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Old 05-26-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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UnSchoolMa, that was a very neat story. I don't like to bash schools too much on this site but this is one important reason I enjoy homeschooling and especially unschooling. School isn't just a place kids go from 7 to 3:30 (or whatever time). It seeps into everything. It's so hard for kids to divorce the idea of school from what they live.

And yep, we're listening a lot to Amy Winehouse. Actually, my daughter is liking all the new-ish Brit girl singers. She especially likes This song. She thinks Kate Nash is so beautiful and adores her accent. I think she's pretty cute too

Still lots of packing here. Sigh. Will it end? I know it will but I just feel like we're in moving limbo here.

Nothing new to add except that I love my kid so much. She rocks as a person! But, um, that's not really new is it? LOL
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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School isn't just a place kids go from 7 to 3:30 (or whatever time). It seeps into everything. It's so hard for kids to divorce the idea of school from what they live.
I agree. I see that there are definitely some kids who have a more positive experience than others with it, but yeah, overall spending time with schooled kids has shown us what we don't want.

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And yep, we're listening a lot to Amy Winehouse. Actually, my daughter is liking all the new-ish Brit girl singers. She especially likes This song. She thinks Kate Nash is so beautiful and adores her accent. I think she's pretty cute too
That's such a good song. Dd is liking Lily Allen and Corrine Bailey Rae too.

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Old 05-26-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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I don't like to bash schools too much on this site but this is one important reason I enjoy homeschooling and especially unschooling. School isn't just a place kids go from 7 to 3:30 (or whatever time). It seeps into everything. It's so hard for kids to divorce the idea of school from what they live.

I really agree with you, KaraBoo. And just to elaborate ~ the thoughts I shared in my pp were about why I am thankful to be an unschooling mama and family. Why I am so grateful to have the privilege to choose to avoid the occurrence of seeping philosophies and ideas (that I disagree with) into my children. If I'd not had a good reason to keep my children home from school as an institution, I don't know that I'd ever have seen as much appeal in unschooling as I now do.
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Old 05-26-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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Exactly. And for me, it's not just about the ideas that I disagree with...it's that I feel some of those philosophies and the execution of ideals are dangerous, harmful, destructive, soul and spirit crushing. I am very grateful for the opportunity to live the way we do, to have this experience, this freedom.

Unschoolma, thanks for that tip about Rae! What a beautiful voice she has...just the sort of music I enjoy. Lily Allen, we've been listening to her a lot too. I think she's adorable, in a youthful pop kind of way!
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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Well, yesterday we went to the zoo. There were about 73,000 school kids there. (Just to be clear, I have nothing against school kids themselves.) My youngest seems to follow in his brother's footsteps and is very sensitive to noise and crowds, so we waited for the groups to clear out before seeing some exhibits. I couldn't help but wonder what the poor kid would do if he was in school.

First thing, we stop in the rest rooms and a group of preschoolers were there. The teacher tells them they have to use the bathroom now, "Because if you have to go later, we're not coming back."

Then we saw a group by the cougars. They were also little ones. They were all "oohing" and "ahhhing" over the cats and the teacher was trying to get their attention, "Children, this is a COUGAR. He lives in TROPICAL climates and EATS...." I had to laugh because as she's droning on with the lesson, they were like, "What's his name?" "Can I pet him?"

There was some construction going on there, and in one spot, they had "caution" tape strung up. One group of kids was waiting nearby and the teacher tells them, "Stand right HERE and don't touch anything!" Then she points to the "caution" sign and says, "This says, 'Don't Touch.' (wtf?)

The longer we're away from school, the more crazier that whole scene looks.
Yeah, I can relate on both an unschooling and a public schooling level. I used to teach and have been on seemingly hundreds of field trips. Some were amazing (Point Bonita overnights, beautiful!!), some were like herding sheep as quickly and incident-free through the zoo as possible--not fun. Flipping streesful for the poor kiddos . I have had counterparts who've done that "not going back to the bathroom for you, " crap...sucked.

My kids would rather be anywhere big crowds *weren't*...

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Old 05-27-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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Exactly. And for me, it's not just about the ideas that I disagree with...it's that I feel some of those philosophies and the execution of ideals are dangerous, harmful, destructive, soul and spirit crushing. I am very grateful for the opportunity to live the way we do, to have this experience, this freedom.
A good friend of mine went on a 3 mo long Trek in India this winter, and had the opportunity to talk with some highly spiritual people while she was there. Among other things, they told her that we need to begin making drastic changes in our lifestyle, in order to sustain our planet, life, etc. (I know this isn't new info ) Anyway, I said to her, "This is one of the many reasons we are homeschooling" and she got so excited, and said "Our children don't have time to waste with experiences. like the school system, that takes them away from their true path." I really believe this, if we want to make these changes, we don't have the time for "soul and spirit crushing".


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For both my friend and I, though, the process of knowing who we are and expressing it, was a long, often painful one that required a lot of rebellion.
This is so true for Dh and I as well. I feel like I wasted so much time. I often wonder where I'd be if I (and my parents....and everyone around me) had not been sucked in by the whole culture that school creates, and perpetuates. I'm hopeful that my kids will be able avoid this by not being held hostage by this system.
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So true Earth Angel. So true. What I love is that by unschooling, our children do not have to waste that time listening to what someone else thinks is important, and then attempt to integrate whatever it is that the person in power thinks into their own soul. I mean, it automatically creates a barrier to real learning because they have to either A) integrate the beliefs of someone else into their personal space or B) block out their true self and go on auto pilot to blindly accept that the person in power (the teacher) is the all knowing...the one who knows MORE about what they should be feeling and thinking than they do. Either way it dissolves the self.

Every time I see a school bus drive by it just chokes me up...little kids sitting inside waiting to be taken to that place they go to all day long. All the hours spent with mind numbing tasks. And, to be fair, traditional homeschooling feels the same way to me too, though just in a friendlier & more emotionally healthy environment. I guess that's part of why we unschool is that I am giving the gift of freedom and self knowledge to them. What they do with that gift is up to them, but they will have it.

On a happier note ~ we spent some time putting up a new clothes line for me! I love hanging out laundry and I needed a larger clothes line. The children decided to help to measure & plan...then mixing concrete & pouring...and the finished product is beautiful!

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Old 05-29-2007, 02:04 AM
 
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HI there! I haven't read all the replies here...just too lazy, I guess LOL. I'm planning to get serious about homeschooling my almost 5 year old DD this year. I'm strongly leaning towards unschooling. I really feel it's the "right" way to learn. However, I'm also not a very disciplined or scheduled person. Much of the time, that seems to be a deficit. I worry that I'm not interacting w/ my kids as much as I should. Sigh. I'm a little overwhelmed by the enormous number of choices w/ unschooling. I might try to have a flexible curriculum at first (maybe a charter school online) to help me ease into the whole idea.

Anybody got advice on how to help my DD w/ learning activities? She actually likes some structure (more than I do LOL) and will spend a long time w/ workbooks...though she often uses the lessons in unique ways. DH is very nervous about a complete lack of schedule...so I feel I need to have at least a flexible routine.

My DD has done a lot on her own. I do play word games w/ her and help her w/ any activites she wants to do...though I shamefully admit I don't like to do things w/ a mess to clean up afterward. Sigh. I need to get better about that. Anyway, DD loves to write and count. She's playing w/ making words. She loves to write out a long list of letters and have me pronounce the "word" they make. I do my best...and usually we get a good laugh out of it...the ones w/ a whole string of consonants are the most fun! Sometimes she asks what the word means...usually it's a nonsense word and I tell her that. I used to tell her that the strings of letters weren't "words" unless they were words I recognized. Reading John Holt changed my attitude on that. Now, I treat any group of letters as word, but let DD know if they are nonsense words if she asks. I have no idea how DD's activities compare w/ kids her age in mainstream schooling or other homeschoolers/unschoolers. Right now, we are seriously winging it. I'm kind of afraid to continue to wing it as we do.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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I'm strongly leaning towards unschooling. I really feel it's the "right" way to learn. However, I'm also not a very disciplined or scheduled person.
This made me smile. Not being disciplined or scheduled is probably an asset in unschooling. It's amazing the things you and your kids will end up doing when you don't have an agenda!

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I worry that I'm not interacting w/ my kids as much as I should.
What is it that's making you feel this way? Unless your kids are seeking your attention and you're busy doing other things, I don't really understand. If you're short on ideas for activities, you might try just making a list of interesting things. Brainstorm with your child what might be fun. Your list might include a trip to the zoo, playing a game, playing with clay, puzzles, making a baking soda and vinegar volcano, etc. etc. I'm not suggesting this as a curriculum or a list of things you must do, but you could use it to refer to when you're LOOKING for something to do, kwim? There are a lot of books out there with ideas. A couple of our favorites have been Art for Children by Fenella Brown, and Mudpies Magnets and More.

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I have no idea how DD's activities compare w/ kids her age in mainstream schooling or other homeschoolers/unschoolers.
And the beauty of unschooling is that that's irrelevant.

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Right now, we are seriously winging it. I'm kind of afraid to continue to wing it as we do.
Oh, no. I think that "winging it" is a good way to find your groove. Unlike homeschooling methods, unschooling doesn't have a step-by-step "how to" about it. You've got to feel your own way. Look to your child and what she likes to do, what topics interest her, and build around that, giving her the freedom to take as many or as few of your suggestions as she likes.

When my kids were 4 y/o's they were interested in a lot of creative, imaginary and physical play. "Exploring" whether it was the woods, or the contents of the pantry (to make concoctions) was a big activity too.

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Old 05-29-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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She loves to write out a long list of letters and have me pronounce the "word" they make. I do my best...and usually we get a good laugh out of it...the ones w/ a whole string of consonants are the most fun!
My ds was doing that a little while back (he's a year older than your dd). He doesn't write but did it on the keyboard. He thought it was just hilarious to hear me read his typing! He dictates notes to me for his dad, and sometimes dictates little stories. He has some sight words (I have no clue how many) and has known his letters and sounds for a couple of years.

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Old 05-29-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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It's amazing the things you and your kids will end up doing when you don't have an agenda!

I think that "winging it" is a good way to find your groove. Unlike homeschooling methods, unschooling doesn't have a step-by-step "how to" about it. You've got to feel your own way. Look to your child and what she likes to do, what topics interest her, and build around that, giving her the freedom to take as many or as few of your suggestions as she likes.
ITA

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Old 05-29-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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Thank you all! It's amazing how our culture is so successful in teaching us that schedules are so important...and so is "having something to show for your work." I'll try to lighten up on myself.

I really like the idea of making a list of interesting things to do. Already, I know DD wants to make a bird feeder. I found a pattern on the internet for making a bird feeder out of a soda bottle. Now, I just have to find a soda bottle. LOL.

The reason why I worry about not interacting enough w/ the kiddos is b/c it seems so hard for me to balance the house (DH gets grumpy when the house is messy...and I'm tired of fighting w/ him about how it shouldn't be a big deal if there's clutter and such, if the toys aren't always picked up, and if the laundry's not always caught up, etc) and the needs of both kids. DD is a bit on the high needs end. She was a velcro baby until she was 2yo. DS hasn't been a velcro baby really, but he does get really jealous when I pay attn to only DD. Add to that that my friends do not live close by...and I'm reluctant to pack the kids into the car to go visiting. Plus, I personally prefer a lot of alone time...so sometimes I feel like I've had too much interaction and they want more LOL sigh. Since I grew up totally differently, I constantly question whether I'm doing enough for them...even though it's so much more than I had growing up. I don't want just doing better than I was raised to be my goal. KWIM?
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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We haven't had any rebellion here either. I'm thinking that when kids are in control of their own lives, what is there to rebell against, yk? Of course, it could still happen, but I'm having trouble imagining it.
I have a radical unschooling friend whose kids are teenagers, and they've said exactly that to her -- that there's nothing for them to rebel against. There's nothing trying to prevent them from just being themselves and directing their own lives. No pressure, no judgment, no expectations. She simply surrounds them with respect, compassion, centeredness, and love. And they are very relaxed, thoughtful, caring people. Who could ask for more?

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It is awesome to be in their presence when they feel heard. In fact, in this cultural life of emotional extremes, it is nothing short of divine.


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Anyway, I said to her, "This is one of the many reasons we are homeschooling" and she got so excited, and said "Our children don't have time to waste with experiences. like the school system, that takes them away from their true path." I really believe this, if we want to make these changes, we don't have the time for "soul and spirit crushing". [...] I feel like I wasted so much time. I often wonder where I'd be if I (and my parents....and everyone around me) had not been sucked in by the whole culture that school creates, and perpetuates. I'm hopeful that my kids will be able avoid this by not being held hostage by this system.
I think you speak for a lot of us here... it's amazing to me how many people haven't woken up out of the craziness of our culture's idea of a proper way to a proper life.

I had sort of an epiphany the other day, driving down the road (gotta love those alpha brain waves you get on autopilot ), and I thought to myself, I don't have to have accomplishments or "be somebody" or do something "impressive", to have a valid and enjoyable life. That is not a moral requirement. I don't need it. It is okay to just live, to just be. Maybe more than okay, maybe ideal. Thinking about it, that is, in fact, when the only truly great things do happen, isn't it, because it is the only place that the authentic and natural happens. Who ever created anything great as a school project? Who ever discovered anything amazing as a result of doing their homework? I've been thinking lately about university scholarship. (I've been reading A.S. Byatt's Possession.) And how it seems that the point of this, and the way it's set up, is not to support people in doing great things. Great things do not happen under pressure, judgment, expectation. Great things do not happen under deadlines and with a feeling of duty to please others.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a radical unschooling friend whose kids are teenagers, and they've said exactly that to her -- that there's nothing for them to rebel against. There's nothing trying to prevent them from just being themselves and directing their own lives. No pressure, no judgment, no expectations. She simply surrounds them with respect, compassion, centeredness, and love. And they are very relaxed, thoughtful, caring people. Who could ask for more?
Something interesting about my daughter is that she has the personality to be rebellious...always questioning things, a critical thinker, very passionate about her beliefs. Yet she too has never rebelled. She is 19 now and I think she just never had a reason to rebel. I didn't hold her back and she was able to do the things she felt ready to do. Even if I didn't feel ready myself to let her do them. Anyway, the further along on the unschooling path I get, the more convinced I am that my kids are having the most beautiful life.

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Old 05-29-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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Sigh. I'm a little overwhelmed by the enormous number of choices w/ unschooling. I might try to have a flexible curriculum at first (maybe a charter school online) to help me ease into the whole idea.

Anybody got advice on how to help my DD w/ learning activities? She actually likes some structure (more than I do LOL) and will spend a long time w/ workbooks...though she often uses the lessons in unique ways. DH is very nervous about a complete lack of schedule...so I feel I need to have at least a flexible routine.
There's nothing "anti unschooling" about having curriculum materials available for your child to do at her own pace and in her own way. If she enjoys workbooks, then go ahead and buy them for her to "play with", in addition to learning with her through normal living.

As for the "rebellious teenagers" argument- I think it has more to do with overall parenting style than the specific method of schooling. I'm already starting to see this with my 12yo, who wants to go to school although she knows full well that homeschooling is an option for her. She sees her friends being disrespected and not trusted by their parents, being given arbitrary punishments for disobeying, etc. What my mother calls "normal families" who "have discipline techniques" (implying that I'm not normal and I dont' discipline my kids. grr.) Basically, I see the foundations of adolescent rebellion in a lot of these families, and not in my own, even though DD1 attends school.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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Something interesting about my daughter is that she has the personality to be rebellious...always questioning things, a critical thinker, very passionate about her beliefs.
Heh, heh. Sounds like my dd. She's only 12, but I've thought of her as a teen since she was about 10--she's always gotten on better with kids older than she is. She's also always been strong-willed.

In contrast, my 16 y/o is very laid back and always has been. He's my "easy" child. It wasn't until dd came along that I realized that it was due to his personality and not my stellar parenting skills But I often think of how things would be if I parented dd the way *I* was parented. She and I would would be having MAJOR power struggles and clashes, I'm certain of it. This was an issue when she went to ps Kindergarten, so I've seen glimmers of it.

Ruthla, I can't really separate my parenting from my unschooling, so it's hard to say what makes our relationship work. If I was trying to homeschool her, there would still be many opportunities for rebellion, so it can't just be our choice about learning, but like I said, it's all so intertwined to me.

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Old 05-29-2007, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't really separate my parenting from my unschooling, so it's hard to say what makes our relationship work. If I was trying to homeschool her, there would still be many opportunities for rebellion, so it can't just be our choice about learning, but like I said, it's all so intertwined to me.
Joan, I'm the same way. Unschooling to me is just a natural result of the mothering I've chosen for my children. It's just a continuation of the mothering that began when I first conceived each child.

Today the kids had fun - I vend at a renaissance faire in July and there are lots of preparations the kids love to help with. The kids were playing with some beautiful glass pebbles & weighing them on my postal scale. I was thrilled to see them figuring out how much each little pouch of glass pebbles weighed, and helping me decide what to charge. I think they covered everything from simple algebra to fractions without even realizing it!

This past weekend my kids found some abandoned kittens in a cardboard box behind a store. They've been nursing them back to health with a powdered cat milk mixture I picked up at the vet. It's been so cute to see them do this.

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Old 05-29-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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We had a busy weekend, and finally, one that we got to enjoy with Dh!! He's been working 6 days a week for the last few months, and we had him for 3 days!!!!

We got to go on a nice family hiking trek out to a beautiful lake, the boys climed rocks, and they both went skinny dipping

Next day oldest and I went to a play and Dh and youngest did some daddy son stuff at Dh's job site. The play was fantastic....Ds loved it. It was all with 13-15 yr olds or so, and they were just wonderful!! The play was called "A play about a Dragon", so the subject matter was right up Ds's alley It was a comedy, and the kids really had great comedic timing.

Then the next day, we did some work stuff, then went to one of our favorite ice cream shops, and took our treats to the harbor and watched the boats. Lots of fun!!!

Today we were just home, and Dh went back to work . But home days are always fun too! Tomorrow is homeschool group and a trip to get some seeds. We're going to do some container plants so we can take our plants with us when we move in about a month.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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Add me to any list of moms with passionate Dd's. My Dd is 13.5 and could be described as loving with an extremely passionate set of beliefs. She's definitely not rebellious just to be rebellious, but she'll rebel in a hot second against something unjustly controlling her or some other thing she deems wrong. Some of her fire comes from upbringing, some comes from being a teen girl, and much of it is just who she is. Ds is a critical thinker and situational rebel as well, but his style is more laid back generally.

I shudder to think what would happen if these kids were ever "made" to go to school or forced to follow a curriculum they had no interest in. Oh my!

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Old 05-30-2007, 11:23 AM
 
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HI there! I haven't read all the replies here...just too lazy, I guess LOL. I'm planning to get serious about homeschooling my almost 5 year old DD this year. I'm strongly leaning towards unschooling. I really feel it's the "right" way to learn. However, I'm also not a very disciplined or scheduled person. Much of the time, that seems to be a deficit. I worry that I'm not interacting w/ my kids as much as I should. Sigh. I'm a little overwhelmed by the enormous number of choices w/ unschooling. I might try to have a flexible curriculum at first (maybe a charter school online) to help me ease into the whole idea.

Anybody got advice on how to help my DD w/ learning activities? She actually likes some structure (more than I do LOL) and will spend a long time w/ workbooks...though she often uses the lessons in unique ways. DH is very nervous about a complete lack of schedule...so I feel I need to have at least a flexible routine.

My DD has done a lot on her own. I do play word games w/ her and help her w/ any activites she wants to do...though I shamefully admit I don't like to do things w/ a mess to clean up afterward. Sigh. I need to get better about that. Anyway, DD loves to write and count. She's playing w/ making words. She loves to write out a long list of letters and have me pronounce the "word" they make. I do my best...and usually we get a good laugh out of it...the ones w/ a whole string of consonants are the most fun! Sometimes she asks what the word means...usually it's a nonsense word and I tell her that. I used to tell her that the strings of letters weren't "words" unless they were words I recognized. Reading John Holt changed my attitude on that. Now, I treat any group of letters as word, but let DD know if they are nonsense words if she asks. I have no idea how DD's activities compare w/ kids her age in mainstream schooling or other homeschoolers/unschoolers. Right now, we are seriously winging it. I'm kind of afraid to continue to wing it as we do.
It sounds like you are doing a great job. My dh was worried about lack of schedule too. We started off with some simple unit studies. Then as we went along (and I got pg, lol) we just kind of loosened up. Dh said something about getting back to school work after I had the baby. But I pointed out how much she is learning even without me "teaching" her. I do have workbooks (she loves them). But it's totally up to her when to use them. She asks me to read her the directions for the page. Sometimes she follows them other times she makes up a creative way to do the page.

We also did the made up words thing for a long time dd loved me trying to sound them out. It was great fun.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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Yesterday, I started a log for "learning activities" (of course, when you think about it, what isn't a learning activity?). I was surprised at how much I wrote down! I think it also helped me spend more time w/ DD b/c it focused me on what she was doing and when.

We looked at a book called The Incredible Machine, which is all about the body. DD was fascinated. Then she wanted to look at Grey's Anatomy (one of her favorite books for awhile now LOL). We also looked at a book on pregnancy and birth (which she is fascinated w/ b/c she wants a baby sister LOL). She used letter stencils to make words. She watched an episode of Magic Schoolbus on the idgestive system. And she enthusiastically helped me sort laundry.

It wasn't a terribly atypical day...so I guess we do more than I thought. Woohoo!

I find the idea of less rebellion very ineresting! Both my DD and DS are very strong willed! Hopefully, unschooling combined w/ GD will help the kids feel like they can be heard w/o having to rebel (against us anyway).
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Old 06-01-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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June thread is HERE!
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