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Thread: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

  1. #19

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginger View Post
    It's still interesting to watch. Even though I don't agree with it. I like watching the 'real housewives of Melbourne' even though I don't share their lifestyle.
    So the point of the smug smiley-face in the initial post was prompt inspired discussion of ideas? Or did you merely forget that this was a discussion board, and not your Facebook feed? Seems strange you would create an entire thread to mention how you felt an article, not yet aired, on a topic you strongly advocate against, would be "interesting" but then seem baffled as to why someone with actual knowledge in this area would take the time to offer their insight. I assume then, that you simply didn't realise that this was BB and not FB, where people may care what you find interesting without wishing to actually discuss it without being labelled as "defensive".


  2. #20

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Where was I baffled?

  3. #21

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    I haven't seen anything about it on tv, but I would like to see it. I'm disappointed though that it's on 60 Minutes though, I don't feel like they'll give a totally unbiased story. Their stories are usually sensationalised and they don't really show appreciation for anything deemed by the majority as 'normal'.

    Having seen what JF and her family does in a day/week, that's the type of thing I'd like them to go into with good factual information. I can easily say that anything JF's DDs are doing is far above anything I was doing their age at school! Where I never would have thought of it before, it's made me interested and while it's not a possibility for us, I wonder if showing it in the correct light would help a lot of families for whom regular schooling does not work and this could be the answer.

  4. #22

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Teeki View Post
    I'.

    Having seen what JF and her family does in a day/week, that's the type of thing I'd like them to go into with good factual information. I can easily say that anything JF's DDs are doing is far above anything I was doing their age at school! Where I never would have thought of it before, it's made me interested and while it's not a possibility for us, I wonder if showing it in the correct light would help a lot of families for whom regular schooling does not work and this could be the answer.
    Wow! Sounds like guy are doing awesome things Jellyfish. Even though I don't think I could unschool, I love hearing about what others do.
    If you could share some of this things you do, I would love to read it.

  5. #23

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    You see I see unschooling in a different way to JF, and in a way that the key philosophies of unschooling can be applied even if you send your child to school. I don't think it is an all or nothing approach at all.

    For me school is necessary because I want to work, is school the optimum method of education? probably not, will it be my childrens primary means for learning - no I don't think so - I don't think it was mine either.

  6. #24

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    I agree wysiwyg that the philosophies can be applied at home - you can engage with your children and their interests, help them learn things they may not have the opportunity to at school by taking them places, showing them things, and doing activities that extend their natural curiosities in a particular area (or two or whatever your kids like).

    But I think that's what JF is saying is active parenting - a lot of parents aim to teach their children in this way and encourage them to learn about things they're interested in. Could be sports for some, gardening for others, cooking for others. They might not learn it at school but you see the interest and develop it with your child, following their lead.

    Where this isn't unschooling though is because you are still utilising a structured learning space where it is more dictated what the children will learn (JF please feel free to correct me if this isn't right!). Unschooling means that all learning is child-lead, in all areas, and there's no influence from external authority figures saying "at this age/point in time you need to learn this, and you have this time frame to learn it in".

    That's my take anyway.

  7. #25

    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    I would love to sahbear but I just want to address wysiwyg first. Now I'm going to assume you mean radical unschooling which goes beyond education and into family life and parenting. If not hopefully this is still relevant.

    Now Teeki has the general idea there although we try to steer clear of the child-led analogies. It leads people to believe the parent role is quite inactive or the relationship is quite permissive (both inaccuracies). The problem with a child being in school due to a parent working is that it is compulsory for the child without them even having a say in the matter. It places the parents wants and needs (to work) higher than that of the childs, it undermines the partnership and relationship (key parts in unschooling). Now there are unschooled households were both parents work, nobody should be going hungry obviously but this is done in a way that still has the childs needs and wants heard and answered as well as the parents.

    So of course unschooling (or radical unschooling) principles can be applied to a life that includes school (some is better than none I say) but it still isn't unschooling, I'm not sure why you would want to or need to call it that anyway? There are parenting terms that include similar ideals you could use to help identify what you mean instead, unschooling is confusing enough for people to understand lol. Unschooling is the sum of all of its parts, a large one being the active rejection of school.

    There is a grey area where an unschooled child chooses to try school and the parents facilitate this. Because they have the freedom to leave at any point and are the one pursuing it it still could be considered unschooling.

  8. #26

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Personally I think unschooling does itself an injustice by its "all in" approach. The majority of people couldn't unschool even if they wanted to, so the "all in" idea stops people looking into it further, and I think there is a lot to be learned from it and more to it than 'active parenting', particularly in the way it is approached. I think a pull back from school being the primary means of education would be great for society, but most unschooling information is quite divisive.

    Maybe the 60 mins thing will at least put some different ideas into peoples heads (the blurb on the website said something along the lines of "comes up with some surprising results" which to me sounds like could be quite positive as I think to most people who have had a traditional education then it would only be positive results that would be suprising).

  9. #27

    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Nobody would say you can't pick and choose parts and apply them to your life, I encourage anyone to read into it and take whatever positives you can especially in regards to connecting with your children and encouraging natural learning, just that there is no reason it needs to be called unschooling because it wouldn't be (Ginger said she unschools outside of school, had she said she uses some of the principles I wouldn't have clarified). And that's okay too, unschooling in it's entirety isn't for everyone as you say and it doesn't need to be seen as some exclusive club everyone should be so keen to join that they want to bend and change definitions, it just is.

    Personally I feel it does a bigger diservice to the ideals and message to not be clear on what it is. Especially when so many people are already unaware, unclear or holding onto misconceptions. It is like saying well why can't a daisy be a rose, people would like roses more if they could include daisies in their picture of it and they have a lot in common but in the end a daisy isn't a rose and there's no reason to pretend otherwise.

  10. #28

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Without looking (and sounding) like a complete fool... What's unschooling?!

    *Hides in embarrassment*

  11. #29

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    So, you can't unschool outside of school hours?

  12. #30

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    No. In the same way you don't say you're homeschooling your child when you're sending them to school. If you're wanting to describe the way you parent outside of school hours, and it is similar in philosophy to unschooling families then you could probably say something like you are an authoritative parent.

  13. #31

    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosetti View Post
    Without looking (and sounding) like a complete fool... What's unschooling?!

    *Hides in embarrassment*
    Only a fool would not ask and revel in ignorance.

    And that's pretty much why unschooling works - saying, hey, here's an idea, then see what comes of it. And it doesn't matter who has the idea. It's about asking questions and learning how to discover stuff. And it's about no timetables and no set thing to discover at a set time.

    For Liebs, it is exploring and questionning. For me, it's browsing a bookstore and finding something interesting. It's different for everyone as we all learn differently.

    Which is why school can crush curiosity and a desire to learn in some. Or expose others to new, different ideas and inspire more learning. It's very individual.

    For me, unschooling worked best. But my mother placed her need to keep the family fed above that, so went to work. Kudos to her. School is working best for Liebs atm, so my need to put food on the table and heat the house is also met, which works well.

  14. #32

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyfish View Post
    Nobody would say you can't pick and choose parts and apply them to your life, I encourage anyone to read into it and take whatever positives you can especially in regards to connecting with your children and encouraging natural learning, just that there is no reason it needs to be called unschooling because it wouldn't be (Ginger said she unschools outside of school, had she said she uses some of the principles I wouldn't have clarified). And that's okay too, unschooling in it's entirety isn't for everyone as you say and it doesn't need to be seen as some exclusive club everyone should be so keen to join that they want to bend and change definitions, it just is.

    Personally I feel it does a bigger diservice to the ideals and message to not be clear on what it is. Especially when so many people are already unaware, unclear or holding onto misconceptions. It is like saying well why can't a daisy be a rose, people would like roses more if they could include daisies in their picture of it and they have a lot in common but in the end a daisy isn't a rose and there's no reason to pretend otherwise.

    I am not so sure about the daisy analogy as a daisy and a rose are both things - tangible things, that are scientifically one thing or the other, (or if bred together become another separate thing) 'unschooling' is more like 'gentle parenting' a collection of philosophies and ideals and like all these labels are open to some interpretation. Even within 'unschooling' literature there is no one definition - the set of criteria that make a daisy a daisy and a rose a rose are pretty well defined though.

    Or maybe that is the thing that a hybrid between 'unschooling' and school is actually something separate and distinct - but I don't think it is 'authoritative parenting' - because that really only describes the parenting aspect - and can be used with any type of educational approach. 'Active parenting' also I think doesn't quite fit, or doesn't cover the concept in its entirety.

    Anyway it doesn't really matter - like most things it is a continuum and you choose to place your family at any point along it, I don't really believe in labels of any type anyway, but some of the philosophies and ideals behind 'unschooling' can be applied if your children go to school (or like me you intend for them to go to school) for all or part of their childhood and these may guide the school you choose for your children and also your interactions with that school. (It is our intention to spend a year or two travelling at some point - and during that it is likely we would be closer to 'unschooling' than homeschooling in our approach). My personal belief is, that school is not the primary method for learning, that it is the learning 'how to learn' not what to learn that is important - both which I think are closest to 'unschooling'.

  15. #33

    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    I'm not sure what you have read about unschooling to give you that impression but from my reading unschooling is very well defined no matter who is speaking or writing about it (there is actually an unschooling conference on in Australia at the moment which is pretty exciting - ALLive). At its core, it is a form of home education, if you are not home educating than you can't be unschooling. It would be like somebody who isn't a parent saying they gentle parent - some of the principles may guide some of their decisions but without the parenting part then it isn't the same thing.

    You can call what you do unschooling, you don't need my approval to use the word obviously, I just disagree that it applies. And I think there would be more helpful descriptions; possibly something like "children as people parenting" or "respect based parenting" or "partnership parenting" - if you just want to say you follow their curiosities outside of school and think that is an important part of education then I do think that is just being an active and involved parent and that is the really shallow depths of unschooling, it is much more than that (yes it is a spectrum but one that begins at rejecting school).

    I won't keep rehashing though, my position on the matter has been communicated and what you take from that is up to you, I hope it is something helpful even if you still disagree

  16. #34

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    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    So how do the kids know what they want to learn about? Do you give them topics? How does it work?

  17. #35

    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by sahbear View Post
    Wow! Sounds like guy are doing awesome things Jellyfish. Even though I don't think I could unschool, I love hearing about what others do.
    If you could share some of this things you do, I would love to read it.
    Alright time for a fun post Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this!

    Basically, unschooling is living your life as though school doesn't exist. There is no divide between important and unnecessary information or knowledge or ranking of these. There is no divide between the subjects. There is no divide between learning and life. So what we do is live! And what that can inspire is pretty endless. I'm not an expert in application just as a disclaimer but I do consider myself well versed on the philosophy.

    Sometime last year (when we were aware of unschooling but had not completely embraced it and were not unschoolers although we were inspired and guided by many of their philosophies :P), I bought a stack of books and had it sitting next to my desk. They weren't for anything in particular but the one on the top was about Ancient Egypt and it caught DD1's eye (she was 4 at the time but is now 5), in particular the image of tutankhamun's mask on the front. And she was off, she drew a reproduction of that image and began to plan how she could make it, she wrote out a list of "ingredients" with my help for spelling - cardboard, alfoil, glue, scissors. This was her first draft of the mask which came into being after several developments and a few days. Bits and pieces about Ancient Egypt were learnt along the way but not a lot and the Ancient Egypt tide went back out to sea very quickly. But this helped me to see how capable and curious my daughter was and I decided to trust and we didn't push anything further on the topic.

    Last week our home education co-op (which is made up of 22 families) had a show and tell themed gathering and DD1 wanted to bring her mask. Suddenly the Ancient Egypt spark was reignited. She painted things, she built ancient tools out of things she found around the playroom. She mummified a doll house inhabitant and encased it in a playdough sarcophagus then built a lego pyramid around it. She became a pharaoh and built herself a pyramid (exclaiming she was a kind pharaoh to help so much) out of scrap fabric and a frame built from poles in our construction zone. She then discovered hieroglyphics and has been writing alongside them since. She had things to share at the co-op and it is really lovely being able to hear them talk about the parts that stuck out for them, the parts that were important or interesting in their eyes.

    And that is kind of how it happens, inspiration can come from anywhere (books, people, places and such but more often than not from wondering "I wonder what would happen if I did x" or "I wonder why x happens when I do y" type questions and exploring them) and then it is developed and explored to the extent the child wants. I assisted and supported; by finding and offering information, helping with things like spelling, I printed out hieroglyphs for her to use as a guide. I maintain the spaces our children utilize and (mainly our art space and our construction zone which you can see here and some of the things in our construction zone here, here and here, our art area has paints, clay, playdough, paper, glue, scissors, tools, containers, collage materials and all sorts of things) and 'reset the canvas' (keep it as conducive to new explorations as best as possible without disturbing those before it). I'm like a reference desk but actively, I will seek things out to offer my children before they ask (offer, they can accept or reject it), I always have many options and ideas on hand, I'm always thinking of ways something could apply somewhere else or be extended or further developed; but you have to give without expectations, you have to let the river form it's own track even if it is different to what you had imagined.

    The hardest part of being an unschooling parent is not the having enough for your kids to do or the patience or the trust or any of that, that part all becomes easy. It is the red tape; you have to retrospectively fit all of those things into boxes for registration and review (in my state at least, it varies). So you need to hold on to a certain amount of schooly thoughts which can be counterproductive to the process. It is almost like you're the one doing school instead of your children lol. But it is very worth it

    I have included photo links through-out this post to help illustrate some of the things that I brought up. If anyone is interested in seeing more I am happy to add those people on FB where I share snippets of our days and some of my thoughts about what they have been doing alongside it, just PM me. But I obviously ask they be respectful towards our life whilst in 'our space', if it isn't for you then that is fine, nobody is required to be on my FB page I am also happy to write more posts as time permits (today is a good day as my children are spending some time with their grandma), I know a lot of people are particularly interested in how it works for things like maths.

    I also wanted to say something about Teeki's compliments to my children which were lovely and I also think they are brilliant people; but please don't think of unschooling as a way for your children to get ahead or become advanced, it is about meeting a child where they are at, wherever that might be. My children might be considered 'ahead' of their schooled peers in some areas but I'm sure they would be considered 'behind' in others, it is not a linear progression like school (DD1 was using simple algebra principles to solve something the other day but she still trips over counting to 100 for example). Legally, you don't have to keep up with school to satisfy requirements, you essentially just have to show a child is progressing in some way and being provided with an engaging and encouraging environment to do so (depending on the state of course, in Victoria you simply sign a form stating your intentions to home educate but NSW you have to pass a home visit so it does vary a lot but you can unschool and ensure you are meeting requirements in all states).

    The books I recommend to read first are Free to Learn and Free to Live both by Pam Laricchia (the first is also great for giving to family to help explain it to them). She also has a free email introductory series you can subscribe to if you google her site which is an email once or twice week and it is 10 emails I think (been a while) and explores topics gradually to give you time to digest and reflect. Another well known unschooler Sandra Dodd who is currently in Australia for ALLive (with mostly grown children now) gathers writing and thoughts from all sorts of unschoolers and collates them at her website (with permission and credit given), a lot of those writings come from the yahoo group that began many years ago 'Always Learning' but that is a closed group more specifically for unschoolers or those interested in becoming unschoolers but she also runs an open FB page Radical Unschooling Info that can be accessed without joining and read by anyone and much comes from there also (a lot of long term, well respected unschoolers are there) - she also has a brilliant book and a blog of inspiration snippets and thoughts shared daily (Just Add Light and Stir). There is also Danya and Joe Martin, some might have been exposed to their family as they were on wife swap USA, their main FB group is Whole Life Unschooling and they also have a standalone website, they are quite controversial because of media attention. There is a grown unschooler who pens a blog, her name is Idzie Desmarais and you can find it by googling her name, she recently wrote about how unschooling is not relaxed homeschooling which seems quite relevant to the discussion we have had here. There is John Holt who is the person to have first used the term unschooling, his books are great reads. There is John Taylor Gatto who also has brilliant books. There is a lot of information out there, these are just some of the many people who have spoken or written about unschooling and these people will lead you to other people and works

    Word of warning though, what has been seen cannot be unseen. Choose wisely whether this is a rabbit hole you want to explore (you totally do).

  18. #36

    Default Re: 60 minutes story on Sunday- unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginger View Post
    So how do the kids know what they want to learn about? Do you give them topics? How does it work?
    There is a process which is called strewing. It is basically leaving things in their path. Part of the parent's role is to surround the child with varied and interesting things. Part of it is being interested and curious yourself, so you might read something that you think is neat and share that with your child (without expectation) - say like I was reading the other day about the world's highest waterfall which is over three times as high as the Eiffel Tower and I was telling the kids about it and then we went to see if we could find it and the Eiffel Tower on Google Earth (which was an idea Rouge inspired when she saw what we had been doing about Egypt and mentioned Google Earth to check out the pyramids so it all sort of ebbs and flows). This then had DD1 interested in height and she walked around the house measuring things with a measuring tape and she wanted to find something that was three times as high as something else.

    So yes, the parent introduces and offers things and this can be in many ways; verbally by way of conversation or they might find an interesting book and just leave it out in the children's spaces for them to stumble on or it could be a series of leaves set out by gradient or they might start playing a piece of music or introduce a new instrument to the children's space or you might go somewhere new like a park or museum or art gallery or we attend a co-op that has weekly themes and sometimes this begin topics growing in our home (one we began bean sprouts so it literally grew and then DD1 journaled its progress), we also cook and clean and shop and there is lots that can then be developed from there - money, measurements, the chemical reactions in baking or the way in which cleaning products interact or we watch and read things and that leads us down some path but my personal favourite as those who see what we do often would probably guess is I like to set up provocations in their art space say by leaving a mirror on display or some samples of a famous artists work or a different material to explore. When DD1 became interested in her body we turned an entire room into a hospital - with xrays donated by family and friends and equipment and books and models of a body, heart and eye and set up a filing system where she could write down diagnoses and treatments and notes and then that extended into an optometry from the eye model with old glasses and eye charts she made and we used old plastic packaging to make different test lenses, this was a part of our home for about 6 weeks and we did other things alongside that - we made a brain hat out of paper and also one out of playdough that got labelled with popsicle sticks and we made a child sized body chart with the circulatory system and had trains driving around it delivering oxygen and nutrients around the body and depositing waste. But she was always willing and interested and engaged, had she said no thanks or maybe later then that would be okay too and we would have spent our time doing something else. There are a lot of ways to inspire learning but these are done without expectations. You simply offer and the child decides what they wish to pursue and how to from there. The parent is always there to offer suggestions or advice or give more information, that is their role then the child absorbs what they want or need and develops it from there, that is their role.

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