Anne Ohman and Anna Brown, both veteran unschooling parents, join me to answer listener questions.
Click here to submit your own question for the Q&A Round Table episodes!
Quote of the Week
“Real, natural learning is in the living. It’s in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the breathing, the choosing, the reading, the playing, the DO-ing, the BE-ing, the loving, the Joy. It’s in the JOY.”” ~ Anne Ohman
Summary of Listener Questions
1. I’m currently unschooling my 5 year old son and we are both enjoying it, though the thought of needing to go back to work in the near future keeps coming up. Any thoughts on what I can do to prepare myself to do both, financially support and unschool?
2. I’m homeschooling an only child–my son is almost 9. I work part time outside the home 30 hours/week. My husband takes over the homeschooling on the 2 days I’m gone all day. My son is introverted and prefers to be home and play alone or with mom and dad, draw, or watch videos, most of the time. His 7 year old cousin comes over sometimes and they play, but mostly he’s a loner and loves to be with me and his dad. We do go on outings as a family but he’s not interested in activities with other homeschoolers. As you can see, he’s not very social but he’s kind, considerate, curious and happy. I don’t want to force him to interact with others but do you have any suggestions of types of activities he might enjoy so that he could have friends?
3. I’m looking for tips to support my always unschooled 18 year old. He is interested in art and has made a goal to work on his drawing skills everyday. He is very introverted, and he’s not interested in taking any classes at this time. He took some community college classes recently and excelled in them, but decided not to take any more at this time. My husband and I are excited that he’s passionate about art, and fully support how he’s spending his days now. He’s a happy guy and finds joy in video games, drawing, watching anime, and spending time with his girlfriend. I worry, though, that he’s s little stuck, or overwhelmed about taking steps to grow and learn. He’s never had a job and has not had interest in getting his drivers license. I don’t want to pressure him, but want advice (and maybe reassurance) about how to help him take the next steps when he’s ready.
4. How to unschool without it turning in to watching cartoons all day. My daughter used to go to the library and we’d pick out books together but now that she’s nine and has figured out about DVDs, all she wants are movies that I don’t really want her watching. Also, we don’t have a TV, but she can find any cartoon or show she wants on the internet and, short of turning off the internet, it’s hard without immense power struggles to get her to limit what she watches and how long.
5. I have a question about strewing, or the idea of bringing new, interesting ideas or interests into my kids lives. I feel like I do a good job supporting their current interests, but I’m not sure I’m bringing in enough extra to create opportunities to find new interests. How did this look on your unschooling journey?
6. What have been some of your favorite aspects of unschooling that you maybe didn’t realize would be part of the process until you were living it? Are there any stories you’d like to share of your unschooling joys and delights?
7. Would you and your thoughtful panel share your experiences with parenting through your children’s transition from young child to tween? My oldest is 10 and I’ve watched him mature in some big ways during the past year. I’ve been enjoying having an abundance of time with him so much and watching him grow, thanks to our unschooling lifestyle. I have noticed recently though, that I’m missing him, as part of his growing maturity also means growing independence. He is old enough and mature enough now to choose to stay home when his younger sister and I go out. He joyfully calls goodbye as we leave and happily welcomes us when we return, and I am glad that he is able to have that quiet time to just BE by himself, but I miss him! So, I’m not sure if you all experienced that beautiful mix of emotions- gratitude, and joy, and loss, when your children started transitioning from childhood to tweens or if it was possibly later for you (or earlier!) but I’d love to hear about your feelings and thinking around this age or just about your children’s growing independence in general.
8. My husband and I have been listening to the podcast as we start changing our lives toward unschooling. While reading Pam’s book, Exploring Unschooling (it’s free), I came across something that has been bugging me for a few days. In the chapter, “Will Unschooling Work?”, she says “when done well.” This implies that there is a wrong way to unschool. I keep asking “how do you unschool,” but maybe what I should be asking is “how do you unschool wrong or poorly?”
Links to things mentioned in the show
Anna’s website: choosingconnection.com