Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really am not trying to incite a riot, but I keep reading on here, mostly from unschoolers about not "forcing" thier kids to do certain things (be it reading, math, ect.). And I have to say, I do like the concept, but I'm wondering how this applies to real life. For example, there are TONS of things I don't really want to do today (dishes, laundry, even taking care of my kids sometimes, that doesn't even start on my job, I'm a WAHM secretary, so I have lost of paperwork, which I do get tired of doing) but since I"m a responsible adult, most of this stuff will get done (hopefully today). I'm wondering how you can still teach responsiblity, and that sometimes we *have* to do things we don't want to. It seems to me that a little bit of discipline (okay, that means more like "Johnny, we do need to work on your letters at least 5 mintues today" not standing over Johnny with a ruler telling him he's dumb b/c he can't read yet) would be a better way of doing it?<br><br>
I really like the idea of the child leading the way in what he is interested in, but what about all of that stuff that he otherwise wouldn't be exposed to? Say your kid likes to read about Egypt and the Pyramids, and he simply refuses to go into ancient Rome (for example). He won't watch PBS documentaries, or read any books on the subject. How do you teach your child a well-rounded balance?<br><br>
And as an aside, my DH and I truely love to learn! We love to study and do so independantly on our own, as adults! On some subject we know SO much more than other people, but on others we know very little (if it's something that doesn't interest us).<br><br>
Opinions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43,705 Posts
I'm not a homeschooler (though I'd love to be an unschooler) but I have some thoughts on this concept.<br><br>
There are plenty of ways to teach responsibility without creating artificial demands. I don't want to wash dishes, but I want to have clean dishes to eat off of later, and I don't want dishes to get moldy in my kitchen sink (or on the kitchen table, or on the desk next to my computer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) I don't enjoy doing laundry but I like being able to find clean clothes to wear in the morning and having a bathroom that doesn't smell like mildewy towels.<br><br>
I make my children help with household chores because they need to be done and I can't do them all by myself. Any clothes that don't make it into the hamper don't get clean. Clothes that sit wrinkled in the bottom of the laundry basket are much harder to locate than clothes that are put away properly. Children who don't help make meals don't get any input in what gets cooked- if they want to eat something particularly time-consuming they may have to help or I'll cook a simpler meal.<br><br>
I don't think "we have to work on letters for 5 minutes today" is really "unschooling." The goal isn't to work on letters for 5 minutes a day- the goal is to have a child who enjoys reading and writing. This might be accomplished with 5 minutes of working on letters daily, or by reading to the child whenever you both feel like it, playing word finds, playing "what in this room starts with the letter "M"" and stuff like that. My children see me reading and have learned from me that reading is fun.<br><br>
I've had my children in school since preschool because of my own health issues- but I honestly feel that my daughters learned to read when they were ready to and being in school had absolutely no bearing on that. My son is learning about letters from being read to, and memorizing his favorite books, and recognizing familiar words in his favorite books.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,209 Posts
Welll... I think you're sort of mixing unschooling, which involves learning without coercion, and non-coercive living. It's very possible to unschool but still require kids to do household chores, for example.<br><br>
As someone who sticks to non-coercion in every arena, I can safely say that children do learn responsibility without being forced to do things... since I now have the uber-responsible 13 year old, I think it's quite possible that kids are actually <i>more</i> responsible when it's not forced. Even without coercion, there are many clear examples of cause and effect. When Rain was little and joined a soccer team, she wanted to be able to do drop-kicks, so she went to the park with me and practiced them. When she wanted to read, she used to sit with a pile of books and... well, do something, maybe mutter magic spells, but somehow doing it enabled her to master reading. Children have a natural drive to succeed and be competent.<br><br>
I think being balanced is a school-thing, not a real-life thing, and I think it's vastly overrated. There are always going to be things your child knows nothing about. There are things I know nothing about. It's schoolthink to believe that ancient Rome is important but Yoruba history isn't, or knowing the parts of a flower matters but knowing basic HTML coding doesn't. <i>What</i> someone knows isn't really important; the important but is that someone knows how to learn things. Unschooled kids learn the things that interest them and the things they need to succeed in their own lives.<br><br>
I personally think working for a few minutes every day on a basic skill is really pointless, because that's generally not how my child learned. For example, when she was 8ish she worried about her poor spelling skills, so we started putting up a new word on the white board every few days for her to practice and learn. She learned maybe 20 or 30 words this way, and retained at least half of it... but then she lost interest and her spelling was still fairly poor.<br><br>
Fast forward to age 13, and she's an above average speller... <b>and we never worked on it again</b>. She started writing more when she was 10, and through that process she started to pay more attention to spelling, and became a better speller. My contribution was simply telling her how to words when she asked me, and I'd bet that she only averaged about one a month. I know she used spellcheck some, but mostly I think she was ready to learn it, and so she did.<br><br>
Last week, Rain was in New York City, and she requested that the group she was with go to MOMA, where she wowed them with her knowledge of modern art. I didn't know she'd ever heard of MOMA and I have no idea how much she knew about it. It turns out that she sometimes goes to an art museum after church, too, on her own. While she was there, she read 1984 and began Bleak House, again totally on her own... and this is only the stuff I happened to hear about.<br><br>
dar
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Free Thinker</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm wondering how you can still teach responsibility, and that sometimes we *have* to do things we don't want to.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>Easy - you simply teach responsibility and that "we sometimes *have* to do things we don't want to." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
And there are a bizillion ways that can be accomplished without making someone go through the motions of studying something someone else has determined he should study at some certain age in some certain way. Teeth need to be brushed, hair needs to be combed, toys need to be picked up, rooms need to cleaned, beds need to be made. There are dishes to do, food to be prepared, clothes to wash and hang, other people's need and feelings to be considered. Lots and lots of ways!<br><br></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">It seems to me that a little bit of discipline (okay, that means more like "Johnny, we do need to work on your letters at least 5 minutes today" not standing over Johnny with a ruler telling him he's dumb b/c he can't read yet) would be a better way of doing it?</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>Another option is to do neither of those things. Neither is necessary. Children don't need to be coerced into learning - that's a myth we've grown up with, based on the fact that they don't necessarily want to do it the way it's dictated by authority figures who aren't inside their own heads. As far as reading is concerned, if books and reading are a part of your lives, and there are words all over the place - which there are - a child begins to pick things up. You can even teach them phonics in a non-lessony way. Here's an article on how this can work - written by parents of four now grown homeschooled children:<br>
Learning to Read:<br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/jean_donn_reed.html" target="_blank">http://www.besthomeschooling.org/art...donn_reed.html</a><br><br></span>
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;"><span>Quote:</span></div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I really like the idea of the child leading the way in what he is interested in, but what about all of that stuff that he otherwise wouldn't be exposed to? Say your kid likes to read about Egypt and the Pyramids, and he simply refuses to go into ancient Rome (for example). He won't watch PBS documentaries, or read any books on the subject. How do you teach your child a well-rounded balance?<br><br>
And as an aside, my DH and I truly love to learn! We love to study and do so independently on our own, as adults! On some subject we know SO much more than other people, but on others we know very little (if it's something that doesn't interest us).</td>
</tr></table></div>
<span>Parents who love learning will be modeling that, and they'll be finding lots of interesting books and materials all the time - in libraries, bookstores, museum gift shops, garage sales, on the Internet. You'll be pointing out and bringing home interesting books on all sort of subjects, and talking about all sorts of things. I never asked my son if he wanted to read the Little House on the Prairie books, and I certainly didn't stand around waiting for him to find them on his own. Same with lots of other of our favorite books - I found them and read them to him. If he wasn't interested, I dropped it, which was rare. Why in the world would a child not be interested if you were to find a great book having to do with ancient Rome and read it to him? He might very well not be interested if it's a boring book, or if you were to try to make it into lessons or try to coerce him to memorize things from it - but there's no earthly reason why a child needs to do any of that. The most important and deep learning that carries through life comes in later years.<br><br>
What did you know by the end of 6th grade that you now know as an adult other than some 3R skills? If they naturally have a joy of learning by that time, it will carry them a lot further than if someone has made learning into a chore. My son mentioned that very thing in this article of mine he contributed to:<br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/lillian_jones_life.html" target="_blank">http://www.besthomeschooling.org/art...ones_life.html</a><br>
And he even referred to the value of that kind of freedom in his college application essays, which was well received by admissions directors. I don't think in terms of an ideology called "unschooling" or anything else, though - I've just always tried to use my own common sense, and it's pretty much fallen within that way of thinking.<br><br>
The important thing to learn in those years is that learning is fun and useful in all sorts of ways. It <i>feels</i> good; it gives us information about things we're interested in pursuing; and it leads us to lots of other things that are interesting and important. There's no reason to get in and fold, spindle, or mutilate it for someone else - you can actually take something away from them. Interesting article:<br>
The Things We Steal from Children<br><a href="http://www.eddept.wa.edu.au/gifttal/EAGER/Dr%20John%20Edwards.html" target="_blank">http://www.eddept.wa.edu.au/gifttal/...20Edwards.html</a><br><br>
If you stick dozens of children together in warehouses all day, five days a week, it's less likely that they can be exposed naturally, casually, and imaginatively to as wide variety of subjects as they can come across outside of school - so they have very different ways of getting the basics they feel are important into the consciousness of those children - structured ways - but we don't have to do that at home.<br><br>
Interesting article by John Holt:<br>
Growing Without Schooling<br><a href="http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC06/Holt.htm" target="_blank">http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC06/Holt.htm</a><br><br>
You described how you and your husband know more about some things than others - I think that's pretty universal. There's no way to avoid the same thing in your children - because even if you force them to study things that don't interest them, it's not going to stick. And, for that matter, you can casually introduce interesting conversation about things you feel are important to know about and see where it goes. It's not a matter of walking on egg shells - you just go about being yourself and letting them be themselves.<br>
A good book: The Book of Learning and Forgetting, by Frank Smith<br><a href="http://store.tcpress.com/080773750X.shtml" target="_blank">http://store.tcpress.com/080773750X.shtml</a><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian, running off to play with my son who's home for spring break...</span>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,447 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Free Thinker</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">On some subject we know SO much more than other people, but on others we know very little (if it's something that doesn't interest us).</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I kinda think that's what life is all about.<br><br>
I learned plenty of things in school that didn't interest me, that I never pursued further, and that I subsequently forgot. Sometimes, in conversation with others, I come face to face with a whole lot of stuff that the other persons knows a bunch about that I know squat about. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes I am motivated to go find out more about it. Sometimes I am not. What I have to remember is that this person probably knows a lot about that because he is interested in it, so he's motivated to learn about it. And that's fine, we don't all have to know the same things.<br><br>
And I have never been in a position where I have not been able to fulfill my duties as an employee, a wife, a mother, a friend, what-have-you because of something I didn't know. If I needed to know something I didn't know, I looked it up and learned about it.<br><br>
My daughter requires a lot of intellectual stimulation, and I am frequently tempted to break out a formalized system of sorts to do it. (Just this morning I was thinking, "Maybe we should study a certain animal, a certain country, and a certain math concept each week.") But then I remember that my child is generally resistant to my attempts to structure her learning and how much she has learned anyway (at the tender age of four) and I am wowed all over again by what I learned from John Holt: kids will learn what they want to learn because kids want to learn.<br><br>
I doubt that we will really be unschoolers, but I am learning, slowly, to trust my kids and to remember that it is THEIR learning, not mine.<br><br>
BUT: I do require chores, mainly because I refuse to do all the work with no help. I think my kids will learn responsibility from it, but my main motivation for requiring their help is so that I have help. I talk to my kids a lot about what our responsibilities are and how others depend on us to fulfill those responsibilities and how, if we don't take responsibility for things, there is a good chance they won't turn out to our liking.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,311 Posts
to add on to the others. we teach by example and communication. cleaning house is something that must be done, therefore all that contribute to the household are expected to pitch in and help. there is a lot of repetative discussion on how and why it's best to pick up after oneself and why we must clean and share in the work ect.<br><br>
if you and are your dh LOOOOOOVE learning then your kids will pick up on it and do the same...of things that interest THEM. who's to say not knowing all there is to know about Rome but do knowing so much about Egypt isn't "well rounded"? Who's to say what deturmines "well rounded"?<br><br>
I count ourselves blessed that we love learning and even read Encylepidias for pleasure. By our example our oldest never got that natural instinct squashed out of him from the ps he was in for far too long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,185 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Ruthla</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">There are plenty of ways to teach responsibility without creating artificial demands. I don't want to wash dishes, but I want to have clean dishes to eat off of later, and I don't want dishes to get moldy in my kitchen sink (or on the kitchen table, or on the desk next to my computer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) I don't enjoy doing laundry but I like being able to find clean clothes to wear in the morning and having a bathroom that doesn't smell like mildewy towels.<br><br>
I make my children help with household chores because they need to be done and I can't do them all by myself. Any clothes that don't make it into the hamper don't get clean. Clothes that sit wrinkled in the bottom of the laundry basket are much harder to locate than clothes that are put away properly. Children who don't help make meals don't get any input in what gets cooked- if they want to eat something particularly time-consuming they may have to help or I'll cook a simpler meal.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
I'll add to that if you don't pick up your stuff it gets stepped and or the dog eats it, if I don't get enough help I won't have time to help you (or do anything fun) and if I have to pick up all your stuff off the kitchen table eventually it will go to someone who will take care of it.<br><br>
I am not an unschooler, but I am very relaxed. To use the Ancient Rome analogy I might insist she listen to (or read) a few chapters on the subject or maybe a good historical novel based during that time period BUT if it really bores her we'll drop it. I would attempt to find <i>something</i> on the subject that interests her so that she will at least be familiar with the time period (IE that it existed and when) but we would not linger. DD did not like Ancient Rome in fact and we did very little on it. In contrast we have already spent a lot of time on the Middle Ages and aren't even half done yet because she is fascinated by this time period.<br><br>
As others have said, it's more important to me that she learn <i>how</i> to find out information then it is for me to try and cover it all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts

Dar said:
<br>
I think being balanced is a school-thing, not a real-life thing, and I think it's vastly overrated. There are always going to be things your child knows nothing about. There are things I know nothing about. It's schoolthink to believe that ancient Rome is important but Yoruba history isn't, or knowing the parts of a flower matters but knowing basic HTML coding doesn't. <i>What</i> someone knows isn't really important; the important but is that someone knows how to learn things. Unschooled kids learn the things that interest them and the things they need to succeed in their own lives.<br><br>
********************************<br><br>
I like how this is put <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I enjoyed hearing about Rain. It's always nice to hear about older unschoolers (my oldest is 7).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I think being balanced is a school-thing, not a real-life thing, and I think it's vastly overrated.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
[QUOTE}For example, there are TONS of things I don't really want to do today (dishes, laundry, even taking care of my kids sometimes, [/QUOTE]<br><br>
It look me a while, but I finally got to a place where I *could* walk away from thing I "should" be doing to go do something I wanted to do instead. I had a lot of voices from my childhood ("work before play") that caused me to think that there were things that I must do even though I didn't want to do them.<br><br>
It doesn't mean that chores don't get done, it just means that now I listen to my own voice rather than some arbitrary rule. I'd like my kids to be able to do the same. For me, it's connected to unschooliing, but as Dar said, it doesn't have to be.<br><br>
So, for instance, we wash dishes because we like to eat off of clean dishes, but we have no rules about them being washed at a certain time, or before we can do something fun.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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;">I'm wondering how you can still teach responsiblity, and that sometimes we *have* to do things we don't want to.</td>
</tr></table></div>
I'm not sure I want to teach my kids that we have to do things we don't want to do. I'd rather they have a reason to do things. My dining room table right now is cluttered with the remains of a home improvement project. No one feels like cleaning it off at the moment, so no one is doing it. Probably tomorrow, when we need the table, it'll get cleared.<br><br>
For us, it's not a case of telling the kids they need to do ____ but explaining why it might be a good thing to do. So, when dd spills something on her shirt, I'll remind her to soak it right away or the stain may set and not come out. She knows that if she doesn't want to change, then she may ruin a shirt. Likewise, they learn pretty quickly that if we keep starting projects or taking out toys and games and don't put things back, they reach a point where there's no room to play--so they pick up.<br><br>
I think of responsibility as being more about our connections to other people than about chores though. Chores get done because we have a practical need to do them. Responsibility to others comes from recognizing others' needs. That, they get from example. So, maybe tomorrow, we still won't feel like clearing the table. But if someone wants to use it, we will, because it would be a considerate thing to do.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,209 Posts
Joan! You're pregnant!?!? Has that been in your sig for a while? I missed it... congratulations!<br><br>
Dar
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,976 Posts
<span>When I was a child, there were too many chores dumped indiscriminately on me that a child shouldn't have had, and the same thing happened to my husband - so neither of us wanted to do that to our son. We never discussed it - we both just independently didn't assign "chores" as such. But I never thought anything of saying, "Sweetie, let's get this place picked up - would you please go around and...[whatever]," and he never hesistated to help out. He was eventually in charge of feeding the dogs and taking out garbage, but those were just obvious things that <i>somebody</i> had to do, and why not him, since the rest of the family was also busy doing other things that needed to be done? When he went off to do full time volunteer work at a soup kitchen/services center - a pretty grueling job at times - it never would have occurred to him to not pull his share of the load with all the jobs that needed to be done there. If kids are brought up just pitching in in a normal and natural way, they don't have to be taught that sometimes people need to do things they don't particularly want to do - it's just obvious. - Lillian</span>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,165 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Free Thinker</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">there are TONS of things I don't really want to do today [...] but since I"m a responsible adult, most of this stuff will get done (hopefully today). I'm wondering how you can still teach responsiblity, and that sometimes we *have* to do things we don't want to.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Making someone do something in order to (ostensibly) train them to automatically do unpleasant tasks results in a very different lesson than to learn, via natural consequences, that in specific situations we benefit by doing things we don't necessarily want to do. The first is based in conditioning and is arbitrary. The second is based in understanding and value.<br><br>
I'm not sure that making someone do something just for the sake of "becoming disciplined" even really works. It has always had the opposite effect on me, obscuring any real inner motivations behind resentment and a sense of pointlessness.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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;">I really like the idea of the child leading the way in what he is interested in, but what about all of that stuff that he otherwise wouldn't be exposed to? Say your kid likes to read about Egypt and the Pyramids, and he simply refuses to go into ancient Rome (for example). He won't watch PBS documentaries, or read any books on the subject. How do you teach your child a well-rounded balance?</td>
</tr></table></div>
My child will find his own well-rounded balance. I know this because my own well-rounded balance didn't come from being schooled, it came from the studies I did in my own time, simply because I was interested. I have to admit, I know very little about ancient Rome. But then, I also know very little about French Polynesia, Mayan civilization, Mesolithic Ireland, Argentina, and Imperial Russia. This doesn't mean I'm not well-rounded. It means there is too much out there not to have to pick and choose. And as long as I'm picking and choosing, better that which I am intensely interested in than that which I have no affinity for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,165 Posts
"It look me a while, but I finally got to a place where I *could* walk away from thing I "should" be doing to go do something I wanted to do instead. [...] It doesn't mean that chores don't get done, it just means that now I listen to my own voice rather than some arbitrary rule."<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> Well said!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,746 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Welll... I think you're sort of mixing unschooling, which involves learning without coercion, and non-coercive living. It's very possible to unschool but still require kids to do household chores, for example...<br><br>
I think being balanced is a school-thing, not a real-life thing, and I think it's vastly overrated. There are always going to be things your child knows nothing about. There are things I know nothing about. It's schoolthink to believe that ancient Rome is important but Yoruba history isn't, or knowing the parts of a flower matters but knowing basic HTML coding doesn't. <i>What</i> someone knows isn't really important; the important but is that someone knows how to learn things. Unschooled kids learn the things that interest them and the things they need to succeed in their own lives.<br><br>
I personally think working for a few minutes every day on a basic skill is really pointless...<br><br>
dar</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br>
Thanks Dar for the great post! It said many of the things that I was going to say.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Joan! You're pregnant!?!? Has that been in your sig for a while? I missed it... congratulations!</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Wow Joan! I missed that piece of news too! Congratulations! When are you due?<br><br>
Take Care,<br>
Erika<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/homeschool.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="homeschool">:<br><br>
Hannah<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/candle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Candle">-Rest in Peace Sweet Girl
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,939 Posts
DISCLAIMER: I am answering this question as it relates to my own views and how unschooling/non-coercion works in my family. This is my opinion of what is right for my family. I am *not* saying that anyone else is "wrong," and what works for us might not work for anyone else.<br><br><br>
We are mostly unschoolers and mostly non-coercive, but not completely. I don't punish my kids or coerce them to do things that they don't want to do, but that doesn't mean we don't have certain expectations. For example, my daughter is expected to keep her stuff in her room when she isn't using it. I don't care if it's put away per se, but I don't want to step on it and I'm not going to put it away myself. I don't punish her if she fails to do this, I just remind her and ask her nicely to please move her things. I also don't believe that non-coercion means no guidance. I teach them our values and beliefs about how we should behave, and I give explanations and reasons, even if sometimes that means saying, "I don't know why, it doesn't make sense to me either; it's one of those things that just *is*"<br><br>
One thing that I am very conscious of is that, while I don't coerce them, I don't baby them either. I actually think that many of the problems stereotypically associated with non-coerced kids (selfish, no responsibility, etc) are really the result of the parents babying the kids long after it's appropriate. I don't make my kids do things, but I don't do things for them either, except as a favor when asked. This is more true for my 6-yr-old daughter; my son at not-quite-3 needs a lot more help and so, by necessity, gets a lot more coercion. For example, my daughter keeps her room relatively clean, although I don't "make" her, because she knows I won't clean it for her (I will help if asked). Both of my kids eat whatever food they want, but they get it and put it back themselves. I don't "make" them help me with housework; I might ask, but usually they offer. I think that this is the more natural way to learn responsibility and that we have to do things we don't particularly want to do. As others have pointed out, in the adult world, the consequence of not doing something is that it doesn't get done, not some artificial punishment.<br><br>
As to schooling, I don't believe the purpose of teaching, whether it's school or homeschool or anything else, is to teach kids everything they need to know. First of all, it's impossible: we can't know now what's going to be useful information when our children are adults. I didn't learn about the internet when I was in school, but I wouldn't want to try living in the work/business world without knowing about it now. What I want to teach my kids is *how* to learn, find information, think logically and critically. If my kids don't learn about Roman history because it doesn't interest them, and later on, in college or wherever, they need or want to find out something about it, they will know how to get that information. I don't think they need to be "well-rounded" because I don't think that this is the only education they'll ever get. And I think that schooling and the school mentality actually hinders learning how to learn, because you get used to the idea that you can't learn anything on your own. Also, I think if you look at public school curriculum and how subjects are chosen and why, I think you'll see how pointless and arbitrary it really is (curriculum lobbying/corruption is a pet issue of mine).<br><br>
I hope this answers your questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Erika, Dar, Yep--new news! I'm due in November. Wild, huh? Thanks for the congrats! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
I agree that there really isn't anything we *have* to do, other than make choices between realistic outcomes. I'd rather work to pay for a house and a variety of foods than go live in the forest and eat leaves and berries all year (although sometimes it's a toss up <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">); and I often spend time on chores that I wouldn't bother about if it didn't delight my dh so much to come home to a fabulously clean space. So my daughter gets lots of opportunities to make decisions and experience the results, but no training in putting up with things that we all "must" do.<br><br>
Actually, I'm quite curious where my aversion to many of the tasks I dislike came from. (Maybe being forced into them before I expressed interest?) My dd (4) has already taken on feeding our dog and watering our plants, dusting, helping with dishes, laundry, and vaccuuming... she loves taking care of things. Where did I ever get the idea that cleaning isn't fun? It sure is when we do it together!<br><br>
As far as things that everyone "must" know, I definitely think everyone should be responsible for learning the intimate details of their local ecology; comparative economics, politics, and religions; in depth analysis of historical and modern education philosophies; holistic human health practices; anthropological studies of societal growth and collapse patterns including the implications of the peak oil production crisis on our global transportation infrastructure and food security; positive relationship dynamics, non-violent problem solving skills, and non-coersive communication methods; organic farming and permaculture design systems; basic architectural principles; what year the cotton gin was invented, by whom, in what state he or she lived, the capital of that state, what year that state was admitted into the union, its theme song, what percentage of it's population lives in poverty, what factors contribute to its level of income inequality, what percentage of its elected representatives are living in poverty and how that statistic influences budgetary considerations.<br><br>
But I do recognize that those are just the things I think are essential for meaningful participation in life; other people may have different priorities, including my daughter. So if she wants to spend the first sixteen years of her life learning geometry so she can build kayaks and guitars, and doesn't begin investigating the interactions between arthropod behaviors and soil temperature fluctuations til she's thirty and her tomato crop gets eaten by hormworms, I trust that the knowledge she is naturally attracted to will serve her, and that the responsibilities she chooses will contribute to her own happiness and that of those around her. (As it does now - I hated feeding the dog!)<br><br>
PS On the subject of lifelong learning, I wasn't sure what kind of bugs eat tomatoes for that rant above, so I asked my friendly internet search engine. I found pictures of the life cycle of Manduca sexta at this website: <<a href="http://www.whatsthatbug.com/tomato.html" target="_blank">http://www.whatsthatbug.com/tomato.html</a>> and lo and behold if it wasn't the same little pupae I kept finding in my garden last year and meaning to take to the extension agency for IDing. Well, now I know, and I guess if I'm going to grow tomatoes at some point I'll keep them in pots isolated from that soil!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"> Oh no! I just looked back at the title of this thread! I swear I didn't do that on purpose. It does remind me though, I meant to say Free Thinker, I hope you aren't feeling like we're throwing them at you in earnest. I know there have been a lot of posts strongly advocating a "trust your child" approach, and that can be kind of worrisome. What if he just really never learns something that's vitally important because he never gets into it on his own? Couldn't there be dire consequences for him, maybe even other people depending on him? I suppose that's possible, and it's a risk I'm willing to take, b/c I think the greater risk is that I will diminish his curiosity and initiative by doing his job for him. If I remind him to study spelling or multiplication 5 minutes each day, he may do it (depending on whether his sense of independence or interdependence is stronger at the time), but as soon as I stop reminding him, there's a good chance he'll stop - not just that particular task, but all activity. If I leave him alone for awhile after that, he'll eventually find his way back to self-directed living, but if I'm an anxious parent, I may not give him that time. I may see that he's "not doing anything" and "realize" that he needs guidance. <i>And he may never get the chance to think for himself again.</i> (I tried to make that look sarcastically dramatic. Of course he'll be fine, everybody is. But I like it best when people don't tell me what I need to do, and so far I haven't heard of any unschoolers (kids or parents) who regretted the process.<br><br>
For more on letting your kids solve their own problems, including educational goals, I liked the book <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Discipline without Stress, Punishment, or Rewards</span>. Sorry I can't recall the author right now. And sorry for being such a rambler. I obviously need to write more often so it all doesn't get crammed into one post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,167 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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;">As far as things that everyone "must" know, I definitely think everyone should be responsible for learning the intimate details of their local ecology; comparative economics, politics, and religions; in depth analysis of historical and modern education philosophies; holistic human health practices; anthropological studies of societal growth and collapse patterns including the implications of the peak oil production crisis on our global transportation infrastructure and food security; positive relationship dynamics, non-violent problem solving skills, and non-coersive communication methods; organic farming and permaculture design systems; basic architectural principles; what year the cotton gin was invented, by whom, in what state he or she lived, the capital of that state, what year that state was admitted into the union, its theme song, what percentage of it's population lives in poverty, what factors contribute to its level of income inequality, what percentage of its elected representatives are living in poverty and how that statistic influences budgetary considerations.</td>
</tr></table></div>
Well damn, I went to public and private school, including 4 years of University, and I don't know much of this! But it is a very good list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,553 Posts
I tell you what--I think I'm going to print this thread out. It's perfect brain food for when I'm feeling a little trepidation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
449 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<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>Brigianna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">As to schooling, I don't believe the purpose of teaching, whether it's school or homeschool or anything else, is to teach kids everything they need to know...What I want to teach my kids is *how* to learn, find information, think logically and critically.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Ooh! That's what I've been thinking. We're just starting out homeschooling and I'd like to avoid the whole memorize facts and then forget them after the test way of learning that I grew up with. I succeeded in school, but didn't learn for learning's sake until after college. I noticed in college that when I was in school (at whatever age) I rarely read for pleasure. But during the summer I read all the time. Now, as an adult, I do my own interest-led "research projects" all the time and love it. I love to learn! And I want my son to experience that too. I haven't decided on a method yet-but school at home sure doesn't sound like fun. And I think learning should be fun. When it is, the motivation's built right in.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top