the network for radical unschooling families
A thread on facebook prompted me to wonder: can you unschool with a nanny? The "short answer" I'm pretty sure, is "yes" but I'm interested in discussing the nuances of that and other situations where unschooling is complicated by the addition of "extra parents". I'm a stepmom, so I've been through some complications with unschooling across a divorce, and I know there are families who rely on extended family, grandparents in particular, to help with the kids and I know there are families who have brought unrelated teens into unschooling homes. What are some of the challenges and some of the ways folks handle unschooling when there are other parents or other people's children in the mix?
Meredith, the topic can still unfold, but I wanted to say that I think the facebook-discussion nanny was a fiction, a bit of sarcasm, because someone had said she needed to be with her kids and couldn't let the timer take care of them.
As to real situations, I think it makes a BIG difference who's paying the rent or the mortgage.
I figure that life is unschooling, school is schooling, so as long as the kids are living and not attending a school they're unschooling! I see no reason that you can't unschool with a nanny as long as the nanny isn't instructing the kids on some crazy curriculum.
My x partner kicked up a fuss about me pulling our daughter out of school but he vanished not long afterwards. She's now a teenager and just loves life! She attends girl guides and little athletics which are quite schooly in the way they expect rigid obedience, but my daughter finds her own way around the stuff she doesnt' like. For example at her induction ceremony at the guides, she refused to swear allegiance to god, and instead swore to be a good guide. The elderly leader was quite challenged by it, but the younger one came to me later and said she really admired my daughter for sticking to her own personal values.
I just noticed this question, so thought I would contribute:
Our daughter is now 6.5, and we have had an aupair since she was 3. (We've had 5 girls so far come and live with our family. They have been Canadian, Swedish and Estonian nationalities). Aupairs don't have as much work time as full-time as a nanny, just 5 hrs max weekdays, totally no more than 30 hrs per week.
We weren't fully moved into Unschooling at the beginning, but we have been for a good year and a half now. I have spent quite a bit of time during the screening/interviewing process explaining the kind of "homeschooling" we do, and then send the candidate a 7 page doc that outlines "the way we living together at our house". If she is open to the way we live, "gets it", is inspired, motivated by our approach, then we proceed with the interviewing.
Since we moved into Unschooling, our last 2 aupairs have had a very good experience with our family, as did we with their presence in our home.
I spend time talking with them about the way we approach things, offer them Sandra's Book to read, etc and we just work through things as we go along. Main importance is their willingness to not just cite rules and reinforce what parents dictate in their absence, and wanting to have a relationship based on respect, love, learning and exploration with our daughter :)
*** life is unschooling ***
Everyone who's not dead is living life. A chunk of many of those lives are spent in school. Unschooling is closer to living as though school didn't exist, but even that doesn't capture what unschoolers do instead.
*** athletics which are quite schooly in the way they expect rigid obedience ***
Even if school didn't exist some groups need obedience to function as a unit and do their jobs. If the leader says "Go there, do that," to one person in the group because others are depending on them, they darn well better "go there, do that."
Learning flourishes with choices in support of interests and support for those choices. What makes schools not support how humans learn naturally is in dictating what, when and how someone must learn something.
*** For example at her induction ceremony ***
It might be helpful to see that as her making a choice she thought about rather than as an example of disobedience.
Disobedience is refusing to do what someone is told to do. While thoughtful reactions against an order might be called disobedience, disobedience is also characterized by knee-jerk responses to control. They are last straw, can't take it any more reactions that may not be good choices in that moment!
This forum is different than what is generally expected of a forum. As with any new place, it helps to get to know it first.
The purpose of this forum is dissection of ideas. The dissection is offered for anyone who is interested (which may or may not be the original poster). The criteria ideas are dissected under is whether they'll help someone make better unschooling choices or hinder them. The purpose of a French restaurant is to serve French food. People shouldn't get upset at a place for doing what it has set out to do.
I'm sorry that many people automatically assume that all forums are social groups. I'm sorry the forum looks exactly like a social group.
Words posted are taken as written. To dissect ideas they need to be. 10 years from now the original posters may not be around to explain what they really meant. Readers will read the words as written without further explanation. So the words are treated as people will likely read them now and 10 years from now.
Every post is assumed to be offers of unschooling ideas for anyone reading (not merely the original poster). Every post is treated as ideas separate from who posted them. The forum can be an uncomfortable place for people who can't also see their ideas as existing separate from themselves. Just as a French restaurant is an uncomfortable place for people who don't like French food.
I'm sorry that "dissection of ideas" forums look just like social forums. I'm sorry they're so uncommon that most people don't even realize they should check first.
Those who enjoy the dissection of ideas find these kind of forums absolutely invaluable to their growing understanding of unschooling. Those who don't generally would rather have hot needles driven under their fingernails.
I'm really sorry about that.
I thoroughly enjoy the dissection of ideas, it's why I'm an unschooling parent. It's quite difficult to come to this lifestyle without some deconstruction of our society wouldn't you agree?
Your second response is beyond absurd in its patronising tone. Perhaps before you take it upon yourself to dissect other people's words you could clarify what their words mean, because you have misinterpreted me and re-worded a heap of what I said to no avail.
Firstly as I said above. I do not view her behaviour as disobedient, I view it as a sign the unchooling is working because my child is unafraid to stand up for her beliefs and respectfully question authority.
With the other points you made about my post you have simply taken my words and added your own slant to them. I would agree with you whole heartedly if you had not been patronising. I hardly need you to explain that some institutions need authority, that's quite obvious. I wouldn't call that dissection at all, I'd call it stating the obvious for no good reason.
Also, why do you think I need you to explain the philosophy of unschooling to me? I did that quite adequately in my own words. You re explained what I stated and called it dissection and now tell me that I'm mistaking this forum for a social chit chat forum when actually you are playing semantics with the words of a new member.
As I said: Try getting to know me and don't presume anything about me until then.
I read the rules of this forum thoroughly and one of them is "Don't Hijack" so let's try and stick to the topic at hand and not discuss individual posts in a manner which has nothing to do with the original post.
The forum's for unschooling discussion. Discussing unschooling isn't hijacking.
If I misinterpreted your words, that' unfortunate since it means what I wrote might be totally useless to you!
But what I wrote is true about unschooling and might be useful for someone reading. I'm writing about unschooling ideas. I riffed off words that were posted on the forum. You keep insisting I'm writing about you.
It wouldn't help anyone to figure out unschooling if I wrote about you! It might not even help you since I don't know you.
But I do know English. I do know unschooling. I can extract ideas from writing -- sometimes mistakenly extract them! -- and pull them apart and examine them under an unschooling light. And people can read them. Or pass them by.
Many people get damaged by control and see disobedience to anything they disagree with as a hard won privilege. If you don't, cool! That's a roadblock you thankfully don't have to get around. But it doesn't change the fact that many people do have that roadblock and thinking about the difference between disobedience and thoughtful, respectful decisions is useful for them.
Many people lump everything they disliked about school under "Things that make school a bad place for my kids" So it helps people make more thoughtful choices about life to think about what really causes the damage and what is just something schools do to operate. For instance, it's not sitting at a desk all day that interferes with learning. Millions of people do that at work (and learn stuff in the process). Even college students who've chosen to go sit at desks. What gets in the way is lack of choice.
If you don't like my writing style, best to skip to someone else then to avoid the irritation! I promise I won't write about you (or anyone.) I'll only write about unschooling ideas. And people can look at them or not. Their choice.
Discussing unschooling isn't hijacking.
Nor is going off on unschooling-related tangents.
Discussing someone's posting style, however, is a sort of hijacking as it removes the focus from the topic of unschooling. Not every writing style will appeal to every reader. Not every person learns about unschooling the same way, and so not every person will find this format useful.
I do not view her behaviour as disobedient, I view it as a sign the unchooling is working because my child is unafraid to stand up for her beliefs and respectfully question authority.
A couple weeks ago, Mo went to a sleepover which segued into a trip to play laser tag. The "catch" was that she had worn a floor length, ruffled black velvet dress to the sleepover - not the best outfit for laser tag with its assorted sensor garments and lots of running around, but Mo was firm in her desire to wear the dress. I brought her a couple changes of clothes to take along (I didn't go along for tag) in case she changed her mind, but the mom who was hosting the fun and transporting all the kids decided to sit Mo down and have a little talk with her. Mo tends to be shy and not much of a talker, btw, but when the mom expressed that her primary concern was for Mo's comfort, she replied "If you're concerned about my comfort, you'll drop this subject." Under the circumstances, and knowing just how rude my daughter can be to Me at times, I was pretty impressed that she was able to stand up to another adult on her own, and not be obnoxious about it. The mom in question, used to my "shy" girl, was impressed too.
It's marvelous to get to see kids stand up for their own values, like that. Of course, some schooled and homeschooled kids do that too, but one of the great things about unschooling is that I'm not plagued with the idea that this is something Mo was taught, or learned as a result of "having to" deal with adults in school. She learned by watching and listening and interacting with other people mostly on her own terms and making choices about what was most important to her in the moment. That's exciting.