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albeto
11-24-2012, 02:50 PM
http://gulfnews.com/life-style/people/i-let-my-children-do-whatever-they-want-1.1108729

I've only skimmed it, but wanted to share (before I forget, heehee).

I have to run off in a few minutes to do unschooly things with my kids. :)


I'll add my thoughts later. I'd love to hear yours.

Stella M
11-24-2012, 03:13 PM
People will say the usual things :-)

I have no problem with how this family is living.

dbmamaz
11-24-2012, 03:23 PM
only skimmed it - i was connected w them on fb once and had to defriend . . . drove me nuts. is that what i always say?

farrarwilliams
11-24-2012, 04:06 PM
Yes, you have always been friended with everyone on FB, Cara. ;)

They are kind of unschool poster family, aren't they? They've been in a number of media pieces. They seem happy and like what they're doing is working for them.

Stella M
11-24-2012, 04:35 PM
The mom was a bit chirpy for my tastes. I prefer a dose of cynicism with my ideology.

I know someone is gonna hone in on the teeth brushing thing. Or the ice cream for breakfast.

Sometimes I wish we could invent a whole new life/education paradigm to chew over...

farrarwilliams
11-24-2012, 05:42 PM
We had Popsicles for breakfast today here. That's WAY better than ice cream.

albeto
11-24-2012, 05:57 PM
The mom was a bit chirpy for my tastes. I prefer a dose of cynicism with my ideology.

*snicker*

I finally read it. It seemed quite superficial, more of an article geared towards trying to shock the reader with the idea that an nontraditional family can, gasp, be happy and well adjusted. If I had read it first I wouldn't have shared it because it really doesn't do much to explain what unschooling is or how it contributes to education - something that people who are not unschoolers are likely to be most curious about.

The last part was a little too much woo for me. Is this woman woo-oriented in general?


And she says the stress-free lifestyle makes her kids healthier. “Nobody in our house has been ill once in the past five years, and I truly believe it is because there is so much happiness and joy in our home.
“To me, your emotional state is everything, and when you are happy I think that you are physically healthier.

Although I will add that my family is generally stress free as well, and we really do enjoy each other's company genuinely, this isn't really helpful as physical health doesn't quite work that way, as anyone who has had a happy child come down with a cold can attest to.

One reason this article caught my attention is because of recent conversations in my home. My youngest is almost 13 and is voicing some concerns about his math knowledge. This is the kid who has always had a brain for numbers, relationship of numbers, mathematical concepts in general. In the last few years, however, he hasn't been doing worksheets, tests, and typical linear learning. He is learning how to make computer programs (he has a script set up to pop up on my computer three hours after it's turned on to remind me to feed the lizard - it just went off!) and wonders if you "need math" to be a computer programmer. We're trying to explain to him that yes, of course you "need math" but there are different ways to learn it. Linear learning, as is traditional formal education, is one way, and we have some books that will help with that. There's a website (Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/)) that has short lessons for everything educational, and he can poke around through that. Or he can learn it the natural way, learning the vocabulary for the concepts he knows after he is familiar with the concepts. I expect a combination of these things will work for him, but this does inspire a bit of anxiety for him as he's expecting to know what every other kid his age knows, without recognizing he knows things they don't. It reminds me a bit of when my oldest was a toddler and didn't have the language development of one of his friends. But then, she didn't have the physical development he had. Within a few years, of course, each one caught up to the other and eventually excelled in their own things, as is typical.

But then, that's a lesson to be learned in and of itself - identifying when one lacks knowledge is a valuable skill to have. Knowing how to identify and solve a particular problem effectively and socially acceptably is the ultimate goal, in my opinion. The value of the unschooling approach is that this knowledge is gained naturally, not manipulated by external coercion like tests or assignments due on Friday. Because it's a part of the natural course of events, learning is embraced rather than begrudgingly done (not that learning on a schedule is necessarily causes a feeling of begrudging compliance - but for kids like mine, it can).

I think this works with all subjects, but not in a vacuum. In other words, children really cannot afford to have hands-off parents, I think, with this kind of learning. Kids don't have the experiences to know what is out there to explore in their fields of interest. This article doesn't really touch on that at all, or much educational. It seems to me all social. Granted, I think social development is underrated in our society, but I don't think this article really offers much information in the way of social development. So all in all, I'm not impressed with the article in any way, but I enjoy babbling about my pet interest, so there you have it. :o

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-24-2012, 06:08 PM
The mom said the kids hadn't gotten sick, but I notice that she didn't say if they've had cavities. :)

Personally, I'm skeptical when someone goes out of their way to tell the world how wonderful their life is and how great their kids are. Everything is great here! No difficulties or problems whatsoever! It would have been nice if the mom at least complained about having to cook breakfast for everyone at 2:00 in the afternoon. Or the fact that the kids' rooms get a bit messy. Something! But I suppose admitting anything negative would have been like a chink in the armor.

It was like a Radical Unschooling press release more than an interview.

Stella M
11-24-2012, 06:51 PM
I offered ds a cupcake for breakfast in their honour.

It's just not that radical for anyone who has read about or practiced unschooling.

Please let's invent a new thing !!!

Pefa
11-24-2012, 07:08 PM
Meh. Pretty superficial but whatever. I couldn't do the food all day thing but again, whatever.

Besides, my public schooled niece and nephew had ice cream and pie for b'fast today because Auntie was over (actually I bet they would have had it even if I hadn't been there) Auntie just slipped them some extra ice cream when mom wasn't looking.

Note to self don't friend Cara, because I'd probably drive her crazy.......

dbmamaz
11-24-2012, 07:10 PM
i'm pretty sure i read a blog post by them once - she (the mom) came from a really horrid childhood, abuse, foster care, selling drugs for her foster parents, sexual abuse, etc . . . so creating a happy home for her kids was of the utmost importance and achieving that is the ultimate success for her. I'm glad its working for them, i just dont enjoy hearing about it.

EmmaNadine
11-24-2012, 07:32 PM
I went to public school, and my mom firmly believes in leftover cheesecake for breakfast. Or leftover pie, or cake, or... :D

farrarwilliams
11-24-2012, 07:48 PM
It does always bother me when people pretend that they didn't get sick because of things that have nothing to do with germ theory. God, good vibes, yoga, etc can't protect you completely from illness. But its a minor quibble. The Martins are fine. They're as reasonable a spokesfamily as you could hope for for ru.

lets all dream up a totally different brand of extreme learning and debate it to appease Stella.

EmmaNadine
11-24-2012, 08:05 PM
We could all go medieval monastic and advocate self flagellation for failing our children when they get a math problem wrong.

dbmamaz
11-24-2012, 08:22 PM
oh, i was thinking we should start a colony on the moon and start a coop there . . .

farrarwilliams
11-24-2012, 09:01 PM
How about an educational system based around producing quality cheese. If its not related to making cheese, forget it.

TriciaJ
11-24-2012, 09:10 PM
I used to work in a cheese factory, I can help.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-24-2012, 09:33 PM
How about a cheese-producing medieval monastery on the moon?

With all lessons conducted in Esperanto. :)

Stella M
11-24-2012, 09:50 PM
It will devolve into the hard and soft cheese factions, you know that ?

dbmamaz
11-25-2012, 12:24 AM
If were going to be fermenting things, why not Belgian ale? Gluten free of course . . .

Stella M
11-25-2012, 12:50 AM
If we set up some lunar hives, we could make mead.

Special space bees. That the kids have to genetically engineer. Giant stingless bees you can also ride to co-op. Talking teacher bees. Who do all the work. Radical autonomy for moms. And mead on demand.

dbmamaz
11-25-2012, 01:50 AM
Riding giant stingless bees to coop . . .lol . . .thanks, I needed that . . .

blasphemoushomemaker
11-25-2012, 05:02 AM
Speaking of facebook, I had to unfriend them because the husband and i kept disagreeing tremendously over politics. He is Libertarian and I'm socialist-Democrat. Other than that, my friend D.E. unschools her kids and pretty much lets them do whatever they want, hates curriculum, doesn't have curfews or food rules, and while they do get sick like everyone else, they are the happiest and most harmonious family I have ever met. Some families really have it together when it comes to just being happy most of the time at home and letting everything else wait for them outside the front door.

Pefa
11-25-2012, 05:20 AM
How about a cheese-producing medieval monastery on the moon?

With all lessons conducted in Esperanto. :)
B1 told me that there are something like 150 native speakers of esperanto in the world, maybe we can enlist their help. And if we're going to the moon we'll definitely need NdGT......

Starkspack
11-25-2012, 06:33 AM
Interestingly, I'm reading a book Dayna wrote right now. I'm about 2/3 through it and don't like it much. I am trying to be open minded, as I feel like one can learn from ALL experiences, so I seek this out especially in things I don't (on the surface) agree with. I appreciate their doing what they feel is best, but there is something about this philosophy I just cannot get on board with. And I'm not sure I can even put my finger on it. I do like child-led learning. I do like fostering independence and competence in children, even at younger ages (as they are ready and able to BE competent, that is). But the idea of letting them not brush teeth, or the mom cooking a million times a day, or as it would seem, totally living her life for these kids like a servant of sorts - these are the things I can't agree with or understand. I do agree that being stress-free and happy can lead to good physical health (that isn't too woo woo for me!), and I can almost get on board that kids will moderate themselves (i.e. eating healthy foods, going to bed when necessary, etc.).

So, really, I'm of mixed mind. I just know that when I read this and the book of hers I'm reading now, I find some things I can say "yes, I get that" to, but others just rub me the wrong way. Perhaps it is the lack of a dose of real world that bothers me. When these kids are adults and find that the rest of the world is not going to be catering to them anytime soon, how will that go over? Don't get me wrong, I'm totally in the camp of protecting DD from the horrors of real life to some degree - children should be happy and carefree as long as possible, in my opinion. However, as she grows and situations arise that provide an opportunity for a life lesson, we take advantage of it in an age-appropriate way. And that includes lessons like we take good care of our teeth because a life with teeth problems is not only uncomfortable, but expensive. Or, that life is sometimes not fair and we DON'T always get to do what we want to - sometimes we all have to do things we would rather not do in order for our family to work harmoniously.

I don't know, maybe it is just me. I think the way we are raised certainly influences us - for positive or negative.

Kimberlapoderosa
11-25-2012, 08:19 AM
It was an interesting article, but would never work here. I agree that children learn best when it is something they are interested in, but having no structure seems a bit odd. The part with her "nurturing" the child who wanted to watch the tv show all the time and even bringing her food so she could continue was over the top strange for me.

We believe that too much tv/screen time is bad for kids. If we let them choose they would be on the games or watching the tele all the time. Why? Because they are children and children do not necessarily choose what is best for them. My 11 year old son would never brush his teeth if we didn't make him. Or shower...yuck. It is my job as a parent to guide him until he learns how to make the better choices.

On the other hand, I completely reject traditional schooling in the classroom. I also have no problem with serving left over pumpkin or apple pie for breakfast. It can't be any worse than store bought cereal!

I also agree with Starkspack that children have to learn that sometimes they can't have what they want in order for the family unit (and later in life at work) to function well.

Not sure where this puts me on the spectrum of homeschoolers. Probably somewhere in the middle like most.

Jeni
11-25-2012, 10:05 AM
They sound stinking rich. I wonder if having the ability to do something like this has anything to do with income level?

Honestly, the teeth brushing thing is exactly what we do here. We help them when they are younger but past about 5 or 6, if they choose not to, they know the consequence and it becomes their issue. BUT, the reason I can say that, and I'm guessing this mom can say it are because we are blessed enough to have dental insurance. So yeah, cavities can be filled. Other families aren't so lucky and need to be more diligent. So I don't think it's so much an unschooly thing as an issue where we can afford to give that responsibility to our kids.

I am making notes as I go along and the CSI thing kind of bugged me. The way it came across sounds a little ignorant. It's a TV show, watch it don't watch it, but it's not going to teach you a whole lot. Real CSI isn't anything like TV. It seemed silly. But other then that, I would gladly watch TV all day.

I don't know, I think her life as an adult allows her indulge in her parenting style. They don't have to worry about college because they have a family business. They can afford to be vegetarians and go on diets of grass feed animals. They have medical insurance. I think it's a tad unrealistic, but they have the means to support their grown children if things don't work out like they think. And I imagine their plan for their grown kids is to have them available to help expand their toy company. And I kind of got the feeling towards the end that if they did choose to go to college, just like everything else, it was on them.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was her idea "who am I to tell them..." Uh your mom. I don't think our species would have survived long if parents didn't parent their young. For me it goes back to the ability to afford not to parent.

Jeni
11-25-2012, 10:15 AM
I went to public school, and my mom firmly believes in leftover cheesecake for breakfast. Or leftover pie, or cake, or... :D

So does mine. :)

JinxieFox
11-25-2012, 10:28 AM
I just couldn't do it... But it's one of those "to each, their own" things as far as I am concerned.

Cheese? I'm in.

*packs her bags for the moon*

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-25-2012, 10:34 AM
It will devolve into the hard and soft cheese factions, you know that ?

Well obviously if your cheese is turning out hard, you are putting it under too much pressure. Just back off and stop trying to coerce your cheese to be cheddar when it wants to be Camembert.

Everyone will be happy and your monastic moon base will be peaceful if you just let your cheese be Camembert.

JinxieFox
11-25-2012, 10:38 AM
I say factions, schmactions. Give me the *expletivedeleted* CHEESE! I'll play both sides! Do you have any idea how I've spent the past 8 months? SUFFERING, because I can't eat the amazing local cheeses, because they aren't pasteurized!

Oh, and if a family is happy, and the kids are healthy, that's important. I should have mentioned that previously. I'd be very curious to see where these kids are 10 years from now. :)

jessica14
11-25-2012, 02:11 PM
I believe the Martins are all about Law of Attraction and from what I gather (I just skimmed to article too) she is a paid consultant and goes into families' homes and trains them to live an unschooled lifestyle. From what I've gathered on another yahoo group, some radical homeschoolers don't care for her because of this.

I've said before that while I have learned some very positive things from radical unschooling (which to me is different than unschooling) I am a bit disturbed by things like children are equal to the adults. While I believe in respecting my children, they are not equals simply because they don't have the knowledge base. I'm not going to let my 8 year old son make all the decisions in his life. He's eight. He has a limited frame of reference. I sort of get be your child's partner, but its too close to being your child's friend instead of be a parent.

Stella M
11-25-2012, 02:21 PM
Oh, I definitely feel my children are my equals. They make be less experienced, but they are not less than I.

I actually can't conceive of parenting from the starting point of us all not being equal...

I will happily offer them my 'wisdom', such as it is, however. In the end though, they are free, autonomous beings...or meant to be, when our parenting doesn't stuff things up. Which it always does, seeing as we are equally imperfect :-)

Law of attraction bs makes me though. That pisses me off way more than the unschooling. Western rubbish.

albeto
11-25-2012, 03:21 PM
Only after actually reading the article did I realize this was a Pollyanna kind of view of unschooling and that means unrealistic because it's fabricated and therefore not trustworthy. Unless they really are as happy as a bunch of Pollyannas, in which case, more power to 'em. Personally, I identify more with Erma Bombeck than this lady, and maybe if Erma Bombeck was an unschooling mom I would have my perfect hero.

farrarwilliams
11-25-2012, 03:58 PM
Huh. My kids are definitely my equals as well. I know more than them about some things and have to be the decision maker, but not for everything. When they know more occasionally or have a greater stake, they an decide. And really, equality is beyond power to me - the president has more power, but we're equals on a basic human level.

I knew she was a consultant. If anyone faults her for that, they're nuts. She has a skill and people need mentors. Simple as that. Sigh.

TriciaJ
11-25-2012, 04:28 PM
My kid has to brush her teeth because I don't want to spend my life at the dentist, or listen to her have a freak out when she has cavities and they stick those shots in her mouth. She has to take baths and eat healthy because I loathe going to the doctor's. She also has to help around the house because I'm not her servant and I don't have time to do everything for 2 people. So out of selfishness, we could never do what this lady is doing.
It doesn't sound balanced in ways....I think the concept of letting kids make their own decisions is good, but it has to be balanced. When my child is grown, can support herself and pays her own bills...then she can eat what she wants and not brush her teeth. But as an adult, I feel its my job to TRY and instill healthy habits because she is a child and doesn't have 'all the information' yet, or even the mental development on certain things. I think this lady is taking some of that to the extreme, although I pretty much love unschooling in a 'balanced' way (or as much as I can love it, since my kid is only 4).

I think Dayna just needs a piece of cheese.

farrarwilliams
11-25-2012, 04:44 PM
Oh, we all need a piece of cheese. Blessed are the cheesemakers.

I think when you're in the business of selling an idea, then you almost have to make it Pollyannaish. I guess I just take it with a grain of salt, the same way I do when I read blogs. I really don't understand why people get in such a huff about people's blogs sometimes. I mean, OF COURSE, you're showing the projects that worked, the fun stuff you did, the awesome snapshot of that field trip, etc. And of course Dayna Martin has to share the things that are working - the field trips, the learning opportunities, the happy things. Of course she doesn't share the times the kids try to smack each other or break something in a shop or ask her something like, "Wait, didn't George Washington discover America?" And I'm sure they have moments like that too. It doesn't really effect my view of unschooling negatively.

Of course, I don't have a super positive feeling about radical unschooling... but the Martins have always struck me as decent, loving parents who are really trying their best. I may differ in what I think is right, but I think that pretty much always matters more than math.

dbmamaz
11-25-2012, 04:51 PM
ok, maybe decent loving parents who are doing their best, but, like my 'friend' the radical unschooler who lived 5 miles away from me for about a year and a half, i cant stand to hear too much about it because it drives me nuts.

and all this talk of cheese is so sad for me - it was my favorite food all my life and i had to quit dairy . . . of course, i still hope some day I can see if I can handle small amounts of raw milk cheese or something. i used to LOVE raw milk cheddar. almost impossible to find any more, but omg it tasted SOOO much better

farrarwilliams
11-25-2012, 04:56 PM
I have been trying to tease out for myself the fact that I hate dogmatists and the fact that radical unschoolers tend to be very dogmatic. It doesn't mean the philosophy is bad... though, again, I'm not in love with it... unschooling, I get, radical unschooling less so... but still, the fact that its adherents are dogmatic shouldn't condemn it out of hand.

How about soy cheese? Ugh, no. I'd had soy cheese. Sorry, Cara! Maybe you're allergic to both educational philosophies. Of course, if I was a dogmatic cheese educator, I would say you just haven't had the right exposure to it or something horribly insensitive like that.

Teri
11-25-2012, 05:20 PM
I would like to say that they are the best dressed unschoolers I have ever seen. ;) Even the baby has amazing style sense, since we know that mom and dad had nothing to do with buying that outfit or putting it on him.
Our co-op has a lot of unschooling and a few unparenting devotees. I would put this family into the unparenting category.
This would not work in our house. My kids need structure. I have to line out what is happening in our day the night before so that no one gets caught off guard. They actually need more structure than I do. ;)
I am all about moderation. There are times when approaching something with an unschooling attitude works really well. There are other times that taking a more conventional approach really pays off.
I did have a hard time when unschoolers gave me all kinds of grief for getting help for my daughter with dyslexia, despite the fact that she was asking for help and really frustrated that she couldn't read. They also have a hard time with my youngest going to Chinese school (at her request). I don't think that ignoring a child's request for structured learning follows the philosophy of unschooling, if you are truly going to go with what the child wants to do.

dbmamaz
11-25-2012, 05:21 PM
Yeah, it is the dogmatic attitude that bothers me. once in a while i come across someone who says, well, this worked really well for my family but i'm sure you have put a lot of thought in to what is best for your family and it sounds like thats working for you, too! and thats cool! but so many of them just go on and on about how awful it is to not be a radical unschooler and how you are abusing your kids and just being an unthinking cog in a machine and obviously if you REALLY understood it, you would do it too, but you just arent trying hard enough . . wait, this is starting to remind me of my daughter again . . . uggg.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-25-2012, 05:37 PM
I think that's why we all appreciate Albeto--she is not dogmatic and doesn't get upset when people disagree with the unschooling approach. She appeals to me more as a "spokesperson" than the all-or-nothing, Pollyanna, "it-can-work-for-anyone-if-they-do-it-our-way" RU-ers.

farrarwilliams
11-25-2012, 05:50 PM
Yes, I also think of Albeto as our friendly unschooling spokesperson. Albeto, you should be in articles instead of Dayna Martin. :)

Starkspack
11-25-2012, 07:10 PM
Our co-op has a lot of unschooling and a few unparenting devotees. I would put this family into the unparenting category.


This. I think this is the part that bothers me. The combination of unschooling and unparenting. I firmly believe you can be an unschooling family but still parent your children. I have no problem that she is a consultant, and I agree with above posters that it is fine and reasonable for her to promote herself to those interested in her way of doing things. I just don't happen to agree with her way. I would also agree with those that chimed in about your children being equals - very true. Their feelings should be considered as much as your own, we are equal as humans. However, I think there is a difference between believing in the equality and letting the kids choose their own path on things such as dentistry, and equality and discussing things with your children in a rational and logical way and still being the authority on things with which they are not experienced.

Stella M
11-25-2012, 09:28 PM
I don't make my kids brush their teeth.

I buy toothbrushes and toothpaste though :-)

We all eat cheese.

I am happy riding my bee on the moon.

No dentists here.

farrarwilliams
11-25-2012, 10:41 PM
I really dislike the term "unparenting" because it implies that the parents are not parenting. There's a philosophical underpinning to what they're doing.

Again, I don't always agree with it. It definitely goes way too far for some families and I feel like one hears anecdotes that definitely make one want to tear one's hair out. But that's still different to me than someone refusing to parent or just walking away from their kids or something. Deadbeat dads... those are "unparents." Radical unschoolers are just parenting with a different philosophy from me... just like someone parenting with rigid discipline and spankings is making different parenting choices than I am.

CrazyCatLady
11-25-2012, 11:16 PM
But the idea of letting them not brush teeth, or the mom cooking a million times a day, or as it would seem, totally living her life for these kids like a servant of sorts - these are the things I can't agree with or understand.

Tha's actually the bit I find hardest about RU in my own head. How does me making a servant of myself teach my children that other people should be valued? I am just not willing to do everything around here! A RU friend commented something along the lines of "My children didn't ask to be born, and I chose to have them so I chose the work."

But maybe I'm just lazy ;)

Is there housework on that moon/cheese/bees colony?

farrarwilliams
11-25-2012, 11:30 PM
There is housework, but we all dance to show it to each other. Like bees.

That's the part I have the biggest problem with it too, CrazyCatLady. See, if my kids are my equals, then we also share the work of the house. So I believe that, but then I have a totally different take on what it means than them.

But the toothbrushing thing is different to me. I mean, there are a lot of things in life where you have to do something and learn to be responsible and live with the consequences. So, for example, putting on your coat when it's cold. Some parents can't stand when their kids won't do it. So they force them to. Others just bring the coat if the kid changes their mind. And others would let the child make the mistake of going outside cold. It's a learning experience, after all. But the consequences are small, right? Unless you live in Alaska, then it's definitely not life and death. And at what point is a child too old to force? You can't wrangle a surly 17 yo into a jacket, after all. It's just about discomfort and probably pretty short term discomfort at that. Toothbrushing is the same to me - it's just that the consequences are more expensive to fix and more long term so they're harder for a child to see. So some of the parents who would let the kid go outside without his coat, would make him brush his teeth. They'd draw the line in there.

Really, if you think of it this way, it's easier to see the connection to education. Should you force a child to learn math? People need basic math skills to be successful adults. Just like you need a coat when it's cold and you need to brush your teeth to be healthy. So just like with the coat or the toothbrushing, some parents will teach the child the math and make him learn. Others will try to lure him into it. And a few won't bother - they'll offer the math or tell the child the math exists, but wait for the kid to figure out she needs it, just like some parents wait for the kid to figure out she needs her coat when it's cold.

Teri
11-26-2012, 12:15 AM
I don't think that the term "unparenting" is any more negative than "unschooling". It just implies that they are doing something that goes against the mainstream.
If a child can do whatever they want with no requirements or consequences, that is unparenting to me.

Stella M
11-26-2012, 01:01 AM
OK, so if we are gonna talk teeth...

Never brushed baby teeth. They were b/f so no issues with milk pooling and rotting their teeth.

Around toddler hood, brought child brush. Showed how to use it. Invited child to brush teeth with me, helped if asked. Mostly, child brushed, sometimes didn't, no drama.

As child got older, talked about oral health. Visited dentist at their request. Mostly child brushed, sometimes didn't, no drama.

No cavities so far, and all three brush without ever being made to brush. If they said they weren't brushing when younger, I said 'OK'.

You might say they own their brushing now :-) None are suffering from my lack of coercion around brushing.

I don't buy soda, and the kids were never fussed enough to buy it with their own money. That has made a huge positive contribution to our oral health.

And that is what I have to share about teeth. Never had an argument about it in 15 years.

Stella M
11-26-2012, 01:09 AM
Oh, and there are consequences if you are 'unparented'. They are just natural ones, not parentally imposed ones.

So you might not get told off for eating ice cream all day. But you might notice you feel like crap and choose an apple next time.

Or you might - like my ds - have unrestricted Minecraft time. Until you work out that is is consuming you in a way that is causing you stress and choose to take a voluntary break from the game for a month. You feel the negative effect, you get to own the solution.

It makes people - me included - uncomfortable to watch other people, kids included, take the time they need to process their behaviours and choices. Kids take longer than we think they 'should'. But I trust they will get there - at least, that's what I see with mine.

And now I'm going back to my nice CM programming. Living books and nature study for all! No more teeth talk...

floridamom
11-26-2012, 02:36 AM
I haven't posted in months and here I am jumping into a thread like this one. :D


It was an interesting article, but would never work here. I agree that children learn best when it is something they are interested in, but having no structure seems a bit odd.

It would never work here either. We tried unschooling when ds was younger, but he really needs structure. His ADHD makes it hard enough for him to self-regulate; if he had no rules at all he'd actually be miserable. We have always done, and still do a fair amount of child-led learning, but I don't look at that as true unschooling.



I think the thing that bothered me the most was her idea "who am I to tell them..." Uh your mom.

This.




If a child can do whatever they want with no requirements or consequences, that is unparenting to me.

I agree, and I have also called it reptile parenting. I've said before that I'm a mammal not a reptile. I don't just lay my eggs and leave. Mammals have rules for their children. Most of those rules relate to survival, but not all do. Social mammals, a group to which we humans belong, also teach their children what is acceptable in their societies.

The family seems fine and happy. They are probably more normal than they let on, meaning they have their difficult times too. We just don't hear about it. I don't have a problem with them. I just hope that their style of parenting (which I see as more detrimental than their schooling style) doesn't hurt the children in the long run.

Stella M
11-26-2012, 02:47 AM
Woah!

Reptile parenting ?

Um, my style is very present and warm. Even when 'unparenting' over screens, food, school, doctors, clothes, family, teeth!!! You name it, I've done it over the years.....

Takes a whole stack of energy and love to stay present with a child without coercing them...

A mama who chooses to not engage coercively over some or all issues is not behaving like a reptile!

I think there is a misapprehension that without imposed rules, a home must be in chaos. We don't have 'rules' but we have a very high level of consistency, presence and daily rhythm that provides the kids with a secure environment, within which they can discover what works well for them and what doesn't.

I guess I have also always assumed that my kids are smart enough to work out that the tools I have on offer for them are good things, and that they will choose to use those tools when they feel ready. Harumph. I hate these discussions because it totally reminds me of all the great things about radical unschooling!! And makes me feel ever so lazy for only being a part-timer when it comes to unschooling/'unparenting'.

I understand once we move into the area of neuro atypical kids the ground rules change so let's not rehash that one...I'm talking about neurotypical kids as that is my only experience.

OK, but now I'm really tired of talking about it.

MarkInMD
11-26-2012, 05:18 AM
It was an interesting article, but would never work here. I agree that children learn best when it is something they are interested in, but having no structure seems a bit odd. The part with her "nurturing" the child who wanted to watch the tv show all the time and even bringing her food so she could continue was over the top strange for me.

We believe that too much tv/screen time is bad for kids. If we let them choose they would be on the games or watching the tele all the time. Why? Because they are children and children do not necessarily choose what is best for them. My 11 year old son would never brush his teeth if we didn't make him. Or shower...yuck. It is my job as a parent to guide him until he learns how to make the better choices.

I was going to write pretty much exactly this. Swap "11" for "10" in the boldface part, and that's us. If you have kids who are self-disciplined enough that they'll self-regulate, wonderful, but I'm gonna bet that's less than 1% of kids out there.

kewb22
11-26-2012, 11:02 AM
I have read about this family before. The article was a puff piece. It is not a lifestyle we choose to live but they all seem happy and well adjusted. I suppose only time will tell for my kids if have screwed them up for life for insisting on a bedtime and making them brush their teeth and insisted they do their math and grammar every day. As I tell my kids when they complain about something-add it to your list of all the things my mother did wrong. It will save time when you are in therapy.

albeto
11-26-2012, 12:23 PM
I really dislike the term "unparenting" because it implies that the parents are not parenting. There's a philosophical underpinning to what they're doing.

This sounds like one of the hardest concepts to really understand. The idea that if one doesn't impose conventional punishment/reward system, one is a "reptile parent" is akin to suggesting if one imposes a conventional punishment/reward system, one is a "bully parent." Sure, it makes sense in those terms, but is it really an accurate reflection? Does it convey the intent and general philosophy? I don't think so. One of the reasons I thought to bring this article here is because although we would never as a society accept "bully parenting" to define conventional punishment/reward systems of child development, we do seem to accept "unparenting" to define unschooling, even radical (which is a misnomer, considering there is no line to be crossed) unschooling.

The philosophy behind not coercing a child to do what you want, from emptying the dishwasher to brushing her teeth, is not to spoil her or protect her fragile little ego from bumps and bruises. It's to establish a mutually respectful relationship in which no one has the upper hand. I can force my child to brush his teeth, I can punish him for not doing it, I can withhold privileges or rewards until he does it, I can even use my 44 years of social skills to passively aggressively manipulate his emotions until he feels fear or guilt for not doing it. All these things "work," and they may instill a lifelong habit. What what other lessons will he have learned? He will have learned that I am manipulating him, and apply whatever technique I use successfully on his siblings, friends, future lover. He will learn that I have my own agenda, and when that differs from his, I will fight for the success of mine, even at his emotional/mental expense. He will have learned how to lie to me to keep me happy so I continue to dole out whatever trinkets I alone have access to, until he no longer cares about my trinkets and can get ones that are truly valuable to him. He will have learned that I'm not fully trustworthy, that I'm not his advocate when his needs don't coincide with my desires. In short, he'll learn to work me as surely as I work him. And he'll generalize that to all his relationships.

These are the things that unschooling addresses in natural settings like brushing teeth and emptying the dishwasher (and other chores and necessary lifelong habits). There are certain patterns in life, there are certain expectations between cause and effect, and a mark of intelligence is to recognize and predict a likely outcome based on a pattern perceived. We do this in school starting with little workbooks with triangles and squares and finish the pattern homework assignments. It teaches the same concept but in an artificial, detached way. Forcing a child to brush teeth "or else" does the same. Instead, some parents choose to take the time to help the child see this same pattern in his own time, and make a likely prediction based on it. It does take more effort on the parent's part in some things (like taking the time to help work out frustration rather than punish for a socially inappropriate reaction to disappointment), but in my opinion that time is saved in other places (no homework battles). The goal is the same - to prepare the children we love to be capable of living independently as adults, and to genuinely enjoy their lives. This takes skill. This takes time. This takes learning. Unparenting and reptilian parenting assumes the parent is absent, instead allowing children to grow up like Pippi Longstocking, doing whatever they want. It's no truer with unschoolers than with classical homeschoolers or public or privately educated children, I'm quite sure. I could be wrong, but misinformation is a lousy thing to base an opinion on.

Operetta
11-26-2012, 01:31 PM
you know, re-reading that I totally rambled and I obviously wasn't clear at all. So I'm just going to make it go away so it doesn't keep going.

Stella M
11-26-2012, 01:51 PM
But it isn't non tooth brushing! It's merely not coercing a child to brush their teeth.
Why people think kids would be so silly as to never brush and allow all their teeth to fall out of their heads - kids aren't dumb. They get it. My two year olds got it!

And juice is as bad for teeth as soda.




OK, whisking my reptilian tail off now to ignore my luckily self regulating kids....

The irony being, I am never more actively engaged with my kids then when I am using 'unparenting' as a way of helping them explore an issue.

dbmamaz
11-26-2012, 02:02 PM
My kids really fought it. The issue is kids with sensitivity issues, sensory issues, brushing teeth can be really unpleasant and its not until age 5 or even 7/8 they can make that logical leap that the horrible feeling is worth it. Plus usually by that age the sensory stuff gets less intense. But when my daughter was little we had a guy living with us who would pretend to be the cavity monster and say how much he LOVED to eat dirty teeth, and then she would brush and he would cry and moan and say he wasnt going to have anything to eat. I TRIED to do that with Orion, but i'm not very patient. Dh did Raven's and i really dont even know. its funny cuz dh grew up without ever brushing his teeth or going to the dentist, the whole concept was kinda new to him. I mean, he had learned to brush his teeth, but he wouldnt floss or go to the dentist when I met him.

Operetta
11-26-2012, 02:03 PM
Why people think kids would be so silly as to never brush and allow all their teeth to fall out of their heads - kids aren't dumb. They get it. My two year olds got it!

To be clearer -- some people think that because that is a thing people do. Apparently there is a theory that brushing your teeth and getting cleanings done by a dentist removes the plaque that is protecting your teeth. I know adults who sincerely believe this and neither brush their own teeth nor see a dentist. And yes, they think this is fine for kids as well. (I think they believe in rinsing out your mouth because I never see food between their teeth. but yes, you can see the plaque which they believe is protecting them from cavities.)

dbmamaz
11-26-2012, 02:04 PM
i also force my kids to try things . . . like new foods. they dont have to eat it, but they have to taste it. My boys were veggie averse, big time, whereas Heron LOVED veggies from early infancy. Orion started eating more and more veggies at 8 and was eating soups and stews by 10, but Raven still has extremely limited veggies he will eat. i give him vitamins.

albeto
11-26-2012, 02:10 PM
Ah...so I take it you're not familiar with the theory that brushing your teeth and getting cleanings done by a dentist removes the plaque that is protecting your teeth, then?
I don't understand the connection. In what way is noncoercive role modeling related to germ theory?

dbmamaz
11-26-2012, 02:11 PM
she's just saying that when she said 'not making your kids brush their teeth' she did not realize that you mean you model and talk up the benefits of brushing your teeth, but dont FORCE them to . . . she knew other people who did not brush their teeth or their kids because they thought it was actually bad for your teeth - she's just clarifying.

Stella M
11-26-2012, 02:14 PM
What ?

Jeez guys, engage with the theory. It isn't about anecdotal nutso parents who think dentists are the devil.

Stella M
11-26-2012, 02:15 PM
BTW, I want points for predicting on page one this would turn into a teeth thing. It always does....

dbmamaz
11-26-2012, 02:16 PM
NdGT on the moon . . .

Stella M
11-26-2012, 02:41 PM
Well, I don't talk it up. I am matter of fact. I don't attach emotional feelings - oh, you are good for brushing your teeth! - to the whole thing.

albeto
11-26-2012, 05:48 PM
BTW, I want points for predicting on page one this would turn into a teeth thing. It always does....
10 Internets to Stella!

Next time call "inb4 teeth" and get double internets!

jessica14
11-26-2012, 06:53 PM
I wanted to clarify my statement that kids are not equal to parents. I did not mean in a human way at all. I meant in an experience/decision making way. I feel that children need to be told sometimes that something needs to be done. Realistically, you don't always get a choice, at least in my house. My kids have bedtimes. It is our choice as parents, not theirs. For example, for the longest time, my DS would day he was not tired in the afternoons. He'd be rubbing his eyes and crying and saying he was fine. Yes, I had him lay down, usually with me and he's be out in 5 minutes. If I had let him be an equal in that decision making process, he would have continued to cry and be overtired and make himself and others feel cranky.

I'm not a dictator and certainly the kids make lots of decisions and I respect that they have feelings and emotions equal to me (my DH is more the "I'm the boss of you" type which I am trying to get him to change). But there are just some things they get no say in. They are not equal decision makers in that way.

farrarwilliams
11-26-2012, 09:23 PM
I actually do hate dentists though. Just... ugh. Hate them. (My apologies if anyone here is a dentist.)

TriciaJ
11-26-2012, 09:26 PM
But it isn't non tooth brushing! It's merely not coercing a child to brush their teeth.
Why people think kids would be so silly as to never brush and allow all their teeth to fall out of their heads - kids aren't dumb. They get it. My two year olds got it!

And juice is as bad for teeth as soda.




OK, whisking my reptilian tail off now to ignore my luckily self regulating kids....

The irony being, I am never more actively engaged with my kids then when I am using 'unparenting' as a way of helping them explore an issue.

I don't think you're a reptile....and I bet you're an awesome mom....so there!
I like unschooling, and wish I had the balls to 'unparent', but I think the parent has to have the ability to do it....we all have different talents. I'm gonna go read the article about Learned Helplessness: Are you Doing Too Much for Your Child? now...

Stella M
11-26-2012, 11:57 PM
Eat your cheese
And tend your bees
And you will find you never need
To make your daughter
Brush her teeth
Or take her to the dentist grim
For fillings white and fillings gold.
Just drink no juice
And eat your cheese
And chat with Neil upon the moon
Re topics soothing -
Evolution, church and state.
And never let us speak again
Of things contentious,
Queen of which is
Do you make them ?

CatInTheSun
11-27-2012, 12:37 AM
One thing on the RU vs dictatorial parent argument, as well as issues of parent child equality I always keep in mind is that a child is NOT just a miniature adult with an incomplete data set or lack of experiences. The human brain, in particular the frontal cortex (that part responsible for the stuff referred to as "executive function", such as understanding consequences of actions), doesn't reach maturity until around age 26.

The way a teenagers brain lights up in a PET scanner when they are making an ethical decision is completely different than an adult. And just as I wouldn't let an alcohol impaired person drive, there are decisions I won't let an age-impaired brain make, either. No shock, most of the changes are in areas like emotion regulation, decision making, empathy, and rewards/pleasure centers. We start studying developmental neurobiology in my house around age 4. :D It starts by discussing how their feelings are just as powerful and real as anything I feel. But it's harder for them to regulate the feelings, so we talk about how to do that. And we talk about how being hungry or tired or sick affects our emotions. And we talk about respecting feelings but if you CHOOSE to act on them you have to take responsibility for those actions. These are all things many adults haven't learned, and to be honest I'm hoping teaching them now will save me some grief during those teen years. LOL

Are they my equals? I'm not sure what that means. I think the term "equal" may be too loaded to be meaningful. Fundamentally I don't think it can be an equal relationship because all of the obligation is on my side, not theirs. I respect my kids; I am responsible to and for them. I can say I'm not their servant, but I seem to be the only one who knows how to flush a toilet, yet I also have the 'authority'. Funny world.

As to the original article, it sounds a little too "alls perfect" and like the mom is driven by her own reasons. But then it was a fluff piece, and didn't provide any context for their style in the range of homeschooling or unschooling. In that, since it didn't identify her other than "unschooling" I think it may do a bit of a disservice to the less radical unschoolers who work hard to surround their kids with opportunities for learning since they are often already seen as RU by default.

Because, you know, all homeschoolers are radical unschoolers. Or are we all religious fanatics? All I know is we are all the same because that's what everyone keeps telling me. :)

Stella M
11-27-2012, 12:48 AM
You know, it might be kinda cool to scan the brains of kids growing up sans coercion but in supportive environments and kids growing up under coercive models and see what, if any, differences there are.

I just think it's funny that my kids don't have 'rules' but generally make as good or better decisions than their friends who have a lot of 'rules'. They are not throwing themselves headlong into risky behaviour or otherwise destroying their lives. I wonder what came first - the nurturing effect of no 'rules' or the personality or whether there is a complex interplay between those things.

I'm sure my kids' experiences of being supported through autonomous choice making has helped mature their brains.

But you know, I could be deluded.

Pawz4me
11-27-2012, 07:41 AM
I'd never really thought about it until this thread, but we've raised our boys with very, very few rules.

We never put limits on their TV, computer or game console use.

We never made them eat anything they didn't want (I find the very idea of that totally abhorrent). Of course we did/do encourage them to try different foods.

Beyond the early elementary years we never enforced a set bed time.

And as far as teeth brushing -- It's something we've always encouraged, but beyond the toddler/preschool stage when they were learning how to brush correctly we've never stood over them and made sure they did it, or did it satisfactorily.

And they've both turned into fine, polite young men (14 and 17 now). They do their school work and homework without my having to nag. If they're watching TV, more often than not it's a news channel or the History Channel. They don't care one whit for any kind of violent video games (if you don't count sports games as violent). Who knows if it's their general nature or relates at least in part to how they were raised? All I know is that we never felt the need to be authoritarian. But in thinking about it it occurs to me that's how I was raised, and how all the kids in our close family have been raised. None of the nieces or nephews have been raised in homes where their parents set strict rules or limits. And all of them are fine young men and women.

albeto
11-27-2012, 02:44 PM
One thing on the RU vs dictatorial parent argument, as well as issues of parent child equality I always keep in mind is that a child is NOT just a miniature adult with an incomplete data set or lack of experiences.

I've never heard this idea advocated. Quite the opposite, in my experience.

Stella M
11-27-2012, 03:48 PM
No, me either. I certainly don't treat my kids like mini-adults, whatever that means anyway! I treat them as...um...themselves...

But then, I guess I feel like adult or child, we are all in varying stages of growth. I see no sharp distinction between adult and child in that way.

I

OldFarmer
12-03-2012, 05:26 AM
I know the conversation has gone a long way from the OP here, but I wanted to chime in with another bit of perspective on this.

First, I used to write for that magazine. Second, I also used to work in a cheese factory. :cool:

But more important, there seems to be a bit of pot-stirring going on in UAE right now by the local media. There's a bill before the FNC that proposes all children, nationals and expats alike, be required to enroll in school or risk losing their residence visas.

It would seem that at the heart of the bill are a couple of issues: the first is a high UAE drop-out rate. This is a young country, and the government wants (long-term) to be able to field its own workers--especially in jobs that earn high wages and thus require higher education.

A second issue that's highly visible is that many small children are being left unattended--presumably while both parents are working--and they are falling off balconies and dying. Or getting hurt other ways. These are expat parents who might not be able to afford education for their kids, since expats are not entitled to free education here, and our private choices are either not very good, very expensive, and/or both. In the most cynical corners of my mind, I wonder whether this is yet another way expats here are coerced into holding up the local economy.

Now, chances are quite good that the FNC, once through debating, will issue their bill with some sort of homeschooler exemption, or other loophole. For example, already they have said that students with special needs or "social reasons" for not attending will not be forced to go to school. (FWIW, schools generally don't offer services, and these students are turned away anyway.)

My kids are enrolled in an online school, and it is one that's recognized by the ed authority here, so it's a non-issue in our life at this moment. But if I were to decide that I want to really homeschool, it would affect my decision and how we live.

The plain truth is that a lot of families don't have another choice on the ground in UAE--they either cannot afford a private school option, or cannot get their kids in due to special circumstances. The rest of the story is that most homeschooling parents are very involved with their children throughout the day. I feel like this particular article is built of cherry-picked, breezy little quote-lets about a particularly laissez-faire household. But if you dropped that same family into a 26th-floor apartment in Jumeira Beach Residence without appropriate guardrails on the balcony; with no way of securing the windows against a fall; perhaps even with a smarmy, sneaky security guard always eyeing the two youngest in the lobby; and incredibly aggressive traffic on the street outside the building, any Mom might sound a little different in quotes.

I think it's a cheap play on this mag's part to whip people up into a frenzy over school choices.

Iamka
12-03-2012, 09:07 AM
I don't really care all that much what others do, and I'm admittedly fairly lax in many areas, however I do have one little thing that drives me slightly insane, and it when people who have never had serious health problems preach about health and stress believing their inherently superior choices control everything that happens to them.

For example: I'm a brain tumor survivor. AFAIK, stress doesn't case brain tumors!

Popsicles for breakfast probably are not a cause either. I do find it weird that nothing bad, sad, mad or frustrating EVER happens in this household. I don't know this family, but that does set my BS detectors off. Also? I am kind of AR about dental hygiene. Yes, teeth can be fixed, but I'm not sure a small child really grasps that refusing to brush your teeth has consequences like, oh, I dunno, $1,800 crowns when you're older. Or worse.

I'm all for flexible, and hate most rules myself, but eh, a few rules just make sense. Flossing after your breakfast sundae's is one, IMO. ;-)

Iamka
12-03-2012, 09:15 AM
Eh, one more thing, since I feel cranky and hey, this was out there for people to comment on. WRT the 7 yo who watches TV for hours while her MOM brings her food, to nuture the interest?

My 8 yo can snack while he binges on Legos and Rick Riordan novels, but I'll be damned if I'm going to "nuture his interest" by waiting on him hand and foot. Kid can make his own snacks. :-)

Iamka
12-03-2012, 09:21 AM
Ah, I should always read beyond the first page before replying.

Cheese is nice, as long as someone remembers to bring the cider donuts!

CatInTheSun
12-03-2012, 11:25 PM
I know the conversation has gone a long way from the OP here, but I wanted to chime in with another bit of perspective on this.

First, I used to write for that magazine. Second, I also used to work in a cheese factory. :cool:

But more important, there seems to be a bit of pot-stirring going on in UAE right now by the local media. There's a bill before the FNC that proposes all children, nationals and expats alike, be required to enroll in school or risk losing their residence visas.
...
I think it's a cheap play on this mag's part to whip people up into a frenzy over school choices.

Thank you very much for the back story on the article. TBH I hadn't even paid attention to which "gulf" the article was written! Most of these things have an agenda.

crunchynerd
12-04-2012, 01:09 AM
It's kind of humorous to me, that she says the kids never misbehave. Well, naturally, it does follow, logically, that a kid cannot misbehave, when there are no rules or expectations at all. Nothing they do could possibly be criticized, if everything they do is by definition, perfect.

"Hey, want to cut the curtains up with my pinking shears? Go for it! Want to cut your sister's hair while she's asleep? How creative of you! Just watch the ear--uh, well that's alright, she has another..." Not that I think most kids would do that if left to their own devices. Only mine. (>.<) hehe

crunchynerd
12-04-2012, 01:16 AM
I was being silly, but it is illuminating to consider the political agenda possibly behind the article meant to stir up controversy and shock about homeschooling. Generating public outcry is an old ploy, to garner support for (or at least weaken opposition to) yet another restriction on personal choices, by legislation. And it still works because we're all still so reactionary.

Iamka
12-04-2012, 07:50 AM
Crunchy, my son might actually have done those things a few years ago. I think now at 8, he's generally pretty good at self-control, but still can be pretty impulsive. I'm flexible, sure, but what if he wants to see what happens at 1 am if he lights candles and takes on under his covers? Or if he decides that clothes are completely optional--regardless of setting? What if he wants to fly his remote control airplane in the middle of the street? Or decides to walk to his cousin's house at 2 am and wake everyone else up to play?

Would she simply suggest that clothes might be a good idea for a walk to the park or a visit to the pediatrician or a Chinese buffet, and let him go naked to experience the natural consequences?

I guess I wonder just how far this family would take things. Partly out of amusement and partly because I know some kids would come up with some pretty crazy things left totally without *any* rules. Maybe her kids aren't as creative as she believes them to be.......

My point is, I think she's lying. At least a little.

Iamka
12-04-2012, 07:53 AM
And yes, I do agree that this sort of article is silly and designed to provoke. I'm still curious though, about a lot of things. I live in NH. Maybe this family wants to host my son for a few days to test the idea of living without any rules? I bet from simply reading posts there are several kids here who could drive that mom up a tree in a day or two.

Or maybe it only works if you shun all rules from the moment of conception? :-)

dbmamaz
12-04-2012, 11:20 AM
actually i read the most interesting 'unschooling' article i'd seen maybe ever the other day . . . i probably should have brought it here. but the mom had a bunch of kids and had decided to homeschool, and then she got really sick. She was almost completely bedridden for 6 months. She said she would take the kids to the store and let them decide what food to buy that they could handle on their own, no arguments, just buy it and get back to bed. The kids had free run of the house because she was really bedridden. she said after the first month, the kids settled down and got more creative and more responsible. that really kinda made me wonder . . . .

quabbin
12-04-2012, 03:20 PM
Interesting stuff. And I do think New Hampshire is conducive to that line of thinking. :)
On one hand, my reaction to that style of parenting and educating is "I could never do that"--my 4YO is, in fact, required to either brush or teeth or have me do it for him, and if he refuses (as he sometimes did in toddlerhood, probably because he is rather sensitive), he may not eat or drink anything sugary until after next time he brushes. I tried being flexible with bedtime, but it just led to misery for the whole family. He doesn't care what he wears, so I just pick it out for him. We have a TV limit because he was picking up annoying attitudes.
Other behaviors he has tried out and been overruled on include putting out the garbage bin when it's not trash day (we can be fined for that), climbing his windowsills (second floor) and dresser (it's now locked in his closet), biting/hitting/pushing/kicking us, chasing the cat because it's funny to watch her run, calling his grandfather names, waking us up at obscene hours because he woke up and was bored, ripping library books, running off in parking lots, carrying down the stairs a vacuum that's bigger than he is.... Yeah, no, you can't do that.

On the other hand, I'm not averse to pie for breakfast (how can it be bad to eat at 7 AM if it's acceptable at 7 PM?) and my child is interested in space right now, so he is playing with space-themed toys and we're going to a science museum tomorrow. In fact, the main reason he is not back in preschool this year is that he didn't like it. Lunch and snacks happen when we're hungry. I don't make rules for the sake of having rules.

I guess what it boils down to is needing to protect him from serious or irreversible consequences he may not anticipate (brain damage from a bike accident without a helmet, dental fillings [of which I have several myself from not brushing well in my youth], etc.) and to require him to be, with age-appropriate expectations, a reasonable person to live with. He can do a lot, and I encourage him to pursue his interests and try out new responsibilities. He's by no means entirely self-regulating--or why would we need parents? Or laws, for that matter?
When he tried out guitar lessons last winter, his teacher described the Suzuki method as "child-centered, but parent-driven--because kids aren't old enough to drive." That's an approach that makes sense to me.

crunchynerd
12-04-2012, 11:22 PM
dbmamaz, good point. Necessity being the mother of invention... I found myself parenting a LOT differently when I was down with back spasms and had to motivate my kids through loyalty or not at all. I also found myself letting absolutely all expectations go that weren't directly related to survival. Food for thought.

crunchynerd
12-04-2012, 11:30 PM
Quabbin, I don't know what label the parenting style you described carries, but it sounds pretty reasonable to me. I like "child-centered, but parent-driven"!

jessica14
12-07-2012, 12:53 PM
C

Would she simply suggest that clothes might be a good idea for a walk to the park or a visit to the pediatrician or a Chinese buffet, and let him go naked to experience the natural consequences? .


I know someone who is a Positive Discipline facilitator and advocate. There seems to be some cross-over between RU and this philosophy. It's essentially designed to always make the child feel good about themselves ie. consequences are disrespectful( time out, loss of privilege), but natural consequences are OK. Interestingly, her daughter refused to put her clothes on one day so she took her to school in her pajamas. I don't see where the humiliation in all this was "positive."

farrarwilliams
12-07-2012, 06:49 PM
I know someone who is a Positive Discipline facilitator and advocate. There seems to be some cross-over between RU and this philosophy. It's essentially designed to always make the child feel good about themselves ie. consequences are disrespectful( time out, loss of privilege), but natural consequences are OK. Interestingly, her daughter refused to put her clothes on one day so she took her to school in her pajamas. I don't see where the humiliation in all this was "positive."

Oh come on, do you really think going out in your pajamas is "humiliating"? Because, I can assure you, my kids have never even felt mildly embarrassed by doing it.

albeto
12-08-2012, 12:50 AM
Oh come on, do you really think going out in your pajamas is "humiliating"? Because, I can assure you, my kids have never even felt mildly embarrassed by doing it.

My daughter went to high school in her pajamas yesterday!

The school had some "feast" and the teachers want the kids to have fun, be comfortable, so suggested pjs. They took a bus to go to a public building on the other side of town. When I dropped her off I asked, What if you're the only one in your pajama's today? She shrugged her shoulders and grinned. "So?"

Doesn't mean anything, I'm just grinning because the timing is funny to me.

albeto
12-08-2012, 02:14 AM
I know someone who is a Positive Discipline facilitator and advocate. There seems to be some cross-over between RU and this philosophy. It's essentially designed to always make the child feel good about themselves ie. consequences are disrespectful( time out, loss of privilege), but natural consequences are OK. Interestingly, her daughter refused to put her clothes on one day so she took her to school in her pajamas. I don't see where the humiliation in all this was "positive."

I think this is a common misconception, about RU anyway. The idea of not imposing consequences isn't about always making a child feel good about themselves. It's the idea that consequences like time outs and withholding privileges are not natural, but contrived consequence. There are all kinds of details that are missed when circumstances are contrived and experiences are manipulated in hopes of magnifying a particular lesson. Furthermore, supporting a relationship based on this kind of distribution of power inspires a whole category of secondary and tertiary lessons that contribute to a person's interpretation of the world, lessons that may not have been intended or even recognized.

Anyway, a child who wants to do that which is not socially common (like pjs to school), generally recognizes this (baring a cognitive or social dysfunction). So the child who wants to wear pjs to school has surely noticed that no other child wears pjs to school, like, ever. So that wouldn't be humiliating because the child would likely know they are walking on the outside of social norms. Also, ideally the parent would make sure the child is very aware of possible outcomes for wearing pjs to school, including the probability of being asked and possibility of being teased.

I hope this makes sense. We have a "discussion" going on in the room here that is quite animated and I'm trying to ignore it but I'm certainly distracted. So I retain the right to call "Do-overs" on anything I've said. :p

BakedAk
12-08-2012, 08:40 PM
So, will the cheese produced in the lunar monastery be green?

Kimberlapoderosa
12-08-2012, 08:46 PM
So I am curious. What would the consequences be for hitting another child in a RU home?

dbmamaz
12-08-2012, 09:08 PM
I have to assume the consequence would be the other kid hitting back? The only RU family i knew in person, I know the father and the middle son (who was 17 at the time) came to blows once while they were living near me. cuz anything goes?

albeto
12-08-2012, 09:17 PM
So I am curious. What would the consequences be for hitting another child in a RU home?

Depends on the function of the hit. If a toddler hits the cat because it's entertaining to watch it scamper off, the child is reminded that hitting hurts and there are other ways to play with the cat. Then the parent gives the child the experience of appropriate ways to play with the cat. If the child hits his sibling because of a perceived injustice, talk about that injustice and help kids make a plan that is mutually respectful to both of them in a way that is age-appropriate. In any case, inappropriate behavior is understood to be an ineffective means to solve a problem. Identify the problem and brainstorm ways to solve that problem in a way that does not create more problems (for the individual or others). Also, modeling is key. Parents model how to solve problems and kids pick up on these patterns. That's part of learning, too.

Stella M
12-08-2012, 09:17 PM
I imagine the consequence would be that the sibling you hit wouldn't want to be around you and you would have to deal with the unpleasant feelings of having done something that upset someone else.

Stella M
12-08-2012, 09:31 PM
Or what albeto said :)

She's the professional, I'm just an amateur :)

albeto
12-08-2012, 09:43 PM
Or what albeto said :)

She's the professional, I'm just an amateur :)

Oh no! You get what you pay for. I'm the house with legos superglued to the floor (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/other-words/8273-lego-rules.html#post107719), remember.





(To be fair, we don't superglue things to the floor because we unschool, we unschool because we have kids who would superglue things to the floor)

farrarwilliams
12-09-2012, 12:22 AM
Depends on the function of the hit. If a toddler hits the cat because it's entertaining to watch it scamper off, the child is reminded that hitting hurts and there are other ways to play with the cat. Then the parent gives the child the experience of appropriate ways to play with the cat. If the child hits his sibling because of a perceived injustice, talk about that injustice and help kids make a plan that is mutually respectful to both of them in a way that is age-appropriate. In any case, inappropriate behavior is understood to be an ineffective means to solve a problem. Identify the problem and brainstorm ways to solve that problem in a way that does not create more problems (for the individual or others). Also, modeling is key. Parents model how to solve problems and kids pick up on these patterns. That's part of learning, too.

This is pretty much the base of how we do discipline as well. And while it seems loosey goosey, I do find it's much more effective than anything else. If a behavior is violent or serious and recurring and this isn't helping, I will personally step back and become more top down about it - after all, I'm hardly an RU adherent. But what I wanted to say that frustrates me is that I feel like I see parents do this sort of thing poorly a lot... they lecture a child instead of helping problem solve. Or they don't go about it in an age-appropriate way. And then it becomes self-defeating. An "I tried that and it didn't work" kind of a thing. In my experience, kids do need you to lay down the law very occasionally about things that are truly non-negotiable. And some kids who aren't neurotypical may need different discipline approaches. But just sitting down with a kid and getting to the root of the behavior in an age appropriate way and then coming up with the way to address it together is the single most effective basic approach out there for behavior issues and should be, IMO, everyone's first stop with addressing behavior issues no matter what their philosophy is.

ETA: Though I have to say... sometimes I'm in a funny position with this stuff... because things like wearing pajamas out aren't behavior issues to me at all. I rarely care what my kids wear. Things like breaking stuff and hurting people are behavior issues. Everything else is something else.

blasphemoushomemaker
12-09-2012, 10:56 PM
actually i read the most interesting 'unschooling' article i'd seen maybe ever the other day . . . i probably should have brought it here. but the mom had a bunch of kids and had decided to homeschool, and then she got really sick. She was almost completely bedridden for 6 months. She said she would take the kids to the store and let them decide what food to buy that they could handle on their own, no arguments, just buy it and get back to bed. The kids had free run of the house because she was really bedridden. she said after the first month, the kids settled down and got more creative and more responsible. that really kinda made me wonder . . . .

This is how our partial unschooling adventures began. My liver tried to kill me during labor and my c-section was awful. I spent the next few months just lying on the couch, nursing and recuperating. Then at one point my husband needed to leave for a conference. I decided to just drop the food requirements, drop the bed times, and just let chaos ensue. Chaos lasted one day. The next day, the kids came to bed at the same time as me because they didn't like staying up later than me. They learned to make their own sandwiches, and spent time homeschooling on the internet instead of with me. These habits have stuck now - The kids can make a lot of their own snacks, we have no enforced bed time, I don't limit television, and they do a pretty good job of governing themselves and learning on their own. The 2 year old, not so much...

Fireflyblue
12-11-2012, 01:49 PM
The funny thing about this is before I read the article, I read some of the posts here first and just by the description of the mom (Woo!) I guessed (right) who it was. :)

Kate.Abbe
06-25-2013, 09:58 PM
Dayna and Joe Martin are into Law of Attraction/Abraham/The Hicks.

Kate.Abbe
06-25-2013, 10:27 PM
I've said before that while I have learned some very positive things from radical unschooling (which to me is different than unschooling) I am a bit disturbed by things like children are equal to the adults. While I believe in respecting my children, they are not equals simply because they don't have the knowledge base. I'm not going to let my 8 year old son make all the decisions in his life. He's eight. He has a limited frame of reference. I sort of get be your child's partner, but its too close to being your child's friend instead of be a parent.

Be your child's friend. Yes. Sure. Why ever not. That doesn't keep a radical unschooler from being a parent. It doesn't mean that my 9 year old makes *all* his own decisions. "All" or "nothing" ... there's a range there between those two. I use it! Which means I make some decisions and he makes some. We both make a lot of decisions. Sometimes he has better ideas than I do. And with my knowledge base, I can see that it's worth trying out.

I do agree that the Martins are deeply into woo-woo. And I am not crazy about some of the things they talk about and do. But I do think their lives are pretty decent, from what I've heard in unschooling circles.

I much prefer the radical unschoolers who aren't out there being an example to the world, who don't feel a particular calling to evangelize unschooling. It's one among many kinds of homeschooling around. Most people can't do unschool. Like me. I'm divorced and my ex is not into unschooling. I am. Since we're both very involved in our child's life, that means co-parenting, give and take, etc.

If people are interested in unschooling, I would read John Holt ... as he explains the basis of unschooling ideas, and this was way back before homeschooling got going in the US. He inspired many to homeschool and that's how come so many of us are able to, due to the efforts of people who changed the law to make homeschooling an available option. And Holt was most definitely secular.

The next best person whose ideas are very helpful to getting why unschooling can be a good idea is Alfie Kohn who is NOT a homeschooler (as far as I know). But he talks about grades, punishments, rewards, basic human psychology as it relates to learning.

Holt and Kohn were instrumental to my understanding of how learning works well. And while it seems unstructured in the extreme, the whole crux of the matter is that learning does not occur externally but inside the learner. The structure comes from introducing ideas and objects and experiences and then the child takes all those and forms their own "map" or navigational tools for understanding how things work and what it's about.

I would say the biggest factor in my decision to homeschool, tho, is to avoid the pervasively religious influences and false info kids get in school. About all *sorts* of topics. But that's another post.

jdubbleb
06-26-2013, 12:37 PM
Just wanted to say that this family was on wife swap...their kids cannot read! The oldest has to be 12/13, I'm sorry but that is NOT okay!

Wife Swap Season 6 Episode 4 | Full TV Episode Online - WATCH ABC.com (http://watchabc.go.com/wife-swap/SH5539547/VDKA0_lgk9v6h5/avery-lamb--martin)

However, we have a classical eclectic approach, and a somewhat structured home. They get up when they want, eat when they want (not what they want), play when they want etcetera. However, they will read, write and do math daily. They do choose their books (from a master list), write about things they enjoy, but math is non-negotiable!

Because I view them as people, not minions, we do have a great non-authoritarian relationship, so they are allowed to question and challenge me, respectfully, as is the expectation with all relationships in our world. And I fully believe in the power of modeling, I can't expect my children to do what I won't, so in our home we promote family accountability.

I agree with allowing them to make SOME of their own decisions and have SOME natural consequences, but, I also believe parents exist for a reason: support and guidance. Even animals teach their offspring how to survive within their environments...

valerieanne
06-26-2013, 02:12 PM
Wow, I just read this whole thread in one go. Cheese, lunar insects and all. So, not to pick at a six month old scab (pick, pick)... BUT -

We have switched to a new distributed learning school for this upcoming year. Dd has found her peer group there, and I'm happy to let her choose. I'm still ignorant re many of the self-identifiers out there (classical, cm, unschooling, monastic flagellators). This new group is made up of mostly 'unschoolers', and they consider us to be 'unschoolerish'. As you wish.

I'm concerned about the screen time topic, which was touched on here a few times. The kids in this school have unlimited access to television, games and computers. I confess to being old-school here. Dd has never had television or a gaming system. It is a philisophical choice, yes. However, we live off-grid, with a moody satellite system. So, there is a practical side to our screen diet. We did wade in with a few apps this year. We do have movie nights, watching dvds. Dd has her own email account, and reads Youngzine online. The thing is, these kids seem to talk almost EXCLUSIVELY about gaming 'accomplishments' (uh, what?) and pop-culture stuff. Is this totally wierd, or am I totally wierd? It concerns me that kids might be educated and socialized, not by friends or family, but by screens.

We take a pretty freewheeling approach to life here. To each their own, for sure! I'm feeling a little switcheroo remorse creeping up on me, though. The anti-screen thing is deeply ingrained with me, like my atheism. It makes me feel panicky to see my child sitting slack-jawed in front of a glowing screen. There is peer-pressure amongst the parents, too. They love to wax philosophical about why unlimited screen time is beneficial, educational! programming is the new relevant language! adapting to ever-changing social realities!

Doesn't. Feel. Right. Am I a member of the tin-foil hat club? If so, can we wear tin-foil hats on the moon? I'll bring raw-milk cheese. Don't tell. Laws regarding raw milk products in BC are harsher than those regulating cocaine.

Teri
06-26-2013, 02:22 PM
Man, I sat there and watched that entire episode. I would not be shocked if the Avery-Lamb family splits up at some point. She was a tyrant!

dbmamaz
06-26-2013, 02:40 PM
he is her second husband.

anyways, i've known radical unschoolers who let their kids have unlimited screen time and absolutely no required bedtime or chores or anything. they seem to think its the way to help the kids find their own motivation in life. supposedly there was some radical unschool mom proudly saying she brought her son food while he was gaming so he didnt have to interupt his game.

i have unlimited screen time . . . outside of school time. and of course, they have to be willing to stop to do chores (i do give them enough time to get to a good saving point, but not more than 2 minutes).

its hard because i had no TV from the time i left home until I was 30 and the ex had carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands and couldnt hold a book and i took pity on him. my kids seem to have little interest outside of screens. when i started homeschooling, i considered limits, but at the time, dh was involved in an online game and he was online every spare moment and often stayed up until 2 am on weeknights. so i felt it would be hypocritical.

i keep considering it again, and then i get exhausted and say "go away, leave me alone, yes, you can have screen time" - my boys are challenging kids.

i just try to schedule a lot of stuff . . . .

coloradoalice
06-26-2013, 04:44 PM
Just read the entire thread.

I find RU fascinating. I find Dayna and her crew fascinating. I also think there is a fair amount of bullshit and cover up with how well things flow in their house, as indicated above, if nothing your child does can ever be wrong because there are no standards then no one can ever be less than perfect. From the outside the entire thing sounds like an absolute dream. Also, I thought Dayna was amazing on WifeSwap and brought those kids some love and validation they desperately needed and deserve.

However....

I know RU families. Quite a few actually. And not a one of them, in their real existence, has the happy happy joy joy butterflies and unicorns with rainbow farts situation that Dayna says will happen if you RU. I have yet to see what she portrays online or in her book actually play out that way in the lives of people I actually know. Their kids get sick. Their kids fight. Their kids are rude. Not always, not even usually, and not because they are RU but because they are kids and they are normal and there's nothing wrong with that!

Either her kids are totally genetically predisposed to kindness and love and cooperation more than any other children on earth or someone is not being honest. I feel badly for people who idealize RU because of what Dayna as a guru in the circles portrays as her life which is apparently perfect. I know people who think they are doing it wrong because their life isn't perfect like she says it should be. For that I think she has done RU a disservice. I think a little more candor would be nice.

We are unschooly in some ways and very relaxed in some ways but when we have tried RU for lengths of time it has not worked for us at all. I was raised with very very strict boundaries and although I don't want that for my kids I cannot abide the chaos that comes with RU. I also do not believe that letting a kid choose if they want to participate in certain things necessarily empowers them. It may for some but for others it just leads to laziness. I also think that if there is not a general sense of natural cooperation then the parent is being forced into being a slave by the children who are choosing to not participate in chores and such. My kids are good responsible kids who have chores and a basic schedule. It hasn't harmed them. And I don't think that it's harmful to not enforce such things either. But I do think it's harmful to act as though any one thing is good for all of the people all of the time no matter the circumstances. That's really not honest and I feel that Dayna has an idealism that goes beyond the reality that a lot of people live with.

Balance in all......it's a good thing!

(Also I know two different families that did not enforce tooth brushing and had to have toddlers strapped to papoose boards and knocked unconscious to have rotting teeth removed from their mouths. Genetics? Maybe, but sometimes we as adults actually do know what's best and it's in the interest of all involved to enforce a little hygiene because the natural consequences can be very painful and expensive.)

valerieanne
06-26-2013, 05:06 PM
Hm. I can't video stream here. I've never seen Wife Swappers (please, don't fill me in), and I can't comment on this particular family at all. The unschoolers in the group we've joined seem like they have all their teeth, their kids seem relatively normal, the mums seem to be no more or less overtaxed than the mums I've known. It is the screen obsession I'm concerned with. Screen usage and obsession is markedly higher in this particular group. Is this typical of unschoolers you know? Or, is it just that I am totally out of it and it is typical of 'kids nowadays'?

I'm gonna try to get a pulse on this with a poll.

Cara, I can't imagine trying to re-negotiate at that stage! I have five nephews, ranging in age from 2 to 7. They love screens of all kinds. When I get together with my siblings, it is like some kind of military noise torture. "Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease". I feel for my siblings and you, because I don't know what happens at that point. It is a constant source of stress for them.

Stella M
06-26-2013, 05:40 PM
Unschooling and TV screens worked for us. DD14 was 5 when we had our year of RU. She watched TV like a maniac for about 6 months. Then she suddenly just went back to a normal pattern of viewing.

So I assumed unschooling and computer screens for ds would also work. I was wrong.

I think there is a difference between the two children but also between TV and gaming/computers.

valerieanne
06-26-2013, 06:13 PM
Stella, were you able to achieve balance with ds? Did your experience with dd seem typical of what you saw in other unschooling families? I'm also wondering if, like so many things in childhood, there is an ebb and flow to screen usage through the years?

Stella M
06-26-2013, 06:23 PM
With ds, it's a work in progress. Giving him limits about screen use seems to work out OK. I'm not seeing any resentment and in fact, he has expressed a frustration with not being able to moderate his own use.

Most natural learners we know don't have a TV.

Computer use and gaming seem to be an issue amongst all the families I know, unschooling or otherwise, especially with the boys.

farrarwilliams
06-26-2013, 08:07 PM
The serious unschooling families I know do allow screens with few limits. There hasn't been a natural moderation, I'm pretty sure. They do worry about it a bit, I think.

My boys do moderate when they get to use them a lot. It doesn't even take that long. Just maybe three days of nonstop Wii and they're done. They start cutting back to go play their weird "we run the world's largest company!" game in the basement. I suspect if I gave them even longer, they'd moderate even more. But... probably not as much as I would like. I feel like our screen limit is generous. Creative use of screens is always allowed. There's about a two hour window for TV and video games most days.

It's not a struggle for us. But my boys are so mellow about so many things that other kids aren't mellow about. (But don't be jealous unless your kid has also had a bout of debilitating agoraphobia in the last year!)

Twinsmomma27
06-26-2013, 08:37 PM
I read this whole thread and watched the wife swap video.
(With all the talk of cheese I suddenly crave cheesey nachos....)
Dayna just spoke here in upstate NY about 3 weeks ago, I missed it since I had plans that day but I was going to read her book.

dbmamaz
06-26-2013, 09:05 PM
for some reason twins comment triggered an 'ah-ha' moment about RU and me. The ex was a very interesting person to have discussions with, very insightful, until the siezures wrecked his brain. he once explained to me that I was raised by theories - like my parents read parenting books and followed them to the letter, instead of reacting to the kids they had. RU tends to be like that - there is one correct path, it doesnt depend on the kids.

ok, i'm sure everyones already been through this dogma over practical but, it just struck me in a different way . . .nvm

jenblackwell2
06-27-2013, 03:13 PM
I really just think each family needs to do what works best for them. It seems to me that this family has the best interest of their children at the heart of what they do, and really we should all strive for that in whatever form it takes.

I believe tooth brushing for instance is in the best interest of my children, based on my personal life experience and so we brush teeth every night before bed. (at least)

Keildra
06-27-2013, 04:42 PM
I don't know, I just feel after a certain age children should be able to make their own food. By the time I was in third grade breakfast was my responsibility. I could eat whatever I wanted but I had to make it myself, and most of the time I didn't eat breakfast at all I wanted to sleep a little bit longer.
As for the tooth brushing thing, I hate to brag, but I've never had trouble getting my 2-year old to brush her teeth. I think she likes the taste of the toothpaste. She gets excited when I tell her it's time to brush her teeth, and sometimes she tells me that it's time to brush her teeth. It may be because she is 2, lol.

quabbin
06-27-2013, 04:58 PM
I think the best parenting slogan might be Your Mileage May Vary. DS was outrageously difficult about brushing his teeth (over it now that he's old enough to be reasoned with, but I pinned him down every day for a year, I think). He is an awesome laundry assistant and an eager kitchen helper--and heaven help me if he catches me trying to sweep or dust without him.

I agree that there is a difference between TV and gaming, in that with gaming you get constant enticement to remain engaged. Interestingly, I myself can more easily put down a good book (especially at a chapter break) more readily than I can get out of a constantly-updating website (like a forum or Twitter).