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Unschooled (autonomously home educated) youngster goes to school

(20 Posts)
julienoshoes Wed 30-Jul-08 22:52:01

Written from an American perspective...but worth a read I think.
Unschooled vs Schooled

mumtoo3 Thu 31-Jul-08 09:04:25

Thanks, i found that a great read and will print it off for my friend who also is HEing as she will appreciate it, i think it will be interesting to see if he goes back or not!!!

Thanks again

singingmum Thu 31-Jul-08 13:19:26

Brilliant link
My sons schooled friends have ben pressuring him on an d off for a while to go to school.Just read this to him and he thinks it's pretty cool.He never wants to attend school and this article will hopefully help him to see that other children go through this pressure so thanks for that

singingmum Thu 31-Jul-08 13:19:45

'ben' sorry been

scrappydappydoo Thu 31-Jul-08 13:36:06

I'm not HEing but still found this fascinating - clearly unschooling works for him - he is very articulate and mature.
One question does spring to mind though - how does unschooling prepare for life? I mean he speaks a lot about the mundaneness of school life which is true but I've experienced that in the workplace - getting up at 6am and days evaporating away sometimes - how does unschooling prepare for that?
Not starting an arguement - genuinely interested

julienoshoes Thu 31-Jul-08 14:37:02

Thanks for the question scrappydappydoo -it was something that puzzled me, when we first started home educating.
I have three young people who have all been 'unschooled' through their teens.

Their education is entirely interest led-and they are in charge of it.
This means when they choose to do something, they are interested enough to invest whatever is necessary to do it.
They are out and about living life all of the time.
They are out shopping. travelling, talking to people. They met the plumber when he came and the electrician etc etc. As teens if they decided that their bedrooms needed decorating, they measured the walls, worked out how much paint/paper was needed, budgeted for it, chose it bought it, and then did the decorating. They were not in a classroom answering questions on paper about how much paint would be needed if a room was a x b x c measurements. They are already living life.

When the eldest chose to go to FE college post 16, we didn't nag him to do any of it. He got himself up and organised for the day, entirely by himself. Washed and prepared his clothes. Did his assignements/homework etc. Revised studied for exams. If he hadn't of done any of it, we wouldn't have said anything. He was there entirely of his own free choice-and having decided he wanted to do that why wouldn't he have done it properly?

Ditto getting a job. For a while he had his own little business designing 'mobile phone wall paper'-every time someone downloaded one, he got paid. That was okay apparently-but taught him that he wanted a job with real people, not in front of a PC on his own all day. So he got himself a job with lots of contact with people, he is working right now at a garage around the corner,-and on an early shift got himself up and organised to start a shift at 6am. He wanted the money-he chose the job, why wouldn't he have got there on time?
If he wants a job that starts later, is better paid etc, then it is up to him to get qualified for it/find one. To that end he is off to Uni next year, but until then he will be working round the corner and saving money so he will finish uni with less debt.

Our eldest daughter has had a variety of life experiences.
She has already worked part time in a small family run retail outfit-and managed it alone whist she was there. She has worked with a new Mobile Internet company and developed WAP mobile internet sites for some well known names. She has also helped run workshops for women who were victims of domestic violence. She co-chaired the launch of a new charity for Dyslexics-with a well known expert on the subject from America. But her favourite real life experience was when she spent two long summers sailing round the British Isles, with a family with young children. She helped crew the boat, navigate and helped look after the children.

All of this was before she was 18. She works for a well known national organisation now. Does shift work-and gets up at 6am when required, just like everyone else. When she wants another job, she'll find one. Until then she is happy living away from home, budgeting and managing well-and having a ball.

You see put simply, unschooling is LIVING life-not preparing for it, it's just that unschoolers get their education along the way.

Does that make it any clearer or have I just confused the issue more?

scrappydappydoo Thu 31-Jul-08 15:00:58

Yes it does answer my question to some degree - I think I'm having trouble thinking outside the 'schooling' box. I suppose I was wondering really after a life of choosing your path/interests how it must be difficult to adjust to someone telling you what to do and where you have be. I guess it is very much to do with motivation - the 'I want to be here/do this' mentality that you spoke of.

Your children sound amazing you must be very proud. I'm also impressed that you have the ability to stand back and 'allow' the learning without intefering grin

scrappydappydoo Thu 31-Jul-08 15:02:40

Apologies for my spelling btw ;)

Mehetabel Thu 31-Jul-08 15:44:36

Brilliant link, thanks for posting that.

In answer to Scrappy, I found the same when my "unschooled" son went to college at 14. We didn't have to nag him to get up, he organised himself and his work, doing assignments on time etc. When he got to University he didn't miss a single lecture in 3 years, and when he took an extra course which meant he had to be two places at once, he bought himself a recording machine and arranged with the lecturers to record one set of lectures while he was at the other.

He is now at 22 in the 3rd year of his PhD and again seems to be keeping to his deadlines, getting his presentations organised on time, his research is on schedule etc. He often spends his entire weekends in the lab, as well as his weekdays, so I don't think attendance is a problem.

When he recently went to Colorado to present some of his research at a conference, he was approached by someone from the UCLA who has told him to send his CV as they would be interested in him working for them when he finishes. He has also had interest from Unilever in his research, so there is a possibility he may go to work for them.

He has an enormous amount of dedication to the things he wants to do, he still trains 3 times per week at his martial arts, does an Italian class and an olympic diving class.

I truly don't think application and motivation are a problem for kids who are learning because it is what they want to do, not because someone else has decided it is what they must do.

julienoshoes Thu 31-Jul-08 16:04:42

Hello Mehetabel
I wondered how your ds got on in Colarado! Doesn't seem two mins since you were talking on the lists about him setting off-and now he is back and with a job offer too!

julienoshoes Thu 31-Jul-08 16:20:12

scrappydappydoo -you said;

"I suppose I was wondering really after a life of choosing your path/interests how it must be difficult to adjust to someone telling you what to do and where you have be. I guess it is very much to do with motivation - the 'I want to be here/do this' mentality that you spoke of"

Well if they have chosen their path, in their jobs, then they wouldn't have problems with having someone tell them what to do.
Well so far, that is what has happened with my two older children.

But then if they have ever wanted to learn something they have gone and found someone in the know, who would tell them what to do.

That's what has happened when ds wanted to know about computer programming, or guitar lessons or karate for example.
Ditto our daughter on the boat/in the shop/mobile internet provider.

Autonomously home educated children are in my experience very good team players, if they choose to be. I think folks assume that they are isolated, when in fact our offspring have a social life that is the envy of their schooled cousins and peers.

DD2 plays rugby, does ballet classes/sings in a choir/has sailing classes/guitar lessons and sings in a band. When required she is told what to do and when to do it.
She speaks often to her OU tutor-and they discuss improvements etc that could be made to her assignements etc.
The difference is that she does these things because she wants to-not because she has to.

As an adult I choose my life path-when I didn't like the politics of being a ward manager in the NHS, I found another job.
When I didn't like the situation that my children were in, in school, I found out about home education and deregistered them.

We are all as adults responsable (response-able) for ourselves and our own path. We have allowed our children that same responsability for their own paths.

They do indeed have a 'I want to be here mentality'-or they simply wouldn't be.

Mehetabel Thu 31-Jul-08 16:22:19

Hi Julie

Yes, he is back, and with a whole raft of scary stories!

Apparently he bumped into a bear (almost literally, luckily it ran away), his tent collapsed under 6 inches of snow, he drove through a tornado and had to help when the lorry in front was blown off the road (he says he felt his car starting to lift off too), he drove through a complete white out up in the Rockies where he had to peer through an inch slit at the bottom of his windscreen, he went hiking up a razorback ridge 3 feet wide with 1000ft drop either side, then ran out of daylight and came back on it in the dark (the path was only a few inches wide in places), he lost money in Las Vegas and he drove 2500 miles in two weeks, when he has never driven alone since he passed his test 4 years ago. Eeeek - he is responsible for my hair going grey.

photos at

julienoshoes Thu 31-Jul-08 22:37:36

I hope he didn't tell you those stories til he was safely home!

I seemed to remember that bears were one of the things you were worried about, before he went.

Setting your children free to follow their own path isn't easy!

sarah293 Sat 09-Aug-08 18:24:01

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sarah293 Sat 09-Aug-08 18:25:47

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juuule Sun 10-Aug-08 14:17:16

Thank you for that post, Riven.

I must admit that reading Julie's posts can make me feel very inadequate at times.
I switch between feeling as though I'm not doing enough facilitating and then thinking what's up with my children that they don't seem to have the get up and go that Julie's seem to have.

Then we go back to what we do.

julienoshoes Sun 10-Aug-08 16:56:09

Oh Lord.
I don't mean to make anyone feel inadequate.

And of course being at the far end of home ed, our children have been at it for longer than some, and so I can look back and list.

I did say

'Autonomously home educated children are in my experience very good team players, if they choose to be.'

Mostly our children chose to be active within their groups and as we followed their interests, we facilitated them to do do.
It wasn't always like this-at first ds would sit right on my shoulder saying "Can we go now, are we going yet?" all the time, if we went to a meeting.
It was hard then as dd1&2 did want to go to meetings.
We allowed ds to choose to home with dh until he was ready to do otherwise. If hadn't chosen to do so, we wouldn't have made him.

All children are different, for instance, for as long as I have known her, riven's dd1 has seemed very sociable, enjoying meetings and camps and gatherings.

juuule Mon 11-Aug-08 09:24:47

Julie, I know you don't mean to make anyone feel inadequate

It's great to hear that home-ed can offer so much and your posts do give an insight into what is available out there.

Maybe as my children get older there might be more opportunities arise or we might all become more resourceful.

sarah293 Mon 11-Aug-08 09:31:19

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julienoshoes Mon 11-Aug-08 12:33:07

I agree entirely that some kids are like that-and for me that has been one of the joys of autonomous home education-that you can follow the children's interests and desires-and if that means being occupied in other ways than going to home ed meetings etc, then I'd respect that too.

I'm lucky enough to have work, that I can fit in around the children's needs-so the first thing I do each month is look at the local home ed newsletters, ask dd what she wants to do and then book in anything else she has coming up-but I long ago gave up trying to persuade any of them to go to something they didn't want to do.

And I for one think it is awesome and very inspiring that your children are doing so well in school, now they have chosen to go riven.

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