Any unschoolers?

Discussion in 'The Classroom' started by Firethorn, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    From what I am reading, I dont see any unschoolers. Are there any on this thread? Also was woundering if there are any large families homeschooling,5 or more childern? I would love to talk with someone who "gets it". :rolleyes:
    Mrs C.
     
  2. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I think you'll find quite a few. That's how I plan to do it...our son is just about to turn 3, and is learning all the time. I don't think our lives will be changing all that much once we are officially doing "school". Kids learn all the time if you let them. It's when you try to force it on them that things turn ugly!
     

  3. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    We're eclectic, but don't follow any cirriculum and only a family of 3 children.
     
  4. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    We "unschool". The only "curriculum" I use is reading through the old McGuffey's Readers, and math using Ray's Arithmetic. And we have 8 kids. But don't go asking me all sorts of questions about "getting it". I haven't got anything! ROFL!!! :haha:

    (Except the grace of God! Which is how anyone "gets" anything!)
     
  5. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    We have been homeschooling for 13 years, and have 8 children. From all that experience I have summed a few words of wisdom for you:

    When it comes to homeschooling, the only thing constant is change. :haha:

    What works this year for this child will not work next year, and maybe not with any other child. Be flexible, be willing to try many things to find out what works, and be willing to scrap it when you discover that it's not working after all.

    In 13 years we have done the following:

    One year we did everything A Beka recommended, every day. I nearly burnt out and started looking at Christian schools.

    For two or three years, we did nothing but math, reading, and writing. The math was Saxon and Ray's Arithmetic. The reading consisted of library books covering a variety of subjects, including science and history. The writing was copywork for penmanship, letters, mini-reports, and short stories.

    Another year, we did all the requirements for the State of New York (one of the toughest states for homeschool). When my then 4th grader started his new US history text book, he was rather bored. "I already know everything in this book, Mommy," he said, with a mixture of exasperation and disappointment. I guess that's one of the risks you run when you give a bookworm free rein in the library. ;)

    This year we are doing a more "traditional" approach, since I decided it was high time we all (myself included) learned Canadian history. I don't know enough about Canadian history to teach it without help, so we bought Canadian history curriculum for everybody. The stuff we got is based on what I think is a good collection of textbooks and regular books. I don't exactly regret getting all that, but I do wish I could have looked through some other books before making the final decision. We will keep all these books, of course (they are good), I just won't be using the study guides that came with them anymore.

    Next year my three oldest (maybe four oldest) will be enrolled with Christian Liberty Academy. The oldest two will be doing it "for credit," and will receive a diploma when they graduate. The other one (or two) will be getting all the books, but I will decide what they do in them. The rest of us will be notebooking.

    When we notebook, I plan to let them do what they want to with some, and I will have some requirements about others. We will keep using Saxon as long as I see that it works. If and when it stops working, we will use something else. Not all of my children use Saxon, by the way. Two are using A Beka, and one is using a book (a college freshman Algebra I) Tom found in a thrift shop.

    In the years to come, I expect more changes. I used to hate that, but now I find it gives us a breath of fresh air. When Tom taught math and science in a high school, he was allowed to change or adapt as he saw fit. He could even choose not to finish the book. Why should a homeschool teacher have to fit a mold that other teachers do not?
     
  6. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    No, I dont like answering alot of questions. Like I an some anomoli(sp) on display. I do long for the chance to speak with other parents of large families. We have 9 ourselves. Like some of you I did abeca the first year. Could not stay with it. It felt like we were still in public school. The next year itwas a little of this abit of that. But I felt so guilty. family input does not help either. Im ever failing my childern in their eyes. This year, with a lot of prayer, we have adopted an unschool aproach. We love it. I dont feel guilty anymore. We have vowed to do what God sends us, and what he puts on our hearts. He is the one who put it on our hearts to homeschool in the first place. He has also told us he will provide. So, we have taken that and applied it to our lives of learning. It does seem to be working. Best of all, we can enjoy it now.

    thank you all for shareing. It lifts my spirits. I love hearing of large families, even one of 3. It is more than 2, and one away from 4. (Can you tell I went public school?) :haha: :haha:

    Mrs C.
     
  7. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    I am so glad to hear you have figured this out early. In my opinion, it will save you alot of stress and heart ache. I fell there is alot of wisdom in this thinking.Wish I had figured it out much earlier.May God bless your family with days filled of learning....and the love of it.
    Mrs C.
     
  8. BusyBees2

    BusyBees2 Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Mammabooh. I have a 3 1/2 year old and a baby. We've already decided to homeschool, and my dd already loves learning through normal daily activities. We will continue this and see where it takes us in the next few years. Don't know if our next 15 years will be 'unschooled' or not...come what may. We've already started basic addition using our fingers and toys...it seems so simple to incorporate learning into our day. She loves to have 'school'!
    jennifer
     
  9. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    Heh... I love that age! My 3.5 yo ds (child #7) came up to me today with "3" fingers up and emphatically told me it was "twos". I told him, no, that is three; this is two, and I held up two fingers. He worked hard and got "2" fingers up and said "twos". I said yes, and THIS is three, and I held up three fingers. He switched to three, then went to four, so I told him what that was. Then he went to five fingers. Upon learning what "5" was, he cheered and ran off to play. I love that! :D
     
  10. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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    I have 5 kids and we mostly unschool. Of course, I've had to teach a lot of the basics, but usually do that on an as-needed basis. Some days it gets crazy, with everyone doing their own thing, but mostly they find shared interests and work together.

    Frequently, it doesn't seem like they are learning at all, then they astound someone (usually me or their dad) with their knowledge and grasp of a subject- often far beyond what would be expected of a child their age.
     
  11. Cassie

    Cassie Well-Known Member

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    I must be one who "doesn't get it" because I tend toward the traditional approach. I just missed a chance to meet with two unschooling moms who were holding a question and answer session regarding their teaching styles. I'm out of the loop on this. Is unschooling just referring to the younger years? I like the idea of taking the stress out of learning and I can appreciate that one can learn just from daily living, but what about when they are older? How can a child learn about quadratic equations and how to conjugate verbs just by normal daily activities? If you want your child to have their choice of a college and career, they'll need this stuff (and a whole lot more) for their SAT, ACT, etc. So, if you unschool through the high school years how do you know that you're covering everything?
     
  12. jdskidder

    jdskidder Well-Known Member

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    We are an unschooling family of three, 10yo, 6yo, 5month old. I think "unschooling" is different for everyone. Basically, it's child led learning. For instance, my oldest son is a train freak (lol). He reads all he can on them, draws tons of layouts for his model trains, makes maps of real states/cities with the RR, houses, businesses. He chooses different years, so his layouts reflect the proper times, what businesses there really was, etc. So, he is learning: math, history, geography, mapping, etc.

    He also loves books on moutain men, Indians, the opening of the West, and pioneers. But, we also do bookwork most days. Math, penmenship, vocabulary. We go to the library often so we all can get interesting books.

    I think unschooling is more about HOW a child learns. Letting them lead the way instead of learning thru stuffy textbooks that aren't the lest bit interesting (in my opinion). Being able to retain the love of learning, by being more physical in their learning.

    If a child is going to go to college to earn a degree in something specific, then in the HS years that child will have to do the bookwork required to get into a college. But it will be that childs chose, so there for he/she will be more willing to do the work.

    Most people don't use quadratic equations in their day to day living, or even in their line of work. So therefore, why should you HAVE to learn it?

    Dorian
     
  13. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

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    we unschooled our oldest children. 2 are self driven and did very well. 2 are more relaxed and are not as prepared as I would like them to be. They are ages 31-23

    WE unit studied our youngest 5 until this year. This year we are a textbook family because our children are not where I think they should be. OUr younger children are different learners and didnt do those self preparation games that the older children did (asking questions about what letters say and what time it it and why etc.)

    Using textbooks with a large family in many ways is a lot easier than trying to explore each childs bent in an educational mode... We still enjoy thier rabbit trails but dont have to focus on them.

    Next year, I expect to use a combo of textbooks and unit study. I dont expect to unschool. Our younger children are ages 12, 11, 10, 8 and 7.
     
  14. Leah IL

    Leah IL momto6

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    I don't really know what I do. I don't buy any new books. All I "teach" is english and math because I think they're important. I pay attention to their handwriting in those two areas, so I don't see a need for a handwriting program. We read a lot, library books and some second hand readers I bought from someone on this board :) But many days we don't do books, we just learn. When we grocery shop, the kids carry my list, cross off items and see if I hit my "target price"- last week we estimated how much each item cost ($1.79, we rounded up to $2.00, etc.) and saw how close we came to the actual total. My one daughter who is just learning to read found words that I told her to look for (milk, cheese, butter, sale, etc), my oldest son weighed my produce and figured out how much everything would cost. It's fun! Way more fun than book days! But I think you need to have some sort of a structure, even if it is just the bare bones. For example, if you didn't teach multiplication, your child couldn't multiply # of pounds by price per pound at the grocery store! I think there is a healthy balance between traditional school and unschooling. Maybe I should call myself an untraditional homeschooler? Or a traditional unschooler? Whatever it is, we are enjoying it :)

    I should also mention that I read out loud to my kids on a variety of subjects- human anatomy, weather, history, electricity, animals, geography- you name it. I can tell what they are interested in, and we continue in that vein until the interest plays out. As they get older, I will emphasize history a bit more, but history is INTERESTING so I don't forsee a problem with just touching on it now. As they mature, they will dig into history for themselves.

    Leah
    (10 year old son, 7 year old son, 7 year old daughter and almost 2 year old son)
     
  15. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    As I stated I myself went to public school. The only knowladge I feel i retained was a bit of poetry and how not to get the snot beat out of me by the three mean bullies.
    When my first two childern were in school, i started seeing some of the same things in them. one was a slow prcessor(by this I dont mean slow witted, I mean he could not get the work compleated on time so the grades were low because he needed longer. They tested him , his work was perfect but he needed twice as long to do it. He is quiet so it wasnt talking or other distractions.Just a differant form of process. If i didnt have the same issue I might not have picked up on it.), the other a bully of sorts(miss popularity) . I felt I needed to rescue them from such "hell".
    Now they are so wounderfull. they both read well. Fell good about who they are. There arent better kids anywhere. My younger childern are learning, all are at differant levels. but it is all natural. They want it ,cant get enough. They are driven by the things they want for them selves. the things they want to do. No my 8 year old does not read at his expected "level". but all the seasoned unschoolers tell me that it will come. it is comeing.
    My responsability as mom is to always be aware.if there is a problem fix it. (We have not had any yet) and to provide all the materials, encourage and support.
    My elder son is into woodworking.This requires math, reading and fallowing a blueprint at this point. He is learning by doing. He is working through an aprintaceship. His passions also include birds.I cant tell you how many books he has read on this matter. He knows what steps he will have to take to get his falconers licence."All this on his own"

    My eldest daughter is into sewing,nitting,and weaving. I cant help her directly here. I want to learn myself.We are looking for someone to teach us. We are trying to muddle our way through books on the matters. She has a dream to open a resturaunt. She is 11-12 tomarrow! She is a real good cook, and cooking for a family of 11 is giveing her lots of practice. (They are responsable for meals twice a week. No help from me.)We are working on shopping, and buddgeting. but her mine goal is to run her home when she has her own family. I want to give her everything I can to prpair her for that goal.

    So to sum it all up "unschooling" in learning through life liveing.Much Of what Ive learned i didnt learn untill I was teaching my childern.
     
  16. ASM

    ASM Well-Known Member

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    While we don't "unschool" we have seven children (5 "in school"). Our thinking about education is that it doesn't end when "school" is out. We take advantage of opporunities, questions and interests as they come. About your 8 year old not reading at "his level" I'd say not to worry about it. My oldest boy is 12 and isn't at "his level" but he gets a little more every year and enjoys reading. My soon to be 11 year old boy picked reading up in second grade and is now reading at a high school level. They have their own "level". You are wise to pay attention to where they are at and do what you can.
    We are in our 10th year of homeschooling and are sooo blessed by it. Annette
     
  17. backwoods

    backwoods Well-Known Member

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    Check around to see if there is a yarn store nearby, they usually give knitting/crochet classes for cheap. Or ask some older lady neighbor to teach you. Many older ladies would be glad for the company for a couple hours a day, two or three times a week. For payment, maybe you could take her some meals that she can freeze and then thaw and prepare when she needs them? I'm teaching myself to knit from a book called "Kid's Knitting" because I've always wanted to, and because I want to teach my daughter some of the "womanly arts" if she shows an interest. I already crochet, embroider, cross-stitch, etc, and knitting is next on the list! Good luck!

     
  18. Natureschild

    Natureschild Well-Known Member

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    We 'unschool', however dd is 2.5 yrs, and I dont know when unschooliong officially begins. But basically I dont push, and if she is ready to learn something I help out.
    Right now she wants to learn spanish (thanks Dora :rolleyes: ) So I bought her a picture/word spanish books and she drags it EVERYWHERE. "Its so beauuutiful mama" :D
    She can count to ten in english and understand what she is saying, and she can count up to 8 in Spanish, but I dont think she quite gets it. But its fun, especially spanish number '8'.

    My oldest sister unschools. She has 3 children. 4yrs-9yrsold.
     
  19. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    DocM is a poster here on Homesteading Today and she has successfully taught 3 or 4 kids using the unschooling method. Her blog page has a LOT of resources listed if you scroll down.
    If profanity offends you, don't look. Doc is pretty much a curmudgeon (sorry Doc) but quite obviously a great Mom and teacher. I love her webpage.
    http://intothesunrise.blogspot.com/
     
  20. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    My only encouragement is to REALLY think this through. Unschooling works great IF you are ABSOLUTELY sure your kids will NEVER be in a formal learning environment (before college, I mean), or if they are truly self motivated and are pacing with other kids academic levels on their own. My best friend passed away, and her son ended up having to go into a school, naturally, because his father had to work. He we put in a grade behind where he should have been. My other friend (with 6 kids) ended up having to put her kids in school after an unexpected divorce. They tested 3 to 4 YEARS behind in math, because as child-led learning goes, they weren't interested in math. The almost 5th grader could barely read. They wanted to put him in 2nd grade. It worked out OK. They got some tutoring, and they went into school the next year on grade level, but they still struggle to keep up with math. FWIW, believe it or not, they are much happier with the structured approach. She probably should have seen that as much as she liked the concept, it wasn't working for her particular kids. And, to be honest, there were a lot of other negative family dynamics, so don't read this to be "me blaming everything that happened on them on unschooling". I'm not doing that, and I have known some families who have done it, and it worked out fine. Just CAREFULLY monitor, and if ever it lookes like your life is going to change, and your kids will have to be in school, you may have be prepared to move to a more formal approach so that they can get used to that, and do well in that environment. Not everything works for all kids. I am a classical schooler, and I would NEVER suggest that EVERY family should be doing that. It is just what works for us, and to be honest, I really didn't WANT it to at first because it sounded so structured, I thought I couldn't pull it off. But it ended up being the freedom we were looking for, because my kids thrive in that environment. If it ever stops working, we will change it. Firethorn I am glad you have found what works for you at this time. My advice to any new homeschooler is to hold EVERY philosophy out there lightly in your hand and in the end, do what is in the best interest of your own family and children. That may change from year to year.

    Cindyc.