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View Full Version : Unschoolers and Relaxed Homeschoolers - Did I mess up by being too relaxed?



CrunchyNoVa
01-19-2014, 07:14 PM
My oldest is 7.5yo and we're just really beginning structured lessons this year. He was born premature, at the end of summer, and has struggled with some speech and fine motor issues. Because of all of this we chose to file his intent to homeschool for the kindergarten year when he was 6yo instead of 5yo. We've taken a very relaxed approach with him for the last 1.5yrs and I now feel comfortable starting formal lessons with him.

Last year we did AAR Pre-reading, Lollipop Logic, HWT, and the reading list for Year 0 on Ambleside. I had started RS Level A with him as well but, we stopped at around lesson 20. I purchased HO and RSO last year as well. We didn't do any of those lessons though. He also attended a nature class once a week and swim lessons once a week.

He is a very bright boy who LOVES history. He's been able to learn so much just by our read-alouds. He is obsessed with ancient Rome and Greece. We've read The Odyssey to him as well as Classical Myths to Read Aloud.

I'm nervous because he's on the books as a first grader and we really haven't done much book work this year. We took all Fall to travel and spend time with family. I started formal lessons with him 2 weeks ago. He is doing great and having a ton of fun. After just 6 AAR1 lessons he's reading! He's also really enjoying MM 1A.

I guess my concern is that for the programs that I have chosen he is a year 'behind' the typical child that uses them. At least he's behind according to what I've read on some popular forums. I can't go back in time but I wonder if we slacked off too much? Would you worry about 'catching up' or just continue on at a nice pace?

I know I'm being neurotic about this. I actually think just typing this out has helped calm me down a bit :)

Thanks for listening.

dbmamaz
01-19-2014, 08:04 PM
Nope. you did fine. If he is learning and enjoying and making progress, its all good. Topical subjects (history and science) dont really have a specific required order. The 'classical' model has kids doing a 4-year cycle three times, doing the same subject over and over. And their approach to science is similar - BUT you can teach it in any order you want. I mean, the RSO is grades 2-5 anyways, isnt it? or 1-4?

And as for reading - he will progress at the pace thats right for him. Its really fine. You might suddenly notice he's ready to jump ahead, and certainly by high school starting reading 1 year later will make absolutely no difference.

Well, thats my opinion. I'm also a relaxed curriculum user. I follow my boys readiness and I have seen such progress over the years we've been doing this. No, we dont follow school's schedule or WTM's schedule, but neither one owns a monopoly on learning.

farrarwilliams
01-19-2014, 08:12 PM
No - you're doing great! You saw that he needed more time and now he's moving ahead just fine. I mean, yes, I get that it's stressful now that he's seven and using programs mostly used by six year olds. But it sounds like he's moving at a good pace. In a few years, the difference will be completely invisible. When was the last time you heard a parent bemoan that their 16 yo was doing 15 yo level work? Never, because that's not a thing. ;)

You've got the key skills in sight and you're catering content to his interests. You're doing perfect. Really.

AuroraAidensMom
01-20-2014, 07:24 AM
I just want to say I really like this thread. This is how I envision schooling my 4 yr old and 3 yr old. Take our time, no pressure, let's follow our interests. I have no interest in what the local public schools are doing. This time is so precious. And by taking it easy they're more than likely going to acquire a lifelong love for learning/reading.

CrunchyNoVa
01-20-2014, 01:30 PM
Nope. you did fine. If he is learning and enjoying and making progress, its all good. Topical subjects (history and science) dont really have a specific required order. The 'classical' model has kids doing a 4-year cycle three times, doing the same subject over and over. And their approach to science is similar - BUT you can teach it in any order you want. I mean, the RSO is grades 2-5 anyways, isnt it? or 1-4?

And as for reading - he will progress at the pace thats right for him. Its really fine. You might suddenly notice he's ready to jump ahead, and certainly by high school starting reading 1 year later will make absolutely no difference.

Well, thats my opinion. I'm also a relaxed curriculum user. I follow my boys readiness and I have seen such progress over the years we've been doing this. No, we don't follow school's schedule or WTM's schedule, but neither one owns a monopoly on learning.

Thank you! I actually felt quite confident in our choices until I decided to research curriculum a little more, and then I had a minor freak out :o

I'm really amazed at how letting go and letting him lead has worked. The philosophies that I've been drawn to and that have resonated with me take a 'better late than early' approach. I guess I just needed a little pat on the back so, thank you.

CrunchyNoVa
01-20-2014, 01:35 PM
No - you're doing great! You saw that he needed more time and now he's moving ahead just fine. I mean, yes, I get that it's stressful now that he's seven and using programs mostly used by six year olds. But it sounds like he's moving at a good pace. In a few years, the difference will be completely invisible. When was the last time you heard a parent bemoan that their 16 yo was doing 15 yo level work? Never, because that's not a thing. ;)

You've got the key skills in sight and you're catering content to his interests. You're doing perfect. Really.

He really is moving at a good pace and that is his pace. I think I just got caught up in numbers and stages again, when all I need to look at is him and where he's at, right now. Thanks for your support.

BakedAk
01-20-2014, 01:37 PM
Pat, pat. Doing great. :)

CrunchyNoVa
01-20-2014, 01:38 PM
Great advice, little to add. Maybe it's a BC thing, but most families are red-shirting as a standard procedure here. The majority of first graders at the local ps are seven at the start of the year. It's really skewed/screwed the powers that be, lol. The province is still scrambling to realign curriculum and testing.

It's definitely a thing here on the east coast too. I was just more concerned because we actually just started lessons this month. We took all Fall off and are starting our school year at 7.5yo and in January, not September. I think I'll start another post about school years and starting at different times than the public schools...

merrysunshine74
01-22-2014, 09:31 PM
I needed to read this tonight. I have a son who will be 8 in just a couple weeks.

Long story short I have gone from a very rigid structured Kindergarten and half of first grade to now his second grade is almost non existent.

I had purchased a full on curriculum for second grade and about 5 days into we were both crying and ready to run away.

So I realized that just like everything in my sons life, when he is ready he is ready. So I backed off. Almost an unschooling method, which I was adamant was never happening in my house.

I ditched the $1200 curriculum and got a Saxon math workbook and decided to just incorporate everything else into daily life.

Now when I do have him do a worksheet every couple weeks, I know it should be more often, he actually enjoys it. Plus I have several apps on my tablet that he loves that are great.

He seems to be grasping things better as he matures. It is almost like he knows when he is ready. Then his brain accepts the concept being taught.

His reading is phenomenal. Spelling so so. I was actually looking into re enrolling him into the virtual school offered by the school district when I read this thread. He would be miserable and lose all interest in learning again if I did that.

Anyway I appreciate this experience thank you for sharing it.

crunchynerd
02-18-2014, 03:55 PM
It's so hard not to fall into the thinking all around us, of anxiety and behind-ness, that has been created by putting the expectations traditionally reserved for older kids, on younger and younger kids until more and more kids can't handle it, and then we end up with an apparent epidemic of kids who have problems learning. They have problems, all right! Problems that were created by policies driven by the idea that if what you're doing isn't working, do it harder, longer, more, and do it to them younger!

It disgusts me that there's money being made off of more and more kids being labeled, who would have been just fine if they had been lucky enough to go to school 30 years ago. If the idea were true, that our problem in the US is that kids should be in school all day, at the books, starting at 3 and 4, instead of 5 and 6, then Finland wouldn't be kicking our rears academically, with its kids who get to enjoy being little, and don't start school til 7.

But yes, one the surest ways to feel a sense of behindness and panic, is looking at all the latest greatest panic-driven standards-based stuff that promises to keep Junior's head from slipping under water academically in this brave new era of cutthroat competition in preschool.

(can you tell how I feel about this, or have I been too vague? HEHE)

ejsmom
02-18-2014, 04:25 PM
Funny thing along what Crunchy is saying - just this morning my son's therapist commented on how detrimental the pressure from state testing is for children. He said it's great for the child psych business because the office is full of kids who are feeling the pressure from teachers and striving so hard to be perfect, to perform math - the "right" way, not just to get the correct answer, who feel like they are drowning in school. When it isn't THEM, it's the school. When I said we don't have to participate in the state testing every year, he was like "that's a good thing, as far as I can tell, the prove nothing and are destroying a generation of kids."

pdpele
02-18-2014, 04:30 PM
Thanks for posting this thread CrunchyNova and your umm..rant crunchynerd. We are going slow, setting routines, weaning off too much screen time and having fun. I can see it working in terms of my DS' attitude, our relationship, and his willingness to learn. But with 'academics' we are moving s-l-o-w. I needed y'alls reminder that this is the right thing to do for now. Actually - I think I should come up with a bumper sticker version of it and post it on the wall, 'cause I get nervous at least once a day that we are not doing enough!

pdpele
02-18-2014, 04:31 PM
wow..ejsmom. Wow.

dbmamaz
02-18-2014, 04:32 PM
EJ's mom, I find this really disturbing. I still remember being talked to about 'school refusal' as a possible symptom of anxiety, and part of me was thinking 'school refusal' made perfect sense if school was that horrible for your anxiety . . .

ejsmom
02-18-2014, 05:11 PM
EJ's mom, I find this really disturbing. I still remember being talked to about 'school refusal' as a possible symptom of anxiety, and part of me was thinking 'school refusal' made perfect sense if school was that horrible for your anxiety . . .

Every time we have a bad day (or week, or even month!) I think "Can I really keep doing this for 8 more years?" Then I look around and hear the stories and I think, "Yes, indeed." I figure we'd last a week in PS, at the most. Not sure if it would be DS saying "GET ME OUT!" or me or DH just not putting up with the BS. Every PS kid in my neighborhood I know is medicated: for ADD, anxiety, behavioral issues, OCD, something. Is it really the kids? I have a neighbor who has sub taught in our district. IN the school and grade DS would be in (and the class, because there is only one in that grade.) The first thing she did when she came home was to knock on my front door specifically to tell me "You are SOOOO doing the right thing by homeschooling your child!"

dbmamaz
02-18-2014, 05:13 PM
My kids have all been in the system for varying amounts of times. I'm hoping to get the youngest back in for 7th grade but no one is particularly excited

BakedAk
02-18-2014, 05:54 PM
Dd got 50% on a portion of her provincial numeracy exam. There were two word problems. One, she got 100% on. The other asked for a 'pictograph'. Her invigilator (biologist, phd) didn't know what was meant by 'pictograph'; dd drew both a bar graph and a pie chart. 0%. She should've drawn stick figures to represent the number of PEOPLE visiting the zoo that day. Otherwise, it was correct. :rolleyes:


Argh! Argh! Argh! SO WRONG!!! Blech. (Actually, nice to hear of testing stupidity from Canada instead of the States though...)

Mariam
02-19-2014, 01:23 AM
Actually - I think I should come up with a bumper sticker version of it and post it on the wall, 'cause I get nervous at least once a day that we are not doing enough!


Something like "Slow learning"? (Just like the slow food movement) Or?

Teri
02-19-2014, 10:12 AM
It sounds like it is going great! I didn't introduce math, officially, until my 13 year old was "3rd grade". Then I had a freak out that he should be learning multiplication and we hadn't done anything yet. It worked in our favor, he blew through the lower level stuff and, now, he has done Algebra I and II and Geometry.

crunchynerd
02-22-2014, 11:25 AM
Thanks for posting this thread CrunchyNova and your umm..rant crunchynerd. We are going slow, setting routines, weaning off too much screen time and having fun. I can see it working in terms of my DS' attitude, our relationship, and his willingness to learn. But with 'academics' we are moving s-l-o-w. I needed y'alls reminder that this is the right thing to do for now. Actually - I think I should come up with a bumper sticker version of it and post it on the wall, 'cause I get nervous at least once a day that we are not doing enough!

Sorry for the "rant" aspect, but at least I do take ownership of my own soapbox (and a sheepish grin when I know I'm doing it!) but all that aside, I struggle with this myself.

My son, who is now 6, "couldn't, wouldn't, with a fox, couldn't, wouldn't, in a box," learn anything I tried to teach him about phonics or reading, until very recently, when suddenly as if by magic, he was able. We didn't know he could spell, til he started figuring it out, whenever we'd spell things so he wouldn't know what we were saying. Surprise, surprise!

If you come up with that bumper sticker, sell it on Zazzle or CafePress, and you'll have a customer! ;)

pdpele
02-22-2014, 12:12 PM
Crunchynerd - I didn't mean anything bad by calling your post a 'rant'! I love a good rant. Your son gives me hope...mine said "I'm all learned up." recently. When he has to admit he doesn't know something he'll say "that's the only one I don't know."

As for the bumper sticker, maybe some sort of play on the honor student ones? One of my favorites was, "my kid beat up your honor student" (OK, kinda lousy, but the honor student bumper stickers suddenly were on every minivan and it was definitely funny to me).

In AZ on the affidavit for homeschooling you can check that you are not starting home instruction until age 8. So I've decided to keep up our light pace and whenever I get anxious about it, remind myself that even the state doesn't think I have to school him until then and anything we do before then is ahead of the game!

dbmamaz
02-22-2014, 01:26 PM
"My homeschooled kid is happier than your honor roll kid"?