lahermite: (Default)
(i will be giving more depth to my profile by doing posts for each thing i wrote there. i will then link from my profile to each post.)

there are lots of books you can read on unschooling. the teenage liberation handbook is a good one to start with, derrick jensen's walking on water is another great one, anything by john holt, sandra dodd, and many others. i don't read up a lot on unschooling, though. like with most things, once someone labels it and makes a group about it, people come in with their agendas and take over. i'm not much of a joiner! and a lot of the unschooling groups have been commandeered by l.o.a. people, and that just pisses me off. keep l.o.a. stuff on l.o.a. groups and keep unschooling free of it. but that's just my gripe!

my kids and i unschool. what does that mean? we use no curriculum, we don't "go to school", we "live school". when children are born, they are innocent and know very little beyond instinct about the world and their bodies. how does a child learn to walk? to talk? to pick things up? how does a child know what tastes good and what tastes bad? how does a child learn how to play? write? sing? paint?

by living.

by being surrounded by those things, by seeing those things, by becoming interested in how those around him/her do those things. we all learn all the time. you have a conversation with someone about a subject you know nothing of. the subject interests you, so you go to the library, ask friends, go online. *you* become interested in something, so you introduce that something into your life in some way so you can learn about it. this is unschooling. you didn't require a teacher or a classroom or government beauracracy and control to teach you that thing, you just went out there and found it all out for yourself. unschooling.

a classroom teaches hierarchy. it teaches children to be bored, to sit at a desk, to zone out lectures. a child raises his/her hand in class and most of the time the teacher will ignore the hand, picking someone else, or the child wil be told his/her question is not applicable, or - even worse - wrong. most children come out of school hating the experience. some adults who hate school go on to hate learning, hate knowledge, become closed minded, ignorant. some have to deschool and then relearn how to enjoy learning.

i don't want to make this a post attacking public education. i despise it, but not all people can keep their kids home. i might not always be able to. but the principles of unschooling can be applied to kids in public education, too. keep learning fun. make living an act of learning (because it is!)

people ask about such things as math or reading. how will my child learn these things if i don't teach them. my four year old daughter is a great example of this. she likes numbers and letters so she asks me questions, she gets out notepads and practices writing, she counts the numbers on her watch so that she can see what number looks like what. i don't have to teach her anything, all i have to do is make available the things she wants to learn. when things like math get more complicated, too complicated for me to answer her questions, i'll simply make available someone who can. people ask, "what if she doesn't want to read?" well, what's the worst that could happen if she doesn't? will that effect her overall happiness? if she discovers it does, then no doubt she'll then learn how to read. most children *want* to learn how to read. most children who don't want to learn (my 6 year old son is a great example of someone who doesn't! he can read the pictures just fine!) will change their minds by about ten. they get to that point and realise that they're missing out on stuff because they can't read, and then they decide it's time to learn, so do.

really, it's about trusting your child.

some people use homeschooling or unschooling as a way to keep their children secluded from the world, from some truths or opinions. this is prevalent in highly religious folks. some people ask about these kids, how they will live good lives if they're kept away from truth and knowledge. i don't actually believe that's the case. children aren't children forever, and if a child has grown up in a way that the child isn't happy with, the child rebels. it doesn't seem to matter who the parent is, how they live, how they raise their children. children rebel. i trust that my children will inform me if their needs aren't being met. all i have to do is pay attention. there is always a chance that a child's needs aren't being met. public education doesn't guarantee against that not happening. and, in many instances, guarantees precisely that that *will* happen. beauracracy being the wonderfully just and equal thing that it is ~sarcasm~

if you have any questions about unschooling, please ask away!

here in north carolina, the state requires that i register as a private school, then test my children once a year and keep files containing the test and proof of study. children aren't required by law to attend school til 7 (throughout europe 7 is the new school-start-age due to studies that have found that the thinking mind doesn't kick in til 7, and the new belief that public schooling prior to that does more harm than good). i will register my kids at 6 and will test them so that i don't break any laws. we've discussed this. they know that they will *have* to learn what the state requires of them so that they can pass their tests, but the word *have* is pretty loose and we'll find a way around it if necessary. i want my children to be smart and happy. i believe the best way to attain that is to let them steer the course of their learning. thus far, it's working out great. of course, they're only 4 and 6, so have only taught themselves how to walk, talk, draw, paint, play video games, use a computer, jump, skip, dig, plant, climb, use various electrical things around the house, identify a bunch of trees, plants, animals, and a whole bunch more stuff that i just can't list here. obviously not going to public school is destroying their minds! /sarcasm.

edited to add: i want to add here, unschooling, for me personally, is also a political act. it ties in intricately with being an anarchist, which, simplified, means i'm against government/monarchy/unnatural hierarchy/oppression etc etc. the way i see it, if we subject our children to the brainwashing of the state (which, ultimately, the "public" school system is), how will we ever create a different way to be?
lahermite: (Default)
sent me by [livejournal.com profile] syzygy from here: http://mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=851444

"It is true that some children can learn to read remarkably early. But the fact that they can does not necessarily mean they should. Should is another question. One school district set up an experiment to help decide this question. Some K's in the district received extensive instruction in reading. Others spent the same amount of time learning science. They melted ice. They observed thermometers in hot and cold places. They played with magnets, grew plants, learned about animal life, and so on. Books and pictures were available to these children if they wanted them, but no formal lessons in reading were held.

And what did the school district lear? By third grade the "science" children were far ahead of the "reading" children in their reading scores. The reason? Their vocabularies and thinking skills were more advanced. They could read on more topics and understand higher level materials. The "reading" children, by starting earlier, used up a lot of learning time on the skills of reading, while the "science" children spent the time learning real stuff. And when they did begin reading, they were older and knew more and learned in a fraction of the time that the others took."
lahermite: (civ rules)
routine

mum and i were talking about the kids and their learning. jiana is learning how to write her name, loke's name, and some numbers. she does this with me of her own accord because she wants to. loke refuses to. i don't push him. he's only 5. there's plenty of time (the rest of his life) to learn these things. my mother is concerned about him. she said that she's always been a big believer in routine. she thinks we should sit down every day at x-time, for x-amount of time, to learn reading, writing, math, etc. routine. she says she accomplishes so much more because she sticks to her routine, and that the children, having to learn these things, would do so much quicker if they had a routine.

routine feels to me like school. it feels to me like work. it feels to me like civilization's requirements of enslavement. routine doesn't feel like doing something when and because it needs doing. it feels like doing something because someone else says you *have* to do it. we don't go to school because we need to. we go to school because we *have* to. we don't go to work because we need to. we go to work because we *have* to. because someone else tells us we *have* to. civilization requires us to be slaves and slave owners. routine is part and parcel of civilization. part and parcel of enslavement.

how can we create a new world if we're perpetuating the ways of the old world?

my mother would say, "but they have to exist in *this* world. they will *have* to go to work. they will *have* to earn money to survive. you *have* to teach them routine so that they can function in *this* world."

enslavement.

civilization requires enslavement to survive. no slaves, no civilization. this is fact. undisputable.

i repeat: how can we create a new world if we're perpetuating the ways of the old world?

we are all slaves. each and every one of us. we are also all slave owners. each and every one of us. enslavement isn't freedom. we want to be free. we want the world to be free. if we *have* to work (because civilization removed our abilities to provide for ourselves without its enslavement processes) then we *have* to have routine. if we *have* to go to school (because civilization removed our abilities to learn naturally from the world and tribe around us) then we *have* to have routine. routine is forced. we don't *want* to work. we don't *want* to sit still in a classroom, facing forward towards a higher being for hours on end, learning by rote stuff that, for the most part, we will forget instantly. we are forced to do these things by a civilization that requires us to be slaves.

unschooling attempts to break free of these chains. it attempts to allow our children to grow up with free minds, so that even if they *have* to participate in adulthood in a world of slavery, they do it with free minds.

thus i shun routine.

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lahermite

November 2011

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