Homeschooling/Unschooling

Mother - posted on 02/28/2012 ( 283 moms have responded )

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We've been homeschooling for about 4 years now. We love it. Does anyone else do this?? What are your opinions of unschooling?? Do any of you unschool??

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Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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Ya know what?? I'm sorry too. When you come under constant fire DAILY, sometimes we enter a situation biased. We enter the conversation already on the defense. There are a lot of preconceived notions about our style of learning.....maybe I need to have a rehearsed explanation that is more CLEAR for situations when I get my girdle in a twist and can't speak. That way when I'm pissy....I'm not just delivering unrecognizable verbal diarrhea!!

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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You know what Kelly? I'm going to apologize for getting angry. I truly meant my comments where I said that you would probably be a good teacher. I mistakenly thought you meant you would let your kid skip what they didn't want to learn when you said it wasn't important. I assume now that that isn't the case (at least I hope so).



When people say that they don't think things are important for their child to have to learn, it gets my goat because I have been witness to SO many home schoolers who don't intend to teach their child things that THEY don't think are important...like math or evolution, and that sends me off the deep end because it is severely limiting to the children IMHO.



I do suggest that you look into what kind of tests are required to enter college and make sure that they have all the strategies necessary to pass them. Other than that, whatever way your children learn best is how they learn best.

Rosie - posted on 02/29/2012

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i could never homeschool, i don't have the patience nor the skill to. i also don't have a degree in teaching so i feel i shouldn't even try to do it. i do feel that way about others who homeschool as well.

there have been plenty of women on this site that i feel are good at what they do in regards to homeschooling (at least what they've described) but i still can't shake the feeling that they should be more regulated and these mothers should be more qualified.

too many homeschooled children are not taught evolution, live very sheltered lives and come to the real world with no clue.



unschooling is a little too unstructured for my tastes, and it feels like they just let the kids do whatever, whenever, and i cringe at the thought of children doing whatever they want and their parent not providing any structure. i do feel a little bit of unschooling would be a nice thing, but to do that constantly doesn't register on my list of smart things to do when raising children.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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"I debate homeschooling and unschooling in general, not all of my posts are about the people in THIS group who homeschool...I get frustrated when home schoolers refuse to admit that ANYBODY is doing it badly...because SOME are." --- that's fair. But we were specifically speaking about me, so I am going to respond accordingly.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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There was no misrepresentation at all. I clearly stated that our curriculum includes the higher maths. What is unclear about that? Kids learn a lot of stuff I don't think they need.....but we still teach it to them. Do I think kids need it? No. Just because I have opinion about it doesn't mean we aren't learning it..

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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I debate homeschooling and unschooling in general, not all of my posts are about the people in THIS group who homeschool...I get frustrated when home schoolers refuse to admit that ANYBODY is doing it badly...because SOME are.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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you missed the post in between where you said math wasn't important...context my friend

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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""you sound like one of the good ones that Krista was talking about, so I have no worries for your children whatsoever, BUT my fears are for those whose parents are not like you, who see no value in essays, multiple choice, higher maths ect. "



how bout that one from page ONE...learn how to read before you try to teach your children anything" --- when someone says something like this and then the next posts are as follows "sorry...but who are you to decide what is and what is not "necessary" for your child to learn??? Do you not feel like it is his/her RIGHT to learn everything possible so they can choose any path they wish?" "oh good, so I can stop making my son learn to read...he really has no interest in it." "thank god...cause it was really becoming quite difficult" " "I'm sorry did you not understand my point? Are you teaching your child critical thinking skills?"



It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out....they weren't being genuine.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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like I've said a million times, if they're ready for college by adulthood you've done your job well :D

Minnie - posted on 02/29/2012

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Laura, I'm not worried that my girls will not learn to write an essay or take a multiple choice test. I do believe that these things will happen when they need to.



I think some of the concern about unschooling is that sometimes there is a difference between what a child learns at home at a particular age and what public schooled children are learning at the same age. Like Tara mentioned, one of her children didn't begin to read until age 9- that would have been unacceptable in a public school system and she would have been given all sorts of remedial help to 'force' her into it. But she picked it up at her own pace and quickly, when she was ready.



I don't have a long history with educating my children, or with children at all for that matter, my eldest is only almost six. So we're doing what works for us, at the moment. I defer to other people who are successful at home schooling, just as I may look to more experienced parents when I come across a difficult situation raising my children. There are many in my extended family who were homeschooled all the way until college.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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"you sound like one of the good ones that Krista was talking about, so I have no worries for your children whatsoever, BUT my fears are for those whose parents are not like you, who see no value in essays, multiple choice, higher maths ect. "



how bout that one from page ONE...learn how to read before you try to teach your children anything

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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"as for reading comprehension...did you pick this one up?



" (and you are not one of them, I actually think that you stand a good chance of doing it well so long as you understand that kids make bad choices sometimes and we have to make them do things they don't necessarily want to like eating vegetables and doing math) who can't spell CAT who intend on homeschooling because they don't want their kids to be exposed to gay people...or black people...or Barack Obama's communism. "



sometimes "cherry picking" otherwise being able to identify the main point of a paragraph is important" -- this was posted AFTER THE FACT. Now you're just back peddling because I called you on your bad behaviour.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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"and are you calling me a bully because I disagree with you on a debating site?" -- Not at all, I'm calling you a bully because you ASSUME things about others you don't know or just make it up to suit your agenda.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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therefore, if what you are saying is true, I think you will do just fine and so will your kid

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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as for reading comprehension...did you pick this one up?



" (and you are not one of them, I actually think that you stand a good chance of doing it well so long as you understand that kids make bad choices sometimes and we have to make them do things they don't necessarily want to like eating vegetables and doing math) who can't spell CAT who intend on homeschooling because they don't want their kids to be exposed to gay people...or black people...or Barack Obama's communism. "



sometimes "cherry picking" otherwise known as being able to identify the main point of a paragraph is important

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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"I happen to have had a LOT of communications with people on com who were BAT-SHIT-CRAZY (like stock piling guns in the basement crazy) who were home schooling badly and for all the wrong reasons." -- Just because someone is crazy and happens to homeschool doesn't mean every homeschooler is nuts.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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Krista, I stated quite clearly that I have my daughter on a curriculum and higher maths are included. Doesn't get any simpler then that.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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and are you calling me a bully because I disagree with you on a debating site? I KNOW that Tara educates her children well BECAUSE we have had this debate a million times...knowing that she is passionate about her children's educations does not make me any less suspicious about other homeschoolers when I happen to have had a LOT of communications with people on com who were BAT-SHIT-CRAZY (like stock piling guns in the basement crazy) who were home schooling badly and for all the wrong reasons.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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And as you know when people cherry pick sentences out a complete paragraph it can put a whole new spin on things. We have a curriculum in place....it includes higher math but like I've stated 3 times now....we aren't at that level yet.



I think SOMEONE needs a refresher course on comprehension and it isn't any homeschooler/unschooler.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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and your constant assertion that knowing how to write a multiple choice test is similar to knowing how to fill in bubbles is starting to grate on my nerves...people practice for YEARS to learn the strategies of how to write those tests, in college it is common to be given one minute per question...try it sometime it's not a survey.

Krista - posted on 02/29/2012

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Kelly, I wonder if part of the problem is in how you communicate. You really DID come across as though you had every intention of letting your kid skip learning whatever did not interest them. When you went back and clarified, then it made sense.



But I've seen this happen on multiple debates with you, and really...if people are REPEATEDLY misunderstanding you, then wouldn't it be to your advantage to try to express yourself more clearly?

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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'I can't say as I think higher math is necessary, especially if what they are interested in doesn't require it. Higher math was never taught in decades gone by... '



That one^ (now I can go back and finish reading your post)

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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"You've stated that you don't intend on teaching them higher maths because they're "not important" -- Actually, I NEVER said that. I said we have a curriculum for Math and the higher maths ARE included in that curriculum but that we AREN'T THERE YET. A huge difference. It's in her curriculum...I'm not just going to cut it out. Good Grief. Do I think higher maths are required to succeed. No I don't. I mean....why learn calculus if it isn't something you NEED?? I then went on to say higher math was never taught decades ago. But never....in anything I ever posted did I say she wouldn't learn higher math. It doesn't mean I don't have an opinion about it. I NEVER said surveys were useful....those were your words. I said we have to fill out questionnaires in LIFE. They are all multiple choice. Ever voted?? Multiple choice. Ever gotten a license of ANY kind?? Multiple choice. Learning is all around us. Kids will learn and will learn when they are good and ready.



Just because you don't know me Laura doesn't mean you should assume stuff about me or anyone else. I am insulted by your preconceived notions. It happens a lot in here. Sometimes COM is nothing more then a school yard playground where the bullies bulldoze over the new kid or worse start rumours about them because they are different. The O Holier then Thou routine gets OLD but FAST.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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I've already stated what I think is important. You've stated that you don't intend on teaching them higher maths because they're "not important" you think surveys are useful in teaching children how to take a multiple choice test. I disagree.



I am generally suspect when it comes to "unschooling", I would disagree with Tara's assertion that "most" unschooled kids thrive and go to university. I think those numbers are skewed because we don't hear from the kids who just fall off the map.



I have heard FAR too many people on com (and you are not one of them, I actually think that you stand a good chance of doing it well so long as you understand that kids make bad choices sometimes and we have to make them do things they don't necessarily want to like eating vegetables and doing math) who can't spell CAT who intend on homeschooling because they don't want their kids to be exposed to gay people...or black people...or Barack Obama's communism.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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"I didn't address you in particular because I know you are one of the good educators." -- Unschoolers don't TEACH their kids this stuff. Unschoolers ALLOW the children to learn at their own pace. I find it insulting that because you know Tara you are praising her and anyone else (you don't know) you're assuming we're all slackers.



Oh well, that speaks more about you then me, now doesn't it.

Tara - posted on 02/29/2012

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I never "taught" my kids to read or spell. I read to them, we read together and they learned how to read when they were ready and willing. They learned fast once the desire was there, they now make daily trips to the library to take out books of their choosing, loving to read is the best tool for teaching to read.

Spelling is somewhat learned through osmosis. The more they read, the better they spell. As well "teaching" phonics at the right time allows for a natural flow of learning from reading to spelling to articulating your thoughts on paper.

My almost 12 year old didn't read willingly until she was almost 9, she could read, just didn't like it. Now she reads everything she can get her hands on, and the more she reads the better she can spell. She loves to challenge her spelling skills. There is a right time to "teach" things and unfortunately in school, that time is different for lots of kids, so those who might be better suited to reading at 7 years old spend their first 2 or 3 years in school going against their natural learning style, they struggle and feel as if they are failing because they "should" be able to read at the end of grade 1. So just by putting that time frame on ones ability to conquer a skill implies they are failing if they aren't able/willing to do it within that time frame.

I have yet to meet an unschooled teen or young adult who is not completely proficient at reading, writing, spelling, articulation etc.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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I didn't address you in particular because I know you are one of the good educators. I just get upset when I hear people INTENDING to ignore any part of what kids NEED to know in order to succeed the the world they will be living in.

Tara - posted on 02/29/2012

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Hey Laura!!



What about me???

You all know that I homeschool/unschool my 6 kids!!

And have done so for a very long time. My older children are great people, articulate and well spoken, they have entered school after being unschooled their whole lives.. and are doing great.

It is so different for everyone and what I do I do well...

I'm not up for a big debate on here about this yet again, those of you who know me, you know I do a bang up job of unschooling my children, you all know a typical day in my life and many of you have asked if I can come live beside you so your kids can benefit from my style of teaching/learning etc.



I really hope that those with closed minds will read a little into unschooling, why it exists, how people do it, what the stats say about literacy and math skills of unschooled people, look into unschooled adults and what they are doing with their lives, look into famous unschoolers, look into how the brain learns and retains info.

It's not for every family, nor for every child. But in many many instances it DOES work.

And obviously the older they get the more their education at home begins to resemble scenarios and experiences encountered in real life situations.

They are given the tools to learn how to write an essay, do a multiple choice test, express their thoughts and opinions, fill out applications to university and college etc. etc. etc.

And in Ontario, actually most of Canada, many universities have entrance exams for unschoolers, many have different admission requirements based on course selection and more every year are recognizing the unschooling community as a source of very well rounded, mature and intelligent people.

Please have a look at this site for more information if you really want it..

Lists of universities and colleges and how they handle homeschooler/unschoolers are available to everyone.

:) Happy unschooling everyone!!!

http://www.ontariohomeschool.org/

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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a) I didn't ask about spelling yesterday



b) I specifically asked LISA about her plans with multiple choice tests and essays because I know your opinions (and don't agree with them)



c) you can't go to college without those things, and if your child is not ready for college, you have NOT educated them.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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Laura you seem stuck on that question....I know I answered that question last night.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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Hi Lisa. AMEN!! Honestly, anything I learned aside from Math and spelling....I didn't learn diddly that helped me in the outside world. Anything that molded my choices in say profession and how I live came WAYYY after school. that being said....i am very unorthodox and do march to the beat of my own drum.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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Lisa, will you be teaching your kids how to write a proper essay or how to write a multiple choice test?



I am also curious how spelling fits into an unschooling type of education.

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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Good question Jenni, but I'm sure everyone does it for many different reasons. Our daughter started off in school. I won't deny that one of my issues was the bullying aspect. Our daughter has an anxiety disorder and has issues with crowds. Usually she was ok in a class setting but an assembly in the gym...not so much. This particular teacher was not sympathetic and many times forced her into situation that brought on a panic attack. she had this teacher 2 years in a row and the first year was awful but the second year....was worse. Bullies are not just children. and if you have a teacher picking on a student....what happens? Kids play along.



She stayed in school until gr 3-4. The class was not doing well in Math scores. Most of the class was failing. The teacher assured me that they always failed this early on. They had not started cursive writing. Their comprehension scores were down. And it seemed to me the problem wasn't the kids but the teacher. I heard after that a gun had been pulled out on the play ground and knives had become a problem. I snapped.



I threatened the first year to pull her out but the principal always talked me out of it. Assured me I was not the only one complaining and he had "spoken" with the teacher. BS. The second year when things did not get better...Momma Bear came out. I was doing more running back and forth to school then I was going to work....so...we pulled her. Best thing I ever did.



I didn't find out until this year that 5 other families pulled their kids. 2 are homeschooling and 3 went to the Catholic school. It made me feel better to hear that because lots of our friends told me I was over reacting. i don't believe I was but there is always that little voice inside that as parents makes us question.

Jenni - posted on 02/29/2012

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I do understand the fundamentals of homeschooling/unschooling. Pursuing the child's individual strengths and interests. I just don't see how that's any different from what I'm doing with my children. My children aren't in school yet. Ben will be starting in September. But anything he shows an interest in, we pursue fully.



He's adopted an interest in the natural world. Probably because I have such a strong interest. My passion has even rubbed off on my husband. ;) But since he was 2 we've introduced him to the world of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, plants, flowers, trees. We bought field guides, have taken many field trips, garden, do little science experiments; he's 3.5 now and is learning classification, identification, habitats, diets etc.



He's also begun to show a strong interest in dinosaurs. So we're learning all about the different types, how they're found, through documentaries, books, games, the internet, fun facts etc.



I also try to sneak a little math and other subjects into our experiences. ;)



We really enjoy it and he is learning so much! Things he normally wouldn't learn in the classroom. So I definitely can understand the appeal of homeschooling/unschooling.

Minnie - posted on 02/29/2012

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Yes, Kelly, we have been/are judged harshly for unschooling.



As of now, I'm not concerned in the slightest for my children's progress or their access to stimulating activities, which is FAR above what they would be learning were they in a public institution (kindergarten and preschool).

Mother - posted on 02/29/2012

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thanks Karla. I have read a few on John Holt's writings but as of yet have not sunk my teeth into it. Dayna Martin is a big speaker as well. Actually the unschooling convention was held in Australia this year. Apparently a great turn out.



I think the general public has preconceived notions about what this kind of teaching is like. They ASSUME these children are just wandering around aimlessly. People are afraid of change and differences and many just approach it with judgments and harsh words. Home educated children actually do very well in College and Universities and have actually outperformed in many areas to their counterparts. A lot of Colleges and Universities are even allotting spaces specifically for such kids.



Some of our most brilliant people were homeschooled/unschooled and the world is a better place because of them.

Jenni - posted on 02/29/2012

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I don't plan on homeschooling/unschooling. I don't really have an aversion to public schools. I enjoyed my experience with them. Part of me, doesn't trust myself enough with my child's full education. Maybe, that sounds silly considering I'm their parent and if anyone, I should be the most trusted in caring about my children's education. But I just don't see how I wouldn't be able to do both? A formal education and pursue their individual interests outside the classroom.



My parents were very helpful in encouraging my interests outside of school. Like my fascination with the natural world (biology), and geology. We did lots of field trips, they bought me encyclopedias, field guides, tools and other real-life experiences. I became a whiz at science and science fairs because my parents encouraged my individual pursuits outside the classroom.



I don't know a lot about homeschooling/unschooling, I've honestly not had many conversations about it. So this is meant as a question, not to prove a point... why are homeschooling parents against their child receiving both forms of education? I know this is a question that will differ between individual families. But just curious for those on this thread.

Isobel - posted on 02/29/2012

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I have yet to bump into a person who homeschooled for any reason other than fear of bullying OR fear of liberal indoctrination.

Jodi - posted on 02/29/2012

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Exactly Emma, that's why I'm thinking there could be quite a cultural difference. But I would be interested in input from teachers in the US if they are around, or understanding the reasons why people are choosing to homeschool. If it is a curriculum issue, I am interested in why.



And yeah, if you are doing it to shelter your kids from outside influences, well, good luck with that. You aren't doing your kids a favour (and please take *you* as general you not as in anyone specifically).

Stifler's - posted on 02/29/2012

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Homeschooling tends to be a thing for people who live in the middle of nowhere or who have huge families here.

Stifler's - posted on 02/29/2012

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Maybe that's why I can't understand the aversion to public school because I went to public schools my whole life and we always did fun learning activities and the class got to decide which topics out of a list of topics we wanted to learn about, we had a book for the term and did activities about it, had free time, learnt computers, did sport as a class, made class badges, did Maslow's heirarchy in year 3 terms using a flower(?!), got to write the list of things to take for camp as a class etc.

Jodi - posted on 02/29/2012

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I've actually found it interesting while doing my teaching degree that Australia is adopting a social constructivist approach to teaching kids, which, while focused on a curriculum based on certain outcomes, allows teachers to approach their lessons in a way that encourages some student led learning. So while there is still assessment, there is an element of choice in various areas for the student and our planning should be learner focused.



I have recently read that this approach is pretty much "condemned" in the US, which explains to me a lot why perhaps homeschooling is more common there. Our educators are already doing a lot of what is done in homeschooling in the US.



As an example, my daughter is in Year 2 and they are doing science. Their science learning at the moment about mixing different ingredients, and what we come up with. Last week, as her homework, we had to list 5 mixtures and what was in them. She helped us mash potatoes, mix some jelly (jello?), brew up a bubble bath, make some rice, and bake some muffins. At school next week, they are doing science class making chocolate crackles.



Tonight, we went out to dinner, and she read the entire dessert menu (what a wonderful life skill to have, LOL), and this was a wonderful lesson for her.



So basically, what they are doing in class is very much the sort of thing that could be homeschooled, and it IS teaching them the curriculum.



When my son has an assessment, there are often option on how he can approach it, and kids choose depending on their learning style. Sure, they still have to sit exams, but he is in Year 9 - there needs to be objectively assessable results to go on his Year 10 certificate.



Where I am going with this is that I think perhaps there is a cultural difference in the way our schools work, and our understanding of homeschooling. There doesn't seem to be such a trend towards homeschooling in Australia, so it is not a culture with which I have had much experience. I have also never felt the need to. Perhaps the culture of our education system is why.

Karla - posted on 02/29/2012

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Kelly, You may want to read some John Holt material as well, he was a big advocate of un-schooling.

Karla - posted on 02/29/2012

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Oh, I should mention, my kids were glad to have both the homeschool and public school experience. There is some learning about life that is hard to achieve with home schooling. I wouldn't call it socializing, but it does have to do with understanding the whole society. School is a place where you are with all socio-economic classes, and it can be helpful in understanding society and the world to be immersed in that environment.

Karla - posted on 02/29/2012

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I home-schooled during my kids’ early years. My oldest went to school when she was 10 years old, second when she was 9 y.o., third when she was 11 y.o., and forth when he was 8.



I started off doing a mix of unschooling and eclectic curriculum. I wish I had known with the 1st what I had learned by the time my third and forth were homeschooling. By my 4th I was using an eclectic mix including Miquon Math, Phonics based reading, Waldorf stories, etc.



Miquon Math program for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade is the best.



I used various methods to teach reading primarily using phonics. I had a book about Tutoring Children that covered phonics very well, but I found supplementing with BOB books helped a lot. The kids got sick of Bob books very quickly though.



Science was always easy and fun – we did a lot of experiments without calling them experiments. Then when my oldest went to school the teacher had a worksheet that went with the experiments; so with the other kids I tried to use that to help them explain what they did and what they thought would happen, and the outcome etc.



I think one of the best things about homeschooling was the amount of free play the kids got. They have such creative minds even as adults and I think homeschooling really aided them in that way.



The kids told me that when they were in 7th or 8th grade (in public school by that point) many of their classmates were burnt out on school, but to my kids it still felt fresh.



Another benefit was that they always loved learning. Many public schools teach to the test, and my kids did fall into that routine in school, but they knew the difference between studying for the test, and studying because you are interested and want to learn more.



I think there is a misconception about un-schooling. Generally if the parents are aware of what their kids want to learn and facilitate that learning, the kids will at some point want to write stories and essays, and the parents need to grab that opportunity to guide them. The desire to communicate our thoughts through writing is a natural thing.



I found Home Education Magazine (HEM) very helpful.

Stifler's - posted on 02/28/2012

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I fail to see how unschooling aka letting the kid learn only what they're interested in gives them a broad range of knowledge. I wasn't really interested in anything but writing fiction as a kid. Then I started studying to be a nurse which would have been a lot harder if I never had to learn maths or science or academic writing. You end up having to put curriculum in place to get them up to scratch with their peers if they ever want to go to university.

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