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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My oldest is 3 and we will probably do a watered-down version of unschooling. This is based on my child's learning style and personality; I, personally, like the idea of classical. From what I know of my child, however, he needs a child-led non-sequential approach.

Anyway, I'm going to guess that the "unschooling answers" in the quiz were the ones that had nothing to do with books, rather living the lesson. That wasn't my impression of unschooling at all. I was under the impression that unschooling, in essence, was letting the child direct his own learning, in whatever way he sees fit. So, for some kids, unschooling would involve reading all day. Not all children are kinsthetic learners who would desire to live a day like a Native American or play with mud. I think that the quiz-writer is making the assumption that all children, given the choice, would rather wallow in mud than curl up with a stack of books. I know that there are stereotypes and myths regarding unschooling, i.e. that it's devoid of books. To me, the quiz seems to feed that stereotype.

If I were given the chance to be unschooled as a child, I would have chosen to read biographies of Native Americans way over sitting in a circle and living it with other people. That's because I'm an introvert. There are some educational approaches in which introverted children are made to do circle time and group activities, like very hands-on stuff. That doesn't make it unschooling. Isn't unschooling simply child-led learning?

What are your thoughts regarding this? I thought this would be interesting to discuss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I think that the best way to determine the homeschooling style via a quiz would be answers along the lines of, "b. You give your child a list and ask him to choose., c. You wait for your child to indicate what he wants to do.", something like that. The quiz didn't seem to bring in the child's role in homeschooling.

I know it's just a fun little quiz, so please excuse my over-analyzing.
 

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An outsider isn't going to recognize the major differences between homeschooing , eclectic schooling , child led learning and unschooling. I think that's why the quiz was phrased the way it was. To them anyone who doesn't use a strict curriculum would fall into the unschooler category. Which I know offends unschooling purists. I was labeled an unschooler on their test and I don't unschool my kids. It was a fun test with cute questions. I didn't expect it to be accurate.

On child led learning , imo you can do that no matter what style of learning you choose. I consider our style somewhat child led. I may say "today we're doing math. how do you want to do it ?". Then they choose card games , board games , dice , manipulatives , flash cards , physical games , etc... I don't really give them a choice in WHAT we are going to learn , but rather HOW we learn it. For us we consider that child-led. Another example: We are going to learn about life on the farm. HOW would you like to do that ? Then I'd lay out different options. There's the clinical approach , the hands on approach , the workbook approach , encyclopedias , Little House on the Prarie , fiction stories to read, pbs programs to watch , etc....
 

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For my family unschooling means that we do not have any "subjects" to cover, any lessons to get done, and no curriculum to follow. It is the children learning what they choose to learn, in the way they choose to learn it, for however long they choose to learn it. It is also learning from life. We, the parents, do not dictate what is going to happen (or be learned about) in any way. That being said, unschooling can look different to different kids. Some unschoolers love to read (my son for one) and can do alot of it. Some unschoolers want to be outside playing with friends, or looking at bugs. Some want to watch movies, listen to the radio, play a video game, or play in the mud lol.

To me it's unschooling when it is the child's decision, and not the adults. If the child has the choice to say, "Nope, I don't feel like reading today. I think I will go ride my bike.", without the parent trying to get the child to read more... If the child can decide on what materials to use and when... etc. For my family, mud is just as good as reading. We trust that we get what we need from the world around us, and by learning from interest.

I think most of those kinds of quizzes, though alot of fun for sure, are inherently flawed. They have to encompass such a large group of people with wide definitions on any subject, that it can't help but go the "stereotype" route I think. It's like if they swing for the most extreme definition they can fit us all in there somewhere LOL. To further the definition confusion, we've been called "Radical unschoolers"... interesting.
Kristi
 

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I clearly didn't analyze the quiz enough...

I do want to add that unschoolers don't necessarily ask their children about everything - a lot of it is just living my life and bringing her along and respecting her when she says no or enough. So, I tend to read interesting newspaper blurbs to whoever is in the roo - my dad did the same thing when I was a kid - and we end up talking about all sorts of stuff... but I don't say, "Would you like to discuss the latest news from Iraq?" or whatever. OTOH, if she just grunts in response and seems pretty focused on comics, I try to stop...

Dar
 

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I noticed the quiz's bias against books for unschoolers as well. It bugged me too, because we are unschoolers who *love* books!

This is one example of how it works in our family: Two days ago we went to the beach. My kids collected a large pile of seaweed which they wanted to bring home. We didn't have a cooler or anything like that with us, because I hadn't even planned on staying at the beach. I was going to drop my son off for a playdate there, but we (dd and I) decided to stay for awhile once we got there. The only thing I had for carrying seaweed was a frisbee! So we piled the seaweed on the frisbee, and brought it home.

Once home, I gave my dd (7) a large metal bowl and the kids put the seaweed in it, filled it with water, and added some salt. They also threw in some seashells they had sitting around, and some sand.

The next day (yesterday) we went to the library and asked the children's librarian for books on seaweed. She lead us right to the seaweed section of the library
, and we found several great books to check out. After the library, we decided to go grab a taco at the nearest taco bar, so we set out for the restaurant, each kid with a library book under an arm. We sat in the taco bar eating tacos, and reading about marine biology and seaweed. As we drove home, the kids continued reading to themselves - calling out interesting facts as they came upon them.

Once we got home, they examined their seaweed "terrarium" and realized that they hadn't kept it cold enough, and that the water was stagnant, so the water had become murky. In one of our library books, a project is described in which we can learn to build our own salt water aquarium. We're going to look around the house today to see what materials we already have, and then we'll decide how to get the rest of the materials. We'll probably start building the aquarium tomorrow.

LeftField, like you, I am not a particularly "hands-on" type of person. I am very much a "learn from a book" type of person. My husband is a very "hands-on" type of learner, and only uses books to help him learn how to improve his projects. My kids are becoming both book learners and hands-on learners in a very balanced way. And because they want to do the "hands-on" projects, I am growing and learning in ways I wouldn't have thought of before. I'm growing into my "hands-on" self. It's all good.


Laura


Edited to add: We also read other books to each other daily. Right now we're reading Treasure Island, and Ella Enchanted.
 

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I am so crabby LOL but in my heart there is homeschooling ***period***

Under the umbrella of homeschooling THEN falls the labels unschooling, eclectic, distance learner, child led, school in box, charter, charlotte mason, montessori, waldorf, moore etc and so on.....

to divide up methods then say these are homeschoolers and then these are unschoolers and then these are the charters or isps etc IMHO does the homeschooling community a disservice
( I didn't always feel this way but over the last several years have come to this)

if you are homeschooling then you are homeschooling by jimminy and it really does not matter exactly how your family chooses to go about this and it limits us more then helps to label your style/method

i am SO tired right now I should not be posting --- but I hated that quiz and thought it was truly totally stupid
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Vanna's Mom
to divide up methods then say these are homeschoolers and then these are unschoolers and then these are the charters or isps etc IMHO does the homeschooling community a disservice
( I didn't always feel this way but over the last several years have come to this)

if you are homeschooling then you are homeschooling by jimminy and it really does not matter exactly how your family chooses to go about this and it limits us more then helps to label your style/method
I am coming to feel this way as well. In some situations, since the homeschooling methods/philosophies vary so greatly, it is helpful to be able to say that we're unschoolers so that people don't have visions of us sitting at the kitchen table with our textbooks open for four hours a day. At the same time, I have also felt boxed in by the label, and trying to live up to it. From here on out, we're just "homeschoolers" and people can take that for what it's worth
 

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On the other hand... I don't feel like I'm philosophically similar to people who school-at-home, especially those who do so for religious reasons. We're all about more freedom, and they're all about more control - we're really opposites, even though we both fall under the heading of "homeschooler". I feel a much stronger kinship with those who send their children to a democratic school, or another similar alternative school.

It's sort of like - I take a fairly strong barbituate for my migraines. Other people take similar drugs for fun and recreation. Technically we're all barbituate-users, but we're really not at all similar.

Clearly there is a gray area, but still...

Dar
 

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IME it could very well be the child thrives on doing more of a school at home routine and **needs** it the us vs them mentality does not do anything positive for homeschooling as a whole

I want to stick up for the school at homers here, more power to you school in a boxers
that is not a second choice style but a very valid way to provide an education for a child think about how many of those school at home kids tested high and made the national statistics in the 80s-90s we **all** use to support & defend our homeschooling today

the wonderful freedom to homeschool comes with great responsibilty hand in hand
it is not a control issue as a parent to decide the family style to go about this

I will defend anyone's right to homeschool as they wish, but they better not go judging me as controling for buying boxed curriculum if that is what i decide is best for my child
(cause I have not had enough coffee and chocolate today to not get really pissy)
Mary
mom to ds15 1/2, ds10, ds7, an dd 4 1/2
 

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I agree with Dar's comment about there being similarities but also a gray area there. Homeschooling does encompass alot of different approaches to learning. I do not care what approach a family decides to use, but I feel strongly about the one that *my* family uses
Educationally, I do not have anything (or much) in common with school-at-homers.. even though we both have kids at home and not in school. We are unschoolers, and that term or label.. means and describes something. I don't use the term as a weapon or to be divisive, but to explain what we do and how we do it
Kristi
 

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Oh yes, divided they are.. which is unfortunate. I hope to really keep the group that Ive started in my town free of that kind of stuff. I dont care either what style you use.. have fun and learn and all that jazz!
Kristi
 

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CL I am with you on this
and I am sick to death of the prejudices that some homeschoolers are expressing these days I am hearing a lot of 'my way is the best way' train of thought

with my four children I am doing four dif things and even those four methods/styles are dif then the method/style we did with them 3 yrs ago and also dif from what we did 6 yrs ago

my ds that is unschooled has a LOT in common educationaly with his brother that is using curriculum and thriving on it
some hsers do not want to accept that or can not fathom that cause they have not seen it happen under one roof

I have heard the worst stuff coming from unschoolers I know who do not realize our family is not totally unschooling which has really really soften my heart & opened my eyes to the school in a box folks and how much pure gossipy junk they hear about how their method is not the greatest for kids

to answer the OP original ? of

Isn't unschooling simply child-led learning?
I would say no it is more then that.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Vanna's Mom
IME it could very well be the child thrives on doing more of a school at home routine and **needs** it
If a child wants to have a routine he can have a routine, and still unschool. When Rain is in rehearsal for one show and another is still running, her days are really quite structured and we have to have a pretty tight routine. There's nothing about unschooling that says someone can't have that kind of routine with reading, or spelling, and algebra.

However, I also think people tend to give up on unschooling and say it "doesn't work" for a child very quickly sometimes. I also think some parents have expectations about what unschooling life will look like, and when they're children aren't doing those sorts of things they decide that unschooling doesn't work for that child. It is okay, and natural, for kids to spend large amounts of time doing "nothing", and to feel frustrated and unhappy sometimes as they figure out what they want and need to do. They may even ask for more formal schooling, because it's uncomfortable to have that much freedom when you're not used to it. And the parent who secretly wanted unschooling to look at least somewhat academic will be secretly relieved to have a reason to deide that unschooling isn't right for that child.

A paent who is commited to unschooling will tend to look at the underlying issues, and try to create the academic structures the child says he wants in a way that still leaves the child in charge of his own education.

Quote:
the us vs them mentality does not do anything positive for homeschooling as a whole
Frankly, I believe that some forms of homeschooling are more damaging to children than most forms of school. I'm not really interested in doing anything positive for people who homeschool as a control tool. I mean, clearly it's their right, but I don't work to support them any more than I work to support the local Christian schools - I have friends who send their kids there, but until they ask my advice or opinion I stay uninvolved - just as I do with people who school at home.

Quote:
think about how many of those school at home kids tested high and made the national statistics in the 80s-90s we **all** use to support & defend our homeschooling today
You may use test scores to support or defend homeschooling, but please don't try to speak for **all**. To defend homeschooling by pointing to high test scores would be completely against my beliefs.

Quote:
the wonderful freedom to homeschool comes with great responsibilty hand in hand
it is not a control issue as a parent to decide the family style to go about this
What is it, then? You want to control your child's education, no? You want to decide how and when and what he learns, and who will teach him?

Quote:
I will defend anyone's right to homeschool as they wish, but they better not go judging me as controling for buying boxed curriculum if that is what i decide is best for my child
It is your right to educate your child any way to see fit. It is my right to distance my educational style from traditional school-at-home homeschooling, because I think the differences are far more important than the similarities.

Dar
 

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since I have one that seems to be pretty much unschool style
I have the unschooling handbook I just try to give ways to find answers when he asks, let him paint when the mood strikes, etc....
but I still have some of that hang up in the back of my mind and sometimes dh does too.....
 
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