Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Questions I could use help answering

I've had two emails just today that could use more input than just mine. I can't put them on the unschooling discussion list, because neither mom is unschooling. Please help! (And those who come here but aren't unschoolers can see what kind of writing I do just about every day of every week of every month since... well, since Kirby was seven or so.

I'll put one here, and a link to the other one.

I stumbled upon your site googling how to get along with a spoiled child. :) I'm fascinated by everything I'm reading and it's starting to make a lot of sense. However, I'm not sure how to practically apply some of the ideas. I was reading about how letting a child watch tv, play video games, set their own sleep schedule helps kids realize their own limits but what happens when he stays up late and he has to get up in the morning and go to public school and follow their rules? I'm just not in a position to home school him. How do I say "Okay, if you'd like to hang out with me until you get tired or stay up and play until you get tired that's fine"...when I know that when seven o'clock in the morning rolls around he will be miserable and I will have to "make" him go to school because I can't give him a choice on whether or not he wants to get up and go. I'm confused. I really do want to start living by principles rather than rules but unfortunately we are just bound by some things that we have to do. I have to go to work (or you can say I choose to go to work so we can have a house and car and food) and therefore he has to go to school. Right now he hates school and all the rules. I thought that by having similar rules at home we'd be consistent and he'd get the hang of following them but it isn't working. It seems silly for me to say that I'm concerned that taking away the rules at home is going to make it worse at school since having the same set of rules isn't making it better but how is it helpful to him to say he doesn't have to wait his turn if he wants to talk if indeed that is the rule in his classroom?

My response (the non-marked-off parts are me):

-=-. I have to go to work (or you can say I choose to go to work so we can have a house and car and food) and therefore he has to go to school. -=-

That's not necessarily a "therefore" situation. You didn't say how old he was.


-=-Right now he hates school and all the rules. I thought that by having similar rules at home we'd be consistent and he'd get the hang of following them but it isn't working.-=-

Yikes! If he's smart to hate school, and you have a bunch of rules just like school, where's his safe place? Where does he go to escape?

-=-but how is it helpful to him to say he doesn't have to wait his turn if he wants to talk if indeed that is the rule in his classroom?-=-

Because the rules in the classroom are there for classroom management. There are other rules other places.

I had kids take karate and dance, and they acted the way they were expected to there--they took turns, they lined up, they bowed or did exercises by count or whatever, because that's what everyone there was doing. In their case, they chose to be there, but you can still look at it that way. They're SCHOOl rules, not rules for your child to abide by everywhere all the time.

I'm going to answer this in more detail here, and if you come by every few days for a while there might be other input in the comments.
http://sandradodd.blogspot.com

I won't use your name. If you want to comment you don't need to admit they were your questions if you don't want to. You can jump in on it without saying "That's me."

Sandra


There are ways to use school as babysitting, aren't there? It wouldn't be easy, but it would be doable.

But if school's babysitting, what about REAL babysitting? What about finding someone to stay at your house, or a place for the child to stay? School is 36 to 40 hours a week. But a week has 168 hours. So subtract 56 for sleeping. 112 left, I think. Subtract 40 for the hours the mom works. 72 hours to be together for fun learning opportunities!

-=- I was reading about how letting a child watch tv, play video games, set their own sleep schedule helps kids realize their own limits but what happens when he stays up late and he has to get up in the morning and go to public school and follow their rules? -=-

These are many questions thrown into one hopper.
I'll write assuming he's going to stay in school. I don't know how old he is. Maybe he's not a kid who really requires eight hours of sleep to function well. Maybe six or seven would do. Maybe he needs nine or ten. Whatever you think he needs now, that will probably change anyway.

So let's say it's the night before school. Count back from the best time to wake up, and help him get to sleep by that time. But on the other two nights when he doesn't have school, can't he stay up longer? Right on the front page of Joyce's site she talks about not letting go of everything at once. Just find lots of times to say yes:
http://joyfullyrejoycing.com

The communications between the parent and child don't have to be "because you have to" or "because of school" or "because I'm the mom." They can be the real, thought-out, honest answers you would give if you were talking with a friend your age, or a houseguest, or a college roommate. Why? Really consider that question and answer as truly and as helpfully as possible. That right there will make a big difference.

When a child is in school, it's possible for the parents to get in trouble. If he goes to school sleepy and tells the school that you don't care if he sleeps or not, hello child protective services!

I care very much whether my children sleep. I just don't tell them when to do it. If they're sleeping late, I try to be very quiet and let them sleep, and they do the same when I'm asleep. Yesterday Holly was saying her neck and back were hurting. I talked about a new mattress; she doesn't want one. She has our old queen-sized bed that she was conceived on. That's too old for a 16 year old. It wasn't a fancy mattress then. I wash her sheets so that they'll smell really nice, and I have found pillow cases (used, but nice) that fit all her pillows and kind of go to better. Those things are WAY more important to sleep than a mean mom saying "GO TO BED, turn off the light, if I hear another noise I'm coming in there and buulah blah blah..." (Not saying the e-mail mom did, but MY mom did, and she was not the only one.)

PRINCIPLES:

-=-I'm confused. I really do want to start living by principles rather than rules but unfortunately we are just bound by some things that we have to do. -=-

Within principles, there are still reasons to follow rules. BETTER reasons, if you're living by principles than if you're not.

Okay, anyone who's read this far. Please help! Thanks.

7 comments:

Sandra Dodd said...

Oh right! The other e-mail. I parked that one at Unschooling.info, because it seemed workable there.

http://unschooling.info/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1900

The e-mail began:

Hello. I stumbled upon your Unschooling website by accident as a link to your morning glories page (they're lovely, by the way). I have recently married, and have planned to homeschool my children (when they finally come). I am intrigued by this concept of "unschooling", as it is very different from my own upbringing, which I do not wish to copy with my own children. I have not read enough to say I understand it completely by any means, and I have been left with many questions, and not as many answers....

singingfamily said...

I'm curious what she does for work and if there is any flexibility at all there. When we began this journey I was not working but things being as they are we both need to work. I thought for sure that we would have to send ours to school but we have worked out schedules that make it possible for someone to be with them all the time.

Sandra Dodd said...

I have this clarification from the mom quoted above: "He's seven and in first grade and very smart and usually bored."

Meg_L said...

How about contacting local homeschoolers and seeing if anyone is interested in a little income in return for watching the boy during the times she has to work?

I know some states will allow people to "homeschool" other people's kids without jumping through hurdles. We often refer to them as cottage schools here in Indiana.

Sandra Dodd said...

I figure staying ANYwhere during the hours the mom works (which might not be "school hours" and which won't need to be "school hours" if she ceases to use school to babysit) would be fine. And if he's homeschooled, why by someone else? There are tons of hours in the week. Learning does NOT work better between 8:30 and 3:00 weekdays, and compulsory attendance has crawled its way from the ages of 5 to 18 in some places, learning works way WORSE during those hours, on average.

If school's being used as daycare, maybe joyful, non-harmful daycare can be found and unschooling can be added and the mom will have way more flexibility about when to work.

Shell (in NZ) said...

Thank goodness for you... I had no ideas you were helping school kids online as well as unschooled.

A young boy;s life might be radically changed because of your input- how cool is that! We did a survey about un/homeschooling for someone's phd- the lady kindly said because of my answers she and her dh are definitely going to be unschooling their baby...I made a difference to someone I only know via e-mail- I feel pleased about that :0) I can't imagine how good you feel helping soooo many people all the time.

Sandra Dodd said...

It does feel pretty good. Thank you, Shell and others, for helping me help!