Deb

We just started unschooling this fall after a failed attempt at regular homeschooling last winter and spring. I'm very open to the flow of unschooling but I'm starting to feel some frustration with what we've been doing. Here's the thing....all my seven year old wants to do is play gorillas. All day. Every day. He loves them and if he's not playing gorillas with me he's playing video games. I have strewn the house with all kinds of neat stuff, we checked out books and bought DVDs on gorillas, but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. Am I doing something wrong? I don't know how much more gorilla play I can stand. Somebody help please! I want him to be happy above all so please keep that in mind when responding. Thanks.


Deborah

Sandra Dodd

-=-We just started unschooling this fall after a failed attempt at regular homeschooling last winter and spring. I'm very open to the flow of unschooling but I'm starting to feel some frustration with what we've been doing. Here's the thing....all my seven year old wants to do is play gorillas. All day. -=-

Deschooling. If you started this fall, and it's not even the end of November, that's not enough deschooling.

-=- I have strewn the house with all kinds of neat stuff, we checked out books and bought DVDs on gorillas, but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. Am I doing something wrong?-=-

Yes. You're checking out books on gorillas instead of playing gorillas. You're seeing books about gorillas as more valuable than playing, acting out, talking about gorillas.

-=- I don't know how much more gorilla play I can stand.-=-

Then you'll put him back in school?
What happens if you "can't stand" playing with him any more? It's something you can only barely stand? But reading books would seems productive, right and good?

Then what you're doing wrong might be illuminated if you read these collections:

http://sandradodd.com/deschooling
http://sandradodd.com/bookworship

-=-Re: [AlwaysLearning] Are we stuck?-=-

He isn't; maybe you are.
If you are attempting to unschool without deschooling yourself, you will be stuck indefinitely.


Sandra



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Pam Sorooshian

>
> >>but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. >>>
>

Oh my. You didn't say what had been going on before, but this so obviously
stands out as him wanting intensely to reconnect with you and feel totally
enveloped in your love and care. He might need months of it...so instead of
offering lots of gorilla stuff, offer lots of mommy and child love stuff.
Write little sweet notes and leave them where he'll accidentally discover
them. Make him VERY special foods - unexpectedly. And play and play and
play with him as much as possible. And cuddle as much as possible. Sing
together - little kid songs, perhaps. Take and show your delight in him as
a little child - he will be grown up SO soon. Let him be little and "just"
play.

Take a year off from worrying whether he is learning anything
"educational". Instead, focus on his happiness and on your relationship.
Fill his emotional cup to overflowing with your love and attention and
kindness. You'll be so glad, later, that you took the time for this now.

-pam


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Jennifer Schuelein

He's so little, still. Enjoy this time. I am certain that he is de-schooling and just enjoying "being". Let him enjoy. Revel in the gorilla play. He's having fun, being a kid and wants to share this with you. Wow, that's fantastic! Be there if he wants you to be there and fill his cup. Your relationship will flourish and you both will feel happy and rewarded. My personal rule is that when Xander asks to spend time with me I never decline. He's 11 and the cuddle days are waning. I make sure to cherish every moment.

RE: Video games: Video games helped Xander learn how to read. He learns reasoning, problem solving and even social interaction through his video games. Don't count those out as something negative or counter-learning.

--- In [email protected], Pam Sorooshian <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >
> > >>but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. >>>
> >
>
> Oh my. You didn't say what had been going on before, but this so obviously
> stands out as him wanting intensely to reconnect with you and feel totally
> enveloped in your love and care. He might need months of it...so instead of
> offering lots of gorilla stuff, offer lots of mommy and child love stuff.
> Write little sweet notes and leave them where he'll accidentally discover
> them. Make him VERY special foods - unexpectedly. And play and play and
> play with him as much as possible. And cuddle as much as possible. Sing
> together - little kid songs, perhaps. Take and show your delight in him as
> a little child - he will be grown up SO soon. Let him be little and "just"
> play.
>
> Take a year off from worrying whether he is learning anything
> "educational". Instead, focus on his happiness and on your relationship.
> Fill his emotional cup to overflowing with your love and attention and
> kindness. You'll be so glad, later, that you took the time for this now.
>
> -pam
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Deb

When you asked when I would be sick of playing with him you got through. I understand. I should be loving this as much as he is and not doing it begrudgingly. So I will lay off the books and DVDs and just put my heart into being the best gorilla mom I can be. Thanks for your insight. You always seem to know exactly how to put an answer that leaves no wiggle room. Have you written any books? Thanks again.

Deborah










--- In [email protected], Sandra Dodd <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> -=-We just started unschooling this fall after a failed attempt at regular homeschooling last winter and spring. I'm very open to the flow of unschooling but I'm starting to feel some frustration with what we've been doing. Here's the thing....all my seven year old wants to do is play gorillas. All day. -=-
>
> Deschooling. If you started this fall, and it's not even the end of November, that's not enough deschooling.
>
> -=- I have strewn the house with all kinds of neat stuff, we checked out books and bought DVDs on gorillas, but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. Am I doing something wrong?-=-
>
> Yes. You're checking out books on gorillas instead of playing gorillas. You're seeing books about gorillas as more valuable than playing, acting out, talking about gorillas.
>
> -=- I don't know how much more gorilla play I can stand.-=-
>
> Then you'll put him back in school?
> What happens if you "can't stand" playing with him any more? It's something you can only barely stand? But reading books would seems productive, right and good?
>
> Then what you're doing wrong might be illuminated if you read these collections:
>
> http://sandradodd.com/deschooling
> http://sandradodd.com/bookworship
>
> -=-Re: [AlwaysLearning] Are we stuck?-=-
>
> He isn't; maybe you are.
> If you are attempting to unschool without deschooling yourself, you will be stuck indefinitely.
>
>
> Sandra
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Deb

I know you're right and that's what my heart tells me. To be honest I think I've just been lazy. I need to remind myself why we're doing this and quit whining. Thanks so much for responding.

Deborah







--- In [email protected], Pam Sorooshian <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >
> > >>but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. >>>
> >
>
> Oh my. You didn't say what had been going on before, but this so obviously
> stands out as him wanting intensely to reconnect with you and feel totally
> enveloped in your love and care. He might need months of it...so instead of
> offering lots of gorilla stuff, offer lots of mommy and child love stuff.
> Write little sweet notes and leave them where he'll accidentally discover
> them. Make him VERY special foods - unexpectedly. And play and play and
> play with him as much as possible. And cuddle as much as possible. Sing
> together - little kid songs, perhaps. Take and show your delight in him as
> a little child - he will be grown up SO soon. Let him be little and "just"
> play.
>
> Take a year off from worrying whether he is learning anything
> "educational". Instead, focus on his happiness and on your relationship.
> Fill his emotional cup to overflowing with your love and attention and
> kindness. You'll be so glad, later, that you took the time for this now.
>
> -pam
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Deb

Thank you for your thoughtful, beautifully put response. He's not gonna want to play mom and baby forever and I'd be an idiot to ignore the opportunities he's giving me to be intimate with him like that. He's 7 by the way and you're right about them not being cuddly forever. Thanks so much for your wisdom.

Deborah




--- In [email protected], "Jennifer Schuelein" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> He's so little, still. Enjoy this time. I am certain that he is de-schooling and just enjoying "being". Let him enjoy. Revel in the gorilla play. He's having fun, being a kid and wants to share this with you. Wow, that's fantastic! Be there if he wants you to be there and fill his cup. Your relationship will flourish and you both will feel happy and rewarded. My personal rule is that when Xander asks to spend time with me I never decline. He's 11 and the cuddle days are waning. I make sure to cherish every moment.
>
> RE: Video games: Video games helped Xander learn how to read. He learns reasoning, problem solving and even social interaction through his video games. Don't count those out as something negative or counter-learning.
>
> --- In [email protected], Pam Sorooshian <[email protected]> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > >>but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. >>>
> > >
> >
> > Oh my. You didn't say what had been going on before, but this so obviously
> > stands out as him wanting intensely to reconnect with you and feel totally
> > enveloped in your love and care. He might need months of it...so instead of
> > offering lots of gorilla stuff, offer lots of mommy and child love stuff.
> > Write little sweet notes and leave them where he'll accidentally discover
> > them. Make him VERY special foods - unexpectedly. And play and play and
> > play with him as much as possible. And cuddle as much as possible. Sing
> > together - little kid songs, perhaps. Take and show your delight in him as
> > a little child - he will be grown up SO soon. Let him be little and "just"
> > play.
> >
> > Take a year off from worrying whether he is learning anything
> > "educational". Instead, focus on his happiness and on your relationship.
> > Fill his emotional cup to overflowing with your love and attention and
> > kindness. You'll be so glad, later, that you took the time for this now.
> >
> > -pam
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >
>

NCMama

=-=this so obviously stands out as him wanting intensely to reconnect with you and feel totally enveloped in your love and care. He might need months of it...so instead of offering lots of gorilla stuff, offer lots of mommy and child love stuff.=-=


The other night, Seth and I came across Scrubs on Netflix. It's a show we've enjoyed, and we were both excited at the thought of watching all the seasons, in order, from the 1st episode. The very first episode is all about how, even though JD is now a doctor, he still needs his friends, and they still need each other. The theme song of the show echoes this concept; its lyrics are "I can't do it all on my own, no, I'm no Superman."

After we watched the first episode, I was getting ready for bed. Seth asked if I would watch something in his room with him for a few minutes, and I said Sure, as soon as I shut down the computer. Well... before I shut down the computer, I decided to "just quickly check" my email, and an email led to a link, and I had to fill out a form for work...

As I was doing that, I got a notice that Seth had posted on facebook. His status read, "I'm no Superman." AH! Right!! He *needs* me!

I immediately got off the computer and went to his room, to watch Conan with him.

He just recently had a growth spurt - at 12, he is nearly 6 feet tall, much taller than me, and taller than his older brother. That doesn't negate his need for connection and mommying and sharing, though it does make it harder for me to think of that first thing!

I had the same thought as Pam when I read your post. Be his mama gorilla. Make a bamboo nest, if you have bamboo growing near you.

=-=He's not gonna want to
play mom and baby forever and I'd be an idiot to ignore the opportunities he's
giving me to be intimate with him like that. He's 7 by the way and you're right
about them not being cuddly forever. Thanks so much for your wisdom.=-=

In addition to this time being short, and precious - you are building the foundation of natural learning in your home. Learning flows when needs are met, connections are strong, and kids can absolutely trust their parents, and know their parents are there for them. Some of the core values of natural learning are trust, support, joy, and freedom. You are putting up scaffolding for years and years of learning by the choices you make now.

peace,
Caren

Sandra Dodd

-=-Thanks for your insight. You always seem to know exactly how to put an answer that leaves no wiggle room. Have you written any books?-=-

Thanks.

Yes, two.

http://sandradodd.com/bigbook
http://sandradodd.com/puddlebook

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Pam Sorooshian

On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 5:29 PM, NCMama <[email protected]> wrote:

> >>>In addition to this time being short, and precious - you are building
> the foundation of natural learning in your home. Learning flows when needs
> are met, connections are strong, and kids can absolutely trust their
> parents, and know their parents are there for them. Some of the core values
> of natural learning are trust, support, joy, and freedom. You are putting
> up scaffolding for years and years of learning by the choices you make
> now.>>>


THIS is so beautiful and so true. I hope Sandra will find somewhere to save
it!!

The time spent mothering and playing is not time away from real learning -
not to be rushed through to get to "the good stuff" as some may think of
it. It is essential to allow real learning and, really, to allowing the
child to grow up as a whole, integrated human being.

Homeschoolers think a lot about learning - but they often focus on learning
to read, write, do math, or learning science or history, etc. Unschoolers
tend to take that kind of learning for granted, it happens along the way.
Instead, as we get more and more into unschooling, we tend to focus on
things like kindness and creativity and honesty - all those character
traits that will determine "how" their learning will be used in their lives.

-pam


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

chris ester

On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Sandra Dodd <[email protected]> wrote:

> **
>
>
>
> @@@@-=-Re: [AlwaysLearning] Are we stuck?-=-
>
> He isn't; maybe you are.
> If you are attempting to unschool without deschooling yourself, you will
> be stuck indefinitely.
>
> [email protected]@@@
>
> My husband and I both agree that deschooling us was/is still the hardest
> part of unschooling. I think the more time that you spent in school (we
> both have master's degrees) the worse you can be. My husband and I both
> spent nearly 20 years in classroom education (school, college and grad
> school together). That is a lot of deschooling to do and every now and
> then you have a relapse. What I love best is that my kids are old enough
> and confident enough that when I slip into schoolishness, they give me a
> look like I have lost my way or my mind... :)
>
Chris

>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Lisa

+++_---- All day. Every day. He loves them and if he's not playing gorillas with me he's playing video games. I have strewn the house with all kinds of neat stuff, we checked out books and bought DVDs on gorillas, but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. Am I doing something wrong? I don't know how much more gorilla play I can stand. +++++---

My son used to play something called underwater flying lizard. He would say "pretend you saw an underwater flying lizard" and we would play together - mostly me watching and following him around and saying a word here or there.

When we would finger paint he would dip his hands in the paint and he would be the 'pink-clawed underwater flying lizard'.

When we were swimming at the beach he would be the salt-water underwater flying lizard. and on and on.

It was all-consuming. It went on for about three years. It had a place in everything we did and everywhere we went.

I played a lot. And I felt that - "I can't stand this anymore!" sometimes.

And now he is 8. And he hasn't pretended he was an underwater flying lizard in almost 2 years.

and I miss it. It was very connecting. And I regret sometimes being impatient with it. and I regret sometimes telling him no, I don't want to play.

Over the years, I have learned that it's cool to strew, and we still do it, but for MY son, the connections he makes on his own are much stronger than anything I can 'create'.

For my son, what I do is follow his lead all day long. I pay very special attention to what he says he likes and wants - even things he says offhand to other people, and that's the kind of thing I get for him.

Most other things are ignored, unless he comes up with it himself. He's like that. If it wasn't something he thought of, he rarely is interested.

And I do agree very much that the playing gorillas is more about connecting with you very specifically than it is about gorillas. I wish I had heard and understood that when my son still played underwater flying lizard.

Lisa

Sandra Dodd

I loved the underwater flying lizard stories. This, though, I'd like to point at:

-=-Over the years, I have learned that it's cool to strew, and we still do it, but for MY son, the connections he makes on his own are much stronger than anything I can 'create'. -=-

Strewing shouldn't be about anything but a child making his own connections.

Sandra




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Deb

Thanks so much for sharing that. I have resolved to be his mama gorilla as much as possible without hesitation when he needs it. And my attitude is different now, too, after reading yourost and all the rest of the posts back to me. I'm almost embarrassed that I had a problem with iin-such an obvious need of his and I didn't get it. I think this will be a turning point in our unschooling. I am determined to meet his needs first and not get bogged down in heat we "should" be doing. Thanks again to you and everyone else who responded, it absolutely helped.

Deborah








--- In [email protected], "Lisa" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> +++_---- All day. Every day. He loves them and if he's not playing gorillas with me he's playing video games. I have strewn the house with all kinds of neat stuff, we checked out books and bought DVDs on gorillas, but he just wants me to be mama and him to be jr. Gorilla. Am I doing something wrong? I don't know how much more gorilla play I can stand. +++++---
>
> My son used to play something called underwater flying lizard. He would say "pretend you saw an underwater flying lizard" and we would play together - mostly me watching and following him around and saying a word here or there.
>
> When we would finger paint he would dip his hands in the paint and he would be the 'pink-clawed underwater flying lizard'.
>
> When we were swimming at the beach he would be the salt-water underwater flying lizard. and on and on.
>
> It was all-consuming. It went on for about three years. It had a place in everything we did and everywhere we went.
>
> I played a lot. And I felt that - "I can't stand this anymore!" sometimes.
>
> And now he is 8. And he hasn't pretended he was an underwater flying lizard in almost 2 years.
>
> and I miss it. It was very connecting. And I regret sometimes being impatient with it. and I regret sometimes telling him no, I don't want to play.
>
> Over the years, I have learned that it's cool to strew, and we still do it, but for MY son, the connections he makes on his own are much stronger than anything I can 'create'.
>
> For my son, what I do is follow his lead all day long. I pay very special attention to what he says he likes and wants - even things he says offhand to other people, and that's the kind of thing I get for him.
>
> Most other things are ignored, unless he comes up with it himself. He's like that. If it wasn't something he thought of, he rarely is interested.
>
> And I do agree very much that the playing gorillas is more about connecting with you very specifically than it is about gorillas. I wish I had heard and understood that when my son still played underwater flying lizard.
>
> Lisa
>