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  #1  
Old Mar 4, '07, 10:30 am
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Default catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

We all know there as many ways to homeschool as there are to skin a cat.

Though I have encountered many catholic homeschoolers who are very structured and formal in their schooling style, I was wondering if any Catholics embrace a more relaxed unschooling approach and whether they would recommend it to others.

TIA
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  #2  
Old Mar 4, '07, 4:18 pm
JezuUfamTobie JezuUfamTobie is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

I don't have any information on this myself, but I just wanted to note that I am also very interested in learning more about unschooling. I've read a book by a protestant author on the subject and he made some good points. I'd love to hear from any Catholics who are approaching early homeschooling in this way.
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  #3  
Old Mar 4, '07, 5:00 pm
leonie leonie is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

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  #4  
Old Mar 4, '07, 5:37 pm
Rob's Wife Rob's Wife is offline
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Smile Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

Oh you should venture over to the 4 Real Learning boards and you may enjoy the book by the same name.
www.4reallearning.com

I prefer a structured environment and style, however, we are very relaxed and eclectic, imo.

Unschooling is a very "iffy" label. It can mean very different things to different homeschoolers.
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  #5  
Old Mar 5, '07, 6:17 am
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

Thanks everyone, and thanks Robs Wife for the link. I'll be checking it out.


Well, I have a VERY relaxed homeschool style. Diehard unschoolers would deny me the title of unschooling because I do teach math. I was not so much looking for info on unschooling as I was looking for other Catholics that embrace the unschooling philosophy and are willing to discuss and share their experiences.

leonie ... i have read that book it's very good and one I recommend as well. Do you unschool?

jezuUfamtobie ... here is a good link with LOTS of unschooling articles www.besthomeschooling.org
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  #6  
Old Mar 5, '07, 11:52 am
apricot yogurt apricot yogurt is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

I did unschool my son last academic year. That said we had some English and Religion books from Seton. We were out a lot, as he liked to do rather than read about it. He asked 100s of questions everyday ad nauseum but this was and is his main method of learning-he stores away everything you say in his brain, and will call apon this information at a later date. I never seemed to fit in with the curriculum -loving catholics, or the hemp-wearing vegan unschoolers.
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  #7  
Old Mar 5, '07, 2:21 pm
gardenswithkids gardenswithkids is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ana View Post
I was not so much looking for info on unschooling as I was looking for other Catholics that embrace the unschooling philosophy and are willing to discuss and share their experiences.

We don't "unschool", but I use an eclectic approach with structured but relaxed learning. My children completing workbooks and texts, and we mix in unit studies too. I don’t want to use an entire course load designed by someone else, and I dislike the busywork that some people think equates education. I take into account my children's personalities and interests when selecting curiculum, and structure learning around their interests to a large degree.

I read a few of John Holt's books and the other books mentioned in this thread. I also structure some of those educational philosophies into parts of our day/week/year, but not full time. On a normal school day, they usually complete assigned work in 1-3 hours, (depending on child and grade level.) That leaves lots of room for those “unschool” philosophies during the rest of the day. I "strew" educational materials, and we read a lot. We follow CHC’s four day school week that’s built into their workbooks, and devote the fifth weekday to various other stuff. During vacation, we “unschool”. I recall once, right after we had officially ended our “school year”, my child asked me about a math concept that was well beyond his grade level—so I taught him it, even though we were on “vacation”.

Paying attention for signs of learning readiness really helps to make our learning environment more relaxed. (If some of you don’t know what I mean, imagine trying to teach a three month baby to walk—if a child’s not developmentally ready to learn something it is frustrating and futile to both parent and child to try teaching it. Yet wait until the child’s further developed and the baby learns to walk with little effort from the parent.) I watched one child struggle for months trying to read before I gave up and took summer off; in September, he quickly mastered what he’d previously couldn’t get. I now take the child-led approach to teaching them to read. .

As I wrote earlier, we’re not “unschoolers”; I want more structure than that. I believe that children come wired ready to learn, but I don't trust them entirely to know they need to learn. Yet I enjoy a relaxed, eclectic approach, and that includes some child-directed learning.

Last edited by gardenswithkids; Mar 5, '07 at 2:33 pm.
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  #8  
Old Mar 5, '07, 3:02 pm
leonie leonie is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ana View Post
Thanks everyone, and thanks Robs Wife for the link. I'll be checking it out.


Well, I have a VERY relaxed homeschool style. Diehard unschoolers would deny me the title of unschooling because I do teach math. I was not so much looking for info on unschooling as I was looking for other Catholics that embrace the unschooling philosophy and are willing to discuss and share their experiences.

leonie ... i have read that book it's very good and one I recommend as well. Do you unschool?

jezuUfamtobie ... here is a good link with LOTS of unschooling articles www.besthomeschooling.org
Nope, don't unschool, but honestly I think my kids have learned more from their reading for pleasure than anything else. We do Abeka math, some grammar, and handwriting, and everything else is reading. We do some oral reports on assigned reading. And, I read to them.

I read a book that analyzed reading research. The author said that kids who did self-selected reading (of any quality) fifty minutes a day for a school year had greater gains than those who had direct instruction through lectures and worksheets. These gains were in grammar, reading comprehension, spelling and composition. So, I figure if they are reading for fun, I pretty much have all my language arts covered. The kids read historical fiction for history. My older son is great in geography from playing Risk of all things. So, I try to include some semi educational computer games.

my most structured school is for the kid learning to read. We just go at those phonics and readers like crazy. trudge. trudge. trudge.

Next year may be a different ball game though because I'm starting my eighth grader on some high school courses.

I just had the kids tested and they all did well for their grades (89, 90, 91 percentile). They were weak in math computation so we've added some drills in.
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  #9  
Old Mar 5, '07, 7:59 pm
annb annb is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

There is a yahoo group for unschooling catholics.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnschoolingCatholics/
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  #10  
Old Mar 6, '07, 5:09 am
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by apricot yogurt View Post
He asked 100s of questions everyday ad nauseum but this was and is his main method of learning-he stores away everything you say in his brain, and will call apon this information at a later date.[
This notion supports the unschooling philosophy of kids learning what they care about.


[quote+apricot yogurt;196895] I never seemed to fit in with the curriculum -loving catholics, or the hemp-wearing vegan unschoolers.[/quote]

lol ... I know EXACTLY what you mean.
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  #11  
Old Mar 6, '07, 5:59 am
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

[/quote=gardenswithkids;1968634] and I dislike the busywork that some people think equates education. I agree. Looking back to my own education, I remember "very little" for all those hours spent behind a desk "learning." Most of what I do know ... and I consider myself well educated ...I learned on my own, reading books and pursuing interests.

Paying attention for signs of learning readiness really helps to make our learning environment more relaxed. (If some of you don’t know what I mean, imagine trying to teach a three month baby to walk—if a child’s not developmentally ready to learn something it is frustrating and futile to both parent and child to try teaching it. Yet wait until the child’s further developed and the baby learns to walk with little effort from the parent.) I watched one child struggle for months trying to read before I gave up and took summer off; in September, he quickly mastered what he’d previously couldn’t get. I now take the child-led approach to teaching them to read. .I observed the same thing in my daughter when teaching her letters. She just wasn't retaining what she learned, and it was beginning to become frustrating, so I put it up for a few months intending to revisit later. A few weeks later she calls me into the kitchen and began pointing to and naming the letters of the alphabet that were on the wall.

As I wrote earlier, we’re not “unschoolers”; I want more structure than that. I believe that children come wired ready to learn, but I don't trust them entirely to know they need to learn. Yet I enjoy a relaxed, eclectic approach, and that includes some child-directed learning.I have found that we NEED structure as well, especially for my very active and impulsive daughter. We have specified bedtimes, bathtimes, mealtimes, and chores.


[/quote]
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  #12  
Old Mar 6, '07, 6:01 am
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

I am having a lot of trouble with the quotes...sorry.
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Ana

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  #13  
Old Mar 6, '07, 6:12 am
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leonie View Post
Nope, don't unschool, but honestly I think my kids have learned more from their reading for pleasure than anything else. We do Abeka math, some grammar, and handwriting, and everything else is reading. We do some oral reports on assigned reading. And, I read to them.

I read a book that analyzed reading research. The author said that kids who did self-selected reading (of any quality) fifty minutes a day for a school year had greater gains than those who had direct instruction through lectures and worksheets. These gains were in grammar, reading comprehension, spelling and composition. So, I figure if they are reading for fun, I pretty much have all my language arts covered. The kids read historical fiction for history. My older son is great in geography from playing Risk of all things. So, I try to include some semi educational computer games.

my most structured school is for the kid learning to read. We just go at those phonics and readers like crazy. trudge. trudge. trudge.

Next year may be a different ball game though because I'm starting my eighth grader on some high school courses.

I just had the kids tested and they all did well for their grades (89, 90, 91 percentile). They were weak in math computation so we've added some drills in.
We do math and *some* workbook pages, or whatever they skills they need for what they are doing at that time. For example, they learned area when it was time to paint their bedrooms.

I started out very structured, but have been slowly learning how to trust and let go. It was very scary at first, but I have to say I have found the philosophys of unschooling to match with my experiences. I do keep a watchful eye out and every so often I will discuss with them the need to learn particular things that I KNOW are important and necessary. They are very accommodating when mommy says, "hey I want you guys to spend some time learning (_______)." They do, and we have fun doing it. They might be afraid we will go back to the tear filled school at home days). I can't speak for anyone else, but my kids are very motivated and see learning as an adventure and have been known to talk mommy into many things she may have otherwise said no to, by appealing to it's learning potential.
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  #14  
Old Mar 6, '07, 6:13 am
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

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Originally Posted by annb View Post
There is a yahoo group for unschooling catholics.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnschoolingCatholics/
Thank you, I've signed up and am waiting for my email.
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Ana

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  #15  
Old Mar 7, '07, 4:12 am
dranzal dranzal is offline
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Default Re: catholic relaxed/eclectic/unschooling?

We are very relaxed, though my kids would beg to differ. I do not qualify as an unschooler because I do require a few workbook pages/day. I also did teach to read with "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons." I have purchased some science and social studies texts from CHC which I will use like a survey over several years.

I agree that most (yes, most) of what school children are required to "learn" they don't learn at all--as evidenced by the new game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader".

This is an extreme example, but, I would rather my kids learn even just one topic in depth than a whole lot (6-7 courses) of absolutely nothing.

I do know some "radical unschoolers" who do not impose any guidelines for learning, eating, sleeping, etc. and they report that the children learn to read and do math on their own.
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