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
“Unfortunately most people are convinced that when control fails it’s because they didn’t control enough.” ~ Joyce Fetteroll
Hi, I have an almost 3 year old son and we’ve been trying to make changes that lead toward radical unschooling. So we have tried to say yes more and let go of the controls we had especially over technology.
My son spends a lot of time on his tablet. I used to find it alarming but I see that he is learning and happy. However I have also read that we need to keep offering interesting experiences and activities (not constantly though) so that there are other things that are “sparkly”. How do I do this? He often refuses to go out/do anything else even when I take out other toys or activities when engaged with his IPad and sometimes feels bad that he missed an outing. I don’t want to force him at all. What can I do?
P.S. I have a 6 month old too so I feel like we stay home a lot more than we would have if it was just him and I am not able to do very long or elaborate outings on weekdays. It’s mostly just the park.
Hello, thank you again for taking time answering our questions. It is really interesting and useful for parents.
My question is: I usually hear about honesty in the unschooling life philosophy and what about telling children about Santa and the tooth fairy? Should parents be honest with their children or should they lie about all those invented fairy tale characters who bring their children presents and money?
Hello, My husband and I have decided that unschooling is the path we want to take with our two daughters. They are only 2 years and almost 4 years old. We wondered what a ball park figure of money is needed for yearly expenses. For homeschoolers money goes towards curriculum, whereas unschooling comes museum memberships, trips to discover new things, art supplies, etc. What would be a good base budget for things like that per year of unschooling?
Aparajita’s Second Question
My husband and I have been deschooling for about 2 months now and we have a 3 year old. This question is about food.
He loves chocolate and ice cream but we did restrict these items previously. So once we discovered radical unschooling, we decided to try saying yes more. The problem is that then he prefers to eat mostly sweet foods. A few weeks back it was ice cream. For several days he wanted only ice cream for all his meals. We got a big tub of it and would serve it without reproach. He slowly started eating a few more things but now he’s going through a phase where he only wants chocolate chips. It’s 1pm here and he’s only had 2 bowls of chocolate chips today.
I’m trying not to show any disapproval and go with it, while also offering other stuff. I put out monkey platters, take food to him as he plays, bake different sweet treats but he is reluctant to try new stuff and honestly just prefers his store bought treats.
I’m worried. Will he ever eat properly again? Or is he only going to crave different types of sweets? It’s also making me angry because we spend so much time making meals, snacks, buying different packaged snacks that we think he may like but most get rejected. I even say “ok have the chocolate but what else will you have?” And the answer is nothing.
Hi. I am a mom to 3 kids, ages 16, 14 & 12. My oldest daughter chooses to go to school and is a junior in high school. We are in our sixth year of unschooling with my two sons. They both had very traumatic school experiences. Both were asked to leave the public school system due to disruptive behavior and were placed in a BOCES program, a school for kids with emotional and learning difficulties.
When we learned of unschooling, and decided to take that path, my oldest was finishing up third grade and my youngest was finishing his second year of first grade. Being that their school years were so traumatic, I understood they needed a lot of time to heal from all of the scarring school had left them with. We are into our sixth year of our unschooling journey, and we are all much happier and connected.
My question is about writing.
Both of my boys spend the majority of their time on electronic devices, and are quite fluent with texting and typing. My younger son at 12, has just started reading, not strongly, but it’s coming slowly. He really struggles with writing though. Whenever the opportunity to write comes up, say he needs to write his name on something, he struggles, gets embarrassed and gets upset with himself for being “Stupid”. I’ve tried to explain to him that kids who are in school are forced to write all day long, and that it’s just practice that makes you good at something. I started leaving a notebook on the table with the month and date written out every day, with a pencil next to it, in case he wants to practice writing. And, he often does.
It’s not a lot, but I figured it would at least put a pencil in his hand and get him used to it. His handwriting doesn’t seem to be improving at all and he is getting frustrated with himself. I’ve read a lot about reading coming naturally when kids are ready, but I haven’t heard much about writing.
In your experience, is writing something that comes naturally as well, or is it something that really takes practice to get comfortable with? I hate to watch him struggle so much and get so down on himself. I’d like to help him any way that I can, but I just don’t know the best way to go about it.
Thank you for your time. I really enjoy listening to the podcast.
Links to things mentioned in the show
- Shine with Unschooling list archives
- Unschooling on a Budget podcast episode
- Kids, Carrots, and Candy: A Practical, Positive Approach to Raising Children Free of Food & Weight Problems
- Anne’s conference talk excerpt: I Was His Scribe