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  1. #1

    Default Hello from Europe

    Hi,

    We are a family of 5 based in France. I am really glad that I have found this forum.

    We used to do Unschooling, even Radical Unschooling until I finally decided to do what feels right instead of listening to some Radical Unschooling guru. That was quite some process! I did a lot of googeling afterwards and this is how I stumbled upon this forum.

    I love, love how friendly, calm and rational the discussions are on here. Very little ideology which is so refreshing.


    Thank you for being here, the posts on here have been so helpful to me.

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  3. #2

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    Welcome!
    Do you think unschooling worked better when your kids were younger? My youngest will still happily learn, but given the choice, my oldest will play computer games perpetually.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

    Default

    Welcome!

    We used to unschool, but as my girls got older and we fell into the charter school system here we've moved away a bit. (My hubby had a difficult time with it and feeling like they weren't learning anything.) I think its like parenting or anything really and it has to be what works for your situation.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    Welcome!
    Do you think unschooling worked better when your kids were younger? My youngest will still happily learn, but given the choice, my oldest will play computer games perpetually.
    Thank you! Maybe a little bit. Younger children don't usually get bored, don't they?

    On the other hand, they've always loved to either play or watch others play video games. It's hard to say how Unschooling could have turned out had we restricted the use of computers more heavily.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mimid View Post
    Welcome!

    We used to unschool, but as my girls got older and we fell into the charter school system here we've moved away a bit. (My hubby had a difficult time with it and feeling like they weren't learning anything.) I think its like parenting or anything really and it has to be what works for your situation.
    Thank you! Yes, my husband was the same. And to be honest, I did understand him.

    I had always wanted my children to lead lives according to their own terms. To be free. To decide what they wanted to do with their lives.

    And I bought into the idea, that if they really want to learn something, they could do that later and it would be much easier since they were super intrinsically motivated.

    Until I realized that I just didn't believe this to be true. I mean I still believe that anyone can learn anything they want, but I don't believe that it will always be super easy. There will be other stuff to do when they are old enough to realize that they need some skills, stuff like meeting girls or travelling the world. I didn't want them to miss out on those things just because at 18 they need to catch up on elementary math.

  7. #6

    Default

    Hello

    I did reply two days ago, but it seems my posts have disappeared? Or do I just need to be more patient and wait till they're approved by a moderator?

    EDIT:

    Ok, this post has gone through. Strange.

    Thanks, Alex. Not sure about the age thing. Yes, it might be easier with little children as they are just so curious. I used to think that school caused boredom, but I don't believe this anymore.


    Thanks Mimid. My husband felt similar to yours and I also had to admit that I wasn't really convinced.
    Last edited by adventurousmom; 07-19-2019 at 09:12 AM.

  8. #7

    Default

    Hi and welcome. What is it like to homeschool where you are in France? Is it easy to access curricula to use?

    We live in NZ and are very eclectic in our approach. My oldest went to school for 3 years before homeschooling and is a lover of structure. So she likes to have a routine to her day and an order to what she is learning, but we are also flexible and do a lot of interest-based projects.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by NZ_Mama View Post
    Hi and welcome. What is it like to homeschool where you are in France? Is it easy to access curricula to use?

    We live in NZ and are very eclectic in our approach. My oldest went to school for 3 years before homeschooling and is a lover of structure. So she likes to have a routine to her day and an order to what she is learning, but we are also flexible and do a lot of interest-based projects.
    Hello and thank you NZ_Mama.
    We are actually Germans living 5 Minutes away from the German border, so I don't know too much about Homeschooling in France other than that it is allowed here as opposed to Germany.

    Some curricula are quite expensive here due to high postage. For example, we're using Math Mammoth and not Singapore math (which I would have preferred) because there is a European reseller for MM. And a lot of the recommended living books are not available at our local library, so we substitute them or buy them used.

    There are not a lot of people homeschooling in France/Germany, but there are some so there is a bit of community. However, not a lot that use living books, they either use school textbooks or unschool.

    How do you balance being flexible while still having a structure? Do you have a must-do to-do-list that you get back to after getting sidetracked?

  10. #9

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    It sounds like here. We are NZ'ers and live in NZ, and there is not much available and it is expensive. We use Beast Academy for math, although my daughter is on her last year of it (we are both rather mortified that we will have to find something new for next year) and shipping from the US is about half the price of the year's worth of books! I usually try buy it when my DH is over there for a work trip.

    We also have the issue with trying find recommended books. I spend a lot of $ on kindle books and we substitute a lot of things as well.

    My DH is an academic and gets to go on sabbatical sometime in the next year. He suggested Germany! I was like "ah do you know homeschooling is illegal there?". He did not, so now is thinking Spain for his preferred location. I would like to go to somewhere in the US or Asia, but generally just somewhere where there are lots of active homeschoolers.

    For our structure, we have a daily routine. Like a daily routine for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), we have a routine for doing different subjects. My DD loves to do math first up. And we usually break the day into three segments with a main/must-do subject (math, reading, science or history/social studies), a more artistic thing (like music, art, dance practice), and an online thing (like research, coding, touch typing). In between those she has a break, and some of them are active breaks where we go outdoors or do a yoga. However, if other things like a field trip opportunity or play date, we just go and do them and come back to our learning the next day (if it takes all day). If we have some of the day left, she does whatever she feels like out of what she would usually do. Our main must do thing is that each 10-week block of school she gets through one of her Beast Academy books, and she is very motivated to do this and usually keeps on target herself because if she finishes the book early, she gets to start her holiday break early.

    I guess some of our structure and flexibility also comes from the fact that math is the only thing that is really set in what we are doing. Everything else has options as to what she feels like doing, so she has the flexibility to say "I want to research X for science today" or "I want to do this activity for writing" but if she is uninspired and can't come up with anything, there are those options to pick from so she keeps moving forward.

    Edited to add: we also do flexibility vs structure in that DD gets to choose what she wants to be learning about for certain areas (e.g., history and science) but we will focus on them for a set period of time. For example, for science, she usually picks some big topics to focus on for the year. This year she picked physics and space. And for history, she usually picks something for each 10-week learning block. So far this year she has done Ancient Egypt, Greece, and is just starting the French Revolution. So she has the flexibility to pick a topic she wants to focus on, and within those, the flexibility to choose what parts she is interested in and how she wants to study them and we discuss together what sort of things she will produce from it. But there is the structure that the chosen topic is what she is focusing on and we won't start doing something else randomly. If something comes up that she is interested in, she notes it down and might pick it as her focus for another time. If she ends up being absolutely over and done with a topic before we thought we would be finished with it, then we just sit down and have our discussion about what she wants to move onto next a bit earlier than expected.

    I work part time, so having some structure really helps me in that I can plan in advance and have resources ready. Then if I am busy and can't actively work with her for a period, she knows what she can be doing and there is no stress on either of us that something is being done to move forward in learning for the day.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 07-21-2019 at 04:58 PM.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  11. #10

    Default

    Thank you NZ Mama for your detailed post. Your structure sounds so inspiring and I think I will try some of your ideas.

    So just to clarify: Your day roughly follows this pattern:

    - Must do
    - artsy
    - digital
    - break
    - must do
    - artsy
    - digital
    - break
    - must do
    - artsy
    - digital

    Is that correct? I know there are exceptions and field trips, but this is how she spends a typical school day?

    I like how there is a change between more dry stuff and more fun stuff.

    We're still finding our way and I am very interested in ideas of how to keep the good bits of unschooling (child has autonomy, can follow their interests) while not going down the Youtube-Video-Games-Black-Hole which was basically what we did while we were Unschooling. Note that they did learn a lot (lots of science Youtube Videos) but they also spend a lot of time on video games (either playing them or endlessly watching some guy playing them).

    So with that in mind I really really like how she gets to choose a topic but has to stick with it for a while as opposed to only doing what she feels like momentarily.

    We also use Beast Academy Online for my middle son who loves math. I think there is a follow-up series for older children (the Art of Problem solving), but it might be less child-friendly and playful...

    For your husband's sabbatical and having lots of homeschoolers around: Have you considered the UK? There a ton of homeschooler, most of them secular or moderate Christian. We lived there for about 3 years and there was always something going on. Also lots of child-friendly places like museums, playgrounds, indoor playgrounds, parks, community centers that offer classes, swimming pools. Definitely a lot more to do for children than in France or Spain, countries where school ends very late (4 pm/5 pm is) and where they don't seem to value learning outside the school very much. Germany is similar to the UK, but there is the legal situation regarding homeschooling.
    Last edited by adventurousmom; 07-23-2019 at 03:41 AM.

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