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Do you think there is more of a trend towards unschooling than there was a few years ago?


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I think there are waves. It seems a lot of parents with little ones find "new" ideas and the subject comes up a lot - but by around 3rd/4th grade things settle into a routine (classical/neo/eclectic/etc). So I'm in the "nothing new under the sun" camp. I rarely see veterans jumping on the unschool bandwagon (other than "man I'm tired of algebra - I wanna unschool!").

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No, I don't think so. I think it comes up for discussions in waves, but I don't think there are more unschoolers today than there were 30 years ago. The unschoolers really were the pioneers of homeschooling. :-)

 

Do you mean in terms of percentage of children not in school, Ellie?  Because surely there are more unschoolers (and homeschoolers and classical homeschoolers and so forth) than 30 years ago.

 

What I've seen among my friends is that many of us started out leaning toward unschooling and as children have gotten a little older, more of the families I know have gotten more structured so that one wouldn't call them unschoolers anymore.  But not all.  We definitely know many unschooling families as well.

 

I also think geography has at least something to do with it and there are more in certain areas and less in others.

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I have never met a family that would call themselves unschoolers in real life.  No, I don't think that is true.  My SIL had a friend who homeschooled before my kids were anywhere near school age.  I asked her what she used for school thinking I could learn something.  The only thing she mentioned was a U.S. President's placemat.  Based on that conversation, I believe she would have labeled herself an unschooler.  The dozens of other homeschool families I've met lean more toward school-at-home - BJU, A Beka, Robinson, eclectic, even classical - but school-at-home.

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I know a couple of families that are truly radical unschoolers.  I met them when I was trying to help my 2nd oldest unschool.  I know some people that call themselves unschoolers but are really more interest led, imo.  The rest are school at home types whether Charlotte Mason, textbook or classical.

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In this area, classical homeschooling seems to be the fastest growing trend. There are several Classical Conversations groups and they are growing in size and number. SWB was the keynote speaker at our conference two years ago and that definitely contributed. Classical is definitely "In" here. 

 

I meet fewer unschoolers than I used to. However, I do notice unschoolers tend to be a vocal group. They work hard at promoting unschooling and trying to convince others it is the best. I know two unschooling families who really do it well. For them it is undoubtedly the best. For me, it would be a disaster!

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If I were to judge by the homeschoolers I meet IRL, I'd have to say 90% of them are unschoolers.  But judging by the members of this board, the ratio is totally different.

 

I do live in No Cal, though, so that sample is probably as skewed as a classical education forum.  ;)

 

Interesting, I've never met an unschooler and we've homeschooled in Southern California, Central California (Closer to NorCal) and also Colorado Springs.  I think it also depends on one's primary social circles.  I think that unschoolers most likely have their own local social groups and gatherings.  But as far as the general public including work associates, neighbors, etc... I just don't see it at all.  

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Interesting, I've never met an unschooler and we've homeschooled in Southern California, Central California (Closer to NorCal) and also Colorado Springs.  I think it also depends on one's primary social circles.  I think that unschoolers most likely have their own local social groups and gatherings.  But as far as the general public including work associates, neighbors, etc... I just don't see it at all.  

 

Just come to Sonoma County . . . or Marin, or Mendocino or Humboldt.  You'll see it!   :lol:

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I meet fewer unschoolers than I used to. However, I do notice unschoolers tend to be a vocal group. They work hard at promoting unschooling and trying to convince others it is the best.

That is quite true where I live.  Well, I should say there are some very vocal unschoolers, and some not so vocal ones, but the super vocal ones are also the ones that have 3 and 5yos...

 

Where I live, I don't know what it was like a few years ago, but I know that homelearning has grown a lot in the last decade and that unschooling is a part of that.  There are a few unschooling "umbrella schools" (for lack of a better term), however most are not, so most kids are not being "unschooled". 

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Just come to Sonoma County . . . or Marin, or Mendocino or Humboldt.  You'll see it!   :lol:

 

 

Ah ok,  although Monterey County, where we currently live, has its fair share of a variety of people, I could definitely see those counties leaning more heavily toward unschooling, especially the Humboldt area.

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There's a large unschooling community here in the PHX area. I think there is an increase in communities like mine because people are more likely to run into some and if people are considering it they can meet IRL unschoolers rather than just reading about them.  The group we were around had between 15-20 families that got together on a regular basis with about another 10 families participating more sporadically.   We used to hang out with the of their teen groups even though we homeschool where the Trivium and Charlotte Mason meet in a Venn diagram.  My oldest is still friends with some of them now that they're all in or about to start college.

 

Unschooling is extremely hard to classify.  When you get around large groups of people who label themselves as unschoolers you will discover they all define and describe the characteristics of unschooling differently. Some are more influenced by one particular proponent(s) of unschooling than other proponents.  They define "natural" and "organic" and "child driven" differently.  It can actually cause debate and schisms.  That's in addition to the debates in each state as to whether or not unschooling meets the legal definition of homeschooling. 

 

Let's put it this way, I personally know a woman unschooled by her father who was John Holt's best friend.  She was the most directly John Holt influenced unschooler you could've met in the room and yet I've heard people who read John Holt argue to her definition and description of unschooling  (having no idea about her background.) They were telling her that her definition of unschooling isn't what John Holt was proposing.  (Hee hee hee.) She's very nice about it, but new camps arise and divide in the unschooling community just like they do in the Classical Education world. Beware anyone insisting their version is more "pure" than others.

 

We were at an event (Winter Formal Dance) coordinated by the person who started that teen unschooling group.  They're always very welcoming to anyone who wants to join them regardless of educational philosophy. Aware of this I chatted with a woman sitting next to me: 

ME: "Do you use a particular curriculum?"

HER: (Looking and sounding tense and tired.) " Well, we unschool so there's not really a curriculum."

ME:"Oh.  That's OK, I speak unschooler.  What interests are your children pursuing these days?"

HER: " OH, good!  I don't have to explain it to you!  My kids are doing......." and she happily described what unschooling was like in her house without feeling obligated to explain why she chose that route.

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True Unschoolers, I would have to say no. I have met only 3 in all the years I have homeschooled. However, the number of people who claim to be unschoolers has gotten greater. I feel like I am meeting them constantly but after talking with them and hearing what they do I realized it is more a relaxed homeschool method and not a true unschooling method.

 

Now the number of relaxed homeschoolers vs. the school at home families has taken a turn. More and more families are either starting out relaxed or becoming relaxed (I am one) then the families that have a school at home type day.

 

Sadly I have met a few people to claim to be unschoolers and they just use that title to be lazy.

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I am seeing lots of 'no schoolers' around here.  These are people that read a smidge on unschooling and end up not doing anything educational at all with their kids.  They aren't really unschooling, the children are not pursuing interests, parents are not guiding etc. 

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I meet fewer unschoolers than I used to. However, I do notice unschoolers tend to be a vocal group. They work hard at promoting unschooling and trying to convince others it is the best. I know two unschooling families who really do it well. For them it is undoubtedly the best. For me, it would be a disaster!

 

I've been getting pressure to convert. ;)

 

Classical Homeschoolers of the Universe, help me to stand strong and stay the course! LOL.

 

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I believe there are more people who think they are unschoolers. I've had "unschoolers" ask me for math curricula because their kids aren't doing math on their own ;)

 

I know a lot of people who aren't unschoolers but say that they unschool a particular subject. That always makes me chuckle a bit.

 

I have friends who academically unschool but are not whole-life unschoolers. I don't know any radical/whole-life unschoolers. They two families I know who started off that way moderated their approach as the children grew because their children were having problems relating to others.

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What I see in my local area are a lot of "unschool sympathizers" who almost seem to feel guilty for doing an academic curriculum because the unschoolers are very vocal about what they're doing and how great it is for kids and how it's the natural way to learn and so on. But very, very few people actually unschool everything, certainly not much past age 10. The typical "unschooler" in my area has children only in PK-3rd grade,  signs up for every field trip and group class in a 50 mile radius, and lets their kids spend a lot of time on computer games, iPad apps, and watching TV shows that just happen to teach reading and math skills-and pats themselves on the back for not using any "curriculum". These are usually the folks who make backhanded comments about DD being "pushed" or "Acting too smart".

 

 

There are a handful of people I think of as real unschoolers-people who, for the most part, have houses and lives full of input because that's the way the parents are, where there is often little or no screen time, and lots of experiences in the real-world, often large gardens or hobby farms, often very active in the arts world, and generally the kids develop and pursue their own passions pretty early (although they may change those passions), and don't do group activities unless it fits with that passion. Many of that group are older than the first group, and most have children who have graduated (some are now homeschooling their grandchildren while their child works) and transitioned to college or the workforce or both without a hiccup.

 

 

I actually get along quite well with the 2nd group of unschoolers -because for the most part, what DD does really looks a lot like what they do, and we have a lot to talk about. I just call it "classical education"-with a lot of rabbit trails ;).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've been getting pressure to convert. ;)

 

Classical Homeschoolers of the Universe, help me to stand strong and stay the course! LOL.

 

 

Just start rephrasing how you say things.   "oh, we can't come today b/c little Jamie has his heart set on watching a dvd he requested"  "We are busy today b/c Jane has asked to have time for reading a book she just got."   The kids' interests are the reasons for being busy, not you cracking a whip.  :)

 

Of course, if your kids won't back you up....that might be a problem.  ;)

 

Seriously, though,  I am not one that has a problem voicing boundaries.   This one boundary that shouldn't be crossed.

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What I've seen among my friends is that many of us started out leaning toward unschooling and as children have gotten a little older, more of the families I know have gotten more structured so that one wouldn't call them unschoolers anymore.  

 

I also think geography has at least something to do with it and there are more in certain areas and less in others.

This was our experience. Most toddlers are unschooled by default. There is often a gradual shift towards more structured learning as kids get older. We largely unschooled until 3rd grade. I didn't unschool my second kid at all. Now I'm thinking about going back in that direction for my youngers. 

 

It seems to me that many families who started out more interest-led have added structure in or sent the kids to school as families have gotten larger and kids have gotten older or life has changed in big ways- moving across the country, divorce. For me, unschooling one kid was fine, 2 kids was hard, and 3 kids, not really possible. My views of education have shifted, as well. 

 

It's definitely not common here. I have only known a handful of unschoolers, and unschooling here looks nothing like what people on this board describe. When I first started, in the attachment parenting/ gentle discipline community especially, unschooling was a hot topic, and everyone incorporated it, at least a little. It was that or school-at-home, and we certainly didn't want that :) Radical unschooling was not a thing, at least not that I'm aware of. Holt, Gatto and Dodd were mandatory reading for everyone considering home education. 

 

Now, it seems there's a push towards outsourcing. CC and K12 are the way of the future.Everyone wants to hire someone to teach their kids. When I was getting in the game, we didn't have or want those options. What's the point of keeping them home so you can have someone else teach them, or tell you what to teach? Where's the freedom in that? 

 

 

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When I started I didn't know any unschoolers. It was many years later before I met one, and to be honest, they weren't really unschoolers. Nowadays, I have met quite a few. In this area, there seems to be a lot of unschoolers. It could be a geographic thing.

In my years of travels and home schooling, I have only met two families calling themselves unschoolers that were truly unschooling in an intentional way (okay, that sounds like an oxymoron, but you true unschoolers know what I mean - it takes a lot of work to provide that resource & experience rich environment that enables child-directed learning!). What I have run into is a fair number of families who call themselves unschoolers, but actually have low to no expectations of their students or themselves. They may be involved in a lot of activities, but they don't get things done at home because they don't want to put any pressure on the kids or deal with any resistance. I'm sorry those folks give the best of the unschoolers a bad rap.

 

From what I've observed, certain demographic families are more prone to this not-really-unschooling model. I don't think it's necessarily geographic.

 

Are there more unschoolers? I dunno. I think I meet more people these days who are relaxed eclectic homeschoolers who label themselves unschoolers, but it's been a long time since I've met a bona fide unschooler.

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Hopefully that makes sense.

It does make sense, and I have always known what people mean. But when I first decided to homeschool, I read every John Holt book and bought up all the issues of Growing Without Schooling that I could find, and I always have this image in my mind of how John Holt would look if a family that does formal, traditional studies told him they "unschooled" one or two subjects.

 

Keep in mind, however, that I am NOT an unschooler, so I'm really not trying to poke fun. I was going to unschool, but then I met my kids. ;)

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In my newish role as director of a medium size co-op (20-25 families), I've been meeting more and more homeschoolers in my area.  I have met a few that claim to be un-schooling but what they are actually doing is nothing.   Doing math once a week when your dc feels like it, throwing a handful of library books at them, and letting them spend the rest of their time playing video games and going on play dates is not, to my understanding, true un-schooling.  I would say the majority of the homeschoolers in my area are either school at home types - straight Abeka, or lean more toward the neo-classical\eclectic. The latter being the majority.  

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That is quite true where I live.  Well, I should say there are some very vocal unschoolers, and some not so vocal ones, but the super vocal ones are also the ones that have 3 and 5yos...

 

Where I live, I don't know what it was like a few years ago, but I know that homelearning has grown a lot in the last decade and that unschooling is a part of that.  There are a few unschooling "umbrella schools" (for lack of a better term), however most are not, so most kids are not being "unschooled". 

 

 

What a great point - LOL!!! The most vocal unschoolers I meet, the ones who are really attached to the label, always seem to have kids under 6.  When they say they are unschooling, I always think, "Yeah, didn't we all?"  But I don't say it out loud! :lol:

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I am seeing lots of 'no schoolers' around here.  These are people that read a smidge on unschooling and end up not doing anything educational at all with their kids.  They aren't really unschooling, the children are not pursuing interests, parents are not guiding etc. 

 

Yes, this has been my latest revelation. It's sobering, to say the least.

 

I think (and I hope) that I can say this here.... it's impossible to say this meaningfully anywhere else. How do I put it?

 

I feel discouraged. LOL, that was blunt enough. Not discouraged, exactly, but...

 

Well, it's like this: The unschoolers I meet hear that I'm homeschooling, and either assume I'm "like them" or (seem to) assume that I will be, given enough time. I just haven't "arrived" yet, or burned out enough yet, or gotten kids that are old enough yet, or reached the point where my expertise in Subject X causes the dawning of awareness that I need to unschool. But I'll learn, someday, that this is the path. The path of what? Of least resistance? Yes, I agree with that.

 

There is no support (that I know of) around here for school-at-home -- traditional, classical, or otherwise. In a way, we really have more in common with Boxers (Abeka, BJU, Calvert, etc.) or CMers than we do with Uns and Nons. I need to look harder and try to meet some other homeschoolers.

 

But I've been meeting Uns/Nons. There's something about this that discourages me. When I come home and try to plan for our next school year, instead of thinking, "There are other homeschoolers out there, hooray!" I think, "Does anyone else do all this? Does anyone else work hard? Is it worth it? Can't the kids just play all day, and wade in the creek, and play video games, like the 'unschoolers' seem to do?" I'm kind of stuck on the undeniable fact that some people around me do next to nothing academic with their children (some high school age), and consider that okay. How is that okay?

 

I understand that children can absorb a great deal about History, Geography, Science, and Nature from independent reading, watching videos, travel, time outdoors, pets, projects, and so on. I don't grasp that children who play nine or more hours of Minecraft a day are getting this kind of exposure.

 

Another thought pattern near me: They will pick up all they need to know about math, without curriculum. So, no middle grades math (e.g., fractions, decimals, percents, rations, negative numbers, square roots, exponents, statistics, etc.). Also, no high school math courses. Just none. No Geometry. No Algebra. No Calculus. No Trig or Statistics.

 

One mother says that for "Composition," her 15 year old daughter keeps a journal. She [the mother] has never seen anything in it, because the daughter is shy and the mother respects her privacy. "She writes in it every day!" I have no idea how that set-up can be considered adequate for high school composition.

 

Don't even get me started on the rest of the English skill set. :sad:

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Yes, this has been my latest revelation. It's sobering, to say the least.

 

I think (and I hope) that I can say this here.... it's impossible to say this meaningfully anywhere else. How do I put it?

 

I feel discouraged. LOL, that was blunt enough. Not discouraged, exactly, but...

 

Well, it's like this: The unschoolers I meet hear that I'm homeschooling, and either assume I'm "like them" or (seem to) assume that I will be, given enough time. I just haven't "arrived" yet, or burned out enough yet, or gotten kids that are old enough yet, or reached the point where my expertise in Subject X causes the dawning of awareness that I need to unschool. But I'll learn, someday, that this is the path. The path of what? Of least resistance? Yes, I agree with that.

 

There is no support (that I know of) around here for school-at-home -- traditional, classical, or otherwise. In a way, we really have more in common with Boxers (Abeka, BJU, Calvert, etc.) or CMers than we do with Uns and Nons. I need to look harder and try to meet some other homeschoolers.

 

But I've been meeting Uns/Nons. There's something about this that discourages me. When I come home and try to plan for our next school year, instead of thinking, "There are other homeschoolers out there, hooray!" I think, "Does anyone else do all this? Does anyone else work hard? Is it worth it? Can't the kids just play all day, and wade in the creek, and play video games, like the 'unschoolers' seem to do?" I'm kind of stuck on the undeniable fact that some people around me do next to nothing academic with their children (some high school age), and consider that okay. How is that okay?

 

I understand that children can absorb a great deal about History, Geography, Science, and Nature from independent reading, watching videos, travel, time outdoors, pets, projects, and so on. I don't grasp that children who play nine or more hours of Minecraft a day are getting this kind of exposure.

 

Another thought pattern near me: They will pick up all they need to know about math, without curriculum. So, no middle grades math (e.g., fractions, decimals, percents, rations, negative numbers, square roots, exponents, statistics, etc.). Also, no high school math courses. Just none. No Geometry. No Algebra. No Calculus. No Trig or Statistics.

 

One mother says that for "Composition," her 15 year old daughter keeps a journal. She [the mother] has never seen anything in it, because the daughter is shy and the mother respects her privacy. "She writes in it every day!" I have no idea how that set-up can be considered adequate for high school composition.

 

Don't even get me started on the rest of the English skill set. :sad:

 

I think you need to step away from thinking about what others are doing.    I very rarely, and I do mean very rarely, talk homeschooling with other homeschoolers.   It is a subject that I find I rarely have anything in common with other people.   Earlier in my homeschooling yrs, there was a huge conflict amg Catholic homeschoolers about what was "authentic" Catholic homeschooling.   Seriously.   I mean, I was told that if I wasn't using curriculum X, y, or z then it wasn't Catholic homeschooling.   "Real" Catholic homeschooling could not be anything put together on your own.   It was basically Catholic "traditional school in a box" or being looked down on.

 

Blech.   Yeah, well, that went over w/me really well.   :p   

 

I learned to avoid anything specific about our homeschool or make it clear that it really isn't something I want to discuss.      But, hey, I can't even talk to my sister about homeschooling b/c we have radically different views about the subject.   Just pass the bean dip.  :)

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Yes, this has been my latest revelation. It's sobering, to say the least.

 

I think (and I hope) that I can say this here.... it's impossible to say this meaningfully anywhere else. How do I put it?

 

I feel discouraged. LOL, that was blunt enough. Not discouraged, exactly, but...

 

Well, it's like this: The unschoolers I meet hear that I'm homeschooling, and either assume I'm "like them" or (seem to) assume that I will be, given enough time. I just haven't "arrived" yet, or burned out enough yet, or gotten kids that are old enough yet, or reached the point where my expertise in Subject X causes the dawning of awareness that I need to unschool. But I'll learn, someday, that this is the path. The path of what? Of least resistance? Yes, I agree with that.

 

There is no support (that I know of) around here for school-at-home -- traditional, classical, or otherwise. In a way, we really have more in common with Boxers (Abeka, BJU, Calvert, etc.) or CMers than we do with Uns and Nons. I need to look harder and try to meet some other homeschoolers.

 

But I've been meeting Uns/Nons. There's something about this that discourages me. When I come home and try to plan for our next school year, instead of thinking, "There are other homeschoolers out there, hooray!" I think, "Does anyone else do all this? Does anyone else work hard? Is it worth it? Can't the kids just play all day, and wade in the creek, and play video games, like the 'unschoolers' seem to do?" I'm kind of stuck on the undeniable fact that some people around me do next to nothing academic with their children (some high school age), and consider that okay. How is that okay?

 

I understand that children can absorb a great deal about History, Geography, Science, and Nature from independent reading, watching videos, travel, time outdoors, pets, projects, and so on. I don't grasp that children who play nine or more hours of Minecraft a day are getting this kind of exposure.

 

Another thought pattern near me: They will pick up all they need to know about math, without curriculum. So, no middle grades math (e.g., fractions, decimals, percents, rations, negative numbers, square roots, exponents, statistics, etc.). Also, no high school math courses. Just none. No Geometry. No Algebra. No Calculus. No Trig or Statistics.

 

One mother says that for "Composition," her 15 year old daughter keeps a journal. She [the mother] has never seen anything in it, because the daughter is shy and the mother respects her privacy. "She writes in it every day!" I have no idea how that set-up can be considered adequate for high school composition.

 

Don't even get me started on the rest of the English skill set. :sad:

 

Yeah, we don't spend a lot of time with the local homeschooling group, because I often do end up feeling discouraged (or judged) or just like I'm weird.  No, we can't do the park on Monday and roller skating on Tuesday and paintball on Friday.  Why?  Um, because we have math and writing and reading to do those days?  And I can't seem to get past  either them feeling judged by my answering, or me feeling judged by their response . . . it just hasn't been worth it for me so far.

 

Luckily, I can come home and log on to the Hive and realize - ahhh we're all weird in our own way!

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I think you need to step away from thinking about what others are doing.    I very rarely, and I do mean very rarely, talk homeschooling with other homeschoolers.   It is a subject that I find I rarely have anything in common with other people.   Earlier in my homeschooling yrs, there was a huge conflict amg Catholic homeschoolers about what was "authentic" Catholic homeschooling.   Seriously.   I mean, I was told that if I wasn't using curriculum X, y, or z then it wasn't Catholic homeschooling.   "Real" Catholic homeschooling could not be anything put together on your own.   It was basically Catholic "traditional school in a box" or being looked down on.

 

Blech.   Yeah, well, that went over w/me really well.   :p   

 

I learned to avoid anything specific about our homeschool or make it clear that it really isn't something I want to discuss.      But, hey, I can't even talk to my sister about homeschooling b/c we have radically different views about the subject.   Just pass the bean dip.  :)

 

Thanks, Eight.

 

Now, I need about 20 more people here to tell me the same thing. ;) Step away, step away.

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You are not alone.

 

I would join you in saying that what you observe is not okay. Their kids have been denied opportunities for a real education. I find that sad. But you know what? I bet there are people even on this forum who would disagree with me, on the basis of parental rights and such.

 

I really worry about future generations totally losing the skill of critical thinking.

 

Be encouraged, sahamamama. Look at your sweet children and know that your efforts are not in vain. And while you may feel lonely in your neck of the woods, you are not alone in the universe.

 

Yes, this has been my latest revelation. It's sobering, to say the least.

 

I think (and I hope) that I can say this here.... it's impossible to say this meaningfully anywhere else. How do I put it?

 

I feel discouraged. LOL, that was blunt enough. Not discouraged, exactly, but...

 

Well, it's like this: The unschoolers I meet hear that I'm homeschooling, and either assume I'm "like them" or (seem to) assume that I will be, given enough time. I just haven't "arrived" yet, or burned out enough yet, or gotten kids that are old enough yet, or reached the point where my expertise in Subject X causes the dawning of awareness that I need to unschool. But I'll learn, someday, that this is the path. The path of what? Of least resistance? Yes, I agree with that.

 

There is no support (that I know of) around here for school-at-home -- traditional, classical, or otherwise. In a way, we really have more in common with Boxers (Abeka, BJU, Calvert, etc.) or CMers than we do with Uns and Nons. I need to look harder and try to meet some other homeschoolers.

 

But I've been meeting Uns/Nons. There's something about this that discourages me. When I come home and try to plan for our next school year, instead of thinking, "There are other homeschoolers out there, hooray!" I think, "Does anyone else do all this? Does anyone else work hard? Is it worth it? Can't the kids just play all day, and wade in the creek, and play video games, like the 'unschoolers' seem to do?" I'm kind of stuck on the undeniable fact that some people around me do next to nothing academic with their children (some high school age), and consider that okay. How is that okay?

 

I understand that children can absorb a great deal about History, Geography, Science, and Nature from independent reading, watching videos, travel, time outdoors, pets, projects, and so on. I don't grasp that children who play nine or more hours of Minecraft a day are getting this kind of exposure.

 

Another thought pattern near me: They will pick up all they need to know about math, without curriculum. So, no middle grades math (e.g., fractions, decimals, percents, rations, negative numbers, square roots, exponents, statistics, etc.). Also, no high school math courses. Just none. No Geometry. No Algebra. No Calculus. No Trig or Statistics.

 

One mother says that for "Composition," her 15 year old daughter keeps a journal. She [the mother] has never seen anything in it, because the daughter is shy and the mother respects her privacy. "She writes in it every day!" I have no idea how that set-up can be considered adequate for high school composition.

 

Don't even get me started on the rest of the English skill set. :sad:

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Yeah, we don't spend a lot of time with the local homeschooling group, because I often do end up feeling discouraged (or judged) or just like I'm weird.  No, we can't do the park on Monday and roller skating on Tuesday and paintball on Friday.  Why?  Um, because we have math and writing and reading to do those days?  And I can't seem to get past  either them feeling judged by my answering, or me feeling judged by their response . . . it just hasn't been worth it for me so far.

 

Luckily, I can come home and log on to the Hive and realize - ahhh we're all weird in our own way!

 

Same here. Same response. I like the advice to make it about the children's interests. "Little Pookey would be so upset if we missed her Latin lesson." ha ha ha

 

I agree, though, it's hard to know what, if anything, to say. We do academics. I'm not shoving it in anyone's face at all, but was asked, so there it is. I never bring it up, they do. I've already figured out that, other than the shared label, we have little to nothing in common with these people (they're in our church).

 

Sigh. I don't know... it really is a bit frustrating to talk to the only other "homeschoolers" we know in real life and find that math is, after all, optional. Who knew?

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I've lived in three states this year, and have only met unschoolers...or virtual academy kids. I don't know if it's a trend or if there are more. But I do certainly get some looks when I mention Classical Ed. And a lot of "oh I looked into that and it seemed terrible/hard/oppressive". People get defensive if you are rigorous and they aren't, imo.

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I really think it is roughly the same, more just the personalities and forum have changed (not this forum, but the "life-in-general". With the current day and age, and the internet being available more and more everywhere you go, this leads to loud voices that may have been drowned out to becoming foghorn voices over the internet.

 

And of course there is the fact that no matter where you turn there are purists groups in every form waiting to shake their fists and yabber on.

 

Do I have an unschooling attitude? Yeah, I suppose so. But, but, do I unschool? Ummmmmmm, no*****

 

And thats where the problem starts, if I am speaking to marsha next door, I will say we unschool, if I am in the park down the road, I say "life-learning", on certain forums, I say "Natural learning, Project led or delight-directed" on here I pretty much say we "idea school" we follow ideas, whether from mother or children. Sometimes I will bravely take the lead and tread down the untrodden path, then at times I will falter or stop, and Atlas (DD7) will stride out in front, take the reins, and yank us into the sky, other times we'll follow DS down the skippy-bumpy-musical road. And I really take ideas and value many methods. I am the one constantly reading and researching, but I like our road.

 

So the point being, I think with the online groups, more "unschoolers" are to be found, so unschoolers can be more clique-y and break off into sections upon sub-sections etc. So rather than them being 1 group of 500 who have nothing in common, but are herding together to make people understand, they are now able to break off into more social and understanding groups for their particular personalities and styles, so now the group of 500 is now 20 groups of 25 spread out over the internet and blogs, which become like a recruiting machine for other people who then find out "hey theres a local unschoolers meet" and get sucked into becoming an unschooler (not that there is something wrong AT ALL with unschooling, quite the opposite in fact) without fully understanding it, then bemoan "unschooling" later online years down the track, when its not the method that was wrong, but rather the fact that it did not fit that particular family. So its become a fad "new" looking thing, when in fact, it is not, the numbers of unschoolers in the long term won't change significantly, but the amount of negative blogging etc that will be done by parents/homeschoolers who went into it without fully understanding it could be a case where a few years down the line the "huddled masses" of unschoolers may have to huddle in once again to educate people (lol, the irony) on unschooling.

 

Oh and read John Holt, then some more diverse unschooler lit, unschoolers can use curriculum and textbooks, everything in the world is a tool you can use, including a workbook, you just have to know the theory and concept behind unschooling to understand "how to use" a textbook, curriculum or even a bottle of water to teach, and using everyday life as the teacher. Lastly, people underestimate the "gift of the gab". Conversation=unschoolers what bauer=classical ed. Think seminaring from BFSU or the discussions from Connect the thoughts. These are equal, two-way discussions. From the discussions point onwards, each family differs in the way they implement homeschooling/unschooling, but the main thing for unschooling is to *be there*. 110% Be available. Be open. Listen. Its about making quantity time, not "quality" time.

 

Hasn't really been a straight answer, but hopefully round that sleepy circle it got there *yawn* night night :D

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I've seen a bit of a surge locally w/ unschoolers, of course that could just be that when someone is vocal about it then of course everyone else who follows the same philosophy steps out of the woodwork. Generally it is unschooling or school-at-home here. Of those that school at home it often seems that school is not a very high priority and I wonder how they actually do the curriculum they say they do considering their schedules and numerous activities. I've learned to be selective in what I talk about depending on the people I'm around. I believe I mentioned before how some lady last year made a comment to the effect that I was pushing my son for considering to place him in a program, for which he was in the recommended grade range. I do sometimes like to hear about what others do as I find it interesting. I am happy with what we do though, so unless I'm looking to tweak a certain area then I pay little regard to what someone else says.

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When determining what is "enough" in terms of education, we have to look at expected outcomes. Are you preparing your children for Ivy League education, or a blue collar trade?

I am not sending my kids to college. They can go, if they need it. They can work and pay for if themselves. Just like my husband and I did. Just like my parents did. We are not uneducated. But aside from having a great time, I've never used my education and probably never will. We could live comfortably on my husband's salary if half his income didn't go to pay for my unused and unnecessary education.

I want my kids to use their talents and follow their own path. I don't want them to pursue a career they dislike because it has a good earning potential.

Very few people in my area will graduate from college. Not many people have that dream for their kids.

reading, writing at a 10th grade level, basic math, life skills and a trade. Those are the marks of a good education. Grammar, logic, foreign language? No. Latin? You're kidding.

if you're looking for your kids to have a simple and honest life, academics don't need to be rigorous.

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I agree, though, it's hard to know what, if anything, to say. We do academics. I'm not shoving it in anyone's face at all, but was asked, so there it is. I never bring it up, they do.

It gets easier. The fact that they ask doesn't mean you have to answer with details. When asked what we use, I almost always say, "A little bit of this and a little bit of that, books mostly." Then I change the subject. If I get a vibe that someone might actually share anything remotely like my philosophy, I might offer up more specifics but, generally speaking, I don't expose my HS skivvies for random strangers or casual acquaintances. :D I am still hoping to meet my HS soulmate so I can expose it all! :lol:

 

I need about 20 more people here to tell me the same thing. ;)

My Grandpa had the best advice for me as a child when I thought too much about other people's opinions, both good and bad. He would ask me, "Do you respect them?" He told me never to waste my time fretting over the opinion or behavior of someone I did not respect. If I did respect them, he made sure I reflected on the reason for their opinion and left myself open for change. But if I did not, he encouraged me to dismiss it altogether. Now, obviously we can respect people without respecting all their choices, but the advice still serves me well.

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When determining what is "enough" in terms of education, we have to look at expected outcomes. Are you preparing your children for Ivy League education, or a blue collar trade?

 

 

I am preparing my son to be adaptable and to find a career he is happy with and to be competitive in that field. Not everyone wants to be a blue collar worker.

 

I am not sending my kids to college. They can go, if they need it. They can work and pay for if themselves. Just like my husband and I did. Just like my parents did. We are not uneducated. But aside from having a great time, I've never used my education and probably never will. We could live comfortably on my husband's salary if half his income didn't go to pay for my unused and unnecessary education.

I want my kids to use their talents and follow their own path. I don't want them to pursue a career they dislike because it has a good earning potential.

 

 

I am sure if, god forbid, you found yourself a widow next week you would be thankful for the opportunities a college education will give you to provide for your family. I have many friends who cannot get a job answering a phone because employers want a college degree for that basic job. This is the world we live in.

 

Very few people in my area will graduate from college. Not many people have that dream for their kids.

reading, writing at a 10th grade level, basic math, life skills and a trade. Those are the marks of a good education. Grammar, logic, foreign language? No.

 

Where I live vocational training IS college level. Students who go through technical school earn college credits and are encouraged to continue their education even after they get a job in that field so that they are competitive and will remain competitive. In some fields going on for further education can mean the difference between barely living comfortably (assuming no major health issues) and having more job security. In a few cases another 2 years of school means there salary will be more than doubled.

 

I cannot think of hardly any careers (note, I said career, not job) where a 10th grade education would give someone an edge.

 

Latin? You're kidding.

if you're looking for your kids to have a simple and honest life, academics don't need to be rigorous

 

 

Being fluent in Latin is not an end in and of itself. Studying Latin has many benefits, including an increased understanding of English grammar. A search of these boards will turn up many other benefits.

 

 

My DS wants to learn Ancient Greek. He wants a rigorous education. He wants to start college at 12. As hard as this may be to understand, some people enjoy learning and want a challenge.

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I am preparing my son to be adaptable and to find a career he is happy with and to be competitive in that field. Not everyone wants to be a blue collar worker.

 

 

I am sure if, god forbid, you found yourself a widow next week you would be thankful for the opportunities a college education will give you to provide for your family. I have many friends who cannot get a job answering a phone because employers want a college degree for that basic job. This is the world we live in.

 

 

Where I live vocational training IS college level. Students who go through technical school earn college credits and are encouraged to continue their education even after they get a job in that field so that they are competitive and will remain competitive. In some fields going on for further education can mean the difference between barely living comfortably (assuming no major health issues) and having more job security. In a few cases another 2 years of school means there salary will be more than doubled.

 

I cannot think of hardly any careers (note, I said career, not job) where a 10th grade education would give someone an edge.

 

 

Being fluent in Latin is not an end in and of itself. Studying Latin has many benefits, including an increased understanding of English grammar. A search of these boards will turn up many other benefits.

 

 

My DS wants to learn Ancient Greek. He wants a rigorous education. He wants to start college at 12. As hard as this may be to understand, some people enjoy learning and want a challenge.

 

I think what she was trying to say is that for her area, no, a college degree is not necessary. And of course Latin isn't _necessary_ to a happy and fulfilled life. It can be part of someone's happy and fulfilled life. I think that Latin for Strawberrymama is kind of like hockey for me. I don't do it. My husband doesn't do it. We're not early-team-sports people. Is it possible that we could pop out the next Wayne Gretzky and end up carting the child to rinks at five a.m.? Sure, it's possible. But our plan for the family doesn't include athletics as a huge part. Her plan doesn't include heavy academics.

 

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In determining what is enough for my kids' education, I look at the vast sea of opportunity available to a well-prepared young adult. I don't care if my kids become plumbers or neurosurgeons, but I consider it my responsibility to prepare them for whatever paths they wish to take later, even those that they may not even know exist now. Whether they dream big or dream small, I want them to dream their dreams. I don't want them to be confined by anyone else's narrow view of what's possible. My kids are not smaller versions of me; they have their own destinies. It's not about what I am looking for for them. It's about setting them up to successfully follow whatever path they choose for themselves.

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In determining what is enough for my kids' education, I look at the vast sea of opportunity available to a well-prepared young adult. I don't care if my kids become plumbers or neurosurgeons, but I consider it my responsibility to prepare them for whatever paths they wish to take later, even those that they may not even know exist now. Whether they dream big or dream small, I want them to dream their dreams. I don't want them to be confined by anyone else's narrow view of what's possible. My kids are not smaller versions of me; they have their own destinies. It's not about what I am looking for for them. It's about setting them up to successfully follow whatever path they choose for themselves.

 

Yes, I follow this same philosophy.  There have been a number of posts on here where parents have humanities/artist inclined children.   Yet they still strongly encourage them to study a more rigorous math course through calculus.  One in particular got into the art college of her choice.  Then after the first year she decided it wasn't for her and went on to pursue a career in mathematics!  Had her parents not encouraged higher level mathematics but instead allowed 'her' to decide how far to go she would have never had this opportunity.   And you can bet she was thankful for their guidance during her immature years.  Many times mom and dad do know best as crazy as it seems to young children.

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Fwiw we are studying Latin and Greek. I do give my kids the best education possible. Not as much as some here. But Imo plenty and vastly more than what they would receive at any of the public or private schools here.

I'm an entrepreneur. I've worked in 4 separate career fields. Only one required a degree. If/when I go back to work, my degree won't get me the job. My experience will.

I'm not against college. I went twice. I'm against the idea that everyone needs an advanced degree to be moderately successful.

my point was that not everyone has the same goals in life. Not everyone is going to agree on what an adequate education consists of. If another parent thinks journal writing and reading novels is a completely adequate education, I don't think anyone has a right to tell her she's wrong.

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Fwiw we are studying Latin and Greek. I do give my kids the best education possible. Not as much as some here. But Imo plenty and vastly more than what they would receive at any of the public or private schools here.

I'm an entrepreneur. I've worked in 4 separate career fields. Only one required a degree. If/when I go back to work, my degree won't get me the job. My experience will.

I'm not against college. I went twice. I'm against the idea that everyone needs an advanced degree to be moderately successful.

my point was that not everyone has the same goals in life. Not everyone is going to agree on what an adequate education consists of. If another parent thinks journal writing and reading novels is a completely adequate education, I don't think anyone has a right to tell her she's wrong.

 

I'll admit to not knowing what unschool families typically do as I've never met one.   Though as a young child I went to a private 'Free School' for a period of time.  And I'm pretty sure it followed this same interest led educational philosophy.  The teachers stood around and asked us kids what we were interested in learning. Me, all I wanted to do was play!  Learn the three R's, are you kidding?!?  :tongue_smilie:  I was a bit of a rebel to say the least and needed more structure.  When asked what I thought of it I basically told my mom I wasn't learning anything and that ended that experiment.

 

In looking at your Blog it definitely doesn't look like this somewhat extreme case you've described above.  I have a hard time imagining any parent in the 21st century saying that's all that they do and it's perfectly adequate in preparing their children for their future.  Maybe within certain cultures or tribes where a formal education is unnecessary to enter certain careers it is much more common.  There will always be exceptions to the rule where someone with let's say a 7th grade equivalent education went on to become a successful business man or women.  But I think those are definitely the exceptions rather than the rule in modern society statistically speaking.  There are correlations between high poverty areas and education levels.

 

I am not saying unschoolers do not educate their children as I admit I really don't know all that is involved with it and I would imagine it varies quite a bit.  For example someone could use it as an excuse to simply do nothing or very little vs. something much more involved.  I'm just not sure what that 'more involved' might look like to achieve a more positive outcome = well balance, educated young adult.  :confused:

 

I'm also not one to think the child knows best, though I do like to elicit their input when selecting curriculum which helps in tailoring programs to their learning style.  I find that this gives them a sense of ownership in whatever they study.  If one expresses interest in something extracurricular I will help them foster that interest.  For example ds12 wanted to learn more about programming since that is what I do.  So I began teaching him to do simple programming using games with the help of books like Game Maker's Apprentice.  While I think the child's interest provides great learning opportunities and teachable moments I couldn't imagine replacing all subjects with only interest led learning.  I hated English and grammar for example while growing up.   But even as a software engineer I am now asked to compose white papers, business plans and other technical documents.  I explain to ds12 the importance of good writing skills even in more technical STEM oriented careers which he is also interested in.  Still, if left up to him I think he would skip writing altogether.

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Those are the marks of a good education. Grammar, logic, foreign language? No. Latin? You're kidding.

if you're looking for your kids to have a simple and honest life, academics don't need to be rigorous.

 

 

Fwiw we are studying Latin and Greek. I do give my kids the best education possible. Not as much as some here. But Imo plenty and vastly more than what they would receive at any of the public or private schools here.

 

You seem a bit... confused.

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The people who identify as unschoolers in our area are VERY vocal about their choices and are the 'face' of homeschooling to many around here.

 

There is one family who take the lead in the group.  They follow the Moore's rather late than early philosophy.  The kids do a lot of crafts and manual work, take care of a large menagerie of animals and the boys are great wrestlers.

They do very little of what they call 'formal' school and their 13yo son is just starting to read.  I think his illiteracy has become embarrassing amongst his high school peers so he is pushing for this.  The younger kids are following along.   They are covering Sonlight's Core C books this year and the elder two are doing MUS Gamma.

 

Many people are pulling their kids from ps for high school.  The universities require a matric certificate for entry and the route to this is through formal examination, so the homeschoolers heading for tertiary education are going the distance learning and accredited exam route.

 

I'm not sure that there are more unschoolers, but they certainly are much more vocal than those of us quietly going our rigorous and eclectic way.

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Do you mean in terms of percentage of children not in school, Ellie?  Because surely there are more unschoolers (and homeschoolers and classical homeschoolers and so forth) than 30 years ago.

 

What I've seen among my friends is that many of us started out leaning toward unschooling and as children have gotten a little older, more of the families I know have gotten more structured so that one wouldn't call them unschoolers anymore.  But not all.  We definitely know many unschooling families as well.

 

I also think geography has at least something to do with it and there are more in certain areas and less in others.

  

This was our experience. Most toddlers are unschooled by default. There is often a gradual shift towards more structured learning as kids get older. We largely unschooled until 3rd grade. I didn't unschool my second kid at all. Now I'm thinking about going back in that direction for my youngers. 

 

It seems to me that many families who started out more interest-led have added structure in or sent the kids to school as families have gotten larger and kids have gotten older or life has changed in big ways- moving across the country, divorce. For me, unschooling one kid was fine, 2 kids was hard, and 3 kids, not really possible. My views of education have shifted, as well. 

 

It's definitely not common here. I have only known a handful of unschoolers, and unschooling here looks nothing like what people on this board describe. When I first started, in the attachment parenting/ gentle discipline community especially, unschooling was a hot topic, and everyone incorporated it, at least a little. It was that or school-at-home, and we certainly didn't want that :) Radical unschooling was not a thing, at least not that I'm aware of. Holt, Gatto and Dodd were mandatory reading for everyone considering home education. 

Now, it seems there's a push towards outsourcing. CC and K12 are the way of the future.Everyone wants to hire someone to teach their kids. When I was getting in the game, we didn't have or want those options. What's the point of keeping them home so you can have someone else teach them, or tell you what to teach? Where's the freedom in that?

 

This was also our experience. We firmly decided to home school when DD was only just 1 within a year identified as RU. As DD matured & expressed her interests & personality it became obvious that a structured approach was needed for our family sanity. DS has had much less of an unschooled environment & likely will have even less as we go on.

Unschoolers as a group are VERY prominent here although there are a handful of unashamedly school at home folks too. Whilst we definitely don't fit the unschool label anymore, we are still much more relaxed than the few school at home families we know irl.

Interestingly now that DD is approaching 3rd grade age more families of her age peers are starting a gradual slide away from unschooling so I think Farrawilliams theory holds true.

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They can go, if they need it. They can work and pay for if themselves. Just like my husband and I did. Just like my parents did.

I believed this, too, until my daughter turned 17 and we started looking into colleges (when she was a junior in high school; she's 19 now and starts university next month). The days of working your way through college are gone. My (state) university's tuition has gone up 200% in 20 years. My dh's (private) university's tuition has gone up 250% in 20 years. Wages have stagnated or fallen for most people. It's just not possible to work your way through unless you plan for it to take a decade to complete your degree.

 

I am not "sending my daughter to college." We can't afford it. We are giving her an EXTREMELY modest amount per year. The rest she has to figure out on her own. It would be ludicrous for her to take out loans for the remaining amount. LUCKILY, my daughter received a HUGE scholarship. She has learning disabilities and bombed her ACT (repeatedly), but she went to a college-prep school for kids who needed intensive intervention to be college-ready, and the school has a network of small and private universities they work with. They have a good track record with their graduates, so these schools are interested in bringing the kids to campus.

 

I consider my daughter's situation an anomaly and not a "see, it can be done" story. Basically, if you can't pay for your kids to go to school, they will have to get massive scholarships. Working their way through won't cut it if they want a four-year degree.

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