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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm an unschooler surrounded by very strict and scheduled homeschoolers. Now, if this works for you and your dc, great. It does not work for me. I like unschooling. I do like to participate in certain co-ops. My dc like to play with other kids and we like fun classes. I don't sign ds up for the math boot camp class for example.

I find that I don't really talk to the other mothers much. They all talk about text books, worksheets, workbooks, lessons, tests, levels, etc. One mom gives her son timed tests and grades them. Ok, that's what she wants to do. However, they all assume that my ds can read. He can't. He is just starting to read slightly. He is 6. I over heard someone exclaim shock talking about another child how couldn't read at 6. They talk about their "school day" times. I don't have a school day time. I don't get up and do math at 9, reading at 10, and writing at 11. I get up and ask my kids what they want to do. This morning we dried blueberries and ended up burning them. We went to the playground. My friend showed ds how to tie knots in a string and helped him make a bracelet from the string.

I'm so "out there" weird that I don't even fit into the local homeschool group.
 

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You've got mine. We are not incredibly supported around here. I'm still looking for a decent network of unschoolers in my area. It's hard, I know.

I wont put myself or my kids in a situation where there is a lot of pressure about learning xyz. My son was there already and thats why we're home now.
 

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You've got mine!!!
:

I was actually kind of surprised to read that there are whole clusters of people who "home school" in the way you described. So much of it is so unnecessary and unnatural IMOHO. But you never know - there may be someone else there who is more like you but doesn't talk much about it - I hope so. - Lillian
 

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My unschooling support comes from online too, except for my mom who does support me. I know no homeschoolers at all IRL (not yet, anyway, I do hope to meet some) but I think it would be a bit discouraging to only know strict school-at-home types. I don't mean this as a slam against those families-I'm sure it would be hard for a school-at-home family to only know unschoolers!

I just received my French homeschooling newsletter and there was a blurb in there about how most families agree that everyone's happier with a schedule and went on to give estimates of how much work is usually done for each age group. For ages 5-7 years it's 1-2 hours of schoolwork each day. I guess compared to school this isn't too bad, but it's really not how we operate at all. The email list topics often discuss correspondence curricula and how to deal with "the child who doesn't want to work". I feel like writing them about unschooling, but my DS is only 5.5 and doesn't read so I don't have a lot of credibility yet. In a few years I will write an article on unschooling and send it in!

I agree with Lillian that there might be a mom or two in the group who leans more towards unschooling but doesn't feel comfortable bringing it up amongst all the talk of worksheets, grades and timed tests.
 

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When we first started, I knew no other hsing families--of any type. We tried a couple of different groups, traveling quite a ways, and ran into the same thing you did. Unschooling was frowned upon, and since we were new, all I had to go on was my gut. Any support I got at that time, came from the internet.

Now though, we've found like-minded people irl and have cultivated an nice little support circle. We no longer belong to a group, but we do group activities with our friends and we regularly run into the same people at "homeschool days" and other events.

It took time though, and we went to a handful of organized groups and many more events sponsored for hsers. I also joined MANY online groups and periodically sent out messages with my kids' ages and a blurb about what they liked asking if anyone wanted to get together. Eventually, we found A, 1, (one!) other unschooler. And she knew someone else, who had this friend...and we got together at the park one day and we started exchanging e-mails. So, then when one of us heard of an activity, or organized an activity, we'd get the word out and soon enough we were running into the same core group of people pretty regularly.

We still hang out with all kinds of hsers, but I can feel my eyes glaze over when some start in with talk about schedules and making kids do their work and staying on grade level, etc. etc. It's nice to have others who "get" what you're doing and share your basic philosophy.

Are there any other groups that you could go to? Even if you connected with one other unschooler, it might be worth it and could lead to contact with others. Is there a hsing Yahoo Group for your area? Have you put any feelers out for unschoolers on that list? What if you started an unschooling list of your own and announced it on your area's YahooGroup--maybe some unschoolers are lurking and looking for others too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I knew there were great unschoolers here who would give me a pep talk.


Sometimes I wonder if I'm just lazy and making excuses by not following texts and a schedule. Well, maybe I am. I just follow my instinct and so far it's done well for me. I could say that laziness is one of the reasons I breastfeed and it's also happens to be better for my child.


I just don't want to force my ds to sit and work. If he wants to have me help him read we'll do it...if not we don't.

I was talking to another mom about how my older ds is constantly telling on his younger brother. It can drive me
: She asked me if he did it mostly during his school time. I was thinking "school time" what is that? Isn't the whole day school time and by that I mean don't kids learn all day just by being awake? I was confused and then she went on to say that her older boys do the same thing when it's time for "school." She says, "They just don't want to sit down and do their work. They are jealous because their brother gets to run around and play." I just told her that wasn't our situation and left it at that.

I can feel intimidated by some of them. One thing I've noticed is that the majority of the moms used to be school teachers. I wonder if that makes a difference.

As for meeting other unschoolers I usually put my feelers out there when I talk to someone. I like it here too.
 

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LOL! Here's my funny antedote:

At the library a mom asked my 10yo ds and my 3 1/2 yo ds to leave because they were being too noisy! Well my oldest was helping my youngest pick out books in the board book section of the children's section of the library! They are allowed to be there aren't they? Toddlers don't have to be silent as the grave but they shouldn't be running around screaming either.

Well this mama was doing workbooks with her children and giving them tests! She was in the toddler section of the library!?! I told my sons they could pick out a book and she was just unhappy that she didn't have the library to herself anymore. (I was helping my oldest dd look up books on the computer.) I figure if the librarians don't shush us then we are behaving okay!

Mama I don't do scheduled schooling at certain times either. Since we have therapy for my youngest twice a week we don't do much school (what others think of as homeschool LOL!) on those days. I don't tell anyone.

I don't have any homeschool friends because they are school-at-homers ime and we have nothing in common. You are not alone! (Even most home school magazines aren't for me; the only a-day-in-the-life stories that resemble mine are the moms who sort of unschool because they have preschoolers!)

Sincerely,
Debra, homeschooling mom of 4 ages 10, 9, 7, and 45 mos
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe View Post
I just follow my instinct and so far it's done well for me. I could say that laziness is one of the reasons I breastfeed and it's also happens to be better for my child.
Here too. And I slept with them because it made breastfeeding easier, and we all got more sleep. I don't think of it as being lazy--but "easy" yes. and easy isn't a dirty word.
You know, growing up, I was given the impression that anything worth doing took great effort. It if was easy, it wasn't enough. I think a lot of that is cultural and I often have times where I think, "It shouldn't be this easy." But you know, why can't it be? It's exactly those easy times when everyone is happiest, when we're in that state of "Flow" and we're at ease and peaceful. Struggles happen, sure, but struggling with something doesn't necessarily make it more worthwhile. I don't believe that, anyway.

Two of my three were not reading at 6. They all love books and stories and my two who read now are voracious readers. I'm sure my 6 y/o (almost 7 y/o!) will be a reader as well one day.

The people I've known irl who do school at home complete with assignments and tests seems stressed out to me. I hear them complain about not getting enough work done, about kids who don't want to sit, etc. etc. It's their choice, of course, but it's not the life I want.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe View Post
She says, "They just don't want to sit down and do their work.
: Okay, I'm in bed sick (with my notebook computer), so maybe I'm a little cranky - but I'm SO tired of the words "don't want to sit down and do their work"! "Doing their work" -
- as if people can't learn without sitting down and going through the school ritual called "doing work." I think we all have our lifetime quota of how much we can take of any one pet peeve, and I'm getting to the limit on that one...
:

And I don't mean to be critical of those who have bought this model, by the way - just frustrated with the system that's permeated everything...

Vent finished... - Lillian
 

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Ramona turned 5 on February 24th. My sister called that day to wish her a happy birthday, and because Ramona merely said, "Eyeball, eyeball, big hairy eyeball!" into the phone and then handed it to me, I ended up having the birthday conversation with my sister.

She said to me, "So are you going to start kindergarten now?" When I said no, she said, "Well, she is five now." I said yeah, but if she were going to school she wouldn't start K until August.

So, there is no danger that my sister would ever homeschool her son (she put him in the Goddard School when he was 6 months old because it's "educational" daycare) but I get comments like that from other homeschoolers too! Just recently someone at homeschool swim and gym said to Ramona, "What did you do for school today?" and Ramona looked at me with this completely confused look on her face, like, "Huh? Did we do school today? Are we supposed to be doing school today? What exactly is this thing called school, anyway?"

I'm surprised at the number of homeschoolers we meet who assumed that we are "doing" preschool at home.

I am lucky in that our homeschool group is very unschooler friendly.

Namaste!
 

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My worst unschooling attacks come from my own mom. It gets so frustrating to constantly try and defend our educational style. My mom is one of those "ultra scheduled" types. Thinking I should have my children up and dressed at 6:30 in the morning, with a strictly adhered to schedule all the way through the afternoon. We, however, like to sleep in (it is great when the children sleep to 10).
And my children learn at their own pace. My daughter that has had such a hard time remembering letters and sounds, could not read for a long time. Pressure frustrated her and caused her to shut down. However, after leaving her open to "read" books on her own and working with her "off handedly" (like gently correcting her when she read a letter wrong or helping her read big words by defining each sound and then moving on) she has taught herself to read.

I still get "your children don't 'do' school?" all the time from my Mom and other homeschoolers. I have even had my young daughter tell people that we don't do school, but that is only because Grandma has told her what "school" is. My children are just a smart and educated as their peers, however, they do not have to sit for hours on end doing paperwork.

My Mom just thinks "unschooling" meaning "NO schooling", and never wastes any possible moment to inform me or my children about that "fact".
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
My Mom just thinks "unschooling" meaning "NO schooling"...
I actually think of it that way too - no schooling - but that says nothing about learning and education, because all that happens at least as easily and naturally without schooling. Funny - John Taylor Gatto objects to the word "education" but feels fine about the word "schooling" - I guess it's really very individual as to how we react to the various terminology...
Lillian
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe View Post
I can feel intimidated by some of them. One thing I've noticed is that the majority of the moms used to be school teachers. I wonder if that makes a difference.
As a former elementary school teacher, I can honestly say both yes and no to this...
We are unschoolers, hands down. I do not plan to put any workbooks, quizzes, etc in front of my dc unless they ask me to. They are 4 and 2, so I am relatively new to this. But, I have followed many unschoolers' experiences and am part of a very unschool-oriented coop in my county. Most of the folks in my group quote Alfie Kohn, sit and bf their older kiddos, knit and spin wool, eat homegrown foods, etc--pretty all-around crunchy stuff...we absolutely love the time we spend with them!
I almost joined another group limited to my city, and I am so glad I didn't. As part of their Yahoo group for a time, I really felt t he undercurrents of curriculum and workbook-based learning. Not my thing.
My having been a teacher is exactly why my dh and I chose to unschool. For 6 years he listened to me complain and cry about how rote and dry public ed was/is becoming. When I left, I swore our children would not have to endure it...so here we are
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty
My Mom just thinks "unschooling" meaning "NO schooling"...
I actually think of it that way too - no schooling - but that says nothing about learning and education, because all that happens at least as easily and naturally without schooling. Funny - John Taylor Gatto objects to the word "education" but feels fine about the word "schooling" - I guess it's really very individual as to how we react to the various terminology...
Lillian

I guess it does go back to your own definition. My Mom's definition of "unschooling" or "no schooling" is a child that is illiterate, uneducated, and stupid (her words). And most of the people in my circle believe the same way.
 

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If the word is confusing people, try "natural learning" or "interest-led learning." Put that word "learning" in there and maybe they will back off.

(Mind you, you could just say, "Stick to your own biz, people! Get outta mine!" LOL)

KH, you have my support!!!!!!!!!

I have zero unschooling support outside of my husband. So I know what you're going through.

One night two years ago, after a great meal and some wine at my friend's house, my husband left early to take DD home. I stayed and had more wine and was settling down to enjoy some late-night chit chat. All the people around the table basically attacked me for homeschooling, saying my child was "weird," "not like other kids," and that I was ruining her life and didn't know what the hell I was doing. I was drinking so I easily burst into tears and had to leave. I will never forget how they all would not stop going on and on even when I asked them to change the subject, "let's agree to disagree" and get back to hanging out. Even later, my friend said, "If you are this emotional about it, maybe it's because it isn't the right thing to do."
 

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I have the opposite problem here. Local Home ed group here IRL and on the Uk online groups tend to be mostly unschoolers. I only have ONE mum that I see once a month, who also plans to use textbooks...the others don't use any at all. I don't recreate a school day at all, but we do have some structure and like to use textbooks and workbooks and follow a curriculum (more or less
)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
One night two years ago, after a great meal and some wine at my friend's house, my husband left early to take DD home. I stayed and had more wine and was settling down to enjoy some late-night chit chat. All the people around the table basically attacked me for homeschooling, saying my child was "weird," "not like other kids," and that I was ruining her life and didn't know what the hell I was doing. I was drinking so I easily burst into tears and had to leave. I will never forget how they all would not stop going on and on even when I asked them to change the subject, "let's agree to disagree" and get back to hanging out. Even later, my friend said, "If you are this emotional about it, maybe it's because it isn't the right thing to do."
That's horrible!!

I'm under the impression that we have a large number of unschoolers in our area but it seems like every time I'm at a hs event, the people around me are talking about curriculum and scheduled study times. People have asked me what curriculum I'm using and I get the impression that I get a pass because of my son's young age. It's kind of weird, however, to be on MDC and hear all the unschooling stuff and then to go to a RL event and hear folks talk about instructional tips. I met some Moms of very young kids at a hs park playdate (our kids were all 4) and they described unschooling as "a New Age thing", complete with eye-rolling. There were other things that were "off" about that particular date, however, like how one of the Moms disclosed her 4 year old's exact IQ. It was all kind of surreal. But I haven't seen those people at more recent events.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


I actually think of it that way too - no schooling - but that says nothing about learning and education...


Agreed. I think the reasons some people think of it as a negative is that unschooled kids may or may not have learned the same stuff that their schooled peers have learned. For anyone used to a rigid understanding of what kids need to know by X age, they end up concluding that kids who don't know the same info are uneducated--regardless of what else the child might know.

Until a short time ago, I was very vested in trying to explain this to people who didn't get it. I didn't care if others decided to unschool or not, but I wanted people to understand what unschooling was about and that it wasn't neglect or an advocacy of non-learning. I've given up though--I honestly don't think most people want to "get it."

So, I'm just going to live in my happy little unschooling world, and :nana: to those who think we don't do anything.
 

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I think it can be tricky finding the right real life support and a few good hsing friends. I had to attend a few meetings before anyone clicked for me. At first, I was upset that most folks seemed to use some sort of curric assisatance, and that felt bothersome to me. They *looked* so crunchy (most of them). I was nearly writing some people off. But what I found through time is that even people who might find comfort in a grammar book, for instance, were still very respectful and very unschool-y. I found really relaxed people who went with the flow, but used resources as needed...or if they felt a little worried.

I know many unschoolers don't have worries like that, and would never find comfort in a grammar book, or online history program etc. So I was filtering most of my rl experiences through what I had read on the internet on unschooling boards. Reading about someone's life is not the same as meeting a warm body, kwim?

One of my dearest hsing mentors and friends is a woman I didn't talk excpet to say hello for nearly a year. I had heard that she was using some Calvert. I figured no way did we have anything in common. Turns out, she and her children just refer to these things at times, if they have some questions or a bit of a struggle with something they are trying to learn. Its not school at home... the kids are super-creative,generous, kind, funny-- just gems to be around. They have such intellectual and emotional reedom, and excitement about life. I love being around them.

So perhaps it will take time, and as you learn more about these folks and get to know their kids, you might find what I found: that there is much to learn from each other, and there are far more similarities than differenes.

Good luck. People can hs without friends, but having friends im the hsing community is a joy for me.
 
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