Anne Ohman and Anna Brown join me to answer listener questions. Click here to submit your own question to the Q&A Round Table!
Quote of the Week
“It’s in following your child’s light and joy and questions and interests and curiosities and conversations where the learning happens.” ~ Anne Ohman
Anonymous Question [TIME: 3:36]
My son just turned 7 and we have been Unschooling for 2 years. I love unschooling but the one little concern that keeps popping up once in a while from my husband is about his writing skills / penmanship. He struggles writing his name or has no desire to draw. He does the occasional backwards “N” and I know that I was dyslexic in my younger years so I wonder if he maybe as well, which is why I don’t like to pressure him. Now I loved drawing but hated reading. He on the other hand he is an amazing reader well beyond his age. That is what is keeping my husband relaxing about Unschooling.
So I just want to hear from you of any cases where some children maybe natural great readers but had no desire in writing and once they reached a certain age they had the desire and picked up writing with ease. At least that is what I’m hoping for.
I do plan on sharing this with my husband so feel free to speak to him directly lol.
Nikki’s Question (from Ontario, Canada) [TIME: 27:17]
Hello Pam, Anne and Anna! Prepare yourself because I am about to gush! Thank you SO much for your time and wisdom and knowledge and for sharing your experiences. I absolutely love your podcast Pam, and your books and your website, what incredible resources. And I especially love the Q & A episodes, which are so rich with insight and love! All of your support has been pivotal in our Unschooling journey. SO MUCH GRATITUDE!!!!
Ok, some background first before I ask my question; I have 3 daughters, 8,6,4, all of which have never been to school. I was a teacher for 10 years (and to quote Sandra Dodd, I was “made of school”). After the birth of my third daughter I decided to leave the teaching profession to *be unschooled by the experience of Unschooling! I have been deschooling myself for the last 4/5 years soaking up all kinds of Unschooling and life experiences and resources (honestly, *millions of Unschooling books, articles, EVERY PODCAST ON UNSCHOOLING EVER RECORDED! Ha ha, quite seriously!) and still feel like I have a lot of work to do. But I am so passionate about this way of living and it has begun an incredible journey (for me especially) of changing paradigms in our life. My girls and I have incredible relationships, and they are very bonded to each other as well. I deeply believe in what we are doing and I am aware I still get pulled back into my old ways. I continue to examine new perspectives and I have been paying attention to things that make me uncomfortable, as I am learning that things that make me uncomfortable are things that I can look deeper at, unpack and examine.
We have a wonderful small community of Unschooling families who we have bonded with over the past 4 years, and there are many children of all ages who play together and it’s incredible to witness. We also see many friends who are not Unschoolers. I find that the times I feel uncomfortable in these social situations is when someone feels left out, or when a child seems to be intentionally discluded from some sort of play. (The “reporting” of this usually comes from my 6-year-old who is quite sensitive, but it also happens with my 4-year-old with her own sisters at home, and for other kids as well). Situations like these (and they seem to happen a lot) really get to me. I feel fiercely protective to the one being left out and my initial “instinct” is to want to stand up for them and help them be heard. I am aware where this uncomfortableness and strong reaction comes from (I had an overall horrible, very damaging experience throughout all of grade school and was bullied very badly and excluded from many things, I hated school and never wanted to go mainly because of the social aspect.) These are things I am examining through therapy and have been deeply scarred by and still struggle with in my own social circle as a 36-year-old woman. It has deeply affected my self confidence and sadly has shaped me in many ways. (Not all sadly, because it has contributed to many wonderful qualities of mine like my empathetic nature and sensitive super powers!)
I am aware these experiences often creep into my experience now as a mother. (They crept into my experience as a teacher and I had such a hard time navigating the social atmosphere of school as a teacher, I truly despised it).
When it is brought to my attention (either by observation or from a child), I listen to my daughter’s concerns, I am truly empathetic, I suggest things she can say or do (I am not really sure what she should do sometimes), or if it persists, I go over to the situation with her to be present and I attempt to mediate but usually end up trying to resolve it. This doesn’t feel right, and I feel very emotionally charged when this happens (I struggle to remain neutral). I am even close to or in tears after when I discuss it with my husband trying to get his perspective. I am afraid I get too involved and am making to big a deal of it? I know her experience is not my experience but it’s so hard to separate in the moment. I am continuing to work on that. I am looking for suggestions on how to handle these experiences better for my daughter(s). I think my perspective is so clouded with my school experiences (as a child and a teacher) that I am missing an opportunity to grow from it and support my daughters through these social experiences. Am I resting this from a “schoolish” perspective still? I need some outside perspective. Much appreciated!
Sarah’s Question (from Italy) [TIME: 52:20]
I’ve recently taken away all limits around TV for my 5.5-year-old daughter. Previously she was watching around 2 hours a day although we were fairly flexible. Since taking away the limits she is pretty much watching TV all day. She’ll stop only if we’re going out somewhere or if a friend comes to play. I know this is normal in the beginning however I’m uncomfortable with how much she is watching. She is incredibly bright, I suspect gifted although she has never been tested. She is a perfectionist, has low tolerance of frustration and sensory issues. I’m worried she is using TV as an escape from all of that, to avoid situations that are frustrating or uncomfortable for her. Whilst this is ok some of the time I question whether it’s good for her to watch so much. So, my question is, are there situations where certain children may need limits around screens?
Anonymous Question [TIME: 61:13]
I’ve been homeschooling for 12 years. I have 4 kids. We have tried many different things. My oldest is will be 17 tomorrow. I discovered quickly back in kindergarten that school at home didn’t work. We have always been relaxed but not true unschooling.
I’ve been reading and listening to your podcast.
So, a couple of fears that I would love others prospective on.
#1) We have friends who homeschool and they are definitely school at home. The mom was a public school teacher. So, my 12yo gets upset that she doesn’t know things that her friends knows. She still struggles with multiplication and most all math. So how do you handle or help your kids with issues like this. I keep telling her she will get it not to worry. She is embarrassed that and feels behind.
#2) I know in unschooling you don’t worry if they read really late according to society. What if something happed to the mom and the kids had no choice but go to public school. I would be so worried how they would make it. Does that even make sense?
Links to things mentioned in the show
Anne’s conference talk excerpt, I Was His Scribe
Anne mentioned the book, The Gift of Dyslexia
Pam’s blog post, Learning to Write is About Communicating
Anne recalled Tracey’s playground question, in episode 69
Anne’s website: shinewithunschooling.com
Anna’s website: choosingconnection.com