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  1. #1

    Default Unschooling questions

    We have officially switched to a more..less(?) schooling style. I'm not entirely comfortable calling it "unschooling", but we've definitely relaxed quite a bit on requirements. And, Tech seems like he's learning but it seems so RANDOM! We've talked about minerals, and somehow Tech and DH got on a talk about army ants and watched a video on it, and had a talk and watched a video on shark hunting (WHY!?!?). We've done addition and subtraction with CANDY of all things, he's learning new words at an alarming rate, and actually shows interest in WANTING to learn to read and write now. So, it's definitely less stressful than trying to make him do "school". It seems like this is just an extension of our life. He's an only child so he's ALWAYS been with us pretty much all the time, everywhere we go, and we pretty much don't dumb down our conversations in front of him, so sometimes he picks up weird stuff (and sometimes he reminds me that yes, I really should censor what I say in front of a 7 year old)

    But, does anyone unschool all the way through? Or, is it more common to pick up a curriculum at some point (in the beginning, the middle, right before exiting?) The only ppl I see completely unschool all the way through are the "eternal field-trippers", ppl who seem to go on 7-8 field trips a WEEK, and neither Tech nor I have an interest in being gone all day every day. Is it possible to do without being gone ALL the time, constantly on the road from one activity to another (because that just sounds EXHAUSTING)?

    Have any of you unschooled all the way through? or most of the way through?

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  3. #2

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    Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I'll let you what I've seen.

    We did not unschool, but I know a family who did/does. The education was definitely child-led all the way through. However, as the kids entered high school ages, most of them WANTED some structured classes, because that's what the kid felt he/she needed at that point. Two of the four are now in college, albeit in a roundabout way, with one more going next year.

    The mom still calls it unschooling, but the CHILD sought out the courses. For example, one combo was along the lines of a community foreign language class, a homeschool co-op class, a community college dual credit class, and an online MOOC class---but ALL found and desired by the student.

    From what I've read, the other version of unschoolers have the kids who just immerse themselves in a topic or two; the parent then figures out how to interpret it afterwards in "educationese" if needed, for proof, college transcript requests, etc. If you really want to see it explained more and have Amazon prime, you can get this for free. I think this is the one where Lee Binz shows how to take unschooling activities and "fit them in a box" if you need to.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3

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    We're unschool-ish; my children are in 7th grade.
    I have moments of worry and sometimes ask them to do Wordly Wise or some other formal/traditional schoolwork but they seem to learn the most when it is self directed.

    We do not go on tons of field trips. I do not think we make good use of our time. But then I need to remind myself they are learning, even if it is not what the kids in school are learning. When they watch a documentary or read they are doing it because they want to learn, not because I am making them do it.

    My children do take classes outside of the home. e.g. They wanted to learn German so I found someone to tutor them. They are considering going to high school and knew they needed to improve their writing skills so they started seeing a retired teacher last year. They are very interested in science and I wasn't following through with things we planned so this year they started seeing a retired science teacher.

    My children are also involved in activities like piano, guitar, theatre, volleyball, etc. But we are not gone all day or every day. Maybe it is a stretch, but I consider all these things as part of their education. My son started as an apprentice doing lighting at the theatre at age nine. He is currently learning how to operate a new light board. This sort of education will not help with test scores when he goes to school, but I think it is valuable for him.
    Last edited by dbsam; 03-02-2017 at 10:49 AM.
    homeschooled 4th through 8th grade - currently in public high school 10th grade
    Dumplett (girl - age 15) and Wombat (boy - age 15)

  5. #4

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    We are not much further along than you but we are unschoolingish. I plan on doing it as long as he wants. I will probably assess when we get closer to high school. But right now DS is 9 and would be considered 3rd grade. I have decided that we are not using and formal curriculum (we only use the GVS book list).

    I want DS to read daily. I really don't care what, but I want him to read something outside of his video games, which are pretty reading heavy. Math we do with projects. I don't worry about consistency (well I say I don't, I just don't let it show ) Everything else is through a variety of methods. Field trips, lots and lots of videos. Audio books. Cooking, science experiments, and DIY.org badges.

    I have been doing it off and on for the past couple of years and now I think we are doing it for the long haul, unless DS' motivation and direction changes.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  6. #5

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    I wanted to add to my post above...

    Although we don't 'do school at home' and I do not have a schedule for the kids, they don't simply wake up and do whatever they want all day (or at least not every day.)

    We have a lot of discussions, make plans, revise plans, etc. They know their schedule of outsourced activities/classes and know what is expected of them.

    e.g. When I agreed to guitar and piano lessons, I said I expect them to practice daily. I don't tell them how long to practice or when.

    We talk about their goals. They want to go to college.
    e.g. We decided they should do some sort of math every day. We have a lot of math resources; they hop around with various books and curriculum. Next year I am hoping they will take Carol's Algebra class... then I guess we will find out if our unschoolish ways have been a mistake with regards to math.

    Unfortunately we do not always follow our plans. Math doesn't get done every day, we don't do science experiments we planned to do, etc. I think more structure would help but we cannot seem to maintain structure. We're much better at planning than follow-through.
    homeschooled 4th through 8th grade - currently in public high school 10th grade
    Dumplett (girl - age 15) and Wombat (boy - age 15)

  7. #6

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    We identified as unschoolers since we started homeschooling. I stopped using the term for the most part when unschooling became a sensational news topic, especially radical unschooling. I mostly identified with it from reading John Holt books. This is a nice explanation here: What is Unschooling?

    We still are learning in this way. Kids are 20 months, 4 years, 6 years, 9 years, 11.5 years, 15 years, and 17 years. It looks different for each of them. We do not go out a lot on a weekly basis, (other than karate classes). It depends on our energy levels and the weather how often we go out for other things. We enjoy being at home. My oldest has many things that take her out of the house, all of her own making. She currently volunteers at an exploration museum, teaches karate, and is an intern for our Whole Earth Festival coming up. We do have textbooks and have a purpose and a schedule with some projects. We consider these things as tools. We discuss regularly what they want to put their efforts towards and I facilitate it to my best abilities. I encourage them to seek out things on their own and to be part of the planning process. Somethings we just can't do, but we discuss it and they know and understand our limits. I think the unschooling mentality is to focus on following what the interests of the child are and balancing that with what is in the best interest of the family and using whatever tools you have at hand to facilitate them. I think you can have goals and reach them with unschooling. I think unschooling is often mixed up with lacking something or having no guidance. I see it more as having freedom to follow your instincts in regard to learning, and having it integrated into life.
    I hope that all makes sense! I had many interruptions while typing this with a child asleep in my lap.
    Learning, Living, and Loving Life outside of the norm with 8 kids.

  8. #7

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    Since unschooling involves listening to what the kids want, most of the unschoolers I've known do end up using what we might call formal curriculum or classes at some point as the kids grow older, they just do things that the kids are motivated and interested to do. And if the kids refuse, then they don't do it. But by middle school, most kids are capable of making at least semi-long term goals and seeing that sticking with something helps you long term.

    The cases where unschooling seems to go wrong are the cases where parents seem to actively stand in the way of kids accessing that type of learning or refuse to facilitate it even when kids are asking for it. I think as long as, when a kid says, I'd like to learn such and such, you're willing to consider a class or a program, and as long as when a kid says, I'd really like to become ____ that you're willing to say, well, that will involve doing x, y, and z but here's how we could do that, then you're in good shape.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChildoftheMoon View Post
    We identified as unschoolers since we started homeschooling. I stopped using the term for the most part when unschooling became a sensational news topic, especially radical unschooling. I mostly identified with it from reading John Holt books. This is a nice explanation here: What is Unschooling?

    We still are learning in this way. Kids are 20 months, 4 years, 6 years, 9 years, 11.5 years, 15 years, and 17 years. It looks different for each of them. We do not go out a lot on a weekly basis, (other than karate classes). It depends on our energy levels and the weather how often we go out for other things. We enjoy being at home. My oldest has many things that take her out of the house, all of her own making. She currently volunteers at an exploration museum, teaches karate, and is an intern for our Whole Earth Festival coming up. We do have textbooks and have a purpose and a schedule with some projects. We consider these things as tools. We discuss regularly what they want to put their efforts towards and I facilitate it to my best abilities. I encourage them to seek out things on their own and to be part of the planning process. Somethings we just can't do, but we discuss it and they know and understand our limits. I think the unschooling mentality is to focus on following what the interests of the child are and balancing that with what is in the best interest of the family and using whatever tools you have at hand to facilitate them. I think you can have goals and reach them with unschooling. I think unschooling is often mixed up with lacking something or having no guidance. I see it more as having freedom to follow your instincts in regard to learning, and having it integrated into life.
    I hope that all makes sense! I had many interruptions while typing this with a child asleep in my lap.
    This is the best definition of unschooling I have ever seen! Excellent!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  10. #9
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    We were relaxed schoolers for the middle school years. I wanted to make sure the boys had their "basics" all down, for one thing, because I'm just high-strung and anxious, for one thing. Once they could read, write, and do basic math, we settled into unschooling from about 6th-8th grade. We kept our Time4Learning subscription for times when they wanted to do formal learning during that time, and that worked beautifully. Once they hit high school, they were both ready to move back toward traditional coursework again. But it was a GREAT period of our homeschool journey, I have to say.

    So, all that to say that I'm not much help when it comes to homeschooling all the way through. BUT, one of my online pals did, and blogged fantastically throughout. Her stuff is fabulously inspirational if you feel like exploring the archives. Here's the link: Yarns of the Heart


  11. #10

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    As Tech is our only, we are perfectly happy to do new things and let him follow them. However, he is very resistant to ANYTHING new, so we find something we like, make him try it once, and if he doesn't like it, he doesn't have to return. So far, a few things have been 1 or 2 tries and no more, and others we keep going back (the zoo homeschool academy is something he's willing to get up early for).
    The only thing that is an absolute no for me is public school. He won't be going. Georgia is down near the bottom for public schools and while the move to the city was GREAT for homeschooling as it puts us closer to museums, the zoo, and more secular homeschoolers, the public school system is one of the worst in the state, so not an option. And the good systems are in areas that are A) really far from my husband's job, and B) REALLY expensive areas. But even in those areas, most ppl who can afford it, put their kids in private schools. In my area, more than half of the local kids are in various private schools (including homeschooling).

    Thank you all for your responses. It seems like we'll just keep following his interests and see where it goes (hopefully PLZ not to any more ants..or spiders!)

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Unschooling questions