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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What does unschooling mean to you? Do you just set them free to roam and play? Do you place books in their path and encourage them to read? Do you ever do any subjects together, like "hey, want to do some math with me?"
 

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DS wakes when he wants...goes to sleep when he wants...plays computer when he wants....very laxed here...this is my 13 y/o.....not much structure at all.....he loves it!!!
 

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We pretty much go to sleep together, wake together etc. some days are more adventurous then others. She pretty much asks to do stuff, math or cd roms we have. Hanna has been writing in her diary lately. We are very relaxed but I do suggest sometimes, and she either goes for it or doesnt. but it works for us<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br>
good luck<br>
heather
 

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We just wake up each day and live our lives, together and independently. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We don't really set aside time to do math or science. Though I would be willing to help in any way I could if one of the kids decided they wanted or needed to do that.<br><br>
We just read, play, watch TV, go places, work, eat, have hobbies, etc.
 

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Yes, I let Rain remain free, but I'm also there with her much of the time, because we live together and enjoy each other's company. I don't do subjects with her (unless she asks) or encourage her to read or place stuff in her path... like Unschoolnma said, we "live our lives, together and independently".<br><br>
Our level of structure varies... it depends on what Rain wants to do. Sometimes she has a pretty tight schedule, other times we just hang a lot.<br><br>
dar
 

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I most definitely pick out books to introduce to the kids. I take opportunities to expand upon a topic. If they are interested, great. If not, well, I toss it aside and move on. I come up with field trips I think they would like and research classes to present as options to ds. He is just turning 6yo. As he gets older I expect that he will be taking more of the initiative in these things, but for now he doesn't really know what his choices are so I give him options and see what interests him.<br><br>
I don't say "let's sit down and do math" but I do have certain things around. We get these monthly activity kits that he likes, and each one contains a workbook centered on the theme, but is basically a standard workbook with math and reading pages. I keep it in the car, and when we find ourselves waiting for ds2 to wake up, we pull it out and do some of it until he is bored. A few weeks ago I got a bunch of free math manipulatives from a hs'ing mom, and I plan to find a good spot for those to put out for him to play with. I sometimes do little things from the books Games for Reading or Games for Math by Peggy Kaye. But I never force anything that he's not interested in.<br><br>
I do often say "hey, pick out a book and let's read" - usually when he's bugging me to turn on the tv again because he's bored.
 

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We live life and take advantage of opportunities as they come. We are very relaxed, and free from set schedules. If they want to do some math,or whatever,we do it. Otherwise we just see what the new day will bring.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I most definitely pick out books to introduce to the kids. I take opportunities to expand upon a topic. If they are interested, great. If not, well, I toss it aside and move on. I come up with field trips I think they would like and research classes to present as options to ds. He is just turning 6yo.</div>
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This is us and my oldest is about to turn 6 too. Most of our days are spent with them playing. We have some interesting conversations in which we end up looking things up (because I don't know the answer to whatever is being asked!). When they get stir-crazy, I take them places I think they will like (field trips). I buy books that I think they will like. I check out class options (my oldest likes art classes). I expand on topics. I do have math workbooks available but there's no expectation and they are used sporadically. Both my kids are incredibly strong-willed (which is how we ended up with unschooling) and they are great at letting me know if I should back off. I would never be able to lead them somewhere that they didn't really want to go. Again, they are so strong-willed and they have their own agenda. But also, they're pretty enthusiastic, so if I said, "Hey, does anyone want me to read a book?" or "Does anyone want to go out to (insert location)?", they usually say, "YES!!"
 

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It's just like having a two year old dragging you around making you move things that are in his way or hand him things that are out of his reach <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> .<br><br>
We don't have much of a social support system built up yet so I do take ds places a lot that are mostly my decision based on his interests. I will just say "we're going to a new playground, today" and we'll load up and go. I'm not actually asking him what he wants to do with every little thing, just filling needs as I see them. I'll also pick up things that I think he would be interested in. Much of this is simply because he is so young, can't read, can't get places on his own, or figure out what's available. And, of course, if he doesn't want to go someplace I tell him about, I don't "make" him go.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UnschoolnMa</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7973879"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We just wake up each day and live our lives, together and independently. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We don't really set aside time to do math or science. Though I would be willing to help in any way I could if one of the kids decided they wanted or needed to do that.<br><br>
We just read, play, watch TV, go places, work, eat, have hobbies, etc.</div>
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This is exactly how we are. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We just live life too. No set schedules. My kids are 18, 9, 7, 5, 3, & 9 months and so everyone has a different set of interests. We like being together & helping each other out. I pretty much just follow MY passions & let them follow theirs. I like to let them see me doing what I love to do. It encourages them to do what they love to do. I'm here to help them whenever they need it.
 

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For years we were very unstructured and capricious. It seemed to work well. I'd read about other families where the parents would say "he seems to thrive with structure" and after I got past my skepticism about whether the structure was serving the child or the parent's need for order and compliance, I'd think "interesting -- how would I know if that were the case for my kids?"<br><br>
My kids have always been basically happy, but they do tend to get "locked into" activities. They have a hard time leaving something they're involved in and will often spend whole days or weeks focusing on just one or two things. Which is great, except that increasingly they were discarding or becoming frustrated with things that, for them, didn't really take root well with an intermittent full-on focus. Things like arithmetical skills, musical instrument skills, physical fitness, gardening, dog-training and such.<br><br>
In the past year we've evolved (collaboratively -- child-led and parent-facilitated) a rhythm to our days. Besides our structured out-of-home activities like music practices, lessons and sports practices, this rhythm all falls into the evening. The kids practice their instruments right after supper. Then they do whatever they'd like, although I'm available for assistance with project work, cooking, sewing, hands-on science, whatever. At 10 pm I call the younger three for math. Wonder of wonders, they enjoy doing it and half the time they come eagerly. Sometimes they whine about the transition from whatever they're doing -- but they've made it clear at family meetings that they want me to over-rule their temporary complaints. And so we do math together for 20 minutes, and then read some historical fiction, biography or science for half an hour, and then we have an open-ended discussion about our day and whatever is on our minds. Then bed.<br><br>
My eldest doesn't want this kind of collaborative structure. She doesn't do a very good job of organizing her own days and often ends up regretting that she has avoided doing things she thinks she should have done, instead staying locked into something else. That's fine. She's getting plenty of opportunity to discover what doesn't work, and I'm here to assist with creating structure if she eventually decides she wants it.<br><br>
So different kids -- different amounts of structure. It's all unschooling to me, 'cause they've chosen it.<br><br>
Miranda
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UnschoolnMa</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7973879"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We just wake up each day and live our lives, together and independently. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We don't really set aside time to do math or science. Though I would be willing to help in any way I could if one of the kids decided they wanted or needed to do that.<br><br>
We just read, play, watch TV, go places, work, eat, have hobbies, etc.</div>
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This is us in a nutshell. The only time I get teachy is on long car rides. Questions come up - history, science, ethics, whatever - and I take advantage of my captive audience to ramble on. And on. And on. DD12 puts on her headphones and cranks up the tunes after 5 or 10 minutes. YoungSon,11 keeps asking questions, which only encourages me. He'll figure out how to shut me up before too long.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's neat thanks for sharing but of course I have the classic question-- it is obvious that the basics of what one needs day to day will be addressed, and some of their interests, but what happens if at 17 they decide they want to do something that they are not qualified for, like major in physics when they haven't properly mastered algebra, something like that?
 

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Then they learn it. Rain apparently mastered K-12 math in 3 months without much effort, or at least she mastered enough of it to get a decent score on the SAT.<br><br>
dar
 

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To me, unschooling is mainly about two things: encouraging my kids to follow their interests and not forcing them to do schoolwork. (There are a lot of theoretical and philosophical underpinnings to those things, but in practice, these are the most visible ways that we "look different" from other types of homeschoolers.) We are not whole-life unschoolers. My kids have chores that they have to do, they have bedtimes, and we limit tv and computer time. I absolutely introduce ideas to my kids and invite them to do certain things with me; indeed, I am not sure how we would be able to live together as a family without these things happening.<br><br>
dm
 

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Us too dharmamama. My kids are expected to help make the household run & do all the chores to facilitate that. We also live on a farm, so there are outside things as well. Our large family couldn't function if we didn't all work together to make it happen. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>illinoismommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7971558"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What does unschooling mean to you? Do you just set them free to roam and play? Do you place books in their path and encourage them to read? Do you ever do any subjects together, like "hey, want to do some math with me?"</div>
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Unschooling means I don't have requirements about what my kids will learn/study. It means I don't give them assignments or tests. They are free to roam and play, but that doesn't mean we don't all make suggestions to each other.<br><br>
Knowing someone is interested in Japanese history, for instance, if I see a museum has an exhibit on Japanese hx, I'll likely say, "Hey, do you want to go to this?" I would not, otoh, decide that it's "time" for my dc to learn about Japanese history and "make" them go.<br><br>
If there is an activity that *I* think is interesting, or that they might like, I'll bring it up, even if no one has yet expressed an interest in it. "This might be fun, do you want to sign up for it?" but it's okay if the answer is "No."<br><br>
We do do things together, but I've tried hard to stop myself from thinking in terms of school subjects, so I can't remember ever saying, "Hey, want to do some math with me?" I HAVE said, "Hey want to build a birth bath with me?" or "Hey want to go for a walk with me?" But since we've started unschooling I've made a conscious effort to not think of learning in terms of academic subjects.<br><br>
As for needing to know certain info, as Dar said, they learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. Just like we do as adults.<br><br>
Any structure to our days comes mostly from outside sources--classes or committments that we have outside of our home. Generally, we talk on a daily basis about what everyone wants to do the next day and them we make a plan that would let everyone do what they want to do.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dharmamama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7984205"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I absolutely introduce ideas to my kids and invite them to do certain things with me; indeed, I am not sure how we would be able to live together as a family without these things happening.</div>
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I think all unschoolers do this. I would hope so, anyway...<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mama in the forest</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My kids are expected to help make the household run & do all the chores to facilitate that.</div>
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Expected to as in required to, or as in, you expect this will happen? Rain's not required to do stuff like this, but I certainly expect that she will, because she always has... and she expects that I will, too, except that right now I am totally snowed under with school stuff (so why am I on the computer? I'm, um, working on a powerpoint) and not really pulling my share of the load, and she's been sick so she hasn't done much, either... so the house is rather a pit. OTOH, the animals are cared-for and most of the dishes are done and we have coffee, so I guess it's okay for now...<br><br>
dar
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Expected to as in required to, or as in, you expect this will happen? Rain's not required to do stuff like this, but I certainly expect that she will, because she always has... and she expects that I will, too,</td>
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Dar, this is really an interesting topic for me because it's something I've been thinking about for a long time. You know, for the longest time I had just one child. My oldest girl was nine before I had her next sibling, so for 9 years it was just she & I. Our life felt so different! With just the two of us when we made messes it was so easy to clean up. Or, it didn't need to get cleaned up until whenever we felt like it is more like how we ran it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> And when we wanted to go somewhere.....it was so easy to pick up & go spontaneously. Back then we didn't have a farm either so those chores weren't a factor. She & I had a wonderful time doing whatever we liked whenever we liked it. She liked to help out with simple chores but she had no requirements to do any particular thing. I guess you could say we were definitely whole life unschoolers. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Now that I have six, it's different. The mess that is made is absolutely tremendous. I mean, injury could take place! (and does <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) The mess in the kitchen from just eating a meal is like a tornado came through and uprooted a giant vegetable garden, then distributed it all over the floors & counters. And that's not counting messes made throughout the house from various projects & games.....toys....geeze my 5 year old and his side kick partner in crime 3 year old brother can trash a room in under 5 minutes without trying. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> With some jobs, I can allow the natural consquences of not doing it present iself. But there are chores that are not optional, and for those particular things I will insist.<br><br>
It is often a struggle for me mentally. In many ways I want to be that mom that I was when I had only one child...but with a larger family I'm finding I do have to guide them & maybe there are times I require things of them.
 
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