Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: Homeschool Vs. Unschool?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Homeschool Vs. Unschool?
Date Posted: 8/30/2007 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 729
Back To Top

I originally posted this in Club Members Thoughts as I didn't realize there was a section for this.  :)

My son is 9 & has Adhd. He has always had a difficult time in school. He's very smart, he just lacks focus. Last January, I put him in the Christian school in town, & by the end of the year, he was on the honor roll & had awards for exceptional behavior. He only had 4 other kids in his class & he thrived there. The problem is I could no longer afford the 175.00 a month, & he had to go back to the public school.

The schools here are the worst I have ever seen, & 3 weeks in to this school year, he is already getting beat up on the bus, (no one will do anything about this) & having a lot of trouble in school, including his grades.  The teachers here yell at the kids to shut up & do their work, but won't take the time to show them how, & he just gets so frustrated. I 've heard the bus driver cursing at the kids, but the school, bus barn or the board of education won't do a thing to him. He has threatened kids, pushed them & let's them beat each other up. It's just pathetic what he gets away with! He is also learning some awful things, & repeats them when he gets home. This same school caught two 5th graders in the bathroom having sex a few years ago &  tried to cover it up. That's just the tip of the iceberg with these schools.

My son reads at a sixth grade level so I know he understands the work, but with 20+ kids in the same room, he just can't concentrate. I'm the same way, so I understand his frustration. He used to love to learn, but last night when I told him that learning could be fun, he said no learning isn't any fun at all. That's just sad!

I have decided that I can't do any worse than the schools & now I need advice about homeschooling & unschooling, & I know we have a lot of great people here. So can anyone help? Links, experiences, books ect, would be greatly appreciated. :)

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
Back To Top

Well, unschoolers basically take the frame of mind that a child will learn more outside of the traditional school environment. They tend to use real life as the classroom, and avoid text books and worksheets. The cook and shop for math. They read whatever they feel like reading and discuss that. A butterfly might launch them into a month-long study of the species. They often run businesses from home as part of their education.

I don't do labels, so I will just say that my daughter, too, has trouble focusing sometimes, and I find that she needs more structure in her learning than unschooling would provide. She was also the target of bullying. She still is; homeschooling doesn't change that, it just allows me more supervision over the situation. She was also left behind in a large classroom, because she was not able to ask questions and learn at her own pace.

We chose the Charlotte Mason method. We use living books (books that teach while captivating the reader. Never a dull text book). We have a daily schedule, and we stick to it. My daughter has gone from bleh to wow since February. That's when we began home schooling.

If I were in your shoes, my child would be home starting tomorrow. You can take a few weeks or a couple months to decompress and de-school. Read good books. Do experiments. Talk about nature. Cook. Build with legos. Play checkers and Scrabble. Take a few months to decide which method works best for you and your child. It takes a while to figure it out...to find your niche. Let the process happen. You will be in a routine and your child will be leanring more than he ever would this year in public school.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 729
Back To Top
Thanks for the information Michelle! I told his teacher when she called this morning that he wouldn't be back & why. She seemed eager to agree with me. Sad! Now comes the big fight with his dad. We aren't together, & he's always telling me he trusts my judgement completely, but he questions everything I do. I'm amazed at people sometimes. They seem to feel a need to try to make me feel inferior. It took me years to figure out that I'm smart & capable even with Add. So I'm not as organized as the next person, but maybe I AM more creative, lol. :)
Date Posted: 8/31/2007 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
Back To Top

I have a lot of friends that unschool - all their kids are super smart.

I would say that I half unschool - meaning I let my child follow his own intersts - BUT - that often does involve text books - like right now we are using A Message of Ancient Days because he is very interested in ancient history. 

Date Posted: 8/31/2007 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2006
Posts: 88
Back To Top

I second the suggestion to take your time figuring out just exactly what you want to do.   For now read together.  Play games. Make it a routine to go to the library once a week and read read read. Go to Museums or whatever is available in your area.   Use everyday situations to practice what he already knows.  Limit the electronics.  Give him downtime where he can just explore whatever he is interested in.   If he is "bored" give him chores.... he will get bored less and less. 

Here is a great place to get advice.    http://hsfellowship.proboards45.com/index.cgi  This is a mainly Christian group but they are not exclusive.  They promote Identity directed education.  Whatever works for the individual child, whether that is unschooling, structured schooling, charlotte mason or anything in between.  You are encouraged to do what works for the individual. 


Date Posted: 8/31/2007 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2006
Posts: 457
Back To Top


I posted to the one in Club Members' Thoughts...


Date Posted: 8/31/2007 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 729
Back To Top
Thank you all! I think we'll probably end up doing a mix of unschool & homeschool. He's interested in a lot of things, but tends to get off track easily. :)
Date Posted: 8/31/2007 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
Back To Top

Hi Toni,

Your son sounds a lot like mine.

We didn't start homeschooling him until after 5th grade... If I had known then what I know now! He tells me that this is the best thing that I've ever done for him.

One site that has helped us SO much is www.SizzleBop.com . There are articles on the site, and they have a mailing list that I've found to be very encouraging.

The lady that runs it, Carol Barnier, has written a couple of wonderful books: How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning and If I'm Diapering a Watermelon, Then Where'd I Leave the Baby?: Help for the Highly Distractible Mom . You might want to put them on your wishlist.

I was going to suggest that you check the laws for your state on http://www.hslda.org/ , but I see by your profile that you also live in Oklahoma. We have some of best freedoms for this here. We are the only state that has education "by other means" written into our state constitution!

You can read all of our laws that apply to HS'ing on the following site: http://www.ochec.com/ You will find information there that is VERY helpful to new HS'ers. They offer a free magazine and email list.

Hooking up with a local support group will be very helpful to you at this point also. You can find contact info here http://www.ochec.com/OCHEC_GreenSG.htm and here http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/Homeschool_Nations/states/oklahoma.php . Check out their magazine while you are there; it's my favorite! They also have a lot of helpful articles online, and hold regular contests for giveaways of curriculum and other products!

Hopefully you find these links helpful rather than overwhelming. You are also welcome to PM me anytime with other questions.




Date Posted: 9/1/2007 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
Back To Top
First of all, I want to express my concern for what you and your son and whole family must be going through with all of this. Being home will only help your son, because despite what some public school officials think, being surrounded by people who love you is a good thing. We classify ourselves as "unschoolers" although I absolutely hate classifications. Unschooling the way we do it is basically following the children's lead and interest and NEVER forcing them to do something they are resisting. I learned the HARD way that a resistant person is not learning anything anyway. Learning happens readily, quickly and naturally the minute the person needs to learn. So, whatever method you choose, trust your son's innate ability to learn and trust yourself to do the best thing for him. Good luck!
Date Posted: 9/2/2007 2:02 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 729
Back To Top
Wow, you all have such good advice! Thanks for all the great links also. I think I've jumped one of my biggest hurdles. I told everyone this is my child, & I know what's best & if you don't like it tough, lol. I'm guessing they got it because no one gave me any grief, & belive me I expected it! I especially expected it from his Dad. He questions my decisions, & then ALWAYS comes back & tells me what a good idea it was. I told him lets just cut to the chase here, I'm doing it & that's that. He just said ok, lol. Shock! He likes to be the one in control. I'm the one that lives with my son. He see's him on weekends, I think I might know his needs just a wee bit better. ;) Now to figure out to get started. I think my biggest challenge will be keeping myself on track. :)
Date Posted: 9/3/2007 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2006
Posts: 88
Back To Top

Congratulations!!  Yep the biggest hurdle is taking the leap.   Now for the marathon.   I think you will be glad you did it.  Just remember it is not all roses.  But the good times is worth it all.