Will we have to follow the California Schools Corriculum if we homeschool our children?
Will we have to follow the California Schools Corriculum if we homeschool our children?
My son and I an unschooling duo from the States, currently living in Peru, designed a retreat for the international community. We designed the retreat for families, teens and adults, in the form of a temporary learning community. You can find out more info here if you are interested in joining us:ProjectUnschoolPeru.com
So, give us a one or two sentence summary of your latest project.
Project Unschool Peru is a life-changing event designed to inspire teens and families who wish to experience the magic of Peru's Sacred Valley during a 2-week “natural learning” retreat. In this temporary learning-community. Participants follow their own interests individually and as a group, focusing on archaeology, history, ethnobotany, sacred plants and medicines, agriculture, arts and music, sustainability, Andean mysticism and so much more.
Is this a retreat or an educational gathering, or what?
Hi there! I hope you're having a blasting day.
What do you think about that idea? Hosting a foreign teen would be a great way to extend our world, bond at a deeper level, mutually benefit from each others'unique worldview... as my kids are too young to be hosted themselves. I was an AFSer to the US at 16 and I absolutely loved the experience, even if I wasn't fond of the place itself.
But I'm not really excited by the idea to have to send that precious guest to school! He could also be quite disturbed by the freedom we have as unschoolers.
So what if we'd host an unschooler? Did any of you do so, or would like to?
When we left Australia,I was originally Homeschooling my son.
We didn't have a formal curriculum, but we had bought books, and had some work sheets from his school.
When we arrived in Fiji, we placed him in school there. We were pretty shocked at the tardy school system, run 90% by the Indians. The school spoke English, and many traveling kids attended - mainly from the yachts that were sailing around the world.
But one day he came home to tell me that the kids were getting hit by the teacher with a stick. For every word in spelling they got wrong, she hit them. The kids had to clean the room, and if the brooms were in the wrong place, she would hit them.
I was shocked. So I promptly pulled my son out of school, and went to the Education Department. The teacher was warned that it was a jail-able offence and she would lose her job if there was another incident.
'Your unschooling sounds great, but you're a Sorbonne graduate and I only studied...' 'I don't feel I know enough to be unschooling' 'I know stuff but I don't know how to teach'
In school or homeschooling, the curriculum and course materials provide parents with a sense of security, that their personal areas of ignorance or lack of skills wouldn't get in the way of their kids'learning. What about unschooling, when there is really no boundaries to what children would learn? Very scary indeed!
Hey, don't worry! The main difference with unschooling is that the learning is not yours, nobody wants you to 'teach' from above! Sure, your kid might developp a passion for bees or supernovae and ask you a couple hundred questions, but 'I don't know, let's see where we can look that up' is, I believe, the most usual answer from unschooling parents.
It is not about content providing, it is about facilitating a child's pursuit of his personal interests, about opening the way for him to develop his skills, his ways.
Practically, what's useful to know or do?
I hope you're freely fine today!
I wanted to share and ask your feedback to improve my reminder to not step in the learning process too much, nor too little!
That balance really depends on each child's preferences, my boy would immediately stop building if we 'fixed' one unstable block or if we proceeded to show him something. And he would insist we do it, and stop for weeks to use that toy himself... Very sensitive indeed!
How are your kids feeling with your various kinds of involvement?
I love the idea of this type of schooling. Mostly because during the summer months, I try to do more things that interest me, but when school starts back up, it's as if I can't get enough time to do the things I love most. In result, I resent school tremendously. My parents proposed the idea for me to explore other types of schooling. When I went to public schooling, they didn't see how unhappy I was. That changed, though, when we moved to the city and I started Online Schooling. See, I have an eye problem that has prevented me for doing many things in my past, an I honestly didn't want to deal with troubled kids who unconsciously feel as if they need to pick and bully others, so they can except themselves. Nothing makes an easier target than the new kid with the shaking eyes.
Last year, I had the worst school year of all my years. I was so used to structured learning, that I didn't pick up the responsibility and I almost got kicked out of online school. That was when I realized that there needed to be a change in my education. What I did all last year, was ignore the things that were being asked of me, and focused on the things i was interested in. Which, all that work added up, and this year I have felt the pressure. I don't want to use unschooling as a way to get out of my responsibilities, but rather as a way to better, or further my education. the only problem I have is, I don't know where to start.
So, if you took the time to read my post, please, I'm open to suggestions on where too look. :)
I've been reading Leo's blogs for years and am so happy to see him start blogging about unschooling! Setting up a community is cool too so I thought I'd say hi and introduce myself. :-)
My name is Pam Laricchia and my family's been unschooling since 2002. Looking back, I'm thrilled we chose this path. Unschooling is not an easy educational and lifestyle choice—it takes energy and dedication to do it well, but it is definitely a viable alternative to the conventional education system. Unschooling focuses on each person as an individual and brings the idea of lifelong learning alive. Conventionally, lifelong learning implies continuing to learn as an adult so you don't become obsolete in your field; but with unschooling, lifelong learning means you have a lifetime to learn. Learning is an integral part of life.
Here's a quick glimpse at what life looks like for my kids.
My eldest son, 21, is all about stories. Since he was young he has surrounded himself with them through video games, anime, movies, TV, web series, visual novels etc. He understands storytelling deeply and we have wonderfully interesting conversations around it all—which are basically conversations about life because stories are all-encompassing. He is working on bringing his own stories into the world.
My daughter, 19, is a passionate photographer. Last summer she chose to spend an extended period of time in New York City (we live in Ontario, Canada) to explore the city’s arts community. She loved it, learned an incredible amount, and found her tribe. She came home and we went right to work putting together an application for a US artist's visa. It was approved (yay!) and the next day, at age 18, I helped her move to NYC.
I don't really have any great ideas to share, other than to say that the subject interests me greatly. I have long seen the problems with our public education and how we are taught to conform and follow rules rather than to explore and learn. I myself feel that I suffered a great deal of damage in my early years from schooling, primarily the fact that I was taught to stifle my creative ideas and go along with the crowd. I still have a great deal of trouble having enough confidence to break away from tradition and do my own thing.
I look forward to being a part of the community and learning from you all.
When Chase was younger (from about 6 months to 2 yrs old give or take), we really pushed the reading thing. I've always done what I thought was best and back then, I believed all the "I read to my kid every day and they are brilliant!!!!" stories. Of course I wanted my kid to be amazing in every possible way. All the parenting advice I was reading said to read and read and read to them. So we did. And it never felt quite right.
A lot of our reading time was forced. In an effort to quiet things down at night we would read books. Chase spent most of that time rolling around the bed and goofing off. Nothing like what parents are led to expect of story time. There was no cuddling. No drifting peacefully off to sleep. No interest in the stories really. And no quiet! At first I thought it was the books we were choosing. This one has too many words. That one doesn't have enough pictures. This one is too long. And so on. Daddy loves to read, so much so we married in a library. I felt so terrible that our kiddo was not a lover of books. He didn't even tolerate them most of the time. What were we doing wrong? Every kid is supposed to love story time right? Not in our house!
Gradually, and the more we got into unschooling, the reading activity went from mandatory to optional. Occasionally Chase would want to read a book when he had no other entertainment options. He would choose the ones that he can "read" along with us (more like he knows what's coming next rather than reading words on a page.) But most of the time he wanted nothing to do with books. Until now.
Tonight I asked Daddy, "Am I crazy or does Chase want to read books lately?" He said "Yeah he does. I think he actually understands what's going on in the stories now. So he likes it more." Bingo! How could I have missed that? How fun is it to partake in an activity that doesn't make any sense? We might as well have been reading to him in Portuguese! All this time I thought I was doing something wrong or worse, there was something wrong with Chase. But that wasn't the case at all. He wasn't able to comprehend the stories and so it wasn't as fun or engaging as jumping on the bed or Curious George or just about anything else he chose to do.
Kids are unique snowflakes. The best thing you can do is let your kiddo teach YOU how to raise them. I'm sure there are lots of young kids out there that really do love to be read to. But Chase was not one of those kids, at least not at first. Man, I love these unschooling ah-ha! moments :)