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  1. #21
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    Jun 2005
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    unschooling

    I just wanted to chime in here and say that we unschool also. My kids are 5, 3 and 1. My oldest expressed a desire to read at 4, and so we bought "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and he was reading in no time! That was really the only thing we did "by the book" and it was only because he expressed an interest. They will learn what they are interested in. They will learn whatever they have to learn to be whatever they want to be in life. There is no sense learning things you'll forget just because it's "required". That's nonsense.

    And my five year old is extremely social...and not only with other 5 year olds, but with adults and kids of all ages. Since he isn't separated into a room with the same aged kids all day long, he is able relate and conversate with people of all ages. Just because you are in school doesn't give you automatic social skills. My son is kind and generous and would never think to exclude anyone for any reason. I have had so many people tell me (after talking to my son) that it's a good thing he's homeschooled because he would be too smart to be in school, that being in school would probably actually drag him down. (And those comments are from people we don't know, people who aren't advocates of homeschooling!) And it's not that he's a genius or anything...he is just extremely knowledgeable about the things that he is passionate about. He would not know nearly as many things as he does now if he were in school.

    I think (aside from the obvious increase in violence/drugs/sex happening in elementary schools nowadays) school is not a natural place for a child to be. Children weren't meant to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. To be quiet all day. To get in trouble for talking or wanting to jump around and play and explore. I believe school hinders the natural learning process. It endangers children's natural love of learning. It puts too many expectations and too many restrictions on something that should just come naturally.

    When you let your child lead his/her own learning, it is an amazing thing to watch. I wish I had been unschooled!

    I could really go on about this subject for days. But I do have to get some sleep. (And I do not wish to get into a debate with public schoolers or teachers here. I normally do not write posts anywhere other than my blog because it usually turns into a debate, and I'm not interested in that. I don't wish to sway anyone to unschool. I am happy to let other people do their own thing. I never tell anyone they shouldn't put their kid in school. Ever. I am just sharing the reasons why I don't.)

    As for NY...I think it's one of the toughest states to homeschool in. Since we unschool, and live in a free state, I don't have to hand in any notice or curriculum. For me, homeschooling and being accountable to the state would be difficult, and if that's the route you choose, I highly recommend finding a support group. Do some google searches. I know there are homeschooling communities in NYC.

    Good luck, and if you wanna chat, let me know!

    http://millenniumhippies.blogspot.com

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  3. #22
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    Apr 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phisch
    And yes, there are other options besides homeschooling. You could look into charter schools. There are even groups that are part homeschool, part "with everyone else" for lack of a better word for it. I know kids who went to a classroom setting twice a week and the rest of the week they studied at home.
    Yes, there are wonderful alternatives such as Waldorf schools, we have several friends who were blessed with Waldorf educations. You can read about that here http://www.awsna.org/education.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Phisch
    It's never too early to learn to read, either. We started reading regularly to both our kids from birth. While they technically don't "read" that early, it benefits them because it's one-on-one time with them, it becomes a part of our (parents) daliy habit and books become a regular source of entertainment and learning.
    I hope no one gets up in arms about this, but keep in mind, it's just my opinion... I think that kids that have no reading skills as they enter school are at a tremendous disadvantage.

    On a personal experience tip regarding not getting an appropriate education: I went to public school, in fact I went to 14 different public schools (my mom is nomadic, thereby we moved alot). I was in a gifted programs when we were somewhere that offered such programs, but even the "GATE" programs were lacking challenges, so, I became uninspired and bored, and that's when the grades started going down hill. I was expelled from the only High School in our town in the second semester of my Senior year (long story), that resulted in my homeschooling myself in the following summer. I decided that since my grades had sucked since my 10th grade year, I would do 10th, 11th, and 12th grade over again, which I did in 3 months receiving straight A's.

    So, the moral of my story is...if you are given the opportunity to learn at the pace you require you will blossom, if not you will close up and stop listening.

    Our plans are to homeschool our children (they aren't yet born). My MIL really hates the idea, but my husband and I feel that we both had such unrewarding educational experiences that we will find a way to make it the most advantageous option out there. Ideally I would like a Waldorf education for our kids, but that of course requires tuition, so we will see.

    If you don't have faith in the public school system, don't participate, have faith in the fact that you know what is best for your kids.


    *edited to add "Right On Sisters!!" to the unschoolers!!

  4. #23
    Senior Member
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    May 2004
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    375
    I also want to say that, I think that it's very important that kids learn higher math. Algebra is the basis for all of that, and it would be nice to learn it early on. Trust me, it totally sucks to struggle with it as an adult.
    The higher math and physics really are mind expanding. They change your whole way of viewing the world.
    I think that people need to focus on being WELL ROUNDED not just saying "oh well, I don't like that, so screw it."
    That's a very close minded approach to things.

    Also, I personally think that college is a good thing for kids to experience. The ones here allow people as young as 15 to start taking classes if they want to. It's nice because it makes them realize that there is more out there than themselves. There are a lot of really good teachers out there, and it seems like it would be better to get multiple teachers points of view instead of only having the same teacher your whole life. That's a very limiting thing because they aren't exposed to other peoples methods and ways of teaching things. The community colleges are nice, because you can take more challenging coursework at a younger age, and it's much cheaper. There are an increasing amount of high school kids who left high school early with thier GED and are at the school I'm at.

    I know that my high school was pretty boring. Honestly, I wish I had left early, but i didn't know that such an option existed.
    I don't regret school, but I do think that high school is a major waste of time. It was so unchallenging, and boring, that I actually just stopped trying. I would strive to fill the boxes and that's all, because I didn't see the point of trying harder. And the sad thing is, I still got really good grades.

  5. #24
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2005
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    I think it's a misconception that homeschooling means your kids only get one teacher, or one viewpoint. I can rattle off, without even thinking about it, the names of ten different teachers my kids have had thus far as homeschoolers. Anybody willing to take the time to spend time with them and share their knowledge becomes a teacher.

    And believe me, my kids get to experience a bunch of different opinions and points of view, just by attending various homeschool group activities. And also by being out in the world and living their lives, rather than being shut in a classroom all day.

  6. #25
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    140
    I've been a public librarian for the last 21 years and have known families where homeschooling was hugely successful, and other families where it was not. It really seems to depend on the family and on the child(ren). What I would like to say about homeschooling is this: public libraries can be your best friends. Not only will you find the materials you need to teach your kids, you'll also provide socializing situations and will very likely hook up with other homeschooling families. The best thing about it? Library cards are free, as are most library programs. I've hired homeschoolers more than once and count those kids among the best I've ever employed. Talk about intelligent, well-rounded kids! Five of the public libraries in my county just received a $70,000 grant to buy materials and present programs specifically for homeschooling families. (Sewlittletime -- FYI, the libraries involved are Webster, Hilton, Brockport, Chili and maybe Irondequoit. I'll double check and let you know for sure if you're interested.)

    Just puttin' in a plug for libraries!

    P

  7. #26
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    Oct 2004
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    skamokawa, WA
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    Yes, and my entirely homeschooled (almost) 12 year old wants to be a librarian! Libraries are THE GREAEST. My kids are bummed if we miss library day. It is very central in our lives.

  8. #27
    Senior Member
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    Illinois
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    OH this topic haunts me day and night! I have actually seen this topic here and have avoided reading it until now! Shame on me for turning my face from info., but this has been the great debate around here and it's only getting worse.
    My oldest is 6 years old and has been home with me all along. In the fall, he has to start K-G and I don't know what to do. We have a private school but it cost so much and doesn't have a great art or computer program.
    He doesn't want to go to the public school at all.
    But I'm questioning my wisdom to school him myself. We do have a schedule but I am laxed as far as letting him go about the day and not pushing him to learn things he doesn't want to. Like reading. He will let me read to him til the cows come home but he could care less about doing it himself. He can sit and build legos and block, help me cook and follow me anywhere all the time.
    Can I push him to learn to read and write? That is so profound. Not to mention intimidating.

    Uhhh....

  9. #28
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    Oct 2004
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    Canada
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    Re: unschooling

    Quote Originally Posted by millenniumhippies
    They will learn whatever they have to learn to be whatever they want to be in life. There is no sense learning things you'll forget just because it's "required". That's nonsense.
    Firstly let me just say that I appreciate your sentiment about avoiding debate ... hopefully we can all share our thoughts about learning without the "rebuttal".

    I wanted to say that I am actually really thankful that I was "forced" in school to learn things that I would not normally have gravitated to. I was very strong in the sciences and naturally was really interested in science, and eventually in biology and chemistry. I picked up these subjects fairly easily. To the surprise of everyone, I did very very well in English Literature. Probably not much of a surprise when you consider that I was an avid reader, but I seemed to be right int he middle of the normal "arts" or "sceinces" streams that kids tend to follow.

    I would not have learned this about myself if I had only had been able to choose the subjects I studied. Now, in my present career, I use the logical thought process from my science background extensively, even though much of what I do is communication and text-analysis based: skills learned in English. I work in a area that analyses what is done in the hard sciences. I'm just about to start a technical editing contract for the first time.

    My point is, there may also be some value in encouraging kids to dip their toes into areas they wouldn't normally gravitate to. I also think that some skills are essential and should be learned, even if the child finds it challenging. Reading, writing, spelling, grammar, algebra and some more advanced math (polynominials, trigonometry, geometry, etc) are extremely usful in very unsurprising ways. Sometimes I even use advanced math to calculate distances for a crafty pattern! It's useful to know how to accurately calculate the circumference of a circle if you know the diameter ... or how to figure out what angle a triangle should be if you want the sides to be a specific length.

    For those of you who are opposed to a state-enforced base curriculum, may I ask what your primary objections are? Is it related to the fact that the materials are no good, that the curriculum includes topics you think irrelevant or not of interest to your child, or that the reporting is simply too burdensome? I woudl think that having a basic state-approved curriculum might facilitate home-schooling if it provided a starting point for materials, and if it reassured the public (and the parents!!!) that all the really basic essentials (like reading) were being addresseed at some point throughout the child's education.

    Congrats to all of you who strive for the best for your children. :)

    del

  10. #29
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    Illinois
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    I am not here for a debate either...
    My main objective to the public school system is the downward decline in morals, correction, and individual attention.
    With that being said I attended public school my entire life and liked it so much. Granted, I am not the smartest person ever, but I made it and am capable of a lot. Even though it has only been 8 years since I have been out, it is a different place as is the world.
    I do not want to hide my boys under a rock, but I do not them to be taught things that are untrue.

  11. #30
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    My main objection to the public school system is that I don't want my children locked up in a prison-like environment for six hours a day. (I mean, really - would you like to have to get permission before you go to the bathroom?)

    My main objection to state based curriculum? The flippant answer is that it's none of the government's damn business. The slightly more serious answer is that 1. I don't want to be given some sort of time table - we let our kids crawl, and walk, and talk at their own pace, I am also letting them learn at their own pace. (which may be faster, or slower than the "norm," and vary in different subjects.) I also want my kids to have time to be kids - I shudder when I read stories about how they are pushing academics in kindergarten because they "must prepare these children for first grade! 2. I don't want the current political climate to determine what we must study (Kansas, anyone?) If my child becomes fascinated with Ancient Greece, I want to be able to delve into that, rather than having to say - no, this is the year we must study our State's history. and 3. I think state-enforced curriculum would lead to testing, and I think testing is just silly. (But that may be because I took a lot of tests on which I did well, passed with flying colors, and promptly forgot the information, never having truly learned it.) Yes, as the kids get older we will introduce testing, simply so they can learn "how to test"

    Of course, in everything I've read, it has been said overandoverandoverandover again that the main factor in a child's educational success is parental involvement - no matter whether they are home, public, or private schooled. So, I figure we all do our best, and what works and feels best for our family - and our kids'll all probably turn out just fine.


 
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