Saturday, April 30, 2011

Radical Unschooling- learning more

I have started this post over and over again. Not exactly sure where to start.  I am sort of at a loss for words in many ways ~ so I suppose I will just try my best to express my thoughts on this;

We attempted and ( from what I thought) gave unschooling a good try. I sort of tweaked things ( as I always do with so many things in our lives) to suit/meet our needs. It really never caught on with my boys, there were no sparks, no "aha moments" etc... that you hear from so many- how it totally transforms you lives and gives your children more control etc.. nope, not any of that.

My youngest said it felt odd and all "sloshy"~ I think we were doing something wrong. We weren't doing it our own way~ 

I read a bit on it - not a ton but thought I would just give it a try and see where things lead us. I thought to myself how the boys SO enjoy taking a topic and kind of hopping on all these "bunny trails" as homeschoolers have called them, so I thought I must be on the right path. Now I am not exactly so sure~
photo credit

After reading this recent post from Robin about a new book she had entitled " Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun" by Dayna Martin.   I read over Robin's thoughts and then what really made me starting reflecting even more is some of the questions she asked the author about Radical Unschooling.

I have had a few experiences with the Unschooling Community and I have to admit they have not been as positive, but I wasn't going to let that stop me because I really was intrigued with the ideals and could very much relate to the writings of John Holt and a few others.

My experience with many ( but certainly not ALL) unschoolers has been a mindset of  having to follow their own ideas completely. ( A "their way or the highway" kind of mentality that quite honestly I just could not handle) I think any kind of closing of the mind, hinders learning and is not very helpful or productive at all.
As Dayna recommended ~ Keep looking for your Tribe.  I most certainly intend to do so~

Early on, I had joined some unschooling groups just to learn and listen to parents but I often found their ways were not always my own and many were very judgmental and harsh to those trying to learn and understand.
These have been my own personal experiences.

So you can imagine how I might re-consider or reflect on how we do things at home as I read the answers Dayna Martin gave Robin ( the post's author) I was intrigued, excited and I really think shocked all at the same time.

some notes/ thoughts I have;
I kind of feel like "wow, could I have been possibly following many of these ideals/methods all along?

As we have moved along in our homeschooling journey we have made a big shift from the "teacher and trainer" approach to the "facilitator and partnership" approach a while ago, it has been the best thing I could have done so far in our homeschooling. I have often talked about this before and how many really don't quite understand the concept and I realize that~ showing examples of this has been the best way for me to show what I do and how I do it. We don't have to be the "know all" and "all knowing" person in their lives, you can explore and learn together~ it makes for a much richer education and learning environment.

I am thinking that this could be one of the most important posts I have ever written. Because it reflects the core of learning and education.

a quote from Dayna - "Radical Unschooling is not for the lazy parent. It is an involved, connected role facilitating your child's interests while giving them all of the resources at your disposal to expand on their interests." 
This is really SO true~ anyone can pick up a book/program/text and follow along like we have been taught in school for so many years. Responding to our children's needs and interests takes much work and time ! Not an easy job~ ! 

another quote from Dayna - " It is about free choice of all that the world offers - this can include school as well." 
I really found this so liberating don't you?  I think the more I read her words the more intrigued I became. I hope to be able to pick this book up very soon and try to understand more. I suppose I feel like she is speaking my language. So many times I felt like we never "fit" into so many places, then I realized it isn't about "fitting" its all about doing your own thing and doing what works for your children, EVEN when at times it may not work completely for you~ ( the whole walking a tightrope thing I talk and refer to about so many times.)

I look forward to learning more~


Fatcat said...

I have found radical unschoolers some of the most difficult homeschoolers to talk to as well. The "my way or the highway" thing has been my experience too. I find it easier just to call our homeschool "eclectic". We teach the reading, writing and arithmetic strongly in our homeschool and let them follow their interests otherwise. We also limit screen time which I understand is frowned upon in some unschooling communities.

Good luck looking for your tribe. :-)

Learners at Home said...

So you have found much the same thing as well with Unschoolers. I think that is why I found Dayna's answers so interesting. I have often called us eclectic like you, as you know, we also stress the 3R's and then follow books and things a bit more loosely. I want to try and dive deeper into following their interests much more especially since my teen is getting older. There is so much to experience for him to learn who he is and what he might like to do with his life ~ and I don't think he will find that with his nose in a book, lol :) time to spread our wings more! :) Thanks for the well wishes in "finding my tribe" ~ I think sometimes its right here in front of us and we hardly realize its there! (wink) :)

Jackie said...

Your article was very good and I could identify with it very much. I semi unschool my daughter. I think we are kinda accidental unschoolers. I say semi because we also use Time4Learning and really love it. I mention T4L because I tried to join a radical unschooler yahoo group once and wasn't allowed because we are not "radical" enough. They told me true radical unschoolers don't use any type of curriculum. Glad they didn't allow me to join, I would have been very unhappy. I think we have found a happy spot in our homeschooling with mixing things our own way.


Jackie who stays busy homeschooling a high-spirited 14 year old dyslexic sweetie.

My Attempt at Blogging

Magickal Housewife said...

Most groups are elitist, whether they're unschooling, radical unschooling, or otherwise. I can't believe they wouldn't let you (Jackie) join because you use T4L......that's so silly. And you def. are better off NOT being in that group. I am a radical unschooler, although I am working on the radical part LOL

Radical unschooling is about finding your "niche". The right way for your family, not how everyone else is doing it. When I first joined Dayna's group, they made it sound like I need to buy each child their own video game system in order stop them fighting when they play games. Many moms were very strong about this, and that was my first time even thinking about radical that turned me off right away. It wasn't until I stayed in the group longer that I realized that everyone has their own view on radical unschooling, and mine will differ from other families. If you think about its, its just a title, not a concrete meaning. So you're right, you need to find your tribe.....I haven't found mine yet, but I do think I do influence my unschooling/homeschooling friends a bit with our way of life, but I don't push it on them. I don't agree with some of what they do, but I keep my mouth shut, because the best way to help is model the change you want to see in the world, rather than to always be running your mouth off LOL (Like I used to be.....) I hope you find your way and ignore those who say "my way or the highway". Because that attitude? It doesn't help anything :)

Learners at Home said...

I just love your view and outlook~ so completely true for so many of us! :D here's to finding our "tribe"! lol - whatever its called and where ever it ends up its the journey that counts! :D


Jackie said...

Thanks for your kind words, Magickal Housewife!

Jackie who stays busy homeschooling a high-spirited 14 year old dyslexic sweetie.

My Attempt at Blogging

Brooke said...

Thank you for posting this! I kind of felt the same way and thought maybe it was just me.

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Brooke said...
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