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Hi,<br><br>
Lots of threads about unschooling all of a sudden!<br><br>
Here's the thing. If I homeschool (or continue to hs- dd#1 is only three so right now it's just homepreschool or is it prehomeschool? :LOL ) I will pretty much have to unschool to some extent because dd#1 is super duper strong willed and you can't MAKE her do anything.<br><br>
I've been looking into unschooling just preliminarily and it's brought up some interesting, and embarassing, feelings that I wonder if others share..... And if so, how do you deal with these feelings?<br><br>
How can I explain to others how great my kid is, if her greatness can't be measured by a test? or an "acheivement"? What if she doesn't end up going to a "good" college? or college at all? What if she joins the circus or becomes a bus driver?<br><br>
Or maybe my question is: What if I can't point to anything concrete as MY acheivement for having raised her that way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"><br><br><br>
I spent my childhood and most of my twenties jumping through scholastic hoops and getting patted on the head for it. In retrospect I think most of it was useless and that I didn't really "learn" anything, only how to get self esteem through beating other kids on tests.<br><br>
So, it's not so much that I beleive in school.<br><br>
But there's so much societal weight placed on scholastic acheivement, and the things it supposedly produces- how can I ignore that?<br><br>
(Please understand that I think my child is fantastic. It's just hard to imagine standing alone against my family and everything I grew up with. I know a lot of people have done it- I just don't know how to be that brave.)
 

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I don't have older kids, so please don't mind my newbie thoughts here.<br><br>
Wrt society noticing things about my kids, the concrete "proof" or whatnot...<br><br>
I hope that, when my kids are teens, that they will stand out for being open-minded, self-driven and enthuastic about learning. If they chose to join the circus <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mischievous.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="mischief"> , I hope that they will just have something about them that is dazzling, that being a joie de vive (did I spell that correctly? too tired to google). Most older kids and teens I know/have known seem to be grumbly about most things related to learning; most seem pretty anti-intellectual and burned out. If any "proof" exists with my kids, I hope that it will just be their attitudes about life and learning. I've met a few people like that before and they were just dazzling and really cool.<br><br>
This is independent of school, but easier to do without school I think, but I hope that my kids will not follow the crowd. I pride myself on not being a follower, but it did hurt me socially in school. I want my kids to be critical thinkers; those people, too, stand out.<br><br>
But honestly, I just don't care if anyone notices anything. Because I'm not doing this to show an end-product (not saying you are, just thinking out loud). I don't have to prove anything to anyone. It's like AP. I am attracted to homeschooling, not so much for end results, but because it feels right for my family. I do it because it feels good, not because I am trying to achieve something with it. It's more about the means than the end. I'm tired so I'm not saying this really clearly. Unschooling appeals to me because it seems to fit with our dynamics, not so much because I'm anticipating an end result with it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommyofshmoo</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How can I explain to others how great my kid is, if her greatness can't be measured by a test? or an "acheivement"?</div>
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<span>There are always going to be people that can't see success or learning or mastery or knowledge unless there is a high test score or grade attached to it. It's burned into our society in a way that most can't/won't get away from. The good news is that what those other people think just don't matter. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> It can be a tricky thing to stop caring or relying on both test scores and other people to see your (or your child's) education & learning as good enough...but once you do it's a great freedom.</span><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;">What if she doesn't end up going to a "good" college? or college at all? What if she joins the circus or becomes a bus driver?</td>
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<span>What is a good college really? Is a good college one with a big fancy reputation and high tuition? Or is it a place that a person is happy to be attending, learning from, and meeting their own goals? Both of my children plan to attend our local community college. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
If she joins the circus she will no doubt have many fun experiences, work hard, make many children happy, and travel. If she becomes a bus driver she will still travel (though shorter distances I suppose), help people get from point A to point B, learn her regular passengers names and watch kids grow up on her route. (Can you tell that one of the routes in my town had the same driver for years and years? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ) Successful living, or "being a success", doesn't mean only being a doctor, lawyer, rocket scientist, or something similiar. It can just as easily look like being a sanitation worker, a janitor, a food service employee, a factory worker, and so on.</span><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;">Or maybe my question is: What if I can't point to anything concrete as MY acheivement for having raised her that way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"></td>
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<span>Oh but you can. You can point to her knowing herself, and that she was strong and took charge of her life & what she wanted out of it.</span><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;">But there's so much societal weight placed on scholastic acheivement, and the things it supposedly produces- how can I ignore that?</td>
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<span>Well you could go my route which consists of just plain refusing to give a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/censored.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="censored"> about what society thinks about this. It's your family. Also you can know your stuff about why you don't think test scores and grades matter at all, and indeed often are harmful. It's harder for people to argue when you can immediately lay out why you think what you think.</span><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;">(Please understand that I think my child is fantastic. It's just hard to imagine standing alone against my family and everything I grew up with. I know a lot of people have done it- I just don't know how to be that brave.)</td>
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<span><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I totally understand. Unschooling is not something that many people get. It can be a lonely branch to stand out on.<br></span>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommyofshmoo</strong></div>
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Or maybe my question is: What if I can't point to anything concrete as MY acheivement for having raised her that way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"></div>
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I totally know what you mean.<br><br>
I think that in our society, especially the more mainstream corners (although I see it on these boards, too, although not on the Learning at Home one really), parents are measured by their children's achievements, and being a "good student" is a biggie out there. Parents talk a lot about their children's academic achievements - she's in the gifted program, he made the honor role, she got into a special program for this, and so on. I was raised in an upper middle class family and this was how my parents and their friends talked abotu their kids. There was some talk about "my kid scored 2 goals in his last soccer game", but academics were the biggies.<br><br>
It is easier with a 12 year old than it was with a 5 years old... I think parents of young children tend to be overly concerned with their children's achievements, and because all of the kids are doing pretty much the same things (walking, talking, potty training, dressing themselves, etc) it's easy to slip into a pattern of comparing. With older kid, though, they're all into their own things, and every kid tends to be doing something cool and unique...<br><br>
I would just take it a day at a time, and I have faith that it won't be an issue by the time your child is older, because she will be doing such cool stuff... stuff you might not consider cool now, but then you will.<br><br>
Dar
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Dar- It's good to know that it gets better, not worse.<br><br>
I suppose my questions are more rhetorical than anything else. I should also say that I'm not that brave...yet.<br><br>
I find it easy to stand up about stuff like extended nursing (hey- higher IQ, who can argue with that.) and co-sleeping (what the heck business of theirs is it anyway?)- but "acheivment" was a big deal in my family. Funny, though, the highest acheiver- money-wise at least- of us kids is probably going to be the kid who was the biggest "underacheiver" in school.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommyofshmoo</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hi,<br><br>
In retrospect I think most of it was useless and that I didn't really "learn" anything, only how to get self esteem through beating other kids on tests.</div>
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So your kids will have a different kind of self confidence. One that is real. Because of the freedoms you gave them to be themselves and pursue fully their dreams. That is what makes unschooling so totally wonderful and respectful towards the child. If only we all got to be raised that way.
 

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<i>disclaimer: we're relaxed homeschoolers rather than unschoolers because my kids are happiest with some structure.</i><br><br>
I've been thinking about this lately as I've gone through a run of being around around people (even homeschoolers) who were bragging about their kids' accomplishments. I really don't have anything to add to those conversations. My kids weren't the first to do anything, aren't the best at sports, and generally just don't do anything that I can brag about!<br><br>
My kids are amazing to be around. They are happy and fun and busy creating and reading and exploring and making messes and inventing new recipes and excited about trying new things. They love to help with the real work of the house, yard, and pets. They stick up for littler kids and they want to help people and animals. I think the thing that amazes me the most about my kids is just how comfortable they are in their own skins. With my kids, though, it's more the way they <i>are</i> rather than what they <i>do</i> that is so great (if that makes sense).<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;">How can I explain to others how great my kid is, if her greatness can't be measured by a test? or an "acheivement"?</td>
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honestly, I can't do it. It's not that I wouldn't like to be able to from time to time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">: it's just that my kids haven't given me much to work with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> People who know my kids and spend time with them can see it for themselves.<br><br>
(I always thought it would be fun to join the circus)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommyofshmoo</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What if she joins the circus or becomes a bus driver?<br>
I just don't know how to be that brave.)</div>
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What if, at 30, she says, "Mom, the courage you showed by educating me the way you did gave me the courage to follow my true dream--to drive a bus."<br><br>
The brave part is hard. I have not told my family of educators of our plans yet. DS is only three, why start debating it now? When the time comes, I am sure that I will be much-discussed, but by then I will have more ammo in my arsenal. The more I learn, the better my arguments become so that I can educate my family on my choices. It seems very parallel to my choice to homebirth--just give them little bits of evidence at time so that they can digest it.<br><br>
I plan to have my family read The TeenAge Liberation Handbook and Teach Your Own. If they want to debate anything in there, we will!
 

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hello <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><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;">How can I explain to others how great my kid is, if her greatness can't be measured by a test? or an "acheivement"?</td>
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you don't need to explain. observation and knowing your daughter will be evidence of her greatness.<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;">What if she doesn't end up going to a "good" college?</td>
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if she's following her heart and soul purpose, what does it matter? if she's happy and thriving and enjoying life, who cares?<br><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;">What if she joins the circus or becomes a bus driver?</td>
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that would be fun - do you see how amazing the performers are in cirque du soleil? and my dad is a bus driver <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> and paints on the side and lives a life that he enjoys.<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;">Or maybe my question is: What if I can't point to anything concrete as MY acheivement for having raised her that way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"></td>
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your achievment for having raised her that way is that you get to watch your daughter who is confident in herself, who follows her passion and her dreams and who is leading a contented life.<br><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;">But there's so much societal weight placed on scholastic acheivement, and the things it supposedly produces- how can I ignore that?</td>
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ignore it by not giving it any thought - seriously. if it's not important to you, why consider it?<br><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;">(Please understand that I think my child is fantastic. It's just hard to imagine standing alone against my family and everything I grew up with. I know a lot of people have done it- I just don't know how to be that brave.)</td>
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you fake it mama, until you ARE that brave, and then you will realize that being brave has nothing to do with it.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
you're on the right track,<br>
mandi
 

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Lots of good advice.<br><br>
Just wanted to add that, while I think it's a good idea for everyone to give up thoughts of, "What will people think?" I think it's imperative for unschoolers to do so.<br><br>
Traditional measures of success--test scores, college degrees, salaries, awards etc.--may or may not be relevant to an unschooler. The unschoolers I've seen and read about have an inner measure of success with questions along the lines of, "Am I happy?" and "Am I doing work that's meaningful to me?"<br><br>
So, while I certainly discuss the future with my kids, the overwhelming question for me is, "Are they happy right now?" I don't really care if others think we should be doing something differently--my kids' views about what they're doing is the only important thing.
 

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This is one thing I'm getting at in my Unschooling and Passion post, that being passionate about something(s) is what is valuable. If my Dd is someday a busdriver and feels passionate about that, that's a good thing. That's the best thing.<br><br>
My mother gets off on my PhD, but that mostly doesn't feel good to me because I'm not passionate about that. I worked for that for all the wrong reasons. I earned that because I felt like no one thought I was very smart (because I hated school and filled in patterns of bubbles on my standardized tests rather than trying to figure out the answers).<br><br>
I remember when I was a kid someone asked me what I would do with 3 wishes. I said I just wanted one, to be happy. I remember this boy arguing with me that I should wish for money, success, and fame. What?!! I remember thinking that was screwed up, but I couldn't explain why.<br><br>
DD wants me to read to her...
 

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It sounds like you are making that early wish come true. How insightful you were as a little person! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I remember when my oldest kids were babies, not being able to imagine parenting an older child. Well, when the time came, I didn't have too many problems with it, because I've grown with my children and they didn't go from being 3yos to 9yos overnight!<br><br>
I trust that by the time your child is old enough for kindergarten, you'll know what to say to your friends and family about homeschooling him for kindergarten. As he grows, you'll grow with him and continue to know what's best for him at each stage (with a lot of <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead"> before you have a growth spurt!)
 

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i am a wanna-be-hser once i figure out how i can do it as a single mom having to work for money. i was home with my dd till she was 2 and never realised i had actually started hsing -rather unschooling from when seh was about 16 months. her passion then was logos and i helped her with it. then it moved on to machines and i was there by her side. interest in garbage truck turned into recycling and visitng the dump and identifying the triangle. and it hasnt stopped. even though we hardly get any time together during the week she still brings up her passion and we explore as much as i can.<br><br>
i came from an exact scholastic background as u. my mom still doesnt know about my plans to hs my child. and i know she will be totally against it. partly because she lives in a different country where hs concept does not exist. and the rest of my family too. there are a lot of high and multiple degreed people in our family.<br><br>
but seeing the life i lead and all our family lead and what we got out of school has made me so determined that i am not going to do that to my dd that i am no longer afraid of fighting it. where 'testing' is concerned i am not concerned. perhaps rigth now my dd may not be able to answer typical age approp. questions because they are not her interest. but instead she will regail u with her knowledge of poop (her latest interest) - about how different animals and bugs have different poop. how ur diet affects poop... etc. to be able to talk about a subject in such depth should show achievement.<br><br>
there was a thread in TAO about 'is college worth it' ... and it really made me question my feelings towards college and my dd. and i finally realised how college really isnt. how as others pointed out it is so much important to have a passion. i would much rather have a dd who flips burgers for a living because she can be an activist for her environment rather than a dd who is a nasa scientist and hates every minute. if college is the way to reach her passion that is ok with me. but if college does not factor in her path then so be it. if she wants to be a rock climber with every pore of her being then so shall it be.<br><br>
i have seen or heard about so many children who were happy enthusiastic learners turn into indifferent unhappy v. dark older kids. to me i feel school plays a big part in that. for me that is reason enough to stand on my feet and fight those people back. for me probably the biggest fight is going to be with her dad.<br><br>
plus i also realise that no matter what family/people will always look at things their way and judge u. so no matter what u do they will always find fault. so if u know ur decision is right for ur family u just gotta defend ur position.<br><br>
for me it isnt a question of being brave. it is fighting to give my child the freedom to explore what she kind of person she wants to be as an adult. the picture i have in my mind of my child is not of an 18 year old but of a 30 year old. who takes on her responsibilities seriously, who survives ups and downs of life - if she reaches teh pit she suffers but also bounces back, who can deal with the highs and lows of life. she cares about people and things and fights for what she believes in. hsing in my opinion is one way of helping her with that.<br><br>
so when i look at the big picture i dont think about what my family expects out of my dd. plus even if she was in school i would not want her to be judged by how she scored in school - but for who she is. i dont want test scores defining what they think of her or me.
 
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