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Thread: Un-schooling Discussion

  1. #1

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    Default Un-schooling Discussion

    This thread is for an open discussion on the learning philosophy unschooling. Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that rejects compulsory school as a primary means for learning. Unschoolers learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction (definition from Wiki).

    There are a few BellyBelly members who have selected unschooling and there are many more who would like to know what unschooling is all about. Please use this thread to explore options, ask questions, discuss the philosophy and bounce ideas off other members. Anyone is welcome to share an opinion or ask a question, from either side of the debate.



    As per BellyBelly guidelines, there is to be no insulting or flaming other members. This thread will be moderated closely and inappropriate behaviour will result in a warning or infraction, accompanied by an immediate ban from this thread.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Background for my question - my sisters and I were homeschooled for high school. 2 or 3 times a year, someone from the Education Department would come out and check on our work, see what level we were at, and just generally make sure we were learning and not slacking off, lol.

    Does that happen for unschooling? If so, how do you ensure your child is up to a certain level?

    I have friends who homeschool and others who unschool, and I like both styles. I think unschooling appeals to me a bit more, being more individually led, but my mind keeps throwing up barriers like the one above. Hopefully I can get some questions answered now!
    Last edited by Astrid; March 29th, 2014 at 06:26 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I have a question/comment....unschooling was discussed amongst a group of us recently. One in the group, a qualified teacher, homeschooled her children for a number of years, they now attend school. Her comment was that 2 of her children have learning difficulties - so unschooling totally suited them as the education system doesn't cater for them (yet they are now attending school) and that her boys will never learn to read or write no matter if they are taught at school home or forced to learned they will never learn to do it.

    So is she right? Does unschooling suit the child with learning difficulties? And maybe not specific to the topic, but is there really no hope for some children to learn to read and write in 2014?

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Having no personal experience, I think it would be better, simply because the parent can give the one on one time that the child requires. I remember reading Lucy's blogs about homeschooling Cyclone and finding the things that worked for HIM rather than what the class was doing, and how much better he did.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Different states have different requirements for homeschooling. In schooling is still educating at home, often parents will do I schooling but then show the dept of Ed what they have been doing eg. Dd went on a horse tangent so in her scrap book she drew them she researched them had excursions to a farrier, talked to xyz.. So parent then links each of these to different curriculum aspects... It is following the kids lead and encouraging them to find out as much as they can/want on each topic of interest.

    Ps the example is not my DD, just an example

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Bumperstump Cummerbund View Post

    Background for my question - my sisters and I were homeschooled for high school. 2 or 3 times a year, someone from the Education Department would come out and check on our work, see what level we were at, and just generally make sure we were learning and not slacking off, lol.

    Does that happen for unschooling? If so, how do you ensure your child is up to a certain level?
    Yeah, it's still just a style of home education so the same rules apply. It's different in every state though, e.g in Qld you need to send in a plan at the start of each year for them to approve. At the end of the year you send a report and work samples showing how the child has progressed. So if you unschool it can be a bit tricky depending on the child but people still make it work.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Un schooling or homeschooling may suit kids with learning difficulties better than mainstream school - although I don't know about any research one way or the other.

    As for whether there is no hope - kids with LD have perfectly typical intelligence, but struggle to pick up reading and wiring skills it doesn't mean they can't learn just that they find it harder. They learn differently than typically developing children. An LD doesn't go away, so in some ways yes, there is likely to always be a difference between them and everyone else - even in adulthood. But it doesn't mean it's a hopeless cause or that we should give up - because some kids find some great strategies and they work really well for them. Perhaps that's why some people have found home or unschooling better for their child.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I would like to begin with a disclaimer that our family unschools but I am not an authority on unschooling, all views and answers given are from my knowledge, perspective and experience with the topics and not intended to be seen as anything more than that. I will do my best to address things in this thread not because I feel I have to but because I am passionate on the topic, I enjoy writing and I wish to share with others in the hope it might benefit them in some way; this might not always be done in a speedy fashion as my time will always be prioritized to my family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bumperstump Cummerbund View Post
    Background for my question - my sisters and I were homeschooled for high school. 2 or 3 times a year, someone from the Education Department would come out and check on our work, see what level we were at, and just generally make sure we were learning and not slacking off, lol.

    Does that happen for unschooling? If so, how do you ensure your child is up to a certain level?
    All home education falls under the same legal requirements regardless of the method or philosophy that guides it (except distance education which is not technically homeschooling as you are still enrolled to a school you are then accountable to them and they are accountable to the Government). The requirements vary depending on state so it is hard to give a simple answer to your question but you can unschool in all states of Australia and satisfy the legal requirements. If it is something somebody is serious about pursuing then I can point them in the right direction for information about their state. NSW is generally regarded as the most difficult state to satisfy home education requirements and that does involve home visit interviews as well as the drafting of plans and reports. Victoria is generally regarded the easiest and requires parents to simply sign a form expressing their intention to home educate each year. I am from QLD which is somewhere in the middle of those.

    You do not need to ensure your child is at a certain level. In essence, when you need to provide documentation, you need to demonstrate they are provided with a rich and encouraging learning environment and making progress individual to them in eduspeak. In my state there are a number of different guides and forms you can use to plan and report offered both by the Government and by people and organisations outside of it (some are more suited to unschooling than others) or you can draft something up yourself. The national curriculum is available for anyone to access and utilize in this process.

    How I keep records is mostly photographically, it is just a really quick way of doing things. I also jot down notes during the day when I have a chance (usually quotes from my children, other things I can generally remember simply from the photos) and I journal at night. I also keep a portfolio for each of my kids that is usually organised by a theme or central idea (so Ancient Egypt or Life Cycles or Space). These are not specifically for legal requirements, they are for personal use firstly but when I look back over those things I am able to get a clear idea of what my children are learning and line it up with the national curriculum. Samples of work can be anything a child has done; writing can be from a shopping list or a letter or labeling pictures for example and it can be photographed rather than an original copy.

    I am currently unregistered as prep is not compulsory in QLD so you do not register until 6.5yrs of age but it is something I am prepared for and have seen others go through. It is a lot more work than having a set curriculum you are following to show them but it is definitely not impossible and in my mind worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ausgirl View Post
    Does unschooling suit the child with learning difficulties? And maybe not specific to the topic, but is there really no hope for some children to learn to read and write in 2014?
    I think children in an unschooling environment are supported to reach their potential, whatever that potential may be and therefore, it can suit any child because it is meeting them where they are at in a way that suits and speaks to them (that isn't to say that schooling might not also suit them). I do know of families with children who have special needs who unschool. Health professionals such as OTs and speech therapists can be accessed by anyone as needed and there are support groups online where information about the most suitable ones can be found (ones that will support and account for the fact a child is unschooled).

    There are people who are hearing impaired or sight impaired or who have low muscle tone or things such as dyslexia that can impact the difficulty of learning to read and write so are there people who might never be able to do so? There are probably some cases where those issues are significant enough to prevent reading and writing. But no hope is not a concept I am fond of, I always try to have a lot of hope and optimism in life and I think cases like that would rare. Being 2014, a person who cannot read or write does have options that will enable them to have a full and successful life regardless.

    Outside of that, I think generally speaking a child who is surrounded by literate people and a culture that contains words will develop a desire to understand those things and be able to achieve that with support. Our eldest daughter (5) is beginning to work the whole thing out little by little, it doesn't always look how it would within a school setting; one of the biggest ways in which she has begun to decode language is through researching different pokemon - bulbapedia has a database of gifs that demonstrate moves pokemon possess and as she knows what a lot of moves look like already she can use those to figure out the word. More and more she can recognize the words without having to visit the gifs. Reading is less required to progress in a home environment so there is less of a rush to achieve it or a road block if you have not. There is a saying "learn to read then read to learn" and that does hold some weight in a classroom setting where a teacher needs there to be a certain level of independence in the cohort to get through the required work with everyone but at home I can be available to my daughter to read her books or spell out words and she isn't in a position yet where she needs the ability to read to further her learning.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I've been mostly schooled, partly homeschooled and partly unschooled. Prefered the unschooling - without it, I would have been a dropout. Would love to unschool, but have to work so can't. I do my best in the summer hols to unschool after the first week ("recovery week") so we can learn together and enjoy.

    Quick question - what do others do for language learning? I'm planning a short jaunt to France and maybe to Austria, as Liebs has some French and says he would like to learn German now, but how do I start him off? My German isn't that good so it will help me too.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by The Flying Butter View Post
    Quick question - what do others do for language learning? I'm planning a short jaunt to France and maybe to Austria, as Liebs has some French and says he would like to learn German now, but how do I start him off? My German isn't that good so it will help me too.
    Depends what your son enjoys doing really and how motivated he is to learn. You could start with introducing food or music or art, set a cultural tone and atmosphere. There's books or you could get one of those computer programs if you think he will like that. Or just browse the web, watch YouTube tutorials and that sort of thing. Or attend a class together? You could go around the house together labeling things with sticky notes. You could watch shows with english subtitles on. Play memory matching the other language word to an English word or picture. All sorts of things.

    You don't need to think of how to introduce something in an unschooling way, any path to learning can be unschooling if it is travelled by choice. Just offer ideas and resources without expectation and support him through the ones that resonate best.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    DS had a girl in his class in Canberra who home schooled 3 days a week and did 2 days a week of Italian immersion. To do that obviously you need to be near a bilingual school that is prepared to accommodate you but I'm sure there are other ways of harnessing outside help.
    An au-pair or nanny who uses the language, there are lots of language playgroups, we listen to language CDs in the car.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I like book learning, he doesn't. Hence the need for help! We do words and phrases already, but not much more. Liebs isn't much into reading stories in other languages either.

    I will look into DVDs etc, but here the other languages are usually Danish, Finnish and Israeli, so have to keep searching!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    When I was learning German I watched a lot of Inspector Rex lol. Not sure what age group that would suit though, been a while since I've seen it.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by The Flying Butter View Post
    I like book learning, he doesn't. Hence the need for help! We do words and phrases already, but not much more. Liebs isn't much into reading stories in other languages either.

    I will look into DVDs etc, but here the other languages are usually Danish, Finnish and Israeli, so have to keep searching!
    My DD is using websites she found via google to learn some Japanese. Google is your friend.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by nothing2lose View Post
    My DD is using websites she found via google to learn some Japanese. Google is your friend.
    Which reminds me, there is one called 'duolingo' which is free and apparently good (I haven't used it).

  16. #16

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Just asked DD. She uses Travel Linguist.

  17. #17

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Duo lingo is good and free as well. Also while using it, you are helping to translate the web.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    FYI - 60 minutes is about to do a segment on unschooling.

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