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?
And THAT is why I love unschooling! It's changed not only my life, but my kids lives.
It's very interesting to see my 5yr old at little athletics because he's never taken instructions from an instructor and he is quite shy in most circumstances. I can see that I will have to really support him until he can start acting like a little sheeple like the other kids lol The other kids in the group have all been to day care and some are in school already (they seem so young!?) Watching him as the teacher talked to them in his first class was hilarious, he had NO idea, he looked like a space cadet. If I were a schooling parent it might worry me, but it heartens me to know that he isn't phased by authority, he's almost unaware of it, but once he cottons on he'll love this activity. As a side not, it was very interesting when they offered stickers for them and he came and asked me what the relationship between stickers and running was *snicker*
This is a very interesting subject! I really would like to stick around and talk unschooling with you all, but I must say, I haven't felt very welcome so far.
Cool! Glad the forum makes more sense :-)
Sorry to be coming late to the party but I just noticed the latest reply to this thread. Here's our recent experience.
Our niece was having a terrrible time in school. Her mom and my wife, Ronnie, were chatting and she commented that it would be nice if Emma (the kid in question) could be at our house. Ronnie extended that discussion and she and I talked later and Emma started "unschooling" with us.
Yes, I put unschooling in quotes. Here's why. Emma gets dropped at our house were we live as unschoolers and therefore she partakes of that lifestyle. Then, in the evening, her mom picks her up and she goes home, to a very controlling, micromanaging, antagonistic environment. There have also been a couple of things where mom's control of Emma extended to activities in our environment.
So, you tell me, is Emma really unschooling?
I will say that her life is much better than it was when she was in school. That alone is worthwhile.
The kids who will get the most benefits from unschooling are those who are radically unschooling.
The further the environment moves from radical unschooling, the more the benefits decrease. But the more good stuff a child gets, the less bad stuff he gets, the greater the benefits over school.
But if unschooling is redefined to be whatever a parent is doing, the benefits of unschooling don't automatically come with the label!
The benefits come from understanding the what and the why of what humans need to thrive and learn and providing that: support, trust, respect, a rich environment where they can explore their interests and have access to new interests, parents who are interested in life and in their kids and keep interesting things swirling through their lives, parents who are partners and guides to their kids, who protect them from the world and protect the world from them, parents who can be involved as much as the kids need them to.
It's just easier to label that collection of ideas radical unschooling than to write it all out everytime. ;-) If someone's "unschooling" doesn't include all those ingredients, they won't get all the benefits that people get from the above definition by labeilng what they do unschooling.
Just as putting a handful of vitamins and minerals into a pill and calling it a multi-vitamin won't give someone the same benefits as a multi-vitamin with a full complement of daily recommended doses. (Which may not be as good a fit for healthy bodies as radical unschooling is a great fit for learning minds but going there would belabor the point and mess up the analogy ;-)