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Thread: Deschooling?

  1. #1

    Default Deschooling?

    So I homeschooled DS15 and DD12 for the last 4 years. DS15 was hard to get to do schoolwork, but he was otherwise easy because he just loved being home. DD12 and I are just really similar so it was easy to homeschool her because she loves the same things I do and our brains work in the same way. So now DS9 is home and it is a constant struggle. I don't want to make schoolwork overwhelming as he was just in a very strict school environment, but even getting him to read becomes an impossibility.

    We have lots of books, so he I give him the option of any book in the house or magazine, fiction or non-fiction and he still fights me on it. He won't let me read to him. It is not an issue of comprehension. He can read fluently to me from the Wizard of Oz. So I am trying to figure out what to do.

    I am letting him watch lots of educational tv, we are doing a lot of games. Should I just forget all schoolwork for now and just do the education tv and the games and if yes for how long? I feel silly as a seasoned homeschooler asking these questions, but he is just such a completely different learner from his siblings. I think he might be a genius, and I don't say that to be braggy, but I think it makes it harder to figure out how to teach him. Also he has a lot of anxiety which he refuses to talk about and when he went to counseling in the past, the recommendation was to put him in school. I do not believe that is the answer, but am leery of counseling for that reason. Thanks in advance!
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

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  3. #2

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    I sort of had some of the same problems with my two boys. My oldest has extreme anxiety and was in public school until the beginning of sixth grade. Bringing him home did wonders for his stress level and actually improved his social abilities because we could introduce social situations in small doses. He really needs a lot of structure and responds well to traditional reading/worksheet type of work (though he dislikes it) so "deschooling" actually seemed to increase his anxiety.

    My younger son doesn't have the anxiety, but he also has a very different learning style than me or my older son. While your use of educational videos and games may seem less effective academically, for my son those were the things that actually worked for him. It took me a very long time (and I am still working on it) to accept that DS actually learns so much more when we do non-traditional type things (videos, model building, role modeling, playing games etc) than when we read and answer questions. The genius/gifted kids are often visual-spatial and kinesthetic learners, and they really respond well to hands-on projects and visual presentations of information. I don't learn well that way so it was hard for me to trust that he would learn well that way, but he has proven time and again how much more he understands information and retains it when we do visual, hands-on projects.

    If your son seems to be getting a lot of information from the things you are doing, I wouldn't worry too much about "deschooling" for too long, and I would really look into using a lot of hands-on type curricula for him. It may be that's his preferred learning-style.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HawaiiGeek View Post
    . . . .
    Should I just forget all schoolwork for now and just do the education tv and the games and if yes for how long?
    Yes, that is what I would do. No need to enter into a giant battle of wills, where everyone ends up mad. I don't know how long, sorry. Maybe to be evaluated every X# of weeks? I know for me that would give me permission to settle into deschooling, while still giving my goal oriented type A side a plan. Then see what is working, what is not and adjust accordingly.

    If it is in your budget, maybe buy a 24 book membership to Audible and tell him to go wild. Maybe start listening to audio books yourself, see if he joins in. Strew the heck out of your house - books, science kits, crafty stuff, recipes - whatever will grab his attention.

    If you think he is genius level, maybe use some of your free time to read up on the topic.

    I'd keep a routine, just so everyone does not get into a funk, especially as we head into late fall and winter (that might just be my issue though).

    I'd also therapist shop if you need to. Be completely honest - "we homeschool" end of story. If they can't work with that move on. If you get advice that just rubs you wrong on multiple occasions, call it ideological differences and search on.
    Rebecca
    DS 12, DD 10
    Year 6

  5. #4

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    I think the deschooling is important for a kid like that. But also, I think having a strong routine may be as well. So I would say think about what you can do to make the routine solid.

    And... I hear you about having negative experiences with counselors, but I think you should try to find a good homeschool-friendly counselor for that anxiety. I have an anxious kid. He's not currently in therapy, but I have someone. Everyone who has a kid who struggles with anxiety should have someone. And if the anxiety is getting in the way of things that need to be done, of living life, of learning, then it's time to go see that therapist. It sounds like it might be there for you.

    You say he may be a genius? Anxiety and giftedness often go hand in hand. Have you ever had him tested? Did the school not do any testing?
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
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  6. #5

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    Sorry I don't have anything to contribute about deschooling, as we have not really fully tried that. I just wanted to say for intelligence + anxiety issues, I would recommend reading the blog and book Your Rainforest Mind by Paula Prober. She has a really great, in my opinion, analogy for high IQ people being like rainforests. Intense, diverse, busy, sensitive etc. How they are not 'better' than other minds (she calls them meadows = gentle, oceans = deep, etc.), just different, and the world needs all types of ecosystems (minds). I like it because it focuses more on the personality and emotional things that come with having a high IQ, rather than the high IQ being the focus because it 'makes you more intelligent'. From my personal experiences and those of my oldest, high IQ and anxiety often go hand in hand because your brain just thinks 'more' (than it probably should) about everything. Paula's writing has really helped me understand and cope with my own anxiety.

    Edited to add - one thing I read that really helped me understand my daughter's anxiety issues when she has to make a choice in a short amount of time, was that it was not that she had trouble choosing one thing, it was that she was feeling the loss of not experiencing all the options that she would miss out on if she did not choose them.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 10-30-2017 at 11:43 PM.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by NZ_Mama View Post
    I just wanted to say for intelligence + anxiety issues, I would recommend reading the blog and book Your Rainforest Mind by Paula Prober. She has a really great, in my opinion, analogy for high IQ people being like rainforests. Intense, diverse, busy, sensitive etc. How they are not 'better' than other minds (she calls them meadows = gentle, oceans = deep, etc.), just different, and the world needs all types of ecosystems (minds). I like it because it focuses more on the personality and emotional things that come with having a high IQ, rather than the high IQ being the focus because it 'makes you more intelligent'.......your brain just thinks 'more' (than it probably should) about everything .
    Thank you so much for posting this. We are not homeschooling anymore, but what you and the blog describe certainly fits my kids, especially my daughter. I look forward to seeing what I can find in her writings to help them.

    Edited to add: OMG--this describes both my kids exactly. Not necessarily the high IQ part (I have no idea what those would be) but the overthinking about all the world's ills--climate change, political upheaval, injustices--then feeling depressed and/or anxious when they feel it's all out of their control. Would you recommend that my kids also read her book?
    Last edited by inmom; 10-31-2017 at 11:54 AM.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years

    Daughter (21), a University of Iowa junior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies

    Son (20), a Purdue University sophomore majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, and history

  8. #7

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    NZ-Mama - I will definitely check out her info, sounds really interesting, thanks. The anxiety for choosing is my DS15 with autism, DS9 doesn't seem to have that kind of anxiety - his is more the duck kind (serene on the surface, paddling furiously underneath) until he can't contain it anymore and then he explodes.

    Farrar- he had regular testing at his private school with Stanford testing and he was above average, but nothing that would indicate further testing. He gets really anxious about testing so I haven't really wanted to push it further. It is more what I notice with the connections he makes when we are learning, they are just faster and more advanced than his siblings at the same age or sometimes his siblings currently. And yes therapist would be good, just so hard to find out who might be good etc when you have just moved again.

    A routine would be helpful, but I have a hard time figuring out how to do that with deschooling. Last year our routine was schoolwork related and so I am just trying to figure out a routine not schoolwork related.

    Thanks to you all!
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

  9. #8

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    So Beth, how does your homeschool day go then?

    Back when I got started homeschooling, I did not have a curriculum, other than loosely studying US history with Joy Hakim and starting in Michigan proper. We did a ton of field trips, usually one per week, to chase down things that would flesh out local history for her (the nature center, the fish hatchery, the archaeological site, the reservation where the Native Americans were not sent onward on the Trail of Tears, the local history museum, the library, the old paper mill, the old sawmill, the car museum, the railroad station). SOme of it was ass-backwards historically but it helped her get a feel for what was what. Can you do something similar? Does MO have a book about its history? Michigan does, it's (or it was pre Core Curric) standard for all 5th graders to study it.

    Anyway maybe lots of trips and asssignments around them might spark something for him.
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  10. #9

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    That was our original plan - lots of field trips, but then he didn't want to drive and started balking at going into St. Louis (it is only 20-25 minutes). We are fortunate to be near a lot of free museums and the #2 zoo in the country and he doesn't want to go. Today has gone well, he decided to carve his own pumpkin and we talked about creases and the amount of seeds when his rather small pumpkin yielded tons of seeds. He then figured out how to roast them by putting butter in a pan and stirring all the time. He doesn't like putting on the oven because it makes the house smell a little bit like gas (it is a gas oven) and he is terrified of having a fire. So this has been a very successful deschooling day. He also watched some Bill Nye and Odd Squad. I need to deschool and let my type A personality relax. Happy Halloween!
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

  11. #10

    Default

    A deschooling routine might include some of these...

    a board games hour
    a movie afternoon
    a documentary afternoon
    a free art hour
    a free projects time to work on projects
    an educational screens hour to do things like programming or educational games and apps
    a nature walk morning
    a daily reading hour (or half hour - whichever is appropriate to the kid)
    a daily read aloud time
    a library day
    a field trip day
    a cooking lunch together day

    Another way to structure it could be to make a list together - like a deschooling bucket list - and then spend a month trying to check off as many things as you could together.

    The Stanford test won't tell you if he's gifted or not. High scores on nationally normed tests are one way that giftedness can be indicated, but not the only way. Giftedness is totally different from "being smart" or "being good at tests." Just something to consider.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

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