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My recent epiphany about unschooling


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How does unschooling in high school work? I just can't imagine being able to prepare for college that way. My ds is preparing for the SAT2 Bio test now, and it is definitely not something he would do on his own, but I feel it is important for him to reach his end goal. I don't know many teenage boys, especially, that would willingly spend their time studying for all the test and essays required for good college prep, particularly to get high enough scores for scholarships. Is college just not an issue for unschoolers?

 

I've known unschoolers that went to college, they just didn't follow the path we're walking to get there.

 

I think threads like this are bound to fail. People here seem to keep looking for their values and goals when examining unschooling never realizing how different the approach really is. The whole reason most of us are on this board is because we don't share the values and goals of many unschoolers. That's not meant to imply anything bad about either party, we just have different aims.

 

Spending page after page being shocked about how they don't approach homeschooling like we do seems a bit defeating because of course, that's the whole point. That's why they do what they do and we don't do what they do. Sort of the same thing as with the shoes on/off-in-the-house-threads. I learned a lot in my days as a radical unschooler and wouldn't change it. I do homeschooling the way I o it now not because it's inherrently superior to unschooling but because for us, right now, it's what works well.

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Someone mentioned the importance of defining unschooling, and I agree. There seems to be different flavors of it, at any rate (defined or not). I've always wondered, if someone calls themselves an unschooler, are they an unschooler? Some of what I've seen called "unschooling" doesn't match up.

 

I've seen middle of the road unschoolers:

They follow the child's lead, but the relationship is more of a partnership. You like drama and want to be in a play? Ok, let's go be in a play. You like legos? Ok, let's build with legos. Meanwhile, mom also keeps the home active with audiobooks & picture books & interesting movies & field trips (esp for those non-reading 12yos, lol). I've seen these kids not do a stitch of formal math (maybe some grocery store, or conversational math), and place in Algebra in college. I've also seen public schooled kids excelling in high school math place in Algebra in college. And yes, I've seenn many of these kids go to college - AND OFTEN START EARLY (age 16ish).

 

I've seen strict, discipline (character) based unschooling:

This would be the Pearls camp (I mentioned this in the other post on unschooling). They start "training" their children at age 6mths (and yes, a form of spanking) and expect very respectful hardworking children that pitch in and do their share. They're focused on character training, not book learning (although the children will eventually read, and read good moral books in their spare time). The focus is also on life skills: run the farm, manage the household, cook, clean, apprentiseship/entrepreneurish. School is evil, college is an extension of that (and usually not desireable, except maybe in some circumstances). My dh says this is not unschooling, because it is very structured and very disciplined. But again, define unschooling!

 

And then there is radical unschooling/unparenting:

and I believe this is what we are talking about. My dh would say that this is the real definition of unschooling, but I personally do not think unschooling started out this way. I haven't read John Holt so I can't attest to that...But people have a tendency to go toward the extreme:)

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I've known unschoolers that went to college, they just didn't follow the path we're walking to get there.

 

I think threads like this are bound to fail. People here seem to keep looking for their values and goals when examining unschooling never realizing how different the approach really is. The whole reason most of us are on this board is because we don't share the values and goals of many unschoolers. That's not meant to imply anything bad about either party, we just have different aims.

 

Spending page after page being shocked about how they don't approach homeschooling like we do seems a bit defeating because of course, that's the whole point. That's why they do what they do and we don't do what they do. Sort of the same thing as with the shoes on/off-in-the-house-threads. I learned a lot in my days as a radical unschooler and wouldn't change it. I do homeschooling the way I o it now not because it's inherrently superior to unschooling but because for us, right now, it's what works well.

 

Good assessment. Excellent points.

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I believe she meant the DD was asking for help in person, in the homeschool group.

 

I have known unschooled children who did this - asking other kids' parents to teach them some of the 3Rs at social gatherings. In this case their mother would make a big show of saying "you can learn that if you want to" but not help her 8 yo DD even when asked. I get that different people have different personal definitions of unschooling, but to not help your own kid with something academic even when they have asked for help because you think they can learn it on their own if they are motivated enough is sad and neglectful.

I've seen this too...even begging their father to teach them to read each evening b/c their unschooling mom wouldn't.

 

To be fair, my dc have asked my friends (also classical educators) to please convince their mom to drop summer reading or Latin. Kids are gonna want something different a lot of the time. This isn't exclusive to unschooling.

 

I'm sure glad I can pull the best of whatever world I want, and decide our very.own.best. Let's all hope that liberty is never removed and pray for those dc who may not have the future they think in gaming!

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One of my good friends is unschooling her children. They're pretty loose and free with their time, but the girls really are engaged in meaningful activities most of the day (of course, they're also quite young still- both are in early elementary.) Anyhow, she recently told me that she's decided next year to add in a couple of requirements for her daughters. The older will benefit from more structured math and the youngest is going to need to be taught phonics. She also wants to add in Latin at some point in the near future. We had a good laugh when I told her that the radical unschoolers were going to be revoking her membership to the unschooling club. Then again, she already requires her children to do chores and they have very limited access to television plus fairly strict limitations on their computer usage so they probably never would have really claimed her as one of their own. :D

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I am usually a live and let live kind of person, but really, to say that mastering World of Warcraft is as valuable as learning Latin in developing one's mind is hogwash.

 

I point to a recent post on the Radical Unschoolers Forum as evidence.

 

 

Copied from the above post: Part of this is providing for his daily needs. I bring him food throughout the day, I keep easy-to-make things available for him at night (when we're asleep and he's not). When I bring him food I cut it up so it's finger food or easily eaten with a fork. Throughout the day I'll pop in and remove dishes for him, or ask him to bring them to the kitchen when he gets a second.

 

Oh. My. Goodness.

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Part of this is providing for his daily needs. I bring him food throughout the day, I keep easy-to-make things available for him at night (when we're asleep and he's not). When I bring him food I cut it up so it's finger food or easily eaten with a fork. Throughout the day I'll pop in and remove dishes for him, or ask him to bring them to the kitchen when he gets a second.
To me this sounds like enabling behavior to the extreme. But I fully admit I don't understand radical unschooling at all.
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How did her dd read the messages on the board? And how did she respond? Was her spelling and grammar incorrect? Just curious..

 

I never said her daughter was on the board. Her daughter asked in person for others to teach her to read. The message board was for the adults.

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I don't understand an unschoolers not helping their child (say, with learning to read), from the unschoolers' own perspective. Isn't a core belief "following the child's lead?" (This seems to me to be a core part of unschooling no matter which particular definition you follow). And isn't not helping when asked to help by your child NOT following this lead???

 

And I can say from personal experience that some children do not learn "social norms" (don't run on conference tables, don't tease other kids, don't damage others' property) from "the world", or at least, not easily. My eldest would probably be labelled Aspie, and he simply does not pick up on social cues. With a bit of guidance and at times blunt explicit instruction / explanation ("when you do X, many people feel Y, and people generally don't like feeling Y"), he's learning to negotiate the world. I personally see what I am doing as being within the unschooling framework--I am following his lead; he simply needs explicit instruction on this, just like some kids need explicit instruction to learn to read, whereas some just pick it up "naturally". But I don't call ourselves unschoolers due to the negative association with radical unschoolers. "Eclectic" is a lot less loaded a term. And it better reflects my own personal philosophy of doing "whatever works" educationally, rather than being so wed to a particular educational / parenting philosophy that I am unable to see (or even question) whether or not it is working for us.

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I've known unschoolers that went to college, they just didn't follow the path we're walking to get there.

 

I think threads like this are bound to fail. People here seem to keep looking for their values and goals when examining unschooling never realizing how different the approach really is. The whole reason most of us are on this board is because we don't share the values and goals of many unschoolers. That's not meant to imply anything bad about either party, we just have different aims.

 

Spending page after page being shocked about how they don't approach homeschooling like we do seems a bit defeating because of course, that's the whole point. That's why they do what they do and we don't do what they do. Sort of the same thing as with the shoes on/off-in-the-house-threads. I learned a lot in my days as a radical unschooler and wouldn't change it. I do homeschooling the way I o it now not because it's inherrently superior to unschooling but because for us, right now, it's what works well.

 

But will likely go un-noticed. Much more fun to be shocked. ;):001_smile:

It was noticed. I agree that these threads rarely get beyond the shock and awe b/c we All hold our values dear. Tell me I can't my kids about Jesus Christ and it's on! Same applies for us and home schooling. It's a lifestyle that goes well beyond books, mortar, and styles of education. I get their passion b/c I have passion, too.

 

It isn't fun to be shocked, although this thread is no more shocking than the the sun rising this morning in the Sunshine State or a thread on RU that will call the Forums a cult. For anyone whose homeschooled more than 3 years, this is a repeat discussion. Kinda why I have been grinning with each post. It's all predictable.

 

The point is, in the case the OP mentioned and in the latter linked post about the food-cutting momma w/ the gaming son, we're all wondering...does it work well? It, in these cases being true radical unschoolers. You said you switched to your eclectic mix b/c it works for your family. Does encouraging nothing and allowing everything really work? In all my open-mindedness, in all my experience as an educator and parent, in all my life's journey as a mentor to adults and children I have never seen absolute freedom for a child work at all. I have also never seen absolute control over a child work towards a best outcome.

 

Balance...always about balance. I'm all for child-led education...ALL for it! I just don't think all things "unschooling" are child led. I do find some forms neglectful and I do feel for the kids. I hope that what "works" for these kids now will have been enough so whatever they choose in the future "works" then, too!

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I've seen this too...even begging their father to teach them to read each evening b/c their unschooling mom wouldn't.

 

To be fair, my dc have asked my friends (also classical educators) to please convince their mom to drop summer reading or Latin. Kids are gonna want something different a lot of the time. This isn't exclusive to unschooling.

 

I'm sure glad I can pull the best of whatever world I want, and decide our very.own.best. Let's all hope that liberty is never removed and pray for those dc who may not have the future they think in gaming!

 

I think the key here is that the unschool mom isnt insulted or made to feel inadequate by her kid asking others to help her- it confirms their belief that if their kid wants something they'll figure out how to get it.

 

 

I do hate the MOM BLAME that always comes with all this.

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I think threads like this are bound to fail. People here seem to keep looking for their values and goals when examining unschooling never realizing how different the approach really is. The whole reason most of us are on this board is because we don't share the values and goals of many unschoolers. That's not meant to imply anything bad about either party, we just have different aims.

 

I see what you're saying, and I agree that it's not really fair to ask how (radical) unschoolers think their kids will be prepared for college if that's actually not a goal of the (radical) unschoolers. Comparing the academics is an apples to oranges thing.

 

I think the bigger shock comes from the parenting side of it - the idea that parents cannot impose limits on their child in any way. The idea that children thrive if grown like wildflowers with no guidance is simply NOT true and these kids are no better off than schooled kids with disengaged parents. The thought that you are a bad parent if you don't encourage your child to "follow his passion" even if it is clearly unhealthy is frightening. When else have we heart that a parent is pressured to ignore her child's health and trust that "the process" will work? It sounds like that terrible case where a mom was convinced by her guru to not feed her son until he was repentant, and he starved (much to the mother's shock). It's also similar to the faith healing trials going on with the Followers of Christ.

 

It's a pretty universal value in our country, indeed across the world, to prepare your child for "success." And although the definition of success will vary, I don't think ANY child is prepared for any kind of success when he grows up in a home where the parents bring him finger foods so he can play video games 16 hours a day, and everything is optional (housework, academics, helping your own mom put away groceries!). The real world does not work that way and those kids are being handicapped.

 

The many examples of (radical) unschoolers not teaching their children respect for other people and property is a telling sign that just because the radicals say their kids are thriving does not actually mean that they are. The parents have a ton invested in their philosophy and are hardly objective, especially if they identify so strongly as part of the unschooling movement. To admit that "the process" failed would mean the parent would lose their whole identity.

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Sandra Dodd

 

is a nut in my opinion. I've had the misfortune to have several message board and email exchanges with her, and I really find her to be extremely rigid and inflexible and completely living in some other space/time continuum and universe. At one point, when my kids were young, I was interested in unschooling. Many things changed my mind, but I have to say that Sandra Dodd was one of the biggest things. My son used to cry a lot when he had his nebulizer treatments. Her solution to the problem was to stop giving them until he was old enough to agree and consent (and if he decided he didn't agree and didn't consent, well, it's his life and his choice). :blink: Yes, a two year old got to decide whether he lived or died. :blink: :blink:

 

Tara

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How does unschooling in high school work? I just can't imagine being able to prepare for college that way. My ds is preparing for the SAT2 Bio test now, and it is definitely not something he would do on his own, but I feel it is important for him to reach his end goal. I don't know many teenage boys, especially, that would willingly spend their time studying for all the test and essays required for good college prep, particularly to get high enough scores for scholarships. Is college just not an issue for unschoolers?

 

I'm not so sure that every homeschooler's end all (unschoolers or not) is college. I know mine isn't. These days it's not all about your college education. In fact, I have plenty of friends with nice expensive law degrees that aren't even able to practice...eek! Imagine those bills!

 

I had similar experiences in groups with a lot of members who embraced and professed unschooling as the best, most evolved way to "be with your children". The kids ran wild and the parents did not believe in "coercing" them...even threats, namecalling and hitting were acceptable ways for the kids to "express themselves". I saw completely out of control and inappropriate behavior (ie, running across the top of the conference table in a rented meeting room) laughed at instead of stopped. I saw children encouraged to "defy gravity" by jumping on a sofa in a public nature center; I saw preschool-aged children running NUDE on the lawn of the same facility.

 

These were hard-core RU people who have bought into completely "consensual, non-coercive" parenting. The people who go around wearing the shirts about how "highly evolved" unschooling is. I know that there are many unschoolers who do not take it to this level...they quietly unschool at home, enjoying their own path but not criticizing people who make different choices, and still do parenting things regarding their kids' behavior. I would not choose unschooling but I have no problem with the milder unschooling crowd. But I have seen the dark side of the radical, hard core version of it and I found it very disturbing.

 

See, I think we've veered back onto un-PARENTING. There's a HUGE difference. Seriously. Just because you unschool (I do not) does not mean you have to un-parent.

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I was in a homeschool group and on a message board with self-proclaimed unschooling guru Sandra Dodd. I was unimpressed by her AND her dd, I never met the boys. The dd was begging other parents to teach her to read (at 11 years old!) because her mother didn't have time. Most of the other unschoolers in the group provided no learning for their kids. The kids spent the days in front of tv and computers or in comic book stores. Alot of them were very ill-behaved on field trips and even got homeschoolers banned from popular field trip venues.

 

 

Isn't this the problem with anyone we see on the net, or read about only in books? I have had the experience a couple of times, of being impressed with what someone says, and then seeing the actions and results in person, completely changing my opinion.

 

I have to remember that even here, when I get advice on classical ed. Things are not always as they are portrayed to be.

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Isn't this the problem with anyone we see on the net, or read about only in books? I have had the experience a couple of times, of being impressed with what someone says, and then seeing the actions and results in person, completely changing my opinion.

 

I have to remember that even here, when I get advice on classical ed. Things are not always as they are portrayed to be.

 

I met her before I ever read anything she wrote or knew that she was the leader of such a radical group. It was after personal experience that I read her writings and realized she didn't "walk the walk". I found her to be extremely rigid and judgmental, but I was told that she wasn't always that way. And as far as her views on college, she told me that if her kids wanted to go to college they could search out what they needed to do to attain that goal. IMO, preparation begins at a younger age than the child is capable of making that decision.

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See, I think we've veered back onto un-PARENTING. There's a HUGE difference. Seriously. Just because you unschool (I do not) does not mean you have to un-parent.

 

ITA, it is unparenting. But in this specific case, the mother in question says that her unschooling (and non-coercive, consensual philosophy) is the reason her kids are allowed to "express themselves" with threats, insults and violence, and why it's okay for kids in a homeschool group meeting in a public place to run across tables, jump on sofas, and run nude on public lawns. I don't call that unschooling, and I am sure there are many unschoolers who would never go to those extremes of unparenting. But these particular parents choose to say "this is unschooling". They also speak and think as if anyone who doesn't "embrace" this extreme definition isn't "really" unschooling.

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I believe she meant the DD was asking for help in person, in the homeschool group.

 

I have known unschooled children who did this - asking other kids' parents to teach them some of the 3Rs at social gatherings. In this case their mother would make a big show of saying "you can learn that if you want to" but not help her 8 yo DD even when asked. I get that different people have different personal definitions of unschooling, but to not help your own kid with something academic even when they have asked for help because you think they can learn it on their own if they are motivated enough is sad and neglectful.

 

This reminds me of something I posted on an unschooling list shortly before we stopped unschooling.

 

My six year old wasn't specifically asking to learn how to read, but she seemed very interested: she would "pretend" to read, and memorize books and "read" them.

 

It seemed like she wanted to know how to read, so I asked how to do this in an unschool-y way. I was thinking maybe they would suggest some games or activities outside with chalk or something.

 

I was told (exact quote): "Leave her alone. She's fine."

 

Joyce Fetterholl, a BigWig in the unschooling community, said that me "helping" her learn to read would be like me doing a crossword puzzle and someone coming along and telling me all the answers. She said that the fun was figuring it out yourself and not to take that away from her.

 

I was very surprised at that response, and I do not personally agree with that. To me it seems cruel to see someone struggling to do something, to know you could show them basic tools that would make it possible and easier, and yet deliberately those tools from them "because it's more fun for them to figure it out themselves."

 

Within about six months of that my family stopped unschooling.

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ITA, it is unparenting. But in this specific case, the mother in question says that her unschooling (and non-coercive, consensual philosophy) is the reason her kids are allowed to "express themselves" with threats, insults and violence, and why it's okay for kids in a homeschool group meeting in a public place to run across tables, jump on sofas, and run nude on public lawns. I don't call that unschooling, and I am sure there are many unschoolers who would never go to those extremes of unparenting. But these particular parents choose to say "this is unschooling". They also speak and think as if anyone who doesn't "embrace" this extreme definition isn't "really" unschooling.

 

What drives me nuts about these types is that they say that the kids will learn proper behavior from "natural consequences", but then whine, complain, make excuses and try to shield the child from those consequences when they arise - when they're kicked out of the coop, or when their friends don't want to see them anymore, or when another parent *shock* tells them that jumping on the furniture or dancing on the table or biting other children is not acceptable behavior- it's never the kid's fault, the other parents should let this be, and the parent never transmits the message of the natural consequence - that if they want to be accepted in society, it is not acceptable to act this way.

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I've found this thread really useful. I always thought we would unschool. It just seemed to fit what I wanted for my kids from what I had read about the approach.

 

In reality though I was put off by the people I met who claimed to be unschoolers. I have several friends who unschool who do fulfill their children academically because they immerse them in a rich and stimulating world and have a love of learning themselves. However a lot of people I have met who say they unschool seem to have non existent standards for behaviour and essentially seem to be opting out of doing all the hard stuff. I just got disheartened by all the cars that were jumped on (including mine), things that were damaged, flowers that were trampled and general bad behaviour, inconvenience and distress caused to others that got zero response from the children's parents. I just can't understand how children are meant to learn what is acceptable behaviour if no one ever says anything when they destroy something or upset some one. I also had an issue with seeing children who wanted more teaching & input from their parents but were still being ignored under the umbrella that they said they unschool.

 

There were a few other incidences like going to an event run by what turned out to be radical unschoolers and being treated like I was the problem for not letting my children run wild in an unsafe environment.

 

Yes the people I know who unschool successfully make me think it can work but I couldn't leave so many things to pure chance that they learn them.

 

I think we've ended up child led, picking and choosing what works best for us which happens to look pretty academic and pre planned.

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I've been following this thread and have read every response. The one thing I haven't seen mention yet is "boundaries". It seems like the RU (through this thread's definition) allow their children to do as they please with no regards to their parents feelings. The RU will say that children will learn on their own that hitting, yelling, biting, etc are not ok through their interactions with other people. Well, last time I checked mothers and fathers are people ;)

 

My point being: All people, including parents, need to set personal boundaries. No matter how you parent ie: non coercive or authoritative, it's still NOT ok to treat anyone poorly in the name of "unschooling".

 

We tend to lean towards the non punitive, gentle discipline, love based approach of parenting (although dd12 just got her internet taken away yesterday for ignoring my request for her to do her chores...so we're not 100% any particular method). I'm pretty open minded about unschooling and have seen it work beautifully for some people.....It's my fairy tale idea of homeschooling but it's not something I can do to an extreme. Anyway....hope all of that makes some sense and gives some perspective of where I'm coming from in my opinion :)

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What drives me nuts about these types is that they say that the kids will learn proper behavior from "natural consequences", but then whine, complain, make excuses and try to shield the child from those consequences when they arise - when they're kicked out of the coop, or when their friends don't want to see them anymore, or when another parent *shock* tells them that jumping on the furniture or dancing on the table or biting other children is not acceptable behavior- it's never the kid's fault, the other parents should let this be, and the parent never transmits the message of the natural consequence - that if they want to be accepted in society, it is not acceptable to act this way.

 

:iagree:

 

My comments here are contained only to "radical unschooling." To me it seems that radical, or whole-life, unschoolers tend to be very "me-centric." What I (or my kid) wants is the most important thing going, and woe to those who stand in our way. Any attempts on your part to point out that what we want or what we are doing is inconveniencing or upsetting others is either a) oppression or b) a failure to understand my lifestyle and therefore your problem. It's never, "Wow, maybe you are right that my kid's behavior is a problem to others and should be addressed." It's always somehow a failure on the part of those who don't want the radical unschooler's little angel to behave abominably.

 

I see a distinction between unSCHOOLing in the academic sense and radical unschooling, but many don't make this distinction.

 

Let me add that I know many lovely unschooling families, but I have (honestly) never met a radical unschooling family that I enjoyed spending time with.

 

Tara

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I'M not an unschooler, but the one person I know who is is NOTHING like this that you describe. She and her husband have a small farm and the kids are in a wholesome environment and constantly doing chores and building projects, and I hear them constantly incorporating learning as they do the projects, ("Ok. we have 4 2x4s on each saw horse set and there are 3 sets, so how many do we have painted and ready?", etc.) or I've heard her say, "Last time we hatched out 90% of the eggs in our incubator and we have 26 in here now, so how many chicks will hatch if we again get 90% hatched?). They certainly don't behave this way. Again, I'm no unschooler, but I think using this buffoon mom as representative may be unfair. I also met a mom of 10 at my local library who's an unschooler, and her kids are avid readers, and I must give credit where credits due...all her kids seemed very "educated", smart, and well adjusted. Its not for me, but Wii kid is likely not a good representative.

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I agree totally. I think that unschooly type conversations, like that one about france, can SPARK further learning. At least that is what they claim. But...to get more information you have to have the skills to find it. Skills like how to read well, how to remember things, how to find information. And then, if you want to share that information and most people do, you need skills in rhetoric. Those skills don't come without sustained effort.

 

I do kind of get unschooling IF you provide an appropriate environment - but to let them play video games all day is ridiculous. Unschooling supposedly mimics real life. Real life is not video games all day!

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I haven't jumped in to this thread because a) I try to avoid controversy and b) I don't know too much about unschooling, but it has made me think about the daughter of my best friend. S has been homeschooled since kinder and she's going to be a senior in high school this year. I would say she would be considered an "unschooling success story", although I wouldn't exactly say she's unschooled. Her mother, L doesn't unschool her, but by the time she was in high school S was determining her own course of study. Basically, all her mother did was approve of her choices. I've seen what she's decided for herself, and I must say that her high school education is much more rigorous than any she'd get in a regular school setting. But, she is extremely motivated and a total self-starter. And she's had a good foundation in the early years so that she can make good educational choices for herself.

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I am usually a live and let live kind of person, but really, to say that mastering World of Warcraft is as valuable as learning Latin in developing one's mind is hogwash.

 

I point to a recent post on the Radical Unschoolers Forum as evidence.

 

The responses to that poor man are disgusting. They said that they did away with chores for their son, cut up his food in small bites so he wouldn't have to use a fork or stop playing the game, etc. That's insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Unschooling IS living life without school.

 

It insists upon your child determining what they want to learn and when. At its most basic unschooling is exactly what you decsribed and disagree ith.

 

School is an artificial construct imposed upon kids. Societies without schools still yield functioning adults, by their societal measures. Kids imitate adults naturally and learn through play.

 

Those societies don't have schools, but the kids need to learn certain skills or they will starve to death. These kids not only won't starve, but will be hand fed small bites of food. ugh. Not to mention, this kid is not imitating adults at all, he is living a totally unrealistic lifestyle.

 

I can understand not requiring your child to learn certain things. I get living without school. I do NOT get living in anarchy. In the original democratic free schools you didn't have to learn, didn't have to go to class. BUT there were rules. Rules voted on by everyone, including the students. THAT makes sense. THAT is much more realistic. These parents are not doing that. They are not creating any kind of society or community for their children. They are allowing anarchy.

 

personally, my house is a benevolent oligarchy, but I could understand a house run as a democracy. But anarchy? Never.

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The responses to that poor man are disgusting. They said that they did away with chores for their son, cut up his food in small bites so he wouldn't have to use a fork or stop playing the game, etc. That's insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I don't understand why the mom has to make him a 'monkey platter' filled with high calorie food, but it's 'conscripted labor' for a child to do chores.

 

I have heard several things lately about young men who won't get a job or do anything except live at Mom's and play video games all day long.

 

Such as http://www.npr.org/2011/02/28/134134731/As-America-Changes-Manhood-Does-Too

 

To me, sitting around playing video games is not the real world. It's self indulgent. Raising your kids to think someone else will scrub their toilets and bring them trays of food and otherwise orbit around them is unrealistic. But it does explain why so many men would rather live at home with such a mom.

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To me, sitting around playing video games is not the real world. It's self indulgent. Raising your kids to think someone else will scrub their toilets and bring them trays of food and otherwise orbit around them is unrealistic. But it does explain why so many men would rather live at home with such a mom.

 

Interestingly, I've heard many unschoolers claim that it's "modeling how to be a servant." They say that when their kids get older, then the kids "serve" the parents in return in various ways because that's what they are used to seeing and that's the example that has been set for them.

 

In other words, if you are kind and helpful to your kids, then they will learn to be kind and helpful -- to you, and to others.

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In other words, if you are kind and helpful to your kids, then they will learn to be kind and helpful -- to you, and to others.

That's true, to a degree. Maybe. But I see servitude as one-directional. I think it's better to model reciprocity. Bringing your child a plate of food to eat (or a bedpan) while playing video games does not model human interaction in a way I'd like my children to learn from.

 

There are plenty of people who are used to being served, to whom it never occurs to serve others -- or even serve themselves!

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There are plenty of people who are used to being served, to whom it never occurs to serve others -- or even serve themselves!

 

Uh, yeah. How many women marry a "mama's boy" and are driven nuts by his inability to take care of himself, much less help her? He was served all his life by his mother and then expects his wife to pick up where mommy left off. :glare:

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Interestingly, I've heard many unschoolers claim that it's "modeling how to be a servant." They say that when their kids get older, then the kids "serve" the parents in return in various ways because that's what they are used to seeing and that's the example that has been set for them.

 

In other words, if you are kind and helpful to your kids, then they will learn to be kind and helpful -- to you, and to others.

 

This is one of those things that sound good, but just isn't true...You learn best by doing and being involved, not just by having people do things around you...Kids on a farm learn how to run a farm because they participate in the running of the farm, not because parents ran the farm around them...

 

I know people whose parents cooked every meal, cleaned the entire home by themselves (or paid someone to do it), and just plain old dotted on their children and none of these people learned to do what their parents did...They cannot cook or clean because they never actually had to do it themselves...And every one of them struggles with or just gives in to being extremely selfish...

 

It doesn't matter how nice and kind you are to someone or how much you serve them, they will not become that way unless they were taught to do so in return...In other words, unless they themselves partipated in the kindness and serving, they will continue being served and never become a servant...

 

I hear the argument, but it makes no sense to me...I have seen otherwise too many times...

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I really think that kids/teens need to be needed. Just like us, they need to feel valued, yes, but important and vital to the family.

 

The last thing they need is to be hot house flowers.

 

This idea is stated better in The End of Adolescence by Philip Graham. This is one of the very best books I've ever read on raising kids. This one focuses on teens, but I read it to be "ahead of the curve." (For once in my life.) :glare:

 

The other most awesome, wonderful book is -- as most of you know -- Hold Onto Your Kids.

 

Mainly I'm a library user, but I bought these two books.

 

Alley

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Interestingly, I've heard many unschoolers claim that it's "modeling how to be a servant." They say that when their kids get older, then the kids "serve" the parents in return in various ways because that's what they are used to seeing and that's the example that has been set for them.

 

In other words, if you are kind and helpful to your kids, then they will learn to be kind and helpful -- to you, and to others.

 

 

 

Well it certainly worked for slave owners all throughout history....... oh wait ;)

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I am usually a live and let live kind of person, but really, to say that mastering World of Warcraft is as valuable as learning Latin in developing one's mind is hogwash.

 

I point to a recent post on the Radical Unschoolers Forum as evidence.

 

Holy Cow - there is just something so off about this persons reply - whether you are an unschooler or not.

 

Draven (my 11y/o son) is an avid gamer. I support his passion in every way possible.

 

Part of this is providing for his daily needs. I bring him food throughout the day, I keep easy-to-make things available for him at night (when we're asleep and he's not). When I bring him food I cut it up so it's finger food or easily eaten with a fork. Throughout the day I'll pop in and remove dishes for him, or ask him to bring them to the kitchen when he gets a second.

 

I let him sleep when he's ready to sleep and for as long as he'd like to sleep. If I'm not fighting him about getting enough sleep, he will tend to sleep for 10+ hours. When I try to enforce a bedtime he will fight it and gets less and less sleep. With him, his most active online friends are around overnight, and almost no one is online early in the morning. He'll go to sleep when the sun is coming up and get up later in the afternoon. If we have something going on during the day he'll adjust his sleep schedule accordingly (if it's something he's interested in).

 

We stopped requiring chores (that's what I'm assuming you mean by responsibilities). Instead we all pitch in when needed. At first this meant my partner and I were doing everything, but now (after 2 years) Draven does pitch in happily when he's taking small breaks from his game. We ask him for help and he always has the option to say no, or in a little while. When dishes are overwhelming me I make sure we have paper plates in the house, when taking care of the cats became a full time job I found ways to reduce the amount of time each part took. I took responsibility for my own needs, if I felt a room was too messy it was my problem, not my sons, not my partners, so I cleaned it.

 

I also give him plenty of warning if I do need his help with something. If I'm going grocery shopping I'll let him know that his help would be appreciated when I got back. I call him when I'm leaving the store to give him warning, and again when I'm right down the road. He meets me out front, hurries to get the groceries in, then goes back to playing while I'm putting things away.

 

There are times that I get hyper-focused on something and it's wonderful when my partner helps me take care of my daily needs (bringing me food, doing more around the house, etc.) and I find joy in supporting Draven's passions in the same way.

 

I'm all for children following their passions but becoming their slave to do it :001_huh: What is this kid going to do when his mom is no longer there to wait on him hand and foot - is he going to expect this kind of service to his needs from his wife. :lol: That kid is missing out on so many life lessons -not everything being about you being the foremost. Hopefully he'll love his life at home so much he will stay there till he's 50 because I feel bad for his wife if he ever gets married - the marriage won't last past a week.:confused:

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This idea is stated better in The End of Adolescence by Philip Graham. This is one of the very best books I've ever read on raising kids. This one focuses on teens, but I read it to be "ahead of the curve." (For once in my life.) :glare:

 

The other most awesome, wonderful book is -- as most of you know -- Hold Onto Your Kids.

 

You might also like The Case Against Adolescence. One of the best books I've read in the past few years, and I read a lot. :) (And I just bought The End of Adolescence--can't wait to read it!)

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I am usually a live and let live kind of person, but really, to say that mastering World of Warcraft is as valuable as learning Latin in developing one's mind is hogwash.

 

I point to a recent post on the Radical Unschoolers Forum as evidence.

 

:iagree: I think fostering a child's interests can be a good thing depensing upon the interest, of course;) OTOH I think it is important for certain academic and like skills to be mastered:)

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One of the catch phrases of unschoolers is that a lot of what schoolers do is fear based. What if??? based.

 

I see a lot of reactionary thinking on this thread, tho i am not comfortable myself with radical unschooling. I don't think its quite as dire as some here assume.

 

Radical unschoolers give unschooling a bad name IMHO. I get the intrinsic motivation thing but sometimes kids do not have it for things that are important to learn IMHO such as reading and math and chores.

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I am usually a live and let live kind of person, but really, to say that mastering World of Warcraft is as valuable as learning Latin in developing one's mind is hogwash.

 

I point to a recent post on the Radical Unschoolers Forum as evidence.

 

That is so ... I can't even-

 

I'm gobsmacked.

 

 

 

The Case Against Adolescence is wonderful, I'll have to look at the other one, too.

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You might also like The Case Against Adolescence. One of the best books I've read in the past few years, and I read a lot. :) (And I just bought The End of Adolescence--can't wait to read it!)

 

These books look fantastic:) I am troubled by teenagers being overly influenced by other teens. I think prolonged childhood is detrimental and that high school should end after 10th grade and that perhaps high school should be a earned privilege:).

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Does The Case Against Adolescence really advocate spanking TEENAGERS as a form of punishment? One of the reviews says it does, and I'd rather not waste my money on a book like that. How do you on the one hand claim that we need to treat teens like adults, but on the other hand claim that spanking them like 6-year-olds is a good way to accomplish that? If that's so, the author really just lost his own argument and all credibility.

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Does The Case Against Adolescence really advocate spanking TEENAGERS as a form of punishment? One of the reviews says it does, and I'd rather not waste my money on a book like that. How do you on the one hand claim that we need to treat teens like adults, but on the other hand claim that spanking them like 6-year-olds is a good way to accomplish that? If that's so, the author really just lost his own argument and all credibility.

 

In other words, let's give him a spanking!

:auto:

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Does The Case Against Adolescence really advocate spanking TEENAGERS as a form of punishment? One of the reviews says it does, and I'd rather not waste my money on a book like that. How do you on the one hand claim that we need to treat teens like adults, but on the other hand claim that spanking them like 6-year-olds is a good way to accomplish that? If that's so, the author really just lost his own argument and all credibility.

 

Whoops:blush: That would be a bad choice for me then:001_smile:

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I don't understand why the mom has to make him a 'monkey platter' filled with high calorie food, but it's 'conscripted labor' for a child to do chores.

 

 

Because the mom (presumably) cares about whether or not her kid gets fed and whether he is "following his passions," but the kid probably doesn't care whether the tub gets scrubbed or the floor gets vacuumed.

 

A popular quote with the unschooling groups (I think Joyce F. coined it) is, "Asking your child to do chores is like your husband asking you to scrub the ceiling with a toothbrush every day."

 

The idea is that if we want certain chores done, it's either because:

1) We want it that way, in which case we should take care or it; or

2) We want the child to have things that way because we think it's important or enjoyable for them, in which case it's our gift to them, and we shouldn't give them a gift and then expect "payment" for it.

(In other words, if you want your kids to have a nice yard, you shouldn't expect them to help mow it, because the lawn was your desire and choice, not theirs.)

 

 

 

She talks here and here about the "typical concerns" like the things people are saying here, if you're interested.

 

 

*************************************************

"If we accept that everything is ours then all the responsibilities belong to us. We chose our house. We chose our standards. We made the choices that resulted in children. The kids didn't have a choice in being here or in the particular life we lead. The life we give them is our gift to them.

 

If we attach strings to a gift, is it really a gift?

 

If we want to give our children the gift of a backyard, is it really a gift if we make them mow it because they should appreciate our gift to them?

 

Gifts should be given because we want someone to have something, not because we want them to appreciate it and care for it to our standards.

 

If we see that by choosing kids we are also choosing the messes they make, then those messes belong to us.

 

********************************************

 

I struggled with these ideas for a long time because

1) I really wanted to unschool, and everybody seemed to be saying this was an important aspect of having unschooling work; and

 

2) Frankly, I found it confusing at times. On one hand, they would say to make clean-up pleasant by making it a game to throw things in the bin, or that "people pitch in when needed." But then they say you should always allow a child to say "no" when you ask them to help. And she flat-out says that she's not talking about kids sitting around while Mom does everything for them. Which is it? I'm still not sure I get it.

 

One recent thought I've had about the "ask, but 'no' is ALWAYS an acceptable response." If someone asked me for help, but I somehow knew that they really didn't care if I did it or not, and it was just fine with them if I declined, it would make me feel like they didn't really need me, and I don't think I wouldn't be likely to bother. It doesn't sound very inviting for someone to say, "Could you take care of this? But if you don't want to, that's fine, I can do it myself. I don't really care if you do it or not. I don't need you."

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A popular quote with the unschooling groups (I think Joyce F. coined it) is, "Asking your child to do chores is like your husband asking you to scrub the ceiling with a toothbrush every day."

 

:001_rolleyes:

 

The idea is that if we want certain chores done, it's either because:

1) We want it that way, in which case we should take care or it; or

2) We want the child to have things that way because we think it's important or enjoyable for them, in which case it's our gift to them, and we shouldn't give them a gift and then expect "payment" for it.

(In other words, if you want your kids to have a nice yard, you shouldn't expect them to help mow it, because the lawn was your desire and choice, not theirs.)

 

:001_rolleyes:

 

Let's just say, I completely disagree.

 

Tara

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Jenny, very interesting point about not being needed. This whole idea bothers me on so many levels but that is HUGE. (to me) It is so important that each member of my family pull his/her weight because we love each other, want to help each other, and NEED each other. My kids love being needed. They are young and maybe that will fade but I hope when/if that "love" fades they still understand that like it or not they are VITAL to our home. Our home is not complete without their active participation in it.

 

What a sad situation when a child can disappear into cyberspace for weeks??? and not even be missed.:confused1: I speak from my own experience when I say, someday that child will wonder why nobody cared about him enough to stop him.

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I haven't read all the pages of this. Frankly, I was shocked and disgusted after the first few posts I read on that other board. But, the problem I have with all of this, is that the child is set up like the King/Queen and the parents as their surfs. I'm all for kids being allowed to follow their passions, which is why most of my girlie's kinder experience has been about her dancing. Why is it that these children should be taught that NOTHING comes with a price? If they could always be allowed to say "no" to chores and whatnot, how is that teaching them anything about real life? Yes, I made the choice for the big house, but boy do my kids enjoy it. If they continually say "no" to helping keep the household nice, they are learning that these luxuries are "free" to them. I see all of this as setting up your children for failure in the "real world". Everyone doesn't have the ability to "follow their passions" in life. It would be nice if we all did. Some people do a certain job because is their passion, so people do it because it brings in a paycheck. Sure, they should be able to follow their passions when they are young, but someday they just might have to say "yes" to that job simple because it is a paycheck. Will these kids be able to do that?

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