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    Val Offline
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    Originally Posted by AvoCado
    Here's an unschooler with a PhD in IT who works at Google: http://www.ivillage.com.au/unschooling-sounds-great-except-one-thing/

    That's nice for him. But what about his brother, who still struggles with reading at age 19, and the other sibs who didn't pick it up until they were 11 to 14?

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    When I learned that children naturally have a love of learning and they want to find out things for themselves I simply allowed for that,” she told 60 Minutes.

    Where was that love of learning in adolescents who still couldn't read, or in adults who couldn't write and self-admitted that they didn't learn until forced to? Some schools may be bad, but they aren't THAT bad.

    This is what bugs me about movements like this. The parents make an emotional decision with zero real evidence supporting it, and then stick to it in the face of extremely compelling evidence showing that it's not working.

    Then, as noted in the first quote above, the success story is highlighted while ignoring the functional illiterate who "works with horses."

    Last edited by Val; 05/25/14 06:06 PM.
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    For what it's worth, I have heard a number of anecdotes of unschoolers who didn't learn to read until they were 10 or 12, and then became extremely prolific and advanced readers very quickly. Anecdotes are not "real" data, though, and I'm not aware of evidence one way or the other on this.

    That said, I'm not a big fan of it the way it was done by others in my extended family. I don't really want to go into the details here, but I feel like there is some wasted potential.

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    I would say that we naturally un-schooled until our DS began Preschool. Then we un-schooled after the day ended. We did that after Kindergarten let out for the summer, too. I intend to do the same this summer.

    Un-schooling during the summer months is natural and right, imo. My son can explore his interests to the fullest and in so doing, he ends up ahead of the class when the formal school year begins; at least so far.

    But that is his/our experience. I can't say what other children experience in the months when the school isn't "babysitting" them. I'm speaking of children who don't have the "luxury" of a parent at home to be a springboard for their explorations. I really wonder what they learn in those months, if anything, since so many schools spend the first 4-6 (?) weeks going over what they supposedly learned the year before.

    Wouldn't most here say their children "self-un-school" during summer; even if they send them to a daycare facility where they struggle to continue to extend themselves?


    Last edited by Ametrine; 05/25/14 06:35 PM. Reason: Removed esoteric reference
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    DD6 is "unschooling" herself in riding her bike like a maniac and making forts in the bushes with her friends.

    I'm going to be non-un-schooling her over the summer. Just a little bit each day, but she will probably burn through most of 2nd grade math. Which she would not, if I left it up to her.

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    Originally Posted by Val
    Originally Posted by AvoCado
    Here's an unschooler with a PhD in IT who works at Google: http://www.ivillage.com.au/unschooling-sounds-great-except-one-thing/

    That's nice for him. But what about his brother, who still struggles with reading at age 19, and the other sibs who didn't pick it up until they were 11 to 14?

    Where was that love of learning in adolescents who still couldn't read, or in adults who couldn't write and self-admitted that they didn't learn until forced to? Some schools may be bad, but they aren't THAT bad.

    This is what bugs me about movements like this. The parents make an emotional decision with zero real evidence supporting it, and then stick to it in the face of extremely compelling evidence showing that it's not working.

    Then, as noted in the first quote above, the success story is highlighted while ignoring the functional illiterate who "works with horses."


    Maybe they all have LD and wouldn't have learned to read until that age anyway, school or no. The "functional illiterate who works with horses" is still working, still able to self-sustain, as the PP put it. Why do they have to learn to your standard of what learning is? (Playing devil's advocate here, for sure!)

    Originally Posted by MegMeg
    DD6 is "unschooling" herself in riding her bike like a maniac and making forts in the bushes with her friends.

    I'm going to be non-un-schooling her over the summer. Just a little bit each day, but she will probably burn through most of 2nd grade math. Which she would not, if I left it up to her.


    Would it be so bad, if she didn't?

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    Originally Posted by MegMeg
    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    my DD (headstrong is an understatement) figured out that she could simply REFUSE to do anything that wasn't easy and pleasant and already at "expert" level.
    What did you do?

    Honestly? We abandoned child-led schooling. It was not working-- and it was very definitely worsening the gaps in skills that had already made it very very difficult to find appropriate materials with which to educate her. So I guess if we had truly believed in unschooling (at least the extreme form that some of my IRL friends and acquaintances use) we'd have not seen that as a significant problem. But for us, it seemed very important that our DD learn to follow someone ELSE's tune, rather than calling it herself, which seems to come quite naturally to her. So for her, it was an important lesson-- perhaps THE most important one of her young life-- and unschooling/completely child-led inquiry wasn't getting her there.

    It was also closing her out of more appropriate opportunities because of _______ (fill-in-the-missing-skill). So sure, she could participate in a literature activity, but could not write a coherent sentence like other third or fourth graders. Ergo, she wasn't a child who should be included in a setting where that is an expectation.


    Without the writing skills that she was super-reluctant to develop, there's no way that she could have attended college at 12 or 13, though she'd otherwise have needed that kind of instructional setting in OTHER ways.

    Don't know if that makes sense-- what I'm saying is that for HG+ kids in particular, there is a real danger in letting them play exclusively to their own strengths. As Val indicated, it involves them not understanding how to play to their weaknesses when called upon to do so. Their strengths are so impressive that it's easy to shush that little voice that is whispering that maybe they should work on _____ (whatever they are avoiding).

    There doesn't have to be pathology behind why a kid doesn't want to learn to write (or read, or memorize math facts, or, or, or)-- sometimes it just is less pleasant than the other many (endless, really) options at hand.

    If parents insist, a headstrong child may well turn it into a power struggle-- which is what happened when we tried to do that as eclectic/child-led homeschoolers. DD very definitely felt that we were NOT the boss of her, and said so in every way imaginable. blush

    Honestly, I wanted to believe that an intrinsically motivated, high potential child with extraordinary reading ability COULD be homeschooled using exclusively child-led methods. I did. But those gaps and what they indicated for her when she was 4-6y older than she was at the time? Yeah-- I could see the writing on the wall, and I simply couldn't ignore that. My friends who are hard-core believers claim that it would have been fine-- but I've seen some college students for whom that is profoundly untrue. frown




    Last edited by HowlerKarma; 05/25/14 07:12 PM.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    It seems there is some muddying in terms of what unschooling can be in a similar way that attachment and permissive parenting get confounded. Anarchy vs. mentored would be part of that pivotal point. A parent engaged in their kid's self-motivated learning can nudge and support and contribute and debate process and resources.

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    That's just it, though-- what DO you do with a child who simply refuses to exercise a particularly important mode of learning or expression?

    Is that okay? Well, the hard-core unschoolers that I know would say that it is. I disagree.


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    HK - I'm right there with you about un-schooling certain personality types. What I was really asking was, what did you do to make parent-led homeschooling work in the face of such resistance? Or did you end up out-sourcing?

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    I will say, I was writing my post without seing the next two.

    At least philosophically, I think you have to engage in their long term goals and identify how certain skills map into those. Born curious and wired to be intrinsically motivated doesn't embue wisdom or pedagogical master skills. The more difficult or diffuse the payoff, the bigger the challenge it seems.

    It is an easy conversation to nudge DS into keeping his math well rounded, but it is a long slow conversation to get him to accept typing as a needed bridge to things he wants to do. And a few more hills yet to get acknowledgement to shift into regular practice. But I won't punish, restrict, argue, etc. to get him to practice typing.

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