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Found 6 results

  1. Give me some ideas of how to go about this please! My son (in 3rd grade and 8 years old) is on the autism spectrum and obsessed with insects and reptiles/amphibians, he knows quite a bit by reading online and watching anything he can about them, he also reads field guides, textbooks and encyclopedias so he knows way more than I do about them. We are considering homeschooling him again because my anxiety and his about school is pretty bad (I'm not sure I can deal with the calls I get about him and he hates school) also it seems like the timing is right again. My question is how do I do interest led learning without unschooling? I am reading all I can but as of yet I haven't found a practical guide for how to do it. Background: I was homeschooled but my parents would have fallen in the "radical unschooling" category these days even though at the time they knew nothing about that. I did not have a great experience with that way of schooling and neither did any of my 11 siblings. I do not want to follow that in my children's lives but I am seeing value (for at least one of my children) in interest led learning. Edited to add: That I've looked at insect unit studies but they are too young for him and he already knows everything they usually cover.
  2. I could use a little help here. We started out unschooling and when I realized that that was going to takes to a dead end I turned our ship and we've been trying to catch up since then. Both my 13yos are neuro-typical kids. What I've been doing is I've been assigning them about a weeks worth of work and then when they finish it they get a day of free time (plus regular chores). The next day is then a chore day and then we're back to another week of work. Because they're motivated to get their free-time day this usually gets done in about 4 days. They're managing to do school work 3-4 hours per day. We don't do M-F because dh's work is all over the place and so this has been a more accommodating schedule. Here's what we've been doing per "week" (this is embarrassing - go easy on me please :blushing: ): *Bible devotions and memory work with singing (including voice training) and some light music theory daily *WWS1 - 4 lessons (we're currently on wk 15) *MEP Y5 for one and Y6 for the other - about 5 pages each, sometimes I skip stuff depending on the child so then we get through more pages. (MEP is a little accelerated so this is more like grade 6 and 7) *A chapter or so of Science reading from a 1950's public school text - no labs or any feed-back besides me asking some comprehension questions. I've been reading Crucibles out loud to them and I've assigned them some living books like Uncle Tungsten and Napoleon’s Buttons in the last few months. This isn't weekly though. *Geography country study - one country per week, fill in a generic worksheet *Typing- 1 hour per week *R&S Grammar Y4 at a very accelerated pace - like 15-20 lessons/wk *They read plenty of lit at about their expected reading level so I don't assign any. We talk through what they've read *History- they have a pretty good knowledge base from read-alouds but I feel like we need to get into a little more meat *Some weeks dh does a few hours of electronics and electrical physics with ds and I spend some time with dd teaching her to sew. Unfortunately this tends to eat into our other school time. Obviously we're behind but I don't know exactly know how to move on from here. Just this week I wanted to have them write a summary of the history of Korea because they both floundered on the history of Korea on last week's worksheet. I realized though that they are just not able to do this yet. I reassigned them to doing an outline of the World Book encyclopedia’s history of Korea article. This was do-able. This frustrates me because I know that they're able understand the reading material but they don't have the writing skills yet (stupid unschooling philosophy!) to get their thoughts out. How should I plan for them long term? What's next? I feel like I'm lacking some vision here. I don't want to just get a history and science textbook and then answer some questions every chapter. I want them to be able to explain what they've learned in written form. Ultimately, I want them to be able to understand anything they set their minds to, without me holding their hands, and then be able to teach it to others in written or verbal form. How do I accomplish this? Some compounding factors are that we have a slough of littles that are always interrupting so any suggestions need to be fairly hands-off from me.
  3. ETA: changed the title for clarity This is an X-post, and many of you have already read it. But given the other thread might be deleted or titled in an unsearchable manner, I've decided to pull my post out so that it might help someone one day..... X-post I will stick my head out and differentiate between unschoolers and Notschoolers. I was an unschooler for my first 3 years of homeschooling, and ran the unschoolers group here in town for 4 years. I have met and been good friends with many unschoolers. I have read every unschooling book I could get my hands on and done quite a bit of personal thinking and reflection. This is my take: I personally believe that all kids have a right to an education, and I am willing to define it. I think it is unfair to children to say that it is undefinable, and that anything counts. Horrible parents lose their kids to social services; we as a society have found a way to draw a line in the sand. And I believe that we need to do the same thing with education. NZ has a very good system for evaluating home educators, until 5 years ago (when National came in), all home educators were evaluated in person on a rotating basis, so about every 5 years. The law is fair; it requires that homeschool students are educated "as regularly and as well as public school." Clearly this must be interpreted, and here in NZ it has been interpreted as educating for at least 40 weeks a year (not a problem for unschoolers as they educated year round), and that all multiple learning areas are included in the education environment. This society has decided that all children are entitled to an education; and a democratically elected government has defined it with these 7 learning areas: Language (Maori or English) Numeracy Social studies (understanding people and society) Science (understanding the natural world) Arts (chosen from: music, dance, theatre, art ) PE Technology (understanding *how* society runs. This is NOT a computer class (although it could be); kids study the things like how a grocery store works: growers, distributors, store management, etc; or how gasoline gets to your car; or how mail gets to your house; etc So when evaluating if you are providing an education, the evaluator is looking for evidence in all these areas. I have gone through a review while I was an unschooler, so I know that *how* you achieve the above does not matter. I also know that if you fail a review, you are given 6 months to improve your game with the help of the ministry before your children are returned to school. I'm going to give 4 examples based on unschoolers I know. 2 city dwellers and 2 rural dwellers. One is a pass and one is a fail in each category. 3 of the 4 have had reviews (the 4th one I am just guessing at). I'm talking about 9 - 12 year olds here. Rural dweller #1 This family works a farm. The kids help with the animals and the farm maintenance and their small farm market. They cook, sew, draw. The kids are surrounded by books in the home and read when they are ready, which has been up to 10 years old. The parents read and discuss the newspaper over breakfast. This is a pass: Language - they do learn to read (writing is weak but is often associated with drawing) Numeracy - through cooking and sewing and the farm market (never getting to algebra, but learn elementary maths) Social studies - newspaper reading Science - farm work Arts - drawing PE - farm work Technology - how a farm works rural dwellers #2. This family lives rurally with a big yard, but does not actually run a farm. The dad works and the mom is very busy with her babies/toddlers and generally running the home. She does not include her older kids in home management, but rather kicks them outside to play every day for all day. They carve, build forts, play in the river, play imaginary games, etc. This is a fail Literacy - none, older kids do not read and are not being taught to read Numeracy - none, not even in cooking etc. Social studies - none science - biology from being outside Technology - none PE - playing outside Arts - carving perhaps? These children are not being educated. City dweller #1 A good friend of mine unschoolers her children in the city. They have a print rich home, the kids learn to read when they are ready. They do a lot of activities in the city: swimming, dance, drama, karate, art museums, etc. The mom reads a lot to her kids - whatever kind of books they want. She talks to them all the time as she does errands, talks about how things work in general. They cook, sew, play with some pretty cool computer programs (video, architectural, games, etc) This is a pass Literacy - print rich home and her children love writing stories Numeracy - through maths, sewing, architectural persuits social studies - read alouds science - read alouds technology - computers and errand discussions art - drama, dance, museums pe - swimming, karate, outdoor fun city dweller #2 This child typically plays video games all day long. He does go to swimming lessons and drama class. This child could read, but did not ever do it. Mom was too busy setting up her new business to do any read alouds. This is a good friend of mine, and she failed her review. She was given 6 months to change her game, did so, and passed the subsequent review. Literacy - none. not ongoing math - none social studies - none science - none technology - computers art - drama PE - swimming once a week, but nothing else My point is that you CAN define education. It does not need to look like what I had as a child or what I provide now. It does not need to set the kids up to do/be anything they want in life. It does not need to cover specific topics or be completed to someone else's timetable. It does not need to be provided in a certain way or create specific outcomes. But it must be an education. Children deserve no less. Ruth in NZ
  4. I'm playing with the idea of starting a social group for folks with unschooling tendencies. Doesn't have to be strict unschooling (I've heard some folks get finicky about what qualifies!) but maybe a tendency towards a more self-directed philosophy and style. Anyone interested?
  5. I'm trying to create a DIFFERENT 6th grade year for my 10.5yo guy. It needs to be advanced in content/style of materials or he won't be interested. The funnier and more eccentric, the better. I have asked him what else he wants to learn and he says he can't think of anything atm. He says that whatever he did this year for 5th was yes, I am honoring that by following his wishes for Math (he will be doing 2-3 math threads as has been the norm for him since he was young) and German and piano. I will work with him on writing. For other areas, I want to give him a year or two to "breathe", to have fewer curricula and outsourced courses, more time to read for fun and contemplate and observe and use his hands because although he had a smashing, very high level, very academic 5th grade year (we both think it was a great year, just busy), he didn't have as much time to read and make and giggle like we used to when he was younger. And he's pretty advanced so I have no worries atm about catching up etc. The more suggestions, the merrier. What is something challenging yet fun and different that you would have liked to learn in 6th/7th grade if you could have? I'm having brainstorming-block. Wild (but secular, please) ideas most welcome!
  6. Okay, so I'll just say it like it is - we don't like science curriculum, at least none that we've tried up until now. The farther along we get in this homeschooling adventure, the more I'm drawn to unschooling / interest led when it comes to science. Okay, and for history somewhat, too. :) But back to science - my oldest will be in 7th grade next year, so I'm just wondering what is enough but thorough at that point? Others who are drawn to interest led for science - what have you done at this point (middle school)? If you have kids separated by 3 grade levels, do you still try to combine them? I think part of the issue, too, is that I've had some chronic health issues. I need something that doesn't take a lot of prep. work on my part. I also don't do well if I have to "do" everything with all three of them. I've gotten bored/tired out myself when science means sitting there reading something to them, setting up an experiment and doing it, and then having them do a narration or something like that. Even If I'm very upbeat and excited about it. I guess it's kind of boring, too, when that's the same kind of thing we do for history (substituting coloring pages and map stuff for the experiments). But, really, it's more than that. It just seems like there's more retention if my kids learn about and pursue stuff they're truly interested in. I've considered BJU DVD science for my 7th grader next year, but it's a bit pricey for us. I guess I like the idea of someone else teaching it. :) But then it really wouldn't go with my idea of more interest led, if that's still "ok" at the 7th grade level. I'm afraid, with interest led, that I'll have to be constantly figuring out the "next step" as everything won't be laid out. So, basically, what "should" science look like at this point? I've wondered about possibly having the girls read some kind of science textbook (but it has to be interesting and with lots of pictures) that covers a lot of areas of science. Maybe it could have some questions they could answer (doubling as reading comprehension). But then, from that, we could see what interests them the most and get library books covering those topics. Should my 7th grader be writing papers? She's more math/sciency/hands on than language oriented. I just feel like we've kind of just been winging it, so what suggestions might any of you have, pretty please? :) So far we've focused on earth/astronomy (but probably more earth), a bit of anatomy, chemistry, and physics. Even though we get library books about animals, etc., I'm thinking it would make sense to focus on life science next year. What we've done this year (3rd and 6th): - A tiny bit of Apologia Chemistry/Physics (not much at all really) - A few weeks of chemistry experiments (with a kit) - Robotics at our co-op (for about 11 weeks each semester - 50 min./once per week) - Some documentaries (they are watching one about dolphins right now as I'm typing this) - Some Bill Nye - An electronics exper. kit - Library books - Some Evan Moor science workbook (not all of it) - Playing outside/nature walks - A chosen topic that they focused on for a couple of weeks - oldest did some microscope study, including the history of the microscope, one younger studied crystals/rocks, the other studied birds - then they each gave a little oral report for the rest of us - my third graders also got a "toy" microscope that they've had fun with from time to time (it actually works pretty well - they were looking at boogers and stuff - ha ha!) Sorry so long!
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