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#1 Willow

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:31 PM

Just curious here. Does anyone know of anybody in real life who unschooled their High School kids, and it was a success?

I know of a number who unschooled successfully in the early years, and I have read of stories in books about kids who all seem to be mega geniuses, but does anybody know of real kids in real families where this has worked?

I ask because ds asked......:tongue_smilie:

Willow.

#2 FaithManor

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:48 PM

The unschoolers that I have known, that were truly unschooling and not just using living books instead of texts but still requiring a lot of reading, writing, and discussion and then teaching math topics as the children expressed an interest in specifica areas or use life math (today mom is going to balance the checkbook and everybody gather around so you can learn too), were unemployable.

I've known three whose mothers were literally of the, "They'll learn to read if they want to or if they are cooking with me they are learning math, or etc." and these kids couldn't write a coherent sentence at 18 years of age, barely knew maybe up to third grade math and couldn't make change for a $1.00, and seemed to possess only video game playing skills.

This is not indicitive of all unschoolers. These are just the three teens I've met and their situations were educationally abyssmal.

Faith

Edited by FaithManor, 26 October 2010 - 02:22 PM.
grammar


#3 Susan C.

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 02:02 PM

I was a relaxed homeschooler up to middle school. I just couldn't justify even my relaxed style in middle/high school. There is too much at stake. I wasn't going to be the one responsible for my dc not being able to get into college, being employable, or being able to make it in their adult lives.

#4 Faithr

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 02:03 PM

It depends on what you mean by unschooling. Do you mean unstructured? My dd was given the option to unschool high school, and as she was very college minded she opted for a pretty traditional high school curriculum. I know of one unschooling young lady who is now working hard on her math and science so she can go to college. She just realized she wanted to go last year and now she's playing catch up. However, her family is very involved in various co-ops so even though they don't formally do school at home she's taken classes in writing and literature because she's interested in those things.

#5 Willow

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 02:21 PM

I think I mean radical unschooling. I had one dd (now an adult) who asked to design her own High School programme. It consisted of Japanese, Italian and French, Algebra, Apologia Biology, Ballet, Formal Logic, Music and her own writing studies which resulted in her being published several times during her High School years (short stories) I said 'carry on'! My job was to provide curriculum, tutors and cheer her on.

Ds starts High school next year (Feb) and I asked him if he wanted to plan his High school studies. He asked to unschool, but had no idea of what he would do. He pointed out his acquaintance, through HS sport, S, radically unschools and only does what he wants, if he wants.

I see 'S' regularly and he seems a pleasant enough lad but woefully ignorant unless we are talking about popular music or video games etc. I cannot comment on his maths or writing ability but I know he reads at a low level. His mum was bragging about unschooling saying 'S' reads History for fun. Turns out he reads the 'Horrible History " books (this boy is 15)

I said Ds needed a plan to unschool, and he could bring me a list of what he wanted to study. Ds said unschooling doesn't work like that, but it meant he only did anything if he wanted to. The only plan he had was to make a movie with his friends. :tongue_smilie:

But it got me wondering is 'S' representative of the breed 'unschooler' or not?

#6 Faithr

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 02:45 PM

I think that a lot of unschoolers would have trouble with that. I don't think it means being idle and just entertaining yourself. I am sure John Holt did not mean that when he coined the term! A really good book to read that shows how someone unschooled their child all the way through to college is Alison McKee's Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves. Her son was always unschooled but he was expected to keep himself busy with wholesome experiences that would teach and challenge him. Maybe your ds should read that book to explore how others unschool.

That said, some kids are late bloomers and 15 is a little too early to judge them in my opinion. And not everyone is cut out to be an academic and that's fine too. Different strokes for different folks.

Personally I think so much could be learned from making a movie! History of film and history in film (how accurate are some of those historical movies anyway?), technology, the business angle of it and then of course there is the writing aspect. Sounds like a cool place to start to me!

#7 Miss Marple

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 04:05 PM

Just curious here. Does anyone know of anybody in real life who unschooled their High School kids, and it was a success?

I know of a number who unschooled successfully in the early years, and I have read of stories in books about kids who all seem to be mega geniuses, but does anybody know of real kids in real families where this has worked?

I ask because ds asked......:tongue_smilie:

Willow.


I don't know of anyone who would fit the definition of "unschooling" as defined by the How to Homeschool type of books. I know scads of "relaxed" homeschoolers and others who claim to be homeschooling but really are of the type a PP mentioned (if they cook with me they learn math, if they garden they learn science, etc.). I know of plenty of graduates of the "relaxed/not-schooling homeschoolers" and the results were not something to brag about. Of course, we would need to define "success" :001_smile:. I think it is possible to do unschooling successfully even through high school *if* you have a motivated parent and a motivated student.

#8 Deb in NZ

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 04:11 PM

We have a number of "unschoolers" in our area. A number of them are really "not schoolers" IMHO. I have noticed that when the dc get to highschool age many unschooling / "not schooling" families panic & put their dc in PS, giving HSers a bad rep as these dc are often not prepared academically for highschool level work. Where unschooling has worked, the family has NO video / computer games allowed & the dc are very active in outside activities (i.e music, drama, vounteering, etc.) Many teens here begin polytech or correspondence school at age 16 to provide the "paper trail" that helps to get them into uni. Successfull HS/ing in the teen years (unschooling or otherwise) IMHO requires the parent to be involved, even just as a facilitator. Hands-off HS/ing isn't unschooling.

Looking back on dd's teen years, she was really unschooling. We allowed her the freedom to follow her passions & she was self-disciplined enough to put in the work to learn what she needed to get where she wanted to be. She did not do anywhere as much pure academics as I did at PS, but the skills she gained through real-life experiences have given her the knowledge she needed to get into her Marine Studies program. She has 3 weeks left on the first year of her degree course & has done very well, both academically & otherwise.

#9 kokotg

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 04:14 PM

DH had a friend/co-worker whose wife was unschooled through high school (along with her siblings). We haven't kept up with them that much since we moved away, but I know she is still very pro-unschooling and plans to/is unschooling her own kids. So she certainly considers it a success. That said, she's never been interested in or pursued any kind of conventional career or college. I think she's mostly home with kids now; when we knew her she did some work as a private chef.

#10 Nan in Mass

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 05:56 PM

I've peacewalked with a few unschoolers who were unschooled all the way through and were 14 or 15. They knew much, much more than video games GRIN. I don't know what their academic skills were like but they were interested and knowledgable in a wide range of topics, and they read well. They were just at the age when they were deciding whether they wanted to go to college and what they wanted to do with their lives. Algebra was a big issue for them because they were discovering that they needed it to go to college and were trying to figure out how to teach it to themselves. I saw them cheerfully working hard under strenuous circumstances that try most adults, so I find it hard to believe that they will be unemployable. The peacewalking kids I have known have received multiple offers of apprenticeships along the way. They probably won't be rich or conventional, but I have a hard time imagining them in trouble, either. I suspect they will settle down into a combination of free-lancing something and trying to save the world. Their people skills are excellent. They have a much easier time on peacewalks than the schooled children who try to do it because they are more resourceful. I don't think I answered your question.

There used to be someone on these boards who was unschooled. Her parents required her to learn something and then present it to the family, either as an oral report or as a paper or whatever, every day or every week (can't remember the time frame), but they left the children to choose the subjects. She said they had gone on to college. I think at some point, the ones who really want to go to college buckle down and figure out how to teach themselve or get themselves taught math and other academic skills.
-Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass, 26 October 2010 - 05:59 PM.


#11 Sue in St Pete

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 09:57 PM

I have an older sister who is/was (empty nest now) a radical unschooler. Her middle child (dd) was radically unschooled until she went to college. That said, I don't know that my bil was totally on board. At 9, my dn was not reading fluently. Bil stepped in. I know he taught her high school math. I know he did economics with her. I think he did Spanish as well.

This niece was highly motivated in several areas: fashion design, biology, philosophy. She is incredibly well read and articulate. She took community college classes starting at 14/15. She took classes at a fashion design school and the local university as well before she applied to and moved away to a 4 year college, where she is a sophomore. I can't remember the name of the college she is attending, but she refused to take ACT/SAT and only applied to colleges that didn't need them. She started out triple majoring in biology, philosophy, and psychology, but has since changed to environmental science.

It helps that my sister and bil are wealthy, imo. Oldest ds took flying lessons. They all travel worldwide.

The oldest and youngest children did not unschool for many years. The oldest was home maybe 3rd-7th. He took flying lessons and played massive amounts of video games. The youngest unschooled until 5th grade. She wanted more of a social life than she could get at home.

I personally think unschooling only works well for those who are highly motivated to pursue their own interests and have the means and ability to do so. But, then, I'm a academic snob, and therefore, biased. ;)

Edited by Sue in St Pete, 27 October 2010 - 05:43 PM.


#12 IsabelC

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:18 PM

Personally, I have only spoken in depth with one young person who had completed her unschooling. She was a delightful, confident, intelligent and well educated sounding young woman, however one individual is hardly a valid sample. I have met several people who are high school age and doing well with unschooling. However, if you do a search, you can find a number of articles, blogs and sites written by unschooled teens.

I believe that unschooling can work for many older children/teens as long as the basic conditions are met.


  • They need access to mentors of various kinds. This means that if the parents are not all that knowledgeable about (or interested in) the topics the student wants to work on, he needs access to other trusted adults. This could take the form of formal lessons, practical work with a tradesperson, talking about the topic with Uncle Joe or whatever.

  • They need access to good resources. Books, internet, work/hobby equipment need to be available. Travel may be required. In the final years, unschoolers can earn more money towards their educational needs, but still there will likely be the need for both financial and practical input from the parents.

  • They need your advice. This especially applies to unschoolers who have been more formally schooled before, whether at home or at school. Most kids can't go straight from being told in detail what to do, to setting their own goals and following through on them. The parents need to be interested and available as advisers and sounding boards.

  • Unschoolers are more likely to know what they want to do with their lives, and go after that. But on the other hand, unschooling parents need to be able to accept the young person's choices. There are some unschooled children who will teach themselves a lot of academic stuff and go on to perform brilliantly at college and in their careers. But others will decide that academics are not for them, and choose to focus on learning a practical trade or developing their creative talents.
If you are seriously considering unschooling and haven't yet read The Teenage Liberation Handbook, I'd strongly suggest that both you and your son read it before making a decision. It's the best resource I've seen for older kids and their parents. (Don't be put off by the comments about it being scarily radical - that's just the marketing spin. It's actually sensibly written and reassuringly practical.)

#13 Ellie

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 12:26 AM

I don't quantify unschooling. Either you is or you ain't, and it looks different in every family. That's the nature of unschooling. :-)

There were lots of people who wrote in to John Holt's "Growing Without Schooling" newsletter who unschooled until their dc were finished learning at home.

For the most part, we unschooled until dc began taking classes at the community college when they were 14.

#14 Ruth in NC

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 06:16 AM

We were friends with two families who would fit anyone's definition of unschooling.

When they reached 16yo, the 3 children in one family started taking community college classes. All were successful, one now a senior at a local university, his younger brother is pre-med at UNC Chapel Hill and their older sister is in graduate school. The boys were friends of my teens and they were just regular kids. They did NO formal academics prior to the cc.

Another boy they were friends with did Legos robotics. His mom became the local expert, teaching classes at the science center. The boy was her assistant. She is now an employee of Lego and he is in some special robotics training program somewhere. This boy did not read until he was 10 or 12. He did not start cc with all his friends because he had such poor math skills. He remediated that himself and started the next semester.

So it can work. My kids were always a little envious of their unschooling friends but never wanted to really unschool because it seemed too hard. A contradiction they recognized.

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#15 Paisley Hedgehog

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 06:58 AM

nm

#16 Nan in Mass

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 07:27 AM

Too hard. Yes. That is what my middle one said, also. He said this about the unschooling sort of colleges, too.

#17 C_l_e_0..Q_c

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 07:41 AM

I know of one family that was radically unschooling. When the eldest tried to enter college, it didn't work. She had always refused to learn French, and it's mandatory here. The fact that she chose Japanese didn't count. (local laws..)
She writes well, and certainly reads well. I believe she's published but in unschooling magazines.

I would not unschool my kids. One has to learn to self-discipline, the other has to learn academic curiosity. Without those two characteristics, I don't think unschooling would work.

#18 NineChoirs

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 03:13 PM

It seems like there is a marked difference between unschooling and un(structured)schooling. Not providing your children with a solid education in this world of free information is, in my opinion, a serious form of neglect. That being said, it sounds like some families "unschool" by using a Montessori method of learning. Montessori has been proven to be a very good method of learning, especially for "gifted" or highly motivated students.

It seems though, that unstructured learning (even the good kind) could have a major pitfall. Unstructured jobs are hard to come by. Having a structured learning environment helps a student prepare for having a daily job and responsibilities. I have a friend who went to a top notch (expensive) private Montessori school. He ended up going to law school and becoming a lawyer. He says, however, that going to law school and having a 9 to 5 job was/is extremely difficult. He has a hard time staying focused on any one thing (especially that which he finds boring) and gets restless very easily. But, he is very successful, so I suppose one could argue that that's all that matters.

There are things in life that we have to do. Things that we don't want to do. Often we are forced to do things that we find tedious and boring or extremely pointless. Kids should be prepared for this reality. If learning is all fun and games, I am not sure they will be ready for it when life becomes "unfun".

Probably the best way lies somewhere in between. Colleges are becoming more interested in homeschooled students because of their ability to pursue learning on their own. Homeschooled students tend to have better self motivation and study habits. So obviously that is an important factor, and a major benefit to homeschooling. But if a student cannot sit through a 4 hour lecture and take good notes, then the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.

#19 BlsdMama

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 05:28 PM

I think an incredibly rare family could pull it off. The child would have to be fairly self motivated and the family would have to truly encourage curiousity. I think I've met ONE family in my life that could pull it off.... Who knows.

As a whole I'm not a fan of unschooling. Perhaps my opinion would be different if I could meet adults who had been truly unschooled?

http://truevineherbs...school-at-home/

#20 BlsdMama

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 05:32 PM


For the most part, we unschooled until dc began taking classes at the community college when they were 14.


Can I go OT for just a moment? If I remember who you are correctly (IF) then I think you are the Ellie from the old, old, old boards here and on VegSource? And you've been a fan of several textbooks, yes or no?

If so then I'm surprised to hear you were an unschooler. (Keeping in mind I'm not here as regularly as I was long, long ago.) So, my question would be, if you were a self described unschooler do you still believe, after having gone that route, that it was a good route to go? Would you do the same all over again? Because Classical and Unschool seem to me to be two complete and utter oppositional methods.

So interested... :bigear:

#21 johnandtinagilbert

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:42 AM

Too hard. Yes. That is what my middle one said, also. He said this about the unschooling sort of colleges, too.

It IS difficult to be so self motivated. I couldn't do it and I think that of my 8, only 1 could, at least so far. The problem would be, he'd never pick up a math book!

I don't quantify unschooling. Either you is or you ain't, and it looks different in every family. That's the nature of unschooling. :-)

There were lots of people who wrote in to John Holt's "Growing Without Schooling" newsletter who unschooled until their dc were finished learning at home.

For the most part, we unschooled until dc began taking classes at the community college when they were 14.

I wouldn't consider you an unschooler b/c you teach reading using SWR. Perhaps unstructured as a PP mentioned.

I have an older sister who is/was (empty nest now) a radical unschooler. Her middle child (dd) was radically unschooled until she went to college. That said, I don't know that my bil was totally on board. At 9, my dn was not reading fluently. Bil stepped in. I know he taught her high school math. I know he did economics with her. I think he did Spanish as well.

This niece was highly motivated in several areas: fashion design, biology, philosophy. She is incredibly well read and articulate. She took community college classes starting at 14/15. She took classes at a fashion design school and the local university as well before she applied to and moved away to a 4 year college, where she is a sophomore. I can't remember the name of the college she is attending, but she refused to take ACT/SAT and only applied to colleges that didn't need them. She started out triple majoring in biology, philosophy, and psychology, but has since changed to environmental science.

It helps that my sister and bil are wealthy, imo. Oldest ds took flying lessons. They all travel worldwide.

The oldest and youngest children did not unschool for many years. The oldest was home maybe 3rd-7th. He took flying lessons and played massive amounts of video games. The youngest unschooled until 5th grade. She wanted more of a social life than she could get at home.

I personally think unschooling only works well for those who are highly motivated to pursue their own interests and have the means and ability to do so. But, then, I'm a academic snob, and therefore, biased. ;)

I so agree. Have the money to offer extensive experience would certainly help... Academic snob :lol:

I think I mean radical unschooling. I had one dd (now an adult) who asked to design her own High School programme. It consisted of Japanese, Italian and French, Algebra, Apologia Biology, Ballet, Formal Logic, Music and her own writing studies which resulted in her being published several times during her High School years (short stories) I said 'carry on'! My job was to provide curriculum, tutors and cheer her on.

Ds starts High school next year (Feb) and I asked him if he wanted to plan his High school studies. He asked to unschool, but had no idea of what he would do. He pointed out his acquaintance, through HS sport, S, radically unschools and only does what he wants, if he wants.

I see 'S' regularly and he seems a pleasant enough lad but woefully ignorant unless we are talking about popular music or video games etc. I cannot comment on his maths or writing ability but I know he reads at a low level. His mum was bragging about unschooling saying 'S' reads History for fun. Turns out he reads the 'Horrible History " books (this boy is 15)

I said Ds needed a plan to unschool, and he could bring me a list of what he wanted to study. Ds said unschooling doesn't work like that, but it meant he only did anything if he wanted to. The only plan he had was to make a movie with his friends. :tongue_smilie:

But it got me wondering is 'S' representative of the breed 'unschooler' or not?

Sounds like your son wants to do what my son does.....as little as possible. IMHO, the most important part of unschooling is self motivation. While I think the movie is a great idea, I don't think it's enough of a plan, just one piece. I'd have to see the motivation before I'd allow this.

I have never met a high schooled unschooler that could attain more than an entry level job. I have met many unstructured schoolers who went on to college. Each of them did have some extra hard work to do, but were able to remediate themselves.

#22 Jenny in GA

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:54 AM

I know a family that has been unschooling since their children were 8 and 6. Today they are 15 and 13.

They love unschooling and are very proud to be unschoolers. However, I can't imagine what these kids are going to be doing in 5 years.

The older child spends most of his time doing on-line gaming in the middle of the night (which the parents think is great and educational for him). The last time I saw them, they were "considering having the 13 watch some classes on YouTube." When asked what they do for math, the parents say they play Monopoly.

I know people swear that unschooled kids grow up and do great and go to college and have good jobs and "learn everything they need to know" etc, but I personally just don't see how.

BTW, this families is very much like the unschooling families I have read about or seen on-line, so it's not just them.

#23 regentrude

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:57 AM

I know a few unschooling families who are running into issues now that the kids are teenagers. One family is really regretting their decision because the daughter refuses to learn math -and now when they push her argues she never had to do anything she did not want to, why should she do it now.

This is certainly not representative of all unschoolers - but it makes clear to me that the "everything is going to be just fine" mentality does not work for every child.

#24 cathmom

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:06 AM

Homeschooled students tend to have better self motivation and study habits. So obviously that is an important factor, and a major benefit to homeschooling. But if a student cannot sit through a 4 hour lecture and take good notes, then the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.


Is that a typo? I've never heard of a four hour lecture. I've taken lots of evening classes that were 3 hours with a break and gone to lots of conferences with sessions of 2 or so hours and then a break. I'm not sure anybody could sit through a 4 hour lecture and maintain attention.

#25 NineChoirs

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:51 PM

Is that a typo? I've never heard of a four hour lecture. I've taken lots of evening classes that were 3 hours with a break and gone to lots of conferences with sessions of 2 or so hours and then a break. I'm not sure anybody could sit through a 4 hour lecture and maintain attention.


Sorry, I should have said four hours of lectures. Most classes/courses require 3-4 hours of lectures. Sometimes weekly, other times over the entire course (whether it be a 1 semester course or a 4 semester course). Although occasionally all four hours are presented in one day, but with stretch/food/restroom breaks.

#26 Ellie

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:58 PM

Can I go OT for just a moment? If I remember who you are correctly (IF) then I think you are the Ellie from the old, old, old boards here and on VegSource? And you've been a fan of several textbooks, yes or no?

If so then I'm surprised to hear you were an unschooler. (Keeping in mind I'm not here as regularly as I was long, long ago.) So, my question would be, if you were a self described unschooler do you still believe, after having gone that route, that it was a good route to go? Would you do the same all over again? Because Classical and Unschool seem to me to be two complete and utter oppositional methods.

So interested... :bigear:

That would be me. :-)

When my dc were older, I started a small private school at my church, where, yes, we used textbooks, 'cuz I didn't think I could subject other people's children to my unschooling tendancies, lol. We definitely had an eclectic, homeschool-ish mix of stuff, though. I still couldn't bring myself to go down an ABeka or BJUP order form and check off everything for every subject :-o but I did find some publishers I liked, and I can recommend them to folks who like using textbooks.

Yes, I would probably still unschool again, although now that Charlotte Mason is so well known, I might lean that way a little.

Also, I started hsing in the middle of the school year because my poor burned-out, 6yo dd was just a mess. I believe that it was important for us to unschool so that I could find the real her again. Possibly if I had started from the beginning I might not have been so relaxed, kwim? I think WTM/classical are very appealing, but when I think about it *now* after all these years, and all of my experiences, no, I couldn't do that.

#27 CoastalGal

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:08 PM

Just curious here. Does anyone know of anybody in real life who unschooled their High School kids, and it was a success?


NO -- the unschoolers I know can't function in society. They can't sign their name, write a coherent sentence or solve an everyday math problem.

Their oldest daughter was in my small group. She is 19 and doesn't know how to do much other than cook, clean, and take care of children.

#28 Willow

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:27 PM

I am really enjoying this thread. I don't think I or ds have the right attitude to go the unschooling route...or the money!

I don't think I have the courage (or maybe the faith in my child ;)) and I don't think ds would actually do anything he didn't want to. I regret wasting my own education,I was rarely there, I played truant most of the time, which is one reason I homeschool.

However I think we can compromise. When asked again he feels he doesn't have enough time to pursue his own interests, and he is really really interested in film making.

Here is my plan. (9th grade)
Maths
Science
LA
all as planned by me (roughly one hour each per day, maybe a bit less if he stays on task.)
One mutually agreed academic elective. (eg history, geog, a language, logic etc) this may rotate each term.

This means about 4 hours of work, which could be completed in the mornings thus leaving the afternoons for....

A 'project' which is allocated school time to pursue any project of his choice, at the moment film, but could be anything (and if script writing, for example....or film costing or whatever.... flows over into LA that is OK but we would also do other types of writing in LA too)
Plus a mini co-op class at my house on Tuesday afternoons with his 2 best friends to actually 'study' aspects of filmaking, or to work on their latest film project.

We don't have to keep a score of credits here, and he will be doing correspondence at 16 years of age (2 years time) to get NCEA if he wants to go to college, so I don't need to worry about that side of things.

Also it looks like the Hobbit is going ahead, we could maybe visit Weta studios etc whilst all this is going on.......

#29 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:43 PM

My classically educated daughter has been part of a teen group (about 40 kids) for a few years that has mostly unschooled kids in it who have been unschooled their entire lives. One mom was unschooled too (her dad and John Holt were close friends.) It is the norm in that group that the unschooled kids are in college by age 14. They are all doing well in college. They are very sociable and pleasant to be around with two exceptions. (If you met their mothers it would all make sense why. Their mothers were not unschooled-they were public schooled like the rest of us.)

Be very careful distinguish between unschooling and non-schooling. If a parent just lets a kid sit around and play video games all day, they are misusing the term unschooling. If they are encouraging their children to LEARN and apply that learning (language, math, science, and history) into a hands on project or real life experience, then they are actually unschooling.

I've seen a couple of dozen real life examples over the course of my 10 years of homeschooling and have been mostly very impressed.

#30 Jenny in GA

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:00 PM

Be very careful distinguish between unschooling and non-schooling. If a parent just lets a kid sit around and play video games all day, they are misusing the term unschooling. If they are encouraging their children to LEARN and apply that learning (language, math, science, and history) into a hands on project or real life experience, then they are actually unschooling.


I can understand why you would say this.

But the thing is that the "unschooling experts" -- the ones who speak at unschooling conferences, write books about unschooling, and moderate huge unschooling groups and forums on the Internet -- they are the ones saying that unschooled kids can and do:
a) Have no chores
B) Have no limits on TV or video games
c) It is perfectly normal and acceptable for kids to not be reading at age 10 or 12

It's not like there's just a couple families out there doing saying and mis-naming it "unschooling." Rather, that's what the unschooling movement mostly is, and what experienced unschoolers advocate.

#31 Jenny in GA

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:02 PM

NO -- the unschoolers I know can't function in society. They can't sign their name, write a coherent sentence or solve an everyday math problem.


I'm curious -- those of you who know unschoolers who are severely lacking -- what do the families think of this?

Do they regret unschooling? Do they think their kid is doing just great, because "at least they're happy"? Are they still waiting for them to be "ready" to do those things?

Just curious.

#32 Faithr

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:07 PM

I think that you are right, that the unschooling movement that Holt started got hijacked by a particular view of parenting and they sort of took over. The issues became very silly ones, I think, about how you should never put limits on your child in re: videogames, food, sleep, etc. That is more of an issue of making autonomy the be all and end all, rather than seeing unschooling, that is, natural learning, as a better way to become educated. That's probably why those who are more influenced by Holt directly have unschoolers who are going to college at 14 (as one poster said) whereas those influenced by radical unschoolers seem to have different results.

I think an unschooling parent has to be actively in love with learning themself and consciously tries to surround her kids with all kinds of things that will broaden and educate. Also I think as kids get into high school the method becomes more collaborative, in that the parent and student work out a way that that child can grow into adulthood prepared to take on the world.

#33 cathmom

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:23 PM

I think that you are right, that the unschooling movement that Holt started got hijacked by a particular view of parenting and they sort of took over. The issues became very silly ones, I think, about how you should never put limits on your child in re: videogames, food, sleep, etc. That is more of an issue of making autonomy the be all and end all, rather than seeing unschooling, that is, natural learning, as a better way to become educated. That's probably why those who are more influenced by Holt directly have unschoolers who are going to college at 14 (as one poster said) whereas those influenced by radical unschoolers seem to have different results.

I think an unschooling parent has to be actively in love with learning themself and consciously tries to surround her kids with all kinds of things that will broaden and educate. Also I think as kids get into high school the method becomes more collaborative, in that the parent and student work out a way that that child can grow into adulthood prepared to take on the world.


When we first began homeschooling back in 1997, someone gave me a bunch of back issues of Growing Without Schooling (Holt's old magazine). They were fascinating!! I devoured them. I couldn't wait to subscribe (we were moving so I waited a couple of months to give them the right address). When I finally subscribed, the magazine had totally changed in tone. Now it was saying that it was wrong to impose any kind of limit at all on your dc. It was ridiculous, and such a drastic change. Holt never meant that you shouldn't still be your dc's parent!

#34 Jenny in GA

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:10 PM

When we first began homeschooling back in 1997, someone gave me a bunch of back issues of Growing Without Schooling (Holt's old magazine). They were fascinating!! I devoured them. I couldn't wait to subscribe (we were moving so I waited a couple of months to give them the right address). When I finally subscribed, the magazine had totally changed in tone. Now it was saying that it was wrong to impose any kind of limit at all on your dc. It was ridiculous, and such a drastic change. Holt never meant that you shouldn't still be your dc's parent!


Actually, as someone who has read about 4-5 of Holt's books, I believe that Holt himself changed quite a bit.

It's been several years since I read it, but in "Escape from Childhood" he was basically proposing that children (ages 9, 10, 11, etc) be able to do anything they want, including apply for a driver's license or moving out of their parents' house, if they so choose. It was a pretty wild book. So perhaps that account for some of the shifts??

#35 CoastalGal

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:20 PM

I'm curious -- those of you who know unschoolers who are severely lacking -- what do the families think of this?

Do they regret unschooling? Do they think their kid is doing just great, because "at least they're happy"? Are they still waiting for them to be "ready" to do those things?

Just curious.


In the case I referred to, the family promoted it. They do not regret unschooling; their children are happy and they're happy with the way things are. (They don't see any problem with the fact that their children don't know things like cursive, basic math, and the like.)

They're OK with the fact that their oldest son (now 22) is a part-time pizza delivery boy and lives at home -- with absolutely no ambition to do anything else.

They're OK with the fact that their oldest daughter's (19) only "way out" is to get married and "settle down".

They have 5 younger children ranging from 15 - 5 who do nothing but sit in front of the TV, play video games and visit social networking sites. This is THE "God's honest truth"...I kid you not...they do not own any books/curriculum and the only way they are getting away with this is the fact that the father's teaching certificiate hasn't expired. [Father used to be a teacher in the local PS -- he was fired about 5 years ago.] He is either doing his own reporting paperwork (Letter of Intent) and "fudging" the portfolio review OR they just stopped reporting and they've been able to "fly under the radar".

IMO, they have settled...they have set their children up to fail and to be dependent on the system...and that's just wrong.

Edited by CoastalGal, 28 October 2010 - 05:31 PM.


#36 Faithr

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:05 PM

Hmmm. I haven't read that one by Holt. I'll have to read it. I do think he got a bit caught up with the groovy revolution of the late 60's and early 70's.

#37 cathmom

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:15 PM

Hmmm. I haven't read that one by Holt. I'll have to read it. I do think he got a bit caught up with the groovy revolution of the late 60's and early 70's.


me neither!

#38 Jenny in GA

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:41 PM

Hmmm. I haven't read that one by Holt. I'll have to read it. I do think he got a bit caught up with the groovy revolution of the late 60's and early 70's.


Here it is.

and one of the reviews says:
" The quotation was from 'Escape from Childhood' page 1: "I propose...that the rights, privileges, duties of adult citizens be made available to any young person, of whatever age, who wants to make use of them.""

#39 johnandtinagilbert

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:57 PM

Here it is.

and one of the reviews says:
" The quotation was from 'Escape from Childhood' page 1: "I propose...that the rights, privileges, duties of adult citizens be made available to any young person, of whatever age, who wants to make use of them.""

Wow. I'd call that radical. If I left things up to my 8yo, he'd never do school, play video games, and climb trees ALL day, EVERY day. He gets to do both, after he's finished lessons and cleaned up his room ;)

#40 Faithr

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:24 PM

I'll put it on my list to read. I wonder what the reasoning is. Why would anyone want to escape from childhood anyway???? Unless it was a really oppressive horrible one! There must be more to it. Alas, I am swamped right now but I must read it and see.

#41 angela in ohio

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 08:09 AM

I knew many real unschoolers (not people who were relaxed but liked the term unschooler better or who didn't really homeschool, though I knew a few of those, too :D,) but every single one has put their dc into school by 6th-9th grade. Not just a few, but every single one. It seems really odd; they went from one extreme to the other.

So I have no picture of how unschooling would look or work in high school. In the earlier years, it was about like any other method: it worked for some families (those that tended to be more active, curious, and intellectual to begin with, mostly) and not for some.

I (with more limited experience than you, so fwiw) would put the ball back in ds's court. Tell him just flying by the seat of his pants isn't an option, but does he have specific goals or plans?

#42 angela in ohio

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 08:11 AM

I can understand why you would say this.

But the thing is that the "unschooling experts" -- the ones who speak at unschooling conferences, write books about unschooling, and moderate huge unschooling groups and forums on the Internet -- they are the ones saying that unschooled kids can and do:
a) Have no chores
B) Have no limits on TV or video games
c) It is perfectly normal and acceptable for kids to not be reading at age 10 or 12

It's not like there's just a couple families out there doing saying and mis-naming it "unschooling." Rather, that's what the unschooling movement mostly is, and what experienced unschoolers advocate.


:iagree:

Most of the unschoolers I knew were less radical than the "unschooling movement," which can be very extreme.

When the experts who speak for the movement say these things, it isn't that others are misunderstanding.

#43 Ellie

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 08:53 AM

When we first began homeschooling back in 1997, someone gave me a bunch of back issues of Growing Without Schooling (Holt's old magazine). They were fascinating!! I devoured them. I couldn't wait to subscribe (we were moving so I waited a couple of months to give them the right address). When I finally subscribed, the magazine had totally changed in tone. Now it was saying that it was wrong to impose any kind of limit at all on your dc. It was ridiculous, and such a drastic change. Holt never meant that you shouldn't still be your dc's parent!

John Holt was my hero. :-)

Growing Without School changed significantly after he passed away. When John was the editor, it had mostly been letters from parents sharing their experiences. I was so inspired when I first read them in 1982. Someone on VegSource or somewhere sold a bunch of those earlier issues to me; I still read them once in awhile, and I'm saving them for my dc, who at this point have no intention of homeschooling, but that could change. :lol:

#44 Nan in Mass

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 10:06 AM

Is it that the parents and children in those families decided that for their goals, college was needed and that high school was the best path to college? Rather like sending one's child to community college after unschooling?

The unschoolers I know are likely to make a place for themselves in the world without college, I think. I know that at least one of them, though, went through a decision period about 13 or 14 at which they were deciding whether school would best serve the boy. They decided that since community college was always an option, that the boy would continue to work on his own projects for a few years more, with the possible addition of an algebra program, one that could be worked independently.

-Nan

#45 ltlmrs

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 09:29 AM

By unschoolers do you mean parents who require their children to do academics but are child led/project based or parents who teach their kids solely through life experience? I've only known the former type of parents and only know one girl who went on to college (St. John's College, which is a great books school) after being unschooled all the way. Her younger siblings were enrolled in a Classical school. The other kids I've known all ended up in school too.

#46 LibraryLover

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:28 AM

When we first began homeschooling back in 1997, someone gave me a bunch of back issues of Growing Without Schooling (Holt's old magazine). They were fascinating!! I devoured them. I couldn't wait to subscribe (we were moving so I waited a couple of months to give them the right address). When I finally subscribed, the magazine had totally changed in tone. Now it was saying that it was wrong to impose any kind of limit at all on your dc. It was ridiculous, and such a drastic change. Holt never meant that you shouldn't still be your dc's parent!



I loved those old mags. When my oldest was a baby, our LLL group had a library full of them. Unschooling was an entirely different animal back then. Nancy Wallace is someone whose wisdom I miss terribly. She & John Holt were good friends. Nancy's children and Holt would often play classical music together. There are photos of the three of them playing voilin, cello, piano. It was absolutely different.

Edited by LibraryLover, 30 October 2010 - 04:05 PM.


#47 justamouse

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:37 AM

I loved those old mags. When my youngest was a baby, our LLL group had a library full of them. Unschooling was an entirely different animal back then. Nancy Wallace is someone whose wisdom I miss terribly. She & John Holt were good friends. Nancy's children and Holt would often play classical music together. There are photos of the three of them playing voilin, cello, piano. It was absolutely different.


I've read some of the old ones, too, and see a huge difference.

#48 Teachin'Mine

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:39 AM

I was curious and googled for famous unschoolers. I got the following from Pat Farenga's blog:

CELEBRITY UNSCHOOLERS

From THE BOOK OF LISTS (by Wallechinsky, Wallace, & Wallace):


15 FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO NEVER GRADUATED FROM GRADE SCHOOL:

Andrew Carnegie, Charlie Chaplin, Buffalo Bill Cody, Noel Coward, Charles Dickens, Isadora Duncan, Thomas Edison, Samuel Gompers, Maksim Gorky, Claude Monet, Sean O’Casey, Alfred E. Smith, John Philip Sousa, Henry M. Stanley, Mark Twain.


20 FAMOUS HIGH-SCHOOL OR SECONDARY-SCHOOL DROPOUTS:

Harry Belafonte, Cher, Mary Baker Eddy, Henry Ford, George Gershwin, D. W. Griffith, Adolf Hitler, Jack London, Dean Martin, Bill Mauldin, Rod McKuen, Steve McQueen, Amedeo Modigliani, Al Pacino, Will Rogers, William Saroyan, Frank Sinatra, Marshal Tito, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright.


20 FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO NEVER ATTENDED COLLEGE:

Joseph Chamberlain, Grover Cleveland, Joseph Conrad, Aaron Copland, Hart Crane, Eugene Debs, Amelia Earhart, Paul Gauguin, Kahlil Gibran, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Abraham Lincoln, H. L. Mencken, John D. Rockefeller, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, Dylan Thomas, Harry S. Truman, George Washington, Virginia Woolf.


13 FAMOUS AMERICAN LAWYERS WHO NEVER WENT TO LAW SCHOOL:

Patrick Henry, John Jay*, John Marshall*, William Wirt, Roger B. Taney*, Daniel Webster, Salmon P. Chase*, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, Clarence Darrow (attended one year), Robert Storey, J. Strom Thurmond, James 0. Eastland. (* - Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.)


An impressive list. :)

#49 Ellie

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 11:47 AM

By unschoolers do you mean parents who require their children to do academics but are child led/project based or parents who teach their kids solely through life experience? I've only known the former type of parents and only know one girl who went on to college (St. John's College, which is a great books school) after being unschooled all the way. Her younger siblings were enrolled in a Classical school. The other kids I've known all ended up in school too.

Unschooling is learning that happens based on life and which doesn't look anything like "school," and for which there are no predetermined goals for or comparisons to what children "in" a specific "grade" must learn. Personally, I wouldn't include child-led or project-based learning, because generally the parents still have their own agendas, generally based on what is typical of grade levels. I say "generally" because I detest blanket statements. :)

#50 regentrude

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 11:56 AM

An impressive list- but aside from the inventor Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers it does not contain anyone who can even remotely be considered a scientist.
Apparently one can write very fine literature without formal training (does that mean maybe it's time to ditch all the writing programs?) - but it does not show anybody who acquired an extensive mathematics and science knowledge and achieved fame in this area.

(And yes, I know there were some from the Renaissance era, but that is not a sensible comparison because the total available knowledge was still so limited that a single person could learn it all. This is no longer the case in the 20th century.)


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