Archive for the ‘Discoveries of a Radical Unschooler’ Category

Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler/ Why I Pay For Virtual World Memberships

June 11, 2012

I have already wrote a post on what reading looks like in our home so some of this may be repetitive.

When first making the transition into radical unschooling it can be hard wrapping your brain around how children will learn certain things. Trust is a word you will hear a lot and if you have not taken the steps to properly deschool *yourself* you may miss the beauty of seeing a child learn these “things” all on their own.

I can understand the confusion (and fears) some have of not believing a child will *want* to learn to read, write, do math, chores, and any other thing you could throw in there as having been there myself. Just like both of my girls learned to talk and walk when the time was right for them, children*will* learn to read and write too.

I hear and see those new on this path struggling with buying computer games or cute little curriculum packages that promise your children great results but you do not NEED any of this stuff for a child to learn. They will learn naturally by doing the things that interest them the most.

So for the sake of this post, what *is* reading?

Many people, especially in the homeschooling world, get caught up in the idea that reading means books. However that is not *just* what reading means. I love how Sandra Dodd explains the process of when her children first learned to “read”. She explains that if a child was not able to read a note that she had left on the refrigerator then they were NOT readers. Being able to recite Green Eggs and Ham does not mean a child can read.

Out of our 3 children (22, 11, & 6) 2 of them are “readers”. One is still making connections to the written word but is not a reader. Little Sis *knows* lots and lots of words but still struggles with some too. Instead of spending TONS of money on a reading program, because you can *not* make a child read before they are ready(you can not *make* a child learn anything if they are not interested. Regurgitating information for a test is not *real* learning), I bought a CD of all the funny Letter People songs($10.00), watched episodes of The Letter People on YouTube with her(free), invested in some refrigerator magnets($5.00) that the girls like to use to leave messages with, we play games with her, follow what interests her and help facilitate more things she might like.

All that money I saved from buying curriculum materials and supplies I am able to spend on the things she loves like virtual world memberships (like Wizard 101, Animal Jam) , video games, card games, magazines, puzzle books and Elephant and Piggie books.

I facilitate the love of reading by snuggling in bed when she wants to read a story and giving her my time to help answer her questions. Oh and I DON”T place negative judgement on her interests. (We are living in the 21st century we need to get past the idea books are the *only* way to enjoy a great story! Have you followed the storylines of any video games lately? Man how far they’ve come since Pac-Man.)

When she asks how to spell a word I don’t say “sound it out”, or “look it up” or spell it by stretching out each letter sound, “Pen, Pah Eh NNN” , how annoying that would be if someone did this to me every time I asked how to spell a word, we spell it for her. After a few times she has it down. When she needs help reading something on one of her games, we help read it for her. After a few times she figures it out. When she needed help on Animal Jam talking with the other kids or spelling out messages, we took the time to sit by her side and helped with what she needed.

The more she does what she loves, the more she *wants* to read, write, and spell all on her own. The more supportive, peaceful, and loving her environment is the more she learns. This goes for *all* of us and for all “subjects”!

Children *love* to learn. The problem comes when *we* start getting ideas in our mind of *how* that learning should look. We begin listening to so-called “experts” instead of listening and watching our children.

I have yet to meet anyone who is exactly like me, why would I assume my girls would be?




Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler/ Let’s Hear It For The Dads!

March 27, 2012

Something that I was not expecting to happen along on this journey ,into radical unschooling ,was that the relationship I had with my husband would get better too. Yes, I understood how healing the relationship with my children would greatly help unschooling to flourish in our home but our marriage too? That was an unexpected bonus.

Last Thursday was my husbands birthday, so he was home with us a couple more days than usual. Sometimes I think we take for granted the role dad plays in homeschooling. I know I sure do!

In my last post I talked about me, mine, my “success” in homeschooling our girls as a career but failed to mention that without the continued support of my husband there is NO way I could do what I do.

First of all I could not homeschool the girls if it wasn’t for all the overtime he puts in at his job and let’s not forget all the *crap* he has to put up with *at* his job or all the *socialized* “difficult” people always riding his ass ( I don’t care where you work, there always seems to be *one* of those types).

Then there are all those “extra” ideas we have come up with to earn money for supplies, yeah couldn’t have done ANY of those without his help.

But *most* of all, that he has ALWAYS unconditionally stood beside me no matter WHAT my decisions have been.

When I mentioned the idea of homeschooling, he had complete confidence in me (more than my own). When I explained Waldorf education, he didn’t hesitate to support me 100% (even after talk of getting rid of our television and he LOVES Nascar folks). When Waldorf education blew up in my face, he never once said “see I knew this wouldn’t work or see I told you so”, nope he tells me to stop beating myself up over it, “it happened, we learned from it now let’s move on”.

Now I explain this thing called radical unschooling. Do I get any “Now babe remember what happened with Waldorf” or ” Are you sure this is going to work” ? Nope not from my husband. He is “reading a little, trying a little , waiting a while and watching ” right along with me (I love this man so!).

With unschooling there is no teacher. There is no me drawing a picture on the board or me planning out lessons and picking out spelling words. It is us ,as a family ,living and learning *together*. Unschooling is not “child-led”, where you wait for your child to show an interest in something. It is us, as a family, sharing and living “our” interests *together*.

Example, Papa right now is really into the history of baseball. We have been watching all kinds of baseball documentaries, movies, and doing internet searches around here lately. Me or the girls have no interest in this topic at all, not now anyway, but when unschooling you share and learn to enjoy each others interests too (even if the only thing keeping you connected is seeing the love the other person is showing for that interest).

“Strewing” in our home isn’t just for the girls. Now I look for things that *every* member of our family might enjoy while out and about, like books on baseball. The girls even surprised me once too.(It’s kind of contagious 🙂 )

So now that there is no “teacher” in our home, I am no longer the only one running our ship (even though I never was). I may be the one posting about our days but I most certainly could *not* unschool without the help of my husband.

When I am busy with dishes,

my husband is there. When I am busy “listening” to a story and dinner needs to get started, he is there to start it.

When someone is feeling left out and needs some extra attention,he is there. When I am busy sharing in a child’s interest and we are running low on milk, he is there to pick some up.

When one child shows an interest in something I know nothing about,he is there.

He is *always* there, he *always* has been and it’s about damn time I thanked him for it!

Babe, thank you for being you! You are *better* than what I have ever wished forand we love you!

Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler/So What Is Math Anyway?

March 6, 2012

The next unschooling “tools” post this week is all about math. Since we began to radical unschool I don’t like separating learning into “subjects”. I am pretty sure this is *not* what Stephanie’s posts were meant to do by the way(though If I am wrong please tell me so 🙂 ) but to be more of  a “guide” of what we like or what we do sort of thing.

Well I decided to write a pre-post not just to hook up with Ordinary Life Magic this week but to also address some of family members concerns.

The word math to some people is a dirty word. Bring the subject up to my childhood best friend and she will honestly reply she hates it(still today). We both have some pretty bad memories of math classes (and teachers) we took together. We even failed some together too :).

So what does failing math courses mean to us today? Absolutely nothing.We both have managed to live in the real world doing real everyday tasks. I still can balance our families budget and I have always done our taxes. The knowledge that I have *needed* to live I’ve picked up along the way. See learning doesn’t get harder just because you get older but to get back to my original question, What is math?

Some people think math is worksheets or memorizing endless facts only to forget them later. Though some may think that, math is *really* about being able to solve a problem or what mathematicians like to call “word problems”.

All the pre-made equations like 5+7, or 35×34, or 857/ 30 are not *real* math, they are *just* pre-made equations that you practice over and over until hopefully you get it right by test time. Being honest this is something that took me awhile to understand.

Like my friend, Miss Sky is not shy about expressing her feelings about math either. This battle was actually what helped me decide to finally unschool. Miss Sky and I would go round and round about her math workbooks until one of us was in tears (TEARS). I quickly saw how *I*, me was the one causing her to hate math.

“Why do I have to do this?” She would ask over and over and all my school trained mind could say was “because, you *need* to know this!” Then one night, sadly to say after more tears, I started to question why she *did* have to do “this” (as in worksheets and workbooks). Why did she have to memorize her times tables or learn long division, and why did she “have to” learn it *now*?

Math is everywhere, there is no escaping it. I can honestly say we use it everyday. Sometimes I think we use it so much we don’t even realize we *are* doing “math”. This morning I needed to make breakfast for every member in our household (4 of us at the moment). I used math to make sure everyone got enough eggs. I didn’t stop and think “oh I just used math”, I just did it.

So if that is the case then why *should* math be a separate part of living, and if I don’t “teach” my children math how will my children ever be able to get into college?

Simple, just like my childhood best friend and I or my husband( who needs to know precise measurements to do his job daily), or my sister who has her own business, they will pick up what they need to know.

Let’s say Miss Sky *wants* to be a zoologist, then like everybody else that wants to go into that field she will learn the subjects to make that happen. She can do this several ways. She can sign up for remedial college math courses, she could get a tutor, she could find materials to help her learn these things like buy a curriculum or check out books from the library or use Kahn Academy. The difference is I am not *making*her learn them. She would do it because *she* wants to and know what else, she wouldn’t have all the negative baggage that my childhood best friend or I have about math.

Children *love* to learn.

All my girls are *very* smart individuals. Our oldest (21) is living 2000 miles away supporting herself and her boyfriend while he attends college all on their own (something she did *not* learn from school by the way).That is HUGE!

My girls have the *whole* world opened up to them not just the “school” world. My job is to help them find ways of making their dreams come true and to support them in those decisions. The rest is really up to them, but isn’t that true for everyone?

So what *does* “math” look like in our home? That will have to wait for my next post. 🙂

Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler / This Moment

January 30, 2012

Something I have come to understand about radical unschooling is there are different steps one takes to “getting it”.

The first very much-needed step is deschooling (one month for every year in school including being homeschooled and not *just* for the children). This is one step that can not in any way be skipped.

I have already wrote posts about my deschooling “discoveries”. Actually after going back and reading past posts of when we first decided to unschool I can see how much we have not only changed but grew as a family since then. Now I “get it” why it would be silly to separate math from the rest of our day, but first *I* needed to see that math is already included in our everyday living before I could understand that.

Other steps I understand now that are important to take if one is serious about radical unschooling are healing the relationship with your kids(this one was HUGE for me, and not only with my girls but with my husband too). That even though some choices I may have made in the past were made with the best intentions they were not the best for my children. Miss Sky and I had trust issues to work through and many times she “tested” me to make sure I was serious about changing. Oh and speaking about change, another good step is transitioning  into radical unschooling gradually. If you didn’t “allow” television in your home before, letting go of limits all at once could possibly cause a knee-jerk reaction from your children( and yes it may seem that all they want to do everyday is watch television because it was such a big no-no before).

Now to get on with my current “ah ha” discovery. When reading something either from Sandra Dodd’s radical unschooling website or being a member of her Always Learning e-list you more than likely will hear her mention living “moment to moment” or “in the moment”. Sounds simple right? Well coming from a big planner like myself it wasn’t until watching an episode of ,The Style Networks, Clean House that her words hit me smack in the face.

If you are not familiar with the show, a group of people go into a families very cluttered house and help them get rid of stuff they don’t need to make their home livable again. Well it was when the garage sale guy, sorry his name escapes me at the moment, asked one of the homeowners ” is this serving a purpose right now?” that *I* came to understand what living moment to moment means to radical unschooling.

It means to stop buying, in my case, books that the girls *may* want to read in the future.(Remember this picture?)

It means not saying things like “I will not read my children “twaddle” or I will *only* read my children “the classics”. Why? Because your children are not you.

It means being so connected to your children you understand what they might like or don’t like. Like both girls *love* Martha Speaks right now at “this moment” and taking a trip to Barnes and Noble( or the library) to pick up a copy of the books by Susan Meddaugh.

It means picking up some Pinata apples from the store to try because your family *loves* apples.

It means not planning out a whole “school” year a year in advance or purchasing next years supplies because you don’t know what will happen next year.

It means not worrying about college now when your children are not even teenagers yet (Who said you *have* to go to college at 18, My dad and aunt went to college in thier 30s, and 40s. My neighbor is going to college now in her 50s).

It means living each day, hour, minute, second moment to moment present with your family.

How many precious moments I will never get back because I spent SO much time worrying about the next school year or spent SO much time on the computer researching a  “philosophy” when I should have been living with my wonderful family.

Time is so very precious and I don’t want to waste one more minute worrying about something that no one knows the outcome to.

It means it’s time for me to get living now :).

Life is good, wishing everyone a happy Monday!

Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler/ Conversations

December 8, 2011

Sometimes weeks go by and it may seem like not much is going on around here, and sometimes this is true. Sometimes I don’t exactly post everything that takes place. Sometimes there is SO much more happening behind the scenes that the girls have asked me not to write about, and I respect their right to privacy.

To me it’s during these precious moments that I feel most connected to my girls and can really see the benefits of Radical Unschooling at work.  I feel I should somehow mention how important these conversations play a part in our week without  violating my girls trust in me.

I can not stress enough how glad I am to have lifted all limits off of media but most of all especially the television. I know I have posted before about the great television debate going on in the world of homeschoolers but this time I thought I would write more about what *I* have discovered since lifting the bans.

Sometimes I think when we mention the words children and unlimited  exposure to media in a sentence the first image that pops up  is one of children sitting in front of the TV with their eyes glued like as if in a trance. I know I use to think that anyway.

I guess it’s because that *is* how many children look like when getting home from school after being in a classroom for 6 to 8 hours a day. Add this with parents using television as a way to occupy children so they themselves can get things done around the house it is no wonder it’s received such a bum rap.

I however want to project a different image, imagine television actually bringing your family closer together. It did ours.

As part of my pledge to work on our families relationship this year Papa and I decided to introduce a few of our favorite sitcoms to the girls. No longer feeling the need to shelter them from the world we wanted to introduce them to it in a safe place. A place where no question or topic was off-limits. Sound scary? It was(at first). I had no idea where this would lead us.

So for starters we began watching Rosanne in the evenings together as a family, starting with episode 1(I had forgotten how much I love that show). The girls instantly fell in love with it. The family really isn’t much different from ours, trade DJ in for a girl and there you have a working class family of 5 just trying to make in this world of ours.

At first the topics didn’t seem to risqué and didn’t invite to many questions but then it happened. Characters in the show started to go through certain changes and topics began to get a bit more complicated and I began to get a little more uncomfortable. Then the questions started coming :).

Sometimes our conversations last for hours and carry into the next day, next week even. Papa and I soon found ourselves explaining things we didn’t really know how we were going to introduce before. Slowly but surly any discomforts we might have had before began to slip away.

We watched all 9 seasons (spread out through the months)from start to finish. We laughed, cried and grew right along with the Conner family. I could not believe all the topics one show covered and I never imagined all that we would gain from doing this.

So yes I guess you could say television *did* change our lives and I do not regret one minute of it.

What are we watching now you ask? Malcolm In The Middle.

Oh and if you think there couldn’t possibly be more to learn from these shows then the topics presented. We are learning how we don’t want to be. We are learning how to avoid certain situations, we are learning……

Life is good!

Discoveries of a Radical Unschooler/ Relationship Building

November 22, 2011

So in last weeks post I celebrated the success of our deschooling. Even though school is no longer a dirty word for Miss Sky and I now see learning is in everything, that doesn’t mean our relationship has been completely healed. It just means Miss Sky has been “schooled” less than Papa and I have been her parents. In other words even though we may have the unschooling part down we still need to work on the radical part.

I have been posting about my discoveries of becoming a radical unschooler and have to be honest and say the hardest part for me has not been the deschooling, I think because I have always felt in my heart the principles of unschooling, but instead it’s been the journey of standing back and looking at myself as a parent. It’s taking responsibility that I’ve made some bad choices in the past that I am not proud of and realizing I can’t just erase them away and act as if they never happened. Nope there is still healing and trust issues that needs to be worked out and honestly who can blame them. One day I am a complete control freak and the next day I’m allowing them to make more of their own choices. Who wouldn’t be leery of that.

Are we making progress though? Oh yes indeed  :).

While getting ready to read the next chapters of The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum, Miss Sky asks “do we have to read today?”. I said no of course not but was curious as to why (I mean sometimes I am just not in a reading mood myself). She replied that she really was not getting in with the story and thought it boring.

Okay here we are more than halfway through the book, do I say well maybe if we continue the story it might get better and still finish the book (I mean what does one learn by giving up something because they may find it boring ?) or do I listen to what my child is saying and trust in her reason for it knowing that she can always finish the story at another time whenever “she” wants to? Then I really started thinking about what she could learn by me making her finish the story.

She could learn not to trust in herself when making decisions, that I am “the only one” who knows what is best for her. She could learn that I don’t respect her opinions and maybe lose self-confidence. She could learn to lie to me and tell me what she thinks “I” want to hear. She could learn to stop expressing herself because she knows I wont agree with her anyway. She could learn to dislike reading literature. (Do you know anyone who dislikes reading because they were forced to read something ?)

I decided that not only would it be a lot easier, all the way round, to just stop reading the book but that our relationship was much more important to me than teaching her a lesson.

Life is good friends!


October 25, 2011

One of the many things I love about unschooling is that you never know exactly where you might end up at the end of a learning adventure.

Take last night for example. Little Sis wanted to watch a non Disney version of The Little Mermaid. It was said at the beginning of the movie the story was adapted from the story by Hans Christian Anderson. I thought how fun to see how much of this was true by actually reading the true story of The Little Mermaid after we watched the movie.

I myself love collecting fairy tales, and not because of my Waldorf days, I always think about the knowledge of a time period when a story was written. It amazes me the descriptions of the ocean Anderson uses in The Little Mermaid that was published in 1837.

Well surprisingly enough most of the movie held true except of course the ending ,who many find sad. Miss Sky however disagrees saying “besides not marring the prince she gets the eternal soul she was wanting”. It was the comparisons however that took us on our learning adventure.

All through the movie references were being made by the girls. “Dolphins can’t live deep in the ocean, they are mammals who need to breathe air.” “I recognize this piece of music from the movie Fantasia.” “Was this movie made before or after Disney’s Little Mermaid because the princes look a lot like each other.” I doubt our movie watching days will ever be the same :).

Well this led us on a search, the computer must never be off while watching movies, that indeed Disney’s version was first but this was just the beginning.

“We” learned that the piece from Fantasia was Night on Bald Mountain written by Modest (what an awesome name for a musician during the 1800s) Musorgskiy in fact they used two of his pieces in the movie. The girls also recognized the Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner.

This led us to learning the Sorcerer’s Apprentice was written as a symphonic poem based on Goethe’s poem and music by Paul Dukas in 1897.

Which led us here.

Man how talented is he !

Which led us to watching more of his videos, all because a five-year old wanted to watch a movie.

Life is good friends!


How could I forget.  Do you think it possible that The Little Mermaid could be tied to The Beatles? In our home yes :). With all the underwater talk of course a certain Little couldn’t resist the chance to mention Mr. Paul McCartney’s(have I mentioned this is Little Sis’s favorite Beatle lately?) new ballet Ocean Kingdom.

Indeed Life is very good!

Discoveries of a Radical Unschooler

October 21, 2011

I was meaning to write about this after Miss Sky’s birthday but Monday I was feeling a bit melancholy if you couldn’t tell. Well after a day of kicking back with my girls and getting my priorities all in check, now I am ready to spill the beans :).

Something that has become tradition in our household for birthdays is for the birthday person to get their own day. A whole day to spend however you want and to get whatever you want for meals.

Usually if it happens to be one of the girls birthdays you can pretty much  expect to hear the words “it is MY day” coming from their mouths. I mean after all it isn’t everyday you can watch whatever you want to on T.V. This year though I noticed a difference in Miss Sky and how she wanted to celebrate her day.

For starters she wanted to go to Toys R Us to spend birthday money and was listing everything she wanted to buy. One gift she wanted was a set of puffles from Club Penguin. Little Sis, whose birthday is right around the corner, began to express her feelings of  how she wished she could get a puffle too. We explained to her that she had her allowance she could spend but she would have to wait to buy the puffles until her birthday. Well to a certain 5-year-old the word “wait” didn’t settle to well  and before Papa and I could step in and intervene Miss Sky said “I’ll buy you one with my money”. Miss Sky didn’t hesitate in the least to share with her little sister. Of course once there we bought the puffle for Little Sis but we were so proud that Miss Sky offered to share without asking for anything in return.

Once home Miss Sky was all about her new purchases and new codes to play Club Penguin and Little Sis did understand that Miss Sky got first dibs on the computer or T.V. After playing on the computer awhile she said Little Sis could have a turn and Miss Sky went outside to play with her new presents.

Okay here was a day that Miss Sky could choose to do whatever she wanted and she chose to play outside and know what else not one time did we hear the words “it is MY day”.

Miss Sky had a great birthday. She expressed her happiness over and over. We talked about her playing outside and being over generous with her little sister and her reply was ” well since we started unschooling it feels like everyday is our day, we can play on the computer when we want, watch television whenever we want and we get an allowance to buy whatever we want so if I couldn’t get everything today I wanted for my birthday in order to make my little sister happy I knew I could save and get it later”.

In other words some might think we are spoiling our kids by letting them make decisions for themselves or letting them get whatever they want with their allowance that’s not tied to chores but I’ve noticed the complete opposite. Maybe spoiling children doesn’t produce a spoiled child after all.

By the way I’m not talking about parents who buy their children everything to compensate for them not being around and I’m not talking about spoiling only with material possessions either.

Wishing everyone a great day!


October 17, 2011

So I found a draft of something I thought was deleted when we had a power surge. The moment was already past when I found it so I didn’t bother to post it but today while faced with the days headlines I am again reminded of why I wrote this in the first place.

Staring at me again was the news of yet another teenage suicide. I can not begin to express the emotions that run through me every time I see this. My heart literally aches for these children who feel like they need to end their life. Something that all these children seem to have in common is the fact they hate school. How sad that children and parents don’t think they have other options and WHY the hell do people think that being bullied is just part of life?

I live in the “real world” and I would NEVER allow myself to be bullied by anyone let alone tell my girls that it is just part of life that you will have to deal with.

Then I ask WHY do parents feel that unless we control or tell our children what to do they will grow up to be wild and unruly like in Lord of the Flies, that book was fiction for crying out loud. I don’t HAVE to tell my daughters to take a bath they don’t like to stink or to tell them to go to bed eventually they fall asleep.

Anyway here is my lost post. My hope is that parents who read it might start realizing we(parents) don’t have to be the bad guys to our kids. That teenage rebellion against parents doesn’t have to be normal (I do have a 21 year old daughter ).  I wish parents would realize that our children are not us. Just because I might like a certain style or music or books or movies does not mean my children will or “have to”.

Most of all I wish parents today will let every one of your children know just how much you love them!

And RIP Dan Wheldon, your sweet smile will be missed here in Indy.

“The Post”

Deb Lewis wrote:

“Once you’re really listening to your kids and not your sense of injustice, you’ll find that answering them and interacting with them is intellectually rewarding and stimulating and fun. It’s not something you *have* to do. It’s something you *get* to do for a very little while.”

As I have been pondering over the weekend whether or not I should share my opinion of our last homeschool co-op outing, this was waiting in my e-mail this morning from Sandra Dodd’s blog Just Add Light and Stir (link found under blogroll on the right). You can also find the rest of the quote there too.

Deb Lewis couldn’t have said what was going through my mind last Thursday any better :).

For me, when I think of homeschooling co-ops I think of parents and children interacting with one another or “socializing” while out enjoying an activity together.

I understand the need as a homeschooling mother, unschooling or not, to be surrounded by other homeschooling mothers. In my family my support of homeschooling varies. Some family members support “my” decision and there are some waiting for the day I fail. So it is nice to be around others who likewise support your decisions.

Something that I don’t think of when attending a homeschooling co-op outing is the parents planting themselves down on a blanket and ignoring the h**l out of their children. I was the *only* parent out on the playground with my children.

Yes I like to talk, lord knows as well as anyone else that knows me can tell you I *love* to talk 🙂 but you can talk and push your children on the swing at the same time.

While I was there Miss Sky had to find the parent of a child who fell off the monkey bars and landed on his *head* and was crying hysterically. I along with Miss Sky helped the children use the zip line and out of 8 swings I was pushing children on 6 of them who did not know how to swing themselves (all at the same time). The other 2 were occupied by my children. This is when 1 child replied to me “Gee you sure are fun” and another child asked if she could come home with us.

Okay if I was the parent of that child I would be extremely embarrassed. Not to mention if I saw a “stranger”(this was our first time with this co-op) pushing my child on the swings I would have at least gone and  introduced myself.

The worst part though ,for me, was all the laughter coming from the children having fun and as I was laughing and having fun with them I would occasionally glance over at the group of parents ,who so planted their butts down on the ground with the majority having their backs turned, not ONCE did they look to see their children’s happiness. How sad is that ? (Ugg)

When did parents become so disconnected from their children? I use to believe that video games and television was the cause of so much sex and violence among teenagers but I am starting to think that is not the case at all.

These are my thoughts anyway and like I mentioned previously our search for a homeschool co-op continues. I have even had thoughts of  starting one of my own. I guess only time will tell.


Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler

October 4, 2011

There seems to be a lot of negativity spreading through the internet these days about (radical) unschooling. I usually stay clear of this kind of talk (most of it is based on fear or lack of knowledge) and honestly I wasn’t going to post anything about it (even though it was very hard to do so) but, yes I said but, there is a thread going on ,in a radical unschooling yahoo group, about an article that is talking about whether a Unschooling child can “teach” themselves to read. Someone even commented, in the articles comments, on knowing uschooled adults who can not read.

Now I understand this is not a one size fits all question. I mean many factors play into the environment of how these children were raised. I can easily say I’ve known people who graduated high school (with a full football scholarship) that couldn’t read but I don’t dismiss the WHOLE school system as being a failure in being able to “teach” children how to read. So why is it so easy for people to form conclusions about unschooling based on a few incidents?

Well this got me thinking about what I have noticed about my girls since we have started to radically unschool and I thought I would write a post about that.

First I want to start off by saying I am someone who had doubts myself. I am also someone who thought placing limits on “screens” was needed in order for my girls not to become “vegetables”. I also heavily controlled what our girls brought into our home including movies, books, music, food, toys( I’m sure you get the drift). A year ago I might even have argued with you about movies and video games causing violence, and yes I would have been the mother that said “If I allow my children to watch television or play video games  whenever they want to, they would do it all day”.

However now I can say, with confidence, I am no longer that mom. In the very short time since we have been radically unschooling, I started deschooling in June, “I” have come to the conclusion that television and video games are not the cause of all today’s violence (what is Billy the Kid or Baby Face Nelson’s excuse) that maybe, possibly it could be a child’s environment. But I digress, we were talking about academics.

What are some things my girls have learned since we started radically unschooling?

Lets first talk about Little Sis. She is 5 getting ready to turn 6 next month.

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Since radically unschooling she’s learned how to read, spell and type. Count past 100, recognize and read numbers in the thousands, add and subtract numbers in the thousands and learn how to tell time on an analog clock (what will the big hand be on when it’s my turn, how many minutes does Sissy have?) all while playing games of her choice at such as Starfall, Animal Jam, and Club Penguin being her favorites.

She reads words all the time like when I am reading a chapter book aloud she will point out and read the words she knows. She will begin reading the summary of a show or movie before it loads on the Roku. Not to mention her trivia  knowledge of the Beatles( like pointing out the other day that it most certainly was not the Beatles singing Here Comes the Sun at the grocery store). Not once have I made her do any of this and not once have I needed a curriculum.

Moving on to Miss Sky who will be 11 in 2 weeks.

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I feel she has thrived the most from all this. See just because I might have gone through the motions of “school” in the past does not mean she retained everything we talked about. Yes we had spelling tests and she may have got all the words right on test day but ask her to spell one of them 4 months later and she didn’t even remember she had it as a word.

Since she has played Animal Jam her spelling has improved SO much. She likes to interact with the other kids playing and “wants” to make sure her spelling is correct.

The same is said about her math. Yes we went through the motions (and stress, and tears, and yelling) of workbooks but again she wasn’t retaining anything. Now she is in charge of budgeting her allowance. How much do I have to save to buy this, or do I have enough  money to cover taxes and what are taxes for and why do we have to pay them?

Apples are $1.69 a pound how much will 3 lbs cost? Will 3 lbs be enough for everyone to have one? While on vacation she learned what a mile marker was, how to read interstate signs(the next gas station is exit 49, that is in 5 miles). She “sees” math is everywhere not JUST in workbooks.

Is she learning what other 5th graders would be learning in school? No. Do other 5th graders know what Miss Sky does? Probably not, She can tell you what year Mt. Vesuvius erupted, she knows how many people died on the Titanic, she knows Mary Tudor  got a bad rep with the name Bloody Mary(her dad had more people beheaded, not that burning at the stake was a good thing either). She knows who Joseph Goebbels is and who sunk the Bismarck. (And there is more but for  the length of this post I will stop.) Again all because “she” wanted to.

The idea that children will not want to learn history or math unless someone “teaches” them is crazy, I see that now. If a child “wants” to learn something there is no stopping them, and that is my very long way of saying why I think there has to be more behind an unschooled adult never learning how to read. 🙂

Wishing everyone a great week!