Sunday, June 2, 2013

Unschooling and teens....

An article about teen unschooling by a young adult who unschooled :

Four Reasons to Quit School and Become a Teenage Homeschooler

"If you've spent your entire life in school (as most teenagers have), it's hard to imagine life without classes, grades, and curriculum. So when you try to imagine how homeschoolers learn, it's easy to think that they simply do "school" at "home."
While some traditionally-minded homeschoolers certainly feel compelled to pore over state-mandated textbooks in the comfort (and loneliness) of their houses, there are also many teenage self-directed learners who create their own curriculums based on their passions, interests, and goals. You're more likely to find these teens interning for a cool company, road-tripping with friends, or building a garden than doing textbook problem sets at home.
Some homeschoolers are so adamant about self-directed learning that they use an entirely different word to describe their approach: unschooling. The unschooling philosophy is simple: do what you love, and the learning (and eventually, money) will follow."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Science post

At the Unschooling Catholics email list, we were asked a question:

"I'm having trouble letting go of the traditional high school Science sequence. What have your kids done for Science and did they have any trouble with college acceptance if they did not complete the traditional Science sequence? "

A response...and please feel free to share your ideas, too!

"I found even in high school that it was best to go with passions and interests. University is always something we kind of expect and so all by sons have gone or are studying for degrees, the youngest Unschooler starting university a year early this year at age 17.

Now some of mine have been Science "mad" and so we naturally sought Science resources for them eg volunteer work at a Science museum, applied for  and studied in a program for gifted Science  high school students at a university, I organised a weekly lab session for homeschoolers at a Scienceworks  venue, buying books and reading on Science, buying a Chemistry set and setting up a mini lab in the laundry away from toddlers, investigating Science courses like Open Uni and Unilearn ( online/external mode and I think the US has online courses, community college) get the idea!

Others were not really into Science so I just strewed resources and articles and experiments and outings and nature study and cooking and life and wrote it down on our transcript/report as General Science.

The kids who want and need Science follow the interest and need; others follow Science in life. And like everything this all comes down to the unschool idea of passion and motivation. 

One of mine was keen on Latin for example so for a year or so he had a Latin tutor. That would never have worked for another son but for him there was no pushing and no mum micro managing because it was what he wanted.

The same could apply for the field of Science.

Some good resources are the book And the Skylark Sings with Me by David Albert - one of his daughters became interested in Science and did correspondence Science college courses. 

Also good ideas in The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn and examples of real life teens following interests and including Science at al in Real Lives: Eleven teenagers who don't go to school, also by Llewellyn. 

And Cafi Cohen's And What About College? 
is good just for the appendix on how to log life as learning and count hours as credits for transcripts!

MacBeth always has great Science resources on her blog - here is one with some suggestions

Saturday, February 2, 2013

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

An interesting blog post on the new Core Curriculum for four and five year olds. 

"Remember the Robert Fulghum book from years ago called "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten?  

In that book, Fulghum wrote that every lesson that you really need from life is taught to you when you're in kindergarten:
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
That's what used to be taught in kindergarten.
Now under the Gates/Broad/Murdoch/Obama/Bloomberg/Cuomo/Klein/Rhee/Duncan/Bush education reform movement, they don't teach any of those things anymore.

Instead they teach how to get an eating disorder or a drug habit or an alcohol problem or workaholism or a shopping compulsion or OCD or a sex addiction or neurosis or any number of other issues because your kindergarten years have had all the joy and fun taken out of them and have been replaced with high stakes testing, higher order math and language lessons, and cutthroat competition with your peers.

It's not a mistake that the same oligarchs who have brought this insane Common Core to fruition do not send their kids to schools that use Common Core.

They send them to Waldorf schools.

Or Quaker schools.

Or Montessiori schools.

Or the Lab School. 

You know, the kinds of schools that aren't run like army drill camps, where the teachers aren't graded using test scores, where the kids don't take high stakes standardized tests all throughout the year, where students get to explore meaningful subjects and lessons rather than endless test prep and drills."

Perdido Street School