Unschooling To University

Judy Arnall describes Unschooling to University

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Unschooling to University

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Welcome to Unschooling to University!  

Many unschoolers often get asked the second most common question (after the one about socialisation) which is “What about university?  Aren’t you messing up your child’s chances of eligibility?” This blog’s sole purpose is to assure you that unschooled children can go to college, universities and trade schools (or any post-secondary schools) if they choose to go. When the time is right for them, they will often choose self-directed learning to help themselves earn the requirements for admission acceptance. Parents do not have to be the teacher and “catch them up” unless they really want to. (Not possible in my case – my “math skills” end at grade 8!)  Parents do not need high school subject matter expertise.  They just need to hang around and help the child find the resources if asked. Most unschooled children reach an age that they wish to learn more and seek out tutors, online courses or simply teach themselves from the internet, Kahn Academy, and their jurisdiction’s textbooks.  Whether they learn the entire high school program, or just the final year courses to prove previously acquired learning, or even challenge the leaving or entrance exams, children that are motivated are serious, focused learners and nothing will stop them.

As Peter Gray outlines in his 2013 study of 75 grown homeschoolers, those children with the least number of formal schooling years (either in a classroom or homeschooled), were more likely to go on to post-secondary learning.  That has been our experience in the homeschooling community as well.  The more time children had for play and self-directed learning, the more likely they were to continue learning and became motivated for greater stimulation outside the family.

The other myth is that unschoolers tend to choose more arts and humanities fields when applying to post-secondary institutions.  STEM options are also available to unschoolers. Many unschoolers find that the years of experiential learning from play, projects and travel help round out a solid background of understanding that numbers and formulas can build on when the child reaches their teens and acquires their abstract thinking skills from the development of the brain’s pre-frontal cortex. They have real world applications for problem-solving with math and science tools.

We know that not everyone aspires to go to post-secondary schools, and that is fine.  We know that some families do wish to plan for that type of education and we aim to help them navigate the waters from unschooling and self-determining their learning during the “school-age” years to a more formal learning environment during the adult years.

Many of these insights come from our family of 5 children, in which we unschooled the children anywhere from 8 to 12 years that they would have been in school.  We live in the most homeschool-regulated place on earth and have managed to secure adequate credentials for university acceptance. All three older children (the two youngest are not of age yet) were accepted into  7 different universities and programs across Canada. We hope you enjoy our experiences, thoughts and insights to help you make informed education choices. We also welcome your questions. Yes, unschooled children can go on to post-secondary education and they are excellent learners.  #anyonecanhomeeducate

Judy Arnall, BA, CCFE, DTM

 

Posted in Homeschooling, How to Unschool, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Screen Time Mitigates Summer Learning Loss

 

SummerThis meme has been floating around my groups and I have to say that I totally disagree with it. First, I am the worst model of this. Email comes first in the morning with my cup of tea. Every person has to find a routine that works for them.

Second, it sounds so dictatorial. Real relationship parenting starts with a conversation of concerns. I wouldn’t have a list like this for my husband as it is too disrespectful and neither would I have it for my children.

Third, the list defeats the intent. I can see a kid getting through this list in a half hour and then spending all day on electronics. When the parent’s protest, the kids says, “I followed the rules!” All the things on the list should be done without an expectation of reward.  Kids naturally like to help.  It will come with age and maturity, not bribery.

Fourth, children naturally develop self-control as they age. They naturally decide when and how to get dressed, shower, tidy their room, help out with dishes, and clean a room.

Fifth, as an unschooler who has never put limits on screen time when my kids were older than 6 years (there are lots of research that show children under six are at risk for language development with increased use of electronics), I see no problem with hours and hours on screens. The kids learn so much from the internet and playing video games. I do encourage the kid’s self-discipline to build in some exercise time, in their day. They are already very creative on screens with making memes, mods and stuff. Summer learning loss never happens when kids are allowed access to the internet – in fact, they have the time to learn what they truly want to learn, not what the government dictates what they want to learn. Here is a good article on why kids should be on screens all summer!  https://www.ucalgarymag.ca/issue/spring-summer-2017/article/unlocking-skills-power-brain-games

University of Calgary magazine article

Posted in Democratic Parenting, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Oversight is Over-rated

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It’s always interesting to me that society, school administrators and the government feel the need to provide educational oversight in home education. They insist that parents must provide an education “equal to the education children would get in school.” Many home education parents provide an education that is not the same, and is far superior to what children might get in school.

That might include “unschooling,” which is so different from the classroom model and in many ways is so much better.  It provides freedom, passion, choice, control, personal responsibility, creativity, determination, motivation and unequaled absorption of learning for the sake of learning, rather than learning to get marks. Children can’t get much of that in a classroom dictated by government rules and oversight.

The most important years for brain development is from 0-6. Children need 3D experiential learning to develop brain cell connections for healthy growth. Does the government intervene in parenting in order to provide children with the optimal conditions for development in those years?  No.  Why then for the school-aged years? If there is no government oversight in parenting, then there should not be for education either.

The other reason society wants to regulate home education is the theory that a teeny tiny number of children may be maltreated, and will occur under the daily oversight of teachers, coaches, bus drivers and school nurses.  Yes, that may occur.  But it also occurs to children in school.  Abusive parents are good at hiding their child’s bruises in school. Many school staff people are too busy to notice the hidden signs of abuse.  The percentage of children abused at home and attending school is far higher than the percentage of children that are home schooled and may be abused. We don’t make laws based of the .000000001 percent that might be affected by them.

Besides, the vast number of abused children are toddlers and preschoolers, not school-aged children. Young children have very little executive function (self-control) abilities and parents who don’t understand that their children’s “not listening” is a development issue and not a discipline issue, tend to use punishment to correct what they perceive as a defect. It’s wrong, it is misguided, and we have no government oversight for those children. They are essentially abused on a daily basis and nothing is being done for them.  By the time children are school-age, they listen better and the rate of abuse goes way down.  Just as for parenting, government oversight is not required for homeschooling, anywhere, anytime.

Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Democratic Parenting, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, Homeschooling, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Elon Musk Unschools His Children

After his less than wonderful childhood in public schools, futurist Elon Musk opts to unschool his 5 boys.  Read more here:

http://www.healthnutnews.com/elon-musk-admits-to-unschooling-his-children/

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Attend UCA’s 2nd Annual Online Conference

UCA: 2nd Annual Un-Conference:  Family First

Our second annual online Un-conference will be held online on March 18 and 19th, 2017. Reserve your seat now! Our special guests so far are Pat Farenga, Carlo Ricci, Judy Arnall, Linda Clement, and Pam Laricchia!

Know someone who would like to attend?  Have them join our association for only $11 and they can attend too. Or purchase a non-member ticket for just $22. Sessions will be recorded so if you can’t attend the live presentation, you will still have access to them and the Q and A sessions.

Saturday March 18, 2017

8 am to 11:00 Mountain Time

Speakers:  Pat Farenga, Pam Laricchia, Judy Arnall

Sunday March 19, 2017

10 am to noon Mountain Time

Speakers:  Carlo Ricci, Linda Clement

Register at http://www.unschoolingcanada.ca/events.html

 

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The Door Stopper

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My son was 2 years old and loved those door stoppers that went twang. You know those coiled thingys with the white rubber cap.  They drove me crazy! I wanted to remove them all. But I didn’t, because my son seemed to love the resultant noise.
Here is the email he sent me last night. (He is an unschooler that is now taking engineering.) “Hey Mom, These days I’m doing analysis on oscillating machines, like a door stopper. You know the spring ones where you pull it to the side and it goes dwawawwawanngg? Who’d have thought I’d be doing the same thing today in school as I was doing 22 years ago….”
Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Democratic Parenting, How to Unschool, University Children Ages 18-25, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

You Don’t Have to be Like Your Parents

You Can  Change Your Parenting Style

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by Judy Arnall, BA, CCFE

Do you come from a “dysfunctional family?”  Is your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score so high that you worry about doing the same to your kids? Can parenting habits change in one generation? Yes, you can change your child’s destiny! Many parents with ACE scores as high as 7 has raised children with 1 or less. You can too!

If you were raised by less than stellar parents, here are some changes you can make to become the parent you wished you had, for the next generation that you are raising. You do not have to repeat negative parenting habits with your own children. You can change your parenting style from over permissive or authoritarian, to a collaborative/democratic positive parenting style.

  • Fake it until you make it. Act like the parents you admire. Copy what they do.
  • Start with yourself. Learn to love you. Change self-talk into positive, loving thoughts about how you look, and what you do, and who you are.
  • Learn the language of respectful communication. Take a course through colleges, universities, churches, parent centers or community centers. Learn how to use I-statements, active listening and problem-solving.
  • Learn child development through courses, or books, to help you know what to expect from children at different ages. Only 23% of parents know child development past the infant stage, and it’s essential for parenting.
  • If you were excessively criticized as a child, consciously make the effort to encourage your own children and hold back the negative.
  • If you were not hugged or touched as a child, make a concerted effort to hug, cuddle and hold your own children, even if it feels alien to you.
  • If you were hurt, upset or sick and were told to “buck up, suck it up, or shut up”, give your child comfort by saying “It’s okay to feel what you do.”  And hug, caress and pat your child with non-sexual touch.
  • If you were ignored as a child, respond right away to your own children.  Give focused attention when they need it and even when they don’t. It’s ok to have fun with your children.
  • If your parents never played with you as a child, read, talk with and play with your own children.
  • When you are angry, take a time out. Your time-out. Not your child’s. What need of yours is not getting met?  How can you meet it? Work on your anger first and you will make better parenting decisions when you are calm.
  • Forgive your parents. They probably did the best they knew how at the time, with the resources they had.
  • Know what your triggers and hot buttons are. We all have sensitive areas in parenting, no matter what our background was, and our awareness of them helps us to come up with alternative behaviours and coping strategies.
  • Start looking at your life through the lens of gratitude. Being grateful enriches life.

Parenting, for the most part, is a learned pattern. We can change parenting patterns and develop new ones. When we become aware of our shortfalls and make a conscious effort to change how we behave, we become really good at parenting after lots of  practice. Don’t worry if you make mistakes. Rome was not built in a day. Even with new learned behaviours, in times of stress, we tend to fall back on our old habits. Apologize and vow to do better next time. With renewed commitment, we get better at changing old habits with time, practice, information and continuance. You can change family dynamics in one generation and give your child the healthy gift of less ACES in their childhood.  It all starts with you!

 

 

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