Topic: Unschooling
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March 22nd, 2010, 04:03 PM
crstarlette crstarlette is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 83
When I started reading up on homeschooling that was what I wanted to do. It sounds so natural and just warm and fuzzy. Wouldn't it be great if my kids only had to learn what they wanted, and because learning is a natural desire, they ended up wanting to learn to read, write, do math, plus science history etc.? Unfortunately, I quickly found that while most children want to know how to read, I don't think many of them want to sit and learn phonics for a couple of years. Learning phonics is tedious and takes a long time, and children don't have the foresight or patience.

Math has been the same way to some extent, but I would say not quite as bad. That could be because we took math a little slower.

While I know my children find science and history interesting, and my oldest often prefers to check out non-fiction books from the library, they would more often than not choose computer games and video games (of the non-educational variety) over learning if they were allowed to do whatever they wanted.

There are accounts like this one (under the 'more natural lessons' heading) that I think people must respond to in different ways. I think some people read that and say, "That's great! They boy learned to write well of his own accord! He is really learning to be intrinsically motivated. And isn't it great that everyone got to learn at their own pace?" But when I read it I think, "He's 10 years old and he can't sign his own name?" This is mild compared to some things I've read. It was either in The Unschool Handbook or an issue of Home Education Magazine where one person was talking about how all her children learned to read fluently at different ages. Some of the ages were more or less normal (maybe ages 4 - 8), but one was age 12 before he decided he wanted to learn to read.

Now, part of me thinks all's well that ends well. Does it *really* matter how old you are when you learn to ___(fill in the blank)___ ? And so long as we're not talking about learning a spoken language, the answer is no, I guess. However, in the case of my children's educations I succumb to many societal pressures. A personal reason, though, is that when I look back at my childhood a question I often ask (or maybe more of a complaint I have) is "Why didn't my mother push me more?" When I talk to other people my age, that seems to be a common complaint. We with our parents would have forced us to stick with that musical instrument, study harder etc. While I don't want to push my children to unhappiness, I don't want to allow them so much freedom at such a young age (because of such a lack of foresight etc.) that they resent me when they're older because as the adult, I should have led them to their potential, not let them discover what's left of it on their own when they're older.

In short, if someone decides to homeschool, I understand their motivation and I respect that. I think there is a good possibility that that is the better choice for many children including my own. However, I'm playing it safe on this one.
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