Sunday, December 9, 2007

Unschooling

Unschooling is a very interesting philosophy. One I've been learning more and more about since we became 'homeschoolers'. We've 'actively' been unschooling for two years now. After reading more, I came to realize that I fit right in with the radical unschoolers with how I had raised my children. I just hadn't realized there was a term for my type of parenting. It's nice to know I'm not alone in respecting my children and giving their thoughts and opinions room to blossom.

Sure, my sister thinks I'm nuts, but as my kids are thriving and incredible smart, she just agrees to disagree saying that her son 'needs' firm rules and disipline. Lol, I have to admit I was a bit astounded when she told me her son, who's only nine, was grounded! I just can't fathom how you ground a nine year old. He's not in a neighborhood that he runs around in. He must attend school. And his parents insist he never miss one of his baseball games. Hmmm...
A question for another day.

So, as for unschooling, every so often doubt rears it's ugly head as we are alone in our locale doing the unschooling thing. Everyone we know in person, feels 'proper schooling' is a must! I have my doubts as I see so many people whom have passed through the levels and gotten their diploma's yet lack so much knowledge! Some can't even read cursive nor calculate fractions!

I digress. Unschooling comes with a lot of happiness. Learning happens because one enjoys discovering. Life isn't chopped up into subjects. Life interlinks subjects. An example of this is my spouse called from work to tell us about one of his co-workers finding out about being a father three hours before his newborn son was born. OK, now this man lives with his girlfriend who also had no clue she was expecting. She started complaining of stomach pains that wouldn't go away so her boyfriend, who's a paramedic, insisted on her going to the ER.

At the ER they learned she was in labor. Three hours later, their son Kenneth John was born; twelve pounds and twenty-one and a half inches long! Congrats Kenny and Jamie on your newborn son!

Anyway, how does this tie in with unschooling? My unschooling son, who just turned ten, did the math of what the baby's weight was compared to his and it just tickled him pink to learn the baby was one sixth of his size yet they didn't even know he was there. Proof math happens in the real world. There were also other math equations worked out just for fun. I think the part that intrigues me the most is that children really do thrive in an unschooling atmosphere. So many people think that if you don't pound the concepts into the children, they will never get it. That is just so far from the truth!

This morning when I woke up, my son was reading all about the Northwest Coastal People. He thought it was interesting the way they flattened their childrens heads. How welcoming commerce was a form of self-destruction as foreigners brought illness and stripped them of their natural resources by over hunting. He read about these ancient people and shared what he was learning. I know he will retain this information, partly because he has extremely good retention skills, but also, because he enjoyed what he was reading.

When one gets to learn in an enjoyable way, one retains the information. My children learn everyday. They are happier then ever and clever to boot. We'll stick with the unschooling.

3 comments:

appleleaf said...

We've been doing a similar style for about two years also, which is partly why I love to catch up with your blog. At the moment, I'm beginning to get a bit antsy again (for want of a better word) because my eldest, who is pushing 13) will be "High School" age next year and I've been hearing how he needs to learn proper study skills etc. Yet at the moment, I'd say he's just as cluey as many of the other 12yo boys we know. I don't know whether to follow this urge to make him "buckle down" and get used to deadlines and all that stuff or not. We certainly prefer to do it our own way. Thanks for your thoughts.
I'm amazed to think how that poor girl could've been carrying a 12lb baby and didn't realise! Two of my kids, the boys of course, were close to 11 lbs. Your friends will have a Christmas to remember this year!
I hope you're all set for Christmas and enjoy these last few weeks leading up to it,
Blessings,
Paula

jugglingpaynes said...

Is that the Northwest Coastal People issue from Kids Discover? Marina was reading about that too recently.

I'm so glad you write about unschooling. It makes me feel less anxious when I don't always keep up on subjects with the kids. But we still use some schoolbooks, so I'll stick with my Classically Eclectic Unschooler designation. (Hmmm...I could say I'm a classical unschooling eclectic, and then I could call myself a CUE.)
Peace and Laughter,
Cristina

TobyBo said...

it's hard for me to wrap my mind around being pregnant and not noticing it...