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Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

BRIAN POLIKOWSKY
 

<<<<" I think maybe academic unschooling blended in with eclectic homeschooling? ">>>>>


Not only that ! Some people send their kids to school and want to call it unschooling !

For some reason it seems that people that really want to be called unschoolers react strongly to discussions of the ideas and principles of unschooling.
I like discussions about unschooling like this list. I learn a lot from it and the ideas are becoming clearer for me and life sweeter.

I love veggies but I would not go to a vegan board and insist I am a vegan too just because I eat a lot of them! I can go and ge some yummy recipes and ideas.

There was something like that on my state list this weekend where people got upset because I asked to take discussions about creating a school of the list and to please not discuss religions and beliefs and keep it about unschooling only.


 
Alex Polikowsky

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

Joyce Fetteroll
 

engaged in constant feuds and ridiculing each other
If a few people set aside a small corner of the universe to talk about an idea why would an invasion of that space be labeled a feud?

I guess it might look that way to someone who felt a surface understanding of unschooling was deep enough to judge what's going on.

Someone wrote on the other list, "[I] get confused why all homeschoolers can't just all work together. We can all learn from others. I learned a lot from reading this over the years. We completely unschool over the summer."

Those who are mining unschooling discussions for a few ideas aren't likely to get why unschoolers would want a quiet corner to talk about unschooling.

Joyce


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

 

-=Maybe it's like getting a tattoo. Once upon a time it was a rebellious thing to do. Then it was a cool thing to do. Then maybe a fun thing to do when you'd had a few too many drinks. Now everyone has one. -=-

I don't.

Too many times, other things get added on to what could and should be pure and simple, I think.
If it was so simple, though, there wouldn't be so much discussion of it, I guess. :-)

I think unschooling is worth doing and worth doing well. I don't think there are other things that need to be added to it.

Sandra


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

Gwen Montoya <lifeisjustthis@...>
 

When I first started learning about unschooling (6 years ago), I remember reading about "academic unschooling" and "radical unschooling". Those two terms made sense to me, but even then I could how much overlap there was.

It didn't make sense to me to trust kids to learn, but not to trust them with what they ate. I think maybe academic unschooling blended in with eclectic homeschooling?

Gwen



<robin.bentley@comcast.net> wrote:


I think people want to be cool (especially if they aren't cool for any other reason). "Unschooler" sounds au courant. It does seem to have more to do with others' perception of the *parent* not the rich, peaceful lives of the children, as Debbie said.

Robin B.


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

Robin Bentley
 

"Relaxed homeschooler" doesn't have the kick-ass cachet of "unschooler". And I think that that matters to some people who like to rebel, who want to thumb their nose at regular society. It's not about how their kids can have awesome lives. To me, it seems to be about rebels who feel safer in the company of other 'rebels'. Not much to do with unschooling at all!
"Relaxed homeschooler" doesn't have the kick-ass cachet of "unschooler". And I think that that matters to some people who like to rebel, who want to thumb their nose at regular society. It's not about how their kids can have awesome lives. To me, it seems to be about rebels who feel safer in the company of other 'rebels'. Not much to do with unschooling at all! >
I think people want to be cool (especially if they aren't cool for any other reason). "Unschooler" sounds au courant. It does seem to have more to do with others' perception of the *parent* not the rich, peaceful lives of the children, as Debbie said.

Maybe it's like getting a tattoo. Once upon a time it was a rebellious thing to do. Then it was a cool thing to do. Then maybe a fun thing to do when you'd had a few too many drinks. Now everyone has one. We were at a waterpark this weekend and the only place I've seen more tats is at an unschooling conference. To be honest, I almost succumbed to the lure of "I'm at an unschooling conference - let's go get a tattoo" thing a few years ago. Don't get me wrong - I like tattoos, but as a rebellious cool thing, it's lost its cachet.

I don't see unschooling becoming commonplace, though. Unschooling well isn't nearly as easy as walking into a tattoo parlor to be inked with a tribal design or a Rumi poem.

Robin B.


Re: Trusting Our Children and Trusting Other People With Our Children

emstrength3
 

I've been thinking about this for the last few days and I think it just comes down to letting go at this point. Your responses reassured me, because we have prepared her well. She knows about screaming as loud as she can, and that there's no need to be polite to anyone she's uncomfortable around. It was good to be reminded that it's not usually strangers that kids are in danger from, but friends and family. She does take the cell phone when she walks to the mailbox, so she can take it to the store.

She hasn't actually walked to the mailbox much (at all? Can't remember.) in the last few months because it's been so cold. She went today and even though I was ok with it a few months ago, I was even more comfortable with it today. It's amazing what a few months can do for their growth and maturity!

The walk today prompted her to ask me again about walking further. I'll have to talk to my husband, since he is usually more concerned about these things than I am. I will share the wisdom in this thread with him!

Emily


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

Regan
 

On 12/03/2013, at 9:37 AM, Jenny Cyphers wrote:

What I don't understand though, is why in the world anyone would want to call themselves an unschooler, or attach themselves to that as a label unless they are really actually unschooling.

What I've seen, is people who like to rebel, who identify as people who 'aren't going to be told what to do by anyone', latching onto a group who also appear to be rebelling. They don't seem to see that unschoolers aren't rebelling. Unschoolers are mindfully and profoundly doing what makes sense.

I see a lack of mindfulness in these people. I see rebellion taking them so far down a track in which their kids don't go to school and they don't do curriculum *all* day, but not so far that their children can benefit from unschooling. The relationships with their children aren't like unschooling relationships - often adversarial, controlling or hands off. Any talk of how children's lives could be improved by this or that unschooling idea, is met with cries about the rigid rules of *some* unschoolers who give the 'movement' a bad name. It doesn't fit with their 'anything goes' (as long as it suits them) attitude.

Why not just tell people that you are a relaxed homeschooler and leave it at that.
"Relaxed homeschooler" doesn't have the kick-ass cachet of "unschooler". And I think that that matters to some people who like to rebel, who want to thumb their nose at regular society. It's not about how their kids can have awesome lives. To me, it seems to be about rebels who feel safer in the company of other 'rebels'. Not much to do with unschooling at all!

Debbie


Re: Moving from rules to principles

plaidpanties666
 

"trish52101" <simplycrunchy@...> wrote:
Is it best to just stop talking about rules and start talking about principles as situations occur or is it best to talk about it with Grace?
***********

As things come up, you can talk about reasons, think things through with her - if she's the talky sort, that is. Some kids don't like that much talking! And then it may be better to just say yes more. If she asks "why are you saying yes when the rule is such-and-such" you can talk about your reasoning, specific reasoning. That might refer back to a principle like... oh! here's an example: The other day I was crossing a parking lot with my daughter and reached for her hand. Then I looked at her and realized she's nearly as tall as I am! So I said: you know, there's no real reason for us to hold hands - drivers will see you just fine, now that you're so tall. In the past, holding hands wasn't really a rule, but if she wasn't walking where I could see her I'd ask her to hold my hand or walk next to or in front of me - because I wasn't sure drivers could see her and I wanted to make sure she was safe.

---Meredith


Re: Minecraft support

claire.horsley08
 

Am I evolving into what I saw discussed a few days ago "free range" parenting? Do I just let them play MC because it requires
so little from me?! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wish I had more time to respond, but my first thought was that it looks like more IS required - more of your presence and input. With 4 kids over an 11 year age range, making unschooling work well at your place is going to take lots of energy and creativity from you. It's not surprising that with 2 big brothers, your 4 year old will be introduced to lots of things earlier than many other 4 year olds. How you manage this is the interesting part.

Claire


Re: Minecraft support

plaidpanties666
 

haydee deldenovese <shybarbie22@...> wrote:
I also feel that at the age of 4, a child might not have
the capacity to know when enough is enough.
What does that mean "when enough is enough"? I'm sure I don't know. What's more, I work with a 72 year old woman who doesn't seem to know when "enough is enough" - she sleeps something like four hours a night and spends most of the rest of her time upholstering furniture. She's been doing that for 40 years.

There's some big bad cultural pressure against the idea that children have passions. I remember when I was first reading about unschooling getting all creeped out at the word "passion" applied to children. Children shouldn't be passionate, they should be well-rounded. Even though adults aren't well rounded at all!

I mean in the sense that usually at 4, the children
want to be playing with mommy when she is home
At 4, my daughter was already pretty introverted, and from birth she has prefered to do things for long stretches of time. When she was 4, a lot of what she did - hours every day - was cut shapes out of paper. She'd go through a whole stack of computer paper a week, easily, sometimes two. That much paper. Hours and hours every day. We went to our first unschooling conference that year - Live and Learn - and I stayed in a largish cabin with a shared kitchen/common room. I spent a lot of time cleaning up paper, and other parents commented on that: does your kid do this All the Time? It was only about half her waking hours, really, but that was still a lot. She's moved on from that to other things, but she still spends hours every day on her current passion. For awhile it was legos. Now it's fan-fiction.

The child in the original post has brothers and sisters - Mo has a half-brother. If he's around, he fills up all her social needs really quickly. If the child in the original post is a strong introvert as well as being really passionate about what he's doing, it could easily be that he's a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in his life. That's not a problem with the computer, it's someone using the computer as a tool. Without it, he might use books, or painting, or paper cutting. He could easily be spending exactly as much time indoors, focused on his passion and/or protective shield.

Actually, that would explain this from the original post:
Sometimes what
we are doing looks SO interesting and fun that he wants to participate, but he
seems to feel naked without the laptop, so he brings it and turns back to it
every minute or two.<<

It's also important to note that he's Not doing One thing, he's doing several:
playing Minecraft
watching videos
skyping
reading
writing
The fact that all those things seem to revolve around a single subject isn't any different than another child who wants pirate clothes, pirate stories, pirate movies, pirate pajamas, pirate sheets, and pirate themed food.

maybe it is because I am still deschooling, but I feel like if to
unschool is to be with the children helping them, explooring, and learning
together, then having the children playing games all day isn't unschooling
"Having" kids do anything is problematic, but supporting kids in what they value and care about is the basis of How unschooling works. Replace "playing games" with other things a kid might become passionate about and see if that changes your perspective: play an instrument, paint, read, build, climb...

The biggest problem is that mom Isn't supporting the kids on the computer enough.

---Meredith


Re: More Unexpected Benefits of Unschooling

 

-=-Unschooling is making me a better musician! Have you heard that one before? It's true, for me. In the past, I used to approach my practice in a very methodical way. People talk about "playing" a musical instrument, but I didn't used to "play" with the sounds I was making. I was always worried: about tone, articulation, dynamics, tempo, and on and on. Even though I'm a very playful person in some ways, I used to feel too inhibited to really "play" music. I didn't want to be wrong or to fail. Now, I find, more and more, I am able to improvise, to play around with sounds. I'm regaining my joy, and expressing it, and sharing it. It's something I have long wished I could do, and I'm so happy that I'm starting to be able to now. Thank you! -=-

I love this and I want to save it, but it seems I have no place on my site to put it.

What!??

I know discussions of practicing instruments have come up before, and about learning as adults, and about the difference between "practicing" and PLAYING.

Where are they? I'm sadly suspicious that they were on unschooling.com's long-gone message board or similarly long-gone unschooling.info's.

So if anyone feels like searching (archives here? Unschooling Discussion archives? ) I would love to have some links.

Or if people feel like recreating the fifth wheel (wheel of fifths joke; not a very good one) and lay out all the good ideas you have right here, in this topic, I will be on standby to collect the good parts and have a page to showcase the beautiful thing Kelly Sturman has written.

Sandra


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

jenstarc4
 

***The narcissism of small differences.
The term (by S Freud) describing 'the phenomenon that it is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and ridiculing each other' - 'such sensitiveness [...] to just these details of differentiation'.***

Small differences?  When in practice with my children, those "differences" can mean moving about peacefully with my kids or creating discord.  Those things don't seem like small differences to me.  If unschooling means everything in the whole world to whoever decides it to be so, then it loses all meaning entirely.  

It kind of goes into a chain of thought like this, Unschooling is an educational choice, under the heading homeschooling, where there is a focus on learning without curriculum, and the learning is happy and peaceful, so parents need to find a way to make life peaceful and happy, which in turn impacts the nature of the relationship between parent and child.  Anything added into that either makes that better or worse.  

If the small difference is that I have enforced family time, how does that help or hinder the relationship aspect of unschooling?  If that small difference is that I only buy organic food, how does impact happy learning?  If I unschool everything but math, how does that change the way I view curriculum and the learning process?

Those things aren't little differences, they are every bit a part of what makes unschooling work well or not.  Sure, people can do whatever they want to do.  What I don't understand though, is why in the world anyone would want to call themselves an unschooler, or attach themselves to that as a label unless they are really actually unschooling.  Why not just tell people that you are a relaxed homeschooler and leave it at that.   In day to day life I generally refer to our family as homeschoolers.  If people want details I can go into that, but I don't normally do so.  The only time I talk about unschooling is around other unschoolers.

It's best to assume that there is a common definition of what that is if you are going to discuss details of day to day lives.  There is a common working definition for this group as well as some other places online.  Certainly, if you don't agree, you are free to go elsewhere, where whatever definition you've decided it should be, will be accepted.  People do that all the time.

If those other definitions end up standing the test of time, I'm sure someone will include it in the unschooling wikipedia page, since that is a working and changing page with some core ideas that never change.  That page needs a lot of work.  There have been many many changes to it over the years and yet those core ideas still haven't changed, like not using curriculum, and that learning is innate.  I feel pretty confident in saying that anyone who is using a curriculum to educate their child, is doing something other than unschooling.  It doesn't even matter, at that point what they ARE doing, we can safely rule out unschooling.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Moving from rules to principles

 

It is scary at first. You're thinking of it as a ten-car pile up at high speeds, it seems!

-=-I am struggling with figuring out how to apply the "Read a little, try a little,
wait a while, watch," to this. Is it best to just stop talking about rules and
start talking about principles as situations occur or is it best to talk about
it with Grace? -=-

http://sandradodd.com/gradualchange
http://sandradodd.com/yes

Gradually, without fanfare, be more positive and more supportive of her desires and requests.

Here is an antidote to your no-speed-limits fear. It's called "The Beautiful Park," by Robyn Coburn. It's about people getting off bicycles to walk. I think it could replace your fearful background with something gentle and peaceful.

http://sandradodd.com/park

Read about why, and what others have seen.
Try it a little.
Don't expect her not to think you're crazy at first; wait a while.
Watch her reaction. Feel your own thoughts. Lay your fears out to dry in the air and sunshine.

Subscribe to this while you're waiting:
http://justaddlightandstir.blogspot.com

Sandra


Re: Appropriating the word Unschooling

 

There was post I deleted for being more antagonistic than is ever useful, but I will quote the text of it.
_________
Dare I say it? The narcissism of small differences.
The term (by S Freud) describing 'the phenomenon that it is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and ridiculing each other' - 'such sensitiveness [...] to just these details of differentiation'.
_________


Then there was appended Joyce's entire post that begins this topic (so you can click "Messages in this topic" at the bottom of the e-mail if that's where you are, or go to message view if you're on the website.

Freud isn't the best person to quote here, honestly. We're writing about things he couldn't have imagined, living when and where he did.

To stay on this page, people can't be tacky to Joyce or Pam. It's my page, and they're my most supportive moderators, for over eleven years now, and I've watched them help people for many years before that.

http://sandradodd.com/clarity
Clarity is what the discussion is about. Criticizing our always-clear intent to do this isn't a good use of time.

From the homepage of the site:

How and why does unschooling work? What kind of parents and parenting does it take? What will help, and what will hinder?

This is a list for the examination of the philosophy of unschooling and attentive parenting and a place for sharing examined lives based on the principles underlying unschooling.
___________________

If there's anyone here who has any problem with the purpose of the discussion, you can stay quietly, leave the group, or keep trying to stir it up and be removed. If it's making you think of Freud too much, leaving might be best for you and peace with your children.

If anyone honestly believes that there is much "narcissism of small differences" going on here, read a while at any of these links:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AlwaysLearning/messages (archives, over 70,000 messages, searchable)

http://joyfullyrejoycing.com (Joyce's page)

http://sandradodd.com (mine)

This is a message for anyone reading:
Please help us help people understand radical unschooling better, or go do something somewhere else.

Sandra


More Unexpected Benefits of Unschooling

kelly_sturman
 

Hello Everybody,

I just messaged the following to Sandra privately, and she asked me to share it hear, in case it might benefit somebody reading it here. I'm happy to do so, and here is the message I sent. I edited it just a tiny bit, because I originally meant it as a private message, and so was being conversational, but this, essentially is what I told Sandra:

Unschooling is making me a better musician! Have you heard that one before? It's true, for me. In the past, I used to approach my practice in a very methodical way. People talk about "playing" a musical instrument, but I didn't used to "play" with the sounds I was making. I was always worried: about tone, articulation, dynamics, tempo, and on and on. Even though I'm a very playful person in some ways, I used to feel too inhibited to really "play" music. I didn't want to be wrong or to fail. Now, I find, more and more, I am able to improvise, to play around with sounds. I'm regaining my joy, and expressing it, and sharing it. It's something I have long wished I could do, and I'm so happy that I'm starting to be able to now. Thank you!

Kelly Sturman


Re: Moving from rules to principles

Pam Sorooshian
 

Maybe talk about them only as they come up. If you have a rule about eating
only at the dining table, you could suggest: "You could take your sandwich
to eat in the living room if you want." If she says, "What about the rule?"
then you can say, "It's okay - we can be flexible."

I wouldn't ever say, "No more rules," because it is confusing to the child
- there really will still be rules in her life, lots of them. What you're
going to be doing is looking at rules more sensibly and being flexible and
not having rules just for the sake of having a rule.

Sometimes rules are for convenience of parents so they don't have to spend
so much time talking about options, etc. One mom I know said she would
absolutely not let her 12 year old watch a PG-13 movie, no matter if she
actually thought the movie was fine, because then her son would argue with
her over every other PG-13 movie. I think a lot of rules are imposed
because parents feel overwhelmed and busy and don't want to spend their
time working with kids on these kinds of choices. I get that.

And I think unschooling families DO have rules for convenience even if they
don't call them rules. They aren't rules for the sake of control and they
aren't enforced with the threat of punishment, they are more like, "This is
how we do this in our family." And usually always open to questioning. So -
my kids didn't eat food in their bedrooms because we just didn't eat food
in bedrooms. Why? Because we had really big ant invasion problems and
nobody would have liked sleeping in a bed with ants. When they were little
I'd just say, "Eat it out here, not in the bedroom," and probably sit to
chat with them or turn on the tv or something to make it more fun. They
weren't kids who had experienced arbitrary rules so they were pretty much
willing to go along with clear requests like that. There were a few times i
can recall that a kid really wanted to eat in her room. I'd put the food on
a big tray and remind her not to let the crumbs or drips get anywhere but
on the tray. I'd go in and get the remains of the food right away when she
finished. It wasn't a big deal - wasn't "breaking a rule" in the bad sense,
it was making an exception to the more convenient way we usually did things.

So - make exceptions, be more flexible, stop talking about rules and
breaking rules with regard to things that are really just ways of living.
If she asks about a specific rule you could say, "Yeah, guess we don't
exactly have that rule anymore."

-pam

On Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 10:58 AM, trish52101 <simplycrunchy@gmail.com>wrote:

I would be afraid to speed unless they explicitly said, "its okay to use
your judgment to drive at what you consider a safe speed."


Re: Moving from rules to principles

Joyce Fetteroll
 

On Mar 11, 2013, at 1:58 PM, trish52101 wrote:

Is it best to just stop talking about rules and start talking about principles
Principles aren't for you to impose on her like a different type of rule. Principles are what you live by. They're what you use to help you make choices. They're what you build into the solutions to her problems. If she wants something, and she can't do it kindly, you help her find ways to get what she wants AND be kind.

but I worry that Grace will still have all the rules in her head and the pressure to follow them will be there.

Depending on her age, it's possible. It will fade with time. Say yes more.

Almost like if the police did away with the speed limit by taking
away the signs, I would be afraid to speed unless they explicitly
said, "its okay to use your judgment to drive at what you consider
a safe speed."
Eventually you would realize from people acting differently around you that things were different.

People learn by testing what they know about the world against what happens. When the two don't match up, they adjust their theories.

Kids are used to doing that. Adjusting their ideas about how the world works is how they've been living their lives since they were born ;-)

Is there something in particular that's happened? It might be easier to explain with a real example. Or are you projecting and imagining? TIme is better spent on real problems than imagined ones ;-)

Joyce


Re: 4 year old refuses to eat

chris ester
 

On Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM, Michelle <shellthed@gmail.com> wrote:

**




Are you and/or her dad small yourselves? I have a good friend whose
husband is a very small guy - both in height and weight. Their first
daughter is *tiny* - seriously one of the smallest kids I've ever seen.
She's also healthy as can be BUT their doctor kept worrying about her size.
I kept shaking my head and wondering if the doctor ever really LOOKED at
the child and LOOKED at her parents. They still sometimes worry, even
though she's a very curious, active, intelligent, healthy child. She's just
naturally small.

Michelle<<<<<<<

My daughter is very tall and always has been. From about 4 months on,
she was always at the 90+ percentile for height and weight on that silly
chart the doctor uses.

I assumed that being in the same percentile for both (or close) would be
normal. However, when my daughter was about 3, she was off the chart on
the high end for height and weight. She looked very skinny though. Well,
the doctor asked me what she ate and have I been watching for how much fat
and sugar she was consuming!!!

We are vegetarians, so consuming fat is something you actually have to work
at since it is highest in animal based foods. I told the doctor this and
she seemed slightly mollified...

I think doctors use those charts as a short cut instead of thinking...
Chris


Re: Minecraft support

Pam Sorooshian
 

On Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 7:57 AM, Rachel <rachk2000@yahoo.com> wrote:

When my daughter is playing minecraft or any other game, or watching her
favourites programmes, or going out, or we are playing, those things are
happening. I think the way you could stop them happening would be to be
negative or disparaging about what they are doing.

Also - there are always deeper messages being sent/received.

When a little child is repeatedly made aware that her parents think he or
she makes poor choices, that his/her preferences are to be ignored, the
child can grow up without confidence that he/she can make good choices as a
teen and adult. This is dangerous. Later, when your kid thinks a friend has
been drinking too much, but the friend says, "You're wrong. I'm fine. I can
drive," do you want your child to doubt his/her choice to find another
driver?"

The habit of not respecting children's preferences and choices is insidious
and always justified on the basis of it being for their own good. But, in
the long run, it is far more for their own good to support them in growing
up with a strong sense of self. This means self-respect for their own
preferences and choices.

-pam sorooshian


Moving from rules to principles

trish52101 <simplycrunchy@...>
 

I am looking for some help making the transition from rules to principles. Our daughter Grace is almost six. We were pretty good about not having rules early on, but gradually began using rules in the past few years.

I am struggling with figuring out how to apply the "Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch," to this. Is it best to just stop talking about rules and start talking about principles as situations occur or is it best to talk about it with Grace? On one hand, I feel like the better choice is to simply let the change happen by not talking about/having rules anymore, but I worry that Grace will still have all the rules in her head and the pressure to follow them will be there. Almost like if the police did away with the speed limit by taking away the signs, I would be afraid to speed unless they explicitly said, "its okay to use your judgment to drive at what you consider a safe speed."

Thanks,
Trisha

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