Homeschooling Moms

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tinkerspell
any unschoolers here
January 30 at 10:25 PM

   ok i have been looking into into it and it sounds amazing the whle idea of it dous anybody unschool how did you start? How do i do i get them to learn the basic like reading and math and writing and such. I mean i could drop the corricullum tomorrow if they just had the basics how to's kinda thing. Am I thinking to much on it or do i just start doing it and trust all this will come togather with them if i just show them i can trust them does anybody unschool a special needs child (autism) is it easier he is very much like the unschooling type thinking. I was thinking i would go halfway with my oldest maybe do the boxes they pick the subject and do 3 hours wooth of whatever she wants to do. she loves seeing what she has done and she likes being challanged as well. is this all to much have i ran away with all my qeastions im sorry if it is i really love the idea of it but naturolly im ust a bit scared to do it. thank you to anyone who can answer my qeastions or put my nerves at ease. 

Replies

  • usmom3
    by usmom3
    BJ
    January 30 at 10:48 PM

     We unschool! Try deschooling first for you & the kids. Unschooling is really a way of life for us anyways! Both of my sons are on the Autism spectrum & it works great for them! We have been unschooling my youngest 2 pretty much their whole lives. Learning things at the age the public schools says they should is not a concern for us! We know that all the things they need to learn (reading, writing & math) have a much broader range of age that it can be learned in then the schools would have you believe.

  • paganbaby
    January 30 at 11:12 PM

    I unschool my two that are home and my ds is on the spectrum too. The one thing to remember about unschooling is that it looks different for everyone. You can have as much or as little structure as needed. For us, even though we unschool, I still hit all the subjects, just a little differently.

    I'll give you a sample of what my 9yo ds does.

    Language arts- He makes his own comic strip on Toondoo *online* 

    Writing skills- Mazes, coloring and every other day I help him make a paper comic strip. I illustrate and he captions. 

    Reading- I don't do any formal reading but he likes to re read his comic strips and page through our history book. Also I like to leave interesting comic books and funnies laying around the house for him to pick up.

    Math- Every night before bed I read him a chapter of Life of Fred, then in the morning we do the, "your turn to play" in his Fred note book. *Whispers* he doesn't know it's math,lol.

    History- I picked up a great book called Disgusting history. I read a chapter a day, then he tells me all the interesting things he can remember and i write them down.

    Science- I pick a category and let the kids pick a topic. This week it's ants. *Did you know they're incestuous cannibals??* We do the same thing, read a chapter, discuss and write down interesting facts.

    Science and history are peppered with YouTube videos, Netflix and anything else I can tie in.

    Art, is usually painting or molding clay.

    Home-ec- Backing and cooking!

    And we also fit in science experiments whenever the mood strikes.

    The main thing for him is that we stick with our routine. I can try new things occasional but I have to keep his main routine the same and ditch anything that doesn't work right away.

  • twyliatepeka
    January 31 at 12:48 AM

    We unschool but to keep family happy she does book work so there is something to show them. Luckily she actually likes to do work most of the time I try to keep it minimal though. DD is only 6 so there is still a lot of playing and messing around anyway :)

  • tinkerspell
    January 31 at 1:01 AM

    thank you that was really insightful for me my son is 5 and should know his abc and 123 but he does not yet i have been homeschooling him a year now and really have sat him down more then a couple of times but we watch alot of sesame street and couris george i have really been wondering do i just leave it at that and give him more time to just be a kid kind of thing letting him play watching learning tv he seems to enjoy for now lol instead of pushing him to do more. even if he is way behind his peers at school work he will eventuolly get courius nd learn to add and subtract and read when he gets older 

    Quoting paganbaby:

    I unschool my two that are home and my ds is on the spectrum too. The one thing to remember about unschooling is that it looks different for everyone. You can have as much or as little structure as needed. For us, even though we unschool, I still hit all the subjects, just a little differently.

    I'll give you a sample of what my 9yo ds does.

    Language arts- He makes his own comic strip on Toondoo *online* 

    Writing skills- Mazes, coloring and every other day I help him make a paper comic strip. I illustrate and he captions. 

    Reading- I don't do any formal reading but he likes to re read his comic strips and page through our history book. Also I like to leave interesting comic books and funnies laying around the house for him to pick up.

    Math- Every night before bed I read him a chapter of Life of Fred, then in the morning we do the, "your turn to play" in his Fred note book. *Whispers* he doesn't know it's math,lol.

    History- I picked up a great book called Disgusting history. I read a chapter a day, then he tells me all the interesting things he can remember and i write them down.

    Science- I pick a category and let the kids pick a topic. This week it's ants. *Did you know they're incestuous cannibals??* We do the same thing, read a chapter, discuss and write down interesting facts.

    Science and history are peppered with YouTube videos, Netflix and anything else I can tie in.

    Art, is usually painting or molding clay.

    Home-ec- Backing and cooking!

    And we also fit in science experiments whenever the mood strikes.

    The main thing for him is that we stick with our routine. I can try new things occasional but I have to keep his main routine the same and ditch anything that doesn't work right away.


  • tinkerspell
    January 31 at 1:08 AM

    may I ask how old they are? did you teach them to read and write and do all the math stuff too. I know they are super smart i can sit down with him one day and show him the color purple and two day later and then repeat it but you can never derictly ask him or he has no clue what you are talking about. now a day i find myself asking less and just watching him and how he moves around the house he definitly can see something there. 

    Quoting usmom3:

     We unschool! Try deschooling first for you & the kids. Unschooling is really a way of life for us anyways! Both of my sons are on the Autism spectrum & it works great for them! We have been unschooling my youngest 2 pretty much their whole lives. Learning things at the age the public schools says they should is not a concern for us! We know that all the things they need to learn (reading, writing & math) have a much broader range of age that it can be learned in then the schools would have you believe.


  • paganbaby
    January 31 at 2:05 AM

    For that age I would suggest reading, lots of reading on lots of subjects and fun books just "lying around" *wink wink* Coloring, dot to dots ect, will help with his writing skills, along with fun educational board games or cards, arts and crafts and yes T.V. is awesome too! I think you're doing good. Just follow his lead and keep it fun. Eventually he will know his letters and numbers and many other things too,lol.

    Quoting tinkerspell:

    thank you that was really insightful for me my son is 5 and should know his abc and 123 but he does not yet i have been homeschooling him a year now and really have sat him down more then a couple of times but we watch alot of sesame street and couris george i have really been wondering do i just leave it at that and give him more time to just be a kid kind of thing letting him play watching learning tv he seems to enjoy for now lol instead of pushing him to do more. even if he is way behind his peers at school work he will eventuolly get courius nd learn to add and subtract and read when he gets older 

    Quoting paganbaby:

    I unschool my two that are home and my ds is on the spectrum too. The one thing to remember about unschooling is that it looks different for everyone. You can have as much or as little structure as needed. For us, even though we unschool, I still hit all the subjects, just a little differently.

    I'll give you a sample of what my 9yo ds does.

    Language arts- He makes his own comic strip on Toondoo *online* 

    Writing skills- Mazes, coloring and every other day I help him make a paper comic strip. I illustrate and he captions. 

    Reading- I don't do any formal reading but he likes to re read his comic strips and page through our history book. Also I like to leave interesting comic books and funnies laying around the house for him to pick up.

    Math- Every night before bed I read him a chapter of Life of Fred, then in the morning we do the, "your turn to play" in his Fred note book. *Whispers* he doesn't know it's math,lol.

    History- I picked up a great book called Disgusting history. I read a chapter a day, then he tells me all the interesting things he can remember and i write them down.

    Science- I pick a category and let the kids pick a topic. This week it's ants. *Did you know they're incestuous cannibals??* We do the same thing, read a chapter, discuss and write down interesting facts.

    Science and history are peppered with YouTube videos, Netflix and anything else I can tie in.

    Art, is usually painting or molding clay.

    Home-ec- Backing and cooking!

    And we also fit in science experiments whenever the mood strikes.

    The main thing for him is that we stick with our routine. I can try new things occasional but I have to keep his main routine the same and ditch anything that doesn't work right away.



  • jen2150
    by jen2150
    January 31 at 8:14 AM
    I unschool my boys. We use curriculum as well. It is just curriculum that they enjoy doing. My oldest asked me to teach him to read when he turned 5. I simply set up a environment where he would want to learn. There are many ways to unschool. Remember Unschoolingis as parent directed as chid directed. It is more like a partnership.
  • KickButtMama
    January 31 at 8:54 AM

    I'm going to share with you 2 posts from my blog - 

    DEFINING OUR HOMESCHOOL

    I've gotten a lot of questions about our style of homeschool lately. People asking questions about everything from my teaching style, the kids' learning styles, curriculum choices, scheduling, etc. I've evolved over the last decade since we started this adventure. I've learned to let go of my death grip on the reigns. I'm one of those super anal, type A personalities. I like to have everything detailed and written out. I like to have pretty schedules and expectations. But after a time of banging my head against the wall - where I kept trying to fit these expectations and they didn't work, I had to ask myself, WHY? What was the point of the details, schedules, worksheets, etc. As hard as it is to admit, I finally came to the conclusion that 99% of it was for looks - so when others looked at our family/homeschool they'd think how fantastic it all is. It almost didn't matter if any of it was successful - as long as the IMAGE was successful. This was actually a shock.


    I've always thought I was beyond seeking acceptance from outsiders, but after a couple of years of HS I realized we never fully grow beyond it. You see, I had designed these amazing (on paper) curricula, I spent tons on printing materials, ordering texts, etc. And these would work for a little while, but eventually it became a daily torture. My scolding/threatening the kids to do their work. The kids staring off into space, not answering questions correctly, etc. I felt like a failure. And I was terrified of doing more harm than good with homeschooling. So I had to sit back, take a break and analyze what I wanted to get out of homeschooling.


    Why were we doing it? I had a miserable experience in public school growing up. I felt like an idiot, a feeling reinforced by my teachers. I was told I would never 'get it' or 'use it' so I should just give up. I finally dropped out of high school my junior year. I did a home study course to complete the credits needed for my diploma then signed up for a community college - because it was kinda expected. I became gravely ill my first semester of college. I spent the next two years in and out of the hospital. This was long before online learning, but I got special dispensation from the dean to allow me to continue my classes even though I couldn't always make it to the actual lectures. After 2 years I had earned my associates degree. Learning was fun and a distraction from my illness, so I transferred to a 4 year university. While transferring I had a councilor ask me what I wanted to major in. After reviewing my transcripts she recommended math or science. I explained that I wasn't smart enough for that. She looked like I was crazy and pointed out that I had taken every math & science class offered at my previous college and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. I finally realized that by taking the classroom and teacher out of the equation, I was able to learn in the manner I needed. So when my kids were born, I didn't want them to grow up thinking they were stupid just because they might not learn from a classroom setting. So that was the main reason for HS. My other reason was peer pressure and self esteem. I wanted my kids to have developed a solid sense of self and high self-esteem BEFORE being faced with peer pressure. That way they would be strong enough to not get caught doing something stupid or harmful.


    With these are my reasons for HS I realized none of it was being supplied by my crazy schedule/curriculums. So I started following a more child led style. We do a formal co-operative once per week. So we do 1x/week of formal schooling. That is the day we introduce new materials, break open the books, do lapbooks, etc. During the rest of the week we have no tv/video games between the hours of 10am and 3pm. During this time the kids are encouraged to learn. Whether using computer programs, the Ipad, books, etc.


    You see, I TALK with my kids. I try to determine what they are interested in learning - dinosaurs, computer programming, etc. Then I find a ton of resources from a ton of different styles. The kids are then free to choose what they wish to use. Using this technique has turned my kids from reluctant learners to excited and engaged learners! They watch documentaries, they build thing, they do experiments, they write stories and have even learned how to program their own video games. If in order to build the best catapult they realize they need to understand logarithms then they learn how to do them! Much of what they do is college level things. We don't have spelling lists, nor do we chant multiplication facts. But through practical application they have learned to do both!


    So we are child-led eclectic homeschoolers - and proud of it!!


    Curriculum -


    When it comes to exactly what that means....hmmm. Well I love technology. With my oldest being on the Autism spectrum, he's a visual learner. He gets high levels of anxiety with lots of worksheets and handwriting. So I had to throw out my ideal way of learning. I found my favorite websites and incorporated technology - which inspires him. We have 4 parts of school/curriculum - Ipad Apps, Computer Programs, Documentaries/Podcasts, Co-operatives & Writing.


    Ipad Apps -

    I love our Ipad. It has completely revolutionized our school. New Apps come out almost weekly, and most are free or else less than $5. This is really the bulk of our school. There are 2 parts we use -

    Itunes Apps - these are regular independent apps put together by individuals or companies. Some of our favorites are the following -

    Khan Academy - these are short video clips on math. It introduces new ideas and concepts.

    Splash Math - This comes in different grade levels. It seems like a video game, but it doesn't introduce concepts so we use it in conjunction with Khan.

    Minds of Math - This is a history of Math which is fun.

    Sciences -- Painless Earth Science, Side Stax, Circuits, Science Fun To Go, TED (great podcasts)

    Brain Pop - this is a fun program that changes daily, so it has themes of the day from history to geography all different subjects.

    Rock Prodigy - this is an awesome app for learning to play guitar. You plug in your ear buds and the ipad picks up on the sound of you playing so it can tell if you are doing it right!! My youngest loves hearing himself play.

    Irish Fiddle - my oldest is using this to learn to play the Violin

    Move The Turtle - This is an intro to Robotics/Computer programming. There is a turtle on the screen and the student learns to program the turtle to follow different commands.

    Freefall Spelling

    Language Arts - Itooch English, Toon Tastic (this is a story board app), Painless Grammar.

    Tap Typing

    Barefoot Atlas - this is an amazing interactive world atlas with locations, tourist spots in a 3-d map, and the student can tap on anything and it will give an interactive lesson on it.

    Itunes U - This is an app that has access from many different universities and school districts. You can sign up for an independent e-class. FREE! Or you can order textbooks (which are not free..lol). Right now my oldest's favorite eclass is ALICE which is a computer programming interface designed by Columbia University. You take the free eclass, and download the Free program on the computer and voila, you can learn programming! My son just finished programming his first video game - of a biplane racing a star ship on Mars!


    Computer Programs - we use these to mix things up a bit. Not often, but we only have one Ipad, so while one child is on the ipad the other can use the computer. Programs like theheadoftheclass.com


    Documentaries/Podcasts - (ie. Netflix) This is worth it's weight in gold, IMO. Especially w/ my visual learner. We watch documentaries on geography, history, science, etc. Then the kids often set out to make models or experiments on what they learned.


    Co-operatives - we do co-operative school once or twice a week for 12 weeks (2 semesters a year). Our co-ops are pretty serious endeavors. There are some fun classes like theatre and dancing, but we also have serious classes like Latin, Writing, Science, etc. We LOVE Co-op!!


    Writing - I could never get my kids to cooperate with penmanship worksheets. It was torture. So we started journaling and writing stories. They would do different editions while we would helpfully critique their work. This helped work spelling, grammar and penmanship.


    Scheduling


    We often shock people with our schedule, or seeming lack of one. I used to design very detailed curriculums and we would do everything on them, but it was boring and torturous for all involved. My kids would read my anxiety as I panicked to try and get everything in. Ugh! So now we do a much more relaxed schedule, and the kids are flying through the work!


    Since we do co-op once/week, I keep it to a once/week learning day. When we are not doing co-op then I'll use Tuesdays (co-op day) to introduce new information, work on a project, etc. This is a day where I'll actually teach lessons. The rest of the week (7 days a week) there is no tv or video games between the hours of 10 and 3 unless it's a program for educational purposes. During this time the kids are encouraged to learn - on their own mostly unless they ask for help/input. You see I talk with my kids a lot, finding out what they are interested in learning, Then I find a ton of resources - books, computer programs, experiment kits, etc. Then during these quiet periods each day the kids tend to grab at these resources and set out learning. Because it is based on what they were interested in, they are eager to delve in. With little to no encouragement from me, they LOVE to learn.


     One thing this has made me realize? When I was in school the fun was extracted from learning - especially with all the repetition and busy work. Plus they have to stick to a specific curriculum, so kids are not encouraged to explore and learn anything they want. See, I would have thought that w/o the strict schedule kids would just not learn anything, but the opposite is true because my kids think learning is FUN!


    We school year round. So that we can take a day or two off whenever the mood strikes us.


    So that's us in a nutshell. Hope that cleared up all your questions!

    Shannon

  • KickButtMama
    January 31 at 8:56 AM

    REDEFINING OUR HOMESCHOOL

    A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post called 'Defining Our Homeschool'. It was a generalization of what we were doing as Child-Led learners. Now that some time has passed we are even more secure in our style of education, so I thought I should update exactly what that means for everyone. I, personally, dislike the term unschooled. This is primarily because so many have used this term to mean Non-School, or Anti-Schooling. This conjures the idea of kids sitting around watching tv or playing video games all day every day. These kids often never learn to read or do arithmetic. This is by FAR the exact opposite of what goes on in our house. We treat school like college. I make lists of subjects the kids get to choose from - creative writing, chemistry, French, Latin, German, etc. The kids get to choose subjects - just like college kids choose from the course catalog. They must choose at least one from each subject type - writing, reading, foreign languages, science, etc. Furthermore, we do co-operative schools twice per week. I will usually teach 2 classes, from the subject list the kids chose. For instance, my eldest is interested in learning German and a much more in depth study of Ancient Egyptian mythology (this is an ongoing quest as, over the last few years we've done Greek and Roman, as well as Chinese myths.). My youngest is interested in Chemistry and computer programming. So I'll be offering all these classes at our co-ops (each co-op has 4-5 class periods).


    Furthermore, my kids are not allowed to watch tv or play video games between the hours of 10 and 3. They also have to earn enough Behavior Bucks to rent each item from us. You can read more about our Behavior Bucks System as well.


    Step 1: Subject Options: How do I make my subject lists? 


     I've made a 3 ring binder that has all the scope & sequences for every grade k-12. I separate it by subject instead of grade. So Language Arts, Foreign Language, Math, Science, etc. I use these as my bible, so to speak. I make subject lists based on what we haven't yet covered. When we cover something unexpected, then I'll go back and highlight it so I know we've covered it. For instance, last year the kids found an unhatched goose egg, and they spent a week researching goose reproduction and farming. One of the joys of child-led learning is that the kids can choose to follow those educational rabbit holes! But for the bulk of our education I will make up reading lists, and subject lists. So, it might be that they've done all the subjects for science for several grades (solar system, basic machines, etc), so I can easily sip ahead to whatever grades they haven't yer done. When doing this first foray into determining the kids interests I usually pick 2-3 grades of topics. Then I write out the subjects - DNA, Reproduction, Environmentalism, etc. Just keeping it general. So even though the scope & sequences get pretty specific, I keep things general at this stage.


    Step 2: Materials: How do I find them?


    Once they've chosen - poetry, let's say - I'll then delve into finding multiple sources of materials - books, websites, pod casts, videos, games, etc. The children then get to choose which material they would like to try. Again I refer back to the scope & sequences. Not that I care so much if the kids are doing every step for a certain grade, but just as a reference or guide for the type of materials I need to look for. Google Search is one of my favorite resources, as is Pintrest. I can find tons of materials ideas from there. I usually search for free materials. We can't afford to pay for much in the way of paid curriculum. And I've rarely found the need for it. This semester we will be trying something a little different. Since I will be teaching once per week at a high-school level co-op the kids will need to have easily carried curriculum they can bring to keep them busy. So the kids will be doing time4learning as well as StudiesWeekly. Studies Weekly is a weekly newspaper - we got it for social studies and science - 2 subjects a little weak in T4L in my opinion. So the children will have actual curriculum. This means they won't be choosing as much material based curriculum as usual.


    Once I gather the various materials, the kids choose which ones to use. Sometimes, they end up hating the type of material. This just means they go back to the list of materials and choose something else. Since it's all their own choice there is a lot less arguments or dragging of feet.


    Step 3: Scheduling: Does it really exist???


    Yeah, this is the age old question for the homeschooler. Scheduling can be a serious source of anxiety for us teachers. The thing is, schedules are for my own piece of mind. The kids usually do everything possible to ruin and carefully outlined schedule I put together. But with an eldest on the Autism Spectrum, we need some kind of schedule we can stick to. So, while I'd love to have a schedule broken down minute by minute - like a college schedule, that doesn't seem to work. Ack! Instead, I have a general schedule.


    Monday & Friday - Learning Time 10am-3pm (no electronics unless it's for learning) Time4Learning 1 hour, Reading 1 hour, the rest of the time they focus on whatever subjects chosen in steps 1 & 2.


    Tuesday - Co-op


    Wednesday - mom teaches, so they do time4learning, Brain Pop, & studies weekly


    Thursday - we do grocery shopping w/ my father so we don't do a lot of school work, just time4learning & Brain Pop & light reading.


    Weekends - they usually do about 1 hour of learning per day, usually their favorite subjects. (like the computer programming)


    Step 4: Progression, Testing? Judgement??


    The only tests my kids have ever done are the quizzes on time4learning and brain pop. Otherwise we don't finish a subject until the kids are able to grasp it. This is called 'mastery' - once they can converse intelligently about a subject then we can choose to move on. There's no need for a test since, essentially, they'd get all A's. If they would have failed a test then that would mean they hadn't yet mastered the subject, so we'd still be working on it...understand? Tests are more for the teachers to judge if all the kids in the room are on the same page. Since we work one-on-one it's redundant. Conversely, my kids look on in confusion when asked what grade they are in. We don't fit into those kind of pre-conceived boxes. For instance, my 12 & 9 y/o's have already finished high school Latin. My 12 y/o is doing high school level algebra & geometry this year (he loves math & science). Both kids are doing chemistry...which isn't an elementary school level subject. But they are both on par with their public school peers for reading, writing, language arts, and social studies. I don't plan on them ever having to go to public school, so this haphazard style is ok. If I ever planned on public school, then I might want a curriculum style that fit more like theirs.


    When my kids master a subject, they go back to the list and choose another. Sometimes this means going through up to 3 grade levels a year in one subject. As long as the kids are mastering the subject and loving it, then I don't slow them down with tons of review or repetition. I will have a lot of conversations though where we discuss how we learned such-n-such and how that might help us on this next endeavor.


  • usmom3
    by usmom3
    BJ
    January 31 at 12:48 PM

     My children are 20y/o DS, 10y/o DD & 8y/o DS. My oldest attended public school until he was 12 1/2, but my other 2 have always been unschooled. Yes I have been the you to help them learn reading, writing & math!

    Quoting tinkerspell:

    may I ask how old they are? did you teach them to read and write and do all the math stuff too. I know they are super smart i can sit down with him one day and show him the color purple and two day later and then repeat it but you can never derictly ask him or he has no clue what you are talking about. now a day i find myself asking less and just watching him and how he moves around the house he definitly can see something there. 

    Quoting usmom3:

     We unschool! Try deschooling first for you & the kids. Unschooling is really a way of life for us anyways! Both of my sons are on the Autism spectrum & it works great for them! We have been unschooling my youngest 2 pretty much their whole lives. Learning things at the age the public schools says they should is not a concern for us! We know that all the things they need to learn (reading, writing & math) have a much broader range of age that it can be learned in then the schools would have you believe.


     

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