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Greetings From The New Group Owner (It's A Long One...)

Posted by on Oct. 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM
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Hello everyone,

I am Stacie and I am the new owner of this group. I am very thankful for this opportunity. I love and really believe in unschooling, and it is fun to connect and learn from other people on this journey.

This is our 5th year homeschooling. I have one son, Levi, age 12. We have dabbled in unschooling for every year that we homeschooled. But each time I would inevitably get scared and go back to a more traditional approach. Then I'd see that it wasn't working, and I'd get more unschooly. Even at the beginning of this year I started out a bit too traditional. After two weeks I was reminded of what a bad idea that was, and I have made the decision to never go back there.

My belief in unschooling got stronger and stronger after I joined CafeMom and began reading the posts of new homeschoolers. They fretted over curriculum or how to know if their child is learning enough. As I answered and encouraged them, the truth became so clear to me. (I've always been one to find my answers in writing them out). Kids live, and they learn. Let them play and explore. Encourage them in their interests, and watch them fly. This year my son has really come into his own, and showed me that unschooling works. It has been amazing to see. His interests and passions are solid, and he loves working toward them.

We are not Radical Unschoolers. For example....

Levi helps with the work around the house. We all work together as a family to make our home a clean, comfortable and happy place to be. But I'm not a taskmaster. If there is a chore he hates, I either trade him one of mine, or just take it over for him. He is the same with me. I have arthritis and Fibromyalgia, so many of the heavier, more strenuous chores are hard for me. He gladly does them for me. We care for and respect each other, and I think that is a key component in unschooling, and in life.

Also, hygiene is not an option. As a pre-teen boy, he would love to only take a shower once a week, and never brush his teeth, but he knows it's required.

Levi has a lot of freedom in his academic choices, but there is some structure. He has always wanted to be some sort of engineer, and he knows that math and science are necessary for that field. Those are also his favorite subjects. So they are required.

My husband teaches math – and they do it nearly everyday. But after much trial and error, they chose a book series they both love because it is so much fun. (It's called Life of Fred).

Science is less structured. We do use a text for guidance or reference, but we jump around to what he wants to do. He watches videos, reads science magazines, reads science experiment books, does science experiments, and does projects.

History, he chooses to read a text book. But he doesn't have to answer questions or have quizzes or tests. He just wants to read it.

Language there is no text. It's just living and usage. He enjoys research and typing (not writing) reports.

Levi LOVES computer games and plays them ALOT. Probably more than the average parent would allow. He also enjoys movies.

He doesn't like music(except listening to it), fine arts or team sports, so there is none of that around here. (Well, for him anyway. I love art!)

Levi also has a lot of freedom in life. If he doesn't like something we say or do, he is more then welcome to respectfully question it. We listen and discuss options. If he wants to stay up late or sleep in, he just lets us know and asks if there is anything going on the next day he should know about.

That is all I can think of for now. Even though I am not a Radical Unschooler, I am always open to learning to let go of any unhealthy hang-ups I'm still holding onto. No one is perfect and we can all learn from each other.

Everyone is welcome here, from those just interested in or considering unschooling, to those full-out Radical Unschoolers. As long as we all respect each other's choices and opinions, and realize we are all on different places on our paths.


I really hope this group takes off. Uschooling is such a beautiful thing!

Visit my homeschool blog....HavenWood HomeSchool

by on Oct. 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM
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Replies (1-10):
LindaClement
by Group Owner on Oct. 24, 2011 at 12:08 AM
3 moms liked this

Oh, it's not that long...

Hi, I'm Linda... one of the new Admins... which means I now have a whole selection of new buttons I've never seen before... should be fun to play around with!

I'm on the weird end of the scale... heard about homeschooling when my oldest was really little, watched a bunch of families around here dabbling in 'curriculum' of one kind or another, read  a couple of curricula (don't recommend that unless you find that kind of thing funny!), read a bunch of John Holt and a few others (some having nothing at all to do with education, just my ongoing fascination with psych and human development) and, well, that was it, really.

I didn't think the 'system' made any sense when I was in it. I knew I'd learned a lot more outside in the real world than in that box...

Then I had a couple of watershed moments. One was deciding to 'teach' my 5yo something... I have never seen a human face shut down that fast. That was the last time I ever tried that.

The second was a routine hearing screening, a couple of years earlier --we're on the registry because I have a cousin who was born deaf-- when my eldest could stay in the room with us, in total silence, keeping still and not interfering in any way at all, or 'out there' with total strangers where I could not see or hear her. She was maybe coming up on 4... 

She sat behind us for more than 45 minutes of the test, and never moved.

That's when I realized that this quiet, obedient, patient little girl would sit through school, patiently, quietly and obediently waiting her turn... what? forever??? Or until she snapped completely?

Yeah... or not.

I ran into the word 'unschooling' years after I'd dropped any pretense to following anyone else's arbitrary list of 'what to do this year because you're this old...' 

TigerofMu
by on Oct. 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I really like what you had to say, especially this...

Quote:

Quote LindaClement:

 That's when I realized that this quiet, obedient, patient little girl would sit through school, patiently, quietly and obediently waiting her turn... what? forever??? Or until she snapped completely? 

Yeah... or not.  I ran into the word 'unschooling' years after I'd dropped any pretense to following anyone else's arbitrary list of 'what to do this year because you're this old...' 

 

It's alarming how easily children can be left behind or overlooked in a public school classroom because they are the quiet ones, sitting obediently and waiting...the attention and resources are often concentrated on those who demand it, because they need extra, or because they just want it.  I've seen teachers and parents advocate for needlessly medicating children, just so they will sit down and be quiet, and seen them turn into zombies instead of active and involved learners.  Bravo for understanding your child, and doing what is best for her!


TigerofMu
by on Oct. 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM
1 mom liked this

Stacie, this is what really hit me from your story...

Quote:

They fretted over curriculum or how to know if their child is learning enough. As I answered and encouraged them, the truth became so clear to me. (I've always been one to find my answers in writing them out). Kids live, and they learn. Let them play and explore. Encourage them in their interests, and watch them fly. This year my son has really come into his own, and showed me that unschooling works. It has been amazing to see. His interests and passions are solid, and he loves working toward them.

How wonderful that your son has discovered his interests and passions, and is running with them!

I also really like what you had to say about the group...and I believe that's how all groups should be handled!

Quote:

 No one is perfect and we can all learn from each other.  Everyone is welcome here, from those just interested in or considering unschooling, to those full-out Radical Unschoolers. As long as we all respect each other's choices and opinions, and realize we are all on different places on our paths.


LindaClement
by Group Owner on Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:40 AM
1 mom liked this

Thanks.

My school experience was mountains of tedium punctuated by moments of sheer boredom. 

I was so happy to find a completely other way...

Quoting TigerofMu:

I really like what you had to say, especially this...


Quote:

Quote LindaClement:

 That's when I realized that this quiet, obedient, patient little girl would sit through school, patiently, quietly and obediently waiting her turn... what? forever??? Or until she snapped completely? 

Yeah... or not.  I ran into the word 'unschooling' years after I'd dropped any pretense to following anyone else's arbitrary list of 'what to do this year because you're this old...' 


It's alarming how easily children can be left behind or overlooked in a public school classroom because they are the quiet ones, sitting obediently and waiting...the attention and resources are often concentrated on those who demand it, because they need extra, or because they just want it.  I've seen teachers and parents advocate for needlessly medicating children, just so they will sit down and be quiet, and seen them turn into zombies instead of active and involved learners.  Bravo for understanding your child, and doing what is best for her!




mommy2myles
by on Dec. 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM
1 mom liked this

Me too! That really hit me. I watch my four year-old patiently and quietly wait his turn all the time and I often have to step in because other kids are not so considerate. I can see him not getting the attention he deserves in a classroom.

Quoting TigerofMu:

I really like what you had to say, especially this...


Quote:

Quote LindaClement:

 That's when I realized that this quiet, obedient, patient little girl would sit through school, patiently, quietly and obediently waiting her turn... what? forever??? Or until she snapped completely? 

Yeah... or not.  I ran into the word 'unschooling' years after I'd dropped any pretense to following anyone else's arbitrary list of 'what to do this year because you're this old...' 


It's alarming how easily children can be left behind or overlooked in a public school classroom because they are the quiet ones, sitting obediently and waiting...the attention and resources are often concentrated on those who demand it, because they need extra, or because they just want it.  I've seen teachers and parents advocate for needlessly medicating children, just so they will sit down and be quiet, and seen them turn into zombies instead of active and involved learners.  Bravo for understanding your child, and doing what is best for her!




LizByers922
by New Member on Sep. 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM

I have been terrified of adopting the UNSCHOOLING philosophy until this school year although I have been unschooling w/o "admitting" it for four years. This year, with DS in fourth grade, DD1 in first grade, and DD2 aged at pre-K I am looking at our homeschool experience and ready to say that we are unschoolers. Becoming more active on CafeMom as part of this group and the Homeschool group has also built my confidence as an unschooler. As I read in the other group about purchasing curriculum, buying special desks for school time, all the wonderings of "am I teaching the right thing?", "is our school day long enough?" etc I am even more convinced that unschooling is awesome. I am not interested in "school at home", I am interested in my kids living life and learning all the things that are just lost in academia.

Oddly enough, I am the most organized, prepared to teach/facilitate and cultivate the kids' interests, and confident I've ever been. The girls love work books, so we do work books. Spencer is fine with math work books, so he does those, but is not a fan of English workbooks and completely shuts down, so I'll save those for Mackenzie. Spencer is interested in learning about presidents and famous buildings, so that's what we'll do.  I can't tell you the freedom I now feel knowing, in my gut, that this is the way to do it for our family.  

LindaClement
by Group Owner on Sep. 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM
1 mom liked this

What fun! I love that moment of freedom when I feel that my footing is strong and stable and I can leap into the void...

Trusting kids to learn what they need is huge. HUGE!

Quoting LizByers922:

I have been terrified of adopting the UNSCHOOLING philosophy until this school year although I have been unschooling w/o "admitting" it for four years. This year, with DS in fourth grade, DD1 in first grade, and DD2 aged at pre-K I am looking at our homeschool experience and ready to say that we are unschoolers. Becoming more active on CafeMom as part of this group and the Homeschool group has also built my confidence as an unschooler. As I read in the other group about purchasing curriculum, buying special desks for school time, all the wonderings of "am I teaching the right thing?", "is our school day long enough?" etc I am even more convinced that unschooling is awesome. I am not interested in "school at home", I am interested in my kids living life and learning all the things that are just lost in academia.

Oddly enough, I am the most organized, prepared to teach/facilitate and cultivate the kids' interests, and confident I've ever been. The girls love work books, so we do work books. Spencer is fine with math work books, so he does those, but is not a fan of English workbooks and completely shuts down, so I'll save those for Mackenzie. Spencer is interested in learning about presidents and famous buildings, so that's what we'll do.  I can't tell you the freedom I now feel knowing, in my gut, that this is the way to do it for our family.  


jen2150
by Member on Jan. 11, 2013 at 9:36 AM
1 mom liked this

Your son sounds just like mine.  He hates singing but loves classical music.  Mozart is his favorite.   We are not radical unschoolers.  We started out very tradational and just ended up super relaxed.  I would probably call us quassi unschoolers.  We use curriculum and plan lessons but they are all completely voluntary.  I encourage them all the time to come up with their own ideas for what they are learning.  My son also loves engineering.  He is always buidling, playing with math, and absolutely loves science.   He just started taking computer science at co-op.  He loves it.  I never realized how good he was at Math until he started this class.  He has an ability to think matematically and figure out math that I never showed him.  I used to at his request just let him play with Math and sometimes I worried that he wasn't learning enough.  I realize now that he was learning more than he could ever have learned in a textbook.  

I started out very tradational and really hated it.  It was so boring.  I was bored so imagine how my kids were doing.  They did what they were told but I could tell they were losing interest.  My son doesn't like taking showers either.  I know he will grow out of it eventually but for now I make sure he takes one at least every other day.  I also tell them that families work together.  They do their own laundry but I volunteer to help them.  It amazes how much they come to me and volunteer to help me as well.  I also taught my kids to vocalize their needs and feelings.  When we are angry we talk out our feelings.  When something is wrong they come to me and tell me.  Learning to communicate how you feel is a skill.  It does not come natural.  I love everything homeschooling has done for my family.   

nicoal4
by New Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:03 PM
1 mom liked this

I have a few questions I'm getting ready to do a homeschool trail period this summer and was sent here. By letting your son go to bed late and sleep in , how does that teach him to handle real life, where you work ,which usually means up early. I know that takes training. And sleep is very important for children . I have 5 little girls 9,6,4,2,1 what advice do you have for me in starting down this path.

Homschmomof1
by Member on Apr. 21, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Great intro Stacie.  We are not radical unschoolers either.  We are student led though.  If we use curriculum, she choose which we use, within our family budget.  This year, we are using some of Alpha Omega Life Pacs.  She says she is going to check out Life with Fred for algebra 2, but we will see.  I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis, and I work full-time nights as an LPN in a local Nursing Home.  So, I have to rely heavily on my dd, age 16.75, for the housework.  I am not a stickler on it getting done every day.  I just want the kitchen and front of the house kept neat and also the bathroom.  She falls short with the kitchen, but we deal.  On my better days, I take over the kitchen detail with help from her with lifting and bending.  She choose what, when, how, and how much she wants to learn.  She is planning to dual enroll next year at Georgia Military Academy and has asked me to give her an assignment with time limits.  So, we are going to do a biology lab with two other students starting in May.  I also agree that unschooling is not unparenting.  We have boundaries in our home and I still provide the guidance I feel she needs.  I base many decisions on her maturity level, but not all.  Many of my boundaries are based on my life experiences and we talk about these.  I accept that she is not me and she accepts that does not mean she cannot learn from my experiences.   Our style works for us.  Our family motto is: Live to Learn; Learn to Live.  When people ask me at what age did I start schooling, my reply is always, "At birth and possibly before."

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