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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:18 pm 
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is there a difference between "homeschooling" and "unschooling" or is it basically different terms for essentially the same thing?

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:35 pm 
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OMG, simple sudoku -- genius! I will make those for Beet and he will flip out!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:35 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
is there a difference between "homeschooling" and "unschooling" or is it basically different terms for essentially the same thing?

This is super simplifying it, but basically homeschooling follows a curriculum for the most part, but unschooling does not and is mostly child-led learning with the parent as more of a facilitator for learning/to help the child find resources/teachers of specific things*/etc.

*Eg, if the child is interested in painting, finding a local painter who is willing to spend time showing the child what they do/tips/tricks/techniques/so forth.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:43 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
is there a difference between "homeschooling" and "unschooling" or is it basically different terms for essentially the same thing?


Homeschooling generally involves curricula, structured "school" time, goals of achieving specific knowledge or skills, etc. For the most part it tries to recreate the end goals of traditional schooling but in a home or community environment (a lot of homeschoolers emphasize learning outside the home - you could go to a museum, out into nature, to different businesses. You could learn math at the grocery store and biology at the park, etc.). Some homeschoolers belong to homeschooling groups and share teaching responsibilities so you might learn with a group of kids or just have a group of kids to socialize with regularly. I think most homeschoolers have specific times each day when they do "school" (usually for much less time each day than they'd be in regular school). Many people buy textbooks and curricula when they homeschool. Sometimes homeschooling has a certain philosophical bent that affects what subjects are studied (like evangelical christians not teaching evolution, for example), but in general the goal is to achieve basic competence in the subjects you'd achieve competence in if you went to an acceptable traditional school. Homeschoolers come from lots of different philosophical viewpoints and includes people you'd call "unschoolers."

Unschooling generally means that learning is kid-led, but it can go from very structured to totally unstructured. Sometimes that means you sort of arrange your life to give the kid opportunities to find things interesting in the world and then jump on that thing and teach all about it (you're interested in the changing leaves - let's study botany, pigmentation, meteorology, etc.) - sort of a Montessori style approach, making the child responsible for their own learning from the beginning and helping them take on bigger and more difficult subjects as time passes, with greater and greater responsibility. Sometimes it means that kids' lives are totally unstructured and if they learn anything at all, it's mostly by accident.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Or unschooling can also mean your kid goes to a Sudbury school, where no one expects the kid to do anything at all. Kids decide everything about their "school" day, and no one seems to care whether the kid is learning anything about anything.

Our next-door neighbors send their kid to a Sudbury school, and from my (admittedly very limited) perspective, she's not learning anything. She's at our house a lot—she and TRS are good friends—and they are so different! I'm not saying that's all a result of the different schools they go to (I'm sure it's not), but the difference in their intellectual curiosity, their mastery of subject matter, the breadth of stuff they are somewhat knowledgeable about is striking.

I completely get the idea that the one-size-fits-all, curriculum-based-and-structured way of learning might not be for everyone. But in my (A.V.L.) perspective, the do-whatever-you-want model is the right way for far fewer kids than the traditional model is.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:43 pm 
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aelle wrote:
Little kids who do maths and logic for fun make me insanely happy.

My grandparents' neighbors had a little girl, 5 years old at the time, I think, who was very maths oriented, and I found it sad that her parents didn't help her develop those skills (even though the dad was an engineer...) Since she hung out at our house all the time, we did some number/logic games with her: simple sudokus (starting with 4 by 4 grids when she was just learning to count), reasoning board games like rummikub, and card games (I have no idea what card games are popular in the US, but we played a lot of Nain Jaune as a family, and Tarot with older kids).

Games don't necessarily develop skills that translate immediately into progress in a curriculum, but I'm convinced that working those logic muscles makes it easier to apprehend mathematical concepts down the line.


I love you for these! Well, and for generally being awesome <3

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:47 pm 
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What I do/have done fits more with unschooling, but I find the unschooling advocates that I've had contact with to me so obnoxious that I can't stand the idea of associating with that at all.

That being said, I love the idea of kids initiating their learning and subject matter. I just don't think have the reasoning to decide everything they need to learn.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:06 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Or unschooling can also mean your kid goes to a Sudbury school, where no one expects the kid to do anything at all. Kids decide everything about their "school" day, and no one seems to care whether the kid is learning anything about anything.

Our next-door neighbors send their kid to a Sudbury school, and from my (admittedly very limited) perspective, she's not learning anything. She's at our house a lot—she and TRS are good friends—and they are so different! I'm not saying that's all a result of the different schools they go to (I'm sure it's not), but the difference in their intellectual curiosity, their mastery of subject matter, the breadth of stuff they are somewhat knowledgeable about is striking.

I completely get the idea that the one-size-fits-all, curriculum-based-and-structured way of learning might not be for everyone. But in my (A.V.L.) perspective, the do-whatever-you-want model is the right way for far fewer kids than the traditional model is.


How much tuition does it cost to not be taught anything?


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:24 pm 
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I am not going to get into a big discussion on here but my kids were unschooled (now 20, 17 and 13). The 20 y.o. went to school for high school, the 17 y.o. has never been to school and the 13 y.o. started public school in grade 3. Each (more or less) according to their best interests.

Unschooling is not unparenting. Unschooling is not neglect. And especially, unschooling is not "not learning anything". I seem to recall that Footface's previous comments on the matter reminded me of a mainstream omnivore's comments about veganism.

If you want to know more there is a wealth of information out there, and many formerly unschooling adults with productive and successful lives.

Edited to add: Homeschooling usually means following a set purchased curriculum, or following the same curriculum/outcomes/grade level activities as a public school. Unschooling generally means setting your own agenda and usually is a philosophy that encompasses the whole life and the whole family.


Last edited by Arisaig on Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Unschooling isn't really the same thing as Sudbury schools. One of the big ideas behind unschooling is that schools are unnatural environments, and that kids learn better when they learn naturally, through life as it actually happens, and at their own pace and in their own style.. Sudbury schools are creating a different sort of unnatural environment.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:37 pm 
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I probably would have done great with unschooling as a kid. I loved learning, and I got really excited about learning new things, and I hated school.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:21 pm 
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So my comments and my admitted very limited perspective are about Sudbury schools.

So I'll bow out of this thread as it's not about Sudbury schools.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:12 am 
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Don't bow out, Footy, I like hearing your opinions on things. I definitely had the impression that unschooling was much less structured (and closer to your definition/not a good fit for most kids) than, say, child-led homeschooling, which is what I'd say we're kind of doing at the moment.
At the moment, Beetroot is a wild, young man with a very short attention span. If I totally let him do what he wanted, he would do a little maths and reading, but end up watching House of Mouse on youtube and never (or very rarely) bother to write a single number or letter. But if I just did my own curriculum without taking his passions into account, we wouldn't get much done, either (I tried that already), because he doesn't have much of an attention span and is quite stubborn (and, you know, four). So I work with what he likes. He does a little of what I want him to do and when his attention span starts to waver, I whip out some maths papers and he gets all excited again.

Perhaps unschooling:Sudbury schools::free-range parenting::child neglect. That is, I think that both unschooling and free-range parenting have the danger of falling into that hairy area (no, not THAT hairy area) of going too far (/not far enough?). The definitions of both probably vary wildly, too. I'd consider myself fairly free-range, but I am sure the fact that I won't even let Beetroot play outside by himself would have some people crossing me right off the free-range parenting list.

In 7th grade, our gifted program decided to kind of let us teach ourselves pre-algebra. The teacher spent half a period giving a lecture and then we were to assign ourselves homework, etc. There were some tests, and somehow we all did okay, but whenever I talk to the other kids about how that went down now, we all agree it was a pretty bad idea and we all assigned ourselves either very little/no homework or only did the odd numbered questions that had the answers in the back of the book. I think about that whenever I hear about unschooling. I'm sure a couple kids really worked hard and assigned themselves homework fairly and such, but most of us just forked around all year.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:38 pm 
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coincidentally, the zen habits guy wrote about unschooling today. i don't pretend to know diddle about the subject, but there are some links which might give some insight.
http://zenhabits.net/unschool/

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:36 am 
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Homeschooling is going really well for us. We only try to do an hour a day, but once I found out how much Beetroot likes workbooks (and got some workbooks), he's been really self-motivated (!!) and focused and it's been a lot easier for me. We started with Get Ready for the Code (the Explode the Code series teaches phonics, handwriting, and reading) and he said it was too easy, so we got Explode the Code Book 1 and he finished it in under 2 months. So we ordered book 2 and it arrived a week or two before our 2-week winter break and he's done nearly a third of it already. I'm so pleased -- when we started homeschooling, B could write his name and that was about it and now he's a champion writer! (And writes words on the walls now instead of maths and scribbles -- he has a 6th sense for any rogue writing utensils that have been left out accidentally.)

We're trying to find a maths workbook (the series my friend recommended me is from the US and for some reason, outrageously expensive here), so we bought some Year 1 (first grade) Heinemann Maths books (thin, stapled newsprint in a variety of maths subjects) from Amazon (there are no bookstores around here (not much of anything here in the country), so we rely on Amazon, which makes it trickier for picking out workbooks without recommendations from others (not too many workbooks have reviews -- at least not the Year 1 maths ones)). They arrived during winter break and even though we weren't going to have him do any schooling, he insisted on doing one of the books (Addition 1 through 6) and some Explode the Code. About half the maths books are too easy for him, so we set them aside for when we start homeschooling Raygold (I let him do the shapes one with me already because he was so excited and it kept him busy while Beet was working), but the rest will keep us going for at least a few weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:26 am 
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ooh we loooooooved workbooks!!!! i just went to the bookstore and looked at them all, can't think of any in specific that were especially good (in fact, i think the best ones i bought at a discount store, where they were ridiculously cheap).

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:52 am 
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Yay, Beetroot! Glad it see it's going so well for you guys!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:07 am 
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I'm with Footface on this. When my husbands' two kids were living with their mother they went to a free school here in Portland, where quite honestly they never learned much at all. It was basically child care at $600 a month per kid. Granted they only attended for a year until the mother took off and the kids came to live with us. We spent a few afternoons at that school to see what they were doing, and we hardly ever saw any of the kids do anything other than play dodge ball. During the year they attended we were constantly at odds with their mother about her decision to put them in this school. I think it could work for maybe a small handful of kids that are extremely eager to learn on their own, but it certainly didn't apply to my step kids. We would ask them over dinner what they did at school and what they learned and it was always "dodge ball". It came to the point where we made them read for an hour a day and do some school work in their vacations. I know that when you ask any kid that goes to a traditional school how their day was and what they learned a lot of them will say "eeeh nothing much", but as soon as we put them in a charter school they would come home telling us what they learned and were excited about their classes. My step kids won't do much work on their own, they definitely need some pushing.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:45 pm 
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I have four kids (7th, 5th, 3rd grades and kindergarten) all of whom have been only homeschooled. I start them off kind of unschooled and then move to a more structured way of learning as they get older. I still pick (or make up) my own curriculum, and I structure what we do based on each kid because they all learn differently. For instance my 5th grader didn't start any structured reading or math (just stuff I snuck in) until 1st and 2nd grade because he has some ADD issues and wasn't ready. My kindergartner on the other hand has begged to do school since he was four and is happy to sit and work on whatever. I love that I have this flexibility. And my 5th grader is above grade level in reading and math now, and he doesn't hate it I think because he wasn't forced to do it before his brain was ready.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:21 am 
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Silas doing workbooks in his pajamas

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:30 am 
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ahhhhh!!! Silas is so cute!!! <3 i love his jammies.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:02 am 
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Kelly wrote:
Silas doing workbooks in his pajamas

Don't leave me hangin' here, tell us more! :D

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:36 am 
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Haha TCC, it's just a cheapo workbook from a random dollar store! My mom gave him a bunch of new ones for Christmas and he plows through those things so fast I can't stand spending much money on them anyway :) This one is a first grade level First Words, beginning to read book.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:39 am 
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Cool! Dollar store books fit my budget perfectly. ;D Our pound shops only seem to carry sudokus and crosswords, but I've heard some in other areas of Britain have a huge selection of workbooks. I also got a tip-off from a UK mum on-line that sometimes grocery stores have cheap workbooks, so I'm going to investigate next week when we hit the big city for our grocery shop. I need to stock up on cheap workbooks if I can find them because they are the best way to keep B out of trouble (forget TV for that, he still climbs on the mantlepiece and writes on the walls half the time my back is turned and the rest of the time he is running around the room like a wildman) and they keep him from writing on the walls. ;D

B did 70 minutes of homeschooling today! He finished the first maths booklet -- addition 1 through 6 -- and hardly made any mistakes (and they were all pretty much from him not paying enough attention). He was so excited to finish it.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:46 pm 
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That's great they the workbooks keep B occupied and out of trouble! What a good thing for him to be into!

Do you do hands on projects with him? He seems like he'd be really into detailed projects (based on what you've mentioned about him). Silas is never as quiet and calm as when he has a lego set to build. That's an expensive activity though, so we do all kinds of crazy things with him. Popsicle sticks and glue are kind of magic.

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