the network for radical unschooling families
We have a 12 yr old son who is currently using Time4Learning. We (my wife and I) do not feel it is challenging him enough. We also are not Christian so we do not want to use a Christian based curriculum. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good non-secular or Jewish curriculum that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
Robert and Corinne
The subject line says your son likes learning on line. Do you mean he prefers doing a curriculum on line to doing a curriculum out of books as his two options? Choosing kidney over liver when you don't like either isn't the same as liking kidney. Or do you mean he's tried exploring through hands on, interacting with others who have the same interests, videos, games, real books, museums and so forth and he's rejected all those for an on line curriculum?
If that's so, what do you mean by you and your wife don't feel it's challenging him enough? What are *his* feelings? What options are available to him? What does he want to do? What are his goals? What are his interests? How does he want to explore them?
If the curriculum is your idea, the people here aren't good resources. You'll want to find a curriculum site or eclectic site. Radical unschooling is a way for parents to support and facilitate their *kids'* interests not the parents interests for their kids.
This isn't a good place to ask about specific curricula - totally off topic on a radical unschooling forum and as a moderator I'd like to ask any suggestions in that vein be sent privately to keep the forum on topic.
If you want to learn more about how unschooling works, you're welcome to ask or to read any of these sites to get you started:
There's also a thread with various descriptions of radical unschooling here at RUN:
Ray had a couple years where he enjoyed learning online - he spent many of his waking hours playing Runescape. Many other unschoolers enjoy similar online role playing games - World of Warcraft is so popular there are unschooling guilds and such, and there are other online games enjoyed by younger kids, too. Plus with all the new live options for video games, there's getting to be more online sociablility available to kids who otherwise might not be attracted to things like email or facebook.
So there's a radical unschooling suggestion if your son likes learning online: get him a WoW account (get him a month trial package before you sign up for a whole year). And now you know what flavor the kool aid is around here ;)
Ray didn't like WoW all that much, compared to Runescape. He liked the format of Runescape better and found it easier to interact with people he didn't know. Runescape is simpler and has simpler graphics. So there are differences and some people will prefer one over the other. I definitely recommend the month trial package if you're thinking about switching from something else to Wow. If nothing else, its a whole new system to learn, and that can be daunting if he's gotten comfortable and settled in the way Runescape works.
To reply privately, people will need to become "friends" on RUN so they can send you private messages. The topic can also be closed or deleted by the person who starts it or a moderator, but we prefer not to do that unless things get way off topic or folks start getting rude and personal. If people want to discuss what kind of learning happens in online games - if that's something you'd like some reassurance about or have some worries about your kid spending "too much time playing games" its well worth asking seasoned unschoolers how we got past those fears and messages from the wider world most of which are very negative toward gaming.
Ray loved the "commerce" aspect of Runescape - loved to buy and sell in that virtual world, I mean, although he also had one of the neighbor kids pay him to get his character to a higher level. He enjoyed the fact that he could buy something via one server (world? domain? he hasn't played in a year or two so its fading) and then sell the same item via another server and make more money.
It has also amazed me both with online games and video games how much my kids will really work at a task that's difficult and frustrating when they value the goal. I think of that anytime someone asks "how will your kids ever do something they don't like if you don't make them?"