Category Archives: Ask A Veteran

Veteran Unschooling Moms answer your questions.

ASK A VETERAN

Support
Support

Sue Patterson answers the questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers‘ website or our Facebook Group or Page. Do you have something you want to ask for the next issue of our TexUns Newsletter? Your questions will remain anonymous.

 

 

 

 

QUESTION:  

What is the best way to go about preparing a transcript for my child if he decides to go to college? How should we be preparing for this?

ANSWER:
Transcript preparations are a big fear for a lot of people. But there’s no reason to worry about it. Unschooling parents can easily look back at their child’s life experiences and translate those into educational language/subjects. If you have collected photos for a scapbook or blog, these will be really helpful with jogging your memory.

With the Texas community college system, admissions staff are primarily looking for a graduation date and a signature. No one is looking at how elaborate your recordkeeping was or the depth of study your child did in any particular area. Many many unschooling teens opt to enter the college path by starting at the community college level and then transferring to a university as a sophomore. For those who want to go straight to a university, filling the teen years with interesting “real life” adventures will help set your child apart – and for paperwork purposes, you can translate those into subjects if you need to.

Here are some links for more info:

QUESTION:
What if my teen isn’t showing any interest in working, driving or preparing for adulthood? Should I be strongly encouraging her to begin thinking about these things? Or should I continue to allow her to just hang out on the computer with her friends and see if she decides to pursue these things on her own eventually?

ANSWER:
Lots of times, we parents project about our own lives onto our kids. We may have been SOO ready to be independent and GET AWAY from school/parents/etc. That we assume that our kids want that same thing. Chances are, living within an unschooling family feels a lot different. There may not be the same rush that we experienced.

“Strongly encouraging” sounds good, but it often backfires. From the sound of your question, I think you may already know that. Continue with your unschooling thinking, if you can.

Having a real need is what spurs changes in behavior.

When they want something they need to buy, and don’t have the money, they’ll move toward getting a job.
When they need to get somewhere and you cannot take them, they’ll consider getting their license.

It’s helpful to have conversations to make sure they’re not creating a story out of some fear they have. This is tricky to do if you’ve made it clear what you want. Give them room to choose something different from what you want/expect – and withhold any criticism you have. Think of yourself as their best supporter. Help them look at what they want to do, see it for what it really is, and remove your own judgements. If the goal is truly to transition into young adulthood, practicing making your own decisions is a step in the right direction.

If you would like to discuss these questions or have more questions, please visit our Alternative Living and Learning Forums here.

Sue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades.

Sue’s book Homeschooled Teens: 75 Young Adults Speak About Their Lives Without School, is an awesome resource for anyone embarking on the teen years!

Sue is a Coach/Consultant and Unschooling Mentor helping families who are new to unschooling or homeschooling find a way to create more joy and adventure in their lives. She has a private coaching practice with a variety of options for helping families on a 1:1 basis, create an educational environment that looks nothing like school.

Sue is the Managing Editor of The Homeschooler Post – an online journal focusing on learning for home educators. She manages Unschooling Mom2Mom, blogs at her website, and speaks at various conferences around the country.

Find out more at SuePatterson.com.

FacebookTwitter

ASK A VETERAN, May 2015

UnschoolingPics3

Periodically, Sue Patterson takes questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers’ website or Facebook group. Do you have something you want to ask? Contact us and we’ll get some answers in an upcoming issue of Ask A Veteran. We’ll leave your name anonymous. If you have a question, most likely there are others with questions just like yours.

Q: How will my unschooler learn to read if I don’t use a curriculum?

A. “Curriculum/Curricula” is an interesting concept to me. When we think about it, it’s a method to REPLACE real life experiences. Schools use a curriculum because they can’t take a kid to a variety of historical landmarks or go to the fabric store to buy materials for curtains or wait while the yeast rises for a rainy afternoon of bread-making. Curricula is the pale substitute for Real Life. It’s ok, they have to use it. They have to get in their 170 days of attendance…
…but I digress. You asked about reading.

Children learn to read in the same way that they’ve learned to talk and to walk. They experience it incrementally and then when they’ve had enough exposure to have a foundation, they can read. So what can you do to up the exposure factor and ultimately the foundation-building?

Create a literate house. Read together. Read little things, big things. Have a family story time together where you all snuggle in together.
Help them notice when the words have caused you to do something – road signs, building signs, directions for games.
Make reading a fun happy activity. No drudgery. No judgement. The more you wrap up reading in joy, the less obstacles you create. (Because you can TRULY create obstacles if you nag and teach-teach-teach!)
Here’s a graphic I used at one of my talks at the TexUns Conference. See if it sparks your imagination!

How do Unschoolers Learn Read

Q: I’m uncomfortable with the word “unschooling.” It seems so… confrontational. Do you think it will ever morph into something easier for the rest of the world to handle?

A. No, not really. And we need the term to help us connect and communicate. “Life living,” or “Delight Driven,” or any of the other many terms people try to use simply don’t convey the whole picture. Everyone is Living Life, sure some more fully than others, but I know some kids that go to school and their families really plug them into the community and help them with following their interests. But they go to school. And we don’t. And therein lies the difference.

When we choose an alternative to GOING TO SCHOOL, that’s a big enough deal that I don’t think any term you try to placate people with is going to work. People that feel “unschooling” is too confrontational simply want you to get back in line where you belong.

The term “unschooling,” for those who don’t know, harkens back to the old 7Up commercial from the 1960’s. A fabulous Caribbean man talked about going a separate way from the other colas: Becoming The UnCola. John Holt took that idea and ran with it… school being the cola-approach and homeschoolers choosing the fresher better uncola alternative. Hence the name, Unschoolers.

But even after saying all of this, if you’re still uncomfortable, don’t use the word. No one will care if you do or don’t. You can simply call what you do homeschooling, or “individualizing the kids’ learning,” or “trying out a variety of things.” You’ll only need the term when you’re communicating with other homeschoolers or looking for information online about how to learn without all the trappings of school. But there are no Unschooling Police saying you’re a traitor. No one cares. Everyone wants you to do what works for you, what brings your family more joy and a happier life.

Sue PattersonSue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades. Her newly released book, Homeschooled Teens, is available now!
Sue is the Managing Editor of The Homeschooler Post – an online parenting journal focusing on learning for home educators. She manages the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook group, blogs at her website, speaks at various conferences around the country and works as a Life Coach and Unschooling Mentor.

FacebookTwitter

Ask A Veteran – February 2015

UnschoolingPics3

Periodically, Sue Patterson takes questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers’ website or Facebook group. Do you have something you want to ask? Contact us and we’ll get some answers in an upcoming issue of Ask A Veteran. We’ll leave your name anonymous. If you have a question, most likely there are others with questions just like yours.

Q: My teens are getting antsy. I think they need more adventure than I’m offering here at home. Do you have any suggestions?

A. By all means, continue to explore what are everyday opportunities in your community – or even the next community over. Be sure communication lines are open between you and your teen so they’ll tell you what they wish they could be doing. Maybe it’s time to explore community college classes, or a new hobby, or take a few more family trips. Maybe they’d like to visit friends they’ve met at conferences or online. Going to statewide conferences allows teens to make friends and stay in contact with them. It’s always a great reunion when they see each other again every year.

A few conference/camps are geared specifically for teens. This gives your teen an awesome opportunity to go off on an adventure! Explore these with them, and see if they’d be interested in traveling.

Usually APRIL  – MAY
PROJECT WORLD SCHOOL RETREATS ECUADOR, SOUTH AMERICA

MAY 11 – 22
PROJECT WORLD SCHOOL RETREATS ECUADOR, SOUTH AMERICA

JUNE 29 – JULY 23
PROJECT WORLD SCHOOL RETREAT CUSCO & MACHU PICCHU, PERU

AUGUST 3-10
NOT BACK TO SCHOOL CAMP EAGLE POINT, OREGON

AUGUST 3 – 27
PROJECT WORLD SCHOOL RETREAT PERU – AMAZON JUNGLE

AUGUST 9 – 16
EAST TENNESSEE UNSCHOOLERS SUMMER CAMP UNICOI, TENNESSEE

AUGUST 25 – SEPTEMBER 8
NOT BACK TO SCHOOL CAMP BRIDGE, OREGON

SEPTEMBER 12 – NOVEMBER 21
​UNSCHOOL ADVENTURES – ADVENTURE SEMESTER – COLORADO

SEPTEMBER 24 – OCTOBER 2
NOT BACK TO SCHOOL CAMP PLYMOUTH, VERMONT

Q: Do Unschoolers ever keep records? Should we be doing this? Part of me wishes we had something to show for this great life we’re living!

A: Sometimes unschoolers get mixed messages about record-keeping. Other states require that all homeschoolers – including unschoolers – maintain various records. That is NOT the case in Texas.

No record-keeping is required whatsoever.

That said, some of us like to be able to look back and see progress in all kinds of areas. Some of our kids (most of them?) like to look back at their own lives and see what they were doing or remember what life was like. Get creative and you can find a fun way to record what’s been going on. Try some of these:

Journaling about their lives and their activities
– Having a place to privately record everything that you HOPE you will remember
– Some kids might love to write it themselves, either by hand or on the computer
– Decorating the cover and/or the pages – look at others on Pinterest (especially under “Art Journals”)

Photo journals – hard copy or digital
– get memory sticks to take photos off the phone
– start folders to make it easier to find what you’re looking for
– At the end of the year, compile the favorites for an annual book or video montage set to favorite songs

Scrapbooking
– A fun hands-on project to do together.
– More fun for the artistic creative types

Blogging about the family’s adventures
– Lots of free blog websites are available

Writing activities down after the fact in a planner or on a calendar
– Perfect for the busy mom who is trying to remember it all

Pinterest boards can record cool things you’ve done, read, seen, explored
– Create boards for interesting places you visited
– Create boards for movies & documentaries you saw
– Create a board with photos of new creations (foods, crafts, etc)

 

Sue PattersonSue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades. Her newly released book, Homeschooled Teens, is available now!
Sue is the Managing Editor of The Homeschooler Post – an online parenting journal focusing on learning for home educators. She manages the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook group, blogs at Lifelong Learning, speaks at various conferences around the country, works as a Life Coach and Unschooling Mentor. Find out more at SuePatterson.com.

FacebookTwitter

Ask A Veteran – December 2014

UnschoolingPics3

Periodically, Sue Patterson takes questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers’ website or Facebook group. Do you have something you want to ask? Contact us and we’ll get Sue to answer. We’ll leave your name anonymous. If you have a question, most likely there are others with questions just like yours.

Questions From December 2014

Q. Hi y’all. I am STRONGLY considering transitioning to unschooling. We were fairly structured in our approach, then we moved to structure only for math and some of my ds12 english lessons. Presently, I have stopped all but math.
A. You’re stopping all your lesson plans except math? Why not math? It’s everywhere! I could be wrong, but maybe your own math insecurities are getting in the way?

Let’s look at where kids can learn more about math in every day life:
Double a recipe.

Use measuring cups and spoons.

Notice shapes and patterns in architecture.

Measure how far you can jump.

Divide up the pizza, cake, cookies among everyone eating.

Use a stopwatch to see how fast you can run… for how long?

Play with the computer to create a graph of your progress…at anything!

Create something with fabric, learn to sew from a pattern.

Create probability games – heads or tails? Then move to more options and what’s the chance?

How many cans of paint will it take to paint the bedroom?

What are interest rates at the bank?

What are the interest rates on credit cards?

Show them your electric bill. Does the company share graphs about useage?

What time should you put the pizza into the oven if you want it to be ready when the movie is over?

Comparison shop for cars – look at gas mileage, odometers, age of cars, depreciation costs.
Weigh the fruit at the grocery store.

Learn how to figure out price comparisons by looking at the cost/weight.

Figure out the tip for the waiter.

How much gas will it take to fill the tank?

How many miles did the car get on that tank of gas?

What’s the distance on a map to someone’s house?

How long does it take to get to your friend’s house?

Learn the Roman numerals on a clock. Is the Roman numeral for 4 correct?

Make change at the local convenience store.

Save money for a video game or pricey toy.

Look at a bus route, figure the cost and time to get across town.

Look at a calendar. How many weeks until their birthday?

How many days until their favorite holiday? Is it quicker to count in weeks?

Earn money and keep track of it.

Practice rounding to the nearest dollar.

Play card games.

Play dice games.

Play board games.

Play computer games.

Play with phone apps.

Measure for a new rug.

Measure if the couch can move to a different wall.

Measure pictures for a frame.

Figure out the tax on your purchase.

Read construction plans to build something…start small, get bigger!

Help them sell something on Ebay they don’t want anymore.

Give them money to purchase something they could sell on Ebay and see if they can turn a profit.

How long will it take the dogs to go through all the dog food?

How much did the bag cost? Divide it up – how much does it cost to feed the dogs everyday?

Check out great books about math concepts and ideas.

Count all the coins in the Change Jar (start one if you haven’t already!)

Order The Homescholer PDFs and read all of Pam Sorooshian’s columns, What About Math?
Work on a jigsaw puzzle with the family.

Notice the change in the sunrise and sunset times throughout the year. Did the Farmers’ Almanac get it right?

Count your heartbeats. How many per minute? What about breaths?

Math is really all around us. And if you’re not sure how to do something, GOOGLE it! Show your kids how to do that too. Go to the TexUns Facebook page and let’s see what other math ideas we can recognize from everyday activites.

Q.  “When I ask what THEY would like to do, I seem to get no good answer. My dd16 likes to draw and will soon be volunteering for a theater. My ds12 *was* interested in weapons, Magformers and Minecraft but he doesn’t seem interested in pursuing any of these.”

A. Time to stop asking that question then, right?

Instead, spend some time focusing on what they DO, what they talk about, what they enjoy. OBSERVE them for a while. From there, take your lifetime of experience (that they don’t have) and think about what you could do to offer something in those arenas of interest. It could be something in the community, something online, a memory from your own history. You could talk to them about planning a trip or creating something new in your home.

Don’t rely on them to come up with it. You are the Family Tour Guide – it’s time to do some research about what’s available that you can share with them. Think about creating memories WITH them. What would you do if your long lost friend showed up and wanted to see your town – where would you take her? What do you wish you had been able to do when you were a child? Share that with your children and see if they have any of those same interests.

Create a home environment where they know they can explore, experiment, fail and try again. Remove the pressure and the judgement. Maybe they’re experiencing a dormant winter period in their lives right now. Comfort, soothe, and nurture. You can’t rush these things, and yet seasons, in nature and in life, continue to roll on. Who knows what Spring will bring?! 😉
Q. I have been doing a lot of reading about unschooling and it seems as if everyone else’s child is neck deep in projects they are excited about. What is wrong with our family?
A. Oh dear! I doubt there’s anything wrong with your family! Parents always worry. There’s a reason we have so many cliches about making comparisons though.

Comparison Meme

For instance:
“Comparison is the death of joy.” (Mark Twain)

“Compare and Despair”

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

 

Sure, some kids find their niche early on, while others appear to dabble for years. Part of the joy of unschooling is knowing that your children can progress at whatever speed is right for them. They don’t have to excel at something because the same-age kid beside them is good at that particular thing.

Trust that they’re exploring and discovering and right where they need to be. Continue to expose them to a variety of things – through activities at home, adventures in the community, and even simple conversations with them. Interests change over time. Allow theirs to morph without feeling judged. Comparing them to other people brings obstacles into your relationship with them and doubts into their thoughts about themselves.

Focus on the joy, not the fear.

 

 

Sue PattersonSue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades. Her newly released book, Homeschooled Teens, is available now!
Sue is the Managing Editor of The Homeschooler Post – an online quarterly parenting journal focusing on learning for home educators. She manages the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook group, blogs at Lifelong Learning, speaks at various conferences around the country, works as a Life Coach and Unschooling Mentor. Find out more at SuePatterson.com.

FacebookTwitter

Ask A Veteran – November 2014

Each month, Sue Patterson will take questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers’ website or Facebook page. Do you have something you would like some clarity on?  Chances are, there are others with the same questions. Ask your questions on Facebook or in the Contact Form and we’ll get back to you quickly. We might even publish your question in our TexUns News Newsletter. All questions remain anonomous.

___________________________________________________________________________

Q: I have been homeschooling for about 10 years now, my dd is 16 and 1/2 and my ds is 12. I wonder if it is too late to consider unschooling? My children are both right-brain learners and my ds struggles with the “left brain” materials available to us. I could write several paragraphs about boredom and frustration, but I am sure you have heard it all! Is it too late for us? Can you point me in the right direction? 

A: Oh Desperate! It’s never too late! It’s time for a heart-to-heart conversation with your kids though. Talk to them about this new unschooling approach, how you’re going to focus on fueling THEIR interests, as opposed to forcing them to listen to others who supposedly know what’s best for them. It’s their lives! And learning is natural. Our job is to get all the arbitrary stuff out of their way. You may have to do some deschooling about what’s arbitrary. Grades, tests, grade levels, “prepping for college,” teacher-driven materials – all those can be things of the past!

Ask them how they’d like to spend their time? What are their interests? Think of yourself as the Best Tour Guide in Katy! Then go about becoming that! What’s nearby that might intrigue them? What’s going on in your community that might be interesting? Do they have some hobbies they’d like to pursue? What adventures could you go on together? Instead of getting them ready for life, dive into it with them now!

If you have specific questions, check out the Facebook page: Unschooling Mom2Mom. Veteran unschooling moms are there, ready to help you make the shift!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Q: Hello I am a mother of two girls 5 and 6. They are currently in public school but I am so dissatisfied with public education. I don’t believe children should be given standardized tests, as if all children are the same. What are a few things I needed to know before withdrawing my girls from school?

I really don’t think you need to do any prep at all before you withdraw your girls from school. They were happily learning at home just a couple of years ago, and now they’ll be able to go back to where you all left off.

Sometimes it helps to understand our Texas law as it pertains to homeschoolers. After the Leeper Decision in the 1980’s, homeschooling falls into the category of “private schools.” Public schools have no jurisdiction over private schools. See the 3 specifics about Texas Homeschooling Laws below.

School schedules don’t matter in your unschooling/homeschooling world. So waiting for a particular school break to withdraw them is completely unnecessary!
Let the adventure begin NOW!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Q: So today is one of those days where I worry about not teaching my child about normal subjects. I still have this mental picture she should be sitting at a desk with papers and learning about stuff in a book … help me !!!

It’s so common for us to fall back on the way we learned as children – I’m assuming you went to school like so many of us. We were really conditioned to believe that “Real Learning” has to be boring, at desks, and divided neatly into subjects. Unschooling principles are the opposite of that. Learning is fun! It happens all the time, everyday. Life never presents itself the way it does in schools – there are no worksheets, or tidy subjects coming at us one at a time. Better to involve your daughter in real life, where learning is real – and very exciting! You might be interested in reading The Curriculum Crutch.

___________________________________________________________________________

Sue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades. Her soon-to-be-released book, Homeschooled Teens, is available in Pre-Sale now!

Sue is the Managing Editor of The Homeschooler magazine – a quarterly parenting journal focusing on learning for home educators. She manages the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook group, blogs at Lifelong Learning, speaks at various conferences around the country, works as a Life Coach and Unschooling Mentor.
Find out more at SuePatterson.com.

FacebookTwitter

Ask A Veteran – October 2014

Each month, Sue Patterson, veteran unschooling mom, will take questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers’ website or Facebook page. Do you have something you want to ask? Your question may be featured in our TexUns Newsletter and very well might be a question lots of people have. Contact us if you have a question and we’ll get back to you quickly.

Q: I know my kids are young, but what about teens and college? How do they pass the SAT/ACT if they are unschooled? Just looking down the road….

A. Lots of parents worry that choosing the Unschooling route will close doors for their kids. It’s actually the opposite.

As for passing the SAT/ACT, mine didn’t have to. They took community college classes as a teen and then transferred to a university as a sophomore. Transfer students don’t have to take the SAT/ACT. For those kids that want to bypass the community college, they simply pull out those study guides and figure it out. Most of those guides show you how to do the questions. There are also prep classes your teens could take if that’s REALLY what they want.

Most unschooled teens I know went the community college route first. Community colleges have their own placement tests. And sometimes kids end up taking developmental classes, depending on how they scored. As my unschooled daughter said, “Even a couple of developmental classes beats 12 years in a classroom!”

Q: How do unschoolers make sure they hit all the subjects?

A. In two words: they don’t. Subjects are artificially divided for school, but that’s not how they show up in real life. When you’re immersed in your life, a variety of subjects intertwine and connect. One thing invariably leads to another. With no plans to test or “monitor classroom progress,” the need for compartmentalizing subject material becomes unnecessary. Unschooling parents can fuel interests, toss in suggestions, see where something leads.

For instance, say your child enjoys building with lego. What else does he like to build? Where do you find those materials? Has he been to the local children’s museum where he can build on a larger scale? Has he seen cool videos on YouTube? Is he interested in lego robotics? What if when he’s looking up lego robotics, he discovers a Mindstorm app, or downloads some software? Or maybe it leads him to info about the Mars Rover robot and he started exploring more about the solar system… or it dropped him into the Smithonian.com exposing him to exhibits about post-World War II, or dog breeds, or creating your own time capsule. Maybe lego leads him to explore a trip to Legoland in San Diego, or Denmark, England, Germany, Florida or Malaysia. What would be fun things to do if you went there?

Yes, it is incredibly tangential, but that’s what unrestrained curiosity looks like! Would you call that Science, Reading, Spelling, Math, Computer Science, Geography, Physics, History? But why do that? Any particular interest can lead to thousands of other topics. When children aren’t studying for a test or distracted by which subject they’re studying, the sky’s the limit on their learning!

Sue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades. Her soon-to-be-released book, Homeschooled Teens, is available in Pre-Sale now! Sue manages the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook group, blogs at Lifelong Learning, speaks at various conferences around the country, works as a Life Coach and Unschooling Mentor. Find out more at SuePatterson.com.

Ask A Veteran is originally published in the Texans Newsletter each month. We will be putting archives here for everyone to read. If your interested in receiving our free monthly newsletter, please register here.

FacebookTwitter

Ask A Veteran – September 2014

ASK A VETERAN – Sue Patterson

Each month, Sue Patterson, veteran unschooling mom,  will take questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers’ website or Facebook page. Do you have something you want to ask? Your question may be featured in our TexUns Newsletter and very well might be a question lots of people have. Contact us if you have a question and we’ll get back to you quickly.

Q: If I unschool the kids, what will we do about gaps? The curriculum makes sure I don’t miss anything. ~Mom of 3
A.The truth is, Mom of 3, everyone has gaps in their learning. There’s no way your curriculum – or any curriculum – can be sure to touch on every piece of knowledge out there. And then, when you add in your child’s attention to the material, and how it might fade if the resources are boring or not what he’s interested in – you will have paid a lot for curriculum that doesn’t do what you were hoping: Avoid gaps.

BUT! There’s good news! There’s no finish line, or graduation date – learning is an ongoing process for life. And, honestly, that little phone in your child’s pocket (or it will be in his pocket when he’s older) will answer any question he might have, tiny fact he might have missed, or fill any gap he notices along the way.

Q: I don’t really understand what deschooling is. I heard there’s some formula for when it should be completed.

A. Deschooling is the term we use when people (children or parents) are trying to get past the school version of learning and open to the idea that learning is actually much bigger than that. The problem is, we create stories around these thoughts and sometimes we even have emotional hurdles to overcome. If you had a less than stellar school experience, it might be easier to walk away from schoolish ways of learning, socializing, connecting. Still, we’re a small portion of society, and things like back to school sales, football games, prom season may trigger some wistfulness that you or your child harbors. Also, your child may think they have to do worksheets to demonstrate learning, or that authoritarian top-down teaching methods are required to learn. It can even be a little scary at first to know that you are in charge of your own learning. But the benefits are SO worth it!

How quickly you move through the deschooling process will be so unique to your child, yourself and your family. You may even revisit ideas that were buried but surface later when your child enters a new developmental phase. That’s ok, you’re human! And schools have often been big parts of our lives before unschooling. Give yourself and your child some time get acquainted with this new way of approaching learning and shucking the shackles of the school’s version of education!

Q: What do I do about friends or relatives who quiz my kids about their learning? It’s so annoying and I’m dreading those encounters! ~ Nervous Nadine

A. Oh, NN, we don’t live in an unschooling bubble, do we? Our kiddos have to get out there in the community and brush up with people who have no idea what we’re trying to do. And while that’s a good thing, in general, it can be tough when you’re new to unschooling or feeling like you’re on some shaky ground. A couple of quick suggestions is to give them some factoids they can rattle back at their quizzer:

“Do you know the capitol of Angola, or San Salvador, or Malaysia?”
(Here’s a wikipedia cheat sheet, so he can pick which countries they’d like to know)

Or how about a math question?
What’s 2358 x 137? or the square root of 196?
(here’s a square root calculator, so she can pick her own!)
The point being that the child can give some demonstration of knowledge and then happily skip away.

Another option is to talk to those people yourself. You could even tell your child, “Mom said if the quizzing starts, you should probably take it up with her.” No reason your child should have to go head-to-head with an adult with an agenda.
And if you’re still a little uneasy yourself with the confrontation, change the subject. Talk about their child’s success or something they’re doing. People love to talk about themselves.

 

Ask A Veteran is originally published in the Texans Newsletter each month. We will be putting archives here for everyone to read. If your interested in receiving our free monthly newsletter, please register here.

FacebookTwitter