Unschooling?

Lori - posted on 04/19/2010 ( 45 moms have responded )

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Parents allowing their children to stay at home, watch TV, play video games and learn absolutely nothing except what they want to learn? They also have no rules nor discipline? Were they kidding? NOOOO!!! Thoughts please anyone.

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Len - posted on 04/19/2010

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This is a little bit of a heated subject for me being as not a single person on this post knows what unschooling is!!!!!! I unschool all three of my children, they wake up at the same time each day they have a set bed time. We do activities that promote education, they attend groups (music, boy scouts, etc). It is not a cop out like you think it is and if anyone really looked into what "unschooling" really is they would know this. We have a classroom, it's the whole world. When we do things it's for education. For example when we go to the grocery store we make a shopping list (writing), we weigh items (measurements), we keep a running total of the amount we spend (math), I teach them how to compare prices to figure the best price per unit (economics), we practice colors, counting, money, being respectful and courteous. Some of these are thing kids don't learn in public schools. We go to the library, we play games (board games), we go for walks, we read books, we "look things up" online, video games are limited although you have to read so there is some educational value in them. You have to look past the everyday things and learn to see the educational side of things. We recently built a shed. My kids had to learn how to use power tools, measure, calculate the materials, figure angles, help roof, learn how to paint. These are things that public schools DON'T teach. My children learn at there own pace, in a safe loving environment, they are not forced to sit still for 8 hrs each day, be tormented by other children, they don't have to raise there hand to use a bathroom or get a drink!! My children are free to learn and play and experience life in all of its greatness. They hear the birds, run in the grass, jump, swing and enjoy being KIDS not adults. They have rules and a schedule, I get called the mean mom in the neighborhood because my kids have more rules then the other kids in the neighborhood. They do "school" on spring break when the neighbor kids are playing video games all day we are out learning about ecosystems and the life cycle of a frog. Please do not judge "unschooling" until you know exactly what it is, I don't judge you because you send your kids to public schools!!!!!!!!!!

Maggie - posted on 04/20/2010

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I have done reasearch on homeschooling and unschooling (didn't have to do it about public school as I went to one). I totally understand the concept behind keeping your kids at home (trust me I have thought about it). I can't help but think that it is somewhat detrimental tothe child. What will happen to the child that is allowed to study at their own pace (as with unschooling) when they want to go to university, were they cannot learn at their own pace. Will they be able to keep up? Will they be able to cope with this new level of stress? Will they be able to deal with the challange of competing with classmates? Will they be able to deal with the professors (who can sometimes be quite cutting)? Will they be able to deal withdealines in the workplace? These are all questions that my research was not able to answer for me.

All of the areas that you spoke of Lenicia are going to be taught in my home as well (just as they were by my parents when I was growing up). I will be supplementing my childrens public school education with unschooling. They will go grocery shopping with me. We will go on hikes. We will go to museums and science centres. These are all things that I do already. But I really do feel that kids need daily interaction with other children nd I feel that teaching is best left to the professionals. Just like I would leave the cleaning of my childrens teeth to the professionals (I am not a dentist or a dental hygenist) I am leaving the teaching to the professionals.

Please, don't get me wrong. I am not dismissing home-schooling or unschooling. I don't like to be judgemental or close minded. If people could provide more insight or answer some of the questions that I haven't been able to find answers for I would love it.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/19/2010

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I was home schooled k through 12th grade. Before this post turns into a public/private schooling v. home schooling I just want to make sure people understand that home schooled kids are just as educated and smart (some times more) as kids who go to a regular school. They still join groups, clubs and sports and have friends.
Now as for 'unschooling' I really don't agree with it, how are you going to get a job? Lets not even talk about college. But just a job.... washing cars, flipping burgers..... most places want a diploma or at least a GED.
Its one thing to let your kids have a say in their education but its another to not give them an education at all.

Alicia - posted on 04/22/2010

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Unschooling proponents say their children are learning life's lessons & don't need textbooks or to study different subjects. MY question is: Why can't you do both?? Then your child will be both well-rounded academically AND be instilled with common sense & real-world knowledge. If you choose to keep your kids out of a traditional school system, then why wouldn't you have them follow a curriculum so they will not be at a disadvantage later on??



I plan to have my kids attend public school (in a suburban school district rated excellent) but I have no problems with those who choose homeschooling for whatever reason. I DO have a problem with those who unschool.



My kids still learn life lessons at home while receiving education in a traditional school setting. Doing hands-on activities, grocery shopping, visiting museums - all these can be supplemented to a proper education instead of in place of one. Even though my child attends preschool outside of the home, you can better believe that I supplement & reinforce his education outside of school hours. We have flash cards, workbooks, computer games, field trips to parks, science centers, libraries, museums, etc.



It is our duty as parents to prepare our children to be productive, functioning, independent future members of society. The parents featured in the TV program are only preparing their children to still be living in the family home at the age of 35, with no tools for how to live in the real world or even how to maintain a healthy relationship (since their rearing has been all self-centric). That is sad. Why would you intentionally set your children up for failure like that??

Lucy - posted on 04/21/2010

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I think, like any school of thought, you can take a philosophy too far, and that is what we see in the example this thread starts with.

There is nothing wrong with unschooling or homeschooling in themselves, but the way it is carried out depends heavily on the parent's sense of responsibility. Lenicia, who has posted in this thread, is clearly taking her responsibility to educate her children seriously and grabs every opportunity to do so. The parents of the original case clearly are not. They have interpreted unschooling as a chance to be lazy, and are disadvantaging their kids in the process.

As a teacher I have worked in a variety of different settings- a private school, a special school, a state school, and even teaching music and drama to a family who were homeschooled (the parents lacked skills in these area, so brought me in to support them) and their are pros and cons to each approach.

Just as you can come across some less than brilliant teachers in the mainstream school system, you can also find some less than brilliant parents homeschooling or unschooling. It doesn't mean they should all be tarred with the same brush.

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Sarah - posted on 04/24/2010

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I did homeschool my children and this year they entered the public school system into the 5th and 6th grade. Both children placed higher than their grade level on the entry test. This was due to 4 hours a day of Abeka. My sister in law does not do a scheduled curriculum with her 3 children, they are more of the unschoolers. It is her choice, I respect that. I do think it will create a big difference in the future of her children but who am I to judge her. I am thankful my children learned at home, it was not easy but to be honest I only put them into public school because I gave birth to a special needs child and had no time to teach them... I need a baby sitter for the older two but what I saw was a transformation of my two shy quiet children. My son hated the re-entry to school.. he hated it cried daily for two weeks and he is 11. Now he is on the football team, has a "girlfriend" and makes honor roll each 6 weeks. My daughter is going out for cheerleader and has such a socialite life and it is all due to being exposed to more children at school. Homeschooling is wonderful, I would recommend it for at least the first 5 years, my goal was for the first 8 but God had other plans by blessing me with my little Cheyenne!!! Unschooling is a choice and it is not my choice so.. to each his own because we reap what we sow and they will be sorry for not creating boundaries for their children. BTW, I get calls weekly from my children's teachers, they tell me how polite and well mannered my children are. They tell me that it is a joy to teach them and that my children clearly have a higher moral standard than most of the other students, I believe this is because I kept them home for so long and drilled into them a good foundation. God Bless!

Len - posted on 04/23/2010

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Thank you Jaelyn, I think unschooling is becoming a broad term these days. This conversation has been enlightening for me in terms of what others perceive as unschooling/homeschooling. I consider what my family is doing unschooling but others think I homeschool. The difference that I see is my children choose (for the most part)what they learn, maybe I use a little gentle coxing to get them interested in subjects that they may not normally be interested in or find useful. For example, my son loves animals, so when he needed to start learning addition and subtraction, I spoke with the local vet and he started volunteering, he soon learned that if he wanted to be a vet then he had to learn addition and subtraction, he now adds and subtracts everything in the house (almost annoying :-), so I do a little more than some unschoolers but I don't consider it typical home schooling.
Now I will say I find it a little offensive if parents will not "parent". As a parent it is our job to "parent", to give them guidelines (rules) they will follow for the rest of there lives. We need to teach self control, teach them where and how to find any information they may need, and most importantly how to be a good hard working part of any community they live in.
Will a baby learn to walk if never exposed to it or pushed slightly? I'm not sure they would, if everyone was crawling for example I'm not sure any baby would just "decide" to walk, they see others walk, Mom and Dad get excited and "help" them and eventually they take off on there own. There is a little gentle coxing involved in most "learning" we do. Children are born with there own personalties and interests, but how do you know you like or dislike something unless you try it. As a parent we have to weigh what the child needs to learn and what they WANT to learn, if I think my kids will need the information I don't sit down with a text book and say today we are learning such and such, I devise a way for them to see the importance of the subject and a hands on way to learn it so my children will become interested and excited about it. I will not sit down and work out a lesson plan and I will not buy a bunch of unnecessary text books, that's not me or my family, but I still consider us an unschooling family.
As for Lori's original context I agree children NEED consistency and rules. When those two teenagers where young hopefully they had rules and constancy and the parents just slowly let up to teach them self control. As I've stated before I think ABC did not show the whole story, it was a one sided opinion and very poorly done. I don't agree with the parents of the young kids because the whole family will have some problems. I don't know about anyone else but I need time in the evening with my husband AWAY from the kids. We would not have that time away if we didn't insist on a bedtime. I would be a nervous wreck if we didn't have ANY rules and my kids can NOT have sugar, I want to lock them in the closet when they do (kidding :-). I really don't know how that mom survives! I think that is just lazy parenting if you can call it parenting at all, that I will agree on.

Jessica - posted on 04/23/2010

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Jaelyn, Our state is the same way as far as reporting to the state. In some states, however, you can get away with doing nothing. Here- UN-schooling would get you arrested, and I'm serious about that. They recently arrested a TON (not sure exact number) of "parents" b/c they weren't making their kids go to school. They let them stay home and do whatever. They were arrested on the basis of neglect. They even announced that they would soon start prosecuting, but people didn't take them seriously. I think it was a smart move on the city (for once...).

I'm not against home-schooling (it's not my choice)... as long as it's done right. Jaelyn- it seems like you have a handle on things. It sounds like your kids are still getting their quality education... just from home.

Jaelyn - posted on 04/23/2010

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The way I have always thought of unschooling is teaching without a specific curriculum or lesson plan focus. I have never heard of the other issues mentioned, i.e. no disciple, no rules, etc. I do know a family that unschool's and their kids are overall on par with their peers, however they miss technical learning here and there, such as geometry, algebra, scientific formulas and exploration, some history lessons, that sort of thing. They will still be adequately prepared for real life though. Think about it, unless you have a specialized profession, did you retain half of what you learned? Those with a specialized profession have the opportunity to learn what they missed in college, because the 1st year is really a refresher for what you forgot as a kid anyway.

@Jessica, she absolutely isn't homeschooling. To homeschool you have specific lesson plans, and curriculum to work through each year. You maintain report cards and in most cases still opt to participate in state testing. There are still science fairs, spelling bees, organized sports, music, choir, dances, etc. The only difference is that the curriculum is taught at home.

Jaelyn - posted on 04/23/2010

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My kids are homeschooled and we don't do school everyday. My son is so far ahead of his age, that it is not necessary. I can see the basis for "unschooling" say k-2nd grade, (which have proven for us, to be pointless busy work) as long as they have a well-rounded life. Our kids already knew everything in the K curriculum, and most of 1st with a few exceptions in math formulas, before starting school. I think it depends on the parent and how much exposure their kids get.



As long as the parents are homeschooling for the right reasons, I can say without a doubt that those kids are more advanced than their peers in public schools. Of course there are a few lazy parents that don't spent time with their kids, which makes all homeschool families look bad.



As for video games, some of them are highly educational. My daughter learned to read by age 4 playing video games and watching TV. Then again, I am very strict about age restrictions on video games, and insist that they are either educational or fitness related. Our kids have a Wii and a DS. We don't have cable by choice so they watch very little TV, and when they do its fun, yet educational shows like Dora, Crashbox, I Spy, WordGirl, SuperWhy, VeggieTales, etc.



It cracks me up when people drone on and on about lack of socialization. If a "lack of" means our kids would never consider uttering a curse word (yes they know them all), are respectful and polite to both us and strangers, ALWAYS ask "may I please" and finish with "thank you", and have a strong sense of family, then I am PROUD to say they are "lacking".



Best of all, they are absolutely NOT commercialized. Our kids have absolutely no "Gimmie, or I want" tantrums. For birthdays and Christmas we actually have to take them to the store to let them look to see what they might want. I think a lot of the material competition in schools stems form then being disengaged with the learning process and are so bored they need to find something else to compensate. I also enjoy the fact that while our kids are mature and respectful, overall they are still innocent. They are enjoying their childhood and are not forced to grow up too quickly. We can control their life experiences and exposure to some degree.



When we go to the park, public places, etc, they never fail to immediately make new friends, and have the unique ability to befriend adults as well. If you were to ask anyone who has met them if they are anti-social, they would chuckle and say "no way". If anything homeschooled kids have MORE opportunities to interact socially because in a classroom, their time is mostly spent (and I use this term lightly) learning. Social interaction consists of recess and lunch. Whereas homeschooled kids have a plethora of activities any day of the week if you are connected with local homeschool groups.



Another homeschooling benefit is that school incorporates life lessons such as cooking, cleaning, finances, budgets, organizing, etc, which in my opinion is a much more balanced way to learn. I am proud to say that in an emergency, both my 4yr old and 8 yr old would each alone be able to survive indefinitely.



Sorry this became more about homeschooling than unschooling, I just had to give my opinion on the subject. No rules or discipline with unschooling is just absurd, those poor kids are going to get a big shock when they are out on their own, if they even make it that far.

Jessica - posted on 04/23/2010

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Sounds to me like Home-Schooling, not UN-Schooling... I'm beginning to think people who "un-school" don't even know what un-schooling is... According to the website you provided you're not un-schooling. Sounds like you're home-schooling. Which isn't the same thing...

Len - posted on 04/23/2010

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I think ABC did a terrible job at showing the public "unschooling". They managed to find the MOST extreme "unschoolers" I have heard of. I unschool as mentioned below, my children (all 3) WILL be attending college. My children are young so the unschool approach works well for us. My oldest is the reason for "unschooling" and due to where we live there is only one elementary school, one middle school and one high school, or we just would have had him transfered. We also have no "alternative" schools, no tutors, there's one charter school but there is a three year waiting list, we live in a small town (6,000 in the whole county) we also live 3 hrs from any city with a population of more than 10,000. Needless to say I don't have the options that others have. Our high school drop out rate is 35%. Even though my son is young, dealing with the school system for almost three years I can see why! "Unschooling" for us means hands on school, it does NOT mean no rules, I don't exclude any subjects, if I don't know it we find someone that does. As my children get older they may take distance learning courses and on-line community collage courses that will help prepare them for collage, I don't think most unschooling families believe in the "no books" philosophy but they take the philosophy that is you learn better in less time by "doing"rather than reading it in a book. That is why I unschool. I went to public school and I'm not anti public school, I do believe that public schools do provide lessons that my children may not receive because we unschool. They may not have tons of friends, get to go to there prom and homecoming, but they will hopefully get other opportunities that the kids here do not get. I think as long as your children are taken care of and you do the best you can as a parent then more than likely they will turn out ok. I do not agree that the ABC show families portrayed as "unschooling" are even unschooling I think it's more of unparenting but they think thats best for there children. There are thousand of adults who went through public schools that flip burgers, there are thousands of adults who went to public schools who live off welfare.

Megan - posted on 04/23/2010

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I'm not sure what I think about all this. I don't agree with not Parenting your child. Absolutely not. I think children need to be taught math, reading, science, and history. Those are all very important. I understand letting them learn at their own pace. Homeschooling them is a great way to do that. Children that are unschooled, especially the one's that really aren't taught much are never going to make it in college. I can't imagine a child that doesn't know at least basic algebra would have much of a chance without some serious tutoring. The child will realize it's their parent's fault that they didnt' learn what they should and be upset with them. I worry alot for these children. I think children should be taught the importance of life at home with their parents but the school work is for shool or home school.

Amy - posted on 04/22/2010

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i agree with all the people about how is your children ever going to have rules and things like that? when they go work at mcdonalds flippin burgers n droppin fries r they gunna say i dont wanna do this today im gunna gosweep the curb instead? and how are they going to get into college. how is this even legal? in missouri im almost positive your kids have to have proof of schooling even if its home schooling. when and if there are even accepted to a college without a high school transcript how are they going to deal with having a teacher and many students in the room and not be able to go lolly gag around outside. and to the woman who said her children learned to make a shed... in my public school we made: bird feeders, nail boxes, park benches, grain holders, hay feeders, picnic tables. we learned to weld, use oxy-accetyline (sp) for cutting and brasing. i was on state ranked teams and learned great things frm it. i learned to change flat tires and work on my own car. do you teach your children this? or rely on mr rescue people.

Mary - posted on 04/22/2010

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This sounds utterly rediculous to me. I've never heard of such a thing. Where did you hear about something like this? We were never allowed to play video games. In the first place, we didn't have the kind of tv you could play them on or have a game system like atari which was popular back then or I'm not sure when Sega Genesis came out but I remember Atari and another one as well but can't remember the name. My friends had them and sometimes I played there but was never any good. I liked pac man and frogger and super mario bros. and games like that but only played when I had some quarters at the local store which wasn't very often cause my mom didn't want to waste her money on video games. I know they say some are educational but I still don't like my daughter to have them because they rot the brain and waste time and get the kids hooked on video games. I see all kinds of so called educational video games for babies even in the stores but we never could afford them for one thing and for another I don't think she'd play with them and then it would be a waste of money and besides I don't want her getting addicted to video games. As for tv, we never were allowed to watch it growing up. It was against our religion. We have 1 tv now but have Sky Angel so we monitor what my daughter watches and when and how much. As for allowing your kids to only learn what they want to learn that's rediculous because the natural tendency of man is to only learn what they have to to get by. I noticed that when I was in college. I studied a lot but many of the other kids only wanted to study what they were going to be tested on and no more.As for the no rules or discipline part, they are going to raise a generation of juvenile delinquents who will most likely wind up either on drugs or in prison or both and probably in gangs etc. too. These parents obviously don't care a hoot about their kids or they'd know kids need structure and they need to know they have boundaries and where they are etc. Even though they will test the limits to the max at times they don't feel secure without any boundaries in place to guide them. These parents are irresponsible in my opinion and shouldn't have had kids in the first place.They will regret their decisions when their kids get older. Or at least I hope they will.

Eileen - posted on 04/22/2010

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I posted in other places that would answer your question, but didn't reference you. This explains what is legal in Texas: www.thsc.org or go to www.hslda.org and look under your state. Each place will have lists of local support groups which will explain what rules to follow. Basically, homeschool describes parents teaching their children instead of sending them to a school. It has advantages and disadvantages. Some people are quite passionate about it. It's not for everyone, but for some, it is the only way to go.

Eileen - posted on 04/22/2010

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Originally, 'unschool' meant school done at home. Now, in reading all these replies, it seems to mean no teaching at all! That's not what it originally meant. I still call what I do unschool, but my 11yo studies physics and my teen discusses the different Greek philosophers with college-educated adults.



A friend unschooled her boys, both now adults. One is doing well in college while the other holds down a job.

Eileen - posted on 04/22/2010

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That's not what unschooling is, unless someone changed the definition! It is supposed to be driven by the interest and ability of the child, but the parent provides discipline and direction (which includes both textbooks and life lessons). Was this on TV? We don't watch TV.

I suspect that some people went out of their way to find a bad example to discredit honest parents who are doing what they can to raise the next Edison, who by the way was homeschooled. People quote him all the time: "Genius in 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Homeschooling is also perspiration. It is far, far easier to send children to school.

Jessica - posted on 04/22/2010

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My girlfriends kids live like that in a way, but it is not because it is some kind of a plan that she has. It is because she is a depressive alcoholic.

Deena - posted on 04/22/2010

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I’ve been a home schooling parent for around 10 years now. We have curriculum, we have state mandated tests every few years that you have to have done, plus monthly reports to fill out. I think the people that choose to let the kids flow with the breeze aren’t being fair to those children.

I couldn’t have done this job for this length of time without being flexible.. but flexible is the key ..not just letting them float through whatever they wish.

I personally don’t think the unschooling is a very sound idea. They will need a collage degree in something to progress in life, and in collage they’re not going to be allowed to float through.

(I realize, the climate of the current economy doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a job even if you do get a degree, but it sure helps.)

Rachel - posted on 04/22/2010

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Unschooling from what I have seen are the parents that dont believe in rules for themselves so they dont provide them for their children or going to college, having a productive career ect.. these children end up being so behind. In my very honest opinion, tax payers/food banks eventually pay for these families in one way or another.

They should not be allowed to raise children unless they received some type of schooling to become productive adults.

Lori - posted on 04/22/2010

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http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/pare... The following link addresses the "follow up" that Lenicia spoke of earlier. In my opinion it only brings up more questions, concerns and quite honestly I found it more counter active than pro active for unschooling but for those interested in more information regarding unschooling please visit the link.

Clara - posted on 04/22/2010

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In New Zealand their is a guru in our town who believed in the no discipline for children..something to do with the Rainbow Kids, i think they called it..He was a very strange man..My friend was taken by him..I didnt buy into it at all. Infact, children thrive on boundaries..The world they are about to face is full of them, if you dont train them within them, you are going to set them up for a hard lesson in the outside world.

Lori - posted on 04/21/2010

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Tomesa, Lenicia was kind enough to post a website earlier on as to what "unschooling" is supposed to be. The article in which I found that has started this conversation is the most extreme of "unschooling" cases. Cases in which have no routine, no books, no rules, no expectations and no actual cirriculum. This discussion is not critizing neither home school nor public school nor is it particularily dowing cases like Lenicia's where (from the sounds of it) unschooling is 100% being executed to the fullest of abilities but simple discussion regarding the one particular family in which this conversation was started. It almost seems to me as though these parents didn't and still don't know what they've done. In an utopia only teaching our children what they'd like to learn would be perfect but the reality of this particular situation with virtually no education in my own beliefs is setting these children up for drastic failure. There's something that I started telling my children at a very young age. College is no longer optional~It's mandatory. If A-B-C's and 1-2-3's are uninteresting to a child of the age of 7 years old (the boy specificlly of the article when he first began "unschooling) than how is he supposed to figure out (A+B)-D=the square root of 956. Sorry my computer doesn't have all of the mathmatical equations available but I hope everyone gets my point. Don't get me wrong~I think the loca farm in MA is a great experience for children. I live in TX and we have may "pick your own" farms here that I embrace with my children but did you happen to notice when the mom asked the little girl "How much money did you bring?" and the little girl answered, "$1.10" How much does everyone think that little girl was going to be able to buy with $1.10? I would have liked ABC to continue that particular part of the interview as I'd like to see exactly how the mom was going to handle the situation and what exactly the child learned from that particular experience except for $1.10 will not provide milk, honey, fruit or vegetables for a family or even for that one particular child. The injustice in this particular situation is that both of the parents seem well educated and should realize the importance of a formal education. In this day and age with emphasis strongly on education and the requirement for college being as high as it is in order to be successful in what's becoming more and more of a cut throat world parents whether our children be educated at home or in public school need to have a formal education. As educated or as uneducated as these parents are there's a lack of reality and common sense on what they're trying to accomplish with these particular children. These particular parents are putting their children in very adult situations in which they're no where near ready for the responsibility of. I trully hope that it does not backfire as bad as I believe it's going to on them.

Tomesa - posted on 04/21/2010

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im going to sound totally crazy but what is unschooling exactly? i would love to homeschool my children but since i'm not a great teacher, that's out of the question. however my mom is a teacher and i'd have loved for her to have been able to stay home and teach my children.

Karen - posted on 04/21/2010

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ok I think everyone's ideas about unschooling are from the "extreme parenting" show. I really don't think that is what every unschooler does. They showed a really extreme laid back aproach. That to me is wrong. The kids were just doing basically whatever they wanted, eating whatever they wanted...it was rediculous. There is no way those kids would be able to go to college with that kind of education. I don't think that is the norm, I think they were just lazy idk.
I think most unschoolers just learn from life. They take everything that happens and turn it into a "lesson". I think there has to be some structure and a really great parent to be able to do unschooling effectively, a really involved parent.
I plan on homeschooling most likely but it will be more like traditional "school". I really don't like public schools and don't want my kids to go there if I can help it. Unschooling just isn't for me though.

Nicole - posted on 04/21/2010

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I was wondering why discipline and schooling/education is being lumped together? I watched a show last night about unschooling. I know alot of people who do not discipline their children and send them to school. I am all for you choosing how to raise/educate your own children but I am concerned about the lack of any discipline/structure in their life. I do not structure my kids whole day but we do have meals, bedtimes and try to be kind to everyone etc.

Steffanie - posted on 04/21/2010

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I don't agree with unschooling. We are the parents and have to prepare our children for their future. Part of this is being educated, socialized, and taught how to become a productive member of society. What child is going to choose to learn about American History, Algebra, Science, or anything else? A normal kid is lazy, and most parents struggle to keep their children motivated in school. When I was young, I read this book about the big me and little me. It was basically about learning to get along with others, being helpful, and participating in a group. If you allow your children to make all the rules, than you have spoiled lazy kids that cannot function in any society because it is all about them. I think this type of thinking is destructive to the children, and society in general. In the "real" world we have to support ourselves, pay bills, learn to compromise, and the world is not always fair or a wonderful fairyland. This is teaching children it is all about them, to be lazy, (I am talking about the parents from the show, I watched it too.)



I do believe strongly in homeschool. My brother's wife homeschooled her children, and thier children are bright, well rounded, well educated kids. Right now my youngest son is participating in a homebased setting. His school is basically all online, with a teacher, and students. When Dylan was going to public school, he was constantly being bondarded with a never ending array of illnesses. He would be well for a week, and than become ill the next. He was suffering from migraines, and every day he would beg not to go to school. The school didn't believe he was truly sick, and was constantly giving me greif over his absences. I don't believe in sending a ill child to school. I can remember my parents forcing me to go to school when I was sick, and it was horrible. I refuse to do that to my own children. I wrote letter after letter pleading with the teacher to make sure he washed his hands, and to make sure he wasn't exposed to sick children. I am still unsure if the illnesses were due to some problem in his classroom, or what. The whole situation was a nightmare, for me and Dylan.



Him being home, seems to have made him a lot more happy, and less emtional. School is no longer a struggle, and he seems to enjoy the curriculm. I am very happy I live in a progressive state like California, where I have this type of option educate my child online. Dylan never told me what was going on, but I am glad he is happier and hope that he will continue to do well in school.



I researched and found a public online school. And it has worked out great. It has been six weeks since he has started, and his headaches are less frequent. He would have a headache usually once a day, and now it is down to maybe once a week. He has had a mild cold sense, and that is it.

Michelle - posted on 04/21/2010

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@Lucy-Well put!



As I was reading posts I feared that the original point was being missed then I got to Lucy. I was/am relieved that you posted your thoughts. Disclaimer: I am absolutely against unschooling. That being said I agree that no matter what type of schooling we choose for our children we as the adult/parent are ultimately responsible for what and how they learn. IMO there are different categories for learning: book and life. Book: is typically learned in school or homeschooling and is not complete without Life learning. Life: those trips we take to the grocery store, the parks, things at home, any and every little (no matter how insignificant it may seem) opportunity to teach our children something new.





It is my belief that no matter what type of schooling we choose for our children we must still supplement the "Book" learning with "Life" learning activities and opportunities. I also believe that we should not wait until they are "school age" to begin teaching them. Our babies are sponges, anything we teach them will be absorbed even if they are not yet able to communicate it. When they can communicate what they know it is always surprising as if a flood gate opened up. For example, I received such strange looks and even comments from people observing the following: as I was dressing or undressing my newborn son I would identify which body part including right or left I was touching. My satisfaction came when at less than 5 months old I could ask for a Right leg (or left, I switched it up to test him) and he would lift it to me. He is now two and can identify verbally all of the body parts including which side they correspond to even in mirror image. Never too young to begin teaching, and all I really did there was seize an everyday moment as an opportunity to teach and learn.

Jenn - posted on 04/20/2010

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I actually just saw this and I could not believe what I heard. How can any parent.. any person think that this is a good way to teach children!!?? The girl who would have been a junior in HS on the show admitted that she would not be ready to go to college because she does not know anything! But IF she wanted to she "could just pick up a book an read".... How ignorant is that to leave something so important up to the discretion of Children!? Is it not clear enough that an education is vital asset to have in life?.. And for those of you who do not know what Unschooling is.. its just that.. Uneducating the children. They are pulled out of or never even enrolled into public school and not taught anything unless the child wants to learn something. What child will willingly chose learning history over a video game or watching tv?? or anything else they want to do?? Its the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I am all for home schooling to so don't get me wrong its a path I am considering for my daughter when the time comes in 2 years but this unschooling is the worst idea not only just for the kids who will have no life skills or knowledge but for society in general. These kids are going to be future welfare lifer's because they will not be able to get good paying jobs and be a helpful addition to society. Its sad to think that so many kids around the world who want to go to school to learn can't because there is no school. And these adults are taking education for granted an teaching these children that you don't have to learn anything you don't like. You don't have to do anything you don't want or like to do. What a shock real life will be for these poor kids.

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@ lenecia- actually, just an fyi - (at least where im from) i did learn all of those things in public schools. (even the building the shed part )
and IMO - being in a school setting and having to pay attention, ask to go to the bathroom, get a drink etc... kind of prepares you for the workforce, because, lets face it, there arent that many jobs that you can do what you want when you want to and not get fired.
im not saying that there is anything wrong with homeschooling, or unschooling or what have you... to each his own.. but kids need to learn how to deal with a strict teacher or boss, need to learn how to deal with bullies at school or work , and need to learn time management skills - such as doing things that need done, even when they dont want to do them... whether homeschooled unschooled or public schooled if we dont teach them these important life lessons we are setting them up for failure.

Jessica - posted on 04/20/2010

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I'm still trying to figure out something... if you don't use books and real subjects. How is your child going to take standardized tests. oooorrrr how about the SAT/ACT. You have to have those to go to college. And college... how can they function in a real classroom setting if they've never been subjected to one? Speaking from experience, sheltering sets up for disaster. I just don't get it. I'm not an advocate at all for home-schooling (except extreme cases) and especially not unschooling. There are other options out there that provide a real class room setting with the "homeschooling" way of life. We have a thing here called "gateway." It's a Christian homeschooling program. They have classrooms and extracurricular activities. They move at the students pace. That- to me, makes way more sense. But, that's just logical thinking. I've been thinking a lot about school. I used to be completely ANTI- montessori. Until I had a bright child with the desire to learn. She's too young to start school yet, but I have a feeling she will be bored in the local county schools once Kindergarten rolls around. Who knows, we'll see.

Len - posted on 04/20/2010

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Please check out this web site. http://ulfaq.home.comcast.net/~ulfaq/ULf... It is very informative and a much better representative than the ABC show, although they did a follow up program that did explain things a little better. Unschooling works for us and thousand of other families. We where basically forced from public school due to my sons ADHD and other difficulties, regular homeschooling would have been the same thing just at home, so I feel for some families this is the most productive option. Most unschoolers have a schedule and rules, my kids are young so it may change as they get older and learn self control. As for rules they are common sense and consequence based. For example I say I think you need to put on sunscreen, at that point they either put on sunscreen or they don't, well my girls are more than happy to put it on, my son was not sure until he noticed his friends sunburn the other day and that made him think twice. When they make a mess, it's required they clean it up, if they don't there are consequences (throwing toys away etc.). They have to tell the truth, think of others, be courteous, corporative and respectful. ALL of our rules fall under those guidelines. That's just parenting and any parent who will not "parent" should not have children.

Jodi - posted on 04/20/2010

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Maggie, in my quest to decide if homeschooling is right for my daughter, all of your concerns have too been my concerns. Some things I have learned along the way: As parents we can make deadlines for our children, give them homework they have to complete by a certain date or time. As for competition in a university setting, I went to college and it is very easy to just not get involved in the competition of grades and best student and who's better. I focused on MY grades and studies and did the best that I could, I would hope my child would do the same and worry less about other students' grades. Furthermore, homeschooled children are sought out in the workplace quite often because of their self motivation and critical thinking skills that exceed (on average) those of publicly schooled children.

Not to mention that in a public school system there are summer vacations, did you know that children forget 80% of what they learn during summer break? With homeschooling, you can school all year and not waste the first quarter with refreshers, or reviews from the previous year.

As for leaving teaching to the professionals: who better to teach our children than ourselves? What better way for a child to learn than with one on one interactions with same person every day who knows your weaknesses and strengths and can help you more than someone who is not truly invested in your education?

I'm not saying public schools are bad or that everyone should homeschool; you asked serious questions and I hope I helped to shed a little bit of light for you curiosity.

Lori - posted on 04/20/2010

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Activities include everything from sports to music to girl's groups to boy's groups to trips, to co-ed groups to dances and graduations. It varies depending upon which group you choose to enroll your child. In public school Orchestra is obsolete. But in homeschooling programs it's very much thriving. Legal protection is not mandatory but it's recommended to parents and is normally provided through the supplier of your educational materials as part of their fee for using their home school materials. These materials are absolutely to grade level and the kids who have been successful in home schooling have recieved a high school diploma and mostly already through the first year of college. It depends on the level of commitment on not only the parent's behalf but also how well the children adjust to home schooling. Most home school programs offer advanced courses that no longer offered through public schools. For example most junior and high school programs offer Spanish or French. In a lot of home school programs they offer not only Spanish and French but also German, Italian and a much wider variety of foreign languages. I looked into a home school program when my son was around 7 years old and was highly impressed with all they had to offer. At the time, we lived in a neighborhood where a good majority of the children were home schooled through the same program because the public school in the area in which we lived deteriorated extremely rapidly. At the time the cost of it was beyond our means and we moved the following year. I now live in an area where the public school is rated #1 in my state and has been for several years running. I'm not going to lie it can be costly. More than $1000.00 per year and I often question whether or not my son would be motivated enough on his own or even would I have been strong enough of a parent with two disabled children to be able to handle the sort of commitment that is required for it to be successful. Especially with having to focus so much of my attention in other areas having two disabled children in the home. But I do feel very strongly that had I started my children off from the get go in home schooling that without doubt it would've been successful. I support whichever decision is made by a parent whether it be home school or public school. Do I wish that the public schools still had the programs that were around when I attended public school myself? Absolutely. I'm not knocking public nor home school. Sometimes home schooling works out and to it's fullest and sometimes public school is best. There are still oppertunities in public high school where the kids can not only graduate with an advanced diploma but also college credits. My neice is one of those children. She's 17 and graduated early this year (she will still make her commencement with her class in June) and graduated with 22 college credits and is now attending our local community college. There are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of home and public schooling. It's in choice, preference and I wish the best to all parents who are faced with this difficult decision in deciding which avenue is best for their child.

Maggie - posted on 04/20/2010

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Lori, what kind of opportunties and social activities? I would have to look into the legal protection as I am in Canada and I don't know that the programs are the same.

Lori - posted on 04/20/2010

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Maggie, there are several homeschool programs available online. With some you pay a fee that includes all learning materials and even legal protection ensuring that if something were to arise with the public school system or the state that you would be protected from legal recourse. A lot of parents who homeschool choose to modify the education so that it's not so much at once. Some home school throughout the year. As far as the programs are concerned there are actually many more oppertunities and social activities than public school.

Lori - posted on 04/20/2010

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Lenicia, Please do not take what is being said here offensively. Please refer to the following link to see what actually is being discussed here. Thank you. http://news.yahoo.com/video/health-15749...

It's been stated that we're probally hearing about the most extreme of cases. It's also been stated that more people would be interested into knowing more about the topic and that no one is judging any one for their decisions here. To be honest with you, what you are doing with your children sounds wonderful and in a lot of cases is considered homeschooling not complete unschooling. There's a major difference here.

Carrie - posted on 04/19/2010

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I have homeschooled my 8 almost 9 yr. old daughter for almost 2 years now. I know the state I live in Unschooling wouldn't be considered as an educational option, because I have to provide attendance records, immunization records, standardized test scores, and teach at least Spelling, Reading, Math & English Grammar. I teach Social Studies, Health, Science and Handwriting as well. Every state has different laws. Here is a link I found about unschooling if anyone wants to take a look at it... http://www.unschooling.com/library/faq/i... In my opinion no matter how you choose to educate your child(ren) should you ever stop being a parent such as discipline, structure etc.

Lori - posted on 04/19/2010

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Elisabeth, by no means will I allow anyone to come on here and knock home schooling. With the way the public school system is running now a days had the option been available when my children were just starting school I more than likely would have chosen home school over public school.



Back to the subject at hand, according to the article I read, this unschooling only occurs in 10% of the population and from what I could read I do not agree with what these parents are doing. I think it's a total lack of both structure and stability for these children. It's a terrible injustice when Algebra is not important to learn.

Jessica - posted on 04/19/2010

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I have a lot of issues with public school systems, and I have heard of unschooling but don't know too much about it. It sounds pretty wacked out to me, but I would like to hear the viewpoint of someone who does this because I'm honestly curious!

Jodi - posted on 04/19/2010

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I plan on homeschooling my child(ren) so perhaps I'm biased, but seeing as how my daughter is only 13 months I havn't reasearched every method as of yet. BUT, from what I have read I interpreted unschooling as a method for children who were being pulled from public or private schoolings and was only for a short period of time that there was no schedule, instead of just abruptly going from one schooling to another method, it was more a transitional phase. I could very well be wrong.

If it is the case that for the duration of their homeschooling experience there is no structure and no set requirements (either set by state or by parent) then it is a horrible choice to go with IMO. Also, we probably are only hearing about extreme cases, I'm sure most parents possibly cater to a child/student lead learning experience, but do teach all the basic skills and like any parent probably has rules and discipline. Media coverage tends to zero in on drama/controversial extreme cases.

Jessica - posted on 04/19/2010

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If you try to pass that off in TN you will get arrested. If you keep your kids home, you have to a have a proof of curriculum and submit it to the state.

Alicia - posted on 04/19/2010

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I recently saw a program on TV referring to this. I had never heard of "unschooling". I thought if you kept your kids out of a traditional school that they still needed to be homeschooled. The parents in this program allowed their children to choose when they go to bed, what they eat for breakfast, what they're doing for the day, etc. There was no schedule & the kids basically ruled the house! There was no curriculum, the kids were "self-taught" and were far behind (in my opionion) vs. traditionally educated children. They were not taught to read, write, basic math skills, etc.

I thought this was a travesty, especially since the parents appeared to be educated. I could understand it more if the parents were weirdo commune members who saw mainstream society as "the enemy". When asked what they would do if their children choose careers that required a college education, the parents said they would help them do whatever necessary to pursue that dream.

Uh, hello?? If they decide they want to be a mechanical engineer at age 16, how in the heck are you going to make up for 10+ years of no formal education?? How will they take & pass college entrance exams?? How will they have any background in classic literature/advanced math/science???

I think these parents are doing their children a HUGE disservice. I absolutely don't understand it.

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