Jump to content

Menu

What do you think of not using any curriculum at all?


Recommended Posts

I'm thinking of having my two youngest just read, read, read (the others have graduated). I've got at least a thousand books in this house on nearly every subject - lots of history, historical fiction, biography, etc. - so I feel silly spending any more money just so I can have something that's laid out all neat and tidy (not to mention a serious lack of funds :D.) The only evaluation will be having them write a bit about what they are reading.

 

I'm even going to do this with math - just read about math and do some real-life application stuff like cooking and building something. They both hate math and find it a huge struggle so I'm hoping that taking a year to just talk about math, the history of math and using math in real life will give them some time away and perhaps motivate them. Am I nuts???? (OK, don't answer that - just tell me if it's doable, lol).

Edited by Kathleen in VA
typo-awkward sentence
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 106
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I love this idea. I'm in the same boat with a house full of books (hmmm...weird metaphor there, but you know what I mean:tongue_smilie:) and have contemplated this for my middle dd. Just reading what we have, writing, and math. I am already thinking about doing this for the first few years of homeschooling with my baby when she gets to that point. Poor kid, I'm going to work out all my HSing mistakes on her. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They both hate math and find it a huge struggle so I'm hoping that taking a year to just talk about math, the history of math and using math in real life will give them some time away and perhaps motivate them.

 

I really love this idea, Kathleen. Being a math-hater has such an impact on what a child believes he can learn. Taking a year to foster appreciation and enjoyment of the subject could make a tremendous difference!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to be the dissenting voice, because it does sound lovely, but I don't think I could ever give up my math curricula, and my kids read during their free time (well, just my oldest I guess). I think it would be hard to read for 6 hours a day (her normal school time plus her reading time), so she'd be spending less time learning. I think it would be hard to process all that reading without some sort of outlet (writing, discussion, etc.). And as much as I hate doing them, I think there is value in history activities and science experiments. My oldest does read a couple hours a day in addition to her schoolwork, but we call that "fun". I'm hoping and praying the others follow suit. I could see doing an all-reading week, or maybe something like that for summer vacation.

 

Sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely doable. And it sounds like so much fun!

 

ETA: Check this out!

 

http://www.homefires.com/articles/reading_the_best_and_easiest.asp

 

Oh. my. word. That was so beautiful. It brought me to tears. Thanks so much for sharing that.:) I loved this line: "I realized that home-schooling is all about parents interacting with their children - frequently!"

 

That's just the thing. Seems I don't have any trouble recognizing that there is something wrong - very wrong - with the plastic, contrived setting of a classroom. But it has taken me eons (a slight exaggeration perhaps) to see that bringing school home isn't the answer either. I have always been fairly relaxed in my homeschooling approach, but having a degree in Elementary Education has been a serious hindrance to really letting go of the whole mish-mosh and embracing what I'll call a living curriculum - just living life.

 

I just loved that blog post - I'm going to read it over and over as inspiration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's definitely doable! I do use a math curriculum, and I like MCT for LA because it's more of a curl-up-on-the-sofa-&-read thing, but for the rest of it, I've also chucked the curriculum this year. I put away the geography texts and ordered Geopuzzles and Geocards from Timberdoodle. Dropped the Critical Thinking workbooks and substituted chess. I'm replacing the science and history texts with documentaries and field trips and hands-on projects and self-directed research. DS will be building a telescope (astronomy & physics), building a Greek ballista (history & physics), researching science and technology in Ancient Greece (research skills + history & science content), keeping a nature journal (biology & art), etc. I recently posted in the "out of the box" thread about some of the things we're doing. Lots of great ideas in that thread!

 

Some fun options for "non-mathy math" include the Murderous Maths books, Patty Paper Geometry, and Zome Geometry (building elaborate 3D geometric models with Zometools). Also, Terry Jones's documentary on the history of math The Story of 1 is fascinating and very funny (Netflix has it).

 

Jackie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds lovely for English and history and to a certain degree even for science - but I personally do not think that solid math skills can be acquired like this.

 

I'm even going to do this with math - just read about math and do some real-life application stuff like cooking and building something.

 

I would second this if they were elementary school age - but I assume you are talking about the 11 and 14 year old? I'd be worried about teaching algebra by cooking.

Hating math is unfortunate - but I am not convinced you do your kids a service by having them effectively take a year off math. Particularly not the older one.

Just my personal opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to be the dissenting voice, because it does sound lovely, but I don't think I could ever give up my math curricula, and my kids read during their free time (well, just my oldest I guess). I think it would be hard to read for 6 hours a day (her normal school time plus her reading time), so she'd be spending less time learning. I think it would be hard to process all that reading without some sort of outlet (writing, discussion, etc.). And as much as I hate doing them, I think there is value in history activities and science experiments. My oldest does read a couple hours a day in addition to her schoolwork, but we call that "fun". I'm hoping and praying the others follow suit. I could see doing an all-reading week, or maybe something like that for summer vacation.

 

Sorry.

 

I hear you, Rosy. I think my version of this would play out a lot like the lady in the blog post Nance linked to. This would include exploring areas of interest that pop-up as a natural course from the reading. We would discuss and I plan on using writing as a way to evaluate at least some of what they read, and we will branch out into whatever their little hearts get intrigued by. I do plan also to cover some predetermined topics - American History from the Civil War through the present (or however far we get, lol), Plants and the Human Body (as that seems to be what I have a lot of reading material for right now) and World Geography. All these topics have already been presented to me by them as areas they'd like to explore further. Ds14 is building a model of Stalag Luft III (a WWII German prison camp) - a project he was inspired to do after watching The Great Escape. I expect we'll just end up doing more of this sort of thing. Btw, there's been a ton of math in that project already.:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds lovely for English and history and to a certain degree even for science - but I personally do not think that solid math skills can be acquired like this.

 

 

 

I would second this if they were elementary school age - but I assume you are talking about the 11 and 14 year old? I'd be worried about teaching algebra by cooking.

Hating math is unfortunate - but I am not convinced you do your kids a service by having them effectively take a year off math. Particularly not the older one.

Just my personal opinion.

 

I have to admit - this is the subject I am most concerned about, too. Ds14 isn't ready for algebra - take my word for it. I'm kind of thinking back to a book I read by Grace Llewellyn called The Teenage Liberation Handbook. She talks a lot about kids who are coming out of ps needing time to "decompress." Even though mine haven't been in school, I think they both need some decompression time in the area of math. Ds14 will start TT Pre-Algebra next year (9th grade) and take Alg. 1 in 10th, Geometry in 11th and probably stop there. He loves history and geography so I don't feel like he's going to need math any higher than that. If he ends up needing more to follow his own goals, he can easily go to community college.

 

I'm also thinking if we do lots of hands-on type projects where he can apply the math he already knows, a light might just appear over his head and he will have an "aha" moment and say something glorious like, "Wow, mom, all that math I hated really is cool!!" Ok, not likely, but I can hope, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's a wonderful idea, but I wouldn't ditch the math curriculum. If money is tight, go with MEP (free on-line). If you want math that is more applicable to real life, go with Life of Fred. Just my $.02.

 

You know, I really thought he'd like Life of Fred - especially the goofy story line. I bought the fractions book and, well, I found it confusing. IIRC, the answers to the questions were right after the questions so if you didn't want to go to all the trouble to figure them out, you could just skip right to the answers and not have to expend much mental energy. It's been about a year since I've looked at a LoF book, so I may not be getting this right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree:

Oh. my. word. That was so beautiful. It brought me to tears. Thanks so much for sharing that.:) I loved this line: "I realized that home-schooling is all about parents interacting with their children - frequently!"

 

That's just the thing. Seems I don't have any trouble recognizing that there is something wrong - very wrong - with the plastic, contrived setting of a classroom. But it has taken me eons (a slight exaggeration perhaps) to see that bringing school home isn't the answer either. I have always been fairly relaxed in my homeschooling approach, but having a degree in Elementary Education has been a serious hindrance to really letting go of the whole mish-mosh and embracing what I'll call a living curriculum - just living life.

 

I just loved that blog post - I'm going to read it over and over as inspiration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more time. :iagree:

I have to admit - this is the subject I am most concerned about, too. Ds14 isn't ready for algebra - take my word for it. I'm kind of thinking back to a book I read by Grace Llewellyn called The Teenage Liberation Handbook. She talks a lot about kids who are coming out of ps needing time to "decompress." Even though mine haven't been in school, I think they both need some decompression time in the area of math. Ds14 will start TT Pre-Algebra next year (9th grade) and take Alg. 1 in 10th, Geometry in 11th and probably stop there. He loves history and geography so I don't feel like he's going to need math any higher than that. If he ends up needing more to follow his own goals, he can easily go to community college.

 

I'm also thinking if we do lots of hands-on type projects where he can apply the math he already knows, a light might just appear over his head and he will have an "aha" moment and say something glorious like, "Wow, mom, all that math I hated really is cool!!" Ok, not likely, but I can hope, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's a wonderful idea, but I wouldn't ditch the math curriculum. If money is tight, go with MEP (free on-line). If you want math that is more applicable to real life, go with Life of Fred. Just my $.02.

There's a big difference between ditching math, and ditching math curriculum. It's possible to do lots of math without using a prepackaged curriculum. Personally, I think it's a great idea to spend a year exploring the fun and useful sides of math. The big complaint of most math haters is that math is boring and abstract and irrelevant, so a year spent learning that math can be fun (e.g. building structures with Zometools) as well as extremely useful (e.g. having to work out the proper dimensions for building models) is a year well-spent, IMO. And for kids who enjoy history, studying the history of math can introduce them to deep mathematical concepts in an engaging way that "speaks their language."

 

I'm doing a similar thing with my DS who loves science and is bored to death by history texts. Instead of using a history curriculum, we're approaching it through the history of science and technology, which he's fascinated by. That branches out into an interest in weapons and warfare, which leads into a study of important battles, etc.

 

Jackie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's an interesting page on math from an unschool POV:

 

http://sandradodd.com/math/

 

Personally, I think using "real life math" and combining that with math games could be very educational.

 

Let them measure for woodworking projects, let them do recipes, let them manage an allowance (maybe even their own bank account), teach them to write checks, let them spend their own money, let them earn money.

 

Provide them with math board games, card games, computer games, fun manipulatives.

 

Go bowling and figure out averages.

 

Buy stock (for real, or make believe) and keep track of how it does.

 

Give them shopping lists and X amount of dollars and tell them to get whatever they can from their list without going over that amount of money when you shop (estimating and rounding and budgeting)

 

Let them help with the family bills, let them help figure out what they can order from the takeout menu with X amount of money, let them figure out how far apart to plant flower and vegetable seeds, and so on. There are so many opportunities in every day life to learn and apply math skills.

 

The truth is, your kids probably already know the basics of math, and advanced math concepts that people might worry about them not being able to do with "real life math" applications like you are talking about... who is to say they even NEED to know that other stuff now? It's the real life math, the stuff we do in our daily lives, that any of us NEED to know, because it's relevant.

 

If something comes up that they NEED to know down the road for say a job or apprenticeship or college or whatever, that they haven't yet learned, with the right kind of motivation (as in, WANTING to know it because they NEED it for something THEY want to do), they're going to get a book, a DVD, a tutor, a whatever- and they're going to learn it. Probably much more easily and quickly than they would have at age 11 or 14 when they couldn't care less.

 

This isn't for everybody. But you've made a decision, and yes, it IS doable, and no, I don't think you'll be ruining their lives.... so if this is what will work for you and your kids, go for it!

 

It sounds like you'll have a fun year, with lots of family bonding, AND lots of learning!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wait. Stop me. It's annoying...but...:iagree:

There's a big difference between ditching math, and ditching math curriculum. It's possible to do lots of math without using a prepackaged curriculum. Personally, I think it's a great idea to spend a year exploring the fun and useful sides of math. The big complaint of most math haters is that math is boring and abstract and irrelevant, so a year spent learning that math can be fun (e.g. building structures with Zometools) as well as extremely useful (e.g. having to work out the proper dimensions for building models) is a year well-spent, IMO. And for kids who enjoy history, studying the history of math can introduce them to deep mathematical concepts in an engaging way that "speaks their language."

 

I'm doing a similar thing with my DS who loves science and is bored to death by history texts. Instead of using a history curriculum, we're approaching it through the history of science and technology, which he's fascinated by. That branches out into an interest in weapons and warfare, which leads into a study of important battles, etc.

 

Jackie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does take a certain level of discipline to do LoF properly, which is why I supplement it with Key to... books for my 12yo. And I pulled the answers to the bridges out of the back of the book. I can see how it wouldn't work for everyone.

 

Maybe check out MEP years 7-9. I think they have some interactive work on-line. I'm not sure because I use it for my younger kids.

 

Or maybe Math Mammoth. I haven't used it, but it look interesting and might be an inexpensive way to review math concepts before putting him into pre-algebra in 9th.

 

Just a suggestion. I don't think I could skip math for a year for fear that dc would forget everything. But I'm far from being a homeschool expert, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Hope you find something that works great for you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My fav part of the article is this:

 

"I realized that home-schooling is all about parents interacting with their children - frequently! I learned that reading to my kids along with their requests for my undivided time and consideration took priority over doing the laundry, paying the bills, or answering the telephone"

 

I think too many times we think we can do many other things at the same time we make our primary responsibility the growth/education of our children.

 

 

 

Definitely doable. And it sounds like so much fun!

 

ETA: Check this out!

 

http://www.homefires.com/articles/reading_the_best_and_easiest.asp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a big difference between ditching math, and ditching math curriculum. It's possible to do lots of math without using a prepackaged curriculum. Personally, I think it's a great idea to spend a year exploring the fun and useful sides of math. The big complaint of most math haters is that math is boring and abstract and irrelevant, so a year spent learning that math can be fun (e.g. building structures with Zometools) as well as extremely useful (e.g. having to work out the proper dimensions for building models) is a year well-spent, IMO. And for kids who enjoy history, studying the history of math can introduce them to deep mathematical concepts in an engaging way that "speaks their language."

 

I'm doing a similar thing with my DS who loves science and is bored to death by history texts. Instead of using a history curriculum, we're approaching it through the history of science and technology, which he's fascinated by. That branches out into an interest in weapons and warfare, which leads into a study of important battles, etc.

 

Jackie

 

Thanks for saying this, Jackie. I'm hoping by reading about the history of math and so on, that some connection will occur in his brain and he will see the relevance and then want to learn it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone one upped you & did it with movies.

 

Jesse was a smart, sensitive, restless, chain-smoking 16-year-old who was flunking out of everything at school.....

As he tells it in his engaging new memoir, The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son, a perplexed and exasperated Gilmour finally let Jesse drop out, with only two conditions: he couldn’t do drugs, and he had to agree to watch three movies a week with the old man.

 

 

Gilmour is a film critic so that's probably why he made it a film appreciation year. :) But Gilmour is also a novelist so he could have made it books. Maybe he thought that his son wouldn't go for books as easily.

 

What Gilmour says though is

 

“Really, we could just as well have gone skydiving together,†says Gilmour, a tall man in his late 50s with a mop of grey hair and John Lennon glasses. “It wasn’t about the movies, it was about doing what is incredibly important when you have teenage children, which is spending time with them. The thing about teenage boys is that they appear not to need much attention, when in fact they need a tremendous amount, and they need it from their fathers.â€

 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/gilmour.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Curriculum" does not mean "that pile of textbooks there." It means, "The course of study offered by an institution of education." IOW, curriculum is the content of what you plan to teach; what you use to teach would be your "instructional materials."

 

That you do not use a textbook or other product (such as KONOS, or a Beautiful Feet Books study guide) does not mean you don't have curriculum. Using trade books--all those books you have in your own library--is recognized and accepted among professional educators.

 

I would say that the WTM is curriculum: content, goals, plans. The recommendations for textbooks and whatnot help you reach those goals. You can use textbooks, trade books, hands-on activities, computer/Internet, field trips...whatever it takes, even if it doesn't look the slightest bit like school.

 

Math is trickier to teach without a textbook--at least, it would be for me!--but there's no reason that you couldn't use trade books and whatnot instead of textbooks.

 

But you'd still have "curriculum.":)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a big difference between ditching math, and ditching math curriculum.

 

Point well taken. Personally, I would be afraid that without a math curriculum for my kids, not enough math would be done, but that's just me. I'm sure Kathleen will do a great job fitting in plenty of real-life math.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to admit - this is the subject I am most concerned about, too. Ds14 isn't ready for algebra - take my word for it. I'm kind of thinking back to a book I read by Grace Llewellyn called The Teenage Liberation Handbook. She talks a lot about kids who are coming out of ps needing time to "decompress." Even though mine haven't been in school, I think they both need some decompression time in the area of math. Ds14 will start TT Pre-Algebra next year (9th grade) and take Alg. 1 in 10th, Geometry in 11th and probably stop there. He loves history and geography so I don't feel like he's going to need math any higher than that. If he ends up needing more to follow his own goals, he can easily go to community college.

 

I'm also thinking if we do lots of hands-on type projects where he can apply the math he already knows, a light might just appear over his head and he will have an "aha" moment and say something glorious like, "Wow, mom, all that math I hated really is cool!!" Ok, not likely, but I can hope, right?

 

I think your idea sounds lovely. I am hearing you say that your kid is special, but not mathematically inclined, so taking some time to explore a different side of math than what textbooks offer is called for. Sounds great to me and I would be very interested in following along as the year progresses. I have a feeling my dd is much like your 14yo. She is just not ever going to love math or be a mathematical genius. And I don't want to crush her confidence about her outstanding abilities in other areas because of a struggle with math. A year of exploring it in a different way sounds like a nice way to decompress from the pressure and make it real.

:thumbup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If something comes up that they NEED to know down the road for say a job or apprenticeship or college or whatever, that they haven't yet learned, with the right kind of motivation (as in, WANTING to know it because they NEED it for something THEY want to do), they're going to get a book, a DVD, a tutor, a whatever- and they're going to learn it. Probably much more easily and quickly than they would have at age 11 or 14 when they couldn't care less.

 

I heard this before and wish I could believe this - but I am skeptical. I am a college instructor. Every semester I find that some students, even those who are majoring in science or engineering and definitely know that they NEED their math, suffer from the gaps that have originated from poor foundation in school over the years and are often unable to close those gaps. (They fail introductory courses because they are lacking basic algebra skills that should have been cemented and honed over several years- not because they are missing some obscure calculus or advanced science training)

So I find it hard to imagine the 17 y/o who, faced with college, suddenly successfully masters several years of higher math and develops actual proficiency.

 

I realize that everybody has different educational goals for their kids. For our family, education is about keeping doors open. I'd hate for my kids to finish highschool with limited choices on what to do with their lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like to thank everyone who said to go for it. I am an insecure person and it really does make me feel great to hear all those encouraging words. It makes a big difference in my determination to actually do it.

 

Here's an interesting page on math from an unschool POV:

 

http://sandradodd.com/math/

 

Personally, I think using "real life math" and combining that with math games could be very educational.

 

Let them measure for woodworking projects, let them do recipes, let them manage an allowance (maybe even their own bank account), teach them to write checks, let them spend their own money, let them earn money.

 

Provide them with math board games, card games, computer games, fun manipulatives.

 

Go bowling and figure out averages.

 

Buy stock (for real, or make believe) and keep track of how it does.

 

Give them shopping lists and X amount of dollars and tell them to get whatever they can from their list without going over that amount of money when you shop (estimating and rounding and budgeting)

 

Let them help with the family bills, let them help figure out what they can order from the takeout menu with X amount of money, let them figure out how far apart to plant flower and vegetable seeds, and so on. There are so many opportunities in every day life to learn and apply math skills.

 

The truth is, your kids probably already know the basics of math, and advanced math concepts that people might worry about them not being able to do with "real life math" applications like you are talking about... who is to say they even NEED to know that other stuff now? It's the real life math, the stuff we do in our daily lives, that any of us NEED to know, because it's relevant.

 

If something comes up that they NEED to know down the road for say a job or apprenticeship or college or whatever, that they haven't yet learned, with the right kind of motivation (as in, WANTING to know it because they NEED it for something THEY want to do), they're going to get a book, a DVD, a tutor, a whatever- and they're going to learn it. Probably much more easily and quickly than they would have at age 11 or 14 when they couldn't care less.

 

This isn't for everybody. But you've made a decision, and yes, it IS doable, and no, I don't think you'll be ruining their lives.... so if this is what will work for you and your kids, go for it!

 

It sounds like you'll have a fun year, with lots of family bonding, AND lots of learning!

 

Nance, I copied and pasted this into a document and will refer to it often. Thanks for the great ideas!

 

I bookmarked this new link - looks like one to linger over. I love her terms "wild math" and "domesticated math." Ha! Too funny.:)

 

I think your idea sounds lovely. I am hearing you say that your kid is special, but not mathematically inclined, so taking some time to explore a different side of math than what textbooks offer is called for. Sounds great to me and I would be very interested in following along as the year progresses. I have a feeling my dd is much like your 14yo. She is just not ever going to love math or be a mathematical genius. And I don't want to crush her confidence about her outstanding abilities in other areas because of a struggle with math. A year of exploring it in a different way sounds like a nice way to decompress from the pressure and make it real.

:thumbup:

 

Thanks for saying this, Amy. Maybe I will blog about it. I'm terrible at keeping up with my blog, but this could be just the thing I need to be consistent. Of course, if it doesn't go so well.....

 

Yes, I think my ds is a lot like your dd. He really is never going to be an engineer or a nuclear scientist, but he is smart in other areas. I know what you mean about not wanting to crush confidence. Ds is sensitive and it really depresses him when he doesn't understand a math lesson. We are presently doing Key to Percents and it is a huge struggle for him. Otoh, he loves history - can't get enough of it actually so I am just going to back off the math and let him experience the joy of diving into somehting headfirst and really loving it.

 

I love this idea! I want to do this! I even posted about it here. But I haven't.

Off to read the inspirational article! :)

 

Now, see, you're a lot braver than I am. I do plan to try to stick to a certain few topics. However, that post Nance linked to (the first one) sounds like your idea fleshed out and it seemed to work out well. I'm going to have to seriously consider not having a "mom-driven agenda."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this sounds great!

 

Living math:

 

http://livingmath.net/

 

http://www.pennygardner.com/mathclassics.html

 

I think it was Charlotte Mason who said to just leave children alone (for Heaven's sake, LOL) with good books and let them read and absorb them. More can be accomplished in that way than through lecturing, questioning them to death, testing, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh. my. word. That was so beautiful. It brought me to tears. Thanks so much for sharing that.:) I loved this line: "I realized that home-schooling is all about parents interacting with their children - frequently!"

 

That's just the thing. Seems I don't have any trouble recognizing that there is something wrong - very wrong - with the plastic, contrived setting of a classroom. But it has taken me eons (a slight exaggeration perhaps) to see that bringing school home isn't the answer either. I have always been fairly relaxed in my homeschooling approach, but having a degree in Elementary Education has been a serious hindrance to really letting go of the whole mish-mosh and embracing what I'll call a living curriculum - just living life.

 

I just loved that blog post - I'm going to read it over and over as inspiration.

 

After reading this thread--our struggle is the same. I want to let go. I see them learn more when I let them let go. But I am so afraid of it.

 

Now, with us, Dd wants rigorous science and to do that she knows she's going to need math-but the thing is, this is what she WANTS. I'm not making her do it for the sake of her education. There's a difference. My others aren't going to want the science/maths (perhaps a few). The more I released her from what I wanted her to do, the more she took on, in a way I never would have thought. She wants to learn Greek and take a year and live there. She's learning Greek herself.

 

If yours aren't bent that way, don't force them!

 

I have to admit - this is the subject I am most concerned about, too. Ds14 isn't ready for algebra - take my word for it. I'm kind of thinking back to a book I read by Grace Llewellyn called The Teenage Liberation Handbook. She talks a lot about kids who are coming out of ps needing time to "decompress." Even though mine haven't been in school, I think they both need some decompression time in the area of math. Ds14 will start TT Pre-Algebra next year (9th grade) and take Alg. 1 in 10th, Geometry in 11th and probably stop there. He loves history and geography so I don't feel like he's going to need math any higher than that. If he ends up needing more to follow his own goals, he can easily go to community college.

 

I'm also thinking if we do lots of hands-on type projects where he can apply the math he already knows, a light might just appear over his head and he will have an "aha" moment and say something glorious like, "Wow, mom, all that math I hated really is cool!!" Ok, not likely, but I can hope, right?

 

that book is awesome, and I know about the decompression-I've said it on these boards myself. My oldest, that I pulled from PS needed a MUCH longer decompression time than I allowed him. I forced him way to fast and hard, and learning, for him, was torture after that.

 

Someone one upped you & did it with movies.

 

Gilmour is a film critic so that's probably why he made it a film appreciation year. :) But Gilmour is also a novelist so he could have made it books. Maybe he thought that his son wouldn't go for books as easily.

 

What Gilmour says though is

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/gilmour.html

 

I love that article!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did not use a math textbook or curricular program with my daughter, now fourteen, until 7th grade. We played endless math games (spatial as well as computational), built everything in the GEMS guide Building Big, read math picture books and then chapters from trade books like The Numbers Game, went through some of Marilyn Burns's Math Replacement Units (a small number of activity-based, concept-oriented sessions), used science in math extensively (graphing, measuring, figuring averages and means, etc.), had a pretend business with a kids' checkbook I found at a toy store, on and on. I made her a puzzle book with logic problems and all kinds of puzzles I found on the internet and in books. She learned some basic cryptography.

 

In 7th grade we used a book called Crossing the River With Dogs, which is organized around different methods of looking at problems and thinking about them rather than by mathematical "topic." In 8th grade she went straight to honors algebra in a private school and was getting As before she came back home due to a bout of mono -- we finished the book out at home. That year with a textbook, though, made her into a math hater. I'm now trying to figure out how to make higher-level math into something more exploratory and related to the real world.

 

Anyway, cutting free of textbooks and ready-made programs can be done even in math. As Corraleno said, there's a huge difference between dropping math itself and dropping a commercial math program/curriculum.

 

Another thing I noticed was that during periods when we briefly put math on "low" or didn't work conventional problems much, my daughter would actually make huge comprehension and ability LEAPS. This seems completely crazy, but I think what happened was that she had time to mentally absorb and process, fully and on her own terms, what he had been doing in the past several months. You might find similar things occurring as your kids decompress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reading sounds great. HAve you looked at WEM? Or WTM? Both books (with WEM being more indepth) have good discussion questions after reading. I think the idea of reading is great, but especially for older kids, they also need to process the information through writing, discussion ,art, etc. There are also free study guides (or fairly cheap) on PinkMinkey.com, sparknotes, cliffnotes. You could have them choose one or two essay questions from each book to answer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband is asked quite often to sign hsers teacher evaluation forms for Ohio homeschoolers. I am not sure he would sign a form for a family of older children who have no tangible portfolios to review (the form says he reviewed the children's work). So while a year of reading sounds lovely, I would be careful to have records or whatever your state requires.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband is asked quite often to sign hsers teacher evaluation forms for Ohio homeschoolers. I am not sure he would sign a form for a family of older children who have no tangible portfolios to review (the form says he reviewed the children's work). So while a year of reading sounds lovely, I would be careful to have records or whatever your state requires.

 

Virginia is easy that way, thankfully. I'm supposing, too, that there will be tanglble work as we explore and expand on the things they are reading. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this sounds great!

 

Living math:

 

http://livingmath.net/

 

http://www.pennygardner.com/mathclassics.html

 

I think it was Charlotte Mason who said to just leave children alone (for Heaven's sake, LOL) with good books and let them read and absorb them. More can be accomplished in that way than through lecturing, questioning them to death, testing, etc.

 

So many books, so little time.:) There is so MUCH on these sites - thanks for linking them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We grownups learn whatever we want to know by reading. Why couldn't kids do the same?

 

It does make sense, doesn't it?

 

I did not use a math textbook or curricular program with my daughter, now fourteen, until 7th grade. We played endless math games (spatial as well as computational), built everything in the GEMS guide Building Big, read math picture books and then chapters from trade books like The Numbers Game, went through some of Marilyn Burns's Math Replacement Units (a small number of activity-based, concept-oriented sessions), used science in math extensively (graphing, measuring, figuring averages and means, etc.), had a pretend business with a kids' checkbook I found at a toy store, on and on. I made her a puzzle book with logic problems and all kinds of puzzles I found on the internet and in books. She learned some basic cryptography.

 

In 7th grade we used a book called Crossing the River With Dogs, which is organized around different methods of looking at problems and thinking about them rather than by mathematical "topic." In 8th grade she went straight to honors algebra in a private school and was getting As before she came back home due to a bout of mono -- we finished the book out at home. That year with a textbook, though, made her into a math hater. I'm now trying to figure out how to make higher-level math into something more exploratory and related to the real world.

 

Anyway, cutting free of textbooks and ready-made programs can be done even in math. As Corraleno said, there's a huge difference between dropping math itself and dropping a commercial math program/curriculum.

 

Another thing I noticed was that during periods when we briefly put math on "low" or didn't work conventional problems much, my daughter would actually make huge comprehension and ability LEAPS. This seems completely crazy, but I think what happened was that she had time to mentally absorb and process, fully and on her own terms, what he had been doing in the past several months. You might find similar things occurring as your kids decompress.

 

Not being a mathy person myself, I would never have dreamed of taking this route, but I am sincerely awed and impressed by what you did with your daughter.

 

The reading sounds great. HAve you looked at WEM? Or WTM? Both books (with WEM being more indepth) have good discussion questions after reading. I think the idea of reading is great, but especially for older kids, they also need to process the information through writing, discussion ,art, etc. There are also free study guides (or fairly cheap) on PinkMinkey.com, sparknotes, cliffnotes. You could have them choose one or two essay questions from each book to answer.

 

I'm going to go grab my copy of WTM and review it. I've read it several times, but it's all a fog now. Thanks for the suggestions of using the free study guide essay questions - very helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hmmmm

I just can't get on the one -way thinking boat that says it's bad to not know everything when you're 18.

?So what? that one doesn't know everything the day they become a college freshman. *So what *? If one is eager and interested, but needs a couple of extra classes to explore, take them.

Those who know-- and they would have skipped the simple classes because of their AP classes or SAT scores- can take the higher level classes. Those who need more can get more. That's school. That's learning. That's life.

 

Many people have bright kids who are not traidtional learners. These non -traditional learners aren't 'limited', they simply have a different path. There is no one way to learn or live a life. It's not a race.

Plus, what the heck does anyone do with an undergrad degree in science?


 

I heard this before and wish I could believe this - but I am skeptical. I am a college instructor. Every semester I find that some students, even those who are majoring in science or engineering and definitely know that they NEED their math, suffer from the gaps that have originated from poor foundation in school over the years and are often unable to close those gaps. (They fail introductory courses because they are lacking basic algebra skills that should have been cemented and honed over several years- not because they are missing some obscure calculus or advanced science training)
So I find it hard to imagine the 17 y/o who, faced with college, suddenly successfully masters several years of higher math and develops actual proficiency.

I realize that everybody has different educational goals for their kids. For our family, education is about keeping doors open. I'd hate for my kids to finish highschool with limited choices on what to do with their lives.

Edited by LibraryLover
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be a lot of work to do well. Unschooling requires much more "in the moment" attention and thought than homeschooling that is planned out. Honestly, you seem like a more structured person than that to me from your posts (in general) . Maybe it would be a good break for a few months, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny that I was thinking the same thing the other day. I thought, "I bet if the boys read or I read aloud every book currently on my shelves -- in no particular order -- my boys would exceed my expectations."

 

I'm not talking about skills like writing or math -- just information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey I wanted to post one more time to this thread to tell you about a book called:

 

"the unschooling handbook, How to Use the whole World As Your Child's Classroom" by Mary Griffith.

 

It's got chapters on:

 

What is Unschooling and How Can It Possibly Work

Resources: Finding What You Need

TV or not TV (and Other Questions of Technology)

How Can You Tell They're Learning?

Reading and Writing

Math and Problem Solving

Science

History

The Arts

Changes As Kids Grow Older

Practical Considerations

Coping With Doubts and Challenges

 

I think you'll find it full of good information! Since "Math" is one of the topics of concern, here are a couple of quotations from the math chapter of the book:

 

"The more determinedly "un" unschooling families favor an approach to math that emphasizes conceptual understanding over simple rote memorization and manipulation of formulas. We make that choice on the assumption that our children will learn basic math facts and computation skills through their everyday activities. This often means that they learn those basic arithmetic operations at later ages than traditionally occurs in schools, but it also means that when they do, they learn more quickly and easily. Because they not only see the real-world applications, but participate in them directly, math skills are not abstract and arbitrary lessons but real, working tools."

 

"Based on our math experience in school, most of us tend to think of learning mathematics as a rigidly sequential, progressive process. We assume that we cannot learn any "higher" mathematics- whatever that may be- until we have mastered all of the "basics." Most of us get so bogged down in those basics somewhere in junior high or high school that we never get beyond the purely computational. But mathematics is so much more: pattern recognition, sorting, measurement, logic, problem-solving, probability, statistics, topology, and much more. If we let ourselves begin to look at it all, it's hard to avoid seeing math everywhere. And almost anything we do involves math in one way or another."

 

"The big advantage to such a laid-back approach to math is that you can back off on pushing those basic skills and let your kids get comfortable and familiar with all the quietly math-related material all around them. Especially with kids who've had bad experiences with math in school, it usually pays to let them come to math on their own instead of dragging them, kicking and screaming all the way."

 

It talks about how games of all kinds are a great way for kids to become comfortable with numbers, it talks about various manipulatives, and includes a bunch of excerpts of unschooling parents talking about their own personal experiences.

 

And each chapter provides a list of more resources.

 

I'd definitely recommend it to you, to help get some perspective on this year of more of an "unschool" education. While I never went the whole unschool route as of yet myself, I did gain valuable perspective and insight and a more relaxed approach to homeschooling in general by reading books like these, and carefully chose the curriculum I DID select to be one that is as hands-on and creative as possible rather than very dry and textbookish.

 

Anyway! I'd LOVE to hear about how your year goes! You should blog about it!! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love it! The teacher in me would have to have some kind of set math stuff happening....but I think you have inspired me to step back from the super structure I have planned to start on Monday and rethink! I may use Fridays as our catch up and do nothing but read aloud day!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...