Homeschooling the Unschooling way.
February 17, 2008 2:20am CST
A little over a year ago, fed up with the public school system failing my children. I decided it was time to take action. After having a discussion with my husband we decided, that even if I had to cut back in my work, that if I didn't our children would be left behind. I started reading to my kids at a young age, and couldn't afford to send them to preschool, and made to much money to get them into headstart. So I homeschooled them myself. When I was pregnant I would read outloud to my stomache, and after each of them were born, I would read to them, as I ran my finger under the word as I said it. As a result my girls were both doing early reading by the age of three. By kindergarden my oldest was reading Harry Potter by herself, she nows reads at a highschool level. My youngest daughter was reading at a second grade level by kindergarden. My son really picked up on it and it shocked me, when my oldest was in Kindergarden he was 2 and he started spelling words. I was driving one day and he saw a stop sign and said S T O P stop. I knew he was learning letters, I was teaching them to him, but was surprised that he reconized stop and was spelling it. When we got to the school to pick up his sister that day, he looked at everything that had words and spelled them, and said the word. So when My oldest daughter started being bullied because of her reading skills, and my son was being beat up by a boy that was 4 maybe even 5 years older than him. The teachers my son had, wanted me to take him to the doctor to have him put on ADD/ADHD medicines. They wanted me to do this because he would want to finish everything he started and would whine if he wasn't done. I am well educated and love to read and learn and I don't believe in those medications, I don't believe in the disease. (Different topic, for a different day, which will be coming soon so watch for it.) I believe all children learn differently, matter of fact it is a proven fact that they do. My children have been using a computer since the age of 1. It started with point and click type games. But always educational. Though my girls can learn in a traditional types of ways because they are Visual and Audio learners. My son is a tactical learner and has a hard time completing things like worksheets and staying focused on them. Tactical learners retain more information when they can use their whole bodies to learn, computers are great for that because both hands are moving and their eyes are engaged. I finally had enough, and notified the state and the school, that I was withdrawing my children and transfering them to private homeschooling and requested their transcripts. At first I went a little nuts and bought alot of stuff, enough computer software to get them through Highschool and then some. Bought another computer so they would each have one. Bought tons of workbooks with different subjects and everyday we would run our days like they would at public school. But I would use computer software also. What I found out, is that the assignments I would give them for the day would be completed, in two to three hours. So I started looking into more of what unschooling was. For us its a way to take some traditional methods and putting a new twist on it. Three days a week, I let my children tell me what they want to learn more about, and I let them study those interest fully. The other two days, we work on math, spelling, language arts,. I have found creative ways to intergrate, science, history, spelling and math from their interests and they are excelling. My children took the standard testing before I yanked them last year. My girls did good on the test, but my son because he was being left behind, only scored a 69% overall on the test. I was shocked, because I knew how smart he really is. I have watched him really grow. My ex-husband even told me, that he was glad I was homeschooling our son, but then when I was in the hositpal last year in October 2007 (I took them out Nov. 2006). He didn't tell me he was going to do this, but went and took him to be tested at a state testing site.(I think he wanted to try to find something to sue me for custody.) When he got the scores back he scored 98% overall. My son still sometimes has problems doing worksheets, and thats okay, he doesn't have to be great at doing that type of stuff. What matters, is he can read and write, though it may be sloppy. He can do math, and loves science. Hand Writing is his weak subject, but we work on it weekly, and at least I can read it, I can't read my doctors thats for sure. We also us an online curriculm, that tutors and offers complete lessons in each subject for each grade level k-8 for homeschoolers. They are lauching 9-12 in August. My oldest daughter loves to read, but not only that but she loves to write. She is writing a story right now, she has 8 chapters of it completed. Its a fiction novel. When she is finish she wants to try to have it published. She told me the other day, she wants to try to have it done, by next month, she wants to be the youngest published fiction novelist. She let me read the first to chapters, but says I have to wait till she is finished to read the rest. What I read, was good, just as good as any of my favorite authors, which she too as come to love also. Her weakness is math. She was doing ok till we got to big division, and her confidience went. We work on it daily and I am about to try Brainetics (think that is how it is spelled) to see if that helps. My youngest daughter is a sponge. She loves geography. She does well in all of her subjects, and don't really enjoy reading. But she recently found a series of books that she likes, and has been reading without being told, so I am investing in more of them. We also go to the YMCA every week during the public school year for homeschool gym. Our area has alot of homeschoolers, and many families come. My kids not only get to learn about different states, they get to go to different ones we learn about and get to explore it themselves, thanks to a loving and caring grandma, who thinks like I do. Hands on is better than any book. We go to the store and I make the kids, figure out what is the best deal for our money, now if they get it wrong I tell them to look again, but normally they are right. I have one child, keep track of what everything cost, and then give that child the money to pay for it, then ask them how much change they should get back. Math, in the real world. They love learning like this and it is sticking. Its not for everyone I know, but I love unschooling my homeschoolers. What about you? If you don't homeschool, have you ever considered it? Why, did you choose not to if you have considered it, but don't? If you homeschool, does your kids love it like mine do?
2 people like this
• Anderson, Indiana
21 Feb 08
I'll be buying a copy of Macie's novel when it comes out, and I hope she'll autograph it for me! BTW, I've decided to add you as a Writer-In-Residence at my latest website (which I made for Invisible Youth) called Vision, Visibility, & Voice. Of course, your Avon website will be shown on there along with how you donate a portion of your profits to IYN. This story will be the first one of yours I'm going to link to. It's exciting! Here's a link to the website... http://www.freewebs.com/iynvoice/ It's still very much under construction.
• United States
17 Feb 08
That is awesome that you are homeschooling your children and getting fabulous results. I never home schooled my two daughters, because I was a single parent and had to work. My oldest daughter 21 has gotten her diploma, my 18 year old is still struggling and I pray that she will at least get her GED this year. I think it is great that they get to go to the YMCA, because at least they are still getting some social interaction that many that are home schooled miss out on. I wish you continued success with homeschooling your children.
• United States
18 Feb 08
They get so much social interaction it isn't funny. They go skating weekly, and do all kinds of things. Homeschool gym at the Y and skating gives them the opprotunity to hang out and socialize with kids their ages. Other places we go, give them socialization with people of all ages. I tend to think that most home school children are better socialazied that their public school counterparts.
• United States
4 Mar 08
I homeschooled both my children for two yrs before moving to the U.S and we did the Unschool method..ppl thought it was nuts and a big mistake (mainly my mother and sister who are both teachers and my brother becuase he has to back up our mother :-/)..I was nattered at about socialization (which in all honesty is the DUMBEST arguement to begin with) to my only having a full gr 8 education myself (who am I to think I am smart enough to teach them..that use to make me SO MAD)...HOWEVER they are all eating crow right about now and have been for the past four yrs....My kids decided to go back public school when we moved to the States and are both doing very well and have all along..In fact my daughters average went from a steady 96% up to 99.6... If I were to homeschool again I'd DEFINATLEY do the UNschool method....like you said, children all learn differently and gearing how you teach them by how they learn best is the perfect way to go..Of course with the NY requirements being as intense as they are I'd have a fight on my hands but I'd still do it MY WAY...since thats been proven to work for MY kids..