What is your biggest fear about the idea of unschooling your children?
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Sarah - posted on 09/08/2010
I am a mom to two girls (with one on the way) our girls are 2 and 3.5. My husband is a former high school math/science teacher and fully supports unschooling. I will admit at first he was skeptical of home schooling at all, but results speak for themselves.
We are moving into the direction of radical unschooling. Its our goal, but must admit sometimes we still feel we know best. Its tough to step back and let them decide what is appropriate or not.
In general what I'd suggest for unschoolers who have a tough time seeing progress is start keeping a journal. Daily or weekly write what you've done - cooking, trips, working with money and learning basic math (counting their own money, buying stuff with it, and getting appropriate change), improving reading skills, working on geography (participate in a postcard exchange or look at where favorite toy is made), work on fine motor control (video games), gross motor control (play tag outside, go to the playground and try something new).
Remember the more pressure you give a child the more they will cling to the forbidden thing. Give both you and your child time to deschool. And don't worry about the kids who sit in front of a screen all day. Biggest thing I'd say is watch with them. Talk about what you see, ask about what they see. Don't teach - trust me it won't turn out well. If you've been there enough get up and do something else. Maybe start doing soemthing interesting and when they come check it out, invite them to join you.
My DH paints Warhammer minis - the girls are given the opportunity to come and help. Soon they'll have a chance to do their own from start to finish.
I am amazed everyday at the things they do that most of the mainstream kids we know can't do - b/c they've never had the chance. The biggest is our kids know their own bodies and what their bodies need. We never force them to eat fruits or veggies, but also don't restrict fun stuff like cookies or candy. If it's in the house they have access.
If you have any questions feel free to ask - I'll answer as best I can, or try to direct you to a good resource for more answers.
As a former public school educator I have ABSOLUTELY no doubts that unschooling is the way to go. I have seen my formers schooled children begin to break out of their depression and anxiety and begin to grow in confidence and skill. I have also seen my younger never schooled children never suffer the burden of the system and thrive and grow in a way I could have never imagined.
My BIGGEST fear is that I (not my children, but myself and my husband) do not have the courage to stand back and let learning happen as it needs to happen. It is too easy to start pushing/encouraging/cajoling just so I feel like I'm doing something - I am, after all, a product of the public school system myself and am therefore used to thinking that busywork means progress.
Teresa - posted on 02/10/2009
I definitely have an unsupportive (of unschooling) husband! He won't read any of the books, and I think he writes the whole notion off as (yet another) one of my "kooky" ideas. He asks me almost daily, "Does Mason actually do ANY school work?" I always answer yes because MY definition of school work means that, yes, Mason did learn today LOL Did he do schooly busy-work? Did I force him to memorize facts and information because he "should"? NO. But did I take him with me on all my errands, did we sit and paint with water colors, did we create a castle out of construction paper, did he make his own waffles for breakfast (with batter, not an E'ggo!), did he spend time in creative and imaginative play with the toddler??? YES!! So, yes, he's "doing school" every single day - school of LIFE and LOVE and childlike behaviors! Hooray!!!
Maybe some would see this as lying to my husband since I KNOW that his definition of "school" is not the same as mine, but I figure his refusal to stretch his mind in this direction means he simply doesn't want to know the truth. IF he had read the books I had, joined the forums and spent time knowing others who are also on the path of unschooling and consensual living... well, if he did that, I doubt he'd be asking me about school stuff! lol
Teresa - posted on 04/06/2010
Oh, Kathy, I wish more educators (and former educators) could see and experience the joy in letting natural learning happen without all the pressure of trying to control a class of 25 kids or force them to learn to a state standard. I love hearing from others who have been in the system, both as a student and an educator. It's so much more freeing to be on the "other side," isn't it? I literally get tears in my eyes when I see school buses these days. I see our nation's most precious and valued resources being crushed under a system while their parents think they're making the best choice. While some do well within the system, I know it's not for everyone.
Jennifer - posted on 02/13/2010
Having the PS come to my door. They did last year (grumble) all they wanted was how long I was teaching them... I did it all through email with as little info I could give. But thanks to ALEKS math... I feel better... they are learning math when they want to, but it shows reports and stuff.
Teresa - posted on 01/21/2010
Lenicia, I've read over and over again that it takes at LEAST one full year to de-school. Your child experienced the pressure (and failure) of public school long enough that he needs to regain his earlier curiosity and drive to *want* to learn. Keep doing with your 4 year old what she wants, and let your son know that you trust him. Do what you can to engage in projects together, like cooking, gardening, helping the elderly, something or anything that is NOT the television or video games. However, do not underestimate what they get from TV or games. This is a GREAT sight to address the fears: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/ Read down and click the links along the left and right hand sides.
Hope that helps :)
Len - posted on 01/20/2010
I definitely have doubts. To start let me tell you some back ground and if anyone has suggestions I am more than open. I have three kid, a 7 yr old, a 4 yr old, and a 10 month old. My 7 yr old went to PS for k and 1/2 of 1st grade. He struggled in k and 1st grade with reading and homework, I don't think because he's dumb but because he is ADHD and gets board. I started looking into homeschooling shortly after he started 1st grade, he would have a hour (or more) long fight over 2 pgs of homework. I did research about unschooling and that sounded like maybe a light at the end of a tunnel for us. I finally had it when at a parent meeting I was told he HAD to do his homework and that I needed to help him more. We where on a 4 dy wk so he went at 7:45am-4:15pm, he didn't get home until almost 5pm then dinner and bed who has time for hours of fighting and homework. So after talking with my husband (who is not for or against the idea just wants better results then PS where giving us) we pulled him out of school right before Thanksgiving break. Well here we are, I feel like we accomplish NOTHING each day. He wants to play video games and watch movies ALL day. He will not even attempt to read, he would reluctantly read before I pulled him out. We go to the library every Tuesday for story hour, we have a computer that has educational games on it, tons of books, games, art stuff, I try to let him pick what he wants to do but as I mentioned earlier VIDEO GAMES and MOVIES. I have NO problems with my 4 yr old who is working on letters, sounds, and print. She is very self motivated and just lets me know what she needs and wants to learn and it's AWESOME, I really don't do much with her. I feel like my 7 yr old is falling behind, I feel like I just did him more harm than good, any suggestions.
Coleen - posted on 11/28/2009
I am pretty confident in my choice to unschool, having schooled myself on the subject of how kids learn and such, but that doubt creeps in every now and then and I wonder if I should do things differently, thinking about just finding age appropriate math, for 10 and 12yos, to keep them up to speed, not pages and pages like they would get in school, but brief skim overs. My son has alot of trouble with reading but is getting better since coming out of school almost 2 years ago. With something like dyslexia (which I am not sure I believe in) can he learn with out special help? I am separated from my husband and he does not agree with unschooling, and like Teresas dh he has never bothered to learn about it. When he asks how things are going I give similar answers. He doesn't really want to put in the time to find out what they are doing anyway. My biggest fear would be for something to happen to me and for them to have to go back to school. How would they ever catch up?
Kathleen - posted on 03/29/2009
The pressure to practice "real" schooling is very intense. After 17 yrs of unschooling I can say that the hardest part is facing the prejudice, often from family members (like grandma!), that formal schooling is the only way (or even a good way) for a child to learn. My husband and I were a united front, and one of us was always upbeat when the other wondered if we were ruining our children -- lol. Doubt can weigh heavily when you unschool.
But our kids are turning out all right. We're very proud. They found their own gifts, their own interests, and an excellent sense of time management. Yes, we play video games during the day. (Ack -- I can't believe I admitted that!) But, hey, it's great reading practice for the ones who aren't so interested in trying new words. And the social skills practice, which is THE most important lesson for children, is immeasurable. When a child is ready to read, it takes 2 seconds to learn. Learning how to manage anger takes years of practice. Stick to your guns and ask people to question what a child actually learns in formal school. Sitting still for 6-8 hrs is not a desirable skill for a child.
Full disclosure: we had to begin teaching math in a formal rather than unschool manner. Most of the kids just never found an interest that required them to learn.
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