View Full Version : What do you do when you are

09-22-2010, 08:38 AM
as unmotivated as your kids???

Ok, I guess my problem is, I have secret dreams of being an unschooler. I don't trust that enough to let go and instead head straight to curriculum type things. I don't really want to do them, I get bored when trying to do them with the kids (mostly just the Littles, Garrett is pretty good to go on his own for most things [though he doesn't put much effort into things]). I begin to yawn, I struggle through one subject a day with them and I am spent, then I sit there feeling guilty and think I'm not cut out for all this.

I can see them learning by leaps and bounds if I just let them do things only a "horrible mommy" would... watch TV all day, play video games, run wild outside. And really I prefer to see them learning ummmm naturally(???), and they seem to retain things better that way. I try to make things more unschoolish and again begin to panic that I need to make sure they are doing this and that, covering this and that, etc.

It's almost a double edged sword living in a restrictive state... I hate that I have to show proof of our homeschooling to the district, but at the same time I am afraid at how lazy I would be if I lived somewhere with little or no homeschool laws.

Gah.. I'm sure all this sounds like a bunch of scatterbrained ramble, but my brain just won't focus on one thing this morning..lol.

09-22-2010, 08:49 AM
When I start to get unmotivated it usually is a reflection on my child's motivation (when she is eager, I usually am too!) and that is a sign for us to just unschool for a period of time (a few days, a few weeks, a month?) I, like you, really love the idea of unschooling but I can't manage to *only* unschool. So we have curriculum for the basics that we follow, and unschool when we feel like it. I find my daughter learns wildly during unschooling AND when we get back to the curriculum.

09-22-2010, 09:48 AM
Remember, unschooling doesnt have to be radical unschooling. Read math story books or do puzzles and number games and call it math. Read books to them and call it english. Find some fun, messy science experiments - like the old baking-soda-and-vinegar in the sink - and call it science. There is a world of options between curriculum and video games

09-22-2010, 09:53 AM
I find different things to do for a day or so when my motivation or my kids' motivation seems to drop. Some days are better than others. The kids know they have to finish the curriculum I've set out by the end of the year, but I try to be flexible and find enjoyable but educational things to do on those bad days.

09-22-2010, 11:49 AM
Homeschooling or unschooling is not all about a set schedule of what to do and when to do it. It should be a more relaxed learning place so the children can stay motivated and interested in what they are learning. Sometimes I get way to caught up in the curriculum and find if I am bored or having issues most likely the children are too. Mix it up with some fun activities, playing outside or at the park or cooking in the kitchen while all fun are also very much good learning areas for the children. Mom don't be so hard on yourself, they will get everything they need and more in their own time!

09-22-2010, 12:08 PM
What is horrible is as I was planning this year. esp. for the oldest, I was all about finding things that were fun, and as we started I went into panic mode and pulled out "the books".. we went from my plans of just watching things on DVD for science to using the Prentice Hall Science Explorer books I have.. I even went and bought the DVD labs and the DVD "field trips" (or what ever that other one is called) and the school zone lab cd-rom to go with it. I have stuck with the keeping PA history fun for his interests, and am still tweeking his language arts to make it more livable for both of us (we started out with Caught'Ya Grammar, which is awesome, but I'm lacking horribley in my own grammar skills and it made it a ton of work for me to keep up with the hows and whys of it and are now back to Writing Strands and I have found and added in Hot Fudge Monday.. which is super fun so far :) )

For the littles.. well I think my problem was I was trying to keep Reagan (4yo) up with Rylee (5yo).. and well not only is he a year younger, he is a boy and I'm learning quickly, girls are usually ready for "school" at a much younger age. I'm going to drop Reagan.. let him go back to doing what ever his heart desires in his old preschool workbook (right or not I don't care) and playing, and Rylee thrives on workbook type things.. so I will keep the McRuffy (tweeking it where I want of course) because it is pretty fun in her eyes.

Jennifer Gray
09-22-2010, 05:54 PM
When we feel unmotivated we chill out and take a personal day...I can mark us in attendance and then we do what we want. I'm not going to destroy our day so some bureaucrat can make sure they feel entitled to that pat on the back.

09-22-2010, 07:01 PM
When we feel unmotivated we chill out and take a personal day...I can mark us in attendance and then we do what we want. I'm not going to destroy our day so some bureaucrat can make sure they feel entitled to that pat on the back.

Here Here!! Love it and I so agree with you on that.

09-22-2010, 09:22 PM
I use the workbooks to very efficiently cover language arts and math, and leave science, social studies, PE/health and fine arts more open to be covered in less planned/structured ways. I've found that we cover those subjects more when I don't try to schedule them very much.

02-10-2011, 02:45 PM
I know exactly what you mean. It is so good to know that there are so many different types out there. I just started this week and still have two in school. I want to take them out but mostly because it's a pain in the arse for me. I am getting proggressively worse (or better) at being late and letting them stay home. I don't have a real plan and I feel like I must need some "definitive" in doing this. So far we have done reading for black history month, started journaling, and watched a couple of documentaries. But more than that we have hung out in a non-rushed, non-stressed kind of way. Structure stressed me out and that's all there is with "real" school.
Any way, thanks for sharing and being honest. It's always nice to know you are not the only one.


love the indigo girls quote

05-22-2011, 08:42 AM
I really believe that right now would be a great time to do a month or so of unschooling, as we are both a little burnt. I'm freaking a bit though, because it is portfolio time and this is our first year...not so sure what to expect. We have done a lot, but much of it has been on whiteboard, video, in the kitchen, and outside. We do have worksheets and photographs for documentation, but he's not big into crafts, project displays and such. Gave in and bought the CAT and will give it to him in about week. (Maybe 2 - we have chicks coming in this week.) I'm sure he will do just fine, but can't help feeling nervous and wanting to review everything first!!! For all you unschoolers - how do you handle the end of the year jitters?

05-22-2011, 10:49 AM
I hate putting this in writing, but I know some unschoolers who do the CAT test with their kids . . .they say the gov't has no right to dictate what they do with their kids, to justify it, but really it just puts all of our freedoms at risk.

for me, tho, the VA law is that if you dont show adaquate progress, you have a year to turn it around. They cant make you put your kids back in school right away. Also remember its not a grade - not for you or the kids - its just an item to check off to show that you are obeying the law. So dont take it personally.

05-23-2011, 06:43 AM

05-23-2011, 09:27 AM
Yep! Ellipses!
I was able to get to the second page by clicking on "view first unread".

05-23-2011, 11:49 AM
I feel like I know exactly what you mean! I think we'd be full on unschoolers if I didn't go into panic mode every time I thought about our yearly evaluation!

The one thing I do try to do is keep the word "lazy" out of it. My boys have never been to school and have never used a work sheet to teach them left from right or big from small but yet they know these things-on their own...naturally. I just try to remind myself of that. **

And I agree with above-until I joined this forum I thought that the only way to unschool was to be a radical unschooler-but now I realize that what we do in my house is nothing like school....75% of the learning is done naturally while there are things like spelling and reading and math that I just can't let go naturally.

If something is boring then do something else! There are so many alternatives for learning ...

I don't know if you've checked out this site but it helped me a lot creating my first portfolio-even if it was in a different state! The laws in FL and PA are pretty similar...

**I use this example because I can't tell you how many worksheets I've come across that say "Circle the largest dog" or something lame like that!

05-24-2011, 05:39 AM
Thanks Marmalade. I know for us there are some things that, if we didn't sit down to look at in a structured way, would never get done. Like spelling, math and grammar. And some things my son would never stumble upon on his own, like history. He just doesn't go down those roads, and if we didn't walk down them together, he would miss out on a lot of great sights! I realized last night though, while we were watching several episodes of a show about the evolution of mammals, (followed by the obligatory "Mythbusters"), that my son does choose his own path with science and natural history, and he chooses well! Wish I wrote down the names of all the shows he has watched! (Maybe I can get that from Netflix....) I never did choose a science curriculum, basically because I couldn't find one I liked, and I was afraid to snuff out the light. Science is the one area that school had yet to sour him on. Yet he learned so much!

The portfolio website is great help. I thing once we sit down to put the portfolio together, I'll feel much more relaxed and confident. Purposefully making this week ultra-light on "work" and will see if we are fresher next week!

Stella M
05-24-2011, 06:12 AM

05-24-2011, 12:03 PM
Right now I'm pretty unmotivated. Even getting up in the morning seems a chore. DD also seems to have a lack of desire. I think the only thing keeping her moving forward is she's almost finished Science and L/A for the year on T4L. Summer for us will be much less structured not quite unschooling but it's the break we need.

It probably doesn't help that it's rained for what feels like EVER and allergies are kicking my butt - the allergy meds have been making me feel worse for some odd reason. Financial worries are also getting old.

We need a break so I'm sure this too shall pass. We're going away for five days starting next Sunday. While us grown up are worried about the financial part of it (we can't cancel or we'd still be stuck paying anyway) I do think it will still do all of us some good. The White Mountains have a way of clearing our heads. We have only planned a trip to Mt. Washington and a few quick hikes - if the rain would please just stop!