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I'm new to this concept, can someone help me out? I think I was unschooled if it means just letting your kid learn of their own volition.
 

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If you do a search on this forum you'll come up with a lot of great answers already posted and also read the monthly unschooling thread. I was new to it to before I joined this board and am quickly becoming a convert. What an authentic way to enjoy and raise a child.
 

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Unschooling, to me, is about learning that comes from my interests and desires (as opposed to what somebody <i>else</i> thinks I need,) according to my developmental needs as *I* determine that from listening to my heart and body, including how and when. When that's allowed, learning happens exactly when it needs to, it is as efficient and powerful as the learner needs it to be, it is joyful, and it is entirely relevant to the learner. It supports the self-confidence and self-motivation that exist naturally in us from the beginning. School methods and schedules and expectations put a drag on all these things, sometimes to the point where it drags them under, never to be seen again. These are the truths I've found in unschooling (after deschooling) myself.<br><br>
Unschooling is about knowing that, with freedom, people will choose what serves them most. We are self-serving creatures. We are born with an intense curiosity and need to take in information about the world, and with the drive to grow and develop and become stronger and more skilled. Walking and talking are incredibly complex developmental processes, but young children persevere steadily, single-mindedly, until they accomplish that, all without being prodded and nagged and guided. Without being told "you need to learn this for your own good."<br><br>
Recently we got scooters for the kids, and on a long walk I decided to try one out. Running through my head: Gee, this is... harder than it looks. It really works certain muscles, doesn't it, ah, ugh. Am I doing it right? I wonder if I look silly? I wonder if people are laughing because I can't do it very well? I guess I'll give it a rest. My two-year-old daughter was also trying, although it was way too big for her and she had to strain to reach the handlebars and hold it steady. Running through her head: nothing. Over and over and over again she stumbled. Yet she kept working on it, the entire lengthy stretch of road, delighted with the learning <i>in itself,</i> having no conception of what the goal should be or look like. At two years of age, she has more self-determination and belief in herself and ability to be in the moment than I do at 40. It is a beautiful thing to see, and I want to continue to see it as she studies the stars, or builds a fort, or learns to code a webpage, or makes music, or starts her own business. And I know that's possible -- we don't naturally lose it -- because I'm starting to regain it by being mindful of the conditioning and myths about myself and learning that I've been brought up with.<br><br>
Unschooling is about knowing that I -- and by extension my children -- already know how to create <i>my</i> best life, and that I know that better than anyone else. It is incredibly freeing and empowering to no longer believe falsely (as I was taught by implication) that others are the experts on me. For me to study biology and physics is not inherently more valuable <i>for me</i> than to watch Animal Planet and read a book on metaphysics, sorry. The arrogance of adults to make those decisions for others honestly astounds me. And makes me very sad.<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;">Just say no to school years and school schedules and school expectations, school habits and fears and terminology. Just say no to separating the world into important and unimportant things, into separating knowledge into math, science, history and language arts, with music, art and "PE" set in their less important little places.<br><br>
Most of unschooling has to happen inside the parents. They need to spend some time sorting out what is real from what is construct, and what occurs in nature from what only occurs in school (and then in the minds of those who were told school was real life, school was a kid's fulltime job, school was more important than anything, school would keep them from being ignorant, school would make them happy and rich and right).<br><br>
It's what happens after all that school stuff is banished from your life. -Sandra Dodd</td>
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Really enjoyed the post above fourlittlebirds... thanks.<br><br>
Ive got some definitions of <a href="http://theparentingpit.com/about/quick-definitions/" target="_blank">unschooling, radical unschooling and the like here</a>.<br><br><b>If I had to summarise, for me unschooling is a very hands on process of being hands off.</b> Contradictory I know...<br><br>
Why do it? For me it takes the respect that I have for my children to its natural consequences and then some. It also is based on seeing life as an adventure of learning through experiences and self empowerment.<br><br>
I used to be a university lecturer and unschooling is such a welcome relief after all the "teaching", competitiveness and rewards/ punishments (grades) of that system. Now learning can be about learning rather than about getting "high distinctions" ... Knowledge can be interesting for its own sake and take you in any direction based on the the next question rather than what "the curriculum" dictates...<br><br>
We've found that unschooling has opened up the world us... and to do it for me has required a massive personality transplant which in itself has been a marvellous and worthwhile adventure.<br><br>
I do not think it is for everyone and each person has to find what works for them... but we are loving it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
arun<br>
_____________________________________________<br><br>
| anne + arun |<br><b><a href="http://www.theparentingpit.com" target="_blank">http://www.theparentingpit.com</a></b>
 

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I started out doing school-at-home, because it was the only way I thought you could do school, and, like most hsing families, we've drifted over, quite quickly, to the unschooling end of things, because, it simply works waaaaaaay better for us.<br><br>
The example of how unschooling works for us that I like to give is when ds was 11, in grade 6. We still do a little bit of structured work, I've found that balance works well for us. We had read Treasure Island together, and I asked ds to write a short paper, maybe a paragraph or two, creating his own island. Thought this would be a day or two, we'd move on to something else.<br><br>
Ds decided that he wanted to know exactly where his island would be, so he took out every book in the library on plate tectonics, so he would be able to place his island on a hot spot. He put it in the Indian ocean, at the subduction zone of two plates.<br><br>
He then decided he needed to figure out exactly when his "island" would have separated from the mainland, and where it seperated from, in order to populate it with plants and animals. He figured it would have broken off from Indonesia, and would have been increasingly isolated by distance. He then took out every book he could find in the library on animal and plant evolution, South East Asian plants and animals, histories of the region, a Bahasa Indonesian/English dictionary (from the assumption that Indonesia would have been the main trading partner for this island, and the language would bear most resemblance to it for simple economic reasons.)<br><br>
He read about ecology and biosystems in order to understand what ecological niches would exist on a volcanic, unstable and isolated island. He populated it with marsupial cows and other kind of animals that tend to survive in isolated regions. He delevoped a 200 word vocabulary for their language, based on what words he thought would be most important (they wouldn't need a word for snow, for example, but living on an active volcano, they would probably have many words to describe lava.)<br><br>
He developed a cuisine for the island, after reading through many books on edible plants, deciding which could have existed on the island before it broke off, which could have been transported by birds, trade winds or currents, etc, and which could have been introduced by trade.<br><br>
He wound up spening nearly his entire year, off and on, working on this island. There is no way I would have put together a curriculum like this for him, and even if I did, he likely would not have become interested in it the way he did when it was self-developed. I have tried to replicate this project. This year I asked him to develop a planet, thought it would be right up his alley. He couldn't be less interested. He wants to fish (and reads through books, magazines and online articles about techniques, microclimates, river and lake ecology, fish and water life biology, etc.) and wants to learn to build furniture (he's designing a folding chair, and now wants to learn physics, to understand the forces he'll be dealing with in designing this, and a basic drawing program, to be able to sketch out his designs, as well as realizing that he needs to hunker down and formally study math in order to actually build anything.) Again, I could never have planned this for him, and what I <i>had</i> planned bored him to tears.<br><br>
This is what I mean by unschooling works better for us. It's not about being totally hands off, in fact, when I'm not available to bounce ideas off, talk things through with, go to the library and on resource hunts, and basically share what he's doing, he does a lot less of anything. Unschooling, to me, means exploring the world and sharing it with people you love.
 

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For our family, Unschooling is a natural extention of Attachment Parenting.<br>
I have a video series on YouTube about Unschooling if you are interested.<br><br><a href="http://www.UnschoolingAmerica.com" target="_blank">www.UnschoolingAmerica.com</a> (the videos are on my site)<br><br>
our family blog: <a href="http://www.thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com" target="_blank">www.thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com</a><br><br>
~Peace & Love, Dayna
 

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Everyone has given great answers about what but here is my why. I was a natural learner as a child. I LOVED to learn, I loved to explore and discover my world. I lost that in school and through enforced education. I had to rediscover it when I was an adult. I decided early on that I wouldn't do that same thing to my children. I do all I can to allow them their own learning experience and to support and validate their path. It was hard at first to balance the need for outside societal approval (worry if I am doing it right) with the need to follow my heart and my children. Now it is much much easier to just follow my heart and forget about what others think. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Wendi
 

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To me unschooling is first and foremost, following your child's lead. Allowing them to lead their own learning.<br><br>
-Angela
 

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<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>fourlittlebirds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8165888"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Unschooling, to me, is about learning that comes from my interests and desires (as opposed to what somebody <i>else</i> thinks I need,) according to my developmental needs as *I* determine that from listening to my heart and body, including how and when. When that's allowed, learning happens exactly when it needs to, it is as efficient and powerful as the learner needs it to be, it is joyful, and it is entirely relevant to the learner. It supports the self-confidence and self-motivation that exist naturally in us from the beginning. School methods and schedules and expectations put a drag on all these things, sometimes to the point where it drags them under, never to be seen again. These are the truths I've found in unschooling (after deschooling) myself.<br><br>
Unschooling is about knowing that, with freedom, people will choose what serves them most. We are self-serving creatures. We are born with an intense curiosity and need to take in information about the world, and with the drive to grow and develop and become stronger and more skilled. Walking and talking are incredibly complex developmental processes, but young children persevere steadily, single-mindedly, until they accomplish that, all without being prodded and nagged and guided. Without being told "you need to learn this for your own good."<br><br>
Recently we got scooters for the kids, and on a long walk I decided to try one out. Running through my head: Gee, this is... harder than it looks. It really works certain muscles, doesn't it, ah, ugh. Am I doing it right? I wonder if I look silly? I wonder if people are laughing because I can't do it very well? I guess I'll give it a rest. My two-year-old daughter was also trying, although it was way too big for her and she had to strain to reach the handlebars and hold it steady. Running through her head: nothing. Over and over and over again she stumbled. Yet she kept working on it, the entire lengthy stretch of road, delighted with the learning <i>in itself,</i> having no conception of what the goal should be or look like. At two years of age, she has more self-determination and belief in herself and ability to be in the moment than I do at 40. It is a beautiful thing to see, and I want to continue to see it as she studies the stars, or builds a fort, or learns to code a webpage, or makes music, or starts her own business. And I know that's possible -- we don't naturally lose it -- because I'm starting to regain it by being mindful of the conditioning and myths about myself and learning that I've been brought up with.<br><br>
Unschooling is about knowing that I -- and by extension my children -- already know how to create <i>my</i> best life, and that I know that better than anyone else. It is incredibly freeing and empowering to no longer believe falsely (as I was taught by implication) that others are the experts on me. For me to study biology and physics is not inherently more valuable <i>for me</i> than to watch Animal Planet and read a book on metaphysics, sorry. The arrogance of adults to make those decisions for others honestly astounds me. And makes me very sad.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> B.R.A.V.O!!
 

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We do it because we have two very driven and self-motivated kids who resist being led and who have a lot of independent interests. I am their facilitator so I read to them, take them places, answer their questions and even introduce them to things. By "introducing them to things", I mean that I take them to places or expose them to ideas that they haven't discovered on their own. The thing is, however, that I don't have specific expectations of them and I am not operating off a "must know" agenda. It's working pretty well for us so far. My kids are enthusiastic about most things that they encounter and they are addicted to museums. We have a lot of fun together and they learn all the time. They also teach me a lot and introduce me to things I wouldn't have otherwise investigated.
 

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I just found this article today and thought it was pretty good.<br><br><a href="http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/sandra_dodd.html" target="_blank">http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/sandra_dodd.html</a><br><br><br>
I unschool because I don't think dividing life into subjects to be mastered is a good way to learn. Everything in life is interconnected. So I think that kids should learn in a connected way. I also think it's more important to learn how to learn than an arbitrary list of what a 8yo should learn.
 

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<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>UnschoolingAmerica</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8167442"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For our family, Unschooling is a natural extention of Attachment Parenting.<br>
I have a video series on YouTube about Unschooling if you are interested.<br><br><a href="http://www.UnschoolingAmerica.com" target="_blank">www.UnschoolingAmerica.com</a> (the videos are on my site)<br><br>
our family blog: <a href="http://www.thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com" target="_blank">www.thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com</a><br><br>
~Peace & Love, Dayna</div>
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I shared your videos with some friends. i really like what you have to say--very useful when trying to explain what i do (or don't<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ).
 

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<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>alegna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8167547"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">To me unschooling is first and foremost, following your child's lead. Allowing them to lead their own learning.<br><br>
-Angela</div>
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Yep--Angela, you are the most succint person ever! Thanks for your responses<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 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>dillonandmarasmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8173791"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yep--Angela, you are the most succint person ever! Thanks for your responses<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/tiphat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Tiphat">:<br><br>
-Angela
 

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