Homeschooling & Unschooling vs. Public Schools? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 02-21-2013, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello. :) It's a bit early for me as my son is only 19 months old, but my hubby and I are seriously considering homeschooling him, but we have no idea where to even begin when it comes to gathering information.


What exactly is unschooling? What are the benefits of unschooling or homeschooling vs. public schooling? What's the difference between Waldorf, etc, etc? 


I feel silly asking all these questions, but it seems so overwhelming!


Thanks gals! :)

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#2 of 10 Old 02-21-2013, 11:12 PM
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Not sure about the ins and outs of Waldorf. It seems to have something to do with natural toys and surroundings. I liked that, when my son was young, but had never heard of Waldorf until he was a teen.

Homeschooling is educating your child yourself, instead of sending him to school. It can be done in a variety of ways. You show know the laws of homeschooling where you live, but as long as you meet legal requirements, you are free to choose your method.

Homeschooling methods vary from school at home, with a chalkboard, flag, strict schedule and curriculum, to unschooling, which has little resemblance to school.

Most homeschoolers use what works best for the family and child. Cyber schooling is also an option.

For preschool, I'd recommend lots of play and being read to. Other than that, relax and enjoy.

Public school has variety, too. Charter schools, private schools, magnet schools and your local public school. There are advantages for school, too. I think more are for the parents, but I homeschool, so I'm probably biased.

My advice is to read some homeschooling books. Sandra Dodd has a couple. Become more familiar with the options to make the choice easier.

It's also good to know why you are considering homeschooling, how your spouse feels about it, as well as any family or friends you rely on frequently. It helps to have those who are most in your life supportive of homeschooling, if that's what you choose. Though it is possible to homeschool without the support there.

For US residents, has legal info by state, as well as links to a state site for each state.

Whatever you choose, I wish you well!
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#3 of 10 Old 02-22-2013, 12:58 AM
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re Waldorf, Montessori etc, they tend to have a strong philosophy behind them which means that they will be meeting you and your child with a lot of preconceptions. Now these might be things that you are happy with, of course another word for preconceptions is beliefs. 


Waldorf is really about an awful lot more than natural toys. I think a lot of parents are attracted to it because of its gentleness and its beliefs in delayed academics. But there is a strong, non-negotiable, philosophical undercurrent to it that I would advise all families to look into before signing up. 


Another thing that I think is important is to read a range of books. I think people often find one particular writer who resonates with them and that writer is worth searching for. For me, it was John Holt and later, Grace Llewellyn. Sandra Dodd did not do it for me, for a number of reasons, both philosophically (I really struggle with some of her ideas like strewing, I think applied as she suggests they can be co-ercive-and I don't even identify as an unschooler) and what I've personally seen of how she conducts herself on fora (I've been really shocked, I'll be honest, and it did lead me to a real questioning of the whole unschooling philosophy). But at the end of the day, I think the purpose of good writing here is to get us to reflect on ourselves more than to present new information, if that makes any sense, so if she's what floats your boat then go for it. Dayna Martin is another name I see a lot. Just google, read and think. We all come at this from different perspectives. What works for me about John Holt more than anything is that he is coming at it from a left wing/ socialist, green perspective, he is interested in how unschooling can operate and benefit society, and his writings are rooted in the discourse of the times-Illich, AS Neill, as well as really interesting but lesser known writers like James Herndon and Leila Berg. He wasn't a parent and this is a strength and a weakness: the strenght is that he is coming at this from more of a child's perspective. So he's who I'd recommend, with Grace Llewellyn as his absolute natural sucessor. I also really like the Homeschooling for Excellence writers (the title is kind of tongue in cheek although their kids did end up at Harvard).But more than anything else, you have time, read and listen and if you cna, join a group and talk.

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#4 of 10 Old 02-22-2013, 06:37 AM
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Strewing? I missed that.

When I was starting out in homeschooling, our local bookstore had lots of homeschooling books. I haven't looked in years, so I don't know if it's still true. The advantage to going to a bookstore is reading a section of the book to get an idea if you like it. The disadvantage is that only new or popular books will be on the shelf, and you may not like any of them. There's always searching online for books and websites. You can also try to find homeschoolers in your area, to talk with real moms about their experiences.

Some websites may give info on honeschooling groups. Other ways to find homeschoolers is to go to a homeschool fair (can be overwhelming), or look for moms at the library or bookstore who are there during school hours, or later at night, or have a pile of books, then strike up a conversation.
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#5 of 10 Old 02-22-2013, 05:10 PM
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I was just reading a discussion on the topic here: about whether or not to homeschool when the time comes. I'm so interested in Montessori/Waldorf and was actually homeschooled myself for a few years (from 4th grade through 8th grade). I think there are pros and cons to everything, and really the most you can do right now is just research research research! Homeschooling is nice because you are the teacher and can teach more than what a public or private schools curriculum may be (for example I was taught about computers during a time when they were just starting to be put into classrooms), so it was amazing for me to learn about something that was 'new' and exciting. 

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#6 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 10:27 AM
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I found Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks very helpful at your stage - it isn't just stuff you can buy and use, it also does have things about your child's learning style and different approaches to learning as a family.


Also, Lisa Rivero's Creative Homeschooling book is helpful for understanding styles and ideas too.  

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#7 of 10 Old 03-27-2013, 08:33 PM
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Watch these two videos,They explain alot and also the experiences that the two girls got from being unschooled,along with some comparisons on what differentiates homeschooling,public schooling and unschooling :)    and Hope this helps!

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#8 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mika Elaine View Post

Watch these two videos,They explain alot and also the experiences that the two girls got from being unschooled,along with some comparisons on what differentiates homeschooling,public schooling and unschooling smile.gif    and Hope this helps!

I got the same video for each link. Did I do something wrong, or is it a problem for others, too?
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#9 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 08:38 AM
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MissCee, what are your thoughts now? Still feeling overwhelmed? I hope that's less. You have time to figure it out. For many, homeschooling is a journey, so there's no need to have it all decided by day one of "school".
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#10 of 10 Old 03-30-2013, 04:09 AM
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My mother-in-law, a retired Kindergarten teacher, was very against us homeschooling. Her opinion wasn't going to change our minds, but we wanted her to know we weren't abusing her grandkids. So we looked for a short book that didn't talk badly about public school but also let her know just exactly what and why were were homeschooling. This book was perfect, short and respectful. Though I must say that when I read about all the advantages of homeschooling I couldn't see why anyone would choose otherwise. My bias, of course.


This is my absolute FAVORITE homeschooling/unschooling book. She looks at how folks like Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Agatha Christie, and Teddy Roosevelt were homeschooled. She talks a lot about unschooling but also other educational styles. I don't know if she discusses Waldorf, but she does talk about Montessori a lot. Also a respectful book that delves into WHY these folks turned out as they did.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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