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Avalon
05-10-2014, 01:40 AM
Recently, I've been doing some research about high school because I have to make some decisions in the next year. I have been quizzing as many local families as I can about what their teenagers are doing, what worked, what they used, etc...

I happen to know a lot of unschooly families, and you know what I figured out? In order to truly embrace unschooling, you have to be 100% okay with virtually ANY outcome. If your kid starts his own business at 17, that's awesome! If they work part-time at a snowboard shop at 19, that's awesome, too! If they do nothing in particular until they're 18 and then decide they want to become engineers, that's cool! If they realize they have have absolutely no math courses done, and now they have to spend two years doing that, well that's no problem. To the committed unschoolers, any path the kids choose to take is just fine because they are on their own journey and they will figure out what they need as they go along and be motivated to learn it then.

Listening to all the stories has made me realize that I am NOT OKAY with some of these potential outcomes. It is NOT COOL (to me) if you're 16 and can't write a paragraph. It is NOT OKAY (with me) to be starting grade 10 math when you're 17.

I've always been mainly supportive of unschooling. I can see how it works for many families, and many people would probably describe my style as fairly "unschooly." However, I have suddenly and dramatically realized that I have definite expectations of my kids. In a nutshell, they need to be in a position to enter a post-secondary program at approximately age 18. If they decide not to go because they would rather travel or volunteer or start a business, that's fine by me. No problem. However, there is no way that they will be UNABLE to attend because they have to go back and get basic stuff done.

Phew. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I suppose I'd better let the kids know what's expected, eh?

Mariam
05-10-2014, 03:13 AM
I get it. We sat down and decided what was non-negotiable, at least right now. I like the idea of unschooling, for some subjects. However, reading/writing and math are not. I view them as the foundation to learning everything else. So far it is not an issue, as my DS is interested in everything and he enjoys learning all kinds of things so it is easy to do. To be honest, I don't know what I would do if he were not interested in a variety of topics.

justabout
05-10-2014, 05:14 AM
Personally it's about what level of disappointment I can take from my kids. I would rather that they were disappointed in me because I had insisted they study X, and were one of the kids who hated it, than they turned around at 18 and realised they couldn't do their chosen career right now because I'd not taught them X when if they'd been in school they would have done it.

farrarwilliams
05-10-2014, 08:04 AM
Yep. Exactly.

aspiecat
05-10-2014, 09:00 AM
This is an interesting thing to ponder. I am worried about so much when it comes to DS's education and because he deflates and goes into shutdown when confronted with a subject he doesn't find interesting, and he does the absolute minimum work required even for the things in which he *is* interested. So perhaps I need to step back and re-evaluate the whole thing for a while. Not stop the schooling...just take a different approach to what I imagine his outcomes ought to be, given the career path he has in mind.

dbsam
05-10-2014, 10:16 AM
I like the idea of unschooling but it is not the right path for our family. I am too uptight and too anxious.
This is our first year HS'ing and I worry that we have been way too relaxed. I kept waiting for my children to get an interest and run with it...it never happened (unless you count Minecraft and StampyCat - and I don't count those!). I guess, like pp's, we are 'unschooly' with most subjects except math (and we will be adding more writing going forward).

I know of a couple unschooled families and it seems to have worked well for them. If my children's education has the same outcome as their unschooled children (now grown or in college) I would be thrilled. But I am afraid to take the risk. Also, I'm not sure if the children in those families were more self-motivated, driven, intelligent, etc. to begin with or if the home life and parental guidance created children who love to learn, even when the learning becomes difficult.

aspiecat - my son is similar to yours when it comes to shutting down and doing the minimum required.

panama10
05-10-2014, 10:17 AM
I agree with you wholeheartedly.

My goal is for my kids to be ready for college. If they chose to learn a trade at a community college, or go the more traditional route I want them to be ready.

I know unschooling works for a lot of families but I'm too much of a control freak I guess to let the kids decide what they want to learn. I already know math probably wouldn't be on the list!

dbmamaz
05-10-2014, 11:29 AM
Yup, same here. You MUST have math and writing skills. Non-negotiable. Other than that, well, there has to be some academics going on, but i'm willing to work with you to figure out what that weill be.

My favorite thing about unschoolers is that they make me feel good about what we are accomplishing!

But both my teen and I really need a schedule, and I think my younger likes the control of having a list of things to do, but doing it at his own pace. Next year it'll be just him (aside from me hounding Orion to do his college work) and I'm curious how it might be different.

farrarwilliams
05-10-2014, 11:33 AM
Yeah, I'll say I'm okay with a LOT of different paths and choices for my kids. But not doing anything, not having enough basic skills that college isn't an option... that's not really one of them.

ejsmom
05-10-2014, 02:22 PM
I agree. I want to expose my kid to the vast array of options and paths out there, so that when he is older he has some idea of where his passion is and he has the skills to go after whatever education/experiences he needs to make his life work. He needs to be able to keep a roof over his head and food on the table, and I hope he finds a way to do that which is also fulfilling to him on some level. That may not always be the case, but I also am working hard to make sure he has the skills to have a rich full life outside of whatever his profession is - by painting, drawing, reading for pleasure and knowledge, music, enjoying the gifts of the natural world, enjoying museums and aquariums, fitness, etc.

ejsmom
05-10-2014, 03:09 PM
dbsam, don't be so hard on yourself or your kids! The first year of hs'ing is SUCH a huge transition. Not just in how you spend your time, and live, but in your whole mindset and how to approach learning.

You are anxious because you are worried about somehow "failing" your kids, which I would be willing to bet is not going to happen. They may not have seemed excited about something and run with it yet because this is the first year. They may not realize they have that curiosity and ability yet! They have been in school previously, so they don't yet realize how much of the world, how many options, they actually have. You have the added challenge of undoing the "traditional school" mindset that can be limiting. They may have not incorporated yet that learning is for fun and discovery, not just grades.

The biggest thing you will have to learn yourself, and teach your kids, is that the parameters for learning are now so much wider. It took me about 3 years of homeschooling to not just KNOW that, but embrace it and incorporate it into our living and learning. It took about 2 years of me actually seeing at the end of the year, how much my kid really did learn, know, and accomplish, before I was relaxed enough to let go a bit, and then figure out how to see those sparks in ds and then become adept at finding resources to fire up that spark. I am not a natural teacher. I am one to question things, though.

Now, we are far more broad in our scope. Fortunately, I had a friend who told me as soon as we started homeschooling to model and encourage curiosity and to never make assumptions about what my kid would (or would not) find interesting. So I did try to approach homeschooling from a viewpoint of curiosity and exploration from the beginning, even though I was fighting my type A checklists and completion complex issues.

Over time, I've learned to channel that anxiety about "not doing enough" or "not doing it right", into exploring our options and finding new things for ds to be exposed to. Following rabbit trails is a great way to inspire new excitement. Finding interests they can run with may take a bit of the parent introducing things the kids just aren't going to know about, and that isn't "unschool" nor necessary "child-led". I tend to just find things that ds has never been exposed to but I think may interest him: Picasso, Shintoism, different grasses that grow on the American prairie, virtual field trips, museum websites, zoo animal cams, Bach played in various ways with various instrument combos, the history of the bicycle, styles of cars and architecture of the 20's, etc. - and then we spend a few minutes together exploring that subject online and if he has questions we look stuff up or put a request into the library for a book about it.

That is how I have managed those anxieties and taught my kid to find what he is curious about. Now, I worry less, but there are just not enough hours in the day for all we want to explore! Just jump on whatever they seem slightly interested in. For example, my child seemed interested in everything we were learning about WWII this year, so on whim, I decided our music lesson one day (I'm in a state that requires some sort of "music" be taught), would be exploring music from the 40's and the WWII era. That became a whole new love for ds, and became a daily lesson, learning about the singers, composers, instruments, etc. Yes, he's the weird kid walking around singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", but he's not emulating some spoiled teen singing about sex, drugs, and degrading women, so I'm A-OK with him being "weird".

rebjc
05-10-2014, 08:30 PM
Call me a skeptic but I think those unschoolers who have gone on to be quite successful were born with motivation, drive, high intelligence, and self control.

With our son, I might be borderline unschooling. I would say it is more child led though. He has a lot of challenges that I can't really force him to do anything. But he is still so young, almost 6 yo, and there is not really any academics that I feel he must know now. And he does know a lot already which goes back to the naturally intelligent that I think a lot of successful hs'ers possess. Though he does lack the self discipline which is where radical unschooling would be a complete failure.

And call me old fashioned, but I think kids need to learn not everything we do is going to be exciting. Sure, I try to make things interesting but there is a lot to be said for having a high work ethic.

Avalon
05-13-2014, 11:10 PM
Okay, brace yourselves, this is funny. I told my daughter tonight about my recent revelation re: unschooling, and clarified my expectations for her. Guess what she said!

"Oh, yeah, I have always been totally opposed to unschooling." (not kidding - direct quote!)

She said that before the age of 10 it's okay, but then you discover video games and Facebook and instead of spending time learning and creating and discovering, you sit around staring at screens. She says she has had moms of younger children at park days commenting to her about how "it must be so great to unschool as a teenager - so much time to pursue your own interests." She doesn't really think she uses her downtime all that productively.

I had a good chuckle over it.

dbmamaz
05-14-2014, 10:11 AM
Yeah, my teen has a similar attitude but doesnt put it that way.

halfpint
05-14-2014, 02:16 PM
Personally it's about what level of disappointment I can take from my kids. I would rather that they were disappointed in me because I had insisted they study X, and were one of the kids who hated it, than they turned around at 18 and realised they couldn't do their chosen career right now because I'd not taught them X when if they'd been in school they would have done it.

This.

I have an unofficial list of things you must be able to do in order to be considered an adult. Ride a bike. Swim. Use a chainsaw. Back up a truck. Write a cohesive paragraph. Do basic arithmetic in your head. Do basic geometry with a pencil. Bake a pie. Give directions. Know the difference between Liberal/Conservative and liberal/conservative. Etc.

I require that the kids learn these things as they are able. They generally learn them (mostly) willingly because they earn priveleges. Act ike an adult, get treated like one. My list doesn't quite track with being able to get into college, but it does require the ability to "be useful" and be hireable. I am SO not above telling my kids loud and proud what makes a "real adult" and letting them know when someone we know is not living up to standards.

Since I haven't hit the teen years yet, I'm only hoping this will work!! It has worked admirable for the neighbors and family that I'm copying off of.

BakedAk
05-14-2014, 02:29 PM
Oh, no! I'm too old to not be an adult, but I can't use a chain saw, and I'm really bad at backing up trucks (ask me how I know). I can bake any kind of pie there is, though, so maybe that covers it?

dbmamaz
05-14-2014, 03:08 PM
haha i cant get Raven to ride a bike for anything. I'm trying ot teach my kids to drive a stick shift . . . not doing so well so far. dh wont even try. I'm still trying to get my teen to stop lying so much. He's on a lying-about-school-work jag. I just really hope he'll care more about the work at college than the work I'm giving him. Honestly, I dont even care that much about this work, so I can hardly blame him. But i'm pleased with where he is in his math and writing, so . . . idk.

PinballWizard
05-14-2014, 03:59 PM
I think this revelation you've had is fantastic! That's the biggest struggle, in my opinion, to stay motivated with any form of homeschooling--you have to know what you are willing and not willing to risk. Of course, there are no guarantees any route you choose, but at least having a clear set of goals in mind helps keep the ship traveling in the right direction!

I love the idea of a list of items for a real adult, though I fear I wouldn't pass any of them. :-)

I try to consider what type of people I hope my kids turn out to be separate from all the academic learning that may or may not stick. I know very "smart, successful" people who are total, miserable jerks. I don't want that for my kids. I also know people who aren't the most successful by traditional standards who have joy and adventure in their lives. I want to be brave enough to want such a life for my kids. I worry that I tend to think too narrowly, though, and focus too much on how they are going to pay their bills as adults.

Pilgrim
05-14-2014, 09:17 PM
I like the idea of unschooling but it is not the right path for our family. I am too uptight and too anxious.
This is our first year HS'ing and I worry that we have been way too relaxed. I kept waiting for my children to get an interest and run with it...it never happened (unless you count Minecraft and StampyCat - and I don't count those!). I guess, like pp's, we are 'unschooly' with most subjects except math (and we will be adding more writing going forward).

I know of a couple unschooled families and it seems to have worked well for them. If my children's education has the same outcome as their unschooled children (now grown or in college) I would be thrilled. But I am afraid to take the risk. Also, I'm not sure if the children in those families were more self-motivated, driven, intelligent, etc. to begin with or if the home life and parental guidance created children who love to learn, even when the learning becomes difficult.

aspiecat - my son is similar to yours when it comes to shutting down and doing the minimum required.

Both our kids are the same way. Like with homeschooling itself, unschooling isn't for everyone. Our kids are just not self-motivated enough.

halfpint
05-15-2014, 12:45 PM
I think the list would be different for different people/places... if you live in San Fransisco, I don't think you need to run chainsaws or trucks. I, on the other hand, am a highly functional adult who would have no idea how to get a subway ticket.

crunchymum
05-15-2014, 01:16 PM
I think we are falling into perpetuating some stereotypes about unschoolers here and that's making me uncomfortable.
Unschooling doesn't work for every kid or every family but it does work for many and most, in my experience, are not illiterate kids sitting in front of a computer game doing nothing of merit with their lives.
I also think that it's part of parenting to be willing to accept and support your kids whatever their choices or whatever the outcomes. I think the issue probably reflects more on the responsibility and judgement we feel as homeschoolers rather than what our kids will achieve. Because honestly if your kid is a good, kind person and chose to be a ski bum but is well read is that really worse than being a university educated manager who chooses not to read. And would we love or support either one any less than we do now? Would our disappointment be in our children, or would we feel guilt and regret over our own choices in how we educate(d) our kids?

Solong
05-15-2014, 02:56 PM
It's tough to think of what might disappoint me... but, not going to uni isn't on the list. Self-riotousness, being judgemental or cruel... drugs, prison, pole-dancing... yeah, I can think of things that would make me feel like a parental failure. I do worry more about disappointing them. If they don't go to uni, I want it to be a thoughtful choice - not an imposed default resulting from crappy homeschooling (or schooling!). Or unschooling.

We are unschooly, but I give wide berth to unschooling organizations in our province. I have yet to meet a UNSCHOOL family that we mesh with (still looking, still hopeful). All that philosophizing is just so much damn work. I'm fully supportive unschooling, if it works for your child or family. I also have a very full life and don't want to devote my time to a four-hour lecture on why your choices are the best choices for everyone. :_z: I just spent eight months getting nitpicked to death by parents in an unschooling umbrella over these main issues: my children have general bedtimes, no gaming systems, and we FORCE healthy meals on them. Three times a day, god save us all. Notice the lack of issues surrounding education.

Tbh, it was so much worse than the religious homeschooling groups we accidentally attended early on. So much worse. I just don't get the militant stance some unschoolers take. They aren't guarding a house of cards; it won't collapse under scrutiny or debate or criticism. Unschooling can be great, in sum or part. I wish they would just relax, and 'honour the journey' of humans that aren't their offspring.

crunchymum
05-15-2014, 03:17 PM
I just don't get the militant stance some unschoolers take. They aren't guarding a house of cards; it won't collapse under scrutiny or debate or criticism. Unschooling can be great, in sum or part. I wish they would just relax, and 'honour the journey' of humans that aren't their offspring.

I think sometimes it comes from insecurity/inexperience which is somewhat correlated with how long they have been homeschooling. I also think that unschoolers often are under even more scrutiny and judgement than run of the mill homeschoolers and so wear their battle fatigues much more openly than the rest of us do.

I do think that there are extremists in all areas of homeschooling. I've seen newbies raked over the coals by WTMers, waldorf homeschoolers etc but I agree with you that the radical unschoolers tend to be the loudest and most prominent. I think that may be because they have a few community leaders that tend to dominate and skew the conversations.

Avalon
05-15-2014, 06:52 PM
I think we are falling into perpetuating some stereotypes about unschoolers here and that's making me uncomfortable.
Unschooling doesn't work for every kid or every family but it does work for many and most, in my experience, are not illiterate kids sitting in front of a computer game doing nothing of merit with their lives.
I also think that it's part of parenting to be willing to accept and support your kids whatever their choices or whatever the outcomes. I think the issue probably reflects more on the responsibility and judgement we feel as homeschoolers rather than what our kids will achieve. Because honestly if your kid is a good, kind person and chose to be a ski bum but is well read is that really worse than being a university educated manager who chooses not to read. And would we love or support either one any less than we do now? Would our disappointment be in our children, or would we feel guilt and regret over our own choices in how we educate(d) our kids?

I think you and I are of the same mind. I still understand and support unschooling as a method/lifestyle. What crystallized for me just recently was that I might not like the consequences of letting my kids choose the speed, content, and direction of their learning. It's like I suddenly realized that in my heart, I am not an unschooler.

Personally, I think I'll be fine with virtually any path my kids take through life as long as they can support themselves and avoid prison. However, it is suddenly clear to me that I want them to have the CHOICE to attend a post-secondary program at roughly age 18. I don't want to be in a situation where I have to teach them how to write an essay or learn algebra at 17 or 18. I want to be a "retired" homeschooler by then. (Frankly, I'm hoping to become a well-read ski bum myself in a few short years :) )

I don't think I'm knocking unschoolers. The unschoolers I know are fine with their kids taking as much time as they need to explore their interests and develop. They are still my friends, and their kids are friends with my kids. I was genuinely surprised to hear my daughter's opinion of unschooling, and that she prefers to have some structure & accountability.

crunchymum
05-15-2014, 07:14 PM
Personally, I think I'll be fine with virtually any path my kids take through life as long as they can support themselves and avoid prison. However, it is suddenly clear to me that I want them to have the CHOICE to attend a post-secondary program at roughly age 18. I don't want to be in a situation where I have to teach them how to write an essay or learn algebra at 17 or 18. I want to be a "retired" homeschooler by then. (Frankly, I'm hoping to become a well-read ski bum myself in a few short years :) )



I think it's a great thing to realize that a certain style of homeschooling isn't for you. Truly I do. And I agree with you in many ways about having to embrace it to make it work and being comfortable with the level of risk that it takes to go off the beaten path educationally. It's like homeschooling in many ways -if you don't embrace it chances are you won't succeed with it. I don't unschool completely although I do consider my oldest to be mostly unschooled. His education is certainly self directed.
.
I'm just don't think that unschooling means that a child won't know how or be interested in knowing how to write an essay or learn algebra until ages 17 or 18. Or that if it's the case, learning it might be an arduous task at that time if it is in fact the situation. Or even that if a kid is homeschooled in a more traditional role, or in a bricks and mortar school that there may not be similar learning happening at that age. I guess I am uncomfortable at the depiction of an unschooling=uneducated/unprepared picture that's being hinted at in this thread. The reality is there are no guarantees. We can teach 5 paragraph essays and the art of arguing a thesis and MLA citations and our kids may get it at 12 or 14 or 16 or maybe not until 18. I taught my university boyfriend how to really write a paper in second year. He went through a traditional public school with extremely well educated parents who supported and helped him through high school and he just wasn't ready to really get it until he was 20. It's often more about the kid than the method you know....

I'm not trying to argue - really I'm not. I just get uncomfortable when conversations take a turn from talking about what our personal experiences and goals are, to characterizing or judging the experiences and motivations of others.

aspiecat
05-20-2014, 05:35 PM
This thread continues to interest me greatly. I just today finalised the study DS will be doing from the end of the PS year, as we won't be stopping for the summer break, and realised that between summer vacation work and work in the next school year, it sounds as if he is far from unschooled and far from a less-than-rigorous educational plan.

Then it clicked.

Unschooling is really something that we worry a lot about when it comes to raising homeschooled kids. We meet families who choose unschooling as their children's educational path, and feel rather intimidated by many of them if they believe NOT unschooling is a bad thing LOL. But why should I feel bad about doing what I feel is best for my child, and is something that he and I have discussed to the point where what he does he has largely chosen for himself. HE has chosen what seems like a heavy workload, as he is determined to study Criminal Justice at community college before he is 17, and is eager for his stepfather to tutor him in the SAT exam so he can do in the next academic year.

I think we need to do for our kids whatever is best for them, and if unschooling (in whatever form we view it to be) is not what we or they want, then we shouldn't have to go down that route.

Aspie

albeto
05-30-2014, 12:12 PM
I don't think I'm knocking unschoolers. The unschoolers I know are fine with their kids taking as much time as they need to explore their interests and develop. They are still my friends, and their kids are friends with my kids.Well, you kind of are. Sorry, but this comment sounds to me like saying gay men being "girlie" but you don't mean it in a bad way because you have gay friends. If that makes sense. If you'll indulge me, I'll explain why I disagree with your open premise - that a parent has to be 100% okay with what a child does, and why that's knocking unschoolers (as opposed to critiquing unschooling as an educational paradigm). My kids don't "do" school. We haven't done "school" for a few years now. There are no academic expectations in my home. None. No essay, no reading this literary classic, no memorizing math facts. I am not, however, 100% fine with whatever outcome my kids choose. They're teens now, so their choices have been consistent with what I would expect from someone living in our family, but they still get a lot of guidance from me and their father. This guidance includes a profound respect for higher education, not because it's what will ensure them a steady income in their adult years, but because college offers what no other experience can - an environment solely dedicated to learning information from a collection of professionals, as well as getting to know and share information and ideas and experiences with other people who share the same interests. Also, you can't become a neurologist by reading Scientific American Magazine and calling it good because that's the extent of your attention span today. ;)

I think what you're missing here is the constant, consistent, pervasive micro-culture of found in the home and encouraged by the parents, even unschoolers. Although you can learn from the same books, you can't benefit from the kinds of experiences only offered through the college routine - learning at the hands of professional researchers who share their knowledge and cater their knowledge to meet your personal needs. You cannot get that from anywhere else, so if a dedicated scientific goal is desired for example, you can't get that outside the parameters of a conventional education. As parent who sees my child might one day appreciate this kind of life, I'm not 100% fine with my child not choosing to go to school because it's not fun, or not easy. That doesn't mean I will force him to go, but it does mean I won't curtail my influence to appease his current decision du jour. As a human with 25 more years experience of being a human, I know that changing one's mind is common, and learning to delay instant gratification for a greater future reward often takes encouragement.

I have another child who wants to work with computers. Full stop. You can't get the kind of education in an academic setting like you can learning how to use, develop, and create operating systems from an enormously fast-moving community. I would be remiss as a parent to not encourage him to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities a college education can offer him, opportunities he cannot get online exclusively. I've told him as much, and I'm doing my best to encourage him to appreciate the value of a college education by sharing how it will help him meet his goals. He knows I won't force him to go to college, there will be no reward or punishment for not complying to my demands, but he is also learning that his experiences are quite limited to, well [I]his experiences, whereas learning from others offers entirely new avenues of opportunity. An online community is one such avenue, but being exposed to different things just might spark an interest he can't conceive of right now, and it would be negligent of me if I didn't offer him the opportunity to pursue new interests by sharing with him the value of a college education, as well as the means to obtain one. So what I mean is, I'm not 100% fine with whatever they do because I'm not 100% convinced a 14 year old wouldn't benefit from external advice and mentoring. We have precious few rules in our home.

I have two rules for my kids: 1. Be safe, and 2. Be respectful. The first one requires them to know information to avoid undesired consequences. The other does, too. You can't make well-informed decisions if you don't have information, and as a parent, we want our kids to be informed. For me, and for the unschoolers I know, that translates to not being 100% fine with whatever our kids decide to do. It translates to providing a safe and enriching environment in which our young men and women can learn the value of our beliefs and ideally embrace them for themselves. In my family, one of these values is being informed - education. Others include cooperation, compassion, creativity, and things like this (the things that foster respect). These values are constantly expressed in what we do, and what we avoid. Our kids aren't ignorant of these things, and they aren't living in an environment in which these values are given equal respect to values we don't hold. So, no, we're not 100% fine with whatever our kids want to do. We're 100% committed to giving our kids the foundation of critical thinking skills so they can pursue their personal interests in such a way that is respectful to those with whom they live and interact, and will in turn inspire the same respect back to them. In all this, our kids learn through play (even teens "play," although their play looks much different from a preschooler's play). That's what makes us unschoolers, not having a hands-off philosophy with regard to our kids' future goals.

justabout
05-31-2014, 02:50 AM
Albeto, that is a really interesting post.

justabout
05-31-2014, 05:49 AM
One of the reasons I have realised why unschooling isn't right for my sons at the moment is the weakness of executive function. My boys do struggle hugely with planning (even such simple things as planning a story). They need to be brought into any subject in a very structured way in order to then find their interest/planning etc. I believe there is often a link between weak technical executive function and more medium-term planning abilities - so I can't be sure they would have the ability to use the unschooling freedom to follow through on any plans, educationally or career-wise, without significant support.

MNDad
05-31-2014, 08:45 AM
I like the idea of unschooling but it is not the right path for our family. I am too uptight and too anxious.
This is our first year HS'ing and I worry that we have been way too relaxed.

Same here.

It's also not the way the world works. We're all bound by some constraints. At some point, the possibilities aren't really unlimited. So the more they have a range of core skills, the better prepared the kids are for a range of career outcomes.

I don't really see us ever doing a complete unschool situation for the same reasons.

Starkspack
05-31-2014, 10:52 AM
Having just read this thread this morning, then looking at CNN.com, I was struck by this article there:

Connecticut moms try to end the 'mommy wars' through photos - CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/30/living/mommy-wars-photos-parents/index.html?hpt=hp_t3)

We could probably do something like this about homeschoolers of all stripes, eh? :o

snowpeople5
06-10-2014, 11:27 PM
Didn't read the entire thread yet...

My entire goal in homeschooling is to provide well-rounded education and basis for future learning for my kids, which also includes installing certain values and standards.

My entire job as a parent is to prepare them to live their independent lives and thrive.

For those two things to happen it is my opinion that they should be learning a lot of things that they might or might not like at the moment. It is much easier to do so while you don't have the worry of the "real world" on you.

What they do with all the knowledge and skills is entirely up to them.

CatInTheSun
06-11-2014, 10:57 AM
Albeto, thank you for the glimpse of unschooling in your home. However I think you are choosing to see offense in the OPs statement. I at least did not read it as implying unschooling was unparenting or hands-off education, but AS YOU SAID *ultimately* a willingness to accept the path the child takes.

If you aren't willing to accept the consequences of a educational (or parenting_ philosophy, you cannot accept it. She is wise to see it. Many of us are here because we chose not to accept the ps philosophy of handing off our children's education and development to the schools (for all sorts of reasons), so here we are. :)

I don't believe there is only ONE right way to homeschool (or parent), but it should be consistent with your goals, the personalities involved, your beliefs and of course realities of child development.

fastweedpuller
06-11-2014, 01:12 PM
Albeto, I likewise appreciate your insights. If anything, you absolutely articulated the value of a college education, and I wish you'd contributed to an earlier/multi-contributed post on this site about "is a 4 year college ed + prerequirements worth it?" (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/homeschooling-middle-high-school/13154-my-mental-debate-4-year-college-education-all-those-pre-req-necessary.html) on just those points.

Listen, I don't have a dog in this fight (like justabout, our kid has some processing difficulties and so I can't see the forest for the trees right now: she needs loads of structure). But modeling behavior and having expectations is absolutely the key, it seems to me, to both parenting and schooling. I truly think school-y and unschool-y parents have their kids' best interests at heart...especially if they've chosen to homeschool.

darkelf
06-11-2014, 01:31 PM
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I'm just don't think that unschooling means that a child won't know how or be interested in knowing how to write an essay or learn algebra until ages 17 or 18.
.

But if you are truly "unschooling" there is a possibility of this happening. The kid might not be interested or they could be. You have to be prepared for both.

My cousins were "unschooled" and when the oldest decided she wanted to go to college, she had a ton of work to do. (Math, Science, formal writing) That said her unschooling prepared her for her "real world" job better than college or high school ever could. She runs a natural store with her husband and is very successful. She even built her own house out of self made adobe bricks to live in while she went to college.

I don't think unschoolers are uneducated. I could never do it. But that's me, I don't judge people it is working for. I read this quote earlier this month and I think it fits:


Just because you didn't like something, doesn't mean there's something wrong with the people who do.

CTmamaJody
06-14-2014, 09:59 PM
One of the reasons I have realised why unschooling isn't right for my sons at the moment is the weakness of executive function. My boys do struggle hugely with planning (even such simple things as planning a story). They need to be brought into any subject in a very structured way in order to then find their interest/planning etc. I believe there is often a link between weak technical executive function and more medium-term planning abilities - so I can't be sure they would have the ability to use the unschooling freedom to follow through on any plans, educationally or career-wise, without significant support.

This is where I am with my oldest. Her weakness in this area, coupled with significant LD issues in other areas all add up to me leading and her following. Last year we tried a very relaxed approach while her younger brothers experimented with ps, and it really did not work. Unschooling just isn't possible with her. Child-Led homeschooling where she helps lay out a plan and we work together as a team has been much more successful this year.