Blah, blah, blah.  I had to laugh pretty hard at that one.  I said, look.  We have FOUR KIDS.  Not a ton of $.  Do you seriously think they do not get disappointed?  They are disappointed routinely!  They have to wait all the time! 

 

Trust me, I would love to create that kind of life for them, but it isn't possible.  If I had the chance to create an life for them where they would be fulfilled and get their needs taken care of ASAP?  I would do it in a heatbeat!  Why are people so against this for children anyway? 


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#25 of 29 Old 07-29-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Just to say that I think the "real world" is also quite a shock for kids leaving school, too.  The ones bound for "success" will adjust and be content.  Whether they use the social and academic skills learned in school is a matter of debate, and probably different for each student.  Same with unschoolers. We are just beginning, but I have a feeling that the "real world" will be less of a shock to my kids when they are let loose.  As to how to relate to school kids?  Well, that's just like visiting another region.  I moved in the 5th grade (the middle of) from Spokane to Las Vegas.  Wow! Completely different kids!  It took a lot of adjustment that I was "unprepared" for.  The fact is, nothing can prepare you completely for every encounter.  Thank goodness!  Nothing teaches open mindedness like being slapped in the face with a culture that is completely different from what you grew up with.  You can cower, or you can accept.


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#26 of 29 Old 07-29-2011, 10:28 AM
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We are just beginning, but I have a feeling that the "real world" will be less of a shock to my kids when they are let loose.  As to how to relate to school kids?  Well, that's just like visiting another region.

The "real world" hasn't been a shock to my daughter at all, because she was never "let loose"... she was never held back, and she has been gradually becoming more and more independent, so there really isn't a big shift. Stuff like doing her own laundry and cleaning, handling college classes, working, handling her own bank account, cooking, using public transportation..... at 18 she started handling her own doctor and dentist appointments, because that was when she was legally able to, but nothing else really changed.

And relating to school kids? It's not like there's ever been a period in her life when she wasn't doing this, so for her it was just normal. Some kids go to school and some don't, and she's always had friends and interactions with both groups. Sure, some of their experiences have been different from hers, but everyone's experiences are different - some of her friends had siblings, or dads, or went to church every Sunday, or whatever, and there's never been a need to "adjust".

Maybe the issue is more about how much parents choose to keep their kids separated from the people and responsibilities of the real world. I don't think that's an unschooling thing, though, but rather a parenting choice.

 
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#27 of 29 Old 07-29-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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My grown son has said that he had an idyllic childhood - but that isn't something that made him sad about the rest of the world at all. It simply gave him the benefit of being able to grow up healthy and happy. 


 

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#28 of 29 Old 07-29-2011, 09:36 PM
 
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The "real world" hasn't been a shock to my daughter at all, because she was never "let loose"... she was never held back, and she has been gradually becoming more and more independent, so there really isn't a big shift. 

You're right, I just couldn't find the words for leaving the nest....


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#29 of 29 Old 08-06-2011, 11:08 PM
 
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I agree about the relationship with the "real world" being more about parenting style or choice. Some parents shield their kids from anything that could interfere with their children learning accountability in public school! And some kids' reality is significantly rosier than my kids'...but that doesn't make my world more "real" than theirs. It sounds like a classic "I walked 3 miles to school in the snow...barefoot" sort of argument to me!
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