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Those of you who identify as "classical unschoolers"...


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Well....uh, I suppose that would be us.

i would love to be 100% classical.....but my dc are bent otherwise. My eldest who is 7.5 just learned how to read, and I cant take any credit for it. We worked for years on phonics and did lessons and all that happened was both of us cried. Finally I dropped everything, and let him take the lead, and BAM he began reading...everything.

 

I am friends with several unschoolers, and if we were to discuss semantics, i would be considered to eclectic because I dont let the kids totally take the lead in everything.

 

To bring the classical into our hs'ing I choose great literature, the kids love history so I take full advantage of that, we seem to drive a lot, and we listen to things on cd...we did all of SOTW that way. But, on the outside our academics are not that rigorous...my dc tend to choose the direction we go in. But, my 5yo is reading on a 2nd grade level, my 4yo is beginning to read, and my 7.5 yo is finally reading. :001_huh: the dc love to do math, and we are using MUS, I was laughing one day because we did a lesson, i left the room to do something, came back , and they had taken themselves ahead several lessons and were doing it together.

 

I do have a hard time being on the unschooly spectrum of things....but then again i think of how dh and I learn best, and how many people we know who are extremely successful that barely made it through high school.

For me, school was just something to get through to get on with life. I remember in 3rd grade being completely engrossed in the Iliad. i was reading it in class after having taken a test, and the teacher yelled at me for not having my head on the desk. That book spawned my interest in Greek History, and then Roman History, and then I moved onto the Celts...and it just kept going.

 

So clearly, we aren't purely classical and we aren't pure unschoolers, which is why i have a problem labeling how we do things.

 

*please excuse any typos...Im using a new laptop and still getting used to it.

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i did not answer how I define unschooling.....after having 5 million of these conversations with US'ers, I have to say that it is essentially facilitating your child in their interests and letting them take the reins, so to speak.

 

One women I know, her dd had no interest in math till she was 12. Then one day she asked her mom to teach her, by age 14 she was working in college texts.

 

 

After meeting these teenagers, and a few adults that had been US'd, I have noticed that they always come to a point where they see a need to being proficient in math, reading..etc. The rest I have concluded just comes through living life...kids have an interest in the natural world...they want to know the how and why, history...when it is interesting and not made dry and boring seems to catch a child's interest as well.

 

I remember when I was child poring through our encyclopedias for hours, memorizing the latin names for north american mammals, doing science experiments in the kitchen, re-enacting historical periods, dissecting any fish that died, and i could go on and on. Ask me what I learned in school, and the only thing I can tell you I remember well was when we were learning about the Pioneers and there were recipes to make candles and soap. The rest is all a blur of feeling restless and that I was missing out.

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I think that's us as well. I don't want to define unschooling for other unschoolers, so I will just say that for us, it's more about trust. I trust the children are interested in being well -educated (and don't ask on an unschooling board what that means hee hee) and I offer information and experiences to that end. (And like any parent, I also support those ideas and experiences the children come to on their own). SWB had me years ago when she wrote about filling small childrens' heads with stories. That's what I was already doing and it was wonderful.

 

Practically, that means I don't 'require' copywork (although my children do lots of it) or anything else...the children can make decisions about whether they want to do something or not. My youngest has never been to school, and it's remarkable to me what she will take on; she doesn't think in terms of whether something is 'hard 'or 'boring'. She simply dives in and moves forward. She doesn't know history is something so many children and adults dread. My teen is similar. She knows that there are no negative ramifications if she decides to take a year reading about one area of history, or if she chooses to spend all of her time for awhile playing her guitar or working on her art. It's a journey, not a race for her. I also find that when the children are 'in control' of what they are reading/doing, it becomes a part of them. I can provide experiences and books etc., but if there is no interest, the retention is not going to be there. What comes from inside is what becomes meaningful.

 

What that has resulted in for us is children who do read and memorize poems for the joy of it, are eager to read pretty much anything, who aren't afraid to challenge themselves, are self movtivated, and ask lots of questions. Pretty much the same outcome, I would think, as people who do things more formally. :001_smile:

 

I hope that I have been able to offer info in a way that makes sense. I appreciate what others are doing, and I learn a lot. I am often not unschooly enough for pure unschooling lists, and too radical unschool-y for more formal lists like this. It's a conundrum and I understand why people would ask the question. I also understand when unschoolers ask me how I can read posts about people who use formal curric.

 

My answer is that I like the journey. I like reading about all of what is out there. I see that kids can thrive in a variety of loving situatuions and educational styles.

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but its taken some thought to figure out it's not us.

 

I love TWTM and the thoughts behind a modern classical education. For misc. reasons though I am not able to implement some elements that make an education classical. At present time we do not study Latin or Greek (or any language beyond English) which is the biggest reason I don't consider us classical.

 

My plan for next year is to have a history based school. Our art, science, music, literature, and LA will be based on our ancient history study.

 

Now where the "unschooling" for me comes into play is I will not be using formal history, science, grammar, spelling, or vocabulary texts. I am trusting in copywork/dictation and discussion to teach the concepts I have in mind. My dd wanted a grammar workbook (Daily Language Review) to use "for fun before bed." The children will be required to write/notebook but I will leave it up to them how they document what they are learning. If Child A wants to do a learning poster, fine. If Child B wants to write a play, that's fine too. The schooling part is I will make them do something. The unschooling part is each may choose what works best for himself. If a child cannot think of a way to notebook I will assign a narration/report based on ability.

 

In the scheme of things we are Charlotte Masoners who implement unit studies to best use the stages of trivium. :001_huh:

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Forgive the serial posting! I want to add that I cannot imagine my life without the amazing collection of what SWB & WTM has put together. The bibliogrpahies alone are worth their weight in gold, and given how encompassing the bibs are, that's a heap o' gold! :)

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The first home educators I met were unschoolers, and I spent a couple years with their group, going to unschooling conventions (is that an oxymoron?), and letting my daughter follow her natural bent. Of course, she was just 2 years old at the time. ;)

 

After I read The Charlotte Mason Companion and TWTM, I found my true calling, but shades of unschooling still color our days. From my unschooling days I know that...

 

 

...there will be days (weeks?) when we all would do better by setting aside the texts and heading out to explore the zoo or nature park or just burying our noses in various good books

 

...I must retain the freedom to deviate from schedules, even ones we have made, in order to follow our fancies or rabbits trails - knowing that ages and stages must be flexible

 

...all children are not ready to read at 7, and that the logic stage does not necessarily start in 5th grade

 

...acceptance to a top-tier university is not the only goal or worthwhile path

 

...I am a facilitator as well as a teacher. Sometimes I will lead, but other times I ought to get out of their way.

 

Like most folks, we do not purely follow one ideology, but take what we need from each of them.:)

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We use formal grammar, math and Latin programs which we do everyday. We use more of an unschooling approach to history (although in chronological order) and science. Music and art are integrated into our everyday lives. We make us of many alternative learning venues - zoos, museums, videos, computer programs and such.

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I define our homeschooling project as "neo-classical unschooing" which means that we follow the WTM trivium model with a firm base in history. (I've probably flubbed that definition already, but...there you have it.) True classical education, I believe, focuses on a smaller range of subjects, is less history based, and more intensive on Latin and Greek. (Climbing Parnassus fans can jump in and correct me here anytime. I probably flubbed that one too.)

 

As far as defining "unschooling", for me it means that not every minute of our day needs to be purely academic. It means that we don't have to do every subject every day. And that I can take a week off when we need it. That I recognize how little my girls are, and that at this young age, they need a lot more outside active play than they'd get in public school, or if I kept them working at the table for hours on end. As they get older, they'll spend more time at the books and less time running around screaming and laughing. But they'll also develop serious outside interests (probably in art and music, from what I can see of them right now) and all that running around outside time will be replaced by playing instruments, scrounging money for concert tickets, or lingering in galleries or something.

 

Unschooling, for me, means letting them be kids. And to a certain extent, it does also mean that I'll let them have a say in what subjects we learn. But at this age, only a little say. For example, I chose for them the following subjects: math, phonics, grammar, spelling, reading, history, science, and art. Those subjects are pretty much non-negotiable. But we don't do each piece of language arts every single day. And when my 7yo asked to slow down on the math, I agreed.

 

And when she told me she wanted to take Spanish, I explained to her that I'd prefer it if we waited a few years on that, because I wanted her to start Latin first. She nodded at me and then a few months later, she came back and asked to start Latin early so that she wouldn't have to wait long for other languages. Now she wants French and Spanish as well as Latin...(ugh). So now I'm looking into starting Latin a year earlier for her, and how that will impact her younger sister, etc etc etc. Because now I recognize that it's important to her. She didn't forget about it after a few weeks, and she still wants languages, so it's my job to accomodate her if possible.

 

And that's unschooling for me. The communication. The extra mile. The search for a mild Latin program. The day off to mess around down by the creek. Or over at the lake. Because the less I press the rigorous classical academics on them, the more they enjoy the rigorous academics.

 

HTH.

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I have a friend who does Montessori at home - but it veers more into unschooling. The main thing is that it is totally child-led. If one of her children decides not to do math - even for a month or more, they don't do math. She sees her job as that of an enticer - to put out interesting books and activities that will entice her children into a well-rounded education. She entices her children into history with the SOTW books and living books that branch off from that. She wants to start Latin but has not done so yet.

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can you explain to me how you define "unschooling"

 

I define it as education that is (somewhat purposefully) structured in a way that differs from 'traditional', institutional school.

 

My definition of 'classical' is the one that points to perpetration of methods and materials that have stood the test of time. (Study of ancient languages, reading of 'old, long-haired' books, old-fashioned math and grammar focus).

 

It's not hard to make the two intersect...if you're subscribing to particular definitions :D

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It's not hard to make the two intersect...if you're subscribing to particular definitions :D

 

That's what I'm seeing. The definitions people use are key, which is why I asked about them specifically. When I think of unschooling, I don't just think of a flexible schedule, lots of free time, or a lack of workbooks. I think specifically of:

 

* subject matter directed by the child's interests alone

* "non-coercive" - not requiring a child to learn any particular subject

* the belief that there is no specific body of knowledge to be mastered to be "educated"

* the parent as facilitator

 

All of those points are mentioned in this definition, based on the ideas of John Holt, who coined the term.

 

Given the individualistic and pragmatic nature of unschoolers - and homeschoolers generally - there are undoubtedly plenty of people who call themselves unschoolers and do not agree, in whole or in part, with John Holt. ;) Likewise, I'm seeing that the definitions of classical, implicit or explicit, are loose enough to allow for some overlap.

 

Thanks, folks! This helps me to see what's going on with this pairing of philosophies.

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I've always been a bit confused about this too, but I realize now that I see classical homeschooling through a strict "Trivium" viewpoint ala Dorthy Sayers.

 

The classical unschooling folks are seeing it more in some aspects of content advocated by classical educators.

 

:001_smile:

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* subject matter directed by the child's interests alone

* "non-coercive" - not requiring a child to learn any particular subject

* the belief that there is no specific body of knowledge to be mastered to be "educated"

* the parent as facilitator

 

 

That used to describe us for the most part. I 'classically educated' myself, and the kids just wanted to be on board. (hee hee, it worked too!) They saw me read Sotw, and wanted to know all about what I found so captivating.

There's a difference between 'coercion' and 'tricking' :lol:

We never did history, or Latin, or math, or French (first language) if the kids didn't feel like it.

 

This year, for some reason that I haven't identified yet, we went back to a schooling method. My son lost his interest in Greek and Latin. But my daughter made great progress in French and math. Go figure.

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