School Made Me Feel Dumb

Ez - posted on 04/02/2011 ( 80 moms have responded )

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I stumbled across this blog post this morning and it raised a lot of questions for me...


When school started failing my daughter I started to see that I had been brainwashed, and what was worse? I was participating in the brainwashing of my daughter. I believed that the only way to succeed in life was to finish school and get good marks ... but I hadn't finished school and I was still alive! And my partner hadn't finished school, and he was still alive, and most of my friends had either not finished school or hadn't done very well, but they were all smart people who were doing well in their lives.

So why did we all leave school? I left because I was afraid to fail. I knew I was smart enough to do really well if I applied myself ... but therein lies the truth of it. I wanted to enjoy life! I was young and having fun, and school wasn't fun, it was anti social and boring. And my friends who quit had all quit for the same reasons, and those who stayed and didn't do well had failed for the same reasons. Schools aren't for everyone, some people will do very well within the system, but others need to get out and experience life in order to discover their authentic selves. Schools glorify certain subjects (maths and english) but completely devalue others like art, drama, and music. My friends were all smart kids but they preferred and even excelled at humanities, and the institution simply loses those children between the cracks. How sad.

So, back to the subject at hand, and why I believed I was dumb. I went to a school to learn all the things deemed crucial for modern life but I hadn't really learnt much - or so I thought. I was literate, I was perfectly competent numerically, and I had all the skills necessary to acquire any further knowledge I needed, but I hadn't learnt anything about myself or what I was good at. I had also had my literate and numeric abilities completely undermined by all the institutional measurements. But the things I had never learnt, or had forgotten had never caused me a moment's grief. After having a good look at all this I concluded that the emphasis schools placed on many subjects was not proportionate to it's usefulness in real life.

So if I'd gone to school to learn all that stuff, and hadn't learnt it, what was going to make it different for my daughter or my sons? What would ensure that they came out of school with a healthy self awareness of their abilities? There just weren't any answers for those questions, and so there was really only one course of action I could take. I began unschooling my eldest daughter after almost six years of institutionalised learning, and I will always unschool the youngest two.

I know that when they reach adulthood they will have a good and functional level of literacy and numeracy, and they will have a really solid wealth of knowledge on a multitude of other subjects too. Those subjects won't always be neatly divided into categories like maths, english, science, history and geography, but that won't make their knowledge any less valuable.

As a teenager (and even as a child) I thought learning was boring, and when I was reading a book about dinosaurs or animals and learning really interesting stuff, I didn't realise I was learning, because no one had graded this knowledge on a scale of worthiness. No one tested me on it, no one valued what I learnt unless it was taught to me by a teacher. I used to see adults learning and envy them because clearly they enjoyed learning. What didn't occur to me was that they only studied the subjects they were interested in. And they only retained their knowledge because their memory was fueled by interest and practicality. The same goes for children. That is why children forget long division but remember the names of dinosaurs.

But not knowing how to do long division isn't an insurmountable obstacle! You are never too old to acquire new knowledge or skills, and in the mean time there are calculators and the internet and libraries and many other sources where one can obtain the necessary information for living. If not learning stuff at school and not passing exams means that for the rest of our lives we are destined to fail then there are some pretty big problems with society!

`When I was a schooling mother I couldn't keep up with the institution in a way that it approved of, I felt like I was forever striving and falling short of the ideals. Neat tidy children, perfectly completed homework, perfect lunch boxes, and so on. I just didn't have the same values, I wanted a happy family and I didn't see how forcing my kids to learn about completely useless and uninteresting things was going to make them happy fulfilled adults. I didn't see how fighting about homework was beneficial to education. I didn't see how any of it was actually going to work as a long term plan because it didn't inspire any internal motivation it was all external coercion and valuation - or devaluation.

So if school left you feeling confused, like you were a failure, like you were dumb or left you with no idea what you wanted out of life, maybe you would have done better unschooling. If your kids are struggling with maths but brilliant at computers, or they can't spell but they are excellent at painting or sculpting, maybe your kids would be better unschooled too! You know the expression "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? Schooling has been used as the only basket for far too long.

http://unlearntatlast.blogspot.com/2011/...


I can totally support child-led learning. I think, for most kids, it will achieve a better outcome. And I am fascinated with home-schooling. But I can not fathom the idea that a child can function in our society with only the knowledge they choose to acquire. What if a child doesn't like numbers? Or hates handwriting? Does this blogger really think her child will thrive (or even survive) in the real world without these skills?

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Stifler's - posted on 04/02/2011

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Hahahahahahaha. Of course school makes you feel dumb... wait til you get to uni... or get a real job. Universities don't give a shit what you want to learn, you have to do it to pass your course. Employers don't give a shit what work you want to do, they need the work done or you're fired. School is there to prepare you for real life.

Tara - posted on 04/03/2011

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My kids are largely unschooled, I don't skip anything because they might not like it, but I also don't force things that they don't need to know at the time.

I am a strong believer in mental math before book math. When kids learn mental math, when they see math as part of everyday life, as part of the world, they are more likely to retain all math concepts more easily than when they are presented on paper.

When they learn the mental part first the mechanical part of doing math on paper comes easily.

I didn't push reading with my kids, there was no where in their lives that they needed to be able to read at age 6. So if a 6 year old doesn't need to read to get by in life at the age of 6, why should I push them to read when they are not ready to read? It's not like there is some magic window of opportunity to learn to read that closes after age 6 or 7. In many parts of Europe they don't even teach reading until after age 7 for boys especially, why? Because when you wait until both sides of the brain are ready to read than learning to read can be accomplished in a month rather than over the course of a year. So when kids can't read at 6 they are said to be failing when in fact they are not failing.

My oldest daughter could read recipes, instructions, directions, labels etc. by age 6-7 but didn't like to read for pleasure at all. I didn't require her to read for pleasure. How is forced reading for pleasure going to help her learn to love reading?

At age 9 she received "diary of a wimpy kid" for her birthday, she began reading with earnest, and now she reads for an hour at least each night before bed, and she reads tons of material.

She now reads for pleasure and need, and she reads fluently. And with more reading her spelling and grammar has improved and she uses more descriptive language in her own creative writing as a result. Up until that age she didn't need to read for any part of her survival as a 9 year old, so it didn't bother me that she didn't read.

Now she can read and I really didn't do anything except instill the basics of phonics early in her life, gave her the tools to be able to read and left it up to her when she would begin to use those tools. Which she did when she was ready.

She has been doing mental fractions and multiplication and division etc since she was about 6, now when presented with book work about fractions etc. I don't have to explain the concept to her, just how it is put on paper, how the equations and formulas work.

I just taught an 8 year old about Pythagorean theorem so that we could figure out the third side length to our triangular annual flower garden. She understood the why behind the need for the formula of A squared + b squared = c squared. And this concept added to what she already knows about geometry: perimeter of the garden is how many metres of fencing we will need, area of the garden is how much space we have to plant things, the length of each row and how many seeds can be planted given that each seed must be a certain number of cm. away from the others etc. etc. So now she has that information and better yet she fully understands the need for it in the real world.

I don't believe that schools only teach the maths, englishes and sciences. I think they attempt to teach more.

My problem with mainstream school is the idea that kids who don't hit certain milestones are considered to be failing.

Children do not need to learn a lot of what is taught in school at the time it is being taught. So much of what is taught is forgotten after a few months, if it isn't worth remembering than to me it isn't worth teaching.

My kids learn all day every day. Socialization is easy when you go out and about with your kids, they socialize on a real world level, with all age groups. They handle themselves equally well when conversing with the elderly as they do when conversing and interacting with their peer groups.

They are actually very socially advanced children. They are great problem solvers and wonderful community members who understand the often subtle social cues given by people in every day life. They are compassionate and intelligent when it comes to human relationships.



And for the person who said school teaches you how to learn, I think that's not true for the most part.

Schools teach you what to learn, when to learn it and how to learn it.

My kids have been brought up to love learning and they have been allowed to learn how to learn.

By giving them more control over what and how things are taught they each find their own style of learning and draw on those strengths. Being their teacher I can present concepts in a variety of ways so that each of their individual learning modalities are accommodated.

When kids are not told how and when to learn things, they will still learn things. They will just to it at a pace that allows them to take everything they can out of it.



So without going into much more I will give an example of unschooling as it fits our family.



Years ago my kids were really into Egypt after seeing a cool exhibit at our local museum, so we went to the library and the kids found themselves a bunch of cool books. One kid got a book on the engineering involved in building the pyramids and one got a book on egyptian art and one got a book on egyptian food and another on the process of mummification.

So for the next two months or so we studied math, English, Egyptian writing, Architecture, historical geography, historical art around the middle east, geometry (finding the volumes of pyramids was their first introduction to finding volume of a 3 dimensional object.) and the whole process of death and mummification in ancient civilizations. We also studied the foods they ate, how they grew them and why.

We built a mini pyramid out of clay blocks, we dyed clothing using vegetables like onion skins etc. we looked at what the geography and vegetation was like back then and talked about why it has changed to a dessert. We talked about why these people may have died off or moved.

We talked about the math involved in building such huge monuments, and how it was done.

We talked about the politics of living back then.

We mummified a chicken carcass, this was the most fun for me throughout the whole unit study!! They had a great time with it, and when it was all done being mummified we made it a sarcophagus and did a proper internment of the chicken's body into said sarcophagus complete with text summarizing that chicken's life written in Egyptian symbols.



We learned many new things and reinforced and added to many old concepts. Teaching is about layering. giving a bit of info when it applies and adding layers to it as the child grows and their understanding of the concept grows. Math isn't about learning one concept and moving on to harder concepts, it as about learning them and being able to connect one to the other. As well and even more importantly it is about seeing the real world applications of those concepts and how they intermingle through out life, in all we do.

I did not like math, but I love it now that I am seeing it and teaching it in a different way than what I was taught.



I have no fear of my kids not getting by in the world. I can guarantee they will all be free thinkers, they will all be lateral thinkers and they will all follow their own path. But I know they have a solid background in learning how to learn and I know they have a solid understanding of the concepts of math and English.

Oh and for those who feel they need to be exposed to little bits of things to decided what they like etc. volunteering is a great way to do that. If my 12 year old thinks he wants to be a vet and volunteers with one for a month 3 times a week, it may make him more interested and he may decide that it isn't something he really enjoys. He may look into it again later in life, he may not.



My oldest son loves exotic birds, he owns several of them. It started with him volunteering at a bird rescue center for a year, then he got his first bird then his second and now at almost 18 is taking some online Ornithology courses because he has such a strong interest and already a lot of information about birds. He also loves to cook and prefers to cook wild game, so we asked around and found a native man who lived near us who was well versed in native cooking of wild game, Jonah spent a day a week with him for awhile to learn some neat stuff about native cooking to add to his knowledge of culinary arts. Which he is also taking college courses for right now. If he had been in school he might not have had those opportunities. He has been auto didactic since he was about 11. I have always provided support for him in whatever he chooses to do.



Unschooled kids will not turn out to be lazy stupid adults. They actually turn out to be very smart, usually self employed people. Usually great problem solvers and always very community minded. There are so many adults who were unschooled and have gone onto to hold very important positions in the world, and many who simply followed their dreams.



But you would be hard pressed to find unschooled adults who are dead beats or sponges on the system. You will find a group of happy, well adjusted adults who for the most part are very successful in what they have chosen to do with their adults lives. But ultimately you will find very self-aware, secure and balanced individuals who enjoy their lives and their families. And from what I have read and those I have talked to, none of them regret being unschooled, and all of the ones I know who have kid are unschooling them as well. I also know many public school teachers who stopped teaching when their own kids were school aged, so that they could stay home and unschool them rather than send them to school. Because they know it works, because they don't want the same educational system for their own kids as the one they are forced to adhere to in the system.

That's it for now, still going to post a list of famous unschoolers.





Oh and Erin, when the blogger talks about not introducing numbers because her kids are not interested I suspect she means at that time.

All kids will learn to add before you teach them to. My kids are not interested in book math so I don't teach it to them that way. This woman isn't really thinking about all the numbers her kids are exposed to every day and how they are learning about them, just not being taught about them.

And all kids I know who were not taught about certain things like "numbers" etc. all grew up to learn about them.

Teaching and learning are two different things altogether.



edited to add some paragraphs to reduce the wall of text I have supplied for you!!!

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I think Julianne had a good point when she said [schools take every subject you can learn and skim it]. Honestly, I think this is a very good approach because it allows students to explore every subject and thus find out what they are interested in, and uninterested in. Problems arise when parents assume that the school should be teaching their children everything they need to know to survive in the world. That is not the schools job, that is the parent's job. The schools' job is simply to expose the child to various areas of study. When the child learns about something that fascinates them at school, the parents then take over and help them deepen their knowledge.

Thus, I think school is a wonderful place to be exposed to new ideas--if my son were not at school, he would never have been exposed to architecture at this age. My husband and I would not have thought to introduce it, but he learned about it at school and is now fascinated with it, so in the past few weeks, we've read tons of books about it. He also learned about insects.....he's not so interested, but he knows they are out there, and that they are important. If the school went in depth on every subject, there would not be time to explore them all, so they skim.

Meg - posted on 04/09/2011

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There's a saying in the unschooling world that goes roughly along the lines of "sitting kids in a room and talking to them all day is not creating 'learning' anymore than sitting someone on a chair and throwing marshmallows at them is allowing 'eating' ". That was a dreadful paraphrase, but hopefully you get the drift lol

Learning maths which is useful in life is important, but there is no reason for that to be boring and miserable. For years, experts have been saying that in order for children to obtain a good, functional understanding of maths, it needs to be FUN. So they put cartoons in the text books and say they're making it fun!? If they made maths PRACTICAL instead of wasting time with scribbly drawings then kids would lap it up.

I understand the perspective that children must learn to do things that they do not enjoy. I just bring a different philosophy to handling that notion. I believe that as adults we are intrinsically motivated to complete tasks we do not enjoy. Washing the dishes - I hate it! But I do it because having clean dishes means I have a clean, working kitchen. I don't do it because I learnt to do stuff I hated when I was at school, in fact all that taught me was that learning was boring. We expect children to learn to do stuff they hate when there is quite literally no short term benefit for them! Telling kindergarten kids that they have to learn to read because when they get a job in 12 - 15 years they will need that skill, is a complete waste of time. Telling them that if they don't learn to read they will be eternal failures, does not motivate them. Making reading FUN on the other hand, works wonders!

Tara - posted on 04/06/2011

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"Even if the child doesn't enjoy it, there is a great satisfaction to be gained by accomplishing and finishing something successfully that was difficult and unenjoyable."

Yes there is, however this is not how school works for the most part. If you are are doing something that you struggle with that will lead to not liking it, which will lead to only learning it enough to get by, shutting off other avenues of pursuit that could change that child's dislike of it and make it something enjoyable.

As well it is proven that children who enjoy themselves while learning, children who are essentially learning on an positive emotional level actually retain that knowledge better and in a broader and deeper way then those who resist and feel they are already "no good" at that subject and only learn it on a peripheral level in order to pass the test and get by and receive the proverbial pat on the head and the approval of the teacher and parents etc.

Kids should enjoy learning all subjects and it can be done that way when the teaching is connected to their life on as many levels as possible. When children are given the opportunity to learn things on their time, with gentle guidance and encouragement they will learn so much more and it will make more sense in the grand scheme of their life. When you attach a positive emotion to learning experiences the outcome is a solid core understanding of that subject that is facilitated much more naturally and easily.
This has been proven time and again around the world. The model of teaching that Loureen talked about as well as the Waldorf school of thought, etc. etc are all examples of what happens when people actually trained in the field of neuroscience and learning make the policies (or non-policies) instead of paid private sector consultants.
Teaching to the test has got to be one of the worst ways to "teach" anything.

It is a strong trait to be able to look to the future and persevere through hard and difficult circumstances, however school does not see it that way, when you struggle you are already "failing" in the system, even if the word fail is never used. You look around and it is not you who is getting the proverbial pat on the head, it is not you who is getting praise for your hard work and your determination to stick through it with the hopes of it all working out in the end. It is not you who feels bolstered by getting a better grade than your seat mate. Instead you are implied to be a failure. You start to feel like maybe you are stupid when it comes to numbers and everyone is smarter than you. You stop trying to do better and only do enough to get through it, without it really becoming part of your core knowledge that will lead to a productive and successful and happy life.
I still say the schooling system present in most cases is failing our children.
Good Read for anyone interested is the book.
"Why Kids Fail" By John Holt.

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Huda - posted on 11/12/2014

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Sharlene - posted on 06/02/2014

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Hi, My name is Sharlene Goodwin and I am a teacher and a mother of 3 (12, 10 and 3).

I sympathize with you and your feelings about the school system. There are many great things about school but I do agree that there are points that are failing our children.

My daughter, Katia, has struggled with basic facts in maths. I looked to the school and they did not seem to have a way to address it. The way that maths is taught now is totally different than when you or I was at school.

Research (and common sense) shows that without a firm and strong foundation in maths (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) our children are set up for failure at High School. Children need to know there basic facts so well that they answer any times table or division question within 3 seconds- this leaves the brain free for harder maths.

I was frustrated that the school had no way to address this, so I have created my own answer! I produce daily 10-15 minute worksheets on the basic facts set at the level or the age of your child. I make them fun and I make them relevant to the way basic facts are taught at school.

It is such a relief to see my daughter learning the basics as we need these in everyday life. It makes me happy to see her confidence growing and her attitude of "I'm hopeless at math, so what's the point?" changing to "Hey I can do this"

You can sign up for a free trial at www.stayontrack.co.nz, if you like us we are only $6 a month. It was important to me as a parent to make this affordable for other parents.

I send a worksheet a day, Monday to Friday and it is to be worked on for 10-15 minutes. Longer if they are really enjoying it!

I am currently writing articles and sending 'Wednesday Wisdoms' addressing parents concern about maths, often as parents, we feel unsure in this subject.

Time for that to change, it is all about practice and repetition! If you want to be good at sports-what do you do? You Practice and maths is the same!

Sign up at www.stayontrack.co.nz and trial us for free as well as getting informative emails. I love what I do.

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[deleted account]

Oh well thats good to know i didnt even know that at all! pretty cool well thank you everyone for schooling me on unschooling!! :D

Michele - posted on 04/10/2011

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Children who are unschooled or homeschooled is allowed from the start without informing any authorities. Parents choose the education not educational authorities! As for children in school, the school is usually informed by letter by the parents that the child is no longer atttending their school. That's it!

[deleted account]

or maybe you an and i just never heard of that but i do know if they miss to many days or dont go the child and the parent will get in trouble.

Also what do you if your child is interested in microbiology or physics and you knw nothing about it how can you sufficiently teach your child that? And what6 if your child doesnt know what to do and only does art or something because it is easy and fun. Then thy get older and want to be a surgeon or microbiologist how have you helped to get them ready for that if they only focused on painting??

Im not askin these questions as to attack anyone im really just trying to learn so please no one get offended!

[deleted account]

Oh im sorry im not trying to be a bitch but its Maria :) and i kno where im at if you dont go to shool a truancy officer can ger you and put you in jail ( for a couple hours or a day) and then you have to go to court and you will get a fine. . so kids do have to go to school. i mean they can homeschool but u just cant have your kids doing nothing...

Michele - posted on 04/10/2011

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Wow! I have tried to read through all of the posts, but there are alot.
My two children have been out of school for 3 years and we unschool because that's what we agreed on. I bought and read many books on various types of education, and my daughter wanted to unschool from the start, my son started with classical homeschooling but eventually moved on to unschooling to follow his interests full-time.
I understand where this woman is coming from, in the UK keystage 1 and 2 is to teach children essential skills, keystage 3 and 4 is for passing exams to earn points and it's debatable whether these skills will be needed in your future life or career. Though helps to earn points for uni.
Children and adults can learn these skills at any age, there are no laws to say otherwise, plenty of people are failed by schools, barely passing keystage 1 and 2, me included! I feel school wasted too much of my life - I was either bored or confused or in a daydream.
Points for uni can come from art classes, fitness training and other things, not just basic Maths and English, but Maths and English is usually preferrable.
As for needing English and Maths exams beyond essential skills, I agree that it's only necessary if the child chooses it to be for their future careers. Alot of homeschool and unschooled kids do very well in exams when they choose to do them, whether they be a 9 or 21 years old when they take them!
My son has known what he wanted to be from very young and has stuck to it, a designer for a particular company, luckily we know various different designers and have been able to offer him computer programs and books to help him work on it, though he has made sure he knows the company product inside-out for when the day comes for him to do an interview and presentation for this copmpany, he has been building a portfolio for future ideas for the company. He is only 13!!! He has a goal, and these past few months have shown me how determined he is to obtain it, it's got to a stage now where I can see it happening, there is little doubt. His back-up plan is start up his own company or join his fathers company.
When I attended school I was full of doubt and had no idea of my future career or anything, I wasn't really into my exams, as I didn't see where they would get me. My son has done no exams yet, but because he has this goal, he wants to and is in the process of drafting a letter to the company he wants to work for to find out what qualities and qualifications they are looking for, he then hopes to meet their requirements.
My daughter saw no future and no career when she attended school, just like me. She has always loved animals and is still exploring the many various careers that involves animals. She has chatted to vets, stables, breeders, farmers, she has chatted to agricutural colleges at open day events, she has asked me to phone and e-mail groomers and boarding kennels, etc. She has read many books on animals, on training, life stories, etc. I can see a career in animals for her though as yet I'm stumped about what her actual future job will be, (though involvement with horses and/or dogs is likely). I'm not concerned as she is only 11! She is in charge of her own dog and helps out with other peoples dogs and she rides at local stables and will help out there as soon as she is old enough (stables can offer NVQ1-3 in horsecare) like my son she is also interested in doing courses or exams to get her future career, when she decides on one, I think she will be just as determined and involved in it as my son is with his.
So....my conclusion is maths and english are needed but what is needed will come up in everyday life and if your children and you get along well and the children know they can ask you anything and you have time to listen and explain, then essential skills will learnt by the child.

Jenny - posted on 04/10/2011

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The more I read about unschooling and homeschooling, the more I like it. We kind of do after school unschooling. We do experiments, go to presentations, research interesting topics, learn how to make things. Learning is constantly happening at our house. I still take courses on things just to better myself. Education is everything in life.

My 8 year old knows her multiplication tables to 12 which her public school just started. She learned it as we were planning out our modified square foot garden and figuring out many plants would be in each square. Her teacher just introduced multiplication a few weeks ago.

If I didn't like my job so much I may consider homeschooling. I'm just not the right personality type for it though. I'm still waiting for Tara to move next door so I can send my kids to her. =)

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School is a right not a law Marina. No one can force you to send your kids to public school. You don't have to tell anyone your not sending your kids because they are your kids and you teach them whatever way you see is the best possible way. You can follow the homeschooling curriculum and get packages from the board of education, but it is in no way mandatory.

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ok but with homeschooling you have to still report to somone either the school or whatever but with unschooling you do what?? do you let somone know? or do you just not enroll you kid in school or just one day take them out out? and if so how do you not get in trouble for that??



And how does an unschooled child go to university without a diploma? they have to get an equivilency??



yea ima have to do some research on this cuz i have never heard of this before haha. And altho i get what the ladies here are saying the benefits are i just dont understand why you wouldnt put your kids in school and then when they get home you continue to teach them i guess in the "unschooling" way. Like ive said before teaching and learning doesnt and shouldnt stop in the school. so if they teach fractions at school the "boring" way then your child comes home and learns it again by baking something ( "fun" way) thats just how it should be anyways, children always learning and putting what they learn to use.

Meg - posted on 04/10/2011

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That would be absolutely untrue in any country ;-)

Why would unschooling be setting your child up for failure? ;-) Plenty of kids leave school barely literate but I have NEVER heard of an unschooled child who was not able to read by the time they were the same age as their graduating peers. And in fact a study was done in America on nearly 6000 kids who did not receive their education in a school. Of those there was ONE who was receiving welfare, and that child had been in a car accident and was disabled. They performed at or above grade average, they were emotionally healthy, motivated young people and most of them went to university.

I recommend you look into John Taylor Gatto's work on unschooling. He was a teacher who won awards for teaching until he started looking into how schools worked and what their motives were.

[deleted account]

ok wait im confused sorry. So would this work in America? How do you not get in trouble for truancy? From what i understand living in America. if you unschool from the beginning your pretty much setting your kid up to not be successful in other ways right? if you unschool and your child gets older and wants to be a doctor, pretty much they wont be able to because they were unschooled and wont be able to get into medical school right?



Because there would be no way for the child to get a diploma if they wanted they could get a GED which holds a lesser value than a Diploma.



Im still not understanding this. . .

Meg - posted on 04/10/2011

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In Australia (which is where I am) children go to a college to do their leaving certificate if they need it for any particular reason. However having said that, it's worth noting that universities are literally falling over themselves to get children who were unschooled because they are extremely self motivated learners who do not need mollycoddling because their entire education was based on learning to learn, if that makes sense.

Meg - posted on 04/10/2011

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In Australia (which is where I am) children go to a college to do their leaving certificate if they need it for any particular reason. However having said that, it's worth noting that universities are literally falling over themselves to get children who were unschooled because they are extremely self motivated learners who do not need mollycoddling because their entire education was based on learning to learn, if that makes sense.

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Ok so if your "unschooling" does child still graduate? do they still get a diploma?? how does that work?

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I think its more of at the TIME she doesn't continue. If a child is not interested in learning a particular topic, they will not retain the information because they are not interested! If you wait until they are interested, they keep it because they want to know it. Those basics you need to function in society...eventually every child will want to learn them...if they don't they can't function.
The education system generalized children, that they have the capability to learn certian things at certian ages. So they lump ALL kids into the same category. When i started school, i knew how to read, write, do math, i knew a great deal of information at a young age. For the simple fact that my brain developed differently, i was interested in this stuff and learned it myself. Other children when taught these skills, were simply not ready for the information. They are classified as failures because their brain developed differently than others. If a child cant read when the school system wants them to, they are no less intelligent than someone who can read before their time.
Education needs to be tailored to each childs personal needs. It could hinder their development if they do not fall into the generalized category of a "normally developing child"
We all know, babies hit milestones at different times, so do children.

Cyndel - posted on 04/06/2011

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She simply stated her opinion clearly, but did not go in detail on how she executes this at home. It seems like she does teach the basics needed to continue learning in math, reading, writing etc.
I disagree with her to some extent. You can continue in subjects that kids don't like or excel in, in ways that the child enjoys. Even if the child doesn't enjoy it, there is a great satisfaction to be gained by accomplishing and finishing something successfully that was difficult and unenjoyable. This is something that should be learned as a child, we face this all the time as adults and have a greater chance at success if we are able to persevere with a vision for the future through things that are difficult and not fun.

Charlie - posted on 04/05/2011

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This is why I love the Reggio school philosophy for which I taught in for several years at a kindergarden level although it does extend to high school and is becoming more and more popular in Australia as people recognize a lot of children learn a lot better when they have some kind of control over their learning .

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing;
Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore and
Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the center of its philosophy. Early childhood programs that have successfully adapted to this educational philosophy share that they are attracted to Reggio because of the way it views and respects the child.

Parents are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. Teachers respect parents as each child's first teacher and involve parents in every aspect of the curriculum. It is not uncommon to see parents volunteering within Reggio Emilia classrooms throughout the school. This philosophy does not end when the child leaves the classroom. Most parents who choose to send their children to a Reggio Emilia program incorporate many of the principles within their parenting and home life.

Our success rate of children who have passed through school has been unmatched , basically it is unschooling in a school setting if that makes sense.

April - posted on 04/05/2011

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@ Maria-- Unschooling means that the parent does not make a curriculum that outlines what the child will learn and when the child will learn it.

For example, Tara does not sit down at the table to make a schedule that says her kids will start learning fractions on Wednesday April 6, 2011. Instead, one of her kids may decide he/she wants to learn how to make pizza. This would be Tara's opportunity to show the child who wants to make pizza how measuring and cutting up the pie involves fractions. There MIGHT be worksheet later on with different fractions for her child to solve, but only after multiple experiences with using real life situations.

Basically, the children decide they are interested in a subject, while the parents take those interests a step further by providing the children with opportunities to immerse themselves in the subject (Tara's example: Kids: We want to learn about Egypt Tara: Ok. Let's go to the library and see what we can find. Kid 1: Oh look I found a book on Mummification Kid 2: Look! I found a book of Egyptian recipes Tara: We could probably sample some food that Egyptians made and we could try to mummify something too! Kids: Cool! Let's go home and find out what we can do!

Unschooling is differentiated from homeschooling because a lot of the time, the parent has to sit down and create some kind of schedule/make a list of goals for when the child will accomplish what task and then send it to the state. Homeschooling families usually have some kind of formal plan that they follow.

April - posted on 04/05/2011

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@ Maria-- Unschooling means that the parent does not make a curriculum that outlines what the child will learn and when the child will learn it.

For example, Tara does not sit down at the table to make a schedule that says her kids will start learning fractions on Wednesday April 6, 2011. Instead, one of her kids may decide he/she wants to learn how to make pizza. This would be Tara's opportunity to show the child who wants to make pizza how measuring and cutting up the pie involves fractions. There MIGHT be worksheet later on with different fractions for her child to solve, but only after multiple experiences with using real life situations.

Basically, the children decide they are interested in a subject, while the parents take those interests a step further by providing the children with opportunities to immerse themselves in the subject (Tara's example: Kids: We want to learn about Egypt Tara: Ok. Let's go to the library and see what we can find. Kid 1: Oh look I found a book on Mummification Kid 2: Look! I found a book of Egyptian recipes Tara: We could probably sample some food that Egyptians made and we could try to mummify something too! Kids: Cool! Let's go home and find out what we can do!

Unschooling is differentiated from homeschooling because a lot of the time, the parent has to sit down and create some kind of schedule/make a list of goals for when the child will accomplish what task and then send it to the state. Homeschooling families usually have some kind of formal plan that they follow.

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OK well I really dont know what unschooling is therefore I dont get it. I mean I dont understand why children just cant go to school and then when they get home have more help from their parents whether it be by having them more involved in the things that they really love and excel at, to taking the time to further their education or help them with a subject they struggle with at home.



So maybe Schools put "too" much importance on math and science I really dont see anything wrong with that. I would want my child to know those are important than thinking they can get away with not knowing how to spell their name and how to add and subtract.



Schooling and learning shouldnt stop at school we, as parents should be doing some of the work too. I mean for those who dropped out and still were able to make something of themselves, thats great but its not like that for everyone people drop out and then thats that, working at a gas station ( not putting it down if you choose to work there but that is different from having to work there because you have no other choice) for the rest of their lives.



Also in this day and age education is so important. Where I live things are getting to the point where your going to need a masters to even get a really good job. So if you drop out of middle or high school you really shouldnt be setting your goals to become a heart surgeon or CEO of Microsoft or what have you. Is anything possible?? Of course but not everybody has the ambition to push themselves which is why if you drop out of school it begs to question, "if you cant even finish completing your education which benefits only yourself, then what can you finish?"



In an age where times are so competitive why wouldnt you want to get as much education as you can? Why wouldnt you want to have more "eggs in your basket"? Why wouldnt you want to show right away that you had a goal and were able to achieve it? Or that you were focused enough and determined to better yourself? Or that you were making the best decision that you could by staying in school?



This is just my opinion but when you can show that you finished school its gets you even more steps ahead. If an employer were to see someone who graduated school, graduated college. and had a masters compared to someone who dropped out at whatever grade ( which is all they will see unless you get into the conversation of how you were "unschooled") I can almost always guarantee that you will never be qualified for that job.



Why would someone want someone who couldnt finish school? If you couldnt finish school how are you gonna be able to finish a job? I would think questions like this would float around in an employers mind.



EDITED

Tara - posted on 04/05/2011

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Thanks Meg for coming on and posting, I hope you will become a regular here in DM.
I am the other unschooling mama on this board and I completely get where you are coming from with your blog post.
I too have done loads of research on unschooling versus homeschooling versus mainstream education. And as a result have been unschooling for the last 6-7 years or so.
I would love to have a link to your blog, if you could post it I would really appreciate it.
Happy Unschooling to you Meg!
:)

Stifler's - posted on 04/04/2011

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Oh we had maths and stuff too, but all I remember is the funny stuff and getting out of class to do bullying role plays the the university for the bachelor of education students. High school we did actual work.

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Please don't take offense Emma but your school sucked!
Even at my primary and high school we had maths text books to work out of.

Meg - posted on 04/04/2011

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Hi!

This is actually my blog so I thought I might join up to answer some of your questions.

Maths is usually the first thing people question when they hear about unschooling. The reason maths comes to mind first is because of the over emphasis schooling places on maths and because schooling leaves most children (although not all) feeling as if they are no good at it. I was one of those kids, my daughter was one of those kids! However having unschooled for two years now and having read vast quantities on it, I have discovered that children LOVE maths, and everyone can do it if they are allowed to come to it on their own terms and learn with the part of their brain that processes mathematical rules. As an unschooling mama I have actually discovered that I love maths and that I am good at it! Who knew? lol

My daughter actually LOVES doing maths now! Coming at it from the perspective that children will learn what they need to learn in order to function in our society I believe (and have now seen much evidence) that children actively seek out the answers and the methods for them to live independently. That means that children really want to learn to read and they really want to learn to write and learn to calculate mathematical problems. They are naturally curious about science, history, geography, other languages and so many other subjects. If they need help they ask for it and as natural learning facilitators, their parents find ways to answer all their queries.

You'll see there is a maths tag on my blog that may have some more information. There are also links on the right hand side to other websites which discuss unschooling.

Cheers! Have a nice day xx

Meg - posted on 04/04/2011

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Hi!

This is actually my blog so I thought I might join up to answer some of your questions.

Maths is usually the first thing people question when they hear about unschooling. The reason maths comes to mind first is because of the over emphasis schooling places on maths and because schooling leaves most children (although not all) feeling as if they are no good at it. I was one of those kids, my daughter was one of those kids! However having unschooled for two years now and having read vast quantities on it, I have discovered that children LOVE maths, and everyone can do it if they are allowed to come to it on their own terms and learn with the part of their brain that processes mathematical rules. As an unschooling mama I have actually discovered that I love maths and that I am good at it! Who knew? lol

My daughter actually LOVES doing maths now! Coming at it from the perspective that children will learn what they need to learn in order to function in our society I believe (and have now seen much evidence) that children actively seek out the answers and the methods for them to live independently. That means that children really want to learn to read and they really want to learn to write and learn to calculate mathematical problems. They are naturally curious about science, history, geography, other languages and so many other subjects. If they need help they ask for it and as natural learning facilitators, their parents find ways to answer all their queries.

You'll see there is a maths tag on my blog that may have some more information. There are also links on the right hand side to other websites which discuss unschooling.

Cheers! Have a nice day xx

Stifler's - posted on 04/04/2011

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I don't remember doing any actual work in primary school. We did all this anti-bullying crap and the 5 needs and all this. Even in grade 7 I remember we had to listen to the teacher read Harry Potter and she would make up activities so the book was relevant to school work like we had to draw our own interpretation of Ron Weasley's house and what the Hogwarts teachers looked like and do character profiles and make up a hilarious book list.

Veronique - posted on 04/04/2011

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I didn't read the whole thing but the little that i did read hit right at home. I was diagnose with a leaning disability at the age of 7 years old. Now looking back, i can't really say it was a learning disability because seriously can you really expect a child to concentrate 8h a day 5 days a week without daydreaming once or twice in a day? No you can't. I would easily get distracted but hey that's most kids right. So the school system started to fail me in more ways then one. Every teacher i had did not have the patience to work with me so they work against me. Telling me a was a failure, that i wouldn't succeed to anything, so for sure i started to believe them. I hated school with a passion. It wasn't a place for me to learn in was a prison sentence that i need to do. Well at the age of 17 years old i left without a high school diploma, because i just couldn't do this anymore. Well i'n now 26 years old i have a well paying job, a house, a car, 2 beautiful kids working on the 3rd and loving husband whose succesful i mean i can't ask for more. So i'm more street smarts then book smarts and that's fine by me

Tara - posted on 04/04/2011

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It is essential to learn to overcome obstacles, not all of use are meant to be numbers people or literary people, but we must all learn to understand enough of those weaknesses in our academia to be able to function in society. But the system of schooling as it is right now, does not always help kids overcome those obstacles in their learning. Often times it isn't just a matter of not being a "numbers" or "letters" person etc. it is also largely due to the style of teaching, there are 3 main modalities of how people learn, Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Many boys maintain their Kinesthetic learning style throughout their academic careers, while many girls begin leaning more to visual and auditory learning usually during elementary school.
We all begin as Kinesthetic learners, as this is the most natural path to learning in early humanhood.
Often how something is taught will make the difference between whether someone understands it on a core level and whether they can only grasp it at the peripheral level.
Core learning is what children need. They need to understand the concepts on as many levels as possible to reinforce the skill set you desire them to learn.
People who say "I was never great at math" or "I hate math" are saying this based on the fact they struggled in maths during school and that has led to a life of feeling like they are not good with numbers. When in fact had they been taught maths in a way that made sense to their own style of learning things, they may instead feel that math is not "something" not an abstract concept that they were forced to learn, and rather a part of life, and just another part of learning about the world.

Forced creative writing really bothers me. Sorry but honestly? Forced "creative" writing. Sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Creativity is something that should not be forced. If teachers must have writing assignments to ensure proper language, proper punctuation etc. they should stick to topics that they assign rather than forced creativity. Just seems counter-productive to the creative process in general.
Anyhow as you can all tell this is a passionate topic for me, and I'm just full of stats etc that I want to post but can't right now. And not sure if anyone wants to read a bunch of stats anyways!

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Schools do encourage drama and art. They are not the only things in the world either. (I'm suddenly reminded of a Python sketch where the son is castigated by his father for choosing to be a coal miner instead of a playwrite.)

Schools are hard. Learning is hard. Schools give a wide range of topics adn yes, you must learn some of them. I had a hard time in school in math and struggle with numbers to this day - but I can do it. And I watch my son struggle with English & creative writing because he's a numbers man (oh cruel fate to have given me the opposite of myself for a child. ;) ) Learning to overcome those struggles is the best lesson of all in my never humble opinion.

Vegemite - posted on 04/04/2011

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Well as someone who didn't even finish grade 10 but is now successful in the way of acquiring the things I want in life I don't think school is as important as it is made out to be. I worked as a head dental nurse and practice manager, along the way I also got my pilots licence all without an "education". However I did it all the hard way, I had to educate myself . I had to prove myself fit for promotion with extra hard work and dedication to my job because I didn't have the required credentials. When I went for my pilots licence there was a lot of maths and physics involved. I didn't want people to know I had no education so I had to learn that by myself too.



My husband only has grade 10 cert. and now owns his own car yard which is doing extremely well even in the recent economic down turn. He is like me and decided to educate himself so he could fulfill his dreams.



However life sure would have been much easier if we'd gotten our education when it was given to us. So yes I do think it's important but the emphasis that is put into those maths, english and science subjects is too much. If someone is gifted in other areas that should be encouraged and held in as much esteem as those main three are.

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i Dont know about this one. I think school is really important just because you dont like a subject or arent good at a subject doesnt mean you just shouldnt learn it all together. Thats not how life works. I was never really good at math and i knew i wasnt but i pushed myself to get better and learn more.



Math is really important and if you dont know the basics or have to depend on a calculator your whole life then i personally think you will not get far. Thats why they say America is failing because its children are doing so poorly in science and math.We should enourage our children to overcome their learning obstacles.



It is a fact that kids that finish school and graduate will make more in their lifetime. I know i want that for my child. If they can finish school then they can finish anything because that is a commitment that you have from when you are small to when you are grown. DO i think that the school focuses more on science and math?? yes but i think they have every right to since kids are not doing successful in those subjects what a sad world it will be if one day no one knows any science or math. . . .



Do i think the arts and such are important yes! but if they are not getting enough at school then its the parents place to get them in clubs or whatever to fulfill that passion. Not to stop all education of other subjects just to focus on one that you are really good at.

I think school makes a big difference, a better difference. And we as parents should be there helping our kids to finish school not allowing them to think its ok not to.

Jenni - posted on 04/03/2011

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@Jodi... not sure if there's some confusion? I'm from Canada and I said our system is similar to Australia's. Same as you... up to grade 8 is compulsorary courses but they include art, music, gym. Grade 9 is mostly compulsorary other than you can choose between acedemic (Uni prep) or general (college prep) with the exception of a rotaional period where they cover drafting, auto class, intro computers.

Grade 10 is about half compulsorary, half elective.

Grade 11-12 is pretty much all elective aside from a few compulsorary english (you need one per year) and one senior math.



Electives at my HS (keep in mind my HS was only 300 kids and there wasn't as large of a selection compared to larger schools)... some I can remember are Ph'ed, nutrition, art, law, man in society, bio, chem, physics, media, parenting, drafting, auto class, computers, typing, physical growth and development, business english, english lit, french.... just to name a few... you could also choose from technical application of the course and acedemic application of the course.



There is a new curriculum put into place but I don't think it varies all that much from when I was in HS. We use to have grade 13 (OAC) which consisted of 6 credits or more to prepare students for university... I took OAC english, oac english lit, oac Biology, oac Economics, oac visual arts/art history, oac physical growth and development and grr what was the last one... i've forgot atm, for a total of 7. You only need 6 but you can choose to take more if you want. You also have the choice of picking any grade level at any time as long as you have the prerequiste. For example: I took a lot of grade 13 courses when I was in grade 12 and i took some grade 11 classes in grade 12. It really is very flexible.



Edited to add: Education rankings 2010-



1.South Korea

2.Finland

3.Canada

4.New Zealand

5.Japan

6.Australia

7.Netherlands

8.Belgium

9.Norway

10.Estonia



and this http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/detail...

shows Canada's overall education second to Finland... there is also plenty of other breakdowns of education rated by country on this site.

Tara - posted on 04/03/2011

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lol@Julianne, I am currently living in my 35th home in 37 years. Hopefully this is it for me. Big house, owning not renting and love my community. Shouldn't be moving again unless we win the lottery.

[deleted account]

I went to 14ish different schools in Canada, like i said before, i moved a lot as a child. I am currently living in my 42nd home.

Tara - posted on 04/03/2011

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@Kelly, as for your question of whether I think public school education hinders a child's development.
I think a lot depends on the kids, the teachers and the parents, but ultimately yes I think it does.
But my reasoning for that is another post altogether. Find my post titled "Human Resources" and watch the documentary if you want to better understand why I think school is detrimental to real human learning, not just academically but also socially and emotionally.
I don't value organized education for so many reasons I would take up too much of my day typing them! But a lot of it comes down to Emotional Intelligence and learning and how the two are so intricately linked and how the current system of education does not place enough emphasis on that.
It is policy makers who decide when, what and how kids are taught in school. And the systems in place are there to teach conformity and to generate a generation of conformists who will follow the path of least resistance. Learning in school is about praise and acceptance not about enjoyment of the act itself.
Teaching to the test is a prime example of this.
Einstein said " Real learning happens when you forget everything you were taught in school"
:) off to do more laundry..

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Jodi, I totally understand!! That's why it actually saddens me to hear how poorly the US public system has become, because it was great when I was in it... OMG, you and I are about the same age!

Jodi - posted on 04/03/2011

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Donna, maybe it is Year 11 & 12 now.....things have changed since I graduated 24 years ago.....

Jodi - posted on 04/03/2011

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I am on my way to bed, so I haven't had time to really read the more recent posts thoroughly (especially Tara's), but I do want to agree with Kelly, in that education shouldn't stop when the kids come home from school. Every opportunity should be used as a teaching tool. I spend many hours of my day teaching my children. They just receive their formal education in a school environment. I am VERY involved in my local school, so I can participate in my children's education.

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Jodi, I thought years 11 & 12 were like that, not just year 12? And it is far more broad than the US. I had a kick butt education in the US 20+ years ago, but back theN the teachers cared and there was money to fund the school. Not that there aren't teachers who care now, but it's become so political that they can't affectively teach. One of my best friends became a teacher. She taught TWO years before giving it away. Her reason was because she spent most of her time on school district "office politics" crap and very little time actually teaching.

Jennifer, I was the same as you. My parents bought me a microscope when I was in grade 4, because I was interested in biology and bacteria. Yeah, I was weird. I was also part of a special program that our county had started called TAG (Talented And Gifted). All the kids in the program were selected through an IQ test we were given. What the program actually entailed was more school, on a Saturday! All us kids from my town got on a bus at 7am on a Saturday morning to drive 45 minutes away to the community college. There we started with a presentation (one time they had a special effects guy from ILM give a talk on how they created Star Wars, which was the biggest hit at the time). After that, we got to choose three classes for the day from a list. It varied from oil and water colour painting to architecture to mechanics. Those Saturday's were only twice a month, but were my favourite days.

So school kids can indeed do independent studies, but I think it takes parents with initiative to foster that. The IQ test I took in grade 4 for the TAG program wasn't mandatory in our school. If a kid's parents said they didn't want their kid to take it, they didn't have to.

[deleted account]

Wow, where to start....
Tara, I only had time to read your first post if I was going to have time to post myself, but I fully intend to come back and explore the websites you posted. I found your post very insightful, but a couple of points caught my attention.

"And for the person who said school teaches you how to learn, I think that's not true for the most part.
Schools teach you what to learn, when to learn it and how to learn it."
You lost me a little there, because it seems contradictory. I agree with you that school does not teach us how to learn, but I do not think it teaches us what to learn either, it simply exposes us to other areas that we may be interested in learning more about on our own. You do have a very good point about "when to learn it" though. For the most part, students here (I'm in US) do not have a choice about when to learn most subjects and that can hinder them. If they are exposed to marine biology when they are on a literature kick, they may not realize they have a love for biology until it is too late and they have forgotten their exposure to it....also, there is the issue of learning certain concepts before the brain is developmentally ready in order to free up time later and expedite learning in other subjects. That is one of the reasons I considered home schooling (though I ultimately decided *I* was not capable of doing it well).

Also, I hope my comments earlier did not imply that I thought home schooled and unschooled kids would grow up unable to function in our society. I do remember saying something last night (I was up with insomnia, and don't remember exactly what it was) about people unable to comprehend certain ideas being burdens on society as adults, but I was referring to people, mostly right brained, who were leaving school because they did not enjoy or could not comprehend the basic math and communication skills we use everyday, and not going further themselves to develop those skills they struggled in school with. I just wanted to clear that up in case I came across wrong :)

My son is schooled, but we incorporate a lot of the things you do into his education at home--I mentioned earlier that he is on an architecture kick so we've been learning a lot about that outside of school, and we do volunteer as well, but we do not have access to volunteer in all of the areas he will be exposed to in school, so I like school for that. My question is do you feel that public school hinders a child's development if it is used along side home schooling efforts or do you think it can be a useful tool if it is not depended upon too heavily?

I think, in the US, parents are depending on school for too much of their child's development and education, and that is why it is getting such a bad reputation. Our schools are only 6hours, take out an hour for lunch and recess, and another hour for self directed study, and you only have 4 hours of instruction. There simply is not enough time to fully educate a child in that space without a lot of input and effort from the parents at home.

Jodi - posted on 04/03/2011

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Actually, come to think of it, one of my artworks from High School is hanging in a school in Canada somewhere.... :P

Jenni - posted on 04/03/2011

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Tara that is very imformative and I don't doubt at all that you are highly capable of schooling your children. I do fear that there are parents who homeschool who are not.

But I wasn't homeschool and still had opportunity to persue my own independent study. When I was 6-10 years old I was interested in animals... my mom bought me the entire encyclopedia collection of National Geographics Wildlife. I read those books over and over and when I was 6 if you asked me my fav animal I would have told you a bush baby or an ey ey. I had a fascination with lemurs. I also developed an interest in geology and with the aid of my rock and mineral guide I learned to identify many 'ordinary' rocks/minerals through a serious of hardness, acidity etc. tests. My parents bought me a rock tumbler and took me to Rock Glen to discover fossils.

All I'm saying is that it's not as though school educated children don't have the opportunites for independent studies.

Jodi - posted on 04/03/2011

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@ Jennifer, in australia, in final year of school, only English and Maths is compulsory......everything else is elective. From Year 9 onwards, there are a lot of electives. Everything is compulsory in Years 7 & 8, INCLUDING the Art, Performing Arts, Social Sciences, PE, technology, and languages.

I agree with Donna, it sounds like our schools offer a MUCH broader range than you guys. That MIGHT explain why homeschooling is a rarity here, because the schools actually DO provide a broad education.

Even in primary school, I remember some of my son's school assignments, and he had a lot of choice about his submissions, and plenty of avenue to work with parts of a topic that HE found interesting, rather than only having the option of one focus.

Tara - posted on 04/03/2011

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from this site.
http://eligerzon.wordpress.com/2009/07/0...
Homeschoolers’/Unschoolers’ Websites and Blogs

www.eligerzon.com – This is my site. I travels all over the world, write and speak about travel, unschooling, and worldschooling, and lead travel tours for young adults to learn about the world and themselves.

www.perrykroll.com/ – www.take247.com - www.studiofreeradical.com – Perry Kroll is a fellow Massachusetts unschooler. Does great video, graphic design, and website work (he designed my site actually).

www.yes-i-can-write.blogspot.com – Very interesting blog by a grown unschooler/homeschooler in Montreal, Canada expressing her views on unschooling, education, politics, vegeteranism, civilization, sustainability, etc.

www.financeyourfreedom.com – www.thegrowinglife.com One of the number one sites on the net about “life-style design”: creating the life, money, and freedom you want without being stuck in an office all day. Clay Collins left school at age 15 and started unschooling. Then he went to college, worked in an office, hated it, “killed his day job”, and learned to make a good living while enjoying his life.

www.grownwithoutschooling.com – Peter Kowalke is a life-long unschooler who made a ground-breaking documentary about 10 grown homeschoolers talking candidly about the effect not going to school or following a set curriculum had on their lives.

www.deepgreenbuilding.net/ Sean Ritchey is a grown unschooler/homeschooler who does wonderful work designing and building energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings and homes that save people money and help keep the planet healthier.

www.allenellis.com - Grown unschooler/homeschooler who does photography, graphic design work, and photography. Really nice quality work. He also designs websites such as this one:

www.theautodidactsymposium.com – Cameron Lovejoy left school at age 12 and started unschooling. He helped his family run the Live and Learn Unschooling Conferences which have influenced many other conference. Now Cameron is running his own unschooling conference that looks very exciting, The Autodidact Symposium, in March, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina. He also started the Ask Unschooling Offspring group on Yahoo mentioned above.

www.matchingorange.com - www.myspace.com/mandolinisgoodforthebrain - Eric McDonald is another fellow Bostonian grown unschooler and an amazing musical performer and songwriter. He sings, plays the guitar, and rips it on the mandolin all over the northeast. One of his bands is Jaded Mandolin:

www.myspace.com/jadedmandolin – Jaded Mandolin is a folk/bluegrass band originally made up of four unschooling teens. You can listen to their music and order their awesome self-titled CD through this MySpace page.

www.ahem.info/LinkstoHomeschoolersWebpages.htm – List of many more homeschoolers’ websites compiled by my friends at Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM).

www.ahem.info/FamousHomeschoolers.htm – List of famous people who were homeschooled.

There are more! Please feel to comment and add to the list!

The man who asked about this on the list is actually from Germany and having trouble being allowed to homeschool his children there. I assume he wanted both personal support for his choice and maybe help proving the legitimacy of homeschooling to the German authorities.

As I noted in my response to him according to John Taylor Gatto modern compulsory schooling started in Prussia (Germany) in the 1800s so it’s understandable it’s not easy to homeschool there. And it’s especially wonderful and significant to hear about people fighting for the right to direct their lives and education.

Jenni - posted on 04/03/2011

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Donna, in Canada it's basically the same thing... grade 9 courses are more compulsorary, grade 10 you have a little more elective courses... and so on... other than your compulsorary Eng, math and sciences, senior courses are highly elective. You also have a choice between Acedemic (advanced) level courses or (general) level courses. Sorry I'm not too familar with the new curriculum, I was with the old school but they've made a few tweeks to omit OAC (grade 13).

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Hey, I just took that test. She's going clockwise no matter what I do! Well, I got her to spin anti for a second, but that's it.

Now, here's what puzzles me. It says clockwise is right brained, which is philosophy, fantasy based, "big picture", etc. But I actually think I'm a bit of both, but far more left brained with the fact based, words/languages, science, detail oriented, etc. I'm a very black and white kind of person... So does that mean my brain is broke because the chick's spinning the wrong way?!

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From what I've seen, schools here (Australia) are very different to schools in the US. They provide a much broader range of subjects and the concentration on your "chosen subjects" in senior high is not heard of in the states as far as I know. The school my eldest will begin attending next year (Prep) is very student focused. He will have regular subjects, but will also have violin and Mandarin classes. The school tries to get the child where his strengths lie, whether that's headed to Uni or into a job. However, it has also been made clear that the parents aren't off the hook either. It is a partnership between the school and parents, with almost constant communication between the parties, to bring about the success of the child. That, to me, is a wholistic approach to education.

I went to US public school, and way back then it used to be more balanced than I think it is now. Aside from my regular subjects, I also had band, drafting, PE and in high school a foreign language.

But no school can teach a kid all there is to know. It is the parents job to help teach a child and help guide them toward success.

I actually entertained the idea of homeschooling for a short time, but I couldnt see how I could provide a well rounded education. It would be far too easy to just teach to what you know or what interests the child. School is not only learning how to read, write, do math and be bored, but it is also a huge lesson in life. Sometimes you have to do things you hate, sometimes you have to learn things you have no interest in from a person you don't like, you have to learn how to deal on a daily basis with a superior you don't like as well as co-workers/peers that you don't get on with. School is also a place to learn about how to fit into society, not have society fit you.

I love learning and loved school. A lot of the people I could have lived without, but I had to learn to deal with them. Even the bigots. I'm excited to see that my eldest has the same love of learning and we are both excited about his "big boy school". I can't wait to start learning violin and Mandarin! (I already know how to play 7 instruments and speak just as many languages, but you can never learn too much.)

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