I enjoyed Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom by Carol Wanagel which was first printed in Home Education Magazine in 1995. Check it out. These are the same kind of views of have on schooling.
I wanted to share this interview with now grown unschooler Kate Fridkis given by Home Education Magazine. I love these kinds of stories to see what can become of a childhood where someone is allowed to follow their own passions and to see where it leads them in life.
I wanted to share a few things that Kate had to say:
"As an unschooler, I never felt unattractive. In fact, I felt smokin' hot and like every boy I met was probably going to fall at my feet. And why not? No one ever told me I shouldn't feel that way. But in college, and in Manhattan especially, I felt like the whole world was telling me I had no right to feel sexy."
"OK, so, here's the thing: Everyone is weird. Like, really. Absolutely everyone is weird. If you're not weird because you were homeschooled, you will definitely end up being weird for another reason. We should all try to get over the idea that being different is bad. This would solve a lot of the world's problems."
"We don't have twelve years of experience sitting in chairs all day, looking at a grownup at the front of the room. We are made weird by virtue of not having the same type of childhoods that most people have. But look at the childhoods we have instead! I mean, let's get real, we have what every other kid wishes they had. And by that I mean lunch whenever we feel like it and no homework."
Kate has two blogs Eat the Damn Cake and Un-schooled.
One of my favorite reasons for homeschooling is to provide more time for my kids to be able to work with a mentor. I feel one of the best ways for learning is through modeling what we see. While playtime with friends (peers) is important, I think our kids need more adult time so they can model the adults around them.
Around where we live we have countless opportunities for my kids to be able to visit their neighbors and learn what they have to offer. I am so excited to be able to provide them with the time to be able to learn in this way. I thought this article called We Don't Need No Age Segregation did a great job at talking about this issue.
Learn Free is a short documentary that speaks about unschooling and what it looks like.
For years there have been things that I think would be neat to know how to do. For example, learning a foreign language, learning to play the piano, and learning to play the guitar are a few things that come to mind. As I have been thinking about things that my son might enjoy learning, I have been exploring the options that are out there to allow these things to happen for him. As I am reviewing my choices, I keep reminding myself how fun it would be to be able to do these things myself.
Then I realized that I was really researching these things for myself just as much as for my son. I could learn a foreign language or learn to play the piano. I didn't need to keep telling myself how nice it would be to know these things, but I could actually do it.
With Spanish, I took 2 years of it in high school so I do already have some knowledge to build on, but I was never to a point where I could speak the language and I really have a hard time trying to figure out what someone is saying if they are speaking Spanish. So this week I have bought a really nice Spanish learning program called TELL ME MORE that uses conversational learning. I had already bought a couple little Spanish for Dummies books that talk about some of the basics. I am also looking through my web page with free foreign language resources to see what resources I might like. I am working a bit with my son also on this as I am learning.
It seems hard to believe that at some point I might actually be able to speak Spanish and understand Spanish. There are so many other things that I would like to learn too. I think I need to make a list so I can see these things in black and white and then decide which things are reasonable for me to learn.
What are the things you have told yourself would be nice to know how to do but you just haven't taken the steps to make happen? I am sharing this to inspire others to move past the thinking that you will never know something that you think would be nice to know, but to make the decision to go ahead and take the steps forward to making it happen. You can learn what you never thought you would.
In December 2009, we went on a cruise with my husband's family. Since then, my 6 yo son has been interested in all things Titanic. At first it was just questions that I tried to answer as best I could. Then we looked it up on the internet and found some pictures including those of Titanic as it sits today underwater. I found an underwater diving book for less than $.50 at a little book sale and we spent some time looking through pictures of divers and the treasures they discovered. He seems most interested in what the Titanic looks like under the ocean.
We just happen to have the more recent Titanic movie on VHS, so he watched that a couple of times. He even had to show the beginning to his friends who came over the other day because it shows live footage of the Titanic under the ocean. After that he wanted to watch one of the newer versions of The Poseidon which just happened to be on TV one day. This is another cruise ship movie where the ship gets flipped upside down and the survivors have to make their way up to the t
He then wanted to watch an older version of the Titanic because he had seen a movie poster for it somewhere. So I got that through netflix along with a Titanic documentary from The History Channel. Both of the movies I got from netflix put him to sleep when he watched them, lol.
We also read a couple of books on the subject. One was a true survivor book with a chapter on the titanic. The other was a choose your own adventure book where you could choose who you wanted to be and then what choices you would make, just as those on the boat had to make. All these came from real information and real people who were on the boat.
The last couple times we have been at playdates, My son has been talking to his friends about the Titanic and he is surprised that they do not know anything about it. He is adding Titanic play into his day, either with his friends or with his sister. I overheard him telling his sister to get into the lifeboat.
One night he told me he might be too scared to go on another cruise ship because what happened to the Titanic might happen to the ship he was on. We talked about what had happened to the Titanic, where it had taken place, and what had gone wrong to cause the sinking. We decided that it would be very unlikely that that would happen on any cruise ship that we were on since there would not be any icebergs and they have made improvements to ships since that time.
This is how real learning happens. You are interested in something and you want to learn more about it. You use whatever resources you can to get the information that your body is looking for. I'm sure once my son is done collecting information, he will move onto other things that interest him. I just have to wonder what will be next.
Radical Unschooling has been in the news a couple of times lately. ABC ran a segment on it. And then Joy Behar ran a segment.
Radical Unschooling is a way of life that I would like to strive for. It is trusting in your children and yourself that you will learn what you need to know in your lives. Many people remember how boring school and learning was when they were young and they don't realize that it does not have to be that way.
Think about a time in your life were you needed or wanted to learn about something that you did not know. For me, one of the first things that I felt I needed more information on was vaccines. Never before would I have thought that a non-fiction book could be so enjoyable. I became a sponge, taking in as much information as I could from all different kinds of sources (books, websites, videos, etc.). I discovered that this is how learning was supposed to work. Because this was something that pertained to my life now, I was able to learn what I needed to know. Had I taken a class in school on something like this, back before I needed the information, I would not have enjoyed it, nor would I have retained most of the information. How do I know this? Because that is the story of my schooling.
I am now spending my life unschooling myself. Learning about things that I am interested in and trying to decide what I want to do with my life. I want the same for my kids. I want them to be able to use their youth to figure all this out. I also want them to not always be preparing for some life in the future, but to live life today and learn about things that they are interested in and pertain to their lives today. I want them to know that they are free to pursue their interests and will not have to learn about some random information that someone else thinks that they may need to know at some future date in their life. I want them to know that, should that future date arrive where they need some piece of information, that they can spend time learning about what it is that they are needing to know.
My current job is to make sure my children have a rich life. I want them to be exposed to all sorts of ideas, information, and people. They will be able to decide what it is they want to learn about and I will do my best to help them to learn what they are needing to know, however that may look.
To learn more about radical unschooling, check out Sandra Dodd and Dayna Martin.
We leave in a couple weeks to go to Jamaica for my sister's wedding. One of the first things people ask when we tell them we are going to Jamaica is whether we will be bringing our kids. Yes, is my answer. We take our kids with us everywhere. I can't even imagine why anyone would want to leave their kids home for a vacation. There is so much opportunity for learning on a trip like this, that I couldn't imagine not giving my kids that same opportunity.
Sure it is more expensive to travel with more people. The main additional cost was the flight. We will be staying one night in an all inclusive resort and 6 nights in a home that we are renting. Both of these the kids stay and eat free. The rental house comes with a van and a driver to take us around, so all we will have to pay for is the gas and the activities.
Sure it is more work to bring kids along, but it also adds an extra level of enjoyment as they get to see and learn things for the first time. If they were not with me, I would continue to think about how I wish they were there to see this or that. I am so excited for my kids that they will get to experience another part of our world and that we will be there together.