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Messages By: unschools

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October 16, 2005, 11:22 am CDT

Homeschooling

Quote From: mrsmedic

My advice? Remember that learning happens in many situations.  It doesn't have to be from books.  Doing, reading, watching, every situation in life can be a learning one.   

  

Can you tell I'm an unschooling mom? :) But seriously, have FUN with it, don't let learning become drudgery for you or your children.  So long as you're having fun learning they will continue to want to.  So long as there is desire, there will be joy.  It's full circle.   

LOL! Take a look at my rather unoriginal username. :) Hi from an unschooler in Canada. And that was great advice. Too many kids these days don't get a good foundation of joy to build their characters and lives on.
 
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November 20, 2006, 7:20 am CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: gr8ful4him

This is the first I've actually heard of "unschooling", and it sounds rediculous!  I suppose it's a part of the whole self esteem idea...if we don't test them, they can't "fail", and then they won't think poorly of themselves!  In life, we are tested daily.  If we have a job and don't complete it satisfactorily, we are in jeopardy of losing that job...it's a test of sorts.  To raise a child in an environment that they are never tested and only learn what comes to them as a side effect of living is to be neglectful of that child's well-being for the future.

You'd probably get a better view of unchooling is you did some reading and research. Google unschooling, try the free issues (download in PDF) of lifelearningmagazine.com, and check out John Holt and John Taylor Gatto. Contructed a straw man of what you imagine unschooling to be based on one person's experience is a questionable means of arriving at a conclusion about it. Critical thinking, reason and research trump anecdotes any day.
 
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November 20, 2006, 7:40 am CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: julie1418

I know that when I was in High School, I wanted to go to business school and probably become an accountant. I took accounting an business course at my high school, but my high school standards also insisted I take English and History and Science.

 

Once I was in college, I discovered I did not like business as much as I thought I would, but I excelled at my literature and writing classes. I am grateful that those in charge of my education insisted I receive well-rounded study. I ended up becoming an English teacher and then a school administrator.

 

I have to wonder, do you have any safeguards in place in case your child changes his mind or interests, as young people often do? My concern would be if the child was really interested in something and followed it intensely only to lose interest and then want something else. Is there any plan to keep them well-rounded an exposed to many options. Is there a point where you think, my child is reaching college age, I better make sure he has at least these skills?

Assume the very worst case scenario. You got to the point where you decided you wanted to be an english teacher but had not bothered with English skills. What then? Is the dream over? From watching unschooled kids and older self-directed learners what happens (with them at least) is they simply go out and get the skills they need. Then they pursue the dream. Would you have really looked at your lack of English and decided it was an insurmountable obstacle? I really doubt it.
 
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November 20, 2006, 7:52 am CST

11/24 Great School Debate

I would also think you would have to be pretty financially sound and have much flexible time as a family to do it well. >>>>>>>>> Just wanted to respond to this as well. We're an unschooling family. We're also a low income family allthough we're now in much better shape financially then a few years ago when we began to unschool. I think if we sent our kids to school I'd HAVE to work. Between school fees, supplies and clothes we'd be sunk.
 
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November 24, 2006, 1:06 pm CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: baliddell

As a new teacher (but not a young one) and a mother of two, I am here to share with you that the classroom has changed dramatically in the recent past. In my school students learn from each other, they construct their knowledge through working out solutions with peers.  At times students choose topics to explore and then they present to their peers on the topic. Students even learn to evaluate others work. Standing at the front of the classroom and lecturing all day is not an option.  We need to be active in creating quality schools for all of our children.
It sounds nice but it's not a universal truth of schools. Some really, really suck. I'd much rather keep my kids out of a school that sucks then offer them up to it and spend 13 years attempting to affect some change. Of course the irony is that those of us who are choosing to not send our kids to school ARE affecting change. Schools are becoming more flexible, trying different ways to reach out to families and our ideas of how childrens learn are being challenged ad hopefully changed.
 
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November 24, 2006, 1:14 pm CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: saesq2

I don't much like the idea of home schooling, primarily for civic reasons.  We are one country, ideally.  Plenty of room for improvement, it's true, but at least we should share an education and grow up understanding such things as our own history and the way a democracy runs.  Home schooling takes kids out of that democratic environment where you have to learn to get along with other citizens who may be different from you.

 

But one thing that Dr.Phil said he believes made me laugh.  I don't know if education is a science, but he  is too deferential to teachers as experts who have received a unique training.  I was an ed major in college until I took my first ed course.  What an empty course.  I immediately switched my major to history and at least learned about a real subject.  Ed majors do not get anything from their training but an escape from truly intellectually demanding subjects and a lot of soft facts and theory that changes with the wind.

 

There are a lot of good reasons to send your kids to school, but teacher ed is not one of them.

It's a nice piece of history that when American democracy what at it's most vibrant, most kids got their education at home. I sometimes wonder if an apathetic view of democracy doesn't start in classrooms and school where students are in no way citizens of a democratic system.
 
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November 24, 2006, 1:57 pm CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: shousegirl2003

I'm a teacher in the public school system and I fully support it!! I also understand that it is not perfect, but nothing is. Teachers under go tons of training in order to be able to teach. We have to have a master's degree in education and are always learning new ways of teaching.

 

 I believe that parents who choose to home school firmly believe that they are doing what is best for their child; however, they are cheating their children out of valuable life lessons. Yes, they will be exposed to bullying, yes they will be exposed to children out back sneaking a smoke, and they will have to learn something they don't have much interest in. They need to know how to react to all of these things and much more. The parent's and teacher's job is to teach them to make good choices when in these positions, but  ultimately it's up to your child to decide. If they aren't making good life choices in high school and middle school where there is still some adult supervision then they will be faced with making these life choices once they are out of the house and on their own.

 

My question to a home schooler or unschooler is - if your child was sick and needed medical care would you self medicate or take them to a trained professional? There are alot of of resources out there to help you choose the best way to treat the problem, but most parents would choose to take their child to a medical professional. Why would your child's education be any different?

Your analogy is flawed. For the vast majority of our children's health problems we don't take them to a doctor. The scrapes, the flus, the sprains, the sore tummies and all of the preventative care like hygiene and nutritious foods that maintain health are dealt with by parents, not doctors. We don't turn our children over to doctors for 5 or 6 hours a day to ensure their health. I'm sort of surprised by the opposition of teachers on the show and here. In my personal experience it's been the teachers I know that have been most excited and supportive of my decision to unschool my kids.
 
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November 24, 2006, 2:15 pm CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: kitty_nkoko

Hi, I am a 27 year old female. I along with my 2 sisters and 2 brothers were home schooled.  To this day I hate my parents for it. First of all I my parents had no clue as to how to teach me and therefore I have a hard time just getting a job. Its hard for me to understand my 3rd grade childs school. Just for me to get a college degree I have to take years of prep course to get to high school level. Raising 3 kids of my own is very challenging when it comes to helping them with basic math.  Second I hated being home schooled because I had no friends as a child and it caries over into my adult life,not having any social skills has made it hard to make friends and I still have no friends. I feel very strange in public settings because I do not know how to communicate. Needless to say this has affected my siblings in there life as well. My parents may have thought that they were doing what was best but because of them my life is a mess. I would never home school my kids and take from them what I did not have. Home school is for some but not many. Maybe if my parents would have done there job right I would feel differently about things but for now I feel that no parent should home school there kids. Now maybe I will see things differently when my children are in high school and the school is a bad influence.  Anyone who does home school there kids need to thing long and hard about doing it look in there own heart and ask themselves if it is really whats right for the child or if they are doing it for selfish reasons.
I really think it's sad you hate your parents for that. I went through hell in public school and graduated missing academic skills and socials skills. It happens. I don't hate my parents for sending me to school.
 
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November 24, 2006, 2:18 pm CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: msteacher

I teach in a middle school in san antonio, and I absolutely love my job! I feel that a public school education is emperitive for every child in order to ensure that the proper cirriculum is being taught and taught thoroughly. Parents aren't trained in the psychology of teaching or in what cirriculum is necessary to teach! Let me ask this... home school parents... are you willing to give your child a zero on an assignment if it's not done to teach them responsibility or will you just give in to ensure that your son or daughter makes the grade! Your job is to be a parent and teach morals and values... NOT TEACH CIRRICULUM! Leave it to the professionals please! Otherwise you are infact cheating your children on a good WELLROUNDED education. Don't hold your kids hostage please!
You mean curricullum? Heck, I agree. That's why I unschool my kids. Why on earth would I want to narrow their view of something to a limited curricullum when there's a whole world to explore?
 
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November 24, 2006, 2:43 pm CST

11/24 Great School Debate

Quote From: amarie13

I am 18 years old, recently graduated from high school, and currently in college working on a double major and double minor. I was traditionally schooled my entire life in both private and public schools, and hated every minute of it up until this year, when I went to college. I agreed with a lot of the "philosophy" of the parents who wanted to unschool their children, especially in their belief that children are the most unheard and "discriminated against" people in our society today. I have felt silenced by the school systems since I entered them -- teachers don't listen to their students' opinions, advisors hardly hear students' problems, administrators seem to care so very little about the actual well-being of the kids in their care. I felt like a statistic my whole life, and especially felt like there was so much information and subject matter being crammed down my throat -- most of it unimportant, uninfluential, and long since forgotten.

 

That being said, I also look back and appreciate it. The traditional school provided me with insights and experiences I never would have encountered had I been homeschooled or "unschooled. " I believe that there can be "unschooling" while a child is being schooled traditionally. My parents never restricted me, never stifled my creativity or imagination, never silenced me, never ignored or shot down my opinions, and generally let me make my own decisions and my own mistakes. I learned to be a free thinker with specific morals because my parents were "unschooling" me on the weekends, while I learned to deal with rigidity, conflict, ignorance, and intolerance during the weeks in traditional schools. My family constantly went on weekend trips, went to museums, studied things, and did all the "hands-on" learning that unschoolers hope to achieve, while still allowing me the benefits of traditional schools.

 

The biggest problem with education is that people take things to the extreme. Why must it be either all school or no school at all? Why can't parents put thier children in the educational system and still monitor them, nurture them, and enhance their person? I don't understand why it has to be one of the other -- I hated school for many reasons, but I recognize the value and the benefits of it and I am grateful my parents put me through it. At the same time, I recognize that my parents put in the extra 300% to ensure I became an individual who is both traditionally educated and independent of "the system," and who is not entirely dependent on them or anyone else to make my decisions or be hanging over my shoulder. Balance is the key, not extremity.

I keep hearing about balance and not being extreme. Once takes a look at how children learn and the history of learning and education it's not hard to see what an extreme and unbalanced idea systematic school is. It's only because it's normal that we assume it's balanced.
 

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