My son wants to go back to school

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seasha

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Nov 4, 2010, 9:02:51 PM11/4/10
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My son has been unschooled since grade 5 we are currently doing the
odd page of math grade 6 . So he hasn't been doing anything really for
4 years. He has tought himself all about wars and battles ( socials)
Leaned some life skills, ( world of war craft) did some baking, some
reading, but nothing very much in math. He is at the age of a grade 9
student, I don't know what to do.... I don't want him to look
stupid, ......HELP!!

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 4, 2010, 9:40:24 PM11/4/10
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-=-My son has been unschooled since grade 5 we are currently doing the

odd page of math grade 6 . So he hasn't been doing anything really for
4 years.-=-

"Not doing anything really" isn't what unschooling should look like.
I think you mean "doing math."

World of Warcraft itself is not "a life skill," but much of the
reasoning involved in video games is math. Cost and return, in MANY
games. How many hits something takes, and what factors can affect
that and why.

-==- He is at the age of a grade 9


student, I don't know what to do.... I don't want him to look

stupid, ......HELP!!-=-

Why does he want to go back to school?

Both of my boys took the placement test for college math, and tested
into a remedial class (third and fourth levels, respectively, out of
five levels). Some people have criticized that, but it didn't bother
me one bit. Neither tested into the most basic remedial classes
(neither the first nor second) even though they never had any formal
math at all. Those two basic remedial classes filled up with kids who
had gone to school for twelve years.

If you help him with his homework at first, he'll probably catch up in
no time. Both my boys needed about a week to catch up with the
class. Kirby got the highest test score in the math class he took.
Marty's class is still in progress, so I don't know how he will do.

Sandra

Robin Bentley

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Nov 5, 2010, 12:37:26 AM11/5/10
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> My son has been unschooled since grade 5 we are currently doing the
> odd page of math grade 6 . So he hasn't been doing anything really for
> 4 years.

Unschooling is not the same as "hasn't been doing anything." Not even
close.

> He has tought himself all about wars and battles ( socials)
> Leaned some life skills, ( world of war craft) did some baking, some
> reading, but nothing very much in math.

In 4 years, you didn't expand his world beyond these four things? It
sounds like you just left him alone.

> He is at the age of a grade 9
> student, I don't know what to do.... I don't want him to look
> stupid, ......HELP!!

Why does he want to go back to school?

Robin B.

Cally

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Nov 4, 2010, 11:00:01 PM11/4/10
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MY son (14) just returned to school after being unschooled since 5th grade. WOW and video games were his strength.  He is now in 9th.  He is receiving special education because he is special needs, but they are doing testing to see where his strengths and weaknesses lie so  they can learn what areas he needs help in.  End of story.  I learned from Sandra that children learn at different rates and no child is stupid or another smarter.  They each learn when they are ready. I too felt like I would be burned at the stake or called a neglectful parent because my child has not kept up and learned what they schooled children were learning.

He complains about school every day, but loves getting out of the house, loves being with other kids. The academics is slow going for him, but that is complicated by his meds, and needs.  I slept with Sandra's article "Public School on your terms?" under my pillow for the first few weeks...I have now moved it to my night table..

My fifth grader (unschooled since first grade) LOVES school and is thriving there.  She is a social butterfly and school gives her what I could not.  She is also loving all the academics - that she would not do at home at ANY time.  She is now ready for it all.  She too is being evaluated so they can give her the help to catch up (math).

Carole

 


There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein



From: Sandra Dodd <San...@Sandradodd.com>
To: unschoolin...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Thu, November 4, 2010 9:40:24 PM
Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] My son wants to go back to school

Cally

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Nov 5, 2010, 9:38:54 AM11/5/10
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In reading the following, understand that I still believe in unschooling first.  My kids age 11 and 14 decided they wanted to go back to school.  I attribute this to a few things - socialization first and then my failure to provide enough stimulation, energy, activities, groups and learning.

I too had Math books from grades 4-8 and he showed no interest and refused to try any of it.  I have found that when they want something (my son wanted to meet girls and to be around other kids.  We were far too isolated here) they will put in greater effort.  I also have found with my daughter in fifth grade - they have teachers who have different ways of teacher that were able to work with her in Math and reach her when I was not able to.

I tried to get my kids interested in things, doing math, etc...What they loved most was when we studied American History and I would read to them.  This didn't occur often.  I read about UNschooling and I did leave them alone most of the time...thinking unschooling meant "Child Led Learning".  In some of Sandra's more recent posts or articles I read her definition of child led learning...and it was not to let your child decide what to learn..but to make learning fun and interesting.  This is where I failed them - in not doing this.... 

Carole in CT



 


There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein



From: Robin Bentley <robin....@comcast.net>
To: unschoolin...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Fri, November 5, 2010 12:37:26 AM

Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] My son wants to go back to school

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 5, 2010, 11:37:14 AM11/5/10
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-=-I tried to get my kids interested in things, doing math, etc...What they loved most was when we studied American History and I would read to them.  This didn't occur often.  I read about UNschooling and I did leave them alone most of the time...thinking unschooling meant "Child Led Learning".  In some of Sandra's more recent posts or articles I read her definition of child led learning...and it was not to let your child decide what to learn..but to make learning fun and interesting.  This is where I failed them - in not doing this....  -=-

I think if you were "studying American History" or trying to get them interested in doing math, that was the real failure of unschooling.  Maybe you didn't deschool.  You (the parent) still wanted it to look like school.

That might help, for anyone else with that problem.

-=-  In some of Sandra's more recent posts or articles I read her definition of child led learning...and it was not to let your child decide what to learn..but to make learning fun and interesting.  This is where I failed them - in not doing this.... -=-

I don't think I had a definition of "child led learning" so much as I had an objection to the term.  I don't think ANYone should "lead" the learning.  I think parents should create and maintain an environment where kids (and parents) learn without even thinking about learning.

Sandra


Marcia Simonds

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Nov 5, 2010, 11:40:53 AM11/5/10
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>>>He has tought himself all about wars and battles ( socials)
Leaned some life skills, ( world of war craft) did some baking, some
reading, but nothing very much in math. He is at the age of a grade 9
student, I don't know what to do.... I don't want him to look
stupid, ......HELP!!<<<
*****************************

*****My *always unschooled* son decided to try high school this year....9th
grade. It took him about two weeks to catch up in math, and since then he
has gone to the top of the class.

The biggest adjustment was getting up and out the door, listening to kids
fool around in class, and managing homework. The homework became a non-
issue after about a month. He either does it in school, does it quickly at
home, or doesn't do it all all !

All his close friends go to school and he wanted to be in the *daily mix*
and also join Theatre. To him, school is just another *tool* to get him
along on his life journey. and it is doing for him what he wanted... he was
in the talent show playing guitar, is in a play,a musical, and has offers to
join a band...AND he has met many more girls and has a girlfriend :)

While I don't *advocate* going to school at all ( I have a 12 yr who says
she will never go!), I see that my son is extremely HAPPY and it IS the
right choice for him at this point in time. He wanted to go ..He chose to
go. I am here to support him in his endeavors.

I blogged some of his School Journey at http://livefreeinharmony.xanga.com/

marcia
www.childinharmony.com

To him, it is worth putting up with the other annoyances of school.

> --

Schuyler Waynforth

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Nov 5, 2010, 11:53:32 AM11/5/10
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It sounds like you are stuck with the idea that learning looks like academics. Learning and academics can go together, but often a life filled with learning isn't about worksheets or knowing how to solve a quadratic equation. It isn't the testable facts that schools are both rating children on and being rated on themselves. 

I think it is important not to sit back and wait for a child to come to you with something that they want to do and then act on it and make it all learning enriched and filled with learning goodness. I think it is good to be with and do with and engage with and strew all over ideas and things of interest and that are relevant or cool. Simon and Linnaea and I hang out a lot, we share ideas and information and conversation and shiny, distracting things. But I'm not working to instil certain pieces of knowledge into them. I'm just hanging and talking and sharing and doing and offering and so on and so forth. 

Sandra has said, just the other day even, that for her the priority with her children was the learning. If there were options of the things to do that were being weighed and measured she would pick the one that offered the greatest learning potential. I would assume the more novel thing. Given a choice of something comfortable and well-known and a new experience, the new experience would win out. I don't know that I'm that clear in my priorities. Often the thing I'm most likely to do is the thing that Simon and Linnaea are more interested in doing. Often that's the more novel thing. Sometimes its staying home and doing much the same thing we did yesterday.


==I tried to get my kids interested in things, doing math, etc...What they loved most was when we studied American History and I would read to them.  This didn't occur often.  I read about UNschooling and I did leave them alone most of the time...thinking unschooling meant "Child Led Learning".  In some of Sandra's more recent posts or articles I read her definition of child led learning...and it was not to let your child decide what to learn..but to make learning fun and interesting.  This is where I failed them - in not doing this....  ==

This seems to be a basic failure to understand unschooling. It isn't a trick to get a child willing to do school stuff, it's recognizing that school is a framework that doesn't have to exist for someone to become a learned adult. American History is cool and exciting and interesting and all over the U.S. You can walk down a street, any street in the U.S. and see it. Recent history, mostly, but still very much a history. In the UK we've got history by the shovelful. It's just all piled up all over. It's pretty cool stuff. I haven't studied much of it, but I've read bits and I see it and people say things and I file those things away. And I get distracted and learn something more by wandering away down this road over here. 

Linnaea just asked me how to count to high numbers on her fingers, so I spent 5 minutes looking up different ways of counting on your fingers and figuring them out with her. Apparently you can count to 1023 on your fingers(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_binary), but we haven't gotten very high. We refound the 9 times tables on your hand video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVbcra3rCqc which I'd sort of forgotten. 

Schuyler

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 5, 2010, 12:18:59 PM11/5/10
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-=-Sandra has said, just the other day even, that for her the priority
with her children was the learning. If there were options of the
things to do that were being weighed and measured she would pick the
one that offered the greatest learning potential.-=-

Not just with my children. With myself, too.

I'm visiting far away, and when I'm making choices from offers made to
me, I go with learning pretty often (though it's easy, because I'm
interested in lots of trivial things, and there's newness all around
me).

On the other hand, I've played a fair amount of Plants vs. Zombies,
between things and to show Raghu tricks I know. He's learning it, and
he's good, but he likes to watch me play, too. He'll surpass me soon,
probably, and I'm learning by seeing how he learns the game, and what
he tries that I was too cautious to try. He can do the star mini-game
with only three sunflowers. I wouldn't even consider that, but he
showed me and it was impressive.

http://sandraindia2010.blogspot.com/

Sandra

Sally

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Nov 5, 2010, 1:42:04 PM11/5/10
to UnschoolingDiscussion

Seasha,

It surely sounds like he has done something in the past 4 years. I
journaled all our exploits for the first three years, first out of
fear the State would actually come checking on us and secondly,
because this was new to me and I wanted to document what was going
on. Now when I go back I am amazed at how much we crammed into every
day.

Currently, the two daughters I unschool(ed), one is in college
studying Photography, her passion. She left school after 7th grade
and never looked back. The youngest is almost 18. She is more
similar to your son. She actually had two attempts at going back to
school with the guarantee that she was welcome to come back home at
any time. There was the snag in 9th grade though. More paperwork
(real pain) and now as a high schooler you earn credits. If you stop
going, when you go back, you have to start at the beginning or go to
"alternative" school. I told her I thought we were alternative
already, LOL! Anyway, she returned to old "friends" who had become
different creatures and rather shallow to her liking. She quit after
3 days. Now she is a "Senior" and is thinking of going to college and
has decided to try and pass the GED test (path of the older
siblings). We knew that she had done similar math to your son so we
started buying Key Curriculum workbooks and she has sped past Middle
School math in just a few months. I think she could have gone
quicker, but she has a part time job, friends and a social life. The
age of your son is a very difficult one. Thinking like an adult, but
unable to act on it i.e. driving a car. I feel your pain. I would
follow the advice of the others here and find out WHY he wants to
return (I told my daughter when she quit the second time, "It's not
like the Disney shows is it?" She agreed.). Then I would let him go
or deal with what he's having a problem with. Part of the beauty of
unschooling is our children making choices. Just like us, they find
out sometimes that those choices aren't so great.

Sally

Elli Sparks

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Nov 5, 2010, 3:31:09 PM11/5/10
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I'm enjoying this conversation.  We've been unschooling for 2 years, after years of public school.  I have daughter 12 and son 9. 

My daughter wanted to go back to school at the start of middle school (last fall after 9 months of un-schooling).  She went one day and hated it.  Hated the bells.  Hated the restrictions.  Hated lunch, where she couldn't sit with her friends.  So she stopped going.

This past October she started talking about school again.  She wants to be an engineer when she grows up.  She wants to go to an Ivy League college and thinks high school will help her get into college.  She thinks middle school will help with high school.

So, at her request, we started looking at small private middle schools (which we could swing with lots of financial aid).   

Just about that time, hubby jumped up and got more involved with unschooling.  He's the one at home with the kids these days.  I work full time.  I started the unschooling adventure for our family.  But I'm the one who can earn a decent wage, so I've been back at work for a year now.  Hubby moved his studio to our garage and now works part time.  He had been laying low, not quite sure what to do with "unschooling".

Anyway, she told him that she wants assignments - things that will help her prepare for high-school and college.  So he's been giving her assignments and she is so happy. 

"Find out what happened in 1950"
"Research two elements of the Periodic Table"
"Write about Marie Curie"
"Find the area of these circles"
"Here are three books, pick one, read it and do a report"

Totally random stuff.  It takes her about 20 minutes to do the research and complete the assignment.  And, I'm telling you, she LOVES it.

Our son, on the other hand, is perfectly content playing games, hanging out with the chickens on our little urban farm, chatting, watching TV, etc.

We've got other issues we're working through as a family - creating a more peaceful home, for one.  We've come a LONG way with that project.  Everyone feels 100 times safer in our home these days. 

Healing from the trauma of 5 open heart surgeries, 6 other heart surgeries, 2 dental surgeries, and a hospitalization for dehydration and anemia.  Our son went through all of this.  And it completely leveled our family.  We've needed a lot of time to rebuild (or build, for that matter, given the fact that the marathon of surgeries started when our son was 7 months and ended when he was 6 years old.)  Having NO expectations and accommodating all requests to stay home has helped TONS!!!  As much as I wanted to be the unschooling mom who takes her kids all over town or all over the country to soak it all up, my son can't handle that, right now. 

One day, several years before we started un-schooling, I met a homeschooling mom in a coffee shop.  She had several kids with her.  We started talking.  I told her that I had always wanted to home-school (not knowing, then, about un-schooling.) 

"You know what is best for your children." she told me.  At that time I thought she was crazy.  After all, my family was a mess.  My kids fought all the time.  My husband yelled all the time.  I needed doctors to tell me what to do with my son and his heart.  How in the world could this woman say that I knew what was best??!!

But, when I finally slowed things down, I started figuring things out.  Now my kids get along.  My hubby is gentle and kind.  I know a hell of a lot about hearts and surgery.  I trust my inner guidance. 

I don't know how that all relates to the question of a kid wanting to go to school.  But, it just came flooding out.

Thanks!

Elli

seasha

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Nov 5, 2010, 8:45:38 PM11/5/10
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He is actually going back to school because he want to socialize and
he also want to make sure he gets his grade 12 deploma. So he can
catch up that fast ehh. Thats great, He starts on Monday for just
computers from there he will see how he feels....
Thanks for all the imput. I just hope he will be ok. He was having
troubles yesterday with perimeters, but today he just got it, so
that's good...

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 5, 2010, 10:04:02 PM11/5/10
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-=-He is actually going back to school because he want to socialize and
he also want to make sure he gets his grade 12 deploma-=-

They can't give him a diploma for going part time. If his purpose is
to get a high school diploma, it will need to be a four-year, full-
time deal, most likely.

-=-. So he can
catch up that fast ehh. Thats great-=-

POTENTIALLY he can catch up. No guarantee. There are kids who go to
school their whole lives and don't "catch up."

Sandra


seasha

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Nov 6, 2010, 10:31:25 PM11/6/10
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Ya I know that, he just thought that it would be a start, but I did
forget that learning doesn't have to be measured. He is really
concerned about his future, I told him he will do fine with out
school, but he is determined. He start on Monday for the one class we
will see how it goes. I know he want to meet other kids, but we can do
that with other homeschoolers or church. We will see... Thanks for the
advice, if there's anymore I'll be happy to read it..
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