Anne Ohman and Anna Brown, both veteran unschooling parents, join me to answer listener questions. Click here to submit your own question to the Q&A Round Table!
Quote of the Week
“Worrying about the future takes us out of this moment.” ~ Anna Brown
1. I have been unschooling for a year and am loving it. Though my doubts and fears are creeping back since everyone around me is starting school again. I am a beginning deschooler and can’t help to want to be a step ahead in regards to what I can do to help my son in the future.
I was wondering if you had any insight in starting a student, digital portfolio. I have been keeping pictures of things my son does on Evernote but wondered if I should do something else on top of this. The year he was born I bought his first and last name dot com domain (I plan to give it to him as a gift when he is a young adult). I figure that is the future and that it will be a good idea to reserve it should he need it as an adult.
Oh, and by the way, my son is only six years old, haha. I may be over thinking this. LOL!
2. My 17-year-old daughter’s dream is to just be the best gamer. She has had unlimited use of screens since her adoption from Cambodia in 2001 when Gameboys were the thing. I’ve provided her with latest versions of Gameboys as they advanced to two screens, iPods, iPads, gaming, and computers. She has built a mega-computer with multiple screens, learned on her own, with assistance from Google. She has travelled to Hawaii, to spend time with a gaming team she met online and they have a deep, sisterly connection.
My question is, how do I, at 73, not worry about the unlikelihood of her getting a paying job by gaming, when I realise the market is flooded? I’m not chewing my nails over this but the worry is lurking.
3. I live in France with my husband who is American and I am a mother of a wonderful, two-year-old, unschooled-to-be son. I have a question regarding a place I take him to, a place that he loves but which is located in a nursery or kindergarten. It consists of a two mornings a week, session, open to kids and parents from birth to six years old. Kids play there and have lot of fun. There’s no curriculum or programming involved but it does take place inside of a school building.
What is concerning is that my son now associates this place with school. When we walk by during the week and he sees other kids playing outside he wants to go to school and play with them. Is it a good idea to take him to such a place? I really don’t know what to do because on one hand he loves it. He meets friends, I meet parents and it’s a nice atmosphere. But on the other hand, I don’t want to give him a taste of something he’s not going to have. Could you help me with this question?
4. My question would be, how do I get my 14-year-old to relax and make time for herself to explore something else? When I suggest unschooling because she is already anxious about how overloaded she knows she’s going to be in public high school. Her eighth-grade year was so busy; we barely saw her head out of her books. She worked very hard on so much stuff that she just had to memorize to test well. This created a wedge between all of us with her because it was overwhelming for her in addition to the uncharted territory of my first teenager in the house!
I don’t want to lose her again for all of that nonsense. I want her to learn on her own. She is so driven, and interesting, and interested in everything—mainly theatre. I’ve explained that I’d do whatever needed to help her put serious energy into that passion as well as any other she has. I think the system has scared her from leaving. Local families had a hard time digesting that my middle daughter was unschooling. “What does she do all day? How does she learn?”
I worry too many derogatory comments got into my eldest’s head. Plus we live in a very competitive, affluent community. I’m swimming against a rip tide here! I want her home away from the influence of the rat race to nowhere (we watched Race to Nowhere). She’s on the fence, it’s obvious. Just afraid to hop down on her sister’s side. I want to be more connected with her and I fear the intense overload she is heading for is going to have an adverse effect. I’m a very joyful, positive, happy 48-year old just wanting to savour the time we have here on this planet. Minimalist, and never a follower of the herd.
5. Hi. We have two daughters, Talia, age 4, and Naomi, 16 months. We’ve been toying with the idea of unschooling for a while now and I’m excited by the possibilities. However, we wanted to check out the local public school and we went to the open house. She was enthralled and of course wants to go to school and be where all the other kids are. I fear, there’s that word again, she may resent us for keeping her away and yet my husband feels that as parents we are responsible to make the decision based on her best interests.
How do we decide as a family? We have had many conversations with Talia about homeschooling and what it could look like, including being involved in extra curricula’s that she is interested in, like gymnastics, soccer, singing lessons. She also enjoyed a half-day, summer camp for a week recently and we explained that these sorts of activities would be like school for her. She loves all these things and we only put her in activities she has shown she likes and she wants to be there. Yet, she maintains she wants to go to public school. When asked why, her response was, “I like the snacks.” We saw the school kids having their lunch during the open house.
Given her limited understanding of what school truly is and our responsibility as parents to help her thrive I’m unsure about giving her complete autonomy over this decision. However, that seems to go against unschooling philosophy of letting the child lead. I would love your insight and advice.
Links to things mentioned in the show
- Anne’s Shine with Unschooling Facebook page
- The books Anna mentioned around question 4: The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn, College without High School by Blake Boles, as well as his other books