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HS and your relationship with your kids

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  • #250430
    aimaim
    Member

    hi!

    I have an almost 3yo and a 3 mth old!

    have been toying with thoughts of homeschooling/unschooling/natural learning for a while now and when I read posts of experienced homeschooling families out there I feel inspired.

    I was wondering though, does or how does H/S affect your relationship with your kids? does it make you closer?

    does it create a rift or tension because there is another element to the power relationship in terms of the parent/adult also being responsible for education?

    Do you ever think about the effects of having limited influences or perspectives on your child? by that I mean from other adults/ people – so if your kids were in the school system they would have a number of differnt teachers…. I know that we can experience different perspectives in many different ways like different books etc I just think as much as I try to be open minded and objective about things and possibilities, there is always a subjective part because I am limited by my experience.

    sorry – I have so many different conflicting thoughts about it all – my back ground is as an early childhood teacher and I am very much an advocate for natural learning – I have had the privelege of experiencing children loving the process of learning as we follow their interests and lead BUT I worry about ensuring my kids learn what they “should” so they can have opportunities for themselves, and I also don’t want there to be battles between us about doing “work” which would/could affect our relationship.

    I will stop now – sorry super long post – its all very complex!

    do you homeschool by choice or neccessity (distance etc)? cant help myself!

    thank you!!

    #442770
    porgeyporgey
    Member

    aim, its so important what you raise. My belief is that there is FAR to much emphasis on formal structured learning. Children are like sponges and will learn almost anything if provided with a warm, stable, caring, supportive environment where ever they are. Its hard for a child to learn if he/she is in a stressful environment be that at home, kindie/school, on TV, computer etc etc. Throw in the fact that children grow and learn at different rates and the whole mix gets complicated. I have read about Steiner education and are really inpressed with its approach. Rudolf Steiner was an amazing person and its funny how I was drawn to Bio-Dynamics not realising that he developed that aswell. If Iwas in your position I would seriously look at a Steiner approach in the education of your children Just my thoughts, best of luck and wishes. Cheers porgey.

    #442771
    goldstonegoldstone
    Member

    Hi aim, maybe think about your childs personality and learning style, as you know being an ec they are all different! I have two chn and one would love to be at home with me and the other “social butterfly” would not be happy at all! Good luck. 😀

    #442772
    angelpussangelpuss
    Member

    The subject of Homeschooling can become a very lively debate. As you have asked for a Homeschooling parents opinion I will tell you of my experiences, but remember every family is unique.:)

    I Homeschooled my DS for several years when the Public School system failed him – by that I mean he was spending his days in a storeroom, by himself, constructing things from the art supplies.

    I removed him completely from the Dept of Ed system, and taught him up to grade 7. We became much closer as a result and he did not resent me being the Teacher and Parent. Bear in mind he was depressed and suicidal when removed from the system, so being home with me was a definite improvement. Social interaction is still maintained with sports, church, friends, etc., and the pressure of conforming to the Government curriculum is removed. There is , however, a lot of resistance to Homeschooling by Government departments and many Social Workers and Phsychologists. Our journey was interesting (to understate it! ) but well worth it for my DS’s mental health. In our case it literally saved his life. Trust your instincts and good luck!!:tup:

    #442773
    organicgirlorganicgirl
    Member

    Hi Aim,

    Everyone’s journey is different. We first came to h/schooling just over two years ago. Our 9 year old daughter could not settle at school and was clinically depressed before we realised she did not have to go. We did work books at first, but the more we learnt and the more confident we became, the more we were drawn to unschooling.

    Last year both the then 10 year old and our 13 year- old were home because we’d moved away from the city. It was a fantastic time and yes, we grew infitely closer. I could say for the first time ever , I had a proper connection with my kids. The only draw back was lack of social interaction, as we had moved away from our two awesome unschooling groups in Brisbane …

    The girls dad (separated) also did not believe in h/s … so pressured for them to go back, which they did this year. They have made good friends here which is important, but the now 14 year-old is pushing to return home – she’s very bored with school and can see other ways now.

    Personally I’ve become a strong advocate for unschooling. My kids – initially a little sceptical – now believe they learnt more last year than their peers, especially the 14 year old. Even their sceptical father believes the year “did them no harm – even the contrary” – his words!

    Vindicated … find a couple of good groups and experiment with style, watch the kids and get a feel would be my recommendation. You have time to make up your mind. I think you will know it instinctively.

    Heidi

    ps for us there was no power-balance problem – this is the essence of unschooling.

    #442774
    porgeyporgey
    Member

    Oceangirl, I dont quite understand unschooling? Cheers porgey

    #442775

    I am neither a parent nor a homeschooler and my views have been previously decried by some. But in my humble opinion, I believe that homeschooling should not be viewed as a total solution. It really depends on the child’s needs, and the way that child is surviving at school. To make the decision before the child has a well-formed character is to potentially deprive a child of their full capacity for growth.

    A lot of people adopt the idea from a mistaken thought that by protecting their child from the perils of the rest of the world they are doing that child a favour. It is better by far to allow the child to have those experiences at a young age, fully supported and coached by their parents in appropriate responses, than to have to confront them after they reach adulthood, when the lack of prior supported experience may make them particularly vulnerable to serious emotional or physical hurt.

    Regarding the socialising, I really do not think you can underestimate the importance of this as the life-skills gained in childhood are the ones that sustain us through life. If a child is deprived of those opportunities, for whatever reason, it can do irreparable harm long term. A lot of people who home-school feel that by allowing their children to meet and socialise with other homeschooled children they are providing them with that opportunity. However since the other children come from a similar environment that is not the case. They also need to be actively engaging in activities with children from a wide range of environments.

    It is encouraging that you have an education background as you will be aware of the ins and outs of the school curriculum, but i do think you need to ensure that you are acting in the best interests of your child, not of your personal beliefs. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between these two outlooks, but is a skill you must learn if you are to ensure you are doing the best for your child’s personal development.

    One trap that some parents fall into is the one that is imposed by the additional time constraints of the home-schooling situation. That is, they provide the answers for their children, rather than giving them the opportunity to seek out the answers and to develop the skills of research and analytical thinking. That can be hard work, and is probably not done terribly effectively in schools either, but it is one life skill that is absolutely essential if they find themselves as young adults in a world that does not see things from your perspective and can thus seem hostile and alien.

    Good luck, whatever your decision, but please give some thought to the potential pitfalls I have highlighted.

    #442776
    redhen2redhen2
    Member

    good lord hbg. homeschooling is only a ‘total solution’ if you never leave the house.

    homeschooling families are not all in a ‘similar environment’. all sorts of people choose to educate their own children.

    i’m astonished by your patronising tone. please do not tell a parent of ‘skills you must learn’ when you have no parenting skills, having not parented.

    #442777
    redhen2redhen2
    Member

    aim, it’s good to remember that you are your children’s teacher already. you will naturally move on to teach them whatever is relevant to their stage in life. children are also very keen to learn and open to new information, although tailoring that info to their learning style is important.

    when kids are at school, they are surrounded by children of similar age and experience – and often background. taking them out of that will often expand the influence – and they can learn from whoever comes their way. just the way you do now.

    whether you send your kids to school or not, you will know what is or isn’t working and you can adjust your approach. nobody knows you kids like you do. don’t sweat it; just follow your instincts.

    #442778
    TrudyTrudy
    Member

    I was wondering though, does or how does H/S affect your relationship with your kids? does it make you closer?

    One has to admit that you are never just ‘Mummy’… you wear a lot more hats and you become adept at changing hats as the situation requires. Having said that… I know them inside out. I know what makes them laugh and cry… what tickles their funny bones and what fires their imaginations…and I use all that to enhance their learning experiences…. and to try and stay a step ahead 😉

    does it create a rift or tension

    not that I have noticed and certainly no more that other children their age

    Do you ever think about the effects of having limited influences or perspectives on your child? by that I mean from other adults/ people

    Yes, and so I take steps to encourage their involvment with others…. adults…. for instance the church we attend has a number of members of ‘the older generation’ all my kids are comfortable in these relationships and able to enjoy their company …. they are also able to ‘hang out ‘ with their own peers’. They even mix with the kids from lower socioeconomic areas (where the regular school kids don’t)… as they have no peer induced attitudes. They go to various activities at the PCYC etc. There are any number of ways to allow your children to experience a world wider than just you… but you have to make the effort.

    there is always a subjective part because I am limited by my experience.

    I actually think that this part of you is really important for your kids to know and respond to… it helps form their identity… their sense of where they come from… their cultural heritage if you like. Your experiences are not merely a limitation…. they are a foundation stone for your kids to build on.

    I also don’t want there to be battles between us about doing “work” which would/could affect our relationship.

    Sorry, but they exist whether you home ed… or not. If your children go to school, they will bring home homework and your role as a parent is to ensure that it is completed… particularly in the early to middle years… maybe in the following years…. even if they don’t want to. Children in the school system are more likely to succeed where parents work in partnership with the teachers.

    We have always homeschooled from day dot….except for 6 months when we were moving house. The feed back we have received from anyone who has ever spent any time with the kids has always been positive and encouraging. Watching the kids respond to others around them has always been encouraging. Observing their personal attitudes to work is… not always encouraging :@;) but talking to other teachers is…

    I don’t believe that homeschooling is damaging… unless it is neglected. It is, quite simply, hard work… if you want to do it properly. We personally are more structured in our approach to education and follow a classical philosophy, but even a natural approach would take a lot of input from you. As an educator yourself, you would already know that children do not learn in a void.

    now is the time to ask the questions and discover the right solution for your family and your children

    Warmly, Trudy

    #442779
    TrudyTrudy
    Member

    well said RH…. I agree, most parents do not understand that they are already home educating and have done so since birth…. and also as a parent you will know what is working and what isn’t.

    Also lessons in the home do not typify home ed…. I have had som trouble getting MIL to understand that although we have ‘a’ classroom… (allocated learning area) it is not ‘the’ classroom…;)

    #442780

    redhen2 wrote:

    i’m astonished by your patronising tone. please do not tell a parent of ‘skills you must learn’ when you have no parenting skills, having not parented.

    You may wish to reconsider which of us is being patronising.

    #442781
    GeoffGeoff
    Keymaster

    HBG, perhaps she meant “insulting tone” instead, as the word patronising doesn’t seem to fit the full context?

    We are a free and open forum as much as possible. Just as people have the right to express unfounded opinions, people also have a right to question the validity of opinions offered without experience to back those opinions up. This thread has the potential to be useful for aim, please don’t bring it down by descending into a slanging match because you were called up on your lack of experience in the matters discussed. If you were seeing a dodgy financial advisor with no experience, you would hope someone would tell you so, wouldn’t you?

    #442782
    tarabraetarabrae
    Member

    I think redhen has a point though hillbilly girl – you have said in another thread yourself that you are not a parent, so may not have the information/expertise needed to comment in this area.

    I think some of the points you raise are good ones – but I think they are also very common ones that homeschooling families are faced with, and that are consistently shown to be either misunderstandings about homeschooling or just myths.

    socialisation with other kids and adults – every homeschooling family is asked about this one. And the vast majority of homeschooling families associate both with other home ed families, and families where the kids go to school. Most homeschooling families also are involved with community groups of different types, exposing their kids to different people and ideas.

    Encouraging free thinking, research skills and critical thinking is part and parcel of homeschooling – in fact it is why most people decide to homeschool. They feel that the current education system doesn’t cater to children’s interests or allow them to develop the research and thinking abilities that are so very useful in the adult world.

    And I think too that the idea that you risk imposing your own beliefs or perspectives on your children to their detriment is only a likely risk if that is how you parent anyway – and every parent imposes their own belief system (whatever that may be ) on their child simply by raising them to be whatever their definition of a “good” person is.

    Generally homeschooling families encourage their children to think for themselves, to find the answers in their own time, in their own way.

    of course no homeschooling family is perfect – but that can be said of any family. And homeschooling may not fit every family – just as schooling doesn’t.

    But there seems to be a re-occuring theme in your posts that parents who homeschool are generally choosing to do so because of their own desires, without taking the wishes of their child into account, and without considering what the strengths and weaknesses might be.

    I ask you two things – would you have an issue with a parent deciding to send their child to a religious private school, where they will be surrounded by people generally in the same socio-economic grouping, with the same general beliefs, and where the opportunity to mix with people of different beliefs/backgrounds would be limited?

    and – do you think that all parents of a group should be judged by one example? you have mentioned before that you have a family that lives nearby who homeschools, but the children seem to be suffering, and this seems to have influenced your position on homeschooling. Do you know that this is because of homeschooling, or are there other issues there? Would you judge any other group by the actions of one small sample?

    I don’t think you would, because you come across as a smart person ;). So please, instead of making judgements based on misinformation or the usual myths about education and homeschooling, why not simply ask questions of the homeschooling community here, and listen to what they have to say?

    There would be much learned on both sides, I think.

    #442783

    Thanks for that reasoned response Tarabrae, I agree that the influence of the 9 homeschooled children next door is a factor in my opinion. I do not oppose homeschooling as some seem to feel, but rather worry when the decision is made by the parent (for whatever reason) before they have really had a chance to get to know the child and to see how that child is responding to the outside world and what opportunities there might be to integrate both processes into the child’s life. I don’t feel that my post was making any judgements, but rather challenging people to form their own judgements, based on a sound understanding of who they, and their children are.

    Most home-schooled children I know are bright intelligent children and ones whose potential is great. Many, however (and I know the 9 next door fairly fully qualify as ‘many’, but I do know other such children 😆 ) are being schooled in that environment for the wrong reasons. Not because it is the best environment for the child, but because the parents of the child are idealogically opposed to them being exposed to external influences, whether they be social, religious or simply any that might cause the child to challenge the parent’s absolute authority. Unfortunately too, many of the parents are themselves not terribly at ease socially.

    Having been raised by excessively controlling parents, I know just how important it was for my own personal development to be able to have those external comparitors to affirm that it was not me who was crazy, but the way I was being raised. Without access to peers who are not under similar influence that is a pretty hard row for any child to hoe (or adult as the impacts extend far into adulthood).

    I would, however, point out that I have been actively involved in the upbringing of many of my friends children as friend, guide and mentor as well as eccentric occasional maiden aunt who lives overseas. I have observed those children grown from infancy to adulthood and I have done so with an intelligent concern for their well-being. Some have turned out as great, well-adjusted kids. Others have turned out not so well. In each instance, I voiced opinions that either supported (in the case of the well-adjusted kids) or expressed concern about the potential impacts of the parenting style.

    It is not necessary to be a biological parent to have an understanding of parenting issue, or educational issues. If it were so, then every step-parent would be like the ones in fairy tales, and every adoptive parent would be a horror story. Though I agree that giving birth to a child does seem to form some special bond that will ever elude me.

    It is important for someone embarking on the concept of homeschooling to consider both the positive aspects of the process for their particular child and the potentially negative ones. I think that was what I was trying to say in my first post.

    To be exposed only to those people who think it is absolutely fabbydoodle can result in someone who has not really evaluated their own capabilities to embark on an activity that could end in tears for all.

    BTW having gone to a church school from kindergarten to year 12 I do see what you mean, though I had the good fortune that my school exposed us to the fact that other faiths did exist and what they were about. And I only got thrown out of religious camp once:lol::lol:

    The reason I post on these sorts of threads is because I feel that, as you say, both sides need to be considered. A thread that is all about feel-good ‘yep, it’s great’ vibes can become a little unbalanced and can have rather more of an influence on the person asking the question than might be perceived by each individual posting their own views on their successful personal experience. After all, who would post ‘well I tried it but I was a bit of a failure’ type responses?

    I find the concept of homeschooling fascinating and I can fully see its potential for the right kids and the right parents. As a bit of a polymath myself, I would have revelled in it with the right parents. But it is not all a walk in the park, and self-awareness on the part of the parents is a critical factor in the potential positive outcome.

    So I hope that puts to rest the hard feelings of those who feel I have no right to have a view on the subject due to my having not fulfilled my biological role in life, and that they will accept that everyone is entitled to an opinion on this particularly important subject. Children are, after all, our future, regardless of who gave birth to them.

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