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Found 21 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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?
  4. 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 great...so 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!
  5. 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!
  6. Hello all, I'm looking to supplement a get it done economics curriculum with historical fiction that would teach economics concepts. Could you all please help me out??? Thanks so much! Oh, and if some are juvenile fiction that's fine too. Here are the topics I'm trying to cover... US Founding Pre Industrial Revolution Post Industrial Revolution Great Depression Communism A broad sampling of world history focusing on economic development I have thought of several books... Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park The Great Gatsby The Merchant of Venice Animal Farm The Grapes of Wrath
  7. I am curious with parents who have kids that specialize early, how much is too much? When do you draw the line and say, "This is a wonderful opportunity, but no. Too much stress/time/responsibility/specialization at the risk of childhood/time/well rounded education." Most of you know that my son's passion is environmental advocacy. It is an outlet for his big heart as well as his extroversion. He is just plain good at it, and it has aligned him with a stack of professional mentors who are doing national level work. We live in a very good area for this right now. All great and awesome. This could legitimately be a launching point for a very successful career. In December he recieved non-profit sponsorship and since his youth coalition is bursting at the seams. So much had been lined up and planned that once he got sponsorship all the dominoes started falling into place. He will spend January bulking up his grants (he already has a scaffold and a mentor for this) and submit for the first of this year's grant cycle by the beginning of February. Then that is it until August/September. In February he starts his radio show, but it is mainly just an auditory version of his website done bilingually (Spanish/English). So it is not a crazy allotment of extra work once he gets the hang of all the buttons (there are so many buttons!). I was far more worried about this at the time, but it is really not as big a deal as it is a flashy deal. Significantly less work than we thought. In general, there is a sort of standby and lull in the sheer amount of activity. He is just maintaining and sustaining right now with a few bursts here and there. Today we met with his videography mentor. The mentor specializes in environmental documentaries and social media. The guy is really in demand and a top dude in his field. He offered Ds an internship today. Ds would be able to use the editing software, studio space, and computers. He would get direct, hands on, twice a week work with Mentor to develop his own ideas with film. He would be the grunt of the office, but again working with people who do international environmental film adn win awards for it. It is such a fantanstic opportunity and I am all for unschooling. But......Ds is 10. He is so tiny and so young and so very much seems like this is something offered to an 18 or 20 year old. At the same time, how do you say no to something that could legitimately develop into a career starting opportunity? I cannot in any way provide with Mentor is offering, and for free no less. So I am calling out to the BTDT parents of the Hive. Any advice? What questions should I be asking myself about whether we should take this on? Anything I should really be concerned about looking into? Anyone have such large leaps work out? Anyone have their kid fall on their face?
  8. I need help with my upcoming 8th grader. He has a passion for learning, but we are stuck in BJU mode for most of his studies ( we school year-round and will finish 7th in November). I'm feeling guilty, because I know I appreciate the classical more traditional mode as I feel like we're covering everything on paper, but he could be learning so much more, if I just let his eclectic side free. We worry about transcripts and high school, but I don't want him to hate school, which is what I've heard recently. This makes me sad, he used to love school.
  9. After having looked at just about every science curriculum out there, and having read many threads here about unschooling science in the younger years, I've decided to do without a curriculum. Books should be easy to access; I'm fortunate to have a very good library. DD loved the Magic School Bus kits, but we're pretty well through those. What would you want for hands-on exploration for K-6? What I've thought of: - Lego Education kits - Zometool - Snap Circuits - microscope - chemistry set (anyone have a good one to recommend?) What else would be fun, educational, and encourage exploration?
  10. HI, We are a family of 5 living in FL currently but my dh might get a job in Oahu as a DoD employee. I've been reading about Oahu and Hawaii and homeschooling and many suggested to come over here to ask question regarding homeschooling in HI. My questions- 1. I'm currently in FL (small city), do I need to terminate the intent here and register there as a homeschooler? If I am under a umbrella school here, do I still need to register as a new homeschooler in HI? 2. How is the homeschool law there, is it lenient or strict? I read that you need to test a child at 3,5,8,10 grade. Has it changed? Is there any other way in place of the test? My 4th grader was never been tested other than online short assessment run by curriculum companies or online math games. 3. Is there any umbrella school you can register and skip the test requirement? We are loosely homeschooling and kind of unschooling with guidance so not many workbooks involved. 4. How active is the homeschool group there? Field trips, play groups, etc? I think living there for a few years will give our kids the new experience and learn about the new surroundings. I hope I don't have to give up to move there because of the restricted homeschool law. Thanks in advance.
  11. I just read a book called skip high school and go to college. Or something along those lines. It's basically about unschooling for high school and still building an impressive enough portfolio to get into any college you want. It really challenged me to think about some of the drudgery we are currently experiencing in our schooling. But mainly, I just could not see how a child would ever be motivated enough on their own to do the sort of things required to move on in life successfully. I mean, they are so short sighted. If I just told my 14yo tomorrow that she only had to do what she felt like doing, it would be precious little academically, that's for sure! I think it would mainly involve knitting, sewing, reading, playing piano, and riding her bike. You can't go to college on that. She doesn't have any career goals. So I feel like it's my job to make her do the work that she doesn't see the point of now so she doesn't close doors that she might wish were available later on. But I am tired of the battle. So what do people do that actually unschool? Like math, mainly. What child just thinks, well, I'll learn algebra this year? Anyway, I hope I'm making sense. I'm wanting to make some changes, but I don't see how. Jen
  12. I am interested in how unschoolers handle wrting with students. My dd is a reluctant writer (aspie), and we have tried many writing programs. I have finally started to wonder if we really need a writing curriculum at all. She will write stories/poetry on her own time, but when faced with an assignment, the you know what hits the fan. Is it really necessary to teach the writing process, or should she just write and let it come naturally?
  13. So, I've been talking a lot to my son and my husband and bouncing ideas off of my daughter, too. The result is that I'm strongly considering loosening the academic reigns a bit next year. I've been feeling for the last two or three years like my son is just going through the motions with school. Any subject he doesn't like gets stalled and stalled. Eventually, when pushed, he'll do a half-hearted job with it. If pushed some more, he'll revise and re-do until assignments meet the bare minimum required. (This is true of both subjects I teach and the ones we outsource.) If his grade suffers, he doesn't seem to care. And, when asked about that subject a few months later, he can't seem to recall anything. For example, he "studied" Spanish for three years and now can't remember how to say please and thank you. Stuff he likes? That gets attention. For most of this year, for example, he's been running an average in the honors level of his online language arts class of over 100% (with extra credit, which he does for fun). I'm just tired of it all. I don't see the point of making him unhappy and wasting so much of his time. He has maybe three or four years of homeschooling left, and I think it's time to change our approach. Here's what I'm considering: A few subject, "the basics," would be designed/defined/chosen by me. For next year, I think that will be English (lit and comp), math, foreign language and some "remedials" (like his handwriting and spelling are atrocious). Some other subjects would be required by me but would allow him a lot of freedom to choose how to study. For example, I want him to do world history and geography next year. We had been planning to have him take history online, and I've been purchasing materials for geography. But now I'm considering letting him choose a book or books to read as an overview for history and then letting him do more reading or research or projects on specific things that interest him. And we'd do something similar with geography, except that I might require him to choose among the materials I have on hand. The idea is that these subjects would have a kind of "framework," guidelines for how much work he should do per week or month, but give him freedom to decide how to do it. We'd probably take the same approach with world religions. I'm not sure yet what we would do with science. We had been planning to have him take it online, but I've never been especially excited about that idea. I might just let him choose. I'm sure other folks here have tried this kind of "hybrid" approach? If so, I'd love to hear about your experiences? And for everyone: I know it's not "classical," but is it crazy? Thanks!
  14. The other unschooling thread made me think about this. I kinda wanted to share my thoughts, and figured I'd post my own thread about it. Something clicked for me within the last few months about how unschoolers see things and why I ultimately don't agree with it [anymore]. A good friend of mine IRL has been unschooling her kids for many years. She was telling me what her fifteen year old is up to. He apparently spends 30 hours a week doing on-line gaming. He does nothing that most people would consider "school," whether "fun" or "creative" schoolwork or avant garde schoolwork or otherwise. Basically gaming, and hanging out, and Pokemon, is what he spends his time doing. She was telling me [and I know nothing about on-line gaming, so I may not be explaining it quite right] that when he signs on, the gamers have to sometimes wait for enough players to play, so they chat amongst themselves while they wait. He called to her one day while on the computer, "Mom! So much learning! So much learning! My head hurts from all this learning!" She explained to me that in these chat discussions, he was learning a wide variety of things. For example, one player lived in France, and he was talking about something about French culture -- that sort of thing. She told me, quite proudly, that "he was getting an amazing education!" this way. I thought about this for a long time. Something about it didn't seem quite right, although I wasn't sure why. Then I figured it out. Unschoolers are right: Humans naturally learn. People do learn all the time. You can learn without doing "schoolwork." You can learn from casual conversations, from TV, whatever. BUT ... there is a different kind of learning that is significantly different from "Huh, I just had a conversation about Whatever, I never knew that; I learned something today!" That's ... well, I guess, a passive, isolated sort of learning. It seems like unschoolers thrive on and point out that kind of learning often. But what they are [mostly] missing is the kind of learning that builds upon itself for a long time -- not just isolated pieces of information, but skills that build on themselves. The kind of learning where you have to strive, and try again when you get it wrong the first time. The kind of learning where you have to push through a rough spot. The kind of learning where you ... well, have to be more active than just hearing a conversation and going, "Wow, I just learned something!" So ... I don't know if this is helpful to anybody here, but once I figured this out, it helped me understand better. So I thought I'd share.
  15. Does anyone happen to know of any large forums like this one that are for those interested in the unschooling/lifelearning approach? Yes, I can google :p but that doesn't always turn up the active locations. Thanks! :)
  16. 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.
  17. I am genuinely curious about this. Do you purchase books and/or kits? Do you get a membership at the zoo or arboretum? Do you "unschool" or "free-range" your science all the time? one year (just to do something differently)? a semester every now and then? Do you decide to focus on a broad topic (e.g., Birds), or something more specific (e.g., the migration of Canadian geese)? Do you try to line up your "free-range" science with the type of science you would have been doing, if you had gone the more traditional route (i.e., textbooks & curriculum)? For example, if you would be studying Earth & Space Science in a more traditional way, but decide to free-range for a time, do you still focus on Earth & Space, or do you mix it up completely? What age range(s) have you done this with? Pros? Cons? I'm :bigear:.
  18. Yesterday, I was talking with an unschooler about my daughter's math obsession. She has wanted a "math lesson" pretty much every day for the last three weeks. I joke that I've "fallen off the wagon," because I really didn't intend to do math lessons with her until next year (her K year). But if she's begging for it, I see no reason to deny her math instruction. We're mostly doing MEP year 1, with some other stuff thrown in. So anyway, this unschooling father (whose only child is under 4), seemed to feel that even if my daughter was asking for math lessons, I shouldn't be providing anything one would normally think of as a math lesson. He seemed to think that I should only teach her math through day-to-day life activities. I explained that my daughter has been very clear that this is exactly what she wants to be doing, that I don't have any learning objectives for this activity, and would be totally fine with it if she lost interest. All of which is true. He is also aware that I plan a more formal academic program for my daughter next year, and that I'm not an unschooler. I encounter him on a regular basis, because our kids are involved in some of the same things. How do you talk to unschoolers? I'm very secure in my own convictions about the education of my children, and don't mind talking with this guy about educational issues. I'm just baffled by the idea that even children who WANT formal teaching shouldn't have it...
  19. Anyone teach reading without a program? I've tried several programs with all my boys. None have learned to read early. I was reading through Charlotte Mason Volume 1 and it just sounds so easy to teach reading her way. My two oldest ended up in ps. They both came home in 1st grade and honestly neither could read. They had memorized a lot but couldn't really read. They both ended up teaching themselves to read. My 6 year old is struggling to read. He forgets each lesson. We have tried Phonics Pathways and OPGTR. We have alway read a lot of rich literature. We play lots of games. We limit TV and games. We seem to do all the right stuff and yet they have all struggled. I'm frustrated and just want to give up. My 9 year old took of in reading last year after I gave up. It's frustrating because I learned to read before school started. No one had to teach me. My mom just answered my questions from time to time. I was reading High School level books in grade school with no problems.
  20. What is the difference between Homeschooling, Unschooling and "Radical" Unschooling? I was watching a youtube video on Dr. Phil regarding homeschooling and Unschooling. This video would make people assume that "radical" unschoolers run wild (No time set for bedtime and no discipline). I want to be objective and not just listen to only one person's definition or point of view. Dr. Phil Also, would you consider unschooling. Why or Why not?
  21. I know this is a weird place to ask, but I am really curious what makes someone self-motivated to learn. I am an unschooler at heart - have been since I was in school. School was an absolute waste of my time and I spent the majority of my school hours "doing my own thing" while I waited for everyone else to get done. I skipped school in high school (at least 1/3 of the year) in order to go to court to learn about the justice system, go to the zoo, museums, and libraries. I still teach my self TONS of stuff. I have given myself a crash course in Economics in the past few months (and there is SO much more to learn!) I read voraciously. In general, I am a very academic type of person. My dc see this. They hear me talk about things, see me learning about things, and know my love of learning. They have no interest, though. They HATE anything resembling schoolwork (the 3 I am discussing are 10, 7, and 6yo boys.) We fight and struggle and fight some more to get anything accomplished. How do I get them interested in anything besides trucks, engines, racing, or fishing?:tongue_smilie:
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