the network for radical unschooling families
Of course, there's a lot of other ways to get those skills: needlepoint, art, all sorts of ways. And you don't have to learn them at a specific age or anything!
I viewed the video on what motivates us and what an eyeopener! I love this forum! I have learned so much!
Joyce Fetteroll said:
** Normally, I usually always side with the Moms regardless. **
I believe people here should make thoughtful choices and "side" with what makes logical sense for unschooling.
** Why would you want Lukas to have to wait to depend on someone else when he could just do it his self? Independence is freedom. **
An unschooling environment should be a rich one where kids are encountering a wide variety of potential interests. My daughter saw a fair amount of cursive as she grew up.
The beauty of unschooling is if a child stumbles across something they want to know more about, they can explore it themselves or ask. Moms should be aware and offer more if a child seems interested.
** Besides the short simplicity of that answer, the very long, complex, scientific answer is **
Are these scientists studying their own kids that they're raising at home in a rich, supportive environment with parents who are connected to their kids and their kids' interests?
If not, then I assume they're studying institutionalized kids. Kids who are taken out of the real world and put in artificial environments with a single adult responsible for helping them learn. The findings in the environment have nothing to do with living and learning in the real world.
(I think it's quite interesting that people are seeing kids who are lacking fine motor skills as schools are pushing academics into earlier and earlier grades. It used to be kids spent their early years in school cutting and working with clay and lacing cards. But that wasn't seen as good enough learning. So now they're doing reading and math readiness in kindergarten and preschool. And then wonder why kids hate math and aren't as dexterous as they expect them to be.)
The parents here are, in effect, studying their kids who are growing and learning in the real world accessed from their homes. The parents here are responsive to their kids' needs. The environments aren't desks where children are trapped for hours a day. They're real environments where people are doing real things that involve the skills that people need to live life and explore interests. There's no reason a child won't be using their fine motor skills living at home, interacting with real world objects throughout the day.
** The stop and start movements in printing do not encourage those muscles to develop endurance or "flow" as cursive writing teaches. These same muscles are the ones that help children with manipulating clothing fasteners (Can they button and tie their shoes well?) **
Why would people need artificial ways to develop muscles they'll need in the real world? It seems odd that anyone would suggest that it isn't until someone reaches adulthood that they would need to use fine motor skills and then think that children need taught cursive so they can be surgeons. These people -- or the children themselves -- are way too removed from the real world to think or see clearly.
** Cursive also teaches spatial skills as we automatically leave spaces between words while writing in cursive. **
And cursive is the only way to learn that? People couldn't reason specially before cursive was wide spread?
That's the problem with seeing learning through school lenses. If it's accepted that schools have a lock on how to develop skills then school ways seem necessary. If people step back away from school and see that these skills are a natural part of life in a rich environment that's free for exploring as the child's interests spark him, then school isn't necessary.
** This helps to develop visual skills in a way that video games/electronics cannot reinforce. **
You state that as fact. It's obvious you've never explored the worlds created for video games. The spatial thinking needed to navigate the levels and worlds is far superior to anything that schools can offer. The math available is numbers and concepts being used for real purposes. The reading is words being used to provide information needed to solve the puzzles.
** Also, if children never learn how to write in cursive, they may also struggle to read cursive writing like Lucas if not taught. **
If they *want* to read it, mom is there to help as much as they want her to. Schools suggest that help prevents kids from learning. What unschoolers know from experience is that kids only ask for as much help as they want. If it's something interesting or important *to them* they want to be competent at it and will ask for less and less help as they gain knowledge.
IF you haven't seen the TED talk on Drive, please do. (It's not too long and cleverly animated.) It will help you understand unschooling better:
** So much of what is written in historical documents will be as a foreign language to him. **
In school if someone misses a week when a one time topic is covered, they're (supposedly) out of luck.
In real life, all topics are available essentially all the time. One of the big advantages is that kids can -- and come to fully embrace -- learn anything they want whenever they decide they need it.
If he's interested in historical documents he can learn to read cursive. My daughter encountered maybe a couple dozen or so cursive letters and notes in her years at home. She pushed through them because she wanted to. Cursive was a curious, intriguing puzzle to her and the notes were of interest. She asked for help when a word baffled her. By the time she was 18 she had enough experience with a wide variety of fonts and different ways letters could look, enough experience with contextual clues that she could read any cursive she encountered.
That's how natural learning works.
** Once we start cursive writing lessons, their overall fine motor dexterity improves significantly. They also improve their reading skills as they learn to see how letters form to connect words rather than writing individual letters that may not be connected at all by their visual systems. Most importantly, their self-esteem improves as they are proud of their work that looks "grown-up" in comparison to many of their peers. **
This is undoubtedly true of kids in school. If they're being compared to standards, being compared to other kids and told they aren't as good, then mastering the skills can be a boost. (It can also be soul crushing when they keep trying and continue to fail.)
In real life, kids don't need to be compared. They can learn in whatever order strikes them. If a child isn't writing cursive at 15, it's not a big deal. If they decide it is, then their desire for it will drive them to suck in the knowledge.
In real life, kids don't need to read on someone else's schedule. Unschoolers know that kids are learning in ways that schools can't support and that are much better for learning some knowledge than reading.
** Let's not handicap our students **
We don't have students here. We have kids learning and growing through their interests at home. If you come to an unschooling convention I can guarantee you won't find a teen that's lacking in motor and visual coordination skills!
** Let's not limit their future career choices because they don't have good fine motor coordination. **
If you think people here care more about a philosophy than they do their kids, then you should flee!
If you believe we do care, then you will learn more about how unschooling worlds by asking how kids develop motor skills and so forth rather than assuming we're living in lala land no even noticing our kids can't use their fingers or order blocks so they aren't touching or some such.
** Cursive handwriting practice does so much more than take up precious time to learn, but actually enhances skills in many other areas. **
In school where opportunities are limited to the poor, artificial tools allowed in the classroom then artificial means are needed to develop skills that would normally be acquired naturally.
** It would hurt more not to learn cursive than to learn. The true question is........ SO, WHY NOT? **
Because it's being done in response to fears that aren't real rather than for real world reasons. If you read about the history of cursive, you'll find it was developed for dip pens because they worked better when kept in contact with the paper. That hasn't been true of commonly used writing instruments for over 50 years. As cursive continued to be taught beyond the mechanical need of it, a myth developed that it was faster. John Holt believed it. He challenged some kids to a race. He found that printing was actually faster.
This discussion is timely for us. I have had nagging feelings too about my son not learning cursive and even his overall penmanship. I have said it before; "just when my fears take hold something happens and I am re-assured all is good!" Last week I came home to find my husband had purchased a stack of workbooks for S to learn to "write". It seems that S was not happy with his handwritting. He expressed this and his father asked him "would you like to do something about that?" So together they decided to try some workbooks. It's really cool what happens when you just let go!
To reinforce this point... I was playing a game similar to yahtzee involving poker hands built from a set of six six-sided dice. At one point in the game, a fellow player remarked on the fact that we'd had several straights rolled, and made the statement that such hands are as rare as rolling six of a kind.
I immediately questioned this statement, because it did not ring true in my ear. I said I didn't think that was the case, and he assured me that it was. I then pointed out that there are multiple configurations of the dice that could lead to a straight, whereas there is only one configuration that can give you six of a given type. His response was to tell me that nevertheless, the odds were the same, and that I should trust him because he had a degree in statistics.
I then did the math in my head and presented it to him.
To roll six of a kind, all dice must match, so while the first die may be any result from 1-6, giving six possibilities, the following dice must show the same result as the first, making the number of result combinations which provide the player with this hand 6*1*1*1*1*1 = 6 in 6 to the sixth. When rolling a straight, each die result need only be any result that has not shown on any previous die, making the number of possible combinations 6*5*4*3*2*1 = 720 out of the 6 to the sixth possible outcomes of rolling six six-sided dice, and the odds are therefore not the same.
He looked at it, admitted that I was correct, and asked if I was also a mathematician. I told him I was nothing of the sort, and never took a math class higher than high school trig, but I am an afficionado of tabletop roleplaying games, wargames, and other strategy games that involve dice based probability, and that you have to develop an intuitive grasp of statistical probability and odds to really master such things.
Practical, applied experience: 1, Academia: 0
Edit: I should also point out that I was quite respectful with this, before anyone misinterprets. I did not gloat about it, and when I laid out the math to him I phrased it in a non-confrontational manner. It went something along the lines of: "I don't mean to question your experience, but my understanding is that the odds are different because... <insert math>... Could you show me where my analysis is in error?"
Joyce Fetteroll said:
** This helps to develop visual skills in a way that video games/electronics cannot reinforce. **
You state that as fact. It's obvious you've never explored the worlds created for video games. The spatial thinking needed to navigate the levels and worlds is far superior to anything that schools can offer. The math available is numbers and concepts being used for real purposes. The reading is words being used to provide information needed to solve the puzzles
Cursive is outdated and useless. I hated learning it, cos I wrote it pretty messy and would have to redo it over.