Why do people homeschool? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-17-2007, 03:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by M_of_M View Post
Ok, but aren't there some things that you can't learn by "living it?". How about some not-so-basic math? Can you really learn all the algebra and geometry by "living it?", or you just don't think that your kids need it and knowing how to fix a leaking toilet is more important for them since this skill will be useful in life?

What if your dc decides that he wants to have a career in a math-related field? Can he really do that if you only expose him/her to things that he/she can "live" in?
Math workbooks are great for that. Same thing they use in schools, and you only have to spend 15 minutes a day on it, not an hour of boring class time. AND that 15 minutes is one-on-one, not fighting for help with 20+ other kids.

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Old 05-17-2007, 03:24 AM
 
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: My kids have been using workbooks and the internet lately to do the math they are interested in/finding a need for. No big deal.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by M_of_M View Post

Does the parent really know all about physics, chemistry, geography, art and everything else to provide a good enough guidance to a child?
This question made me think of all the subjects I DIDN'T take in regular highschool, like physics, art, and calculus even though there was a LOT of calculus on the ACT or SAT or whichever it was. My school didn't even offer it as a subject. There are no "right" subjects that students must learn in order to do well in college. After all, you go to college to study things you enjoy so if you don't know physics you don't take physics in college. OR you can learn physics for the first time in college. 101 classes in college are really basic highschool level stuff anyway.

As for unschooling, that just means that the subject matter and learning style is student's choice. So the studen CAN take classes if they want to learn something that they aren't learning by just living it.

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Old 05-17-2007, 03:55 AM
 
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In fact, education majors tend to come from and remain in the bottom part of those going to college. (This is one huge reason for the push towards "highly qualified" teachers, ie those who have a degree in the subject they'll actually be teaching.)
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Just wanted to point out that I graduated cum laude, thanks. (I'm a high school teacher.)
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Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Right, I'm a teacher; I get that.

But I still don't understand the choice to "unschool" as much as the choice to homeschool.

:

I graduated with highest honors. First in the school of education, and something like ninth out of the entire graduating class. My husband, who teaches, also graduated with honors.

We unschool because it is the only thing that makes sense to us. A school curriculum, regardless of subject, is set up for the masses. Too frequently, it is designed around a standardized test that is also designed for the masses. It is neither developmentally appropriate nor designed to accommodate individual learning styles and interests.

Homeschool curricula are still generally biased, and still represent an unnatural learning sequence.
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:20 AM
 
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Yeah.....thanks for moving this!!!!!
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post

I loved school when I was a child. I was a top student, it was easy for me. But in hindsight, school taught me that I was better than the other children because I was allegedly smarter than they. I'm sort of lucky, because at least I was one of the "smart" ones. I feel horribly sad for the ones who were not. School also taught me to learn just enough to get by, to never push myself that far or that learning was a reward in itself.

This is my experience too. I have been fighting the crap that school taught me for the last 10 years(12 now?!). I learned how to bs my way through essays(write what they want to hear, without even reading the book!!), how to pass classes without even going, how to do the bare minimum, and still get good grades. It all came easy to me in school.

I watched my friend struggle and work hard for her c's, and I never studied or went to class and got a's and b's, I knew from then on there was something really, really wrong there. High school did not prepare me for college either. Not in the least bit. I think that was the biggest shock to me in my life(ok, besides the whole parenting thing ). I have gone to college and dropped out again about 4 times.

I hope to go back for real in 2 years, but I have to prepare myself anyway. I feel like those 13 years in school were a total waste of time.

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Old 05-17-2007, 05:02 AM
 
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Because school sucks. Well, okay, we homeschool because school sucks.This is all just our opinion, of course. If others choose school that is just fine with me.
Hey, that's MY answer!

Yup school sucks. No, really suuuuuuuuuuuux.

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:12 AM
 
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Why do we homeschool? Easy!

Because we're raving lunatics on the fringe of society. Seriously! Ask any of our friends or family...

Actually, I was booted from a few hs communities because we chose to unschool in a democratic school this year.

So, we're really radical...

We make educational decisions, as a family, based on the current needs of our family.

I don't have anything constructive to add to thoughtful pp.

Just wanted to post what most people who personally ask me this question already think...

We're just NUTS!
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:26 AM
 
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Why do people choose to homeschool?
I guess I just don't understand how a child can receive the same amount of information/knowledge at home given by 1 parent as he can get from school with a number of teachers + through interaction/projects done together with a group of other students.

I understand that a parent (who is not a teacher) has enough knowledge to homeschool a young child...but how about older children? Does the parent really know all about physics, chemistry, geography, art and everything else to provide a good enough guidance to a child? So, even through homeschooling the child will have enough skills to go to university and do well there?

I am not planning to start a war here. Just trying to understand the logic behind such a choice (it looks like so many people want to homeschool here but are unable to do so for financial/other reasons).

Also, what is so bad about public/private schools? Sorry, just trying to understand.
My dd is 7 and we made the choice to homeschool because that is how we felt she would learn best.
There are no private schools in our county and only one public school in our town. I don't feel all schools are bad for all kids. It just isn't the best choice for my dd.
I don't know everything in the universe but I am also a very capable learner. I do have a college degree but learned many things outside of school. Dh knows a lot that I don't even if he didn't get a college degree.
I know that I can help my dd learn things even if I do not know them. We learn together. I could also find someone else to help her learn even if we homeschool. There are things like homeschool co-ops or classes a child can take if a subject interests her.

We do plan to expose dd to the same subjects that schools cover so I don't know why her education would be lacking just because we might cover them slightly differently.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 05-17-2007, 09:49 AM
 
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This question made me think of all the subjects I DIDN'T take in regular highschool, like physics, art, and calculus even though there was a LOT of calculus on the ACT or SAT or whichever it was. My school didn't even offer it as a subject.
Nope, no calculus on the SAT or ACT. By the way, they have books for studying for them too (I taught SAT prep). School is not needed for that. In fact, what kids learn in school can actually get in the way of them doing well on standardized tests. Which is another problem. Now that "no child is left behind", they are all spending way too much time learning how to pass a test, and not the subjects that they are there to learn.

I plan to homeschool/unschool my DD. Just have to figure out how to get out of working 40 hrs per week...

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Old 05-17-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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Am I the only person who never learned much from group projects other than the principle of social loafing? You know, one person basically does all the work while most others hang out in the security of the group/herd and contribute virtually nothing? I identify as an introvert so I realize this is a factor. But honestly, group work is highly overrated, IMO. I could learn and accomplish twice as much in the same period of time if no one made me work in a group. Also, and I say this as someone who has a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development (i.e. I've studied a lot about group work methodology), the final product of brainstorming is usually the most stale and "safe" solution rather than the most ingenious one because it requires many diverse individuals to sign off on it. I'm glad that my kids won't be forced to do silly group projects, to be completely honest. That's a homeschool bonus for us, IMO.

I'm sure that everyone else in the thread has mentioned everything else that I would normally type here. I'm sure that someone mentioned that kids never test as well on a surprise test on Monday as they did on that same test they studied for and took on Friday. That was mentioned on the other thread (a David Guterson reference). I'm sure someone has mentioned that impressive input does not produce equally impressive, long-term output. Kids cram; it's a game.

I will say that I learned the most meaningful things in school when I was ignoring the teacher and reading under my desk. I learned the most when I read the "wrong" chapter and skipped through the book to find interesting things, while ignoring lectures. Even in high school, it was clear that many of my teachers were only a few chapters ahead of us and that most lacked deep knowledge in the subject. They were subject generalists but if I asked deeper questions, they would have to get back to me with book titles and such.

Even my AP History teacher had to redirect me with book suggestions for my free time. We didn't have time to go into more depth in African American History and I was asking a lot of questions. He recommended I read, "Native Son" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". I read those for information and pleasure, not for credit. So basically, he did what a homeschool "teacher" would do, which is he redirected me to resources so that I could educate myself. When I was in school, I learned the most when I was reading other things rather than paying attention to the lecture. I know I'm not the only one.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wwisdomskr View Post
Why do we homeschool? Easy!

Because we're raving lunatics on the fringe of society. Seriously! Ask any of our friends or family...
: laughup
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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Thanks Ruthla. Just wanted to say that as odd as it may sound, I do remember most of the stuff from high school. I think it is important for kids to learn all that stuff too so that they can later choose for themselves whether they want to pursue a career based on the things they learned in high school. If they won't learn all those physics, and arts, they might not even know that's something that's of interest to them.

However, as I answered to another poster, remembering my highschool stuff and being smart does not equal being a good teacher. I am a good student but I am not a good teacher.

You have to rethink what "teaching" is. The subjects that you mention above such as physics or art can easily be taken at a community college by a teenager, there are tutors also. A homeschooler doesn't claim to know it all but is very savvy about finding if they need it.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:56 AM
 
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I just love how we always take the bait.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post

I'm not surprised that people don't understand the concept of homeschooling. I didn't understand it myself until I read some books on the subject. Then I went, "Ahhh!! Of course!!" I had been trained my entire childhood to NOT understand it!

I feel very fortunate to have found the light.
Sorry, just had to say that I love this!! So true.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:59 AM
 
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I just love how we always take the bait.
Yes, but isn't it fun?

It seriously makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about this board. It really does. It's making me focus on all the good aspects of homeschooling and that just makes me feel good.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:06 AM
 
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Right, I'm a teacher; I get that.

But I still don't understand the choice to "unschool" as much as the choice to homeschool.
I think unschooling is hard to get for some people until you are already homeschooling and maybe you come up against something that your child is having a hard time with, is being stubborn about etc. The harder you push, the harder they push back. You finally come up with bribes or rewards or even threats to make them "learn" the concept. This is not learning, this is coercion.

Unschooling teaches you to notice how much your child naturally learns if you just get the heck out of the way and let them be. We keep thinking oh I've got to cram this in or this in or they must know that. They WILL get to it. I'm not totally to complete unschooling yet but I have learned so much about it from the posters on this board and it has taught me to be keenly aware of my sons and realize how sharp they are and how quickly they grasp concepts when they don't even realize that is what they are doing.

Now I realize that playing in the dirt in the back yard has all kind of benefits. I was reading on the patio while they were playing the other day and I heard DS 1 explaining to DS 2 all about how to divide out this and that and then put it together to make a whole. He was doing math well above his level and his 3 year old brother was learning to. I even caught him trying to puzzle over negative numbers (that I've never, ever even talked to him about). He said something like "Well you can't have less than zero...or can you."

It is a beautiful thing that sounds crazy on paper because we are so programmed to believe that school is the only way to "learn." I'm quickly learning from my boys that this is absolutely not true and that trusting in them has many, many rewards.

I'm one of the converted and I used to think unschooling and its concepts were completely crazy. Well now you can count me as one of those that is moving into crazy land at a rapid pace and loving it......
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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Sorry I seem to be highjacking this thread. : I just wanted to say that the original poster seems to assume if you are unschooler and decide that you want to work in a math related field you of course would study all the math that you needed at a community college, with a tutor, etc. Unschooling is all about the child leading the way so if she decides she wants to take advanced math her parents would find a way to get here there.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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Yes, but isn't it fun?

It seriously makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about this board. It really does. It's making me focus on all the good aspects of homeschooling and that just makes me feel good.
That's the truth. :

I always come away from these threads realizing how incredibly intellectual hsing/unschooling is. Our kids get the time to *think*, to examine, to ponder, to be exposed to so much. Imagine the time for a reader, fi, to just read. How many of us were stuck in teen culture angst when all we wanted to do was write poetry, read, and think. How helpful was all the gossip, all the preening for boys, all the other *whatever* to our growth as healthy adults? Think 7th and 8th grade...although I try not to.

I get giddy sometimes when I think of the people we see in a week. How my teen and little one are engaged in ideas and activities that include a range of ages and interests-- adults and children alike. It's so balanced...but that's not really the word I mean. Expansive, maybe.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:22 AM
 
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However, as I answered to another poster, remembering my highschool stuff and being smart does not equal being a good teacher. I am a good student but I am not a good teacher.
Haven't read all the replies yet.
I just wanted to say that there is a difference between learning and teaching. I don't want to prepare my kids to be taught. I want them to retain their ability and passion to learn.

It's not hard to find resources and opportunities to help your children learn - even beyond your own knowledge base. Here's an example:
I have a 9 year old son. We've been studying shakespeare as a family because there has been a large community festival here. His knowledge of Shakespeare surpasses what I learned in highschool. We've read and watched biographies, read and watched kid and young adult versions of the various plays, done a timeline of his life and plays, celebrated shakespeare's birthday with friends, delved into the authorship questions, done a listing of the words and phrases that Shakespeare coined and made famous. Yesterday we went to see a production (aimed at highschool kids) of Romeo and Juliet. He's now reading the original play with me. He and his younger siblings have been acting out scenes all morning.
I haven't taught him any of this. It has come about because we have taken advantage of the resources and activities around us, and because he hasn't learned that this stuff 'should be boring' or that he's not supposed to like it or that is a 'highschool' thing.
If you are really interested, spend some time reading this board and some books. You will learn that it's not that hard to faciliate real learning when kids have always been engaged in the learning around them.

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Old 05-17-2007, 11:53 AM
 
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The reason we're homeschooling is because although I may not know everything about everything I know my children better than anyone does right now. I can tailor their education to fit their needs and desires.

When a child goes to school (especially in the older grades) they are given prepackaged information in a prepackaged format. There is no individualization or efforts made to reach different learning styles or wants, needs, interests, etc.

Homeschooling is also not one parent sitting down with one kid and teaching them kindergarten-12th grade. Homeschoolers go to plays, museums, fieldtrips, etc. There are many people involved in their educations for the most part and many viewpoints.

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Old 05-17-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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I just love how we always take the bait.
Me too! :

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Old 05-17-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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Having an education degree isn't exactly isn't exactly a signifier of being a brilliant, burning soul able to perfectly impart knowledge to hungry minds. In fact, education majors tend to come from and remain in the bottom part of those going to college.

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Just wanted to point out that I graduated cum laude, thanks. (I'm a high school teacher.)

I don't think this was meant to insult all teachers. This is a fact that is reported annually in the US Department of Education's "Statistics of Education". I'm sure we all remember a few brilliant teachers in our educational paths, but unfortunately that is the exception, not the rule. (statistically speaking)
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Old 05-17-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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Ok, but aren't there some things that you can't learn by "living it?". How about some not-so-basic math? Can you really learn all the algebra and geometry by "living it?", or you just don't think that your kids need it and knowing how to fix a leaking toilet is more important for them since this skill will be useful in life?

What if your dc decides that he wants to have a career in a math-related field? Can he really do that if you only expose him/her to things that he/she can "live" in?

But if there is something you can't learn by ''living it'', when would you ever need it in real life?





Even more so for math, you can't really ''get it'' by learning stuff by heart or cramming it in. Most mathematicians spend time ''playing around'' with numbers, on paper, in their head, as they go about their day, not just while they're sitting at a desk.

And, as for teachers, don't we learn best how to teach by...teaching?

There are lots of things I only really understood when I finally had to explain it to someone else.

All that is ''living it'' and what I would call natural learning.
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Old 05-17-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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I chose unschooling for my children because I wanted a superior education for them. I want them to know more than their force-fed counterparts. I want them to be happier than their institutionalized neighbors.

I want my children to enjoy their youths and to absolutely love to learn (which is the natural state of human beings, anyone who doesn't love to learn has had it beaten out of them). I do not want their love of learning to be quashed or for them to waste half their day passing notes (as I did) or reading novels on their lap while hiding them from the teachers (again, as I did) because their classmates are learning so much more slowly than they are and they are bored. I want them to experience as much of the world as possible and to find their passions through trying out and doing way more than schooled-children could possibly have time for.

You can get all this without unschooling, using other methods of homeschooling.

Just pointing that out.
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Old 05-17-2007, 01:15 PM
 
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Right, I'm a teacher; I get that.

But I still don't understand the choice to "unschool" as much as the choice to homeschool.
I will preface this by saying that my child is very young (he would have been in Kindergarten this past year). But for us, whenever I've attempted to play the teacher role, I've seen him quickly lose at least some of his enthusiasm. Even when he's chosen things that he wants to learn about, when I present it in neat little packages, he just loses some of that light in his eyes. It's like he realizes that I'm invested in it and he's either humoring me or feeling some obligation to me. OTOH, when he directs his own learning, not only does his exude high levels of enthusiasm, but he's incredibly self-motivated and he learns so much. With unschooling, which looks very haphazard to others, he's learned so much in this past year that he is head and shoulders above most of the K curriculum. One of the most important outcomes of unschooling, for my family, is the development and preservation of an amazing degree of self-motivation. And that quality, in my personal experience, is one of the most important things in the workplace and the thing that so many people lack. Creativity and critical thinking are the other two things that are hard to come by in the workplace, in my personal experience. For us, I see unschooling as strongly developing self-motivation, creativity and critical thinking.
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Old 05-17-2007, 01:42 PM
 
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I am unschooling my boys because I trust them to know how to learn and to want to learn.

I am unschooling them because the most important thing to me is that they grow up confident with spirits unbroken. I have seen that the people who succeed in life are those who have strong, independent and tenacious spirits, not those who have the most book-learning. I have nothing against book-learing, but I do not value it over my sons' sense of autonomy and their confidence.

I know a self-made millionaire who was a "failure" in public school. He was the one in the principal's office all the time, who barely graduated.

My husband is a successful young businessman, now a stockbroker and investor, who was a highschool dropout. He is doing very well in college, by the way, no thanks to his public school incarceration, oops, I mean education.

And me, I have learned so much more useful information on time when I was NOT in school or doing "schoolwork". I have had experience both being schooled at home and attending highschool; but the stuff I learned the most from, that affected me the most, was the unstructured stuff, usually done on my own time. Having math and science forced on me really damaged my self-esteem as a child. And, I love math and science! It was just the format/timing that was not appropriate for me.

So I am giving my children the best education available to them-- the one they build for themselves. My job is simply to give them the keys to the world around them and help their psyches flourish in a nurturing environment.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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Old 05-17-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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I chose unschooling for my children because I wanted a superior education for them. I want them to know more than their force-fed counterparts.
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Originally Posted by RedWine View Post
You can get all this without unschooling, using other methods of homeschooling.

Just pointing that out.
Well, actually, I will agree to disagree here. Though I think that school-at-home is better than institutionalized schooling, I still think that it is a manner of force-feeding an education. I know tons of school-at-homers and they have wonderful, bright children who are sometimes eager to do a project and sometimes it takes them hours and hours and they suffer through it. That is what I'm attempting to alleviate in the lives of my children.

Yeah, agree to disagree.
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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Well, actually, I will agree to disagree here. Though I think that school-at-home is better than institutionalized schooling, I still think that it is a manner of force-feeding an education. I know tons of school-at-homers and they have wonderful, bright children who are sometimes eager to do a project and sometimes it takes them hours and hours and they suffer through it. That is what I'm attempting to alleviate in the lives of my children.

Yeah, agree to disagree.
Can we please not turn this into an unschooling vs schooling debate? We all know homeschoolers who are doing a fantastic job fascilitating their children's education (whether that's unschooling or school at home or somewhere in between) and others who just aren't choosing the same priorities as we might. None of us can judge about whether Family A's way is better than Family B because we just don't have enough information. I don't unschool and I don't force feed my children's education and I find that statement is unnecessarily inflammatory.

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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Old 05-17-2007, 02:34 PM
 
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We believe that children should have the right to learn as an adult would go about learning. The right to decide the area(s) of interest, to decide when to start exploring a new thing or deepen some prior learning experience, to decide which resources to use, and to decide when they'd like to change things up and move on to something else are rights afforded to adults generally without question.
I'll add to that that along with it being their right, it's also simply the very best way to learn -- when you're self-motivated, passionate, and interested, learning is far more efficient, far more relevant, far more empowering and confidence-growing, and you retain far more than you would otherwise. (I'm sure this is going to raise some ire from those who feel happiest controlling their children's learning, but) it is a vastly superior method of learning compared to the traditional coercive and authority-directed methods. And that is why our children don't go to school, and why we don't do school at home.

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Am I the only person who never learned much from group projects other than the principle of social loafing? You know, one person basically does all the work while most others hang out in the security of the group/herd and contribute virtually nothing? I identify as an introvert so I realize this is a factor. But honestly, group work is highly overrated, IMO. I could learn and accomplish twice as much in the same period of time if no one made me work in a group. Also, and I say this as someone who has a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development (i.e. I've studied a lot about group work methodology), the final product of brainstorming is usually the most stale and "safe" solution rather than the most ingenious one because it requires many diverse individuals to sign off on it. I'm glad that my kids won't be forced to do silly group projects, to be completely honest. That's a homeschool bonus for us, IMO.

[...] I will say that I learned the most meaningful things in school when I was ignoring the teacher and reading under my desk. I learned the most when I read the "wrong" chapter and skipped through the book to find interesting things, while ignoring lectures. Even in high school, it was clear that many of my teachers were only a few chapters ahead of us and that most lacked deep knowledge in the subject. They were subject generalists but if I asked deeper questions, they would have to get back to me with book titles and such.

Even my AP History teacher had to redirect me with book suggestions for my free time. We didn't have time to go into more depth in African American History and I was asking a lot of questions. He recommended I read, "Native Son" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". I read those for information and pleasure, not for credit. So basically, he did what a homeschool "teacher" would do, which is he redirected me to resources so that I could educate myself. When I was in school, I learned the most when I was reading other things rather than paying attention to the lecture. I know I'm not the only one.

[...]I will preface this by saying that my child is very young (he would have been in Kindergarten this past year). But for us, whenever I've attempted to play the teacher role, I've seen him quickly lose at least some of his enthusiasm. Even when he's chosen things that he wants to learn about, when I present it in neat little packages, he just loses some of that light in his eyes. It's like he realizes that I'm invested in it and he's either humoring me or feeling some obligation to me. OTOH, when he directs his own learning, not only does his exude high levels of enthusiasm, but he's incredibly self-motivated and he learns so much. With unschooling, which looks very haphazard to others, he's learned so much in this past year that he is head and shoulders above most of the K curriculum. One of the most important outcomes of unschooling, for my family, is the development and preservation of an amazing degree of self-motivation. And that quality, in my personal experience, is one of the most important things in the workplace and the thing that so many people lack. Creativity and critical thinking are the other two things that are hard to come by in the workplace, in my personal experience. For us, I see unschooling as strongly developing self-motivation, creativity and critical thinking.
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