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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unschooling seems to be going great with my oldest who is almost 7. She is reading a little bit, pretty good at math, cooks brownies with little help, comes up with her own art projects, etc.

My twins, I have to admit, worry me. They are almost 5, and neither knows how to write their name, and would be hard pressed to make a letter. They shun letter worksheets that I casually set out. One of the boys can only count to 5 or so.

I don't want to press them into learning because I believe in the unschooling process, that they will learn when they are ready. I guess I'm just a little worried what the relatives will say if they notice my boys don't know the same things as their cousin who is the same age.
 

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It's times like these when it's good to sit down and think about what they can do. I bet they can do a lot. Think about their fine motor skills, their artistic skills, other things they do - it will help calm you down at least.

I do worry sometimes. It's hard to be really different from everyone else.
 

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Sometimes I worry too, but my older dd is only 4 and the younger 20 mo..., but when I see the things that teachers do in (pre)school I worry that maybe they aren't challenged enough with the finite amount of energy that I have to help them on their path.
 

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I don't really worry (ds1 is 4, lives with his father, knows how to write everything...., ds2 is 1) I'm still not sure if I will unschool, use a curriculum or what. But I don't worry about the kids being compared to others. Evn when my mom pointed out that my 2 mo wasn't using his hands "right." He went on to walk at 7 or 8 mo. So, i figure everything will happen in its own time. Now, as far as those meddling relatives (ie my mother) I just shrug and say "Well, N can walk, talk, and use the potty....." (N is 1 yo.) "J can write anyone's name and tell you how it really is."

So, i just don't worry.
 

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I think it's important to remember that all children are different. Your daughter is two years older, has a different personality, and as much as I dislike generalizations, in my family the girls have all read and written earlier than the boys. In fact, Dan is five and is starting to read, and I was thinking "Wow, he's right on with the older girls, who started at four/five", but then Avari just turned three and is starting her preemergent writing and reading skills.


Ignore the relatives. Thankfully for me the holidays are over and we're back to spending time with our unschooling tribe rather than extended family. whew! But if my SIL sends me one more email about homeschooling I might have to scream


Just keep supporting your boys, eventually they will reach a point where that counting and reading becomes important enough to do on their own. My seven yo is still not reading, although yesterday he was playing a game with big brother and was able to remember that 'psy' starts the word he needed to remember through the game. HUGE step for him. I think he's a whole word guy, rather than a phonics guy, and it's just going to come later in a big 'whoosh' of understanding.
 

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I think it's also important to ask yourself WHY a child needs to make letters at age 5? What's the reasoning behind it?

In the mainstream world, a child needs to learn to read and write early in order to keep a classroom functioning properly. Obviously, a school teacher does not have time to sit and read individually to each child, nor does the teacher have time to individually interview each child to assess their knowledge.

At home, we can do those things. My oldest was reading and writing at five, but those things were interesting to him. My youngest didn't read much until he was seven, and hardly wrote until he was 8. Even then, he tried to avoid those things as much as possible. He loved to be read to, though....and I actually think he is an auditory learner and gets more out of listening than out of reading to himself.

There is no real reason why your 5yo homeschooled children need to print letters. If relatives enquire, ask them why they think it's important. It may open their eyes; at the very least, it turns the attention back on them.
 

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I am not a radical USer, so take this with a grain of salt.

I don't think you only have two choices-- worry and do a formal curriculum/send them to school or don't worry and do nothing.

I would highlight things that you ARE worried about and set up experiences for them for both practice and assessment. Maybe you already do this type of thing, so ignore if you do. Take counting. You could easily play Candyland or some other simple game involving counting. If they can count to five WELL (if you think this concept is secure) then I would not worry-- they "get" the whole one-to-one correspondence. If they get the concept, then they will just need more exposure to higher numbers which you can make part of daily life. ("OK, we can each have 9 nuts. Boys, would you count out your own, please?")

As for writing their names-- does it have a purpose? Writing needs to have a purpose. I know some children like to do worksheets for fun, but I know my almost 7 yo thinks they are silly. (She resisted them since I can remember-- before we HSd.) When I taught preK, there were some popular activities like the water table. So, I had the kids write their names on a sign-up sheet for their turn. I accepted ANYTHING (a scribble was fine) and I never had a child resist attempt writing his/her name because there was a reason for it-- a motivation.

Do your children see you write? Being a planner (aka dreamer), I am always writing lists and such. I have not done it as often as I'd like, but I do take dictation for my 3 yo (I write down her stories for her) and now she does most of it on her own. I can't read it all without her help, but believe it or not her writing is really progressing. I'll show you a sample if you are interested.

I also agree with the pp who said you need to look at what they CAN do. I am sure that will make you feel a lot better!
 

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hi,

i don't unschool at all but wanted to reassure you. my son will be 5 in late march and doesn't read, write anything, he still gets some letters confused, and he even draws below his age level. etc. i don't care one bit about it though. those things don't interest him at all, and i don't consider any need for academics at his age unless he wanted it for himself. i do not even consider him 'homeschooled' as of yet. he's very into imaginative play. i think my son is genius in so many other regards. now, i will start some academic stuff with him next school year (gentle stuff), but right now - he's really doing fabulous and doing exactly as he should.


also...i just want to agree with a previous poster. remember, you are NOT on a public school time-table. furthermore, preschool is really fairly new. i didn't even learn my letters until i was 5 & kindergarten is also where i learned to write my name, etc. ykwim? to homeschool/unschool successfully you need to only focus on your own child's progress. comparison is such a thief of joy. hugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for your encouragement everyone. You know the relatives were too busy talking to each other over the holidays to take any interest in what my boys know. Worrying for nothing.

You are right, they are on a different time table and we are lucky that we don't have to push them into something before they are ready. I go around preaching about how young kids need to develop at their own rate, then I start panicking and comparing my boys to their schooled cousin. Silly, goofy me
 

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I used to worry somewhat in the beginning but not as much anymore, just depends on the situation and who I am around I guess. I didn't gain a whole lot from public school and always disliked school. When I go to Christmas gatherings I see my 19 yr old neice who is a dropout that cleans houses for a living, has no real home and moves around a lot,
has a bad group of friends that she settled for because she is shy and couldn't make friends with good kids when in school because of where she lived (kids can be cruel). Then my other sister has two kids still in school, one that just got his drivers license only to lose it for skipping school and being unruly and a 15 y o that also gets in to trouble and hides things from her mother thinking she doesn't know what she is doing. Yeah, my kids are really missing out on a PS education.
And I know a lot of it has to do with the parenting going on at home as well, but not all kids come out of PS in a positive manner or absolutely ready for their future and it irritates me that people think it's the ideal way to educate our children. I'm just rambling, sorry.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kacymoose View Post
I go around preaching about how young kids need to develop at their own rate, then I start panicking and comparing my boys to their schooled cousin. Silly, goofy me
you know? i honestly feel the exact same way, but then somehow i lose that mindset when my kids become closer to age 6. i HATE that about myself!!! that's why i don't unschool! i would be a bad unschooler past age 6, lol. it's so weird, because if someone asked questions about my ds, i would honestly feel incredibly comfortable saying, "he doesn't know that. or...he can't do that". i would feel no obligation to justify it and would probably make them feel dumb for thinking a child should even know that stuff. BUT with my daughter (age 7) although i am still really laid back with our schooling, i DO find myself caring about what she knows. can she read? can she spell? does she know where china is? lol. ugh! i definitely have yearly educational goals that become age/grade related. i try to be realistic & my dd really loves homeschooling...but i cannot let go of *needing* an agenda once my kids get school age. not sure why. especially since i don't plan to utilize public school.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
"has a bad group of friends that she settled for because she is shy and couldn't make friends with good kids when in school because of where she lived (kids can be cruel)."

That was me, 25 years ago

Yeah, school ain't such a great place

ETA: I don't know how "good" they actually were if they could be so cruel though. Oh well, I shouldn't judge. School pits kids against one another so they become a product of their environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"i cannot let go of *needing* an agenda once my kids get school age. not sure why. especially since i don't plan to utilize public school."

me too, even though I unschool

I keep a binder that has the dept of education list of what kids are suppose to cover for her grade level. I have a good idea where dd is "suppose" to be, and I go through and check off stuff in my binder as I notice that she gets it.

I should really let that go, but it is hard to change a mindset that has been indoctrinated from an early age in the form of govt schooling.
 
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