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Curious..were any of you unschoolers at one time?


paulcindy
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We were unschoolers (although we were not classical; no one had "invented" that yet back in the 80s :D). We didn't really stop; dds just went on to the next thing, which for them was community college at 14yo. I guess unschooling worked for us.:001_smile:

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I am classical when it comes to learning Latin and math and the read alouds I plan, but I'm unschoolish about everything else. I tend to be LCC with unschoolish tendencies. However, there's unschooling and then there's unschoolish . . . I am more collaborative with my kids. We meet and I tell them my vision for the year and they tell me what interests them and what they like and don't like and then we work out a plan for a semester or year. There's compromise and give and take. They get some ownership in their education. But I expect them to be actively learning whether it's following a curriculum, a reading plan, an outside class, educational games, etc. I am not the type of unschooler who is trying to rationalize learning from playing videogames nonstop, though you'd be surprised how much you can learn from that! But to me it is too inefficient for the amount of time and bad habits that kind of thing creates.

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Yes! We'd still be unschoolers if my DH felt the same way as I do. He let me make the curriculum choices, and the tweaking of said curriculum, for years. He supported us when I suggested we dump curriculum. But I started working outside the home and he was spending more time with the kids. He discovered some gaps in their education, knowledge he believed they should know, and his understanding of unschooling crumpled.

 

I personally have a problem with the idea that a certain amount of knowledge needs to be imparted by certain ages. I think a traditional education is quite silly when it forces a child to study something they don't find interesting and prevents them from pursuing an interest because it's not in the current scope and sequence. I detest testing, especially when students are prepped for the tests. I've personally seen my children grow to hate reading because of school assignments. The more they do school, the less they seem to pursue learning on their own. They are becoming dependent on the hand-feeding that school provides. It makes me rather sad actually.

 

However, I should add that I *LOVE* schoolish things. I always have. I responded very well to school as a kid although I hated high school because of the atmosphere. I absolutely adore college classes and would be a professional student if money were no object. I also have loved homeschooling my 2 younger children, especially in their elementary years when everything schoolish was fun. Middle school is just not fun, no matter how I try to make it so.

 

So now the kids are enrolled in K12 again. DH oversees their work though I help them with their actual lessons. He knows I'm lenient because I find much of the schoolish stuff to be stupid busy work. I admit I get angry sometimes when I see that my children are not retaining the material. I feel it's such a waste of time and energy when they aren't really learning it. But DH feels that is what school is about and that one day they will remember the material. It's because he's the type of person to remember everything he's encountered both in experience and in reading/hearing. He doesn't pay attention to the fact that I'm not like that at all and that maybe our kids aren't either.

 

But they are doing well for the expectations heaped on them. They pass their tests and write their essays well. They are as good at schooling as they are at unschooling.

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If you were, why did you decide to stop unschooling? What was the best part? What was the worst part?

 

I feel so confused about this.

 

I was unschooled. I did not differentiate between learning and living; I did not compartmentalize education. Now that I have kids, I find that, if I don't compartmentalize, I plan what they learn the same way I plan what they eat and what they wear. But "that's not unschooling." I don't get it. Life involves learning. Life involves planning.

 

What was the best part of unschooling? Um... learning. Being in hot pursuit of a juicy skill or bit of info. That was WONDERFUL.

 

What was the worst part? The responsibility. Kicking myself into gear. Self-discipline. It was hard. It's still hard. I guess it always will be hard. I've learned, since, that I have it easier than many of my schooled peers. They can kick themselves into action towards all kinds of weird random carrots, but they have no idea which way to go if left to themselves without any dangling carrots. Given freedom, they just sit. Give me freedom, and I run. It burns like the dickens, but I run.

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So, Dragons, I have often wondered, why don't you unschool your kids?

 

The definition of unschooling that was going around before the non-coercive parenting types got a hold of it and twisted it to mean "becoming completely child-centered in every possible way," was, "including kids in your life and trusting them to get good at life instead of making them do this thing we call, 'education,' but which is really not, 'education,' since that is supposed to mean life-prep exercises and there's nothing really life-prep-ish about it."

 

I learned that 1) education does not mean life prep exercises, but soul-edifying exercises, 2) there's nothing hurtful about doing truly life-prep exercises if it's in a meaningful context like real life and the exercises are created collaboratively. Because my real life includes these soul-edifying exercises and is kind of academic in ways, the same evolutionary impulse that drives my kids on to collaboratively create life-prep exercises with me also drives them to willingly, happily, and meaningfully study Latin and math with me.

 

Or, I am unschooling them.

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I'm there with you Rose (or should I call you Ms. Dragon? Empress Dragon Bee?!) On the one hand I am totally of the philosophy that living and learning naturally go hand in hand. It's how I live and I've watched it work with my kids. Yet I don't align myself with the totally child centered crowd and am quite "guilty" of mothering my kids by planning food, clothing and reading lists and skills they need to learn. My kids are quite capable of rigorous self-discipline and are regarded but folk outside the family as being very responsible, but they've needed my nagging and coercion to actually master some of necessary life skills like writing and math and cleaning the bathrooms.

 

The WTM made sense to me starting in the logic stage. I never had a kid who would memorize lists of spelling and grammar rules or lists of kings and dynasties as is suggested for the grammar stage. Never. From pre-K to about 4th-5th grade school was about reading, doing some math (Miquon or Singapore), reading some more, letting the kids create whatever stuck their fancy, and exploring the world. It was a special and magical time.

 

Starting around 4th or 5th grade I introduced more and more of the WTM, but my kids have had lots of room to explore their interests so our homeschool doesn't look very "classical" nor does it look "unschooly" but it is pragmatic and eclectic and has allowed my kids to thrive. High school is proving to be another magical and special time as my kids see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize with adulthood looming on the horizon that they themselves are responsible for creating their futures. It is terrific watching them bloom.

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I was all set to be pretty much unschooling and child-led. But, DS is weird, lol. About a month ago I mentioned his learning tendencies to some people in our unschooling homeschool group. They immediately suggested I read TWTM.

 

At 6yo DS had pretty much picked out a 1st grade WTM schedule. At his request we were already finishing up Singapore, SOTW 1, various biology topics, random memorization work, and a spelling program. He had also requested we get SOTW 2 and geology/ astronomy stuff for this summer.

 

So now I'm kind of following TWTM, because DS loves the suggestions in it. Seriously, he was jumping up and down excited about memorizing the Egyptian pharoahs! Anyway, he's crazy, but you gotta love the enthusiasm.

 

So now, I'm just not sure. Are we classically schooling or unschooling? :lol:

 

 

Katherine

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and the neighbor kid (same age) was reading Harry Potter; I knew it was time to give up not teaching my kid to read. Ds's self-worth was suffering and I was NOT going to let my kid feel dumb because his mother was too dumb to teach him. (I went to a homeschooling conference in the Berkshires and heard a talk about letting your dc teach themselves to read.)

 

We did a relaxed approach to homeschooling K-3 with both my dc and I don't regret that.

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Yep, I was. Then I realized that my kids could still love learning even if I did choose curriculum and books and have a schedule. I still try to keep things flexible. For example, I have a weekly schedule rather than a daily one and let them pick which subjects they want to do that day. We all like this better.

 

Reading The Well-Trained Mind really changed my perspective. I had avoided reading it for several years (which I regret) because I thought it outlined a child unfriendly method of force-fed learning. Boy was I wrong! :tongue_smilie:

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I'm there with you Rose (or should I call you Ms. Dragon? Empress Dragon Bee?!) On the one hand I am totally of the philosophy that living and learning naturally go hand in hand. It's how I live and I've watched it work with my kids. Yet I don't align myself with the totally child centered crowd and am quite "guilty" of mothering my kids by planning food, clothing and reading lists and skills they need to learn.

 

Oh, no. It's dragons, as in, I embody the entire archetype. :)

Edited by dragons in the flower bed
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Yep, I was. Then I realized that my kids could still love learning even if I did choose curriculum and books and have a schedule.

 

I wasn't going to comment on this thread because I am not and have never been an unschooler. But I just can't resist. The thing that unschoolers always tout (those I know) is they are building their children's love of learning, their self-motivation. My son LOVES school. We are eclectic, not completely classical, but I just had another homeschool mom ask me yesterday, "What do you do that makes your son love school so much?". It is hard for me to answer that, but I definitely choose the curriculum and books and have at least a concept of a schedule :001_smile:. It does not prevent kids from loving to learn.

 

I think schooling methods are just like curriculums they need to fit the teacher and the student. If they fit and are embraced by both, they can all work, thats why they all still exist.

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We started out as unschoolers when I had a 3 year old and a baby. My first exposure was to John Holt's Growing Without Schooling. Most of the families I was meeting were more on the unschooling side of the spectrum. My oldest loved to be read to from birth and we spent at least 2 hours a day reading aloud (in spurts, of course.) He had SOOO many interests. He loved the Discovery Channel programs on animals. Shark week was his favorite. So, it was great fun following his interests. We did math by playing games, using manipulatives and just living. We went on field trips, did nature walks and lived and breathed learning. As he got older, we added a math book and checked out library books at least 50 at a time. Sometime in there, he taught himself to read (while 100EZ lessons was sitting on the shelf waiting for the following fall.) The baby came along for the ride and learned a lot too. I knew that eventually, he would need a more structured math program and some writing instruction as he was a reluctant writer (great at narrating, but hated writing. It wasn't a fine-motor skill issue, but a "have these big ideas, but how do I get them all on paper?" issue.

 

I read TWTM when my oldest was 6 and I was pregnant with my 3rd child. We began to let go of unschooling for many reasons. Partly due to my fear of gaps and holes in his education and partly due to some issues in the family. My 3 year old, who was always a little difficult, somewhat clingy and a terrible sleeper, started having 8 - 10 supertantrums a day - so I just didn't have the energy to do all the fun things. Other moms were starting to get worried about me because, when I did show up at stuff, I was a wreck. The third child really upset the apple cart as far as me having the energy to do as much of the fun stuff. I slowly began adding structure, just so that we didn't watch TV for 6 hours a day. We never fully implemented TWTM, but we took what worked for us and left the rest. It was way too intense for us.

 

In many ways, I really miss our unschooling days. Everyday was a delight. However, having a special needs child (middle son ended up having sensory and auditory issues that took up a ton of my energy) and my own health issues that came about as a result of my sleep deprivation and stress took a toll on my ability to unschool well. Also, I began to see that they needed more adult led instruction in areas of weakness, such as writing. Having early, voracious readers really made writing difficult. How do you get a 6 year old to do a narration when he is reading novels? How do you get him to write a summary of a 300 page book? Or a 50 page chapter?

 

I feel like school right now is so boring. My kids are not enjoying school and we seem to have lost our passion, but none of them want to go to school. I am in a quandry about how to make it work again. I am hoping to have a refreshing, energizing summer and see how I can help us find that spark. It is so hard maintaining a passion for learning while at the same time answering to the pressure of creating a college transcript.

 

Sorry for the longwinded answer. I just needed to get that out. Also, I am PMSing so everything seems negative right now.

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Having early, voracious readers really made writing difficult. How do you get a 6 year old to do a narration when he is reading novels? How do you get him to write a summary of a 300 page book? Or a 50 page chapter?

 

My almost-9yo really loathes writing. She read Robinson Crusoe (adaptation) yesterday and today. I asked her to tell me three things she remembered from the story and her favorite part. She ended up giving a narration for the whole story, while I wrote down what she said. Maybe that could work?

 

I feel like school right now is so boring. My kids are not enjoying school and we seem to have lost our passion, but none of them want to go to school. I am in a quandry about how to make it work again. I am hoping to have a refreshing, energizing summer and see how I can help us find that spark. It is so hard maintaining a passion for learning while at the same time answering to the pressure of creating a college transcript.

 

Sorry for the longwinded answer. I just needed to get that out. Also, I am PMSing so everything seems negative right now.

 

You sound exhausted! I was at that place this past winter. My thyroid was giving me grief and I was sooooo wiped out. Now that I'm on thyroid meds I feel much better. It's definitely tough to keep going when you aren't well! I hope things improve for you. :)

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I just don't know how to unschool, and still have them be ready for college and adult life. I like what Faithr and Dragons have said in this thread. Gets me thinking again.

 

I will sheepishly admit :blushing: that I was one of those people who understood uncshooling to be completely child-centered. It worked for us, for a while, and I felt like my kids were learning what they were supposed to learn, and they were at least even with their same-aged peers. I am not interested in that type of unschooling at this point, but I'm not sure what else it can look like. It is like I can only see two extremes (classical or radical unschooling), but I would really be happiest somewhere in between, but closer to the unschooling end. I guess I sort of have found that, because we don't follow a very strict schedule, and I try to keep lessons short so that they have plenty of time to follow their hearts. But that gets harder the older they get.

 

Why I stopped unschooling...My eldest child was 7 years old when my fourth child was born. I was very overwhelmed and felt like I didn't really have as good of a handle on what my kids knew anymore. My 7 year old wasn't reading yet, and the neighborhood kids started teasing my kids because they didn't "know what 2+2" was. My kids started asking to go to school, because the neighborhood kids were saying they wouldn't learn anything if they didn't go to school. Plus, at church, they were having to write their name on their papers, etc., and they couldn't do this. It wasn't an issue, but I didn't want them to be embarassed.

 

I had read WTM a year or two before that, and part of me had wanted to school that way, but I hadn't implemented it, because the other part of me loved unschooling, and I just didn't think my ds was ready for seatwork. I already owned Phonics Pathways and I went to the local home school store and picked out a math, got Spelling Workout, and found SOTW. I planned on working through these in a very relaxed manner, so it would still be like unschooling, in a way.

 

Basically, I guess I wanted a plan to follow; I stopped trusting that they would get what they needed by following their own interests.

 

Anyway...

 

The best part about unschooling to me is that it felt so free. If we wanted to go to the park, we went to the park. I never felt like I couldn't do XYZ because we had schoolwork to do, like I do now. And believe me, I take a lot of days off of school for other stuff! I was also amazed at what my dc learned without any direct teaching, unless they asked me about something. Of course, they were very young, and I know that things are different as we get older and need to prepare for adulthood.

 

There was no worst part for me, other than what I outlined above about feeling out of touch with my dc's progress, or having their academic progress be hodge-podge. Having some type of book to work through gives me more certainty of what they know, or at least what I am trying to get them to know.

 

I want to add, also, that even though my kids often don't want to do their schoolwork (well that's mainly the middle two), I know they appreciate the knowledge they have gained from what we do. My 13-yo said the other day, "Sweeping the floor is kind of like school work. I dread it, but once I get started, it's not that bad." Warms a home school mom's heart. :D

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I just don't know how to unschool, and still have them be ready for college and adult life. I like what Faithr and Dragons have said in this thread. Gets me thinking again.

 

I will sheepishly admit :blushing: that I was one of those people who understood uncshooling to be completely child-centered. It worked for us, for a while, and I felt like my kids were learning what they were supposed to learn, and they were at least even with their same-aged peers. I am not interested in that type of unschooling at this point, but I'm not sure what else it can look like. It is like I can only see two extremes (classical or radical unschooling)

 

I could have written this part and have never seen anyone else talk about being drawn to both unschooling and classical education because it sounds like an oxymoron, but that is me.

 

When I first started hsing, I had two toddlers and was pregnant and pulled my oldest son out of 4th grade public school. It was spring so I let him deschool and was going to use the time until fall to research hsing and figure out what we were going to do. Well, I fell in love with the idea of unschooling and dh freaked so I bought Calvert to appease him. By that time I had an infant and two little ones and Calvert was way too much and I was extremely stressed out, hating homeschooling. That's when dh could see that his idea of what school should look like wasn't going to happen without making everyone miserable and told me he supported whatever I wanted to do, so I went back to reading about unschooling and read way too much Sandra Dodd and articles from others in the radical, "child-centered", unschooling camp.

 

Anyway, I won't go into the whole long story, but we spent two years gradually changing our method of unschooling and then we started getting a little more structured, but still very relaxed. Slowly every year we became more structured and have become more and more classical. Classical to me embraces the same love of learning and curiosity about the world that unschooling does. But, yes, they are completely different philosophies and it's not really possible to do both.

 

What's funny now is I'm the one planning Latin, literature, and worrying over this and that, while my dh has totally embraced unschooling, thinks the kids learn so much in a stimulating, literature rich environment, no matter if we do "school" or not, and is the one keeping me in check when I worry if we're doing enough.

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I could have written this part and have never seen anyone else talk about being drawn to both unschooling and classical education because it sounds like an oxymoron, but that is me.

 

 

I am as well.

 

What it came down to for me is that I have too many children and too many with learning disabilities (all 3 are the same but with different severities.) Unschooling takes a rich, varies environment with the ability to access the community for many things. I don't have that.

 

That doesn't mean I can't embrace the spirit of unschooling - children are learning all the time! However, I can't "strew" well enough in our circumstances to really make unschooling work - around here it would look more like "non-schooling."

 

My 15yo would be a GREAT unschooler, but he has always be in school. He has a saying - "When school begins, education ends." :lol:

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My almost-9yo really loathes writing. She read Robinson Crusoe (adaptation) yesterday and today. I asked her to tell me three things she remembered from the story and her favorite part. She ended up giving a narration for the whole story, while I wrote down what she said. Maybe that could work?

 

Well, there was the rub. Narrations could all day. I would be furiously writing down what he said and find out that we had only narrated one chapter and he had read the entire book! My oldest is now 15 and writes decently. He will probably never be a fantastic writer, nor will it ever be his favorite thing (a necessary evil in his mind:)). However, through tears and gnashing of teeth over the last 5 years, he can at least get his ideas down on paper and organize his thoughts. His SAT essays for the last 2 years were middle of the road, not zeroes.

 

You sound exhausted! I was at that place this past winter. My thyroid was giving me grief and I was sooooo wiped out. Now that I'm on thyroid meds I feel much better. It's definitely tough to keep going when you aren't well! I hope things improve for you. :)

 

Exhaustion is my perpetual state. I am on thyroid meds, but I went undiagnosed for so long that my andrenals are messed up. This problem, of course, is much trickier to treat. We have had a difficult year - 2 deaths on my husband's side of the family, a breakdown of the school year due to my panic over trying to a homeschool a very bright, but unmotivated student, said student being treated for depression, yada yada yada. I just can't wait until June 15 when we can close the books and, no matter what, say "YEAH, WE ARE DONE." We have not done that in two years.

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If you were, why did you decide to stop unschooling? What was the best part? What was the worst part?

 

I consider myself an unschooler.

We "home educate".

Because school is, after all, not something we want to emulate.

 

If we want to go the park because it is sunny (rare) - we go.

We study the bugs and blooms and I call that science!

This week we drove 40 minutes to the state park that was offering a Spring Break Camp from 8:30 to noon Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

 

Because it was such a drive and a short day - my baby and I stayed there and walked around on our own, nursed in the car, he would fall asleep - I read a good book.

 

But the point is - she learned ALOT about this native area. We are new to these hills and this was what she really needed. Everyday we came home and she grabbed the National Audobon Society's Field Guide for this area and sat on a blanket in the yard and copied all the names of plants, bugs, birds....that she had seen that day (or ever in her life)....into the little composition notebook that they gave her.

 

If I was on of those "everything is planned in advance" types, we would not have had the freedom to do this. We are constantly in a state of educating. In the car we practice our list of prepositions, when we go to the store I let dd pay and have her estimate her change in advance.

 

When we set up a small yard sale last weekend (because we had soooo much traffic on our road due to the neighbor's yard sale) my dd handled all the money. She practiced counting back change. Everyone commented on that! They were excited to see that in this modern age of calculators and cash registers.

 

Unschooling FOR ME just means that we don't try to educate like modern schools. Yes, we do worksheets that I print for free on line, because she needs to know how to read and follow instructions and think on her own. And I do "test" her. But not for a grade. I want to know what she can do in a "formal" setting and whatever she gets wrong she corrects.

 

She didn't really read until she was 10. Yes, before that she could sound out (struggle with) a few basic Dr. Seuss books. I didn't stress over it. Now she reads all the time (almost 12yo) FOR FUN.

 

When people would get nasty and judge us - I was always shocked to to then see that THEIR homes had no books. Our home is FILLED with them. Even before dd could read, she was a lover of books. Always flipping through the pages looking at the pictures. Some kids love books LONG before they know how to read.

 

I hate the word "unschooling" because some people think it's means "no educating." We home educate and as such our learning takes place in the real world far more often than at our kitchen table.

 

The best part: it works for us because we are always researching and reading and learning and exploring....... All of my college electives were science, I love the world and understanding how small bits and pieces work. I love having a question answered because I searched out the answer. I know how to use the library and the internet to study the world around me. I want my kids to know the same.

 

The worst part: the word itself sucks and we need a better word for it.

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If I was on of those "everything is planned in advance" types, we would not have had the freedom to do this. We are constantly in a state of educating. In the car we practice our list of prepositions, when we go to the store I let dd pay and have her estimate her change in advance.

 

Our schedule is flexible. :) We take days off to do field trips or enjoy the day. The schedules are for me to know what topics each of my children have been introduced to. :)

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I wasn't going to comment on this thread because I am not and have never been an unschooler. But I just can't resist. The thing that unschoolers always tout (those I know) is they are building their children's love of learning, their self-motivation. My son LOVES school. We are eclectic, not completely classical, but I just had another homeschool mom ask me yesterday, "What do you do that makes your son love school so much?". It is hard for me to answer that, but I definitely choose the curriculum and books and have at least a concept of a schedule :001_smile:. It does not prevent kids from loving to learn.

 

I think schooling methods are just like curriculums they need to fit the teacher and the student. If they fit and are embraced by both, they can all work, thats why they all still exist.

 

:iagree:

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I have read several books by John Gatto and Holt however I still can't fully trust the method of unschooling. We have belonged to an unschooling play group for about two years however we may discontinue soon. I have found that many of the younger children 5-8yrs refuse to take direction (even if interested) in a class (swimming/dance/music). They simply do not want to be told to do anything. Their lack of consistency or discipline in pursuing an interest seems to fuel feelings of underachievement. The older children 9-12yrs seem more level headed but again lack any sense of drive for extended periods. On the surface unschooling seems ideal but I am not buying it 100%. I feel on the negative side, taken to extremes, unschooling could be called the "Pippi Longstocking syndrome." Who is Pippi as an adult? On the positive side, unschooling can be incredibly rich. We homeschool moms are in a way unschooling our way to being a "teacher." I certainly follow my children's interests (we compile a list of interests and I build unit studies around these themes) however I also require them to read, write, do math and follow direction. New term for unschooling but with direction (contradiction in terms) could be independent learning. My .02

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Classical to me embraces the same love of learning and curiosity about the world that unschooling does. But, yes, they are completely different philosophies and it's not really possible to do both.

 

 

I disagree about it being impossible to do both.

 

Unschooling the John Holt way = being a companion as the child learns to fit him or herself to the world

 

Unschooling the Sandra Dodd way = rearranging as much of the world as you have access to, to fit your child's learning preferences and needs

 

Classical education = the study of classical languages and literature and the cultures from which they arose, with not a practical goal but a lofty one of liberating a person

 

Why couldn't a person do the first (Holt unschooling) and the last (classical ed) of those activities at the same time?

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Rose, I love your post! I have always admired John Holt and had major issues with Sandra Dodd and you have encapsulated the difference perfectly! And that is exactly why I feel I can be classical and unschool. They are the two types of education that I am passionately drawn to and I am fully convinced they do complement each other.

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II have found that many of the younger children 5-8yrs refuse to take direction (even if interested) in a class (swimming/dance/music). They simply do not want to be told to do anything. Their lack of consistency or discipline in pursuing an interest seems to fuel feelings of underachievement. The older children 9-12yrs seem more level headed but again lack any sense of drive for extended periods.

 

What you describe is not what I call unschooling, but unparenting. When we were following a more unschooling lifestyle, I would never have put up with that kind of behavior. Even though we followed my child's lead on what to study, my kids still knew how to behave. While I met several families who practiced unschooling combined with unparenting, I have to say that most of the families I dealt with put self-discipline as a high prioritiy.

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We started that way. I still love John Holt's writings. We have, also, tried public school for various reasons (such as when I was in College/University).

 

Unschooling worked well for us and my husband totally liked it. But, honestly I just wanted my kids to learn more math and writing skills. Then I became interested in doing at least one cycle of History because I felt like I lacked in that area. I'm a nerd and was a little bored at times. So, now we are slowly adding more work to our days. I find the boys behavior is a little better.

 

I think a huge part of the change, for me, is that my husband did not receive a good education or encouragement to love learning. He really struggles with supporting us financially. I just worry that coupled with unschooling could be a downfall to my boys in the future.

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I disagree about it being impossible to do both.

 

Unschooling the John Holt way = being a companion as the child learns to fit him or herself to the world

 

Unschooling the Sandra Dodd way = rearranging as much of the world as you have access to, to fit your child's learning preferences and needs

 

Classical education = the study of classical languages and literature and the cultures from which they arose, with not a practical goal but a lofty one of liberating a person

 

Why couldn't a person do the first (Holt unschooling) and the last (classical ed) of those activities at the same time?

 

Well, that is a great thought to chew on. You have me digging my Holt books off of the bookcase.

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I disagree about it being impossible to do both.

 

Unschooling the John Holt way = being a companion as the child learns to fit him or herself to the world

 

Unschooling the Sandra Dodd way = rearranging as much of the world as you have access to, to fit your child's learning preferences and needs

 

Classical education = the study of classical languages and literature and the cultures from which they arose, with not a practical goal but a lofty one of liberating a person

 

Why couldn't a person do the first (Holt unschooling) and the last (classical ed) of those activities at the same time?

 

The only kind of "unschooling" I have read about is Sandra Dodd's way. I recently got a book of John Holt's from the library and I think I am going to put it on the top of my "want to read" stack.

 

Another book that has really helped me recently is

 

What the Rest of Us Can Learn from Homeschooling: How A+ Parents Can Give Their Traditionally Schooled Kids the Academic Edge by Linda Dobson. It wasn't written for homeschoolers, but it WAS written for me!:D

Edited by Renee in FL
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Yes, I completely agree that John Holt and TWTM or whatever classical aspirations you have are compatible. I really do not see anywhere in his reading anything about children being totally self-led with no boundaries. I do see a lot of love from a man who wanted to change how we see the education of our children.

 

I really miss when Susan did more blogging on her "average" school days. I saw a lot of that balance in their for her children.

 

I see that for my oldest who at this point is a grammar age child even though he is 12. I still have a great guide for us. But, I know I don't have to rush him because he should be in logic stage. He just isn't there. I don't think it's because of the unschooling we did either. I think it's more because of his special needs and us trying to figure out how to be a family around those needs.

 

The radical unschoolers would say he should be allowed to follow his interests or play his video games. Honestly we did try that. But, it failed him and when something fails a child, it fails us all.

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Great posts, Dragons in the Flowerbed. Hmm.. I may have thought that John Holt's were the same as Sandra Dodd's at some point. I've only read one John Holt book, but I'm going to borrow another one from the library.

 

I basically unschooled ds from birth until five years old. When he turned five, we started doing Kindergarten in a more formal way. I felt he needed the discipline and the structure. I have seen him grow and mature steadily and his attention span increasing. He's learning about having a work ethic, about doing his best, about turning in good work, the value of time, time management.. all in small steps and on a daily basis.

 

Charlotte Mason's writings have struck a chord within me. Short, structured lessons to build attention span and provide discipline, and free afternoons for unstructured play, to pursue projects and activities and plenty of time outdoors. Work before play is taught here too. So far I'm learning as much as ds is. I still have to learn more about proper habit training and masterly inactivity, but I already see ds blossoming with this method (as I thought he would).

 

I feel I can't totally unschool as I don't have a good dose self-discipline to carry it out and dh and I would worry too much about gaps -- and, although this sounds petty and unimportant, we do like to have ds know enough when he's being quizzed by head-shaking grandparents who already think we are weirdos by homeschooling. As it is, they are impressed that he can read so well for his age. It boosts my self confidence as a teaching mama, and keeps me joyfully plugging along.

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What you describe is not what I call unschooling, but unparenting. When we were following a more unschooling lifestyle, I would never have put up with that kind of behavior.

 

I have also seen well-behaved, well-disciplined unschoolers, and have wondered how the parents were able to strike that balance (discipline is something I struggle with!) With my own kids, however, I have found my 1st dd fit the description of this statement: "Their lack of consistency or discipline in pursuing an interest seems to fuel feelings of underachievement." After trying a host of methods, I finally decided she needed the structure and discipline that I could enforce through textbooks. I do see her confidence and motivation climb when she masters a new skill (like reading!) We've had to force this kid to learn to ride a bike without training wheels, how to read, and everything else. She just has to be forced. I don't like it, but that's how it is with her. Now with my 2nd dd, she could easily unschool. She handed books to me at age 4, and repeated every line I said, pointing to each word in an effort to teach herself to read. She has strong interests that are easy to pursue. I do use the textbook method with her, too, because it's easier for me to teach this way...but unschooling her wouldn't be impossible, and it is something I have considered.

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