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Any Unschoolers?
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 10:36 pm    Post subject: Any Unschoolers? Reply with quote

Looking at the postings here, it seems like most of the vocal folks on this board lean toward curriculum based approaches. I'm wondering if there are any unschoolers, besides myself, around here.

Paul
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bartii



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, ID

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a friend who unschools. I think to better educate those of us who homeschool it would be educational for us if you explained unschooling.
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Paul
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a form of child-lead homeschooling. Basically I act more as a mentor and as a facilitator than as a teacher. The premis is that children _want_ to learn, and if given an opportunity, will seek out knowledge. Too much interference with this process can squelch it. Learning becomes a lifestyle rather than a task. It fits my family very well, but I realize that it's not for everyone.

I was asking about it because the stay-at-home homeschooling fathers that I've had contact with prior to this forum have either been unschoolers, or eclectic folks that incorporate a lot of unschooling elements in their paticular style.

Paul
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bartii



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, ID

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you do about various subject matters? The one person that I know who unschools has a son who is 11 years old who can't read very well. In fact, this child has no desire to read really well. He can read some but like a 1st or 2nd grader will. Is this normal or is this child just being lazy. His other two siblings can read very well, but they love to read.

I would think that in whatever education process one decides for their children that reading should be taught, but maybe I am wrong. As a homeschooler I have made that a top priority since reading is involved in just about everything that we do.
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Paul
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Various academic subjects get covered in a manner analogous to unit studies. Any given pursuit touches more than one field. Further, various subjects are prerequsits for a given project. It is in part my job to offer interesting opportunities that the children may want to join in that will streach their minds. As an example, I've started the construction of a ballista, and the kids want to help. This has lead to a surge in math, physics, and history. Why did I choose to begin implementation of this project at this time? I knew that it would be irresistable to the kids, and they haven't done much reading on the time periods involved. If the children weren't interested, what the hey, I'ld still have the only medeval artillery piece on the block. In truth, I know my family. This is but a spark to their fires of learning. Yep ,,, they'll do some research, but in the process they may discover anything from cardweaving, to chainmail knitting, to trying to design nuclear devices with medeval technology, and those projects will be their own.

As I said before. This isn't for every family. It fits us and our lifestyle well. It takes some faith in the children's curiosity and a certian mental nimbleness on my part as my role is more reactive in most cases.

Paul
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are finishing our 17th year of homeschooling. We are usually referred to as unschoolers or eclectic educators. I perfer to say that we didn't bring school home, but rather learn through life. We have never sat down each day to "do school" We have seven children, and our educating has taken on several forms. When you start parenting, you know that there are certain skills and behaviors that your children to be taught. As parents, we don't hesitate to teach our children everything that they need to know until they are five. Somehow society or maybe the NEA has made us feel inadequate to know what our children need when they reach "school age" One of our children over the course of two years learned about dolphins. She went to the library and read all of the books that they had on dolphins. In fact, with the help of the librarian, she exhausted all of the books in the tri-county Detroit area. During that time she learned about migratory patterns. That led her to learn more geography. She learned math and physics when she learned about echo location. She wrote stories and drew pictures all about these animals. When our eldest daughter had to take a standardized test in 7th grade, she came home and asked me, "When did I learn all of that grammar?" I explained to her that when she had put together a newspaper for her friends she had learned it. None of the submissions had proper structure so we spent an hour and a half correcting them together. I told her that that that was what her friends had spent the last seven years trying to learn. We find that when a child has a reason to learn something they grasp much more than when they are just taught it for education's sake. We have had some very late readers, 9, 11, and 12. But within a years of getting it they were on grade level. Two of these three were deemed dyslexic, but with out any specialized training, they all reading on grade level or higher. For our one child, she could not learn to read. She would ask me to work with her daily. We tried Alphaphonics
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 2 We also tried Sing Spell Read and Write. Nothing would click. She knew all of the sounds, but did not know how to combine them successfully. This year, she started getting lots of books on cd. We would make sure to find the same book in print form so that she could follow along. She knew how to read simple short vowel words, and silent e, but no more. After the second book, she said "Mom, look!" She then read me a whole page without help. As an unschooler, you become more aware of the teachable moments that our children have. Our first two went their last two years of high school at the public school. One took three months to adjust completely to spitting back the information that they wanted. The second lacked motivation and graduated by the skin of his teeth. He now has a 3.0 at a community college. Our third has just graduated form home. In ninth grade, she wanted something with structure, so we used Switched on Schoolhouse. I only had to grade papers, everything else was done by the computer. As an unschooler you just remember that you are your child's best teacher, and you do not need a book telling you what your child needs to know and when. L Aldrich
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my all time favorite family stories occurred when my daughter was eight. I was listening to Rush's "The Manhatten Project" on a tape in the car stereo and Miriam asked,"Whats that about, Papa?"

I described the Manhatten Project, the two bombs dropped in Japan, WW II, etc. We replayed it several times and discussed the imagry, such as how it "shot down the Rising Sun." Miriam concluded, "I need to know more!"

I detoured to the nearest library, which happened to be one of our favorites. When we went in, my darling little child marches up to the nearest children's librarian and announces, "I need to know more about aromic bombs!"

Yes, that was one startled children's librarian.

She spent the nest six months on the history and the science of atomic bombs. She read Feynman's accounts, she read survivor stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She researched the origins of WW II. She read about the politics of WW I when she discovered it in part lead to WW II. She quizzed me on the structure of a bomb, the physics of the atom, and the structure of mushroom clouds.

I was able to suggest additional areas of investigation to help incorporate various academic subjects, but the key was that it was _her_ idea, _her_ project, and she pursued it with an amazing intensity.

That spring, we chose a portfolio review for our end of year evaluation, and we arrainged to meet the teacher at the USAF Museum over in Dayton (OH). Miriam took her on a tour of the WW II section. As they approached the end, they walked under Bock's Car, and the lady asked my daughter what it was, hoping to lead her into a discussion. "Oh, that's just Bock's Car, the Nagasaki bomber," replied my child with serious demeanor, "I wish we had the Enola Gay here, but that's in Smithsonian Air and Space in Washington, DC." The poor teacher spent the next five minutes ( untill she could send my daugter and her own children off on an errand ) trying not to burst from supressed laughter. :-)

Paul
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Frank
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Any unschoolers Reply with quote

Hi,

Just ran across this site. We're unschoolers. Some would say "radical unschoolers" because there are people who claim to be unschoolers who really aren't IMHO. Maybe "John Holt purist unschoolers" would be accurate?

Frank in Seattle
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jesgallagher



Joined: 15 Apr 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Unschooling Reply with quote

Howdy,

I've unschooled my two since they were born, and most of our closest friends homeschool without curriculum.

There are more and more of us every year, as more and more people begin to question the very idea of standardized curricula for their undeniably unique children.

The conventional "educational" wisdom is really ingrained deeply in people, and it's always rewarding for me to witness the (usually) slow transformation from school to life. That final "aha!" moment when folks realize how natural and organic unschooling is always amazes me!

John Holt purist, huh? A little clunky, but I know what you mean. Very Happy

Jesse
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey!

Well, being a survivor of the 60's, I'm very happy with the label "radical unschooler." <grin>

Like most people, I was a product of conventional schooling. Maybe moreso than most. Catholic grade school with the Irish nuns (shudder!) then high school at a military prep school run by the Jesuits and the U.S. Marine Corps. I was very happy to attend secular college. Very, very happy.

I was exposed to various styles of education while working on my teaching degree (1970). I only lasted a few nanoseconds as a teacher. Couldn't deal with the bureaucracy.

I love being with my kids more than an hour or two at night to say, "Did you do your homework? Good night!" We're about to buy a sailboat and go cruising in the Caribbean for a while. Now, THAT's what I call unschooling at its finest!

Frank
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bartii



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, ID

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that will be one great and interesting education, can we come? I have two boys.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bartii wrote:
that will be one great and interesting education, can we come? I have two boys.


Hee, hee! I wish we had the money to buy a big enough boat to support multiple guests. I just returned from New Orleans where I bought a 34-foot Hunter sloop. Many full-time cruisers would say that it's too small for the four of us; but we've spent as long as three months together in our minivan, touring and tent camping. I think we'll be ok.

I'll return there after Fourth of July to haul her out and do some re-fitting. My wife and the girls will join me toward the end of July. Once our re-fit is complete, we'll splash her and begin our adventure.

I'm very excited!

Cap'n Frank and krewe (note New Orleans spelling!)
s/v Zombie Princess of New Orleans
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alakazam



Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Posts: 5
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the *idea* of unschooling, and at the very least will NOT be running a rigid curriculum. But some of the stuff I've read about unschooling really turned me off and I hate to think it's just me being close-minded. =;)

For example, "Let your child do whatever they want, for as long as they want -- at some point they will turn to educational activities because they want to learn."

Sounds fine in theory, but all my son wants to do is play video games. First, I kind of wonder if he'd *ever* get tired of doing that. Second, I don't think spending hours upon hours playing video games is good for him.

I guess I'm afraid that my child really is unique and that he won't want to study atomic bombs, etc. Or at least not longer than 15 minutes or zero if it means reading about it.

Anyone have any encouraging stories about kids that started out like that but turned out knowing what they needed? =:)

Thanks.

Jay Jennings
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, y'all,

This is Frank back from our sailing adventure and settling back into "real life." As a response to the poster who feared that his kid would just play video games all day if they were following an unschooling model, here's an essay about that. Might be food for thought.

http://sandradodd.com/game/nintendogold

Hope everybody here is well and happy. Not much traffic on this site.

Frank

P.S. My girls are currently 13 and 14-1/2. Both can pass the GED right now and have tested "beyond high school" on standardized tests for a few years now. Unschooling works for us, even in the context of meeting the standards of the schoolish world.
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