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Stella M
06-15-2011, 10:15 PM
Come out of the woodwork and tell me who you are! Make me feel less alone...every time there is a thread or a poll and I read the answers I feel more and more of a slacker. No testing, limited planning, little pre- planned curricula, no school room, few 'must do subjects', extracurriculars kept to a minimum, no stress or worries about college in the dc's future - though we don't subscribe to the unschooling approach ( completely )...it's all good and it works for us, but tell me I'm not alone :)

Accidental Homeschooler
06-15-2011, 10:50 PM
Well, we don't have a dedicated classroom. We do our stuff in the kitchen, which is why I am getting fat (that is my excuse for now anyway). Today my dd's were playing together (nicely!) so I pretty much left them to it and cancelled everything for the day. I got a couple hours of reading in. I don't test, so no grades. I make a schedule but, like today, feel free to change it if I feel like it. The girls aren't very motivated right now because it is summer, especially the 13yo and neither am I to be honest. I did purchase curricula, but I think that is because the idea of making my own was too overwhelming. Sometimes I don't look at it until we are ready to sit down and do it and then realize that (crap!) I don't have the supplies and move it to the next day. It took me four days to get to the store and buy supplies for our model of blood. We are doing MCT and when I started reading the verb section I put it off until Fall (no objections from dd on that decision) and am going to try to guilt my husband into doing it. I am hoping that I will get more organized as we go. But like the general history of my parenting I will probably just lower my standards (not always a bad thing). So, I hope you feel better now!

dbmamaz
06-15-2011, 11:05 PM
Well, I consider myself relaxed, but maybe i'm slightly less relaxed than that? Of course, i schedule because the boys and I are really more comfortable that way - i hate doing it, but my standards are such that I have to get SOMETHING done .. so schedule has to happen. I feel like in my heart I'd love to be an unschooler but i cant do it. We do use schedules and curriculum, but no grades, no tests, very little writing, even (which i often feel i need to change . . . ). I try to follow the kids leads as much as I CAN . . . I know they dont resent what we are doing because I DO listen to them and we work together to find a happy medium. I DO worry about college/future, but not enough to chain my boys to a desk or give up ALL my free time so I can be grading papers at night or whatever.

does that count?

Stella M
06-15-2011, 11:23 PM
Depends. It's that 'supplies' thread that's got me feeling bad...we're supposed to get supplies ? The scrap paper and the half-chewed pencils aren't enough ?

So Accidental Homeschooler, it's reassuring to me to hear you talk of 'not having the supplies' :)

farrarwilliams
06-15-2011, 11:31 PM
I try to be relaxed... But I'm thinking I might not qualify for this thread.

Can I put myself next to a rigorous Classical homeschooler to make myself look really relaxed then hang out here?

Accidental Homeschooler
06-15-2011, 11:52 PM
I try to be relaxed... But I'm thinking I might not qualify for this thread.

Can I put myself next to a rigorous Classical homeschooler to make myself look really relaxed then hang out here?

Maybe you can be the good influence.

We have had almost nothing but rain it seems for the last two weeks and dh is out of town. I am tired. I actually think it is good that we are relaxing a bit. When dd's were deep in a game together the idea of making them stop and come and do school just seemed like a really bad idea. I wouldn't do this everyday but sometimes it just feels like the right thing to do. And my younger dd does need a schedule or some type of activity everyday, but I think playing in a positive way with her sister worked for today.

Stella M
06-16-2011, 12:28 AM
Yes, if one of mine is deep in play or something else of their own design, I don't like to interupt. Oh, for crying out loud, every way I spell that comes up wrong!

Next to a rigorous Classical homeschooler, I look like a slug :)

I don't know if a woman with a whiteboard can play, Farrar...maybe you can tell me how to spell 'interupt' though :)

Seriously though, it's not meant to be complicated ( except by choice ), is it ? Am I kidding myself that all I need to do is teach them to read, buy them books and make them do maths ? They seem to do the rest themselves but I could be deluded! Am I the kind of slacker mom who is lowering the homeschool standards ?? Do I need supplies ???

I must live in a nation of slackers, because here, I'm one of the more 'let's get some work done' mothers. Here, I'm the woman watching Oprah and eating bon-bons....

Accidental Homeschooler
06-16-2011, 01:02 AM
I think it is interesting that you are concerned that you might be a slacker even though you have a system that works for your kids. Cara seems to feel that she needs to justify being more scheduled though it works for her kids. (I apologize in advance if I have totally misread/misunderstood either of your posts.) I basically don't know what I am doing yet and am worried about that even though maybe I just need more time to figure out what is going to work best for us. It seems like more of a mother issue than hs issue. Do you know what I mean, the way mothers can work themselves over sometimes worrying that they are doing something wrong? When you throw hs (your child's entire education and future success after all) on top, the opportunities for self-doubt and worry multiply exponentially.

dottieanna29
06-16-2011, 07:14 AM
I definitely am at least a semi-slacker. We do use some curriculum but we don't have any schedule, do no testing and we take off a lot of days. Pretty easy since we have no reporting requirements and my kids are young. That 4 day schedule I talked about? Basically it means I put 4 days worth of each subjects work in file folders and type up a simple grid that I can check off. Then, in theory, we go through each subject and whatever we don't get to, we start with the next day. In reality, I don't think we've ever finished our 4 "days", I've had the same grid sitting on my clipboard for about 2 weeks and we still haven't finished the first loop and I throw everything out the window whenever I feel like it. We do a lot of games and the kids love imaginary play. Georgie is learning to read quite quickly (with a lot of help from the Cartoon Road to Reading) and is doing 1st grade math so I figure it's all okay. I do seem to have a problem with too much planning, not enough doing but I'm trying to work on it.

We do have whiteboards but that's because they're FUN! :-D

Stella M
06-16-2011, 07:40 AM
My kids didn't even have a blackboard. I just sent them out with a bucket of chalk to draw on the footpath, that's how slack I am :)

I'm OK with it. The kids are fine! Just wanting to know if anyone shares my low tech style.

farrarwilliams
06-16-2011, 08:02 AM
The planning/scheduling thread and the supplies thread were both a little much for me too. I do have a lot of those supplies, though. I admit it. But I think of that stuff as being so individual. Some people need a lot of craft stuff because they have crafty kids. And some people need new shelves and so forth because they're all organized. But I figure it just comes naturally. I never went out and bought all that stuff at once. Someone said to me, hey, really good white boards are nice to have (and then bulk ordered and sold them in our group) and as I've needed stuff, I go, oh, yeah... a pencil sharpener would be nice. A lot of the time when I get things like new pencils or erasers, it's for the kids as a small treat or to stuff their stockings or something.

It was the planning thread that did me in. I simply don't get why people need things like Homeschool Tracker. I mean, I have read reasons of how people use it and why they need it... but I don't grok. Planning is... mostly in my head and schedules are jotted down on the kitchen calendar so we show up to the things we've said we're planning to show up to.

dottieanna29
06-16-2011, 08:03 AM
My kids didn't even have a blackboard. I just sent them out with a bucket of chalk to draw on the footpath, that's how slack I am :)

I'm OK with it. The kids are fine! Just wanting to know if anyone shares my low tech style.

See, sidewalk chalk and paint are tons of fun!

"Low tech"? No we are definitely not low tech - lots of computer time, movie time, documentaries, television, Leapsters, Wii - definitely not low tech around here.

I keep flip-flopping on what I want to do as the kids get older. Do I want to do classical, even though it will be an extremely relaxed classical? Do I want to just stay relaxed, eclectic maybe using the guidelines in Rebecca Rupp and What your ** needs to know? Do I want to do core subjects and interest led unit studies for everything else (which will still get them more than the public schools get)?

Too many options.

dottieanna29
06-16-2011, 08:07 AM
It was the planning thread that did me in. I simply don't get why people need things like Homeschool Tracker. I mean, I have read reasons of how people use it and why they need it... but I don't grok. Planning is... mostly in my head and schedules are jotted down on the kitchen calendar so we show up to the things we've said we're planning to show up to.

I agree - I tried homeschool tracker because it seemed like it would be easy. Nope, not so much. Since I don't need transcripts or to account for days or hours it was way too much work for what I could possibly get out of it. I was a secretary for 20 years so I like being able to just use Word or Excel to do what works for me - which means very easy to slack off, no major hassles if we don't get to something or throw the whole week out the window and no planning too far ahead. I only do it at all because otherwise I'd probably never get anything done and it gives me something to show MIL.
:p

farrarwilliams
06-16-2011, 08:22 AM
See, I can understand intellectually why some people might need Excel too... but I don't get that either. :D

dottieanna29
06-16-2011, 08:55 AM
See, I can understand intellectually why some people might need Excel too... but I don't get that either. :D

LOL. I hear this a lot actually. Excel seems very limited until you really learn the ins and outs of it. I spent a few years working as an underwriting clerk and another few years teaching computer software programs. It gave me a chance to really see what it can do. Although, if you're really good at Word, anything your average user is likely to do in Excel can be done in Word.

Teri
06-16-2011, 09:18 AM
We do use curriculum.
We do not test.
We have a whiteboard because my husband brought it home when his office moved. They were going to throw it out. I never use it. The kids like to draw on it.
We have a schoolroom because we needed a place to keep all of our stuff. School does not happen in there, but the kids spend a lot of time in there. We have their instruments, a futon, all of the art supplies, a kid sized table and the reference books in there.
I buy supplies in August when school supplies are on sale. I know we will need markers, crayons, pencils, and poster boards throughout the year, so I might as well get 10 cent poster boards instead of paying $1/each.
We are not on a schedule as much as we have a rhythm. The only scheduled things are the things we leave the house for. We do tend to do school things in the morning and other things in the afternoon because my kids do better that way. Once we leave the house and come back, school tends to be harder to get going.
My kids always have some art project going. I came downstairs this morning and Libby had made four wands (this is important when you play Wizards and Enchantresses ;)). So, we have a lot of those kinds of supplies also. The wands used straws and beads and we had those available in the schoolroom, along with paper, paint, glue and everything else you might need to make important props.

ETA: I use NO tracking or planning tools. Texas does not require that and I do not feel any kind of need to tie myself into that much specificity.

Marmalade
06-16-2011, 09:37 AM
Depends. It's that 'supplies' thread that's got me feeling bad...we're supposed to get supplies ? The scrap paper and the half-chewed pencils aren't enough ?

So Accidental Homeschooler, it's reassuring to me to hear you talk of 'not having the supplies' :)

I think I'm pretty darned relax but I have an addiction to supplies-really I do. I get so cheery when it's time for school supplies to go on sale-this goes back to before I even had children!

I plan things...but nothing goes according to said plan. What I do is write what they are supposed to do in their calendars and then at the end of the week I write what they did do....but since I have to keep a log for the state I have to have some sort of tracking going on.....but 10 to 1 the beginning list looks nothing like the ending list!

The closest I've ever come to testing was when I stumbled on a reading level test and the kids were curious so we did it-and there were a handful of evaluations for curriculum placement....but I stay far away from standard tests and things.

I definitely think I'm relaxed...I have entertained the idea of becoming more structured but it just made me laugh...no one in my house would go for that.

TamaraNC
06-16-2011, 09:52 AM
I think simplicity is best, for school as well as for life in general. As much as I like organizing as an activity (I'm weird like that), if it started to get so complicated that I needed a serious tracking tool or organizational system, I'd revisit my approach. Too stressful for all of us, and not enough freedom for the kids to do their own thing.

I do use MicroSoft One Note to store my random ideas and scanned documents for reporting. For next year, I've also done a simple MS Word doc planner for DD7 because she likes to check the boxes.

hockeymom
06-16-2011, 11:13 AM
We do use curriculum.
We do not test.
We have a whiteboard because my husband brought it home when his office moved. They were going to throw it out. I never use it. The kids like to draw on it.
We have a schoolroom because we needed a place to keep all of our stuff. School does not happen in there, but the kids spend a lot of time in there. We have their instruments, a futon, all of the art supplies, a kid sized table and the reference books in there.
I buy supplies in August when school supplies are on sale. I know we will need markers, crayons, pencils, and poster boards throughout the year, so I might as well get 10 cent poster boards instead of paying $1/each.
We are not on a schedule as much as we have a rhythm. The only scheduled things are the things we leave the house for. We do tend to do school things in the morning and other things in the afternoon because my kids do better that way. Once we leave the house and come back, school tends to be harder to get going.



This exactly. Except for the school room and art stuff, DS doesn't care much for arts or crafts. We bought our first box of sidewalk chalk in years today, but truthfully it's more for me than him. (plus I love Farrar's driveway math!):)

I'd consider a school room in our next house if it was a natural, organic part of our home. That way I wouldn't have to move curriculum stuff off the dining room table every night, but it's no big deal.

We're relaxed in the sense that if it's a pretty day we'll take it off to play outside. This morning DS did all his work at Starbucks while waiting for the bookstore to open; now the rest of the day is free to play and hang laundry (ie: mama play!).

The idea of online schedules stresses me out, I literally couldn't even read about some of the systems people have set up (no offense to anyone!). I'm pretty low tech though and prefer paper to computerized systems any day.

naturegirl7
06-16-2011, 12:53 PM
Schedule? What is that?! LOL

DS is in several classes - per his request. I have debated putting him in more but I don't want to burn him (or me) out. He has 2 dance classes a week. In the Fall we did gymnastics too, but it got a bit much. This spring we did a once a week Zoo class that was fantastic. 3 activities is our max. We are taking a break from dance for the summer and instead will do swim lessons again. I would love to add in a theater class this fall though. We do semi regular playdates and one a month HS park day. Occasional HS group field trips or random trips to various local eco centers just cuz we like doing it.
We don't have a "school room" despite having an empty room in the house that I could use. I like the kitchen table. I like watching something on our TV courtesty of Netflix thru the Wii. I like playing games and doing projects. I like taking it outside. I don't want to create a "mini school" in my house. That isn't why I am HSing.

As for supplies - I have tons of artsy stuff from BEFORE we started HSing. The standard stuff: paper, crayons, markers, safety scissors, glue sticks, paint, clay, etc. I do have a general use supply of pencils, pens, pencil sharpener, and a stapler in the house. DS already had a small dry erase board for drawing and playing and we use that a lot. I have a stash of posterboards laying around for DH (who is also in school) and we use it for various art projects - like before our vacation to mexico we learned about coral reefs and made a coral reef poster and right now we are turning another one into a board game about Hercules.
I DID buy math manipulatives to play with. And made a DIY giant dry erase board for the kitchen wall that cost about $25. And a new GIANT bookcase to hold our ever expanding book collection. BUt that had been on my to-do list for a while. I have purchased lots more books, board games, card games, and art supplies. But again it is all stuff we'd be buying anyway even if we weren't HSing.

As for schedules or planning - HA! We are very child led here. Not quite unschooling, but definitely not formal either. We go with the flow. If we take a week off cuz we are grumpy or sick, so be it. I will not sit at a table with a grumpy, whining, crying child trying to force him to do math. Right now, personally, my most important goal is that he continue to LOVE learning and eagerly pursue learning. Next is reading and math. He reads well, so I don't do anything formal for reading - just read together nonstop, which is all I ever did. Math is as structured as I get, it is hard not to be structured with math. I have Singapore and then Math Mammoth for extra practice. But we supplement sit down math with LOTS of card and board games and cooking. Writing is something he hates, so I let him dictate to me and he is learning to type. When he writes, I let him use the dry erase board or a marker on paper. His fine motor skills make writing with pencils super frustrating for him. At this age, I figure it is not something to make an issue over, he will grow into it.
Planning is in only in my head and quite vague. We use SOTW audio books and Usborne history books as our main spines. DS is a history freak, especially ancient history. We started at the beginning and are working our way thru at his pace. I pull art/crafts, science, other books and literature, and even math into whatever we are currently learning about as we go. I also purchased AHA Science and Math from learning.com for him cuz he loves the computer and it is really easy to customize. I have it grouped into related topics, and sequenced that he must "pass" a quiz before moving onto a more detailed part of that topic. But he can bounce between over a dozen main topics - so he can learn about magnets for several units or do one unit of magnets and one of botany. It is very self directed the way I have it set up - which is what works for him/us. He loves computer games like cosmeo.com and pbskids.org and I love how educational they are. ;)

I also listen to him when he says he want to do something regardless of whether or not it fits with what we are learning at that moment. Gotta take advantage of every teachable moment! Yesterday he wanted to do an experiment that was about heat - we haven't studied heat or energy at all. It involved putting an empty plastic bottle into the fridge and once it was cold, put a balloon over the top and place it into a large bowl of warm water. I thought it would be a cool way to intro the topic, and wanted to discuss the expectations of the experiment - what did he think that balloon would do. He looked at me with that "Duh Mom" look that is becoming all to common, and informed me "It will blow up the balloon Mommy. The air molecules move away when they get warm and go up into the balloon." I was shocked. Shocked that he knew this and seriously shocked that he even knew what a molecule was. When I asked HOW he knew this, I got the "Duh Mom" look again. "From mythbusters and my science books and from my science on the computer (AHA Science)."

We don't need to keep track of hours, just have a portfolio and teacher interview every year or take one of the yucky standardized tests. I had started out with HStracker online but it became quite a chore and wasn't necessary so I just stopped. I find that this loose system works for us. More structure - I tried it in the beginning and both of us were really unhappy. So not worth it. This works and is fun/engaging, DS is thriving and just soaking up everything like a sponge.

Sometimes I feel like a real slacker and wonder if I am doing DS a disservice - but then something like that bottle experiment happens and reminds me that this IS right for DS. I think that as moms we just tend to second guess ourselves - on everything. Considering their education is such a big part of their life and their future, what kind of moms would be if we didn't doubt ourselves over it sometimes? But just like everything else - If it isn't broke, don't try to fix it! :)

farrarwilliams
06-16-2011, 01:22 PM
I was thinking about this and thinking how... on some level... it's all about the attitude not the extras. Like, some people have next to nothing - a few workbooks and a pile of library books, but they are not relaxed - rigor is the watchword, you know? But then other people have piles and piles of curricula, schedules, excel sheets, dedicated schoolrooms... and they spend an hour or so doing whatever every afternoon. So... yeah.

jess
06-16-2011, 01:43 PM
I am a crazy obsessive planner because I find it to be good entertainment. Yesterday I took a perfectly good curriculum plan (Wee Folk Art) and spent hours switching it up to better match with holidays and the local seasonal stuff, plus making it gluten-free.

This is why I don't buy box curriculum. I doubt it would save me any time because I can't seem to follow a plan that I don't create myself.

But in actual day-to-day practice we're pretty relaxed. There are a lot of subjects I don't really plan out that we just work through at our own pace, and I tend to fall on the "Better late than early" end of the spectrum as far as academic expectations. We have very few extracurriculars (really, just Cub Scouts at the moment). We'll likely add in a bit more when we have the money, but I doubt we'll ever be one of those families rushing around to everything.

Supplies: We have a ton of craft supplies right now! But only because my grandma emptied her junk drawer and mailed it to me :p I hate craft supplies. They get all over the place and make messes. So that's all up on a high shelf and comes out only when I really need them occupied for a while. Beyond that, we don't have much beyond the standard pencils, crayons, colored pencils, and printer paper.

Jess24
06-16-2011, 02:14 PM
Feel like I am jumping in on this conversation a little late, but I thought I could chime in. We are exeptionally relaxed in our homeschool style. I think my girls are upstairs playing Warrior Cat, American Girl, tea party.

I go through spurts where I like to buy pretty notebooks and calendars and lots of shiny stuff to work on. Then they get playing and I think we can do that tomorrow, which turns into next week and sometimes next month. They also know that if I ask them to do something and they ignore me long enough, I will get distracted and forget what I asked them to do.

But it's all good and they are happy.

Actually, just was informed that the warrior cat girl is now making a video with my phone. That's educational, right?!?

Busygoddess
06-16-2011, 02:34 PM
It depends on your definition of relaxed. I think we're actually quite relaxed.

Yes, we have a lot of school materials, mostly supplemental stuff - much of it gets used by the kids when they want to use it, for fun. Yes, we have tons of books - many of which we owned before we started homeschooling & most we would own even if we weren't homeschooling. We have white boards, because they are so versatile & can be used for fun, Math, doing Grammar (so we don't need to buy the student book or use a notebook), etc. Plus, the kids just really like using the whiteboards.

The kids have never taken a state standardized test. They do some quizzes & tests that are part of some programs we use, but those aren't a big deal & we see them as just part of the program.

We do plan, but it's not a strict plan. It's taken me ahwile, but I think I finally found the planning method that provides us with the perfect balance of structure & flexibility. In the past, even when I planned for several weeks at a time, it was split into weekly plans. Now, it's really just a to do list for what I hope to get done over the whole 15 week term. We can check stuff off as we do it. I left blank pages to add the extra work we do that wasn't planned. We can see, at a glance, what we have accomplished, and the plan is really just a guide. I don't freak out about needing to complete everything listed. We're quite flexible about how much gets done each day, and when we take time off.

We need some structure. Our household has this interesting combination of a whole lot of ADHD, some Bipolar, some Dyslexia, some OCD tendencies, etc. So, some structure & routine is needed or nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) will get done, ever.

I have set requirements for graduation, but that's because I feel that I would have failed if I send them out into the world totally unprepared for life and/or with an education inferior to the mediocre education they would get in ps. Those requirements can be met formally or informally, just as long as they're met. I don't worry about college. My dd wants to go to college, so I'm doing what I can to help her meet that goal. She found a Yale shirt at a thrift shop last year (or the year before), and it is one of her favorite shirts.

The kids have a lot of input in their schooling - the materials, how many & which subjects they do each year, which topics to cover in their subjects, the type of work - and they go at their own pace. Even if I thought something sounded like a fantastic program, I wouldn't buy it if the kids didn't like it, found it boring, said it was too challenging or too easy, etc (based on the description, reviews, samples, or if we're really lucky & can borrow it from the library or a friend). Jay literally jumps for joy at the thought of doing Latin. He's learning Spanish & Computer Programming this year, because he requested them (I was planning on Spanish, but not for this year). There is nothing that Jay is doing for school that is forced against his will. The only thing I force Dea to do, that she really doesn't want to do, is Math.

Fiddler
06-16-2011, 03:21 PM
They also know that if I ask them to do something and they ignore me long enough, I will get distracted and forget what I asked them to do.


Me, too, me too!

Melissa, you are not alone. Especially for the early years, I feel like a lot of learning takes place without me assigning it. If I notice in Jane's creative writing that she doesn't get the difference between to and too yet, I might hunt down a worksheet or two on homonyms. If when we're putting a recipe together she can't double the amount of flour we need I might look at Key to Fractions and see if I think she'd handle it okay. JJ does little except listen to read-alouds. Jazz does math and LA on my bed, and the rest on a sofa or in his bed at night (okay, not science experiments--those are my summer project). But I am more relaxed this time of year than I am in early September, so if you posted this thread in late August I might have had an entirely different response. Chalk one up for (in)consistency.

I did buy a Sonlight IG this year for history/geography, but used the schedule for the readers and read-alouds and some of the vocab/discussion questions and not a lot else on a regular basis. And LOTS of days off. And skipping of weeks. I sat down with the IG last weekend to think about how to finish the Core, and we'll be whizzing through India, the Middle East, and Africa in the next three weeks. Oh, and a half a year of math usually takes us a year to complete, if anyone in the family is actually doing a curriculum like Singapore.

And I'm hoping to do the same next year (another Sonlight core IG or two, haven't decided), though I am upping the ante for Jazz (so that will take a bit of planning), as I think he is suffering from a lack of challenge. Just this week at the last minute I stuck him in a lit analysis class with a focus on Hemingway that is aimed a couple of grade levels ahead of him and he is thriving in it. Even woke up this morning and did extra work before we had to leave for the class. With the possibility of a project-based high school dangling in his sights for the not too distant future, he might even step up the math work!

Jilly
06-16-2011, 03:53 PM
I consider myself very relaxed. Sometimes I wonder if I am too relaxed, but I just can't seem to be any other way. I have no ability to plan, and when I look at any planning software (includig Excel) my eyes glaze over, and I just don't know what to do.

I do have plenty of curricula, I have them in various classes, and I take them out to museums and on field trips quite often, yet it still feels relaxed. I think it is my approach more than anything. I want the kids to enjoy what they are learning, and I don't want our days to be stressful. The only way that works for me is to take a very relaxed approach to homeschool and to our life in general.

Eileen
06-16-2011, 03:56 PM
We haven't started yet, so I really can't say with any certainty about anything. However, knowing my personality, I'd never be able to keep up with something like Homeschool Tracker. I might try an excel spreadsheet just so I can look back next year or the year after and see what I covered, but I kind of doubt I'd keep it updated. It's just not my nature. I could never keep a journal either.

I don't have much- well really, any- money to waste. I'm not buying anything beyond the very basic supplies (pencils and spiral notebooks) until we get started and I see what I *really* need. It would make me feel guilty to buy a bunch of things and not end up using them.

All that said, I live in a very relaxed homeschooling state. New Jersey basically has no requirements, and the burden of proof lies with them if they think I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do. Some people have a ton of requirements and they would need fairly detailed record keeping to show to the review board or whatever. I don't see any point in getting strict about that stuff until high school, if we're still doing this then.

As far as teaching style, my dd is a self-directed learner for the most part. Her best retention is generally from reading, so I plan to mostly just let her get on with that.

Stella M
06-16-2011, 06:02 PM
Ok. Better now :)

I certainly wasn't criticising those who are more organised or have tons of useful supplies etc, because we all do what works best for ourselves and our families.

I think I probably lucked out also with kids who are self-starters when it comes to learning. I could leave them doing nothing for a week and - in between the squabbling - they'd learn. Like ds has just taught himself how to make a Mario calendar on the computer, so mentally I can just tick computer skills and time off my inner checklist for the week.

And also, I don't have a very big list of non-negotiables; learn to read well and widely and to a high standard, learn to write legibly, do maths daily, encourage narrations and, in the high school years, learn to write essays and communicate argument and opinion clearly. Everything else is icing for me, and relies on the children's interests, desires and talents, so I have a lot of space for 'relaxed', on top of a low tolerance for what I see as 'bells and whistles'.

I guess I see my job as giving the children the tools they need to shape their lives and learning as they wish, so that's why I lean much more towards non-negotiable learning of skills than non-negotiable content, and that automatically puts us in the non-rigourous camp according to most.

That also explains why I'm seen as 'stricter' where I live, where a lot of emphasis is put on children having 'experiences' and learning together in groups, rather than consistent and regular mastering of those basic (and advanced! ) skills.

I wonder whether I'd feel the same if I lived somewhere that required testing or had more stringent rules around homeschooling ? Probably not, but I might teach differently.

Jess24, if making videos isn't educational, then my ds has spent the better part of a year doing...not-education! So let's call it education :)

dbmamaz
06-16-2011, 06:18 PM
just so all you excell-haters know . . . the fact that i'm using excell and word instead of making an access database and creating reports to automatically pull the correct assingments from the history sources in at the right time . . . that was me being relaxed . . . sigh. . . . tho now that I think about it, it would be interesting to try to create a program so I could make it skip subjects for whatever reason, and still keep the reports on the rigth track. OTOH, the reports wouldnt necessarily be saved, unless it write a line for the schedule of each week . .. NO no no dont have time for that . . .

Jess24
06-16-2011, 06:32 PM
Melissa,

I frequently talk a good game about relaxed homeschooling and I am the one most of my friends come to when they worry about not teaching enough. (Not sure if that is a good thing or not.) My goal is is really to teach my girls how to think for themselves and be confident. After a few months of that, however, I panic and try to cram a bunch of info into their little skulls. Then I realize that they learn more when I leave them alone and let them figure things out on their own - like Alex figuring out the drawing programs on the computer. We have a few subjects that we try to work on more than others, spelling, reading and math. Other than that I try to stay out of their way and have learned over the years that they don't always find things as interesting as I do and vice versa. Each family has to work out what works best for them, but it's reassuring to know that we are not alone in our homeschooling methods. :D

rumbledolly
06-16-2011, 06:36 PM
I'm an excessive compulsive slacker planner type. Oxymoron anyone?

I like Excel too.

Yesterday I had a Twinkie. It wasn't that great and felt bad that I made that kind of choice in snack food. Today we went to the beach. In my defense "beach" was on my list of to-do things for the week.

Busygoddess
06-16-2011, 07:31 PM
I guess I see my job as giving the children the tools they need to shape their lives and learning as they wish, so that's why I lean much more towards non-negotiable learning of skills than non-negotiable content, and that automatically puts us in the non-rigourous camp according to most.



That's how I see it, too. Though, admittedly, my dd tends to need a bit more guidance, help (and sometimes pushing) to learn the skills that she'll need for life & to reach her goals. Ideally, the kids will be in charge of their own education by high school, with just some guidelines. I'm not sure that will happen with dd. She is much more resistant to learning the skills to deal with her ADHD & Bipolar (not to mention Math). Ds, on the other hand, is much more self-directed (we were told by a Dr., when ds was about 2 y.o., that he was TOO self-directed) & more eager to learn the skills to deal with his ADHD & Dyslexia, as well as academics in general. Since he tends to be more of a self-starter, I'm hoping to have less trouble getting him to be responsible for his education (he's already taking more of a lead with it than dd did at this age).

dbmamaz
06-16-2011, 07:55 PM
Ok, Brandi, I hope you dont take this wrong . . .but i was starting to think maybe i'm not relaxed enuf to be on this post - i call myself relaxed eclectic most of the time, but many of the folks on this list seem to lean even closer to the 'un' word than I do . . . but your schedules and curriculum and goals TOTALLY intimidate me . . .so at least you make me feel like i'm not too relaxed for this post?

Fiddler
06-16-2011, 07:59 PM
I don't have a very big list of non-negotiables

That is key for us, too.


a low tolerance for what I see as 'bells and whistles'

Such a good thing to keep in mind when homeschooling catalogs start appearing in the spring. Does Jazz really need all four books Sean Covey (Seven Habits) has written for teens? Probably not. Does he even require one? The "bells and whistles" reminder is making me think long and hard about it, and about other items in my various saved virtual shopping carts throughout the online universe.

Stella M
06-16-2011, 08:08 PM
Glad to be of help :)

The less I spend on the bells and whistles, the more I can spend on essentials like books and good food and music! That's a mighty motivator to be discerning about the 'extras'.

farrarwilliams
06-16-2011, 09:17 PM
The phrase "non-negotiables" is one that I really like and use a lot. To me, it's a great clarifying phrase. What's really not on the table at all for discussion or movement? When you think of it that way, then I feel like one's list of rules and expectations shrinks to the real essentials and then you can move on from there in a more productive way.

dbmamaz
06-16-2011, 09:43 PM
I was thinking something like that too - like we all have our 'standards' and try to be relaxed with our kids and ourselves (as much as works for us) while trying to keep up w our personal standards.

KristinK
06-16-2011, 09:59 PM
thank you for this thread :) I've enjoyed reading it.

we're relaxed. Of course the 2hrs of me fighting with my 7.5yr old this morning might cause you to disagree with that, LOL! But really, I have my "non negotiables" - math pages and reading time. That's it. And the math is such a freaking battle....but the rest of it is extremely relaxed. I don't have much of a plan for next year, and (aside from Math, where we use math mammoth) I generally just print stuff out from various worksheet websites as I need them. My dd is not much of a selfstarter though, so I keep going back and forth about whether or not I need to be more structured to expose her to more. But SHE does not want to be taht way, so anytime I try it ends up a battle.

I'd love to keep reading threads like this.

Busygoddess
06-17-2011, 01:42 AM
Ok, Brandi, I hope you dont take this wrong . . .but i was starting to think maybe i'm not relaxed enuf to be on this post - i call myself relaxed eclectic most of the time, but many of the folks on this list seem to lean even closer to the 'un' word than I do . . . but your schedules and curriculum and goals TOTALLY intimidate me . . .so at least you make me feel like i'm not too relaxed for this post?

I never know exactly how to respond when people say things like that to me.
It took me awhile to respond this thread because I wasn't sure how my response would be taken. I see us as relaxed, but many others see it differently. So, I wasn't sure if I was 'relaxed' enough for this thread, either.

I honestly do think that I'm more relaxed with ds than with dd. He seems more suited to relaxed.

I also like the term non-negotiables. I say that a lot of things are 'required' in our schooling, but many of them are negotiable. If the kids can give a logical, well thought out, reason to not do a specific subject or topic, I'll discuss it & consider allowing them to drop it. I also am willing to consider comparable alternatives to many of my 'requirements.' Plus, some of the 'requirements' are very vague, and it's up to the kids to define them. However, there are some things, like Math every year, that are not up for debate or negotiation. That list is much shorter than my list of requirements.

Pefa
06-17-2011, 06:59 AM
See, I'm so relaxed it took me forever to get to this thread. I'm so relaxed that I often have a hard time getting my paperwork into the state on time, nothing like a visit from the truancy officer.

I'm with all of you who aren't raising children we're raising future adults. So that guides my choices.

I've realized that I'm more un- than most, in part because I'm burned out, in part because it works for us. I also have the luxury of "big" kids I raised this way who turned out ok, and while they aren't shy about pointing out my shortcomings, they call and visit regularly and enjoy each other's company.

Marmalade
06-17-2011, 02:19 PM
I'm an excessive compulsive slacker planner type. Oxymoron anyone?

.


Are you...me? That sentence described me perfectly.

Ushabug
06-17-2011, 04:51 PM
So excited to see this thread! I'm actually starting a blog on this subject! relaxedhomeschool.wordpress.com

I'm going to go back and read all the replies in a minute.
So I have 3 kiddos - 5, 4, 22 months. 4-year-old goes to 3 day preschool and loves it.
With my oldest and soon the rest we are very relaxed and will continue to be. We use "curriculum" in an eclectic way but do max 20 mins a day.
We are using Reading Eggs w/ the books and activity books and he loves that. We use Math U See and try to do 1 lesson and one review page a week.
We use All About Spelling with a movable alphabet because my son hates writing but are snails pacing that one.
We use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for our Science as we can get things together.
We are using Global Village School to guide our studies next year - just reading the books and seeing where our interests take us.
And Draw then Write to try to get DS to be interested in writing.
So sounds like a lot but it's really no more than 20-30 mins a day.

Stella M
06-17-2011, 08:31 PM
I will take a peek at your blog :) 30 min with the 5's and under sounds good to me!

Penguin
06-18-2011, 01:32 PM
I am definitely relaxed. I started off thinking I needed to do "school" every morning, but hahahaha that didn't last long. (I would love to understand how people keep up with housework while sticking to a more rigorous school schedule!)

We're using MBTP, but I don't exactly stick to their lesson schedule. We might spread one lesson out over a week or two because the activities take longer, or we have days where we don't do school stuff. Or if we're having a "get stuff done" day, we might finish a lesson and start the next one. If we're interested in the topic, we might add in a bunch more activities, if we're not, we'll skim activities or totally skip them. At the moment, we're in a series of lessons about the cultures of different continents; each one is supposed to take 2 days. We're taking a week per continent, we got LOADS of library books and are trying to cook at least 2 or 3 meals from the continent during the week. Music in the car is influenced by our continent. But it's all really casual, just tweaking our normal life where we can. When we do school varies every day, sometimes it's in the morning, sometimes it's after the little kids go to bed and B is moaning that "We didn't do any school today! Can we do school now???? Please????" I guess that's better than moaning when I suggest school, right?

DH taught B to read in Kindergarten and his reading really took off. We've done one standardized test (out of curiosity and involvement with an online school) and near the end of first grade, he tested in the 99th percentile of 3rd - 5th graders. He reads a lot. So a lot of our learning is my providing library books for him. He asks for books about certain things too, that he wants to learn about that have nothing to do with our curriculum. I have a book of Thomas Edison electricity experiments that I found at the thrift store, and he carries that around and reads it for fun. One night he wanted to do an electro-plating experiment.

We also use Right Start Math, currently in the Transition Lessons, with only two to go, but I don't think we've done a lesson in two weeks. Really should finish that up.

I guess as long as reading is going well, we're doing some Math, and we have something to use as a loose guide for lessons (MBTP), I feel OK about stuff.

THanks for starting this thread, Melissa, I was kind feeling like a slacker too reading those other threads. :-)

dbmamaz
06-18-2011, 02:22 PM
FWIW, i let the housework go in favor of school, food, and mental health time. But sometimes the mess does drive me nuts . .. at least once a month I go on a major cleaning spree - but of course, since its only monthly (and my health is not robust), that means I get the basics done once or twice a month . . . luckily dh does dishes.

Penguin
06-18-2011, 02:33 PM
Cara, I don't even mean "real" cleaning, I only do that periodically too. I just mean doing/folding/putting away laundry (my kids are always complaining that they're out of underwear or jeans), keeping up with dishes, taking out the garbage/recycling, occasionally wiping the toilet and sink so they're not slimy and gross.... I do need to pick a lot of stuff off the floor to vacuum once or twice a week because my kids leave clothes, toys, books, shoes all over the place. Drives me nuts. And we live in a foresty area and spend a lot of time outdoors so the floors get nasty pretty fast. That and my toddler running around with food he stole from the cupboards I can't keep locked.... It just all seems to take a lot of time. Sigh.

Busygoddess
06-18-2011, 02:51 PM
Cara, I don't even mean "real" cleaning, I only do that periodically too. I just mean doing/folding/putting away laundry (my kids are always complaining that they're out of underwear or jeans), keeping up with dishes, taking out the garbage/recycling, occasionally wiping the toilet and sink so they're not slimy and gross.... I do need to pick a lot of stuff off the floor to vacuum once or twice a week because my kids leave clothes, toys, books, shoes all over the place. Drives me nuts. And we live in a foresty area and spend a lot of time outdoors so the floors get nasty pretty fast. That and my toddler running around with food he stole from the cupboards I can't keep locked.... It just all seems to take a lot of time. Sigh.

I've found that cleaning 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, & evening), for 30-60 minutes each time, really keeps the house pretty clean.
After breakfast, dishes are rinsed & put in the dishwasher, except pots & pans which are left until lunch time. Before lunch is eaten, all breakfast dishes are to be taken care of. After lunch, dishes are rinsed n& put in the dishwasher. All lunch dishes are to be dealth with before dinner. After dinner, whoever did not help make dinner has to clean. Before bed, all dishes are to be washed or in dishwasher, all counters are to be washed off, microwave & stove are to be wiped down, and floor should be swept. We keep a garbage can in the kitchen for recycling. When it starts getting full, it gets taken out (at least every other day). Garbage also gets taken out when starts getting full or has food in it. We aim for 1-2 loads of laundry a day, because it is easier to deal with 1-2 loads a day than with 5-10 loads on weekends. The kids are responsible for the bathroom sink, since it's their toothpaste gobs in it. Cleaning the bathroom is up to dh & dd. I refuse to clean that room, because it gets so disgusting because of dh & the kids.

I still struggle to get them all to adhere to this routine and the kids always leave stuff on the floor. They've been told that they can't have freinds over if the house is dirty, so if they want to be able to ask freinds in, they'll get their junk off the floors. Our house is not spotless, but it's not filthy, either. When they really stick to it, the house actually looks quite good.

dbmamaz
06-18-2011, 06:27 PM
When my kids were at school and I was home with Raven when he was a baby, I did flylady for a while and it made a HUGE difference . . . but i seriously struggle just to do the cooking, schooling, shopping, and very very basic minimum cleaning. I keep hoping my energy level will magically increase one of these years . . . as I get further and further from the 8 straight years of crisis or whatever that was. But then something I eat attacks my stomach and i'm sitting around in massive pain and nauseous and feeling like I shouldnt have to do anything that isnt really urgent . . .

Stella M
06-18-2011, 06:40 PM
You're welcome Rose! It's making me feel better too. Fwiw, I don't really think we're all 'slackers'; just educating in a style that works for us/our kids.

Health issues suck when it comes to doing it all :(

The only way I keep the house slightly under control is by delegating - this is where having bigger kids comes in handy! - and having a routine of one area a day. Which bores the living daylights out of me! so I often let that little routine lapse. The one thing I'm looking forward to about having all my kids grown and away is having a house that doesn't need daily attention...

I can often be heard muttering that I chose to be a SAHM but I never signed the 'housewife contract'. Yet only I can do things like scrub mould off the bathroom tiles or change the sheets. Apparently.

And kids mess is so random. Like right now, as I type, I notice someone has shredded a styrofoam cup into a million pieces - some are on the table but most are on the floor. Sigh.

I'm so relaxed that what I'd really like is to have a cook, a cleaner and a governess, to whom I could merely give directions and then go back to my book. I have tried to treat the mundane tasks of a housewife as a meditation and focus on the lovely, bubbly moment of the fifth sink of washing up, but after many years, I declare this to be nonsense, spouted by those who don't regularly do dishes.

dbmamaz
06-18-2011, 07:26 PM
I do delegate some . . . and when the boys and I set about to pick up the main rooms they spend time in, it goes pretty fast. during school we have a daily table clean, and Orion does the toilet scrubbing for 2 of the 3 bathrooms (Heron was driven to tears by it, so we worked out a compromise where she did most everything else in their bathroom!)

dottieanna29
06-18-2011, 08:14 PM
I've found that cleaning 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, & evening), for 30-60 minutes each time, really keeps the house pretty clean.
After breakfast, dishes are rinsed & put in the dishwasher, except pots & pans which are left until lunch time. Before lunch is eaten, all breakfast dishes are to be taken care of. After lunch, dishes are rinsed n& put in the dishwasher. All lunch dishes are to be dealth with before dinner. After dinner, whoever did not help make dinner has to clean. Before bed, all dishes are to be washed or in dishwasher, all counters are to be washed off, microwave & stove are to be wiped down, and floor should be swept. We keep a garbage can in the kitchen for recycling. When it starts getting full, it gets taken out (at least every other day). Garbage also gets taken out when starts getting full or has food in it. We aim for 1-2 loads of laundry a day, because it is easier to deal with 1-2 loads a day than with 5-10 loads on weekends. The kids are responsible for the bathroom sink, since it's their toothpaste gobs in it. Cleaning the bathroom is up to dh & dd. I refuse to clean that room, because it gets so disgusting because of dh & the kids.

I still struggle to get them all to adhere to this routine and the kids always leave stuff on the floor. They've been told that they can't have freinds over if the house is dirty, so if they want to be able to ask freinds in, they'll get their junk off the floors. Our house is not spotless, but it's not filthy, either. When they really stick to it, the house actually looks quite good.

Sorry Brandi - you are definitely kicked out of the slacker club. ;-) An hour and a half to 3 hours of cleaning A DAY!?!?! I'm lucky I get in that much a week (other than laundry).

Eileen
06-18-2011, 08:25 PM
Oh lordy. I tried Flylady for about half a day when Lily was a baby. She drove me absolutely nuts, and there is no way I could ever live my life that way. Her obsession with wearing shoes in the house! And polishing the sink at night! And just the whole, scheduled out thing was not for me at all. I have no doubt that if someone does what she recommends, their house will always look beautiful. I'm way too much of a slacker to even try.

dbmamaz
06-18-2011, 09:04 PM
Well, I never wore shoes - but i did actually like the clean sink thing. Part of the problem w that, tho, was when dh was in charge of the dishes and didnt do them until after I went to bed . . .

farrarwilliams
06-18-2011, 09:18 PM
Okay, I couldn't clean that much either. But don't we all have the things we're relaxed about and the things we aren't? Presumably, we need both in our lives!

Stella M
06-19-2011, 01:43 AM
I'm trying to think what I'm definitely not 'relaxed' about at home. The kids fighting maybe ? That can make me speak sternly. I'm not relaxed about some language - like I hate "that's so gay" so it's banned - but other than that ? I mean, having a messy house can drive me nuts, but not enough to wear shoes over :)

It's a pretty short list, my strict list. Which is funny because I am so not a relaxed person. My friends and family think I'm a calming influence, but most of the time I only look that way because I'm a bit too tired to get het up over things and I'm a Taurean, so I get that peaceful bovine grazing look sometimes.

Maths. Books.
Not arguing too loudly.
Not harming others - actions, language, stereotypes.
Not doing things that harm yourself.
Staying true to what you feel to be right.

That's it really! I suppose if the kids joined a right wing political party that might bring out my inner authoritarian :) But then again, doing that could never feel right to them ? Could it ? :) Seriously though, as long as what my kids do isn't harming others or themselves, I don't see why I shouldn't be relaxed. Things like caring how your child has their hair or what they choose to study or pierce - why would anyone waste time on that stuff ? And a beautiful house would be nice but I'm not going to give up too much of my life to get it.

So, we're all somewhat relaxed about 'school'. What are the things you're not relaxed about ?

Kylie
06-19-2011, 07:29 AM
I'm yet to read all of the responses.

Oh I do dream of days where we have a structured orderly, well laid school room, that all 3 kiddos can function independently in some type of Montessori style fashion......then my reality sets in!!!

We have a home office with a desk and our floor to ceiling bookshelves. But we would have those things even if we didn't homeschool.

We do use set curriculum but do not schedule it in any way. We get to the next lesson when we get to it!

This past month we've been lucky to "do school" 2 days a week.

We do attend quite a bit of extra curricula stuff and play with our friends lots...but for that is just as important as a maths lesson.

I do very basic planning each year...we will use this and possibly do this. Rarely do we ever get to half of it lol!!! My kids definitely learn without me, and at times I think I actually get in the way.

Oh and we do have a white board that we use for spelling.

Never a week goes by that I feel like a total slacker. That I should be giving my kids more, but I do wonder if we are all just too damn hard on ourselves!!

Kylie
06-19-2011, 07:59 AM
Cara, I don't even mean "real" cleaning, I only do that periodically too. I just mean doing/folding/putting away laundry (my kids are always complaining that they're out of underwear or jeans), keeping up with dishes, taking out the garbage/recycling, occasionally wiping the toilet and sink so they're not slimy and gross.... I do need to pick a lot of stuff off the floor to vacuum once or twice a week because my kids leave clothes, toys, books, shoes all over the place. Drives me nuts. And we live in a foresty area and spend a lot of time outdoors so the floors get nasty pretty fast. That and my toddler running around with food he stole from the cupboards I can't keep locked.... It just all seems to take a lot of time. Sigh.

Oh gosh hear you on that. I will choose anything over housework...any type of housework!

I,ve trained my kids to do their washing. We have a front loader and I bought an airer for them to use. That helps.

DH has enough socks and undies for 3 men and that's because he spent a long time never being able to find clean ones. Or fighting his way through a pile of 'to be folded' laundry that at times would rival the pyramids of Giza.

dbmamaz
06-19-2011, 11:22 AM
for some reason, i get kinda anal about laundry. Heron does her own, but thats confusion enough .. i just dont want 5 people doing 5 different loads of laundry. It makes so much more sense when we mix it all together and can get a whole load of dark cold wash or whatever. Actually, i've started sorting by temp and then by fabric weight, so the dryer is more effecient. As it is, in the summer, its only 4 or 5 loads a week because the clothes are so small (and maybe an extra towel and suit load once we start swimming more). Oh, in fact, i need to get to that soon - after I run to the farmers market. My b-day snuck up on me . . . I thought it was thursday, but its teusday, so I need to buy some raspberries to make raspberry soy ice cream to go w my peach cobbler. I think i also want ribs . . . looks like i'll spend my b-day cooking!!

dottieanna29
06-19-2011, 12:56 PM
I tried Flylady but was a total failure at it. I definitely couldn't do the dressed down to shoes thing. I clean better when I'm still in my nice comfy pjs or sweats and a t-shirt. I sit on the floor in jeans and I'm likely to pop a knee out.

I did like the clean sink every night and I love waking up to no dishes. But, I'm the dish washer in the house (dh is the cook) and I spend some nights running around picking up dd from dance and walk in the door to go to bed, so the dishes wait until morning.

I am probably the least bit of a slacker about laundry. I do all the laundry every Monday. I plan nothing else for Mondays - no school, no trips - to make sure the laundry gets done. But that's because doing laundry is disruptive to the rest of the house. Because of a real lack of space, while laundry is being done it's impossible to reach the sink, the stove or the dishwasher. Getting it all out of the way in one shot allows me to store the garbage can and recycle bin in the laundry nook, right in front of the washer and dryer the whole rest of the week, giving me a little more space in my kitchen.

Food left around is also a pet peeve of mine. I can't stand it when snack plates or drink glasses are left in the living room and will bring them in the kitchen as soon as they are done.

farrarwilliams
06-19-2011, 02:46 PM
The thing that's my biggest non-negotiable is violence and boundaries. My kids have only ever hit or kicked in malice a few times after toddlerhood, but oh boy, when they did, I had zero problem laying into them about it. Boundaries is my other - if someone says stop and the kids don't listen, that gets me.

After that, there's things that are basically non-negotiable, like reading and math, being polite, clearing your plate, etc. But those are all things that can be forgiven if you're sick or if there are other extenuating circumstances.

Everything else, from the dishes and laundry to school projects and field trips is up for negotiation on some level. I don't go around advertising it because life runs smoother if we don't have to discuss every little thing (especially for BalletBoy, who can't make up his mind about a single flipping thing lately).

dottieanna29
06-19-2011, 02:52 PM
When it comes to the kids I expect them to treat each other nicely, we've had to make a rule recently about not calling people stupid or idiots or any variation of those or other mean names. I expect Georgie to be careful of his little sister even if she doesn't care when he jumps around on her back. I expect them to tell the truth and be cooperative with school.

I don't expect too much in the way of chores from any of my kids. My house set-up makes it very difficult for the little guys to do much but they love wiping down walls and tables. Steph gets away without too many chores because of her dance, cheer, school, work schedule - she only has one day a week where she's home for more than an hour or two of awake time.

I do expect her to keep her room clean (or she can't have friends over), I expect her to watch the little guys for me when I need it for an hour or two, I expect her to work hard at school, to not lie to me and to let me know where she is and what she's doing when she's out with friends.

dbmamaz
06-19-2011, 03:08 PM
I expect them to tell the truth and be cooperative with school.
LOL i dont expect mine to be cooperative with school. I spend a LOT of time enforcing that they have to do school. (again, its not the specific assignments they dont like, its just that they want to play video games instead) When they do cooperate nicely with school work, that makes it a good day, pretty much. I mean, I say, ok time to (whatever) and they say, OK and do it . . . totally makes my day. I'd be really bummed if i expected it, cuz its just not usually going to happen. And at the beginning of every semester (and on every monday) I have to fight them hard. Exhausting.

fbfamily111
06-19-2011, 08:13 PM
I try to be organized, planning everything out, but we rarely get through a week on schedule. If something more fun or more important comes up, out goes the schedule. We usually school year round to help alliviate this problem. This summer even thats getting chucked due to some unexpected changes in our lives. I've also been thinking about being less scheduled, not unschooler style but less ridged next year.

Kylie
06-20-2011, 04:40 AM
So I'm curious with what all of your consequences are for unmet expectations?

Stella M
06-20-2011, 05:02 AM
I don't know...we don't really have imposed consequences, we just have 'discussions'. So yep, natural consequences or a chat. I don't really go down the punishment or imposed consequence route. I know that sounds sickenly unschooly...but I cannot tell a lie :) Oh, maybe I might 'suggest' restitution sometimes, if somebody has upset or hurt another...I don't find that very effective though and it doesn't arise all that often.

dottieanna29
06-20-2011, 08:20 AM
If the kids are fighting - time-outs.
If they don't cooperate with school (and by this I just mean not running around screaming like monkeys, my standards are not very high on what we have to get done) - no computer, Wii, Leapsters, TV, pool, etc. until we do a (very) minimum amount.

Usually I don't have to go past a time-out and losing television/computer for the day. They really, really, really like playing on the computer.

Eileen
06-20-2011, 09:00 AM
Okay, I couldn't clean that much either. But don't we all have the things we're relaxed about and the things we aren't? Presumably, we need both in our lives!

Definitely!

I do try to keep the house in some kind of order. I deep clean in spurts, and usually try to keep it basically tidy so I don't feel like we're living in squalor. My house growing up was always in chaos and I do not want that for my kids. I don't always succeed though (because I hate housework) so sometimes I look around at the house and despair. I wish I were better at keeping house, mostly because I enjoy being here a lot more when it looks nice.

farrarwilliams
06-20-2011, 09:31 AM
So I'm curious with what all of your consequences are for unmet expectations?

Hm. If the kids are actually violent or truly mean, then I will impose consequences - leaving wherever we are, sitting out of the next thing, making amends to the hurt party somehow, or whatever seems appropriate. We talk about it and I often offer suggestions of ways to fix things, but I'll also impose it. Though the last time Mushroom actually did anything that fell into this category - he pushed a friend off a short stone wall the kid was walking on - Mushroom cried harder than the other kid and needed to be talked down and forgiven by his victim before we could do anything about anything. It was just playing around that got out of hand apparently and he knew immediately he'd gone too far.

If they don't clear their dishes or do their math, it is more like just a discussion. Sometimes we'll have a consequence... but usually it's just that I make them go back and do it. The only message I'm really trying to give is that we have certain obligations and if we don't get them done, we have to back up and do them later, sometimes with more hassle. Often though, I'll ask them to help me think of a solution. I mean, if a kid isn't getting his math done for more than a day or two, then something's wrong and I usually invite them to brainstorm with me on ways to make it work better. I guess that's usually punishment enough. ;)

dbmamaz
06-20-2011, 09:47 AM
If the kids are fighting - time-outs.
If they don't cooperate with school (and by this I just mean not running around screaming like monkeys, my standards are not very high on what we have to get done) - no computer, Wii, Leapsters, TV, pool, etc. until we do a (very) minimum amount.

Usually I don't have to go past a time-out and losing television/computer for the day. They really, really, really like playing on the computer.

Thats a lot like here. My kids will occasionally just say 'NO! I'm not doing it!' And I just remind them that they get back on electronic entertainment when 'school' is over (around 2:30 or 3 on weekdays) AND all their work is done. And yes, that gets them back on track, because each has had that consequence enforced and know I mean it.

Now, if they are sick or hating the program or Orion missed his pills and is having bad tics or a panic attack, that negotiable.

Raven was actually the only one of my kids who got time outs - he was more violent and more stubborn. Heron almost never misbehaved until she was 11 (pleaser-type) and Orion, if i point out what he did wrong, will usually immediatly admit he was wrong and start berating himself. Punishing him when he was young would send him in to a 'you dont love me' break down. Now, tho, he accepts punishments (usually video game time) fairly calmly because he knows they are fair. In fact, he was saying one of his freinds was afraid of his father getting mad because he gets really scary and physical - Orion is afraid his step dad will get mad because he imposes fair consequences!

Stella M
06-20-2011, 01:47 PM
I must admit, I do sometimes wonder why we don't do imposed consequences, because almost everyone else i know irl does as a routine part of their parenting. I think it's all to do with the kids. Mine are far from perfect but they rarely did/do anything I'd class as 'naughty'. Most of the time I can see an extenuating factor in their behaviour - tiredness, hormones, hunger, frustration, sadness - so I guess I just don't feel that in those cases there's a need for consequences, more for suggestions - take a break, have a snack, an invitation to talk or journal or go for a walk, a cuddle etc.

Getting physical with each other - ds to dd12 mostly - is the only thing I react to more forcefully but mainly as a reminder that it's not on and that he needs to use words to express his frustration. And dd12 gets a verbal ticking off for (often) goading him somewhat.

Who knows ? Maybe my kids dread my 'discussions' as much as other kids dread losing their screen time ? Wouldn't surprise me...I do go on a bit.

Eileen
06-20-2011, 02:11 PM
I find that I yell way too much if I'm not following some sort of system of consequences. When I find myself yelling a lot, I realize that I've gotten away from what I know works for me. So I feel like it's as much for me, really, as for the girls. I *hate* yelling at them, and I know that when I do it's because I feel helpless and at a loss for what else to do.

TamaraNC
06-20-2011, 02:34 PM
Who knows ? Maybe my kids dread my 'discussions' as much as other kids dread losing their screen time ? Wouldn't surprise me...I do go on a bit.

This reminds me of my own childhood. The worst punishment I could get at my house was that my dad would be "disappointed," usually said with a deep voice and lowered eyebrows. I usually owned up to my mistakes right away and therefore escaped anything more than a natural consequence or a discussion about respect. My sister, on the other hand, was yelled at and got grounded a lot.

For my own kids, it's different for each one. DD7 responds to a quiet conversation and help in setting things right. DS14 needs natural consequences, suggestions for making it up to those harmed, AND confiscation of electronics. I have yet to figure out what DS5 needs. :)

ETA: There is still yelling, from me, usually at DD14 and DS5. I consider it sign that something isn't working and I need to work on it. DH says that, for DS14 in particular, yelling is a valid way to show a self-centered teen that his actions really do affect other people. If I hide the fact that he's upset me, I'm not doing him any favors. Maybe. But I bet there's a way to show him that fact without losing my sh!t.

Eileen
06-20-2011, 02:57 PM
I agree that they need to know they're affecting you negatively with their actions, but for me, it's important that they feel that I'm in control. I remember my mom losing her sh*t with me and my little brothers, and it was a little bit scary because it felt like we didn't have a sane person in charge at the moment. Not saying you yell to that point (I'm sure you don't!), but I feel like I have that in me and I need be vigilant. I love my mom and understand her a lot better now, but I don't want to parent my kids like she did either.

TamaraNC
06-20-2011, 04:11 PM
I did lose it like that once, and I still regret it. He certainly got the point though. ;) Seriously, I think they understand it just as well when I use a low, determined, serious voice and call them out on their behavior. They KNOW it's wrong, and when I tell them I know they know it, that seems to help. Weird.

Busygoddess
06-20-2011, 04:25 PM
Sorry Brandi - you are definitely kicked out of the slacker club. ;-) An hour and a half to 3 hours of cleaning A DAY!?!?! I'm lucky I get in that much a week (other than laundry).

I know it sounds like a lot, but it really is the minimum to keep the house livable. Everybody pitches in and works. The evening cleaning time is generally the only one that takes an hour - with the dinner dishes, cleaning the counters, sweeping the kitchen, etc. Any less time spent on cleaning and you can't walk through a room without tripping over a pair of kids underwear, you have to hold your breath in the bathroom, there are no dishes or silverware for dinner, and someone has no clean clothes. One day without housework and the house looks like it hasn't been cleaned in months.

lynne
06-20-2011, 06:22 PM
I didn't read all the replies, but I've been telling my husband that our 6 year old is a great candidate for unschooling. When he gets interested in something he wants to learn everything about it and he get interested a wide variety of things. It would be so easy to incorporate writing, grammar and reading tailored to his interests. Lately it's been geography. He is constantly asking me about different countries, languages, foods, etc. and this morning he asked me to print him a coloring sheet of a blue shark. And it's great that with the internet it's so easy to find things for him to do related to his current interest. And we go to the library about once/week.

My 10 year old, on the other hand is not interested in many things. Pokemon, computer games, Beyblades. That would not be great subject matter for unschooling:).

But I'm going to use MBTP for both of them in Aug/September when we start. I think we're pretty relaxed homeschoolers but I do try to cover a set amount of things each day.

Stella M
06-20-2011, 06:32 PM
So much of how we parent and school has to be shaped by the kind of children we have; their temperaments, strengths and flaws, don't you think ?

I was thinking about this when I was tossing and turning last night - that I probably don't use punishments because my eldest has a high degree of self-regulation post infancy and the other two aren't quite as self-regulated but they come close. ( Though they weren't remotely self regulating as babies ) So it isn't that not using consequences is intrinsically better and has shaped the children for the good, but the children have shaped the kind of approach I need to take to them, kwim ? If they are normally self-regulated in their behaviour, then aberrations probably have a known cause and the behaviour can be treated as a symptom of something else.

Same with being a bit unschooly - if I didn't have children - my eldest in particular - who are self-motivated learners, with self-chosen learning that looks like learning to other people
, I might not be so sympathetic to unschooling. If my youngest was my first - his learning sometimes looks 'good', sometimes doesn't - I might struggle with it more.

Yes, out of control yelling is scary :( My mother did it all the time; I've done it on a few occasions and regretted it instantly. A system of calm consequences would be way better than that...

dbmamaz
06-20-2011, 06:37 PM
Yeah, thats the thing, my kids are all different. Heron really wanted to please so just an explanation almost always worked (ok, i did drag her forcibly out of a store when she threw a screaming tantrum - she was tired, and i wasnt mad, but to me, thats still 'discipline' because I was enforcing my will.)

Orion really needs plans, strategies - i remind him to breath, I remind him he forgot his pills, I rub his back . . . but if he starts to say 'too bad, I'm NOT doing it!' then I will come up w the consequences. Because self-control is simply not in his game book, its one of the biggest things we need to work on. Its part of his various issues. He needs to know i'm there for him and supporting him, but he also occasionally needs firm boundaries. Remember, this is the kid who downloaded serious viruses on to his computer and destroyed it THREE TIMES. Not only did he have computer-free month or two each time, and lots of lectures . . . we even locked down his computer one time. He figured out how to unlock it, and promptly downloaded another virus. This child needs a LOT of help making good choices.

and Raven, seriously, he's hitting his brother and I remind him not to and its like i'm not there. I gently pull him off and he starts punching and biting ME! This is the only child I have who really does not seem to care at ALL if i approve of his actions or not. Its only 'whats in it for me'. So for him, for a few years, it was frequent time outs. I never used time outs with the older two.

Pefa
06-20-2011, 07:21 PM
That's it really! I suppose if the kids joined a right wing political party that might bring out my inner authoritarian :) But then again, doing that could never feel right to them ? Could it ? :)


Be careful, the son of radical unschooling acquaintances - you know liberally educated, no screen time allowed, starters of the local peace non denominational prayer group, yada yada yada - got engaged at 18yo to a fundamentalist preacher's daughter and tried to become a policeman. (Fortunately the police academy didn't accept him). Tough when your only form of rebellion is to become a conservative power hog.

Stella M
06-20-2011, 07:30 PM
I know, I know...I do sometimes think about trying to feign outrage about things like dying one's hair pink or one's choice of music, just to give them the satisfaction of being able to rebel against my rules! I feel so little outrage about most things they do or may do in the future that I'm sure their only option will be to rebel by becoming rule makers or rule enforcers themselves! It's just so hard to pretend that things like what they wear or listen to or potentially tattoo outrage me. I am duly warned though :) Though I suppose, if pressed, I could find something to love about a right winger...

Pefa
06-20-2011, 07:47 PM
I have pretty reasonable kids which is nice. Occasionally FD and I get into a screaming match, which I hate but she explained (in a reasonable moment) that if I'm always "grown up" she doesn't know what I really think. So I've learned to indulge her.

Right now, BOO totally needles B1 and then acts all huffy when I call him on it. B1 doesn't have nearly the verbal nimbleness of BOO and he will pound on BOO. So that I can't be relaxed about. In fact, right now, BOO pretty much lives to get in everybody's face. The old if I can't get their attention being good I'll get it by being bad routine.

Otherwise we just perk along - ES is using this summer not only to study complex variables and fluid dynamics but also, since he's living off campus, as a time to figure out household budgeting and how to work more veggies into his diet. Good thing he's not into exercising or he'd be totally insufferable.

Pefa
06-20-2011, 07:49 PM
Well, I do have the rule that there are no tattoos or tongue piercings until you have your own health and dental insurance. Dentists love pierced tongues and our bills are high enough already. I don't care if somebody else gets tattooed, but I've worked in too many nursing homes to find them attractive.

farrarwilliams
06-20-2011, 08:55 PM
I find that I yell way too much if I'm not following some sort of system of consequences. When I find myself yelling a lot, I realize that I've gotten away from what I know works for me. So I feel like it's as much for me, really, as for the girls. I *hate* yelling at them, and I know that when I do it's because I feel helpless and at a loss for what else to do.

We don't have a huge system, but I know exactly what you're saying. I've seen kids, especially little kids, be totally at sea when the parents try to talk to them about their behavior and not have consequences. And I've seen parents who are trying really hard be really inconsistent and then lose it on little things. I think there's this idea that oh, we should just go with the flow and parent in the moment... especially if you're in an AP'ish liberal community. But for some kids and parents, that's a bad idea. Being consistent and having a system with clear consequences is what can let you be more relaxed sometimes.


So much of how we parent and school has to be shaped by the kind of children we have; their temperaments, strengths and flaws, don't you think ?

I was thinking about this when I was tossing and turning last night - that I probably don't use punishments because my eldest has a high degree of self-regulation post infancy and the other two aren't quite as self-regulated but they come close. ( Though they weren't remotely self regulating as babies ) So it isn't that not using consequences is intrinsically better and has shaped the children for the good, but the children have shaped the kind of approach I need to take to them, kwim ? If they are normally self-regulated in their behaviour, then aberrations probably have a known cause and the behaviour can be treated as a symptom of something else.

Which is why we don't really have a strong system. I will impose consequences for really egregious behavior, but I really have to do it so rarely. My kids are also really self-regulating. They aren't perfect by a long shot, but they try very hard to be kind and follow the expectations of the house here or any other place out in the world. So I always feel like me being down on them - doling out consequences when they already feel bad for their behavior when they screw up - is just going to kill that internal desire to do the right thing. If they didn't have that... well, things would be different, I expect.

TamaraNC
06-21-2011, 08:44 AM
I know, I know...I do sometimes think about trying to feign outrage about things like dying one's hair pink or one's choice of music, just to give them the satisfaction of being able to rebel against my rules!

Tangent: DS14 called me from his bio-mom's house last week.

DS: "Hey, is it OK with you if I dye my hair green?"
Me: "Of course! Absolutely! Send me some pictures."
DS, to his mom in the car with him: "I told you I didn't need to call her. She's totally cool with it."

He later decided to just go for blonde. I was so disappointed.

dottieanna29
06-21-2011, 09:24 AM
I know, I know...I do sometimes think about trying to feign outrage about things like dying one's hair pink or one's choice of music, just to give them the satisfaction of being able to rebel against my rules! I feel so little outrage about most things they do or may do in the future that I'm sure their only option will be to rebel by becoming rule makers or rule enforcers themselves! It's just so hard to pretend that things like what they wear or listen to or potentially tattoo outrage me. I am duly warned though :) Though I suppose, if pressed, I could find something to love about a right winger...

LOL. My oldest is 17 and she says the same thing. I'm so laid back that she just tells me everything she does. She's a good, level-headed kid (most of the time) so it's nothing too outrageous. We do spend a lot of time discussing the true risks of things like sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. (not the scare tactics). I hope I have as good of a relationship with my younger two as teenagers as I have with her. My divorce from her dad actually did a lot to bring us closer.

dbmamaz
06-21-2011, 09:46 AM
I actually put little tiny braids all over my daughters head when she was in 10th grade and wanted to grow dreadlocks. She actually said it was the most motherly thing I'd done . . . i guess cuz we had to spend several hours together, with my hands in her hair?

dottieanna29
06-21-2011, 10:23 AM
I actually put little tiny braids all over my daughters head when she was in 10th grade and wanted to grow dreadlocks. She actually said it was the most motherly thing I'd done . . . i guess cuz we had to spend several hours together, with my hands in her hair?

Awww. That's a sweet moment. I used to put my oldest dd's hair into little corn-row type braids. That and hours spent together doing hair, makeup, costumes for dance competitions I guess could have helped our relationship. Except it seems we get pissy at each other more during those times. Since I'm never doing it exactly right, of course. ;-)

Stella M
06-21-2011, 07:09 PM
Oh yeah, dance hair :( Sometimes I think I'd rather stab myself with the hair pins rather than have to do another set of buns ever again!

Lou
06-30-2011, 12:06 PM
Tangent: DS14 called me from his bio-mom's house last week.

DS: "Hey, is it OK with you if I dye my hair green?"
Me: "Of course! Absolutely! Send me some pictures."
DS, to his mom in the car with him: "I told you I didn't need to call her. She's totally cool with it."

He later decided to just go for blonde. I was so disappointed.

ha, ha...my son has long thick lovely hair that grows like a weed...hubby and I love it when it gets a bit long and skater/surfer looking...he likes it BUZZED SHORT...so we let him do buzz it (it grows super fast)...anyhow, he wanted his head to be bald like Caillou (the cartoon) and then he decided he wanted spider webs shaved into his head so it looks like a spider web is on his head...anyhow we have a big family trip coming up and we told him after the trip he can do whatever he wants to his head...his blad/spiderweb doo has evolved over the weeks to add some red and blue stripes! Have no idea what will happen when we get back from the trip, but when it comes to their clothes, hair, etc I'm ok with their experiementing. I was given that freedom as a child and whoa did I get crazy with some of my hair doos, fashions, piercings, etc...and now as an adult, BORING...yoga pants, old navy tee shirt and flip flops 90% of the time. I got so much of that out of my system young, I can hardly come up with a creative outfit as an adult...ha, ha...

Lou
06-30-2011, 12:08 PM
My kids didn't even have a blackboard. I just sent them out with a bucket of chalk to draw on the footpath, that's how slack I am :)

I'm OK with it. The kids are fine! Just wanting to know if anyone shares my low tech style.

I struggle with being OK with it...I know deep down it's OK...I want it to be OK...but I am addicted to curriculum and planning schedules, because I've been brainwashed that routines are good, plan ahead, yada yada yada...however, call me over for a cup of tea or park playdate and that schedule is shot in an instant...no will power when it comes to something more fun. ;)

Lou
06-30-2011, 12:11 PM
I actually put little tiny braids all over my daughters head when she was in 10th grade and wanted to grow dreadlocks. She actually said it was the most motherly thing I'd done . . . i guess cuz we had to spend several hours together, with my hands in her hair?

My daughter's hair is SUPER LONG (down passed her bum) and she insists on it being that long...but hates having it combed out (I hate combing it out!) She often will have a dread here and there...sort of like a matted dog...ha, ha...anyhow, the other day I thought, ooooo cornrows...I'm going to find out if there is a beauty shop that will do corn rows on her...even if it's in parts (multiple days) that would make her hair sooo much eaiser! :D

lakshmi
06-30-2011, 01:05 PM
Sometimes I don't look at it until we are ready to sit down and do it and then realize that (crap!) I don't have the supplies and move it to the next day. It took me four days to get to the store and buy supplies for our model of blood.

yes, i am lucky so far, I've had everything on hand. it takes me forever to buy supplies. BUT i am the worst when you have to go into the community to do something, then it usually doesn't get done.


I try to be relaxed... But I'm thinking I might not qualify for this thread.

Can I put myself next to a rigorous Classical homeschooler to make myself look really relaxed then hang out here?

this just makes me laugh... you seem to have a relaxed personality. but maybe you have some ability to organize in your head and plan without planning... some people are like that.


I must live in a nation of slackers, because here, I'm one of the more 'let's get some work done' mothers. Here, I'm the woman watching Oprah and eating bon-bons....

definitely sounds like a place i could feel comfortable in.


I go through spurts where I like to buy pretty notebooks and calendars and lots of shiny stuff to work on. Then they get playing and I think we can do that tomorrow, which turns into next week and sometimes next month. They also know that if I ask them to do something and they ignore me long enough, I will get distracted and forget what I asked them to do.

yep, i resemble that remark! i love buying supplies, and i have a ton that i haven't used. Sales bins are my favorite.


And kids mess is so random. Like right now, as I type, I notice someone has shredded a styrofoam cup into a million pieces - some are on the table but most are on the floor. Sigh.

exactly this type of mess.

i am just irritable that they won't pick it up so i can finish my book.... and then they want to eat!!! whoever heard of such a thing.


i tried to be better, i really did, I made it for like a two weeks, now I am back to letting them do whatever. The problem I am having is that I, as in me, really like MBTP but they don't really, they'd rather play and do nothing related to school at all. After reading anything from the unschooler camp you can see that it is obvious that they will learn. So I am hard pressed to push them.

one woman, in my Christian Homeschool group told me that she spanks her kids if they don't do their lessons. This sentence may strike many of you as odd in many ways, but never the less.....

i can barely make them do it, because i can see where they are coming from, but I really like it and want to do it. So....

we're at the library where the air conditioning is turned on, and they are experiencing the world of books and computers. that is learning .... right?

Lou
06-30-2011, 01:59 PM
MBtP is nice that it lists ALL SUPPLIES needed for the entire unit...otherwise I would put off projects for years because I lacked a certain supply. ;)

Katharine
07-18-2011, 04:39 PM
i think i'm the same with you. I think we'll develop routine with some things and more relaxed with other and we learn together every year on how to make the next year better/more organized. I figure it will come eventually no need to rush stressing the kids out they'll learn their best way to learn and since you home school them you get to grow with them and find out whats best for them. I don't think all kids should be taught the same way. Do what YOU think is best for your kids, and i say as long as they're not clearly lagging for parents laziness or medical reason then go for it! Work smarter not harder! Get that information in their head the less stressful way i say!


Lovin' my Babies!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
07-19-2011, 08:24 AM
As you can see from the many posts before me you are not alone. We are in that crowd as well.

We have 2 children. They are 4 and 7.
After breakfast we feed all the animals. Than we do some book work. They each have 2 books they work out of. One math and one language. My youngest is working on phonics, my oldest is working on grammar. Than we do a critical thinking where I read a card and they draw or tell a story about whatever is on the card. This usually takes about an hour. Than they are free till after lunch time. After lunch time we work on science. We work on one item at a time for both of them. This can take a few minutes to an hour. Than they are free for the rest of the day.
They are in the kitchen with me when I am cooking dinner. They make their own breakfast (usually cereal or bagel) and they make their own lunch.

During their free time they are encouraged to keep busy. We have set up areas in our home that have different things for them to do. We have a music area with a few different musical instruments. A reading area with plenty of books. And an art area with tons of stuff. They are allowed on the computer to play games. They have a folder that is loaded with games. And yes even my 4 year old can open the folder and start and play the games. We loaded it with games from Jumpstart, Reading, Science, Simulation, Math and other games that help teach them different things. And even if they just want to play with toys. We have given them toys that teach and encourage learning.

The books are only used so we have something to put in their portfolio at the end of the school year. We feel that life is full of learning if your child is encouraged and allowed to follow their own path.

acountrymomma
07-19-2011, 02:23 PM
Just thought I'd chime in... We're pretty relaxed here as well. I am a supply addict. And books. I can never have enough books! Thank goodness for the educator's discount & B&N and Amazon Prime!

Somewhere I saw a parent mention the "strewing" method - where books & various supplies are strewn here and there to encourage children to follow their curiosity. I'm all for that. Plus we have a small barnyard full of animals and they supply ENDLESS possibilities for learning. Right now my daughter is mother to a chick who managed to hatch in the hot hen house without a broody hen! Luckily my daughter found it shortly after hatching & now Lucky is over a week old and doing wonders for teaching the ins & outs of being a mother hen.

I guess my motto for homeschooling would be: Books, supplies, animals and the outdoors... Just add children, relax & let the learning happen!

nancysv
07-20-2011, 01:06 AM
I think I fall into the relaxed homeschooler category too. We have been roadschooling for the past few years, so this will be the first year that we've actually HOMEschooled. When we were traveling, we just took advantage of our travels and learned what we learned along the way. When we stumbled upon something that I thought would make a good research report I had the kids write one. Otherwise, we just learned from being in various countries.

Now we're back in the USA and plan to attempt this homeschooling thing. It feels odd to be in one place and have to think about what we'll teach rather than having it come to us!

Lou
07-20-2011, 07:21 PM
I'm falling more and more and more into the relaxed homeschooler catagory. I love curriculum. I love school supplies. I love craft supplies. I love toys. I love games. We have one room in the house that is organized, holding all of the above. Besides the fact it sort of looks like a classroom hoarder might live there, my kids have access to many things that can fill their curiosity as it comes up.

After reading and researching more and more of the unschoolers life styles. It's not quiet the willy nilly I expected. Between my strewing and our educational supplies, I'm getting more and more closer to becoming an unschooler. We will be taking the kids on their first international vacation and that is going to kick off our school year. They won't even "know" they are schooling and that's the best ever for us! The second they THINK they are doing school...ugh...revolt...rebel...can't do it! LOL

floridamom
07-23-2011, 11:28 AM
Jumping in late here, but I see that this thread's been revived.

We started out practically unschooling, worked up to relaxed. We did literature based "school" and dabbled in unit studies, and followed a CM style at some point. Often learning was child led, but not always. As ds got older, we got more structured. I had heard you can't do that. Veteran homeschoolers told me it would be easier to start out structured and loosen up later, but ds has had no problem understanding that he needs to do more as he gets older.

I have one child, so maybe I don't know how difficult planning can get. I don't do lesson plans or keep track except in my head. We used to have a ton of craft supplies and fun learning tools, but there are fewer now. As ds lost interest in them, I got rid of them. It was a natural progression.

So yes, we're relaxed. We're not unschoolers, and not totally unstructured, but neither are we rigid. Can I call it Classical Relaxed Charlotte Mason? :D It works for us. That's my big soapbox. I think there's no right or wrong way to homeschool. The "right" way is the one that works for your family.

Angel
07-25-2011, 12:56 AM
I am much more relaxed about homeschooling than I was in the beginning. I don't have a curriculum per se, just some goals.

I am kind of an unschooler, but I do kind of create a plan of sorts to make sure the basics are being met. I do worry about making sure my son gets what he needs to get through college, but I think we're doing great. I don't do grades, tests or report cards. I work 50 hours a week and don't have time. I check his progress with the online programs we use and any worksheets I give him, but for the most part I can tell if he's getting concepts I'm trying to teach.

He's 13 now and has told me for the past 6 years he wants to be a videogame designer when he grows up. So we are looking into that. I use Lynda.com to teach him Flash and Photoshop and other graphics or computer program and I can go onto the site to make sure he's actually viewing the lessons. I also have him create something to show he understands what the lesson was about. He does that while I'm at work and it takes me seconds to view his progress.

For the other stuff, I have to make sure I can do it in less than 2 hours after I get home from work. I never actually stop for a summer break really except for when I take a vacation from work, so we have a longer time period to work on things. There's also things I just don't think are absolutely necessary for him to know to succeed in life or in college (especially since he's been planning to go to game design school since he was 7). The explicit details of WWI and WWII are not really crucial to his existence or success in life. Plus they are depressing and bloody. We skim over stuff that I deem unnecessary. Yes, it's good for him to know that wrongs were committed to people, but not in extreme detail.

My main goal is to get him to be able to learn to study and learn what he wants to learn. Good study habits are much more crucial to his success in college because he'll be learning all new things I just don't know about. I have him read a bunch on a bunch of different topics. He's dyslexic so that in itself is a lesson. I have him watch podcasts on science things or watch the National Geographic channel or History channel. He does his own research on videogame design and I got some books on that. We cook and he does chores because taking care of himself when he goes to college is crucial too. Games that teach (like K'nex education or Snap Circuits) are fun and he can do some of those on his own. ThinkFun has a bunch of logic games that will help him in his game design career.

While I wouldn't consider myself a slacker, my homeschool style may be a bit slacking. But I definitely don't want to send him to public school and I have to work, so we make do. When I have spare time I write about how I teach him (because he's dyslexic) and I wrote about relaxing my style last year (http://parent-sharing.blogspot.com/2010/08/relaxing-homeschool-curriculum.html). This will at least give you more of an idea of how slacking isn't really hurting him. And it won't hurt your kids either as long as they are getting something.

jess
07-25-2011, 09:17 PM
Hi Angel - we're in the same liberal homeschooling group :) Though I don't think we've ever met because my family lives in the middle of nowhere and we rarely make it to anything.

zcat
10-03-2011, 04:46 PM
I'd call our homeschool style relaxed.
We don't do testing or grades. Dd just does things until she gets it.
Anytime I've tried to use a schedule it gets re-written as we go. I do have some goals for the year and keep samples of work so we can see progress.
No extra-curriculars. If dd were really interested in doing something I'd look into it but I'm not going to put her in something just to have her in something.
We do use some curriculum. I didn't buy anything new for this year though as we are still working through the stuff I bought last year. We mostly follow dd's pace. We homeschool year round but frequently take days or weeks off academic work.
We tried a "school room" but still ended up at the dining table or on the sofa. The bedroom or outside do not work however as there are too many distractions.


It's interesting that in this thread people have brought up also being relaxed about housecleaning or parenting.
I also could not follow Flylady. A few goals are fine but it was too regimented for me.