the network for radical unschooling families
HI! Wow its been a long time since I logged in.... Over 4 yrs from the ages I listed for my children. Im Chrissy! I am married to Larry and the mom of 2 teens, we live in IL. We have homeschooled from almost the beginning and unschooled for most of the time. I, when the kids were young felt very secure with them playing to learn, being who they are to thrive. I could tell you the value of video games, the power of staying up all night cause there was some marathon that had meaning to them and on and on. Now Im suffering from doubt. Part of it is we live rural and midwest... We have a homeschool group but its a very conservative group (lots of emphasis on being homeschool GENIUS'S) unschool is a dirty word and truthfully I live in the closet. Those that do talk about it use it to describe letting their kids choose what lessons to do what day of the week.
My oldest is entering highschool and I guess Im just looking for affirmation that doing nothing all day is OK!.... When I say nothing I mean nothing that looks like school! We read, we garden, we play video games, we write, we cook, we LIVE! Thanks and Im looking forward to connecting here again.
Hi Chrissy! I've been looking at my kids' spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health, and their own testimony and desires, as primary indicators if we were doing right for them or not. Things seem to be going OK.
I don't know what your "nothing" looks like. We do "nothing" school-like either, unless my kids decide they want to play the game "school" (very rare, but it used to happen). My kids play outside most the day, eat tons of food, dirty lots of clothes, help with chores, read books, watch television (well, Netflix), play video games (on phones, iPods, computers, other people's systems), go swimming, bike, walk, play sports, read, write, make art, sew, etc. It all seems to work out great! It's not really "nothing", you know?
I don't get the "genius" pressure placed on home educators. Geniuses don't seem any happier than non-genius people. I think I'm revealing where I fall on the continuum, at least when it comes to grammar. Anyway, hopefully you can connect with other homeschoolers/unschoolers who can help support you.
I've lived in that kind of community, and I know how it can seep into your soul. OK, that's a tad dramatic, but not having a community of unschoolers around you is tough. Having teens is not that much different from the other ages. They still need you, just in different ways. With 3 very different kids, we spent a lot of time out in the community doing things that one or two were interested in. And then sometimes I just took them with me to things I was interested in. We never really categorized our activities as "learning" or "non-learning"..."educational" or "fun." We just did stuff together.
So, looking at the list you've given...
Reading...do you go to plays or movie adaptations of the books you/they are reading? That's fun. Then go out for dessert afterwards to talk about the similarities/differences. Look for book clubs on themes that interest them. Or start one! You don't have to have that many people to make one interesting.
Gardening...how about Master Gardener programs to find out more about what grows in your area? Go to Farmer's Markets? Do you have Pinterest? There are TONS of cool gardening projects that might be fun to try!
Video Games....did you know there are video game camps that kids can go to? or even some of the conferences have giant group video game rooms and speakers on the topic.
Writing...do they write fan fiction? or have you seen some of the self-publishing companies like Blurb? http://www.blurb.com/ That would be fun to see some of the writing published! Joyce has an online writing list that sends out Story Starter kinds of things...Katie liked that for a while. (if it's still happening, idk)
Cooking...do you watch the cooking channels on TV and try new recipes/presentations? Maybe have a cooking party! Or make a Family Cookbook using all the recipes they like and want to always remember.
Life...family trips? Camping? Conferences? Waterparks? Day trips? Community service?
You didn't really ask for all this. And maybe you're already doing it all. But these are some ideas that worked for us. I found that the more I did stuff WITH them, the stronger our relationships were. And that's the bottom line, for me at least, anyway. ;)
Yes, my writing prompts blog is still going :-) Dragon Writing Prompts
The button on the right will deliver them by mail.
I come to this community by a bit of a round-about way but I am happy to be here. Even before we had our children, we were interested in new models of education. We had been exposed to graduates of our local school system, who were able to maintain a "B" average, while being functionally illiterate. We felt there was something lacking. The school is extremely small. Their 2012 graduating class of high school seniors was 6 students. They are certainly underfunded. Also, my husband and I both grew up in urban areas (we now live in isolated, rural wilderness) and attended large public schools, with graduating classes as large as 300 seniors. Each of us felt that we would have learned a lot more during our "school years", had we not been distracted by our peers and preferred having fun with them, to actually doing what we were supposedly in school to do.
Also, both my husband and my own self "came of age" at the tail end of the 1960s. We are "older" parents, coming to a decision to have a family late in life. I had a previous marriage; and I have a daughter and grandchildren also as a result of that. I had seen my husband with children and he was very good with them; but he thought that he did not want any children for his own self. He was grateful that I had "been there" and "done that". So, I was a bit blown away, when over Margaritas for our 10th wedding anniversary, he announced to me that he was reconsidering and believed that he actually did want to experience fatherhood. It turns out that we were at the reproductive 11th hour; and needed some assistance but we at least succeeded and now have 2 beautiful boys as a result. Coming to fatherhood, when my husband was personally ready, has given our children a wonderfully involved father.
Anyway, we always knew that we would home-school our children. We learned about un-schooling along the way. It fit more naturally with our unconventional lifestyle. We work at home. We are a very close-knit family, living in the equivalent of a one-room cabin of a farmhouse. Our children, at ages 8 and 11, have yet to spend a night away from having at least one parent nearby. They have never had a sitter. If we can't "bring them along", we don't go - even for business opportunities.
Our children are learning to read. They write stories of their own. They each have their own laptop and they are as "natural" at THEIR work, as we are at our own, alongside them. They are learning all the time. Mostly, they learn how to find the information that they need, to satisfy either curiosity, or to complete some project of their own natural interests.
Simeon, at 11 yrs of age, is our artist; and must be creating all the time - whether it is producing and directing his own movies, creating gourmet food for himself or all of us, making jewelry, taking nature photos or sculpting miniatures - creativity oozes from him. His is truly an artist's soul.
Treston, will be 8 in July. He has yet to meet anything electronic that he could not figure out for his own self, without our assistance. He is an avid gamer with Wii or online. He began to read without effort the first time he tried, around the age 3 or 4. He loves math and science. He is more independent about entertaining himself and more adaptable and flexible than his more high-strung, older brother; and Treston is fearless - physically - and will go up against his brother with no seeming awareness of any difference in size or age.
I guess this is a good "beginning introduction" to our un-schooling family.