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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Nope, I'm not in the wrong forum. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
My oldest daughter (8) is in public school because of shared custody with my ex. She spends 50% of the time with me, but its usually every weekend and vacations. I am unschooling my other two children. (more like future unschooling as they are so young 3 1/2 and 1)<br><br>
I've been struggling with how to truelly be supportive to my oldest daughter. Already she is living with two very different ways of life. Her father is strict, demanding, over scheduling. And I'm trying to live and make my way towards whole life unschooling.<br><br>
So she has many rules during the week, and when she comes here is given much more freedom. We've been this way for a little over a year, and its still hard on her. She simply doesn't know what to do with herself a lot of the time without clear instructions, classes, etc. Down time is something she just doesn't comprehend.<br><br>
My biggest problem lies in the fact that I chose unschooling as a way for us because I am against the forced learning, and the testing. The grades and the expectations. The whole thing. She only knows this as the way she is schooled, so how do I be supportive to her?<br><br>
She brings me grades, tests, and paperwork, and expects me to be happy and excited. I am! Don't get me wrong.. I'm happy that she's pleased with herself.. but I feel like a fraud when I am happy about her grades. Because in all honesty, I really could care less. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hide.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hide">: They are just numbers to me. But yet I know that because she is in school, its important for her to get these grades. It wouldn't help anything for her to suddenly say, "Whoa, grades mean nothing! I'm not going to even try anymore!" because there is no possibility of her being homeschooled.<br><br>
Is there anyone else out there who struggles with this duel schooling? It goes the opposite direction as well. When she does poorly, she is hard on herself and expects me to be dissapointed. I'm not dissapointed because again, it doesn't mean anything to me. But I feel that I'm supposed to say something. My ex even talks to me sometimes about her grades and whatnot and tells me I should encourage her to "do better" or "buckle down" and I just can't seem to muster that up.<br><br>
Any thoughts? Can you give me some clear cut supportive things I could say to her when I'm asked to evaluate how well or poorly she is doing? Things that are more in line with my unschooling philosophy?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>WitchyMama2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7316803"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Any thoughts? Can you give me some clear cut supportive things I could say to her when I'm asked to evaluate how well or poorly she is doing? Things that are more in line with my unschooling philosophy?</div>
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I'm not sure if I'll be much help, but this is how I think I would handle your situation if in your shoes, hard to say since I'm not though.<br><br>
I would communicate that I'm happy she is happy, but explain my personal view on scores and grades.<br><br>
When our ds14 was in school, we would have conversations of what those "grades" and "scores" meant. Even now, when we take standardized testing every year, we go over what it really means, which isn't how the system see it, but that's ok.<br><br>
IMO as long as you are direct, honest, explain your pov in a way she understands and support her joys honestly, that is good. Once you become dishonest in your words and actions, any kind of support or joy you muster is received as such. Does that make any sense?
 

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Well...interesting topic. I would do less yammering on about my feelings about grades being meaningless, and more yammering on about the fact she is probably a hard worker and not the sort to cheat and work 'just for a grade'. I also doubt that any child wishes the parent to be dissapointed in her, no matter the low grade. Being supportive, asking if she understands the material, or what part of the material specifically interests her etc. will help her open up and share the complications of her two worlds. Also, some school sctivities might have merit. My ds has come home with some really interesting ideas that we've expanded upon at home.<br><br>
I don't know what sort of school she is, but one of my children attends a private school with a philosophy i embrace, for the most part, lol, and does take pride in his work, so I support that, which in turns supports his love of learning.<br><br>
I say find the good, support her, comfort her when she feels upset, and respect that she is dealing with a challenging set of life issues. Ask her what she thinks about stuff. Don't try to read her mind.
 

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Could you focus on what she has learned, rather than the grade? Like, "Wow, I can see you know all about earthquakes now! What was the weirdest thing you learned about them?"<br><br>
Dar
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7317126"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Could you focus on what she has learned, rather than the grade? Like, "Wow, I can see you know all about earthquakes now! What was the weirdest thing you learned about them?"<br><br>
Dar</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> Great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>reeseccup</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7316927"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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I would communicate that I'm happy she is happy, but explain my personal view on scores and grades.<br></div>
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She knows that her siblings will be unschooled, and she really wishes she were too. So she does know how I feel about grades, tests, and whatnot. She still feels a sense of pride in it because its her life, and her other home is very expectant of those grades.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UUMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7316975"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Being supportive, asking if she understands the material, or what part of the material specifically interests her etc. will help her open up and share the complications of her two worlds.</div>
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I know she feels frustration because of it. She has mentioned before that she wishes either she could homeschool too. She herself loves the whole philosophy around unschooling and often reads books I have about it. It really must be so difficult for her to feel she's on the opposite side of the spectrum from us in regards to schooling.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7317126"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Could you focus on what she has learned, rather than the grade? Like, "Wow, I can see you know all about earthquakes now! What was the weirdest thing you learned about them?"</div>
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That is an excellent idea! I'm going to try to remember to do that. All too often I find myself on the recieving end of a, "Mama, I got a 100 on my test yesterday!!" and I stammer with, "Wow! Thats great!" even though thats now how I feel.<br><br>
In many ways, having one child in school feels like hanging out with mainstream parents all day. Surrounded quite a bit by the opposite faction, its influence, doubts, etc.. And its hard because I can't just up and leave. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Its my daughter. And its her life. So I have to find some ways to be supportive even though it goes against my ideals I really wanted for her.
 

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Sometimes we have to sound keen on stuff from the other house that really doesn't fit in with our philosophy of life, either, so I can relate!<br><br>
I agree with the previous, excellent suggestions about focusing on the interesting content she may be learning. I would also suggest offering her positive reinforcement for her pride in her own work and for her work ethic - neither of those are bad things. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Do you get the sense that she's worried that you might not value what she's doing because it's not unschooling? I.e. that she hopes you'll see value in what she is doing too?<br><br>
So far as how she presents 'bad' grades, I'd stick to "It sounds like you're disappointed in the grade you got." and maybe reminding her that she is learning all the time, and that in the end that amounts to more than can be measured by a single grade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My daughter is very mature for her age, and very intuitive. I have noticed on occassion that even though she knows about unschooling, and how I feel.. she will sometimes counter my "Wow! Thats great that you did so well. I'm glad you're happy." with "Oh ya. I forgot. You don't care about tests." and her expression and tone of voice is a bit crestfallen.<br><br>
She wants tests to not matter to her, but because they do matter to her school and her father... they have to matter to her. She knows that ultimatly they don't matter to me, and she respects that, but I think she wishes that she was on the same page with me. I think she feels left out in that regard. So I feel like I'm letting her down by not being supportive enough in the way that she needs me to. I try, but she really can just see through too much. There are not many things emotion wise that I can hide from her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
And really I don't want to hide or lie. I just want to be able to be happy FOR her, without all those proud, competitive, keeping up with statements that so many school parents use. And it seems she only recognizes that kind of happiness. If its not praise in that form, she is then disappointed in herself.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>WitchyMama2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7319026"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My daughter is very mature for her age, and very intuitive. I have noticed on occassion that even though she knows about unschooling, and how I feel.. she will sometimes counter my "Wow! Thats great that you did so well. I'm glad you're happy." with "Oh ya. I forgot. You don't care about tests." and her expression and tone of voice is a bit crestfallen.</div>
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Could you respond to her by saying something along they lines of *tests may not matter to me but I am happy that you are working hard and are proud of your accomplishments.*? or maybe *the number on that paper doesn't matter to me but I'm proud of you for negotiating your world at school and your fathers. You are doing great!*? In the end it doesn't matter so much how *you* feel about how she does as how *she* feels, right? I'd hate to think that she is feeling you don't value her effort, even if you feel what she is making an effort towards doesn't hold much value (I happen to agree with you BTW). It sounds to me like what she really wants is your approval of her efforts to *make the grade* and the person she feels herself to be, not necessarily of the grades themselves. I'm not saying you aren't, but maybe because she knows you don't value grades and schooling, she is looking for some reassurance that you still value her (her effort, her personal values toward those things) as she tries to find her way through that world? Of course I could be completely off and if so just ignore me.<br><br>
I guess I can kind of relate because I was on a team in high school (OK cheerleading) and my mother didn't value sports. She never gave me any support, never acknowledged when I made captain or we won competitions. It hurt, and frankly it still bugs me to this day. She would rather I had been in the band or math team and I understand and respect that, but she should have supported me because it was important to ME.<br><br>
Sorry, got a little off topic there. It's a hot spot for me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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--And it seems she only recognizes that kind of happiness. If its not praise in that form, she is then disappointed in herself.--<br><br>
I would be very careful with this train of thought.<br><br>
Few kids are so one-dimensional.
 
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