Cut the Calculus Teacher

Syllable notesHow much like school does school need to be for kids to learn reading, writing, math, and science?  Tell me.  How many square feet do we need?  Are bricks required?  How about double doors?  A gym, even?

No.  No.  Those things aren’t necessities!  Heavens to Murgatroyds!  Desks are.  Can’t learn without a desk, right?  Wrong, silly.  It’s not the desks.  It’s the teachers and the ratios.  When you have one teacher to 27 kids, then real learning can happen.  Forty to one is probably too high.  Twelve to one is not economical.  We can’t afford to have a calculus class with only ten kids.

Oh, wait!  Let’s not forget the computers.  As long as we have computers, we can ditch the books and the calculus teacher, even!  Yes!  Yes!  YES!  Ditch the books!  Ditch the calculus teacher!  EVERY KID NEEDS A TABLET!  They don’t cost much!  No, stupid.  Not a cheap, lined paper tablet.  A mind-sucking tablet.  A teacher-replacing tablet.  Then, they can teach themselves and get college credit for it.  College credit makes you smart!  Guarantees a job, they say, even!

Oh, stop!

If it’s not the desks, gym, books, or teachers, then what is school?  What’s the fuss against unschooling?  Can traditional topics be taught without a curriculum?  Without a teacher?  Today we continue on in exploring unschooling through the kind writings of unschooler Corinne Jacob and the Snagglepuss comments of me (in blue).  Heavens to Murgatroyd!  Let’s get on with it, even!

How Does an Unschooled Child Learn Traditional School Topics?  Can they, even?

Reading: Unschoolers typically learn to read in order to follow their passions – whatever it may be.  (Students with passion?  Is that allowed?  Is that possible, even?) One young unschooler learned to read when he saw his elder brother reading a horror story and he thought it would be cool to spook himself out. Another polished his reading skills as he looked up and read instruction manuals on how to play his favorite video game.  (I’ll bet you could do that on a school tablet, even.) Yet another learned by reading movie subtitles as she and her mother watched movies with the volume turned down while her father slept.

Math: Now this is one subject that most school-going children learn to hate.  (What happened to that passion?  Did it get sent to the principal’s office for PDA?  Did it get squashed out in first grade being forced to tell time and dates over and over–something any reasonable person will learn without formal education, even?)  Unschoolers, on the other hand, learn math as they adapt recipes in the kitchen, calculate player stats and analyse player performance in their favorite sports, play with duel decks, look for bargains, and go shopping.  (Doesn’t this require independence?  I wonder should we foster independence, even?)

Writing: In some cases, unschoolers learn to write out of an interest in writing stories. In other instances, they learn to write in order to communicate with a grandparent through letters (Are they in cursive?  You know cursive isn’t common core.  Exit stage, left!), share information on a topic that interests them or write fan-fiction for their favorite online role-playing game. As for writing form, that is learned not through writing but by having meaningful conversations, reading good material and developing good thinking skills, all of which are fostered in unschooling.  (It’s not fostered by sticking 14 year-old boys and girls in the same classroom?  Smoochie.  Smoochie.)

Spelling: Unschooling parents report various kinds of experiences when it comes to how their children picked up spelling.  (Spelling?  Color?  Colour?  Fiber?  Fibre?  Is it necessary, even?  Do those tablets have spell chek, even?  Gotcha’!)  Some children have a natural flair for spelling. Others seemed to take a long time to develop good spelling skills, but then learned them incredibly quickly when the need arose, such as when they wanted to use big words in their writing or when they wanted to be taken seriously by others in online forums.

unschooling2

Unschooling Architecture” by Shan Jeniah Burton is licensed under CC BY 2.0

(Be careful with those costly school supplies.  Heavens to Murgatroyd!  You might break them, even!)

As for subjects like science and social studies, kids learn them through visiting museums, zoos, and planetariums, exploring nature, reading relevant books that interest them, and playing educational online games…TO BE CONTINUED

Conclusion

Over the last year, I’ve been noticing that I sometimes get in the way of my daughters’ learning.  I help too much.  I micro-manage too much.  I’m practicing butting out.  Cutting out.  Going to cook dinner or something.  School is about education and learning, not about the process.  When school gets in the way of the potential and motivation to learn, it has failed the individual and the society.  And for the record, a live calculus teacher is worth having if for only one student, even.

My apologies on the Snagglepuss humor.  Or is it humour?  My spelling is a little rusty.  Stale, even!  Next and final unschooling post (Thank you, Corinne) we will briefly discuss unschoolers getting jobs, socially interacting, and stigma.

What do you think of unschooling?  Lazy?  Brilliant?  Ineffective?  The tops?  Scary?

Terri

22 thoughts on “Cut the Calculus Teacher

  1. Simple Days Making for Exciting Adventures

    I am still making up my mind. Although, I have to state that my youngest is probably the closest thing that I have to an unschooler. He hates “school” but loves to learn. What? In fact, he fought me to learn to read EVERYDAY! I stopped fighting. Evidently, he has been practicing in his room at night without us knowing. Two weeks ago, he wanted me to read him a Dinosaur Cove book. I read one page and asked if he wanted to take turns because I was tired. He did. And he READ!! In fact, together we almost read the entire book in one night. So, I wish that I could take credit for that one, but I have nothing. He can also multiply, divide, problem solve and do math-which again, he has FOUGHT me on EVERYDAY! However, when I give him a real life problem to solve, he does it consistently. I am not sure all kids would fit the mold of self-motivators but this one does for sure.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Isn’t the psychology of that fascinating? How, when given school-like teaching, he bristles? Yet, when given freedom, he chooses to proceed on his own to accomplish the task? I really agree with you that not all are the mold of self-motivators and need that assigned routine. I would never have chosen to do math had I been left to unschool. I would have been stuck with my nose in a book all day. And then, the path of my life would be completely different. Oh, well, it seems ever-changing anyhow, yes? 🙂 Baby’s crying. Signing off now. Have a great week!

      Reply
      1. EmilyMaine

        Yeah it is the complicated stuff like high level math and physics that I wonder about. I think this method probably works great for earlier school years but I wonder at his complex it can really get. There will always be the genius who taught himself calculus from a text but those people are few and far between. Very interesting stuff though. I am enjoying the posts 🙂

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Man, I’ve been trying to respond to this comment for days and kept getting interrupted! I suppose that unschooling sets the passionate, creative, motivation stage in the early schooling. Then, as time and talents progress, then the student probably falls into a more traditional, better understood learning pattern to master it. Dunno. Just my thoughts. So as a “kid” they sit there and roll balls up and down a plank. Up and down. Up and down. Then, later, at the high school level, they say, “Huh. I wonder if I can document that pattern that the ball does with numbers.” And so they seek out calculus and formal physics to do so. Unlike me, who totally can work the equation, but don’t understand physics worth a hoot. Frustrates my husband and dad, but otherwise hasn’t bothered me a bit. 🙂 Haha!

    2. Elisa | blissful E

      He might enjoy Life of Fred math, which is all practical and wrapped up in a story. My kids adore Fred. It’s like he’s a member of our family now.

      Reply
      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Thanks, Elisa. I’ll push the comment through for Sharon. Sharon is TONS of fun! I do wonder if she has tried or seen Life of Fred and what she thought about it, especially given the dyslexic type challenges she circumvents. Maybe she’ll pipe back in…

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thankfully, in the USA, I know it is not a problem anymore. I don’t know about elsewhere. Unschoolers probably shuffle what kids have learned into appropriate categories for “reporting” to the states. Like I’d shuffle our visit to the Celtic Faire this last weekend under hours spent doing world history/geography. And their hours knitting under art. Etc. Add some good, solid pre-college standardized test scores, and the kid ought to be good to go. BTW, are you old enough to know who Snagglepuss is? And, also, wondering how you are. Greetings and cheers to you.

      Reply
      1. EmilyMaine

        I know who Snagglepuss is. 🙂 And I’m doing well thank you. Just taking it one day at a time and trying not to read into things too much otherwise 🙂

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Oh, good about Snagglepuss. He makes me laugh thinking about his characteristic speech. Keep up doing “well.” It is so hard to not read into things. So hard! I will be following, you know.

  2. Elisa | blissful E

    Australian universities aren’t nearly as open to receiving homeschoolers (of any stripe, including unschooled) as American universities are… yet. They want kids to do the last two years in a traditional high school setting, as well as taking standardised tests. Hoping this will change in the next decade. By then, though, uni studies might be primarily online or in some other format not yet developed.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hopefully it is just “yet!” If only they could step in and understand. “The last two years of traditional high school…” What is this, for Pete’s sake? My daughter is doing Algebra in sixth grade. I anticipate calculus to be finished by her sophomore year. She is currently using a college text for Spanish. No, she is NOT gifted or brilliant but she does have passionate parents who love to learn and teach. If I sent her back to high school, I’d be a donkey. Who would seriously send a girl who is fluent in Spanish, has completed physics and calculus, and ought to be able to write a decent term paper back to traditional high school for two years? Oh, dear. I’m ranting. Will stop. I DO hope this changes. Even though we have good opportunities at colleges/universities, I see more and more online post-high school studies for homeschooling. I don’t know what I think about that. However, I do feel that colleges/universities have become money collection pots with no real education. Perhaps these unforeseen studies not yet developed will be a gift and blessing to many besides homeschoolers! Exit, stage right! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Jhanis

    As always, love your way of putting things into words! Never boring!

    A lot of our public schools here in the Philippines have about 1-50 teacher/student ratio, so bad but the parents can’t do much about it which just sucks, Shhh but I’m telling you that our government sucks. My husband and I are working our asses off so we can continue to send our kids to this small private school with about 1-15 ratio (my 4yo has only 6 other classmates) but we’re hoping that the boy will accepted at the Science High for high school because it’s free (almost) and they produce the best graduates in the region and he is very much academically inclined. The 4yo on the other hand, I think is the unschooler type. Doing my best to unlearn whatever I have learned in the past about (traditional) teaching!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Shhh. I’ll tell you ours (government) does too… 🙂 —1:50? That is insane. That’s babysitting in a nightmare. And wrong.—I hate that you have to work so hard, but I can see why. Your little boy always sounds like a champ, and he’ll graduate with honors from that school. Watch and see, world. Watch and see. And you tell that little girl (Little Jhanis) that unschooling and play and drama is good, but sometimes you got to play the game those other people’s ways. I don’t like it either. Grr. Then she can party like mama did on the weekends. 🙂 Ahahaha!

      Terri

      Reply
  4. andthreetogo

    I am a huge supporter of unschooling and homeschooling (despite the fact that my daughter is in preschool presently). What I love about un/homeschooling is that each child is taught in the way that they learn best. I am impressed that you are striving to step back and let your daughter learn. I would have a hard time admittedly, I am a total micro-manager. But I do dream that someday I will be the person that can homeschool/unschool z and love it. And not completely turn her off of learning. 🙂

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      LOL! Micro-manager. I just got called that about three weeks ago by a friend. The text read: “Now, stop. Micro. Managing.” Okay. Okay.—- We did preschool too. Gave me a break before entering the stage where they never leave my side. Plus, mine liked it. They like to play.—Z will love to learn and share just like you guys do.

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Does Unschooling Work? | The HSD

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