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Thread: Un-schooling Discussion

  1. #19

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by ~ Zarava Flutterby ~ View Post
    FYI - 60 minutes is about to do a segment on unschooling.
    That was last week.


  2. #20

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by ~ Zarava Flutterby ~ View Post
    FYI - 60 minutes is about to do a segment on unschooling.
    Yes was last week but I did watch it on the website yesterday. Was only ten mins or so - not as sensationalist as I thought it might be, but not very informative either.

  3. #21

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by wysiwyg View Post
    Yes was last week but I did watch it on the website yesterday. Was only ten mins or so - not as sensationalist as I thought it might be, but not very informative either.
    Yeah, I thought it was actually ok. Thought it would be way worse like whenever they do a story on attachment parenting and make us all out to be crazy hippies, lol. Was very short for a 60mins story though! There is an extra bit on the website about the socialisation question too which I'm surprised they didn't include.

  4. #22

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heaven View Post
    Yeah, I thought it was actually ok. Thought it would be way worse like whenever they do a story on attachment parenting and make us all out to be crazy hippies, lol. Was very short for a 60mins story though! There is an extra bit on the website about the socialisation question too which I'm surprised they didn't include.
    I think it helped that really the only bit I thought really 'out there' was letting 5 year old stay up till 3:00AM, but that was in the US (and my brain tends to disregard a lot of stuff from there, maybe wrongly). I tend to believe that adults and children do better overall in life if they are awake more in daylight hours (this is probably to do with my views on the importance of connection to the outdoors, as is more difficult to be outdoors at night).

  5. #23

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I thought the 60minutes segment was alright. It was pretty shallow and short and there were comments all through it that I thought needed to be expanded on lest they be misconstrued. But it was fairly balanced.

    The Martin family is pretty extreme, I think they skate a little too closely to permissive parenting personally from my exposure to them. When Joe spoke about being on a trampoline at 3am, I was just thinking well that isn't going to help anybody connect with the idea of unschooling lol. If that happened here it would be rare because it would need to be agreeable to our whole family and respectfully done to those around us in regards to noise etc, I can't imagine it being feasible often at all. An example from my home though is the other night DD1 woke up at 9pm and we watched an episode of pokemon we intended to watch earlier (she fell asleep waiting for me to settle DD2 at about 5pm) and then we both went to bed but I was already up and intending to be up for longer, if it was 3am then I would have explained it was 3am and I needed my sleep and we could watch first thing in the morning (and a similar thing has happened before, DD1 was fine about it and went back to sleep no issue). My needs are also important and sleep trumps watching things, DD1 understands that concept even at her age. I don't worry about her taking advantage of me because she doesn't have to, when I can say yes I do and when I say no it is for a valid reason that I can explain to her. Now conventional parents probably wouldn't be letting their kids get back up like that but it's possibly more understandable than being on the trampoline at 3am whenever they want to. Maybe lol.

    If people want to learn more about radical unschooling I generally aim them in Sandra Dodd's direction as I think her take is a bit more realistic and respectful to all family members and the community (plus she just has a stack of available information for free gathered not only from her but other long-term well respected unschoolers). I don't think it is ever a good idea to just let kids do whatever they want, whenever they want and I don't think that is what radical unschooling is about.

  6. #24

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyfish View Post
    The Martin family is pretty extreme, I think they skate a little too closely to permissive parenting personally from my exposure to them.
    Agree. And I would have liked them to make it a bit clearer the difference between unschooling and 'radical unschooling' which is obviously what that family does.

    I think this post from 'Learning Happens' explains what unschooling is like for most people really well.

    Unschooling is not ?Child-Led Learning?


    by Pam Sorooshian


    I do not refer to unschooling as ?child-led learning? and I encourage others not to use that term because I think overuse of it has led to some pretty serious misunderstanding of what unschooling is really like.
    The term, ?child-led learning,? does emphasize something very important ? that the child is the learner! I couldn?t agree more. However, it also disregards the significant role played by the parent in helping and supporting and, yes, quite often taking the lead, in the investigation and exploration of the world that is unschooling.
    On an unschooling email list, someone once asked if it was ?okay? as an unschooler to ask if her child wanted her to read to him. She expressed concern that that was being overly leading ? that she should wait for him to ask her, if he was interested. In other words, she thought unschooling should be entirely ?child led.?
    Questions like this concern me because it is such a distortion and extreme position and far removed from the reality of the unschooling life that my family has lived.
    Unschooling is more like a dance between partners who are so perfectly in synch with each other that it is hard to tell who is leading. The partners are sensitive to each others? little indications, little movements, slight shifts and they respond. Sometimes one leads and sometimes the other.
    Asking a child if he wants you to read to him should not be thought about as any different than asking if he wants
    to go outside and play pirates or help you bake a cake or wash the dog or play a game.
    Unschooling IS very very often comprised of asking if the kids want to do something. That is a HUGE part of unschooling. (Caps for emphasis.)
    Unschooling is also strewing ? bringing ideas, objects, experiences, opportunities of all kinds into their lives. We don?t force them. We don?t force them. But we certainly offer. And we often recommend, too. And once in a while we say, ?I think you should?.?.
    Unschooling is not child-led learning. Neither is it parent or teacher-led. It is child- focused. It is child-considered. It is child-supporting.
    When someone asks if it is okay to ask if their kids want to read with them, I am really worried that they are taking a far far too hands-off approach ? a wait-and-see approach ? sitting back and waiting for the kids to come up with ideas of what they want to do. Unschooling parents are very involved in offering the world to their child. There is an art to knowing when to back off and when to step up and be actively involved, but even when kids are busily pursuing an interest on their own, unschooling parents are paying attention and readying themselves to offer enhancements or extensions or alternatives, etc.
    Calling it ?child-led learning? gives the wrong impression. It leads to people thinking unschooling means waiting for a child to tell the parent, ?I want to do math.? That?s not at all how it works.

  7. #25

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heaven View Post
    Agree. And I would have liked them to make it a bit clearer the difference between unschooling and 'radical unschooling' which is obviously what that family does.

    I think this post from 'Learning Happens' explains what unschooling is like for most people really well.
    Thanks for that post Heaven - that is a good explanation - it is what I understood from my limited reading on the subject.

  8. #26

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    A lot of the comments I read after the 60mins thing showed that people really just didn't get it at all. Thinking that the parents did nothing and the kids learned nothing. I actually think unschooling is much harder and requires a lot more effort from the parent than if you were to homeschool with a curriculum. There's no guide for you. Unschooling parents have to be constantly on the ball, looking for the learning in everything, finding ways they can encourage and extend their kids learning, ready and motivated to answer questions always, etc etc. That's a pretty tough job! Such a fun one though imo

  9. #27

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heaven View Post
    I actually think unschooling is much harder and requires a lot more effort from the parent than if you were to homeschool with a curriculum.
    This is exactly why unschooling isn't for us. I think it's a great option for some families and kids and I love seeing it work, but I feel like I couldn't teach my kids enough. I would like to do it, but I feel like the standard is high and I would be constantly worried that I'm not doing enough for my kids. I mean I can come up with things to do for part of the day, but to try and have them learning and doing the activities I've seen, I don't feel like I could do it. I totally respect those of you that do.

    As for the 60 Minutes show, I get that they want to represent both sides of a story, for and against. I thought the Australian families were wonderful "for" stories. But for the against, I thought the Dr was quite useless. He had no backup for his opinions that it was bad. Just "the kids won't learn to read and write". Why not? And the American family were on the very extreme end, I think the way JF and Heaven explained about it not being child-led was good. I think they're much more into permissive parenting, letting they're children make every decision. Sometimes kids just don't know enough yet to make the right decision.

  10. #28

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I'm sure you would be awesome at it Teeki, if you decided it was right for your family! IMO it's really about teaching them how to learn, and fostering a love of learning. As long as you know how to learn, how to find information you're after, then you can learn anything you want these days! Information on anything is so easy to find now. It's a huge responsibility though and it was really scary to consider at first. I mean, I am solely responsible for their education at the moment. eek! But no one loves them as much as I do, no one is as motivated to see them do well as I am, no one knows them like I do, so I am the right person for the job. It doesn't matter if sometimes I don't have the answers, we have fun finding them out together. The more I thought about it, the more I felt it was right for our family, and so I couldn't let fear stand in the way. I kept thinking I only get one life with them. They only get one childhood. So I had to do the same as what everyone else does, choose what I thought was right for my child, even if it wasn't the norm. So far I must say, it's pretty damn awesome. I actually expected negative comments when we told people we would be home educating, but I have had nothing but positivity from friends and family who see what our life is like which is nice!

    Oh, I totally agree about the 'expert' on 60mins. Just because you're an 'expert' doesn't mean your opinions are right if you can't back them up with research. I didn't hear him mention any research? I heard him talking about unschooling on the Morning Show too and he said something about kids not being programmed to learn reading and maths without a trained teacher, and that learning to read and write is the hardest thing a kid will ever do. I just laughed. My DD1 who has just turned 5 is learning to read and write. She is reading short beginner books now and writing phonetically. She also loves maths. She taught herself to skip count by 2s, 5s, and 10s by playing with her abacus. Even DD2 who is 3 does basic maths. Of course they are motivated to learn these things! It's part of everyday life!

  11. #29

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Teeki View Post
    This is exactly why unschooling isn't for us. I think it's a great option for some families and kids and I love seeing it work, but I feel like I couldn't teach my kids enough. I would like to do it, but I feel like the standard is high and I would be constantly worried that I'm not doing enough for my kids. I mean I can come up with things to do for part of the day, but to try and have them learning and doing the activities I've seen, I don't feel like I could do it. I totally respect those of you that do.
    It's a big responsibility but it is definitely way easier than it sounds/looks/seems! There is so much information and support out there too which helps a lot. And I think it is much simpler than committing to the schedule and requirements of school personally. I would find it so hard having the bulk of my interaction with my kids during the week be centered around school; getting up and ready and to school, the afternoon routine and homework, getting to bed 'on time' and even more so if these are things the child is resisting. Kindy days were always kind of stressful for us and that was only a couple of days a week. Now we are busy but we aren't rushed and it makes all the difference.

    I always seem to have quite a lot of free time really. I think a little bit of preparation goes a long way and what you see of people's lives (FB, blogs, whatever) is always just a snapshot. Say the art explorations I set up; that would be once or twice a day, maybe 10minutes to chuck together and then the kids might play with it about an hour and then 10-15mins cleaning up (and I just throw everything in the shower - kids, paint brushes, string, sponges, rocks, whatever we have used so I don't really have to do much there even). My kids are up around 8am and in bed around 6pm so with 10 awake hours that's a pretty small portion of the day! A lot of time is spent outside - climbing, bike riding, jumping on the trampoline, running around and kicking a ball, looking for insects or rocks or sticks or leaves, water and sand and mud play - all things that I don't really need to have much input in. Then they spend a lot of time just playing together - setting up farms, pretending to be superheroes, puzzles, musical instruments, doll house, lego, marbles, trains, blocks and they have free range of a lot of art supplies that I don't need to help them with like glue and collage materials, water colours (I just refill their water at the end of the day or maybe once in the middle if they've been particularly busy there), textas and pencils and crayons, tape and scissors, playdough so I could be spending a lot of time doing other things or just watching, I kind of like playing though so I do a bit of that haha.

    You do sort of settle into a natural rhythm and it actually flows very easily. And you play to your strengths too I think, mine is art and conveniently my girls take to it also but there are so many other great ways people connect and learn with their children, you just have to find it and tap into it. Actually little cute story, DP and DD1 were playing with their new blocks and DD1 asked what he would like to make and he said he wasn't sure, that he wasn't really creative like this like mummy and you and DD2 are, that he was creative with food, in cooking and so DD1 said well, use that, let's make food with the blocks -- and that's just what you do, you find your thing (and your kids) and you use it to explore other things.

  12. #30

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Oh and I think a little bit of worry is normal, it keeps our choices in check to rethink whether it is working out at times. And I do worry at times, I'll look through our photos and think oh DD1 hasn't really done much maths lately then I remember she was dividing food portions for the family or ruling out squares to cut for her tesselation art or measuring her height and DD2s and figuring out how much taller she is and I realise how much math there really is in living and exploring the world and how she enjoys figuring things out, how easily she works out what might help her do that and that those are important steps in the process, that she is learning a lot not only from using math to solve problems but identifying the problems to solve too.

    But it is hard when you're doing something so unchartered, when I don't know whether they'll read at 5 or 10 it makes school look like a nice map of comfort for those things sometimes but I also think the price paid for that can be quite high. Higher than I'm prepared to risk.

  13. #31

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyfish View Post
    But it is hard when you're doing something so unchartered, when I don't know whether they'll read at 5 or 10 it makes school look like a nice map of comfort for those things sometimes but I also think the price paid for that can be quite high. Higher than I'm prepared to risk.
    I feel the same. At first it was the opposite and I felt home educating would be risky because it all depends on me and what if I get it wrong! And then the more I read, and the more I saw it worked, and the more confident I became that I could do this I felt that school would be the more risky option because I am putting their education in someone else's hands.

  14. #32

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Teeki View Post
    This is exactly why unschooling isn't for us. I think it's a great option for some families and kids and I love seeing it work, but I feel like I couldn't teach my kids enough. I would like to do it, but I feel like the standard is high and I would be constantly worried that I'm not doing enough for my kids. I mean I can come up with things to do for part of the day, but to try and have them learning and doing the activities I've seen, I don't feel like I could do it. I totally respect those of you that do.
    My thoughts are a little different, I don't worry that I couldn't teach my kids enough, but more that the range of what I would teach would be more limited to my own areas of interest and what I know exists. The whole you can't know what you don't know type of thing. As an adult I am always discovering things I never knew existed e.g. I work for a tractor company currently, I had never heard of them, now I know them I see their tractors everywhere. My concern would be that my 'filter' on the world would be too narrow - one thing about education outside of the home is that they will meet and be involved with people I don't know in any way and will be quite different to us - in terms of interests/backgrounds etc - so they can be introduced to things I know nothing about and have never even thought of, some of these things may not be good things but I like the chance nature of it.

    JF - I think you said in other thread about unschooling families can have both parents who work - how does that work and what sort of jobs can they do?

  15. #33

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by wysiwyg View Post
    My thoughts are a little different, I don't worry that I couldn't teach my kids enough, but more that the range of what I would teach would be more limited to my own areas of interest and what I know exists. The whole you can't know what you don't know type of thing. As an adult I am always discovering things I never knew existed e.g. I work for a tractor company currently, I had never heard of them, now I know them I see their tractors everywhere. My concern would be that my 'filter' on the world would be too narrow - one thing about education outside of the home is that they will meet and be involved with people I don't know in any way and will be quite different to us - in terms of interests/backgrounds etc - so they can be introduced to things I know nothing about and have never even thought of, some of these things may not be good things but I like the chance nature of it.
    I guess the thing with that is that we can access the national curriculum so are able to introduce our children to those things that come standard with school. Things that they might have been exposed to in school outside of that (from classmates and teachers and the cultural/interest/lifestyle diversity and such), well that's still a lucky dip from school to school and child to child (who and what they'll be around and what they'll pick up from it and be inspired to pursue from that too). I think out in the world there is just as much chance as in the classroom of stumbling across things, I mean you went to school and are still discovering new things, I went to school and am still discovering new things so that's kind of normal right? No method is going to be able to cover every single thing out there. So I don't expect I'll be able to bring everything into our field of vision during our time unschooling (but then I know a school experience has its own limitations in that also) but being motivated and curious I think goes a long way so those are things I try to maintain in myself. And I get ideas from the other people we meet and they get ideas from us, there is still an exchange of interests and culture within home educating communities (both physical and online) who are far from a homogenous group. We were at the park the other day and stumbled into an African drum circle, you go to the library and notice a new book about Japanese cuisine and start trying to replicate some, you hear a quip on a TV show relating to some historical event you are unsure about and look into it further, in or out of school there are so many ways in which a desire to learn about something is sparked and it is kind of unpredictable what will and won't stick. It does involve being very interested in the world yourself I think and taking the time to notice things and make connections but after a while it becomes so second nature and just happens and your kids bring a lot to you too, they have all sorts of bizarre thoughts and questions I'd never considered before.

    JF - I think you said in other thread about unschooling families can have both parents who work - how does that work and what sort of jobs can they do?
    It would be difficult to both work a standard 9-5pm monday to friday schedule though I do know one family where the dad works that and the mum is a part time teacher; you can use family daycare, have a nanny type person employed or have family members involved (or a combination of that), I'm not sure how ideal that would be but it seems to work for them. Otherwise just working different schedules, I actually find a lot of people drawn to home educating already work irregular sort of hours; DP works 3pm-7pm most days (so you can imagine how well that would sync up with school and why we were inspired originally to find something different) so I could find a job that would fit around that if needed. I know a lot of families have one parent as the main worker on a more regular standard schedule then the other does more freelance type jobs - photography, artists, writers, make-up artists (like for weddings and photoshoots type things), celebrants - or more casual things like selling on ebay/etsy/markets or maintaining a blog or things like Tupperware just for a little added income. There's nightfill or keeping books for a company or working from home might be an option for some. A lot of trade type jobs begin early and finish early so the other parent could work something in the later part of the day/night. It kind of depends what you're working around and what skills you have and also how much family time you are prepared to give up for a second income.

  16. #34

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I thought the same as JF. If I'm worried they're not learning what they're supposed to, the australian curriculum is online for anyone to see so I can always check. I went to a private school myself and don't feel I was exposed to people from different backgrounds at all :/ And I'm not sure my kids would be either if I sent them to school because I can't choose which school (they're zoned) and the local one doesn't fill me with confidence. Depends on your lifestyle and where you live I guess! I also thought about the fact that there are things that I wouldn't even know to introduce them too because I don't know them, but then realised it's the same at school. They don't get introduced to everything in the world. Just whatever they decide to include in the Australian curriculum. And then when you're older, like you said wysiwig, you learn whatever you need to get along or whatever you're interested in. And the questions my kids come up with about things, LOL, all I need to do is follow that and I end up learning about totally random things that I never even would have thought of anyway.

  17. #35

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    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    I wanted to mention something that really concerned me about the families that appeared on 60 Minutes. The children that were homeschooled all had problems with literacy and numeracy. The only ones that didn't were the girls that had gone to mainstream school for a few years before being unschooled. Does this concern you?

  18. #36

    Default Re: Un-schooling Discussion

    No, I'm not really influenced by such a small sample size shown briefly on a TV show. Shows like that usually focus on the top and bottom percentiles as it is more dramtic/shocking/controversial. There was one still struggling to read and write, there was one with a PhD. I think you'll find that most are somewhere in the middle of that, much like in school settings.

    It is something I am mindful of, it is something I pay attention to and consider when building our environment at home because of course I don't want them to have problems that could have been avoided but I can see numeracy and literacy developing in my children and that is what is important to me; their stories, not anybody else's.

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