For Those Considering Homeschooling or Unschooling ...

Sunni's picture

Lobo and I have done both, at varying times, with both broods of his children. And of course, there are many methods proffered for both approaches—which I originally found a little odd with respect to unschooling, since it’s supposed to be unstructured schooling. It is to this point (or goal, or whatever) that I primarily speak.

If you desire to keep learning integrated in your child’s daily activities, please, for the love of whatever you cherish most, do not label any activity or time period as “educational” or “learning”. In our desire to emphasize the importance of learning, we have done so with the snolfs, to varying degrees (since Lobo has a TV and the house has several game consoles, I think he wanted to ensure that some educational activity had been engaged in before a snolf had permission to use his electronics). Despite my explicit renunciation of the concept of “learning time” or “educational activity”, and attempts to replace them with a more relaxed, inclusive approach to learning, both snolfs (but especially Snolf the First) have conceptually separated “education” from most activities. Thus, the bane of my day has become the question from them: “Have I done enough learning yet?”.

How can I possibly judge that accurately? More importantly, it seems to now be impossible for me to instill in them the idea that learning can happen in any situation; it isn’t something that’s switched on and off. We’ve talked about this repeatedly, but while they seem attentive to my words each time, they do not grok: nearly every day one of them asks, “Have I done enough learning?” ... sigh.

Surely some will argue that the “problem” would be easily solved by eliminating all the video games, but that is unsatisfactory on many levels. First and foremost, they will need to learn both self-discipline and how to allocate their time at some point; and I think that the younger they start to do so, the better. Each of them has already experienced the unhappiness of regretting an investment of time; and having those machines provides probably the best way for them to think about opportunity cost, and refine their decision-making abilities. Additionally, their computers also have games available on them, both online and off-; surely no one would seriously advance the claim that that negates the wondrous learning opportunities the machines hold. There’s no way I’m going to become even more of an educational cop, standing over them and watching their every move on the computer to ensure it’s a “good” one. Both snolfs also have a handheld game device now, which is their property; I’m not happy about that but I cannot undo it and continue to claim I respect their freedom. Surely it is important for them to learn how to balance the presence of these things in their lives, just as previous generations probably had to balance listening to the radio or watching television.

[And, true to form, as I was writing this, Lobo, the snolfs, and I played another round of “What is enough learning?” with a side of “Why can’t I do this thing first?”. One snolf is in tears, and both are puttering around, apparently avoiding doing anything. Sigh ...]

some thoughts

Hi Sunni,

I wouldn't despair that perceptions can't be changed. A lot of life is about falling off the horse and getting up again. One possible way to cut out the "have I learned enough?" might be to simply set a time of day when electronics can come on. Then it's all about the clock, not "education." The tough thing for the grownups is that sometimes it isn't apparent that anything "worthy" happened before the turn-on time and you can't welch on it and still retain your credibility. It does seem fairer, though, because the time of day is very easily ascertained, whereas the question of whether enough learning has happened is so slippery, the kid has no firm ground to stand on with it.

I should probably admit I don't do that with my own daughter, but it didn't sound to me like what I do would fly with Lobo, so this is what I would do if my partner felt as he seems to from your description. Although we have a specific time of day when we do the schoolwork we need to do to meet legal requirements (my daughter is aware that we have to do these things in order for her to continue to be free to stay home, and I do try to make them as fun as possible), I let her watch TV or play on the computer whenever she wants for a number of reasons, mostly about wanting to be toward her how I would want a person to be toward me, not nagging me all the time about what I enjoy and how wrong I am to waste my time on it. How do I make it that this is not all that she does all day long? I try to make sure that there are always alternatives available that she's really interested in - which in her case is sewing stuff, writing supplies, drawing supplies, paper, scissors, cardboard, books, games, etc., etc., and she is allowed to make a total disastrous mess in her area while using them. I also have to offer myself into the bargain in coming up with possibilities - if I'm on the computer all day without stop, honestly, she will also be either on the TV or the computer all day too. I try to do other intersting things so that she can see that humans do more than sit at the computer. And I don't label those things "education" - so when we made a kaleidoscope yesterday, it wasn't "school," just a cool thing to do. Sometimes there will be more of that stuff done than other days, but at least so far it seems to me that she's learned a lot more on her own initiative - playing, reading, asking questions and even watching tv - than from the school stuff we're supposed to do. I'm trying to trust in that.

Of course we're really early in the journey, so I know there may be much rougher times ahead - I know I could be humbled at any moment. And I wouldn't want to imply we have a conflict-free existence. The bane of my life may just be the flute lessons she's been taking for the past year and a half, where the deal is the parent has to practice with the child every day. Apparently she hates that but still finds it worthwhile.

I don't know if any of this was helpful, but you're probably doing way better than you recognize.

Quite helpful.

Especially this part (emphasis mine):

... I let her watch TV or play on the computer whenever she wants for a number of reasons, mostly about wanting to be toward her how I would want a person to be toward me, not nagging me all the time about what I enjoy and how wrong I am to waste my time on it. How do I make it that this is not all that she does all day long? I try to make sure that there are always alternatives available that she's really interested in - which in her case is sewing stuff, writing supplies, drawing supplies, paper, scissors, cardboard, books, games, etc., etc., and she is allowed to make a total disastrous mess in her area while using them. I also have to offer myself into the bargain in coming up with possibilities - if I'm on the computer all day without stop, honestly, she will also be either on the TV or the computer all day too. I try to do other intersting things so that she can see that humans do more than sit at the computer. And I don't label those things "education" ...

That’s how I did things when Lobo and I were apart and the snolfs were with me, and for the reason I highlighted. But now that we are co-parenting in one home again (we did not reconcile romantically), we’re trying to find a path with which we both are comfortable. But it isn’t easy; and moreover, I may be contributing to my difficulties. Lobo’s work pays all the family’s bills; but since we aren’t partners any more, I am uncomfortable with not contributing at least something financially to the household. It’s very challenging for me, trying to maintain my income streams while also being available for my children—especially since they all require some time on the computer, and the candy-making is a long, detail-oriented process that cannot be interrupted or stopped on a whim. They enjoy helping me with it some, but they do lose interest, and I can’t just set it aside when that happens. I also have standards that I will not break when making candies for others, and they don’t always meet them.

Thanks, Ellen.

Lobo’s work pays all the

Lobo’s work pays all the family’s bills; but since we aren’t partners any more, I am uncomfortable with not contributing at least something financially to the household. It’s very challenging for me, trying to maintain my income streams while also being available for my children

That must be VERY challenging. I know I would feel the similarly uncomfortable if I was in your shoes. Good luck and I hope you're not falling prey to that guilt that seems to haunt so many moms no matter how hard they are working for their kids. I'm sure they are learning something from the high standards you place on your work, from the way you think and your integrity. I'd bet you are doing a very good job.

Sigh, Indeed

I wish I knew how to instill an intrinsic love of learning, but I don't. I always hated school but I loved learning -- well, some kinds of it, anyway (mostly books and music). Conceptually I'm quite fond of unschooling but I haven't had to raise a child, so it's easy for me to pontificate. I'll ponder it a bit and see if I can come up with anything useful.

Intrinsic

It seems to me that the nature of small creatures is that they are automatic learning machines - that is unless their inherent nature has been squished out of them by some means. My own speculation is that my highest goal would be to manage not to do the squishing in spite of all of the pressures on me to do so.

I personally find it extremely arrogant to presume that anyone (parents included) have a right (have I heard that word lately?) or obligation (as Marc Stevens might say, Can you show me where this obligation was created?) to force a child into a certain path. The true gift, it seems, would be to facilitate the critters' own learning desires and processes.

I was listening to an interesting (and recommended) podcast this afternoon by Wes Bertram, called Complete Liberty Podcast #49 in which the following quote jumped from the speakers to my pen:

Teaching is the highest form of manipulation.

Just another thought to add to the meme-stream.

- NonE

Time

Time is the way to limit access to TV, gameboys, etc. It is even better if there is some good external reason.

Long ago we used to have a weekly "no screens" day. Now we use a different method. The local power company has a time based pricing scheme which we signed up for. During peak hours (when electricity is more expensive) we do not use computers, TV, etc. Unless it is for work. When we first started this one of the girls wanted to know how much we were really saving, so I asked her to do the math, which she and her sister did.

With us, any rule in the house applies to everyone, so we have never had any "fairness" issues.

However, I never worried if they spent a lot of time on games. They have both binged on various games for what seems like months at a time, then don't touch them at all for a long time. When I was in my 20s I spent an awful lot of time playing Adventure. When we were first married Annie spent what seemed like a year obsessed with Prince of Persia. Having fun should be part of life, and the games themselves do teach a lot. If they were not challenging they would not be interesting. They lose interest in the boring games very quickly.

I guess we never really tried to "keep learning integrated". We just live life. We have a library, we have games, we offer to involve them in the things we do. Sometimes they are interested, sometimes they are not. They find their own things, usually let us know, we try to figure out how to help them achieve their goals. We also let them know that there are a few things that they should know if they expect to function in modern society. Reading (in our case in both English and Spanish) and basic math. We explain why. We tell them about things that we think might interest them. We point them at books we think they will like. Ultimately they decide.

When Ayn expressed an interest in Architecture, I pointed out that she would need a lot more math. We spent the next year working on math almost every day at her insistence. She lost that interest and wanted to study English. As neither Annie nor I felt competent to teach her, we found her a tutor online. That lasted for a bit more than a year. Now that she is working her interests are different, but she continues to read and study.

Ada is currently studying Cantonese and Japanese. The later so she can read Manga and watch Anime without translation, the former because it is Annie's native language and Ada wants to be able to speak with her grandmother better the next time she see her. Ada has also taken a keen interest in gardening and has been doing a lot of research in addition to the hands-on work.

Both of them did weekly art classes for a couple of years. All their decisions.

If you and Lobo love learning and are constantly doing it, they will pick that up and learn as well. Not necessarily the same things you are learning, or what you think they should be learning, but it is a process. It is not possible to learn one thing without learning others, unless you are in "school" of some sort.

I recommend that you let them "detox" from "learning" and "school". Observe what they do. When you see something they are interested in, recommend a book, or a TV program about the topic. Help them build what ever they want. Let them take the lead. Let it be their decision.

The standard objection to this is: What if they never want to do anything? This is where libertarian values come in very handy. Freedom is, among other things, the freedom to starve. We have always let them know that they are free, and one day, they will be free to starve, if that is the path they choose. Life is wonderful and full of joy, but only if you make it so. It is very easy to make it awful. Their choice, their decision. Always.

Doing it versus seeing it.

Time is the way to limit access to TV, gameboys, etc. It is even better if there is some good external reason.

We have used electricity as the limiter before, as well as common courtesy: to the former, both of us are unwilling to pay for electricity for 24-hour video game binges—but if a snolf is willing to pay to play, he or she may; and to the latter, we have “quiet time” hours which apply to all, and during which noisy electronics are off as a courtesy to people who may be trying to sleep.

If you and Lobo love learning and are constantly doing it, they will pick that up and learn as well. Not necessarily the same things you are learning, or what you think they should be learning, but it is a process.

We do, but much of our learning isn’t that visible to them. We both find a lot of things on the internet, and very frequently share them with the snolfs (and everyone in the family); so far the snolfs seem relatively uninterested in exploring the web on their own. Similarly, because they’re in the learning stages of searching, they get frustrated when the information they see isn’t immediately available, or obvious in the list of search results. Lobo learns a lot through his travel, and he has taken the snolfs on a couple of his business trips, but that isn’t something that can happen frequently.

I appreciate your responses, Jorge; I think my greatest difficulty is that I’m hoping for an answer that is impossible, given that Lobo and I have some differing ideas and/or goals regarding parenting the snolfs.

What to do?

1) Emphasize learning on video/computer games. "What did you learn by (or from) that move/play/game?" Let them see that play can be educational.

2) Likewise, make a game of educational subjects such as geography, astronomy, budgeting, etc. applied to everyday situations. Or get Scrabble and other learning ames in digital form that they can hold and carry around and challenge each other with. Learning can be fun without their realizing it.

Sounds like you're trying to do these things, but somehow your desire for their education is getting in the way of their desire to learn. They are too smart by half; don't allow the horse to take control of the bit. You DO need to structure some learning time.

They're old enough now to understand that mixing activities (TV, books, games, physical play, crafts, helping, earning treats [and game time], etc.) can make for a more well-rounded individual, and help them become "adult" faster. You don't have to tell them that's your purpose unless it will motivate them, but mixing it up will help clear their minds and tire their bodies, ready for the next activity.

Both snolfs also have a handheld game device now, which is their property; I'm not happy about that but I cannot undo it and continue to claim I respect their freedom.

Am not sure I agree with this. With ownership comes responsibility; not just the responsibility of taking care of the equipment, but responsibility of knowing when and how often to use it. Time limits should be set. We set limits for ourselves, and consider ourselves free; kids are no less free because parents set limits for them, contingent upon their ability to control themselves.

Completely wrong

In my not so humble opinion this is exactly the wrong approach.

1) Emphasize learning on video/computer games. "What did you learn by (or from) that move/play/game?" Let them see that play can be educational.

Great way to make them resent their parents for taking away the one fun thing they have and make it "educational".

How about just let everything, and I mean everything, be experienced for its own sake, not for its educational value.

2) Likewise, make a game of educational subjects such as geography, astronomy, budgeting, etc. applied to everyday situations. Or get Scrabble and other learning ames in digital form that they can hold and carry around and challenge each other with. Learning can be fun without their realizing it.

If they have any level of intelligence above that of a comatose earthworm they will see right through that. Once again, play games for their own sake. My children received their first lessons in both geography and politics by playing Risk without any attempt on our part to teach anything. We just played a game and answered questions.

They are too smart by half; don't allow the horse to take control of the bit. You DO need to structure some learning time.

"too smart", Ghods! sorry, but this really rankles me. I want children to be smart. This means that they will control their own destiny. They are not taking carp from anyone. They are doing what they can to take control of a bad situation. The "too smart" sentiment implies they need a dose of public school to properly dumb them down so that they will be pliable and compliant. This is the way to raise good worker drones, not strong self reliant individuals.

Children are not horses, or any other kind of live stock.

If the children should refuse the structured time, then what? Violence to enforce it. Or perhaps "treats"? What a disaster. Teach them that they only "learn" when being threatened or rewarded. Carrots and sticks. Nothing for its own sake.

Then there is the "You don't have to tell them...." Deception, practiced on your children!?! Really, this is too much. Deceiving others is good. A great lesson to teach. How about trying honesty? Tell them exactly why you think something needs to be done and why you think it needs to be done in the way you advocate. Justify yourself to them. Convince them that this is the best course of action. Or is that too difficult?

I will stop this rant here, but I trust that it is obvious that I consider the last paragraph to be disgusting as well.

I apologize if I have overstepped the guidelines regarding comments, but this attitude really, really bothers me.

What to do and what not to do.

Pagan wrote:

1) Emphasize learning on video/computer games. "What did you learn by (or from) that move/play/game?" Let them see that play can be educational.

To which Jorge replied, in part:

In my not so humble opinion this is exactly the wrong approach. .... Great way to make them resent their parents for taking away the one fun thing they have and make it "educational".

I think it depends upon the nature of the questions and their context. Lobo and I regularly ask them (and did with his first brood too), “What did you learn from that?” after all kinds of things (e.g., a fight with someone, getting physically hurt, etc.). The aim was never to make everything “educational”—it was to encourage reflection, and reconsideration, in the hopes that such activities would reveal important ideas, insights, patterns, etc. The process also develops depth in thinking: instead of merely acting and reacting, a child learns that he can think about his actions, reactions, and others’ responses to them—in other words, such questioning opens up the meta level of cognition. And of course, one can ask that question explicitly or implicitly ...

Pagan also wrote, in response to one of my comments:

Both snolfs also have a handheld game device now, which is their property; I'm not happy about that but I cannot undo it and continue to claim I respect their freedom.

Am not sure I agree with this. With ownership comes responsibility; not just the responsibility of taking care of the equipment, but responsibility of knowing when and how often to use it. Time limits should be set. We set limits for ourselves, and consider ourselves free; kids are no less free because parents set limits for them, contingent upon their ability to control themselves.

True enough on ownership. But that’s my point: those items are their property—if I were to take them away from them or tell them they cannot use them in general, I would instantly vaporize all my credibility with them regarding respecting their freedom and ownership rights. (By “in general” I mean in their room or “everybody spaces” in the home.) That said, they do not have unlimited access to electricity, as mentioned above, which helps their planning skills at least a little. ;-)

And last, Jorge wrote:

How about just let everything, and I mean everything, be experienced for its own sake, not for its educational value.

Your question taps into something I’ve been wondering about for some time, without a glimmer of insight so far. It seems to me that if I were to do that—let every experience go by without comment, interpretation, or examination—there’s a risk that their potentials, and even their intellects, would never develop beyond a certain minimum. In other words, absent encouragement from others to engage more deeply, they could end up becoming Boobus americanus by default rather than by choice. If the former happened I would consider myself a failure as a parent. Yet I can see how the other extreme can become problematic too, leading to a life not experienced in the moment, but rather analyzed after the fact and therefore distanced from experience. I hope that my own life, with its balance between the two, serves as a sufficient example.

And in hasty and inadequate reply to the remainder of the extant comments on my ramble, I’ll just say that I am trying to trust my children. It isn’t helpful that my own attitude vacillates somewhat, especially when their conversation seems filled with video references rather than the stuff of the real world around them. Also, the recognition that a fine line separates helping and sheltering them is little comfort.

I think the original damage, so to speak, can be undone. The question is whether Lobo and I will agree that the existing arrangement could be improved, and if so, how.

I feel for you so...

My two sons (now long grown) were inevitably torn between two vastly different parenting styles. Their father was a strict disciplinarian to them, though he obviously did not model it in his own life. He ultimately lost their respect totally when he left us in their pre teen years.

I did my best, with many sad failures and misunderstandings, to both model and teach them self responsibility - making sure they understood and accepted responsibility for the consequences of their actions and choices (age appropriate, of course). I was very young then, of course, and had a way to go in knowing what the heck I meant by that myself sometimes, but that was my goal.

They were both very normal children, meaning that they were inclined to be extremely selfish (not consider the affects of their actions on the lives of others) and tended easily to the destruction of their own and other people's property. Lots of opportunity for teaching and learning there, but in the context of almost endless work for the adults, and the dichotomy of our parenting goals, I'm afraid we didn't do well with it much of the time.

And yet, somehow, both of them have become strong, productive adults who respect the property and lives of others, do not blend in with the herd, and live non-aggression as a principle to this day.

They are not everything I wish for them, but I have no stones to throw. They continue to live and learn as I did. They are sovereign individuals with their own lives and goals, making their own mistakes and growing from it.

Perhaps we don't really need to worry quite so much about the little details. If we model what we teach, perhaps that is the best we can do in the long run.

Clarification

I just read this last night; sorry I'm late in responding. Apparently I don't say what I mean very well.

In response to my "Let them see that play can be educational."

Great way to make them resent their parents for taking away the one fun thing they have and make it "educational".

How about just let everything, and I mean everything, be experienced for its own sake, not for its educational value.

Who's taking anything away? And why is it the ONE fun thing they have?

When I was a kid, I asked "Why?" of everything - so much that I alienated one primary adult in particular for the rest of his life. The point is I wanted to know everything, and I think most other kids do, too.

In fact, all (!) of life as a child is a learning experience, a natural part of growing. I don't think children resent learning something if it applies to their life. Children learn from games - how to think, how to coordinate their minds and/or bodies, how to socialize, how to share (if that's necessary - some adults go overboard trying to MAKE sharing a concomitant part of socializing); in short, how to live. That's what play is all about.

My son asked me Why (and How... and What For... and I Don't Believe That, Do You?... or just I Don't Believe That!) about many games and many circumstances as he was growing up. I answered the questions, and if I didn't know, I said so and we researched the answers together. Play can be educational, and education needn't be a drag.

In response to my "Likewise, make a game of educational subjects such as geography, astronomy, budgeting, etc. applied to everyday situations .... Learning can be fun without their realizing it":

If they have any level of intelligence above that of a comatose earthworm they will see right through that. Once again, play games for their own sake. My children received their first lessons in both geography and politics by playing Risk without any attempt on our part to teach anything. We just played a game and answered questions.

I repeat what I said above. Whether the parent comes at the subject from the viewpoint of 'play' or from 'education', the two can be synonymous, parallel, obvious or subtle ("sneaky", in your words), intentional or serendipitous, it makes no difference. Anything that helps to raise the child to a happy and intelligent, free-thinking adult - that is the goal.

In response to my "They are too smart by half":

"too smart", Ghods! sorry, but this really rankles me. I want children to be smart. This means that they will control their own destiny. They are not taking carp from anyone. They are doing what they can to take control of a bad situation....

I meant that they are that much smarter (by half) than you/me/us, the adults. I agree with every word you said above. (except I wasn't rankled by it :-)) Children, allowed to learn "naturally" - i.e. at their own pace and best method - will be smarter than their parents, and at an increasingly earlier age with each generation, I've noticed. Parents need to learn which is the best method - which is what concerns Sunni, I think.

Some children need structure, others don't. "Structure" doesn't mean a Prussian school system; it can be time alone, time to learn, time to play, time to rest, time to craft, time to sit around the dining table to discuss problems. Any, or all, of these activities may be needed - or junked entirely if something doesn't work. At that point a new plan needs to be put into operation. I've had to do it myself when I homeschooled my son.

I haven't said anything that parents here don't already know. We've all made mistakes; the person who's concerned about doing it right, will make less mistakes than those who don't care, or those who just don't think - which I doubt is anyone here.

Speaking of Prussia...

I don't have any children, nor even any snolfs. But I was (am?) one wonse upon a thyme. My recollection of school was that it was a place I had to go and endure until I could get home and immerse myself in the fun stuff, which for me was learning electronics, designing and building cool gizmos and reading cool books. I do remember that I was assigned several books in one of my high school English classes. One of which was "Crime and Punishment." I read none of them except for that, which I read only because it totally captured my mind and soul and I could not wait each day until time to go to bed at which point I'd read until my overwhelmed mind turned to mush and I had to put the book down, only to look forward to the next day's installment.

There is such a discussion regarding how it is important for the child's sake to teach him or her all the proper stuff and it is our duty as parents and as "society" (doesn't that just make your blood boil?) to instill all of this crap in their little heads. I suggest that it is only because we see these children as little industrial robots that this is so. If, instead, we viewed each child as the precious individual life force that it is, we would respect that what will make his or her life special is not our choice, and the most special thing that we can do is to facilitate the inherent inquisitive and creative drives that come with the equipment.

I think that I was fortunate that my parents treated me mostly with benign neglect and allowed me to follow my own course. Everything of value in my life has been self taught, or self directedly learned or something like that. The one time I actually did go to school with the desire to have someone teach me something was in late middle age when I decided to learn Shaitsu. There is such a difference between seeking knowledge and having it shoved down your throat. Actually, isn't that a core issue of "freedom," the ability to make one's own choices?

The idea that "society" can have a claim upon "its members" is really, really horrid. Taxes are worse than theft, they are soul crushing. They are the blatant, in-you-face message that you are a slave.

In 7th grade I had a room mate. We had just moved to a new place with no idea of where we were going to live or even if we were going to stay there. My parents put me in a military boarding school for the year while they tried to figure it all out. This room mate was from a broken family who parked him in this military school and he was "the perfect child." He never did anything "wrong," he always "Yes SIRed and Yes MA'AMed" and so on. A model student. A few years later his mother moved and put him into the public school I attended. He found freedom. It was the 60s, too, and the S.F. Bay area, TOO! It didn't take long before he became totally wild and uncontrollable. Eventually he disappeared into the Haight-Ashberry scene where he ended up frying himself on crystal meth. (Tune in, Turn on, Drop out... and he did.) From there he moved out into the forest and eventually became a logger. He lived a very simple life, in a cabin or trailer, with no running water, a shovel for sanitary facilities and the sky overhead as his place of worship. Year after year life went by for him. He was perhaps the happiest person I knew (I've not seen him in years, so I speak in past tense here). He LOVED life... HIS life. He worked hard and loved it. He worked with people who selectively logged and who loved the forest, and he treated it with utmost respect. I was visiting him one time, as I always did when I made it back to the Bay Area, and we took off on a logging road in his little Toyota 4x4 work truck (and everything truck). As we crawled our way through the beautiful coastal range on roads barely hanging on the sides of the mountains he would point out this stand of trees and that particular tree, this clearing and that overview. At one point he turned to me and said, "You know, I've been logging these woods for 15 years now... and I can't see a bit of change." He said that with as much pride as I think I've ever witnessed in a man, and it makes my eyes well up each time I think back to that day.

Who is to say what will give a person joy? Who, indeed?

I think our gift to other humans is to love them, respect them, and allow them to be who they are. There is no "right" way to live.

... all of this may not really be pertinent to your post, Sunni, but it is what came up for me.

- NonE

addendum: Speaking of self motivated and self taught people, here's a great story... Jan. 7, 1851: Foucault Gets the Swing of Things

Deep thanks, each of you.

I appreciate the support, ideas, and observations y’all have offered; and I will have more substantive things to say in reply at some point. However, I’m already late in starting my truffling for today, so it may not happen today at all.

I do have some excellent news to report: after many fits and starts, Darlin’ Daughter is now reading mostly fluently. The last time we read together, she was very halting, moving slowly and torturously through most words. Night before last, she picked up a Dr. Seuss book and whizzed through it! Last night, she did the same, but this time with a book with much lower familiarity to her.

I’ve been telling her for quite some time that she can read, but her vocal response has always been laden with skepticism (at best). Apparently she has decided that she can. :-D

Trufflication?

Does that involve bowing low before the god of decadence or some such thing?

(I'll bet you didn't learn trufflication in school, did you?!)

- NonE

Some data

As I recall you let her learn at her own pace. This is the way to go with everything. The Summerhill experience gives you a good idea of what happens when children are allowed freedom and the responsibility to decide for themselves what they will do along with how and when they will do it.

Trust your children, trust freedom.

Can I say this?

Amen!

- NonE

Addendum: This link is to an article at Lew's place discussing "The Case Against Adolescence" by Robert Epstein. I seem to recall hearing him talk about this book in a podcast somewhere. If I run across said podcast I'll try and post the link. I found it very worthwhile.

I'm also looking for another podcast (I think it was a TED Talk) which applies directly to this discussion.

Put away the whips and chains

I found the podcast I was looking for. This, at least to me and the audience in Monterey, was inspiring. I think you will find it worth your time.

Ken Robinson at TED in 2006 in Monterey, Kalifornica.

Go Here for the main page with video

or HERE for the direct link to the 7.25 Meg MP3 (more FAP friendly)

- NonE

Does this help confuse the issue?

I just ran across this, which I thought might help to add chaos to the thought stream hereabouts...

The original question above is roughly analogous to the question of how an individual guardian can have any more rights, authority, or power over a child in her custody than other random private individuals. The answer is that guardianship can be acquired through a symmetry-breaking process like homesteading, with a first-mover effect thus resulting in an asymmetry in authority over the person(s) in question. The institution (and authority) of guardianship exists only because of the individual rights that could not be protected without it; the same is true of the State. In both cases, the legitimacy of the institution depends on the consent of the governed -- not in the sense of having arbitrary veto or secession power, but rather in having recourse to a process of emancipation. In the context of the state, that process is either revolution or secession.

There is no charge for this service.

- NonE

(did I mention that there are no rights?) ;-)

inspiration ...

Hi Sunni:

I don't want to beat the topic dead, but occasionally we all need inspiration and here's an article that always helps remind me of where I want to be with my daughter in terms of homeschooling, or actually life in general. I'm not a radical unschooler - I mean I do initiate a certain amount of work because we have homeschool regulation here that I don't want to risk battling, and especially as a single Mom I feel vulnerable - but these principles resonate deeply with me and I try to follow them.

http://sandradodd.com/pam/howto

[Edited by Sunni to make link active]

Not even close

Ellen, I appreciate all you’ve said here on the subject. In fact, I’ve something of a followup rambling through my mind (and your link looks to relate to it nicely), but this is a double-deadline week for my writing, plus I’ve promised the snolfs I’d supervise a painting project today ... so I may not get to it for a while.

I’m torn between feeling unhappy that I’m unable to keep up with all the interesting comment threads here, and joyful that my goal for the place has been reached, even if just temporarily: NonEntity has got the place jumpin’.

There’s still plenty of room for other conspirators to add their voices, though!