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View Full Version : A late switch to unschooling?



BrendaE
02-23-2011, 06:04 PM
Well well well...

I am learning about all kinds of these home schooling methods just NOW even though I have been home schooling for almost wow 10 years now. Thats what happens when you just decide you dont care what everyone else does and skip all the media, chat rooms, groups, and co ops available out there. TO be honest I skipped them all because I really REALLLLY REALLLLLLLY dislike religion and wrongly painted everyone with a broad stroke of the brush.

After a bit of pondering about the post regarding "If you could have been home schooled", I realized in some sense I was. Albeit on my own... from about grade 6 on I basically slept through most of my classes. I still made top grades because I "taught" myself straight out of my text books etc simply because I enjoyed it.

Now DD is beginning the 9th grade (yes in the middle of March the switch will be final and complete). I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past many months about the best way to go about high school. Mostly, I have been trying to think of ways to make it as stress free as possible. Part of the plan involves her taking only 2 courses at a time plus electives. I am thinking now though... shall i just let her study what SHE wants to study>? IS that unschooling? I am not even sure. I was also thinking to skip grading. Granted I need to keep her transcripts and grades so that she can enter Uni, but she does have to KNOW I am keeping grades right>?

This may be a very poor idea ..its just rattling around in my mind today. I would appreciate opinions and insight though. Anyone?>

Stella M
02-23-2011, 07:17 PM
Why don't you ask your dd what her thoughts are ? It sounds like the two of you have a pretty good rapport and it would be interesting to see what her ideas are.

As far as I understand unschooling with older children, that would be pretty much the key. Finding out how dd wants to learn, letting her know the options available and then facilitating her choice. You could be schooling out of textbooks and giving grades and it would still be unschooling if your dd had specifically asked to learn that way.

dbmamaz
02-23-2011, 07:20 PM
Ok, this isnt exactly what you asked - but when my daughter was really struggling with public school in 10th grade, she had figured out she wanted to go in to graphic design. So I found a community college near us which had a program in that, and let her attend full time there (she also took a few high school classes for the specific credits she needed - english and history). She mostly took drawing, design, and art history courses - plus english (yeah, both places) and a math class. She didnt end up finishing her 2-year degree, but did get her diploma, and still wants to go to (real) college for graphic design. Of course, i dont know how it will play out - she's living at bf's mom in Cali unable to find a job. But as long as she can fill the requirements of the college she wants to go to, i see no reason to not let her determine what she takes.

It might be unschooling - but certainly doesnt sound like radical unschooling.

Stella M
02-23-2011, 07:29 PM
You and your dd might be interested in reading Grace Llewellyn's Teenage Liberation Handbook.

BrendaE
02-23-2011, 07:41 PM
I am waiting to pick her up from her fine arts class right now and we will have a good long discussion about it. I guess it mostly struck me as a fine idea as I am reading all of the things she can be doing here on the island. The NOAA has a lot of hands on type internships where they take middle and high school students out on the boats to actually DO the science. She has wanted to be a marine biologist her whole life and thats what we're gearing up high school for. However, if thats what she wants to do then perhaps i should just let her take the classes from MIT open courseware etc that actually pertain to it and the typical high school transcript be damned. She can do her SCUBA certs, intern with NOAA, there is a stewardship of the oceans program, another for the Aina(land). Frankly there is just so much FUN she could be having. On the other side, what if she changes her mind? Then she will be at some disadvantages maybe? She is and always has been such a very good student. I have not had most of the issues that I read about children having. She consistently tests well, gets her own work done, etc. I guess _I_ am nervous about high school because SHE seems to be nervous. Even though it is still home school. Weird right? My mind is so full of bad thoughts about what high schools and schools in general DO to our children. Mindless automatons that really end up knowing nothing and forget pounding out the love and passion for something.. the kids dont seem to even get the chance to love something in the first place. I guess in the end of all this thinking, I am having trouble deciding to do something semi main stream (hs wise) so that getting INTO Uni isnt an issue, or just LIVING and doing what matters to her so that she can experience all the joy and wonder of something she has loved for so long.

dbmamaz
02-23-2011, 08:36 PM
Its understandable to be nervous - its a big step, preparing her for the step in to her independent life. But there STILL are no educational emergencies. If she changes her mind and needs a particular class to get in to some other program, she can take some community college classes to add to her transcripts at that point. Even if she's 30 at the time, kwim!

farrarwilliams
02-23-2011, 08:41 PM
Ooh, yes, read The Teenage Liberation Handbook. That's what made me decide to homeschool. When I was a senior in high school, that is... When I make a decision, I really stick to it. ;)

As for unschooling... there are a lot of different threads there. It's a continuum, just like homeschooling. Some people would say if you have her studying anything formally, then that's not unschooling. Others would say what you're describing is exactly what unschooling should be.

BrendaE
02-23-2011, 10:38 PM
She totally FREAKED OUT! at the very mention of un schooling... WOW... I wasnt really given the opportunity to explain it very much. She immediately started crying! I might wait for her to calm down and try to explain the idea again. She went from 0 to 60 at the WORD unschool. Started almost yelling "do you want me to be stupid??!!" sheesh! Teenagers!

StartingOver
02-23-2011, 11:02 PM
If you want it to be less stressful, I would keep a portfolio of her work, no matter what she chooses to do. Anyone can put numbers on a transcript, our portfolios of work were much more appreciated at the college entrance levels. Just a thought.

I usually sit down with mind in 8th grade and make a basic plan. I start with what do you want to go to college for? Then I research which colleges would meet the need. Give my child a list of colleges, and let them research which they might want to attend. Then we look at the admissions requirements of the colleges of their choice. From that we can make a more specific plan of what they need to cover to make it into the school of their choice. Then I pretty much leave it up to them, do or die. Time to be responsible ! Good luck !

BrendaE
02-23-2011, 11:07 PM
If you want it to be less stressful, I would keep a portfolio of her work, no matter what she chooses to do. Anyone can put numbers on a transcript, our portfolios of work were much more appreciated at the college entrance levels. Just a thought.

I usually sit down with mind in 8th grade and make a basic plan. I start with what do you want to go to college for? Then I research which colleges would meet the need. Give my child a list of colleges, and let them research which they might want to attend. Then we look at the admissions requirements of the colleges of their choice. From that we can make a more specific plan of what they need to cover to make it into the school of their choice. Then I pretty much leave it up to them, do or die. Time to be responsible ! Good luck !


Yep, thats what we did. She wants to go to University on Island because of the massive opportunities for marine biology. They dont want to see portfolios at any of her choices. They want transcripts in detail and SAT scores. We already planned it all out etc with a little wiggle room, I dont even knoow why this idea came upon me... well I do know.... reading.. HAHAH too much reading. I am second guessing it all ... *sighs*

dbmamaz
02-23-2011, 11:24 PM
IMO, and i'm not an unschooler, the core of unschooling is to let the kids decide what they want - but by high school, if they want to go to college, helping them meet that goal IS the job of an unschooling parent. I'm thinking maybe neither of you are clear on what unschooling means (or else i'm not lol). But the whole point is that the parent lets the child determine their own path. It sounds like she knows her path and expects you to help her get there . . . so to jump ship on a plan she agreed to already . . . i cant explain myself.

Ok, how about this. When my daughter was such a total wreck and hating everything, I came up with a plan, working with a few different people, where she would take 4 (5?) classes / semester at community college, a science class and drivers ed at the high school, 2 independent study history classed and a night english class at another high school, over the period of 2 years, and have both a diploma and a 2 year degree. The high school counselor, tho, suddenly asked Heron was she wanted. She said "That." I think I talked to her later and said, I think the counselor wanted to hear from you what you wanted. I mean, I made this whole plan, and since you didnt make the plan, I guess she really wanted to know in your words, what you want.

She just said, "No, thats a good plan. I like it." Conversation was over.

Sometimes I think they know they need you to do the planning for them cuz they arent there yet, and they trust you to do what's best for them.

I once read a great article by a woman who said that, while unschooling sounds great, its seems to work best for kids who are very entreprenaurial (sp, sorry), very self-motivated. She said if she didnt have a plan, her kids would fight and say they were bored and play video games, and she would do her own thing and never talk to them all day. She said that they as a family really seemed to need a plan. that really struck a chord in me - my boys NEED me to be their cruise director, as much as I hate it. I ask them what they want to study, I ask which book they like better, I ask what fiction they want to read, I work hard to find curriculum that fits them . . . and they are content with that. I feel like i'm their training wheels until they are ready to drive themselves . . . which is why I actually give my 7 yo more freedom than my 14 yo. my 14 yo, with multiple disabilities, clearly needs more direction.

ok, have I babbled enough yet? grrr