Unschoolers, can we talk about initiating? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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First do you or don't you initiate discussions, outings, and activities? Why or why not?

I can't wrap my head around the idea of not initiating these things, whether for the express purposes of a specific interest, education, and/or play/fun or what not. I guess I see myself as a sort of guide, I've been here longer, experienced more, have a broader view on what is available and out there to do, see, and learn. Hanging back and waiting for the child to initiate in every instance would, for me, be false and inauthentic. I consider my children in the lead of their own lives, be it the educational apsect or otherwise, and I am their guide. Sure there are plenty of times they initiate too, we all do, and the choice to participate or not, to choose to initiate something else or not, is there as well.

At 4 and 6 I am constantly introducing them to new ideas, activities, and experiences as well as engaging in their initiated activities such as reading to them, going to the park or schoolyard, answering a zillion questions from my 4 yr old ds ranging from what is x plus y, what does cat start with, how do you spell dinner, what ryhmes with blue, how many hours does day and night last, and dd reading, reading, reading materials from books, games, and websites, assisting her set up art supplies, helping her spell words constantly for books she makes, her penpal letters, and things she does online. Alot of time something they initiate will turn into my initiating something else and vice versa, it just flows and stopping up that flow in any way seems contrary to learning, enjoying, and living in the moment to me. I see a big difference between intiating and overriding their life in an overbearing way.

Guess I'm just looking for some insight into why one wouldn't initiate and how far it goes (as in try not to ever? or just certain facets of education available, ie curriculum) as well as an idea of how typical this is among the unschooling populous here.

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#2 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 10:14 AM
 
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I initiate. I suggest. I strew. I was hesitant to do any of those things for a while because I was exploring "radical unschooling" and looking at sites that promote that view of unschooling as the only way to unschool. And then I realized that that was extreme and inauthentic for me and my family as well.

I think the idea of checking yourself in those areas is to make sure you're not pushing them on your children so that they would feel less than if they didn't do what you initiated, suggested and strewed. But, I tell my friends, husband, family about new ideas, places, foods etc. all of the time. There's no pressure or feeling that I'm in a power position and so therefore I should stifle my natural enthusiasm. That wouldn't feel like a genuine way to live.

On the other hand, those sites also do reccommend strewing--without any kind of agenda or insistance. They espouse being "sparkly" and flooding your home with interesting things, ways, ideas to expose your kids to lots of stuff. Then, the kids will take what they need from it. That does make sense to me.

I think you can go ahead and be excited about life and share that with your kids, and you don't have to worry about whether that's authentically unschooling or not. Go ahead, strew

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#3 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 10:30 AM
 
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Heck yeah I initiate. If we read a book about a certain animal, I say, "Hey, do you want to look up pictures/info on the web?" I say, "Do you want to go to the children's museum?" I say, "Let's make some Halloween decorations!" I say, "Here's a picture of a volcano. Why don't you paint on the lava?" I say, "Let's watch this DVD about bats." I also initiate in more mundane ways, like you talked about. I ask my kids to point out words in the books we are reading. I ask my kids math questions. I "quiz" them on their knowledge of things we have talked about. I ask them why it rains. And etc. My kids enjoy these things. If they didn't, I probably wouldn't do it, but my kids are usually enthusiastic participants in things I suggest and they love to show me what they know.

My kids are younger/new to the country. If I don't introduce them to things, how will they know what a wealth of stuff there is out there? I expect that as they get older and really develop their own interests, I will do less initiating, but I don't think I will ever stop doing it.

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#4 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 11:39 AM
 
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Another initiator here! I love introducing my children to new things. They either run with it or don't and thats where I have to not take it personally.
Many times they WILL get interested in something a year from the time I introduced or tried to initiate something to them.
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#5 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 12:57 PM
 
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I can't imagine not initiating. And, in fact, I don't know any unschoolers who don't initiate - at least to some degree.

For me, it would be completely artificial not to initiate. If I see a cool festival in the newspaper, I'm going to tell Kenzie about it. Or, if I notice that Lowes and Home Depot are offering free kids workshops, I'm going to let him know. Also, if I find a cd I think he'll like, or a book that I think he'd fall in love with, I'll ask him if he wants to give them a try. I do that for everyone in my family.

I often pick things up for him when I'm out alone, too - just like I do for my mother, my husband, my friends....

That said, I'm not a big fan of strewing. It seems a little artificial to me. Why not just say, "Hey, I found this really cool thing I think you'll like." Or, "Wanna put a puzzle together with me later?" Or, "I was reading through this book on mummies and it was so cool - feel like checking it out with me?"

Strewing seems kind of sneaky to me. It's not natural. It's like saying, "I know what's best for you and you don't, so I'm going to try to make sure you follow the path I set for you, and hopefully you won't notice I'm doing it." I know it's not always so underhanded, but it certainly can be. Why not just be more direct about things?

I'm all for having tons of resources available - heck, I own a Yahoo group dedicated to unschooling resources - but I believe kids deserve the same respect we'd show adults. I wouldn't buy a book for my husband and leave it in his bathroom hoping he'd pick it up - unless it was something I knew he didn't really want to read in the first place. And then, why would I buy it for him? Well, I'd only do that if I just knew he needed to read it, whether he liked it or not. It would be because I was sure I knew what was best for him and believed he didn't.

Nah. Too convoluted for me. I'd rather just tell him that I think he'd really enjoy this book, even though he thinks he wouldn't. Or that this book is about X and that I'd really appreciate if he read through it so we could talk about it. Or whatever. It seems a lot more respectful that way.

I'm the same way with Kenzie. Sometimes he falls head over heals for the things I introduce (such as the Wrinkle in Time series recently), and other times he passes them by like pea salad at a buffet. No biggie. I'll keep things around and if he shows interest or if it seems like he reaches a point where he'd enjoy whatever it is more than when I introduced it, I'll bring it out again and ask.

But yeah, I can't imagine not introducing things. That would just be weird.
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#6 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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Oh yes I initiate all those things. I just don't push it on him. I think it would be boring and sad to wait for a child to initiate all things, but to be fair, I don't see that being advocated on the unschooling site. It's radical, to be sure, but I definitely don't see people on there recommending that you never initiate anything.

I don't know if I strew... I definitely bring things into the house that he didn't ask for but so far I haven't felt a need to leave them lying around. Maybe that's more for when children are older or children who are reluctant to take a look at new things for fear you're trying to teach them (such as those who are deschooling)?

I'll also show him things that might be considered as teaching, but so what?
For example, he wanted to know how many tokens he could buy with 7 dollars plus 7 quarters. I know he can figure this out on his own because he's done it before, but he probably didn't feel like counting so he asked me. I told him the answer and then I also showed him how you could do that on the abacus faster than counting using fingers. It was to give him a idea for next time but of course he can ask me again too and I would tell him the answer. But it's natural for me to share things with him, little tricks or interesting ideas and I love it when he shares those things with me.
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#7 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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P.S. He asks me the tokens question a lot because we are not in the U.S. and it's going to be awhile before he can buy those Chuck E. Cheese tokens! So that's another reason I showed him an alternative way of figuring it out.
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#8 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by folkypoet View Post
Strewing seems kind of sneaky to me. It's not natural. It's like saying, "I know what's best for you and you don't, so I'm going to try to make sure you follow the path I set for you, and hopefully you won't notice I'm doing it." I know it's not always so underhanded, but it certainly can be. Why not just be more direct about things?
Oh, I knew I loved you! I totally agree... in fact, here is a link to a blog entry about strewing a couple of years ago.

Offering, sure. That's something I do with everyone I care about, and since I care about my daughter most I probably do it with her most often. I tell her about events that are going on, or bring home stuff I think she'll like, or invite her to be part of the stuff I'm doing.

But no, I don't strew...

Quote:
The idea of "strewing" is a recent addition some people's concept of unschooling. The idea is that a parent acquires interesting items and lays them in the child's path - on a coffeetable, in the car, next to the toilet - and the child will come across these random bits of flotsam, perhaps find them interesting, and perhaps get pulled into the topic. I admit this all sounds sort of like a fairy story to me, and I get a mental image of The Strewfairy, a slightly overweight creature with a long braid, birkies, and bright green wings, who flutters silently through the house leaving pattern blocks and books on empty surfaces. Perhaps this whole concept bothers me because it is so unreal and unnatural. Someone on an email list once wrote, "I don't strew. I share," and that made a whole lot more sense to me.

Strewing disconnects the item from the source - things "magically" appear, they're not given or offered or shared. There's no connection to a real person, even a casual one. I often share things with R, either new things I've acquired because I think she'll enjoy them (like the copy of Benny and Joon I picked up for her at the library book sale today, because she's currently having a major crush on Johnny Depp) or things we've owned for years that seem to fit into her current interests (I often do this with books, and she often asks me for suggestions when she needs something new to read). There's a connection, even if she decides she isn't interested in what I offer. These things have roots, and at very least we learn more about each other. She also sees what meaning these things have to me, and we can discover mutual interests as well as differing ones. I'm less likely to push my own "agenda" when the item is something I personally have strong feelings about, because I can explain my feelings about the thing at the time, and be heard. I can share.
There was more, but that's the gist of it...

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#9 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 05:51 PM
 
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I really, really need to get out the door, but I have to respond quickly while it's on my mind.

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Originally Posted by lauradbg View Post
I initiate. I suggest. I strew.
I initiated, I suggested, I strewed.
And my son reacted and responded, joining in or rejecting as he saw fit. To strew or not to strew is a question of the chemistry at play. If a child has been in school, or if you unfortunately started out trying to duplicate some aspects of school, it's a lot easier dance to just strew things sometimes rather than outright suggesting them - it's like offering them gently without being in their faces. It's pretty hard to be "sneaky" with your children, because they're perfectly capable of seeing through anything and everything you do. They're not going to think the Book Bunny brought that cool new atronomy book from the library and laid it on the end table - and they know you're not going to think they think that. But they have the choice to just ignore it or not without having to respond. I loved strewing, and my son seemed to enjoy the little surprises he found around the house. And when he didn't, he just let them sit there, which actually wasn't often. And there was humor in it and a lightness about it. But at other times, it was perfectly fine to just go ahead and offer them up front - which is actually how it was most of the time. It's all about the chemistry and dynamics at play during any given time, I think. People are complex - I don't think there's any one way things should be done.

By the way, I very quickly looked at that blog, Dar - will go back and actually read it later - and I noticed it said that the idea of strewing was relatively new. I beg to differ. I was doing it in 1990, and even calling it that. I know others were doing it too, but maybe not using a name for it.

Got to run...back later. - Lillian
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#10 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 07:25 PM
 
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I bring stuff up, I share, I comment, I offer. It's just normal for us to do that with people in our lives though. Like if I have a friend that I know or suspect is into Star Wars I might let them know about the new Star Wars exhibit at the science center. Or I might tell a friend who has a child interested in space about a cool book or magazine I saw somewhere. Some art thing at the library, a marionette show, a concert, etc. I do the same for my kids.

I am not a strewer. I might bring things into the house I think my kids might enjoy, but I just tell them about it.

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#11 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 07:32 PM
 
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You know, I look at things this way: I'm going to live MY life too. I mean, I'm an unschooling mother first and foremost, but I have my own interests and desires and I follow them. I'm not going to sit around & wait for life to happen to ME while I let my kids tell me what they're interested in. So, what happens is while I'm busy following my dreams, my kids naturally become involved in whatever I've initiated for myself. And then all sorts of wonderful things happen.

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#12 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 09:08 PM
 
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I always "strew" in the same way, and my kids love it! If I've gone to the library, bookstore, or elswhere without them, and I've picked up something I place the items for them on the couch. We generally all get up and pile onto the couch to read our latest book together in the morning. When my kids race downstairs there's the strewn surprise waiting for them.

They're thrilled that there's something interesting waiting for them. They ask about it. We talk. They usually play/examine/use it right away, but if it's a bust, we just read as we would have anyway.

It's not in anyway sneaky or controlling or manipulative. It's fun, and new and interesting. That's really how my kids see it. And I see it that way too. I get excited knowing that there's this great little surprise waiting for them.

I strew anything I've gotten while they were not with me--there's no academic agenda about it. It's just a nice surprise and a fun way to give them something. I don't strew to try to trick them into becoming interested in something I think is important for them to know. For us, it doesn't work like that at all.

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#13 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 09:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
It's just normal for us to do that with people in our lives though.
That's the thing - it's just normal. A lot of people hear about unschooling and get the idea that it means tiptoeing around as if you're in some sort of mysterious and delicately balanced temple that will fall down in ruins around you if you behave like a normal person. I think unschooling is about being normal - whereas school is not particularly normal. Lillian
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#14 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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I bring stuff up, I share, I comment, I offer. It's just normal for us to do that with people in our lives though. Like if I have a friend that I know or suspect is into Star Wars I might let them know about the new Star Wars exhibit at the science center. Or I might tell a friend who has a child interested in space about a cool book or magazine I saw somewhere. Some art thing at the library, a marionette show, a concert, etc. I do the same for my kids.
Yes! In fact, I just ran out today and got an extra copy of a book I'm reading so that I can give it to a friend when I see her this week. She had seen my copy and said she should probably get one, but I know she won't get around to it - so I'm gonna' strew it right at her! I want to give it to everyone I care about.

In fact, what the heck - I think I'll just strew it here too. I've read all Weil's books, and took one of his workshops years ago - but I think this one is quite remarkable: Spontaneous Healing, by Andrew Weil: How to Discover and Embrace Your Body's Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself

- Lillian
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#15 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 10:03 PM
 
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I think we're talking about different things here. For instance:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian
Yes! In fact, I just ran out today and got an extra copy of a book I'm reading so that I can give it to a friend when I see her this week. She had seen my copy and said she should probably get one, but I know she won't get around to it - so I'm gonna' strew it right at her! I want to give it to everyone I care about.

In fact, what the heck - I think I'll just strew it here too. I've read all Weil's books, and took one of his workshops years ago - but I think this one is quite remarkable: Spontaneous Healing, by Andrew Weil: How to Discover and Embrace Your Body's Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself
versus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Strewing disconnects the item from the source - things "magically" appear, they're not given or offered or shared. There's no connection to a real person....
These two definitions don't jive. I consider what you're talking about, Lillian, to be sharing. I do that all the time. Every unschooler (heck, every parent) I know does this - constantly. It's just part of beling close to people and caring about them and their interests/passions.

But, Dar's quote refers to what I've always thought of as the standard definition of "strewing" (which, of course, is only a few years old). The way I've most often heard the term used does include removing the human element. Things magically appear with no explanation. If, like lauradbg noted, it's a game for the kids - and includes mom/dad in the equation - I don't see it as anything negative.

But, when parents strew because they feel like they have to remove themselves for unschooling to work, or are afraid to influence their children merely by offering/sharing something they think they might enjoy, or when they want their children to pick up a book or map or whatever but know that they wouldn't choose it on their own, unschooling becomes artificial, rather than a natural, organic part of life. I don't see why unschooling families can't just live together and share things with each other naturally. Why bring this artificial element into the mixture?
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#16 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was totally ignorant that there was a percieved difference between strewing and saying hey there's a stack of books about Egypt over there if you wanna look at them and some sewing materials over here that you wanted. Strewing is just scattering I thought, my house is scattered with strewn stuff, nothing sneaky bout it here, lol. Every member of our house has stuff strewn about. Guess we're just messy, lol.

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#17 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post

In fact, what the heck - I think I'll just strew it here too. I've read all Weil's books, and took one of his workshops years ago - but I think this one is quite remarkable: Spontaneous Healing, by Andrew Weil: How to Discover and Embrace Your Body's Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself

- Lillian
My grandma really likes him... and she's 94, so that's a pretty good endorsement.

I don't see that as strewing though, because it's from *you*. There's a connection to a real person - Lillian, whom I've known online for years, has read all of this guy's books and gone to his workshops, and thinks this book is amazing. That's so much more meaningful to me than an anonymous link to the book, or finding it on the table (actually, if I stuck something new on a table and said nothing, chances are fairly good that neither Rain nor I would happen upon it for weeks, because our tables are rather... cluttered )

I don't think of "Hey, there's a surprise for you on the couch!" as strewing, either... I think of it as getting someone a surprise present....

And Lillian, mea culpa... you can be the official First Strewer. The unschoolers I knew when Rain was little just didn't strew, and the first time I read about people doing it was online, maybe 4 or 5 years ago?

And yeah, it is just about being normal... suggesting stuff is normal for me, but strewing isn't. YMMV, I guess.

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#18 of 56 Old 10-17-2006, 11:24 PM
 
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I'm enjoying listening to this conversation. It gets at why I'm reluctant to call us unschoolers....more later if I get a chance...
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#19 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 12:18 AM
 
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I think we're talking about different things here.
You're right - but it's just because I got distracted from the original discussion. I've had a wonderful day and have been feeling kind of blissy and punchy. I was initially referring to what Dar was mentioning before I floated off on that tangent.

Quote:
But, Dar's quote refers to what I've always thought of as the standard definition of "strewing" (which, of course, is only a few years old).
I find that so surprising - I've heard that expressed before, but I know for a fact that it's not new.

Quote:
But, when parents strew because they feel like they have to remove themselves for unschooling to work, or are afraid to influence their children merely by offering/sharing something they think they might enjoy..
I don't know what's going on with this almost religious attitude toward unschooling these days. People make it so much more complicated for themselves than it has to be. It's just so much more normal than that. I can't imagine tiptoeing around my house like that, afraid of committing an unschooling sin... - Lillian
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#20 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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I don't see that as strewing though, because it's from *you*. There's a connection to a real person..
Yeah, I was just being silly. It's not strewing at all. I was just playing with the word.
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#21 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 12:34 AM
 
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i initiate all of the time.

I also bring stuff into the house that suits thier interests. I find the cool stuff that I think goes along with what they are delving into and I make it happen for us to experience. nothing is required but I have yet to find something really cool that my dd (6) does not want to do.

I initiated the typing program last week (I saw a link here). "Hey! I found a typing website on the computer, it is bookmarked under my bookmarks if you want to do it." Of course she did it and can now type very well and this has led into an interest in spelling.


so I initiate again, I have an old speak and spell from when I was a kid (thank god for basements) and I say, "hey, did you notice that this can help with spelling?"

she initiates things with me too, "Hey mom! I found this cool game, wanna play with me" That is how I learned to play mah jongg.

I will admit that some things I have brought into the house have not been interesting at the time, so they get put up in the kids rooms and they can get them whenver they want. Often at some point whatever it is becomes a big hit. in thier own time...that is kinda the unspoken rule around here.
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#22 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 12:56 AM
 
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And Lillian, mea culpa... you can be the official First Strewer. The unschoolers I knew when Rain was little just didn't strew, and the first time I read about people doing it was online, maybe 4 or 5 years ago?
Well, what the heck - I'll accept the title, but I'm sure I wasn't literally the first strewer! It's just that I know it was going on long ago. - Lillian
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#23 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 12:56 AM
 
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I find that so surprising - I've heard that expressed before, but I know for a fact that it's not new.
It may be older, but I was pretty sure that the definition - as it applies to unschooling - was fairly new.... I'll have to look that up.
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I don't know what's going on with this almost religious attitude toward unschooling these days. People make it so much more complicated for themselves than it has to be. It's just so much more normal than that. I can't imagine tiptoeing around my house like that, afraid of committing an unschooling sin... - Lillian
: I've heard from so many people concerned about introducing things to their children, or worried about making some terrible misstep and screwing up their kids forever, or afraid that their beliefs and desires will rub off on the children (heaven forbid!).... I chalk it up to the fact that, once you're able to leave the ideas of school behind, unschooling is easy - so much so that it's hard to believe it could be that simple and joyful. To incorporate unschooling into a nothing's-ever-easy worldview, people have had to come up with various stumbling blocks, even if they're only a fabricated ones.
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#24 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 12:59 AM
 
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It may be older, but I was pretty sure that the definition - as it applies to unschooling - was fairly new.... I'll have to look that up.
Oh, well - maybe it's different in the official unschooling pedagogy, whatever that is...I don't know.


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To incorporate unschooling into a nothing's-ever-easy worldview, people have had to come up with some sort of stumbling block, even if it's only fabricated one.
This has a ring of truth about it. I can't imagine any other reason! I know I'd be a complete failure at fundamentalist unschooling on that level though! Whew... - Lillian
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#25 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 01:01 AM
 
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I know I'd be a complete failure at fundamentalist unschooling on that level though! Whew... - Lillian
You and me both!
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#26 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 02:41 AM
 
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I've always used the term "strewing" to mean "providing a resource or opportunity without implying that I'm in any way invested in whether it's used or not." Because my older two kids are hyper-sensitive to manipulative intent, reading it into situations where it's honestly not there in the slightest, that means that my strewing has to be very casual.

"What's that?" asks a child while I'm unwrapping a post office packet.

"Oh, a book I liked the sound of. I'm going to read it after I finish what I'm reading now."

"What's it about?"

"Oh, it's historical fiction. Viking - Saxon stuff. You might be interested in it some day. Actually it's probably your kind of book. But you can't have it now, 'cause I'm reading it first."

"Okay, tell me when you're done though so that I get it before Erin."

Rather than ....

"What's that?"

"A historical novel set in Viking times. I bought it because I thought that with your interest in Vikings you might like to read it. Take a look and see what you think."

"Nah."

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#27 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 01:27 PM
 
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This is a really helpful discussion. Here's my version of hs...AM posts a question about sight words, I find a resource I think is really cool with games and such. dd1 is bugging me about wanting to read better. I say, I found some games and things for reading. Do you want to do that sometime? She says, Maybe later. I say, okay let me know if you want me to get them.

I live among some wonderful radical unschoolers who probably wouldn't have mentioned it. Just responded when asked a question about a sight word. And they have wonderfully peaceful, engaged families with bright interesting kids doing amazing things.

But I would not feel right about not offering it because my passionate, at times explosive, certainly impatient and perfectionistic kid gets altogether cheesed if she feels like I'm "holding out" on her. She wants *more* books about Egypt, dinosaurs or space for her birthday. And a picture I draw. And something I needle felt. And a telescope.

So I can't imagine *needing* to strew...is this something that comes up at a later age? She's turning 6.

ETA: Y'all should probably know that now when we can't find something out that she wants to know she suggests I check with the "mommies on the computer." That's y'all, ftr.
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#28 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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I'm enjoying listening to this conversation. It gets at why I'm reluctant to call us unschoolers....more later if I get a chance...
I don't use the tern 'unschooler' to define what we do, either. It's just too loaded. I would rather just say homeschoolers, and one can decide what they will from that. If you know us, you might say we were pretty hardcore unschoolers, but when I speak about our lives online, we are often going to museums, classes, learning skills with others etc. It doesn't sound like unschooling, imo. FI, we went to a textile museum with our knitting group. When we got back, I went looking for some historical fiction about young people working in factories in the 1800's. I asked the kid if they wanted me to order fromt he library some of the books I found in an online search, and they did, and I read the books to them. But they didn't suggest it. I also said "I'll bet there's a movie version of this particular book, I think I'll check and order from the library". So I did, and they watched it and once again complained hugely about how movies are never as good as books.

They didn't ask for an extension of the textile museum, and I didn't make them 'extend', but to me, what I did is not technically 'unschooling', although everyone was respected and everyone like my suggestions. Still, unschooling? I don't think so, and it's not the new term 'radical' unschooling, either. To me, suggesting can be a cover-up for forcing, so I would rather leave the unschooling to the pure unschoolers.

Instead of trying to explain, I just say the basic '"we homeschool'. So, blah blah blah, if an irl person wants more info, or is genuine about their questions, I can go from there.

And this strew controversy thing is just odd, imo. I've always put books in the kids bedrooms, or new paints in the art area. I say, "Hey, I picked up some books from Saver's today. Some are in the bathroom, some are in the dinning room, a couple are on the coffee table". What's a better description of 'strewing' than to strew carp all over the house so it's not in one overhwleming pile. I never figured out how strewing could be sneaky? I just don't get that one. What kind of kid thinks new books magically grow on bathroom counters? It's kind of like saying if I left my book on knitting in the bathroom by accident and my kid finds it there while talking a dump, and becomes interested in knitting, I've someone how been dishonest about something?

My kids have some their stuff strewn all over the house right. I don't know what the means, exactly.
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#29 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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It may be older, but I was pretty sure that the definition - as it applies to unschooling - was fairly new.... I'll have to look that up.


: I've heard from so many people concerned about introducing things to their children, or worried about making some terrible misstep and screwing up their kids forever, or afraid that their beliefs and desires will rub off on the children (heaven forbid!).... I chalk it up to the fact that, once you're able to leave the ideas of school behind, unschooling is easy - so much so that it's hard to believe it could be that simple and joyful. To incorporate unschooling into a nothing's-ever-easy worldview, people have had to come up with various stumbling blocks, even if they're only a fabricated ones.
That is *so* true!
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#30 of 56 Old 10-18-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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And this strew controversy thing is just odd, imo. I've always put books in the kids bedrooms, or new paints in the art area. I say, "Hey, I picked up some books from Saver's today. Some are in the bathroom, some are in the dinning room, a couple are on the coffee table". What's a better description of 'strewing' than to strew carp all over the house so it's not in one overhwleming pile. I never figured out how strewing could be sneaky? I just don't get that one. What kind of kid thinks new books magically grow on bathroom counters? It's kind of like saying if I left my book on knitting in the bathroom by accident and my kid finds it there while talking a dump, and becomes interested in knitting, I've someone how been dishonest about something?
Nah - nothing dishonest about that. Our stuff is strewn everywhere, too. It's when a parent chooses what to place here and there based on their own desires/fears/etc. about the child's learning, rather than on the child's interests. The concept of strewing (though I don't think it started out like this) has been a godsend to many parents who aren't actually comfortable with the idea of letting their children choose how to direct their own educations. If Junior isn't interested in geography, but Mom thinks he should be, a map will appear on the wall next to his seat at the table. If Junior doesn't give a flip about U.S. presidents, his placemat one day has magically transformed into one of those placemats that has pictures and dates for each president. If Junior's only interested in reading Goosebumps and Captain Underpants, his dad makes sure to place "real" literature beside the toilet, on the kitchen table, next to his favorite chair.... Etc.

That's when it gets sneaky. I've met more than a few unschoolers who think of strewing as their backup plan for when the kid's interests don't match up to what the parents think they should be. I guess it's just been on my mind, recently, as I've been trying to explain to a few people via emails about why this isn't a good idea.... And it's slow going....

Sigh....

Anyway, if your idea of strewing involves bringing stuff in from the thrift store and spreading it throughout the house so the kids will have fun discovering it, strew away! And then come strew some cool stuff all over my house, too!
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