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HELP! I think Im Turning Into an Unschooler!

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2011 at 6:07 AM
  • 15 Replies

So we have always been homeschoolers. I knew i wanted to homeschool before I know I was going to marry my son's father.

Well last year, if in public school grade kindergraten, we began to homeschool seriously. Since 2 years I have been teaching my son, on purpose, achedmic things.

He is now 7. We started homeschooling this year on August 1st. We were having school at home.The month before last my son became impossible. Part of it was this and part of it was that but no matter the reasons I just couldn't go on like that any longer. I was so frustraited and so was he.

November we took a whole week off and I can up with a new stratigy, imitation Robinson Curriculum. He did ok but of the newness wore off he wasn't enjoying himself any more. Some how it devolved into me telling him "Go pick something, other than comic books."

I taught him to read and the foundation was very hard won. He and I both were yelling at eachother crying and frustraited because he was bored and didn't want to sit still. Now he is a HUGE book worm. He love love loves to read. If you ask him what is his favorite thing to do he will tell you, read.

I see how much easier life is but I wonder about *gasp* gaps and if maybe I am just wimping out. I MADE him learn to read and he loves it now. Do I need to MAKE him do all the other stuff? He doesn't hate achedemic stuff but he doesn't really want to stretch him mind. He like to be entertained, so do I.

He is an only child so its not like I can say thats ok he will pick stuff up from an older sibling or teach you little brother how to because he hasn't got them.

There aren't co ops here so thats not an option either. We go to a play group weekly, well almost weekly. He has friends. I wish there was other kids like him that he could meet up with online, maybe voice chat to work on a project together.

If I MAKE him do things we are misserable but he does learn. If I don't I wonder if he will learn as much.

by on Dec. 18, 2011 at 6:07 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mem82
by Platinum Member on Dec. 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM
1 mom liked this

There is a concept, I think it begins with S, that involves leaving things out for your child to find, and enjoy. It's education without looking educational. Some people even have a designated area that they 'scatter' this stuff, like a table. Things like magnets, and a few metal things, or tangrams with a few patterns for them to try and match. Also, leave a book out 'accidentally' about those things.

Say you want to focus a little bit on Earth Science. Find a book about volcanos out and maybe a how-to on making a papermache volcano up on the computer screen where he'll stumble upon it while he gets ready to play a game. It's all about igniting their interest without being told they have to learn it.

LOL Am I making sense?

CoffeeMamaOf5
by on Dec. 18, 2011 at 12:32 PM
1 mom liked this

Hi there. You are doing fine, it's all ok! I want to encourage you to keep going with what's working -- you taught him to read and now he can learn about everything and anything! Give him free reign to do so.

We have been learning at home since the beginning. We also have run the gamet of the way we done it. from boxed curriculums, sitting at the table for hours - puling our hair out; we then moved on to various curriculums and some I made up myself. Then on to the Charlotte Mason way -- doing more nature learning and getting the kids outside also incorporating composers and famous artists. ( we feel in love with this & still use this ) and then after a few years of that, we are now on to a mixture of unschooling and a few things that they love that we have done in the past. Unschooling means different things to different families. For us, we allow the kids to choose what they want to learn about and oh my gosh -- amazing results! The children ( ages nearly 15 down to 4 ) all choose 15 plus books every few days from teh library, they read them on their own and a few of them choose to write about what they have read, some choose to narrate to the family what they learn. It's been an amazing journey for us. We also have read alouds ( i read to all of them ) over tea in our fine china - we read shakespeare and other classics. They will make up word problems daily based on whatever they are doing---if we are baking, they seem to find a math problem. if they are building with dad, again, a math problem comes up. If we are grocery shopping, math comes up. its everywhere. real math skills -- we call it Living Math.

They LOVE learning and they are continuing to ask questions and seek info out, all on their own. My 6 year old is teaching himself math, just by asking questions & playing with various toys/blocks/daily activities. I am there to help and assist in their questions and led them to more exciting learning, If i could go back, I would have started out this way at the beginning. I see such a difference in my younger two then my older three, who i did more traditional homeschooling with.

All that to say, encourage him, show him, give him things to look at, think about, and he will SOAR. While all my friends kids - public and traditional homeschooling -- say they dont like learning, my kids don't understand that mentality. They can tell you about so much and things they are passionate about -- things that they will take into adulthood.

I could say so much more......but I'll stop.  bless you, as you travel things journey. Don't look to the world to help you, look at what works for you and your family. The fruit, whatever brings the fruit, go with it!

~KIM

usmom3
by BJ on Dec. 18, 2011 at 12:47 PM
3 moms liked this

 We are unschoolers! My kids are the kind that if you make them do something, the whole time they are doing it the only thing they are truly learning is that they hate to be made to do anything.

My kids may not know what other kids their ages know but they know things & understand things that those kids don't because they can learn about anything they have interest in, where as other kids their ages are confined to a curriculum set up by ether the PS or their parents (not saying that all homeschool parents are so ridged but I know that some are). 

jessradtke
by on Dec. 18, 2011 at 5:22 PM
3 moms liked this

Your subject line cracked me up! We're unschoolers. Always have been, always will be, because I can't imagine living any other way. What could possibly be better than a low stress home life where everyone is treated with respect and encouraged to learn anything and everything they are interested in learning? 

I have a 15 year old and a 7 year old by the way, and the things they have learned continually amaze me. Their base of knowledge is so broad and has so much depth to it because they have the time and opportunity to really delve into things in a way their schooled age peers can't. Sure, they might not know some of the things that school kids know, but I'm certain they would be able to figure it out if they wanted or needed to because that is exactly what they've spent their lives doing...figuring things out.

The term the mom in the first post was referring to was "strewing", by the way. It means leaving things (books, articles, games, toys...anything, really) around for your child to use if they choose. It can also be extended beyond just "stuff". For example, you might say "Hey, I just heard about this club at the library that I thought you might be interested in trying." Or you might send him the links to websites that you think he might find interesting. You basically let your child know about things and opportunities that you think he might be interested in and that he may not know exist and you leave it up to him to decide whether he wants to follow up on it.

  

     PEACE,

   JESSICA

usmom3
by BJ on Dec. 18, 2011 at 6:59 PM
I have been doing that for years & had no idea it had a name.

Quoting jessradtke:

Your subject line cracked me up! We're unschoolers. Always have been, always will be, because I can't imagine living any other way. What could possibly be better than a low stress home life where everyone is treated with respect and encouraged to learn anything and everything they are interested in learning? 


I have a 15 year old and a 7 year old by the way, and the things they have learned continually amaze me. Their base of knowledge is so broad and has so much depth to it because they have the time and opportunity to really delve into things in a way their schooled age peers can't. Sure, they might not know some of the things that school kids know, but I'm certain they would be able to figure it out if they wanted or needed to because that is exactly what they've spent their lives doing...figuring things out.


The term the mom in the first post was referring to was "strewing", by the way. It means leaving things (books, articles, games, toys...anything, really) around for your child to use if they choose. It can also be extended beyond just "stuff". For example, you might say "Hey, I just heard about this club at the library that I thought you might be interested in trying." Or you might send him the links to websites that you think he might find interesting. You basically let your child know about things and opportunities that you think he might be interested in and that he may not know exist and you leave it up to him to decide whether he wants to follow up on it.

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mem82
by Platinum Member on Dec. 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Strewing!

itsrks
by on Dec. 18, 2011 at 9:12 PM


Quoting mem82:

Strewing!


I've never heard this word. What exactly is it and where did the name come from?

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oredeb
by on Dec. 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM
1 mom liked this

 you are learning how to best teach your child, keep it up!!!

jessradtke
by on Dec. 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM


Quoting itsrks:

 

Quoting mem82:

Strewing!


I've never heard this word. What exactly is it and where did the name come from?

I'm not sure if she came up with the term, but I first heard it from Sandra Dodd quite a few years ago.

http://sandradodd.com/strew/how

  

     PEACE,

   JESSICA

nadiamomof4
by on Dec. 19, 2011 at 11:58 PM


I homeschool like this as well. 4 kids ages almost 3 to 15.  A little background for you...  Our oldest went to ps until 3rd grade, which he repeated. I had a background working with kids and told the school that I thought he needed testing b/c I was sure he had learning disabilities. (My husband is severely dyslexic). They agreed to test but found nothing wrong. We let him finish the year, but never sent him back.  I have mostly unschooled since then.  Our 2nd child went to ps kindergarten and was so miserable that she didn't want to go! The 3rd went to preschool, but has been home since.
All 3 of the older ones have learning disabilities, but are doing wonderfully with this method. They have made so much more progress than they ever made in ps, so we are thrilled!
They are in 4H and able to meet other kids as well as study interesting subjects and do projects on them, be judged by someone other than mom, and their efforts are recognized and rewarded! Maybe involvement in 4H would something to consider since your son is an only child? You can study ANYTHING in 4H, not just livestock. I was an only child as well, so I understand the loneliness and need for friends. Are you in a populated area? maybe there's a homeschooling group that meets, but doesn't have a coop? just some ideas...
The kids also have a math disability called dyscalculia and we do living math to work with them. That way they are actually applying what they learn and it sticks more! They remember better when it has meaning! 
We also use some of the Charlotte Mason method (http://simplycharlottemason.com/)... but have added some of the My Father's World curriculum as well...still similar method...not restrictive to texts and workbooks - more reading. You have to find the balance that works for you! Good luck!
Quoting CoffeeMamaOf5:

Hi there. You are doing fine, it's all ok! I want to encourage you to keep going with what's working -- you taught him to read and now he can learn about everything and anything! Give him free reign to do so.

We have been learning at home since the beginning. We also have run the gamet of the way we done it. from boxed curriculums, sitting at the table for hours - puling our hair out; we then moved on to various curriculums and some I made up myself. Then on to the Charlotte Mason way -- doing more nature learning and getting the kids outside also incorporating composers and famous artists. ( we feel in love with this & still use this ) and then after a few years of that, we are now on to a mixture of unschooling and a few things that they love that we have done in the past. Unschooling means different things to different families. For us, we allow the kids to choose what they want to learn about and oh my gosh -- amazing results! The children ( ages nearly 15 down to 4 ) all choose 15 plus books every few days from teh library, they read them on their own and a few of them choose to write about what they have read, some choose to narrate to the family what they learn. It's been an amazing journey for us. We also have read alouds ( i read to all of them ) over tea in our fine china - we read shakespeare and other classics. They will make up word problems daily based on whatever they are doing---if we are baking, they seem to find a math problem. if they are building with dad, again, a math problem comes up. If we are grocery shopping, math comes up. its everywhere. real math skills -- we call it Living Math.

They LOVE learning and they are continuing to ask questions and seek info out, all on their own. My 6 year old is teaching himself math, just by asking questions & playing with various toys/blocks/daily activities. I am there to help and assist in their questions and led them to more exciting learning, If i could go back, I would have started out this way at the beginning. I see such a difference in my younger two then my older three, who i did more traditional homeschooling with.

All that to say, encourage him, show him, give him things to look at, think about, and he will SOAR. While all my friends kids - public and traditional homeschooling -- say they dont like learning, my kids don't understand that mentality. They can tell you about so much and things they are passionate about -- things that they will take into adulthood.

I could say so much more......but I'll stop.  bless you, as you travel things journey. Don't look to the world to help you, look at what works for you and your family. The fruit, whatever brings the fruit, go with it!

~KIM


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