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albeto
02-14-2015, 01:31 PM
Unscholers seem to be a rare breed by the high school years. I'm just wondering if there any others here.

:)

I came across this article, Real world high school math: Learning algebra and geometry from life (http://unschoolrules.com/2014/10/real-world-high-school-math), and wonder how others incorporate higher learning skills into their day without formal curriculum. I broke down last fall and ordered a Great Courses Algebra for ds. It turns out he cannot stand it. He's learned a few things, so that's good, and he wants to be prepared for college, so there's that, but he cannot stand watching lectures. Books are no better. Whether it's short attention span, lack of sufficient skills to teach himself, or lack of interest, I don't know (probably all three). He's got a mind that picks up these things easily enough, but I don't, so I can't offer any of these kinds of real world experiences like I can for other subjects. Things like this uzinngo (https://plans.uzinggo.com/high-school-pricing.html) look pretty good, but I'm a sucker for a pretty ad. :o

Anyway, I'd love to hear other ideas. And to say "hi."

dbmamaz
02-14-2015, 01:37 PM
Have you looked at the book Real World Algebra by Zaccaro? Or the dragonbox app? Both are non-curricular ways to learn some about algebra. Oh, and also check out murderous maths books - they discuss math ideas in a humorous way without any problems to do, but it gets the ideas in there, ready to come out and play later

albeto
02-14-2015, 01:48 PM
Or the dragonbox app?

This looks interesting! I hadn't seen that. Thanks!

CrazyMom
02-15-2015, 01:41 AM
Hiya Alberto. Love your bug, by the way:)

We were pretty dedicated unschoolers. For a while, I really didn't think my kid would ever take an interest in math. She skipped a couple years of it in elementary due to her loathing for doing problems on paper. But apparently, she was still paying quite a bit of attention to learning mathematical concepts...because when she finally DID take an interest in math on paper (around 6th grade)...she was a force to be reckoned with.

A big part of her turn around with math, was realizing that it was going to be a big part of most science careers....and she was absolutely gut-hooked on science around the same time. Once she decided that SHE wanted to do math (to get the science career she wanted)....she discovered she had some serious natural talent for it, and ended up enjoying it very much.

I think that's the big hurdle with unschooled kids. Making the decision to own something, and coming to that conclusion on their own terms. Sometimes it takes a while....(while we parents sit back and bite our fingernails and wonder if we've doomed them..LOL)

As far as learning the higher maths through practical experience? Certainly a little elementary algebra and geometry can be observed in daily life or in trades.....but to get a real mastery of those subjects you have to have a certain tolerance for, and interest in, learning the vocabulary and the processes...and be able to show and explain your work on paper.

Particularly, if you're going for college prep....coming to terms with formal math is going to be pretty important. Does your son have any idea what he's interested in pursuing in college? It might be useful to start looking at some college guides for the types of careers he's interested in....and see which math masteries are necessary for admission to different programs.

Not sure if this helps, but Elle loved this book in seventh grade: http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Algebra-Self-Teaching-Second-Edition/dp/0471530123

albeto
02-16-2015, 02:39 PM
Hi CrazyMom! I agree with you about owning a subject. It makes a huge difference, doesn't it! This child is my youngest, and has been homeschooling/unschooling the longest. We didn't start off homeschooling, and only gradually moved away from any curricula, but he's had the most years of learning in a natural setting. He enjoys math, and is pretty good at figuring stuff out. He finds math to be logical and is not intimidated by it at all. He just doesn't like watching the lectures. I've bought him books, but he doesn't like those. There's always an excuse why some formal schedule doesn't work, and ultimately I think he's more interested in the hands-on application, later learning the vocabulary words that explain the concept. I don't have the knowledge to help him that way myself. He's in high school now. This would be his freshman year.

albeto
02-16-2015, 02:42 PM
Have you looked at the book Real World Algebra by Zaccaro? Or the dragonbox app? Both are non-curricular ways to learn some about algebra. Oh, and also check out murderous maths books - they discuss math ideas in a humorous way without any problems to do, but it gets the ideas in there, ready to come out and play later

Looking into dragonbox brought me to this TED talk, which I found fascinating, and consistent with our unschooling experience. I really like this. Thanks again!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LwSLDAStts#t=15

pdpele
02-16-2015, 08:47 PM
Albeto I've enjoyed reading some of your posts on unschooling on this forum in the past. Thanks for them, and the link. We are not exactly unschoolers here - but I've definitely benefited from learning about the approach and how people 'do' it in their families.

Sorry, I got nothing for HS level math! My ds is 7.

Rainefox
02-17-2015, 05:59 PM
My oldest was unschooled for high school. She took an EMT course at sixteen and was hooked on the medical field. She decided she wanted to go to college, and the colleges she wanted expected her to have completed at least algebra 1. At that time I was not aware of too many resources for outsourcing algebra and I worked full time so I was not especially inclined to refresh my own understanding of the subject (and I knew that inevitably my daughter and I would butt heads over the whole thing if I attempted to teach her at that age). I was able to hire a retired high school math teacher to come to my house two or three days a week to tutor her. She did really well. She then decided to join the Army and served as a medic in Iraq. After her discharge she went to college (was accepted with no difficulty despite me not being smart enough to put together transcripts for her, luckily her SAT score was great) and became a nurse. She is pondering going further in nursing or possibly trying for medical school at some point.

I have a couple of middle kids who wanted to go to public school. I have another younger daughter who is home educated (not really totally unschooled and yet not really not unschooled, if that makes sense to anyone, I guess some day I will have to sit down and figure out exactly what the heck it is we do) and almost at that age. We are looking at the Jousting Armadillos. Well, she is. She likes the look of the text and enjoyed reading the samples and would really like me to buy it and give it to her. I am planning to do just that in another year or so. In the mean time she contents herself 'playing' on Khan Academy. She likes that sort of thing, she enjoys puzzles and logic books too. I don't restrict her from actual curriculum and if she is interested in a textbook I usually end up getting it for her. I am sure that disqualifies us as unschoolers, but it works for her.

CrazyMom
02-18-2015, 10:06 AM
"I don't restrict her from actual curriculum and if she is interested in a textbook I usually end up getting it for her. I am sure that disqualifies us as unschoolers, but it works for her."

I don't think that disqualifies you as unschoolers AT ALL. LOL. If she's the one who is asking for the textbook...that's absolutely unschooling. It's her idea and you're facilitating her idea.

I feel the same way about kids who eventually choose to try school. If it's their idea, and they are the driving force behind attending school.....sometimes even taking them to school....can be an unschool approach. It's the mindset of believing your kids know what's best for themselves educationally....and facilitating and supporting their wishes.

My kid had every option to stay home, study a trade, be an artist, follow whatever path she wanted. We would have supported any choice she made. As it happens, she fell in love with science. She did her own research into what sorts of careers she'd be interested in, and what sort of education she needed to get into the colleges that were offering the most exciting programs in the subjects she wanted to learn about.

I remember the day in seventh grade. "Mom, if I'm going to be a geneticist, I need to be solid in math through calculus. I need chemistry and physics." I suggested she still had options. Dual enrollment at community college, etc. She considered it, but ultimately had an almost anthropological interest in studying other teen agers her age. LOL. She was also a little boy crazy and a little lonely for a best friend. She said she wanted to try "jail school." She'd looked up the website for the local school, and found the classes she wanted. She was very happy to see AP classes offered because the college she was most interested in seemed to hype their importance quite a bit. She wanted good admissions odds, and she thought they'd help.

I consider supporting her to make this choice....just as validly "unschool" as any other choice we allowed her to make for her education. Like "quitting math" for a couple years in elementary school. Like throwing out tests and assignments in favor of developing her own competencies on her own terms. Like spending months obsessed with the new microscope and literally not doing anything else. Like spending all day cooking and making batch after batch of a recipe just to experiment with variables.

I remember picking her up from school every afternoon. "You tired of jail school yet? You can always change your mind, you know."

And she'd say, "I miss you, too, Mom." And laugh at me.

Elle adored text books. She read, and re-read, and studied the crap out of several that interested her. She didn't use them in the usual "cram and regurgitate" way that traditional education does. She savored them like a favorite novel....when it was material she was interested in. She's collected dozens over the years and keeps them on the shelves with all her other favorite books...sacred. LOL:)

Not every unschooler is going to be a kid who prefers to learn to play guitar and travel. Not every unschooler is going to grow up to be an artist, or a horse trainer, or an entrepreneur, a four star chef, or a tradesman. (If I'm honest, all of these things were more of what I had in mind for my kid) But it doesn't always happen that way. They're people. They are themselves, and they surprise you.

Some unschoolers develop staunch interests in very organized fields of study. Some decide to embrace traditional academia. But in doing so, they create some amazing bridges for creativity and outside objectivity that make them stand out. There's a reason they're so well received. They bring a fresh perspective. They have alarming confidence that there's more than one way to approach problems, and don't mind indulging these rebellions against the status-quo. They're outside-of-the-box thinkers that are ultimately CRAVED by higher academia:)

albeto
02-18-2015, 03:38 PM
"I don't restrict her from actual curriculum and if she is interested in a textbook I usually end up getting it for her. I am sure that disqualifies us as unschoolers, but it works for her."

I don't think that disqualifies you as unschoolers AT ALL. LOL. If she's the one who is asking for the textbook...that's absolutely unschooling. It's her idea and you're facilitating her idea.

I totally agree with you, CrazyMom. One thing that helped ease my mind about letting my children learn outside conventional schedules was watching my oldest devour the text books he got from the library. He found one, a college text book, that he'd check out over and over again. We got him the updated version for xmas that year, and that was the beginning of his learning explosion. He learned how to identify those academic skills that would support his interest, and then went on to explore those. Text books, lectures, field trips, projects, are all tools by which we learn. Who should say which tools "count" other than the individual?

aspiecat
02-18-2015, 05:29 PM
Unschooling in the high school years sounds pretty darned scary, even if you're comfortable with the whole concept and have a good understanding of it. Most of us are pretty anally retentive when it comes to our kids homeschooling through the high school years, particularly if they have a special need that requires a lot of routine and time-tabling. My DS is one of those types...is rather anxious when he doesn't know exactly what is happening and when. Unschooling doesn't really work for him.

However, I am a fan of the concept, as it is very important for success in higher education that kids realise they will largely be expected to take the reins for their tertiary education, even if they have a program that says "You must take THESE classes". They still have to make informed decisions about a lot of things, and if they are living away from home, they cannot sidle up to mum or dad to ask for immediate help with something. Unschooling can train a kid quite well in seeing the 'big picture' and using their own wits to figure things out in order to succeed academically.

I am slowly unschooling DS. He has Asperger's, so finds it frightening at times to be left to make his own decisions about almost anything, but particularly his schooling. He is doing Penn Foster - which is pretty far from unschooling - but he has a goal as to when he wants to finish, and he has to ensure he keeps an eye on his grades if he wants an A, a B, or whatever. He is also doing a few extra courses, including one college course (his second), and he has to keep up with that work as well and be mindful of anything that has a deadline. These extra courses are either interest-led or based on his current college plan. I will pay for them, and will help him where needed, but if he wants to learn something, he has to be proactive about it.

Aspie