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Considering a more unschooling type approach with 10yo unmotivated learner...


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I am wondering if anyone out there has decided to use a more unschooling type approach with a child who is not intrinsically motivated to learn and if it has helped them find their inner drive. I currently use a more unschooling approach (I keep lots of options available and let her decide which ones we use on any given day so not a radical unschooler by any means) with my 5yo who is a very highly motivated learner and it is working out beautifully but am a little hesitant to try it with the older one.


I have been using the WTM approach with my older boys 10yo and 12yo. I use Saxon math and follow the rotations for history and science. We do a lot of hands on learning as well. My 10yo is just not a self motivated kid and I am wondering if switching to a more unschooling approach...giving him more input into what he learns would help or whether it would just make matters worse and he wouldn't learn anything.


I am thinking about trying it for the summer since we school year-round. He is an accelerated learner but it is basically because I spend most of my time encouraging him and being frustrated with him. Any suggestions?

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I am wondering if anyone out there has decided to use a more unschooling type approach with a child who is not intrinsically motivated to learn and if it has helped them find their inner drive.


We let my partner's 10yo loose this past year for the same reason.


At first he liked it.


Six months in he began to get worried that he was never going to learn anything, so he asked for assignments. I set up a weekly assignment checklist.


Three months after that he'd done hardly anything, just the one worktext he really liked.


We established logical consequences for not doing his work -- no screen time until it's done -- but he still wasn't getting it done. He was reading and drawing all the time, but not good stuff, just Piers Anthony's Xanth series.


After a few weeks with no screen time, he asked to go back to public school.


If he was enrolled, he'd go to the middle school. Since middle school is one of the rings of h*ll (he does not know this, but his father and I remember), we decided to make an executive decision that he was going back to parent-led daily work at the dining room table.


And you know what? He's delighted with this.


The whole experience was very positive for us. He gained the major benefit of unschooling -- feeling trusted by one's parents with big decisions, and therefore empowered and enabled -- and he learned to appreciate what I do for him, be humble, and ask for help.


It was amazing the change in personality that he went through. He's much more mature, helpful, considerate and 100% cooperative.


So, temporary unschooling worked for our unmotivated child.

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I don't think I would unschool a child who is not internally motivated. I have a 10 yo like that and I can guarantee that he would play video games 12 hours a day if I let him. In fact, he does - at his mother's house 2 days a week.


I would however give him choice within structure. History is not optional but he could choose the time period and some materials. Writing is not optional but he can choose the topic. Latin is not optional but he can pick a program. That's what I am doing here.


I actually wrote up a survey for him to fill out. It gave me some ideas about what he liked and didn't like about subjects.


This worked well for Taz as well over the past 7 years. There were core subjects, but within these subjects he could pick what & how he learned. By 8th grade, he gave me outlines & I fleshed them out. We came to agreements on some subjects such as American History or biology.

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I have an unmotivated just turned 9 year old.I call him my challenge. I just started using Bigger Hearts for His Glory with him(Heart of Dakota). He still doesn't like to work but this he tolerates because it is short and sweet. I am also thinking of letting him do Teaching Textbook 6 for math. I won't unschool him because that goes against everything I believe him but with this (which I intend to continue with), I know he is still getting an education.


Elmeryl(with J12, C9, R7, L7)

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personal experience. I could never go completely unschooling with him but I like the idea of giving him choices within certain guidelines. I will try following his lead for the summer months and see how it goes.


I will check out the website as well and see if I can implement some of those suggestions as well.

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