Amanda Sutton

I posted this on unschooling.info and didn't get any replies (though
45 have read it so far) Have I got people stumped?

Am I right in saying that the goal of unschooling is not necessarily
to get the job they want, but that that will probably happen as a by-
product.

I have just read the article by Kelly Lovejoy on the stages of
unschooling and I have some questions I would appreciate your
thoughts on.

Okay, so unschooling is fun, living is learning. Learnng and making
connections happen everywhere. Can you tell me how it can serve a
child if they say spend hours a day watching Scooby-Doo, then after
a break they go and play Harry Potter for a few hours (this is
hypothetical, well maybe not the Scooby-Doo). I hear how not to
worry because they are making connections and learning. Does the
televison and game playing become a habit that is all the child then
wants to do. They may pick up snippets of information from cartoons,
but compared to the hours watching, it seems little knowledge return
really.

Yes the child is having fun, but what skills are they learning that
they can use in the world outside their home? What skills will they
get that can help them function as adults? How can this compare to
schooled peers who are learning a variety of different things?

I know we live in a technological society, but shouldn't a childs
world have more in it than just cartoons and computer games? Is this
where strewing comes in?

Amanda, mom to 3 (dd 13, dd5 and a ds baby rugrat)

Pam Sorooshian

On Aug 7, 2005, at 8:33 AM, Amanda Sutton wrote:

> Can you tell me how it can serve a
> child if they say spend hours a day watching Scooby-Doo, then after
> a break they go and play Harry Potter for a few hours (this is
> hypothetical,

It is hypothetical.

What's real for you? Let's talk about that, instead.

-pam

Judith Anderson

I am still new to this myself, so I may be way off track. I see extensive
computer and TV time as a symptom of a great er problem. Of course, if they
get a new computer game, that is different. I like to spend hours playing
my new games, too, until the "shiny" wears off and it is no longer novel.
If they are aimlessly wandering around the house and then deciding to sit at
the computer or watch a movie (we don't have TV service right now), then it
is because there is nothing better to do. That is when I suggest calling
one of their friends to see about getting together to play. Usually when
they are bored, anything I suggest around the house is "BO-RING!" I would
say that this is a great opportunity for strewing.

Judy

[email protected]

In a message dated 8/7/2005 11:35:25 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
[email protected] writes:

I know we live in a technological society, but shouldn't a childs
world have more in it than just cartoons and computer games? Is this
where strewing comes in?



*************

Hi Amanda! Would you feel the same way if a child did little more than
read, or play a musical instrument? I know before I started unschooling, I felt
this way. I let society hand me a prejudice.

A child's brain (and an adult's for that matter!) is always having a
conversation, making connections, thinking. It can be a conversation with an
instrument, a book, a person, a video game, a tv show, a baseball/bat, his body,
his own thoughts and sometimes all the above at the same time. Sometimes a
brain wants some rest, or maybe just mull over some of those connections and
maybe not necessarily cognitively.

I also believe that using the brain is using the brain. In other words, if
you like to walk or run for fitness, you are using your heart. While your
heart gets stronger and you can walk or run faster, your heart is also
stronger for all the other zillions of things you do all day, not just walking. An
exercised brain is an exercised brain. While you may be reading a book about
dinosaurs, are dinosaurs really all your brain comes away with from that
reading session? What if the information in that book wasn't correct, a picture
was labeled incorrectly, are you forever going to refuse to rename that
dinosaur? No, when the correct info. comes along, you say "oh, I thought that
was a brontosaurus, now I will call it a brachiosaurus." No big deal.

Of course, we want our children to live rich lives and be exposed to a
myriad of ideas and things. It is natural for most of us to seek out different
experiences. If not, humanity might still only be eating berries and living in
caves.

A child that is supported (and even better with a parent that is
wholeheartedly interested in what the child is interested in!) and that lives in a rich
environment...even if that environment isn't "taken advantage of", will
experience a full life. It will not necessarily look like the neighbor's, the
schooled kid's, the urbanite's, the rural's, his sister's or his parents!

One more thing, (and I'll shut up :) ) as I understand it, "well-rounded"
is a term that was used by the elite classses. Their lives were really
boring, they had no real work to do, so it became important to be a well-rounded
person in order not to bore the pants off everybody at the social functions.
With the rise of the middle class, they snapped up the idea so they could be
like the elite. Also, it is a great time filler for 12+ years, 180 days, 6
hours a day of confinement, uh I mean "education".

I don't see how a child with access to books, tv and computer could help not
learn a million different ideas. My son that LOVES tv can pick out chinese
characters as chinese. Where the heck did that come from? He can show me
several countries on a map, although we have only discussed a few (my DH is in
Japan, so we purposely discussed that one). Learning happens because we are
born to learn.

Leslie in SC


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

Mary Cimo

Hi Amanda,

I'll give you an example from just this morning. My
ds11 was eating breakfast and said to me, "What's that
weapon...you know a club that has a chain attached to
it with a spiky ball on the end? I know the spiky club
is a mace...is it called a malice?" Ok...one of the
games he likes to play is Runescape, an online game
set in the Middle Ages. So, I helped him out by going
to Google, because silly me, I sure didn't know. After
doing a bit of searching, we found out that it is
called a ball and chain mace. We learned that maces
originated with the Egyptians, their evolution, and
how they ended up being more effective as a ball and
chain (that was a physics lesson). He said that he
wanted one and we saw that in Great Britain, they sell
replicas on ebay. This wasn't the first discussion
since he started playing Runescape. He has told me all
about the smelting proces and alchemy and Medieval
life. I can't imagine he would haven understood
history and science had he been taught these units in
a textbook. Give them room and they will surprise you.

Mary

P.S.

I've learned a lot from him in this process...I like
that we learn together.

--- Amanda Sutton <sky[email protected]> wrote:

> I posted this on unschooling.info and didn't get any
> replies (though
> 45 have read it so far) Have I got people stumped?
>
> Am I right in saying that the goal of unschooling is
> not necessarily
> to get the job they want, but that that will
> probably happen as a by-
> product.
>
> I have just read the article by Kelly Lovejoy on the
> stages of
> unschooling and I have some questions I would
> appreciate your
> thoughts on.
>
> Okay, so unschooling is fun, living is learning.
> Learnng and making
> connections happen everywhere. Can you tell me how
> it can serve a
> child if they say spend hours a day watching
> Scooby-Doo, then after
> a break they go and play Harry Potter for a few
> hours (this is
> hypothetical, well maybe not the Scooby-Doo). I hear
> how not to
> worry because they are making connections and
> learning. Does the
> televison and game playing become a habit that is
> all the child then
> wants to do. They may pick up snippets of
> information from cartoons,
> but compared to the hours watching, it seems little
> knowledge return
> really.
>
> Yes the child is having fun, but what skills are
> they learning that
> they can use in the world outside their home? What
> skills will they
> get that can help them function as adults? How can
> this compare to
> schooled peers who are learning a variety of
> different things?
>
> I know we live in a technological society, but
> shouldn't a childs
> world have more in it than just cartoons and
> computer games? Is this
> where strewing comes in?
>
> Amanda, mom to 3 (dd 13, dd5 and a ds baby rugrat)
>
>
>


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[email protected]

In a message dated 8/7/05 11:35:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
[email protected] writes:

> Learnng and making
> connections happen everywhere.

That is so true. Sometimes we just have to be very patient to see what is
really going on when connections are being made--it might not be obvious
immediately. I know I was a little nervous when my fourteen year old watched a lot
of comedies (my problem not his--I still have some schoolish ideas to weed out
of my thinking.) I couldn't believe all of the cool connections he made just
from watching one episode of Fawlty Towers. There were references to WWII and
Germany and it started a whole plethora of activity. He read two huge
reference books on WWII, a biography on Hitler, used his flight simulator to fly
over WWII sites of interest, started learning German, watched documentaries of
WWII and Hitler. Just imagine that came all from watching one half hour show.
I'm so glad I didn't interfere and ask him not to watch so much t.v. or he may
never had made those learning connections. We never know what might be a
catalyst to learn something new. We just really have to trust our children will
learn what they need to learn when the time is right.

Hope my two cents helped a little.

Cindy


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

coolcrew

I have to agree that children do make connections.e.g My youngest two have both been inspired to learn about tropical fish, coral reefs, whales, turtles and oceans just for watching Finding Nemo. This led on to water ph and a bit of chemistry, the water cycle and conservation and then they watched Lord Of the Rings and wanted to learn about castles and medieval history. Thomas the Tank Engine inspired an interest in the working of steam trains. My dd learnt about Forensic medicine after watching Quinsy( for weeks lol). My eldest son is learning Egytology as a knock on from all the ancient history he got interested in due to playing Civilisation, Age of Mythology and Rome Total War on his computer. He has been offered an early uni place next year to do history if he wants it but that was not the point of it all. I never imagined any of these pursuits would lead on to any of the further learning it did. It was them that decided and made the choices to follow things up. All these things may never have been learnt if I had said "Turn off Finding Nemo or don't play that computer game anymore." Don' t ever think anything a child does is a dead end pursuit cos it isn't. Trust them to know what they need to learn in their own good time.
Ruth

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

Amanda Sutton

--- In [email protected], Pam Sorooshian
<[email protected]> wrote:
>
> On Aug 7, 2005, at 8:33 AM, Amanda Sutton wrote:
>
> > Can you tell me how it can serve a
> > child if they say spend hours a day watching Scooby-Doo, then after
> > a break they go and play Harry Potter for a few hours (this is
> > hypothetical,
>
> It is hypothetical.
>
> What's real for you? Let's talk about that, instead.
>
> -pam

Okay, watching run after run of Fairly Odd Parents, going for a bounce
on the trampoline, then playing Barbie My Scene on the computer
followed by more Fairly Odd Parents, a bit of paier mache then off to
bed. That is not hypothetical.

I haven't strewed and know there is more I should be offering, but I
am considering limiting the television. And No I would not have a
problem if they read all day long, (though maybe if it was the same
book over again...)

It just seems that lots of children watch lots of tv and play lots of
games, with a bit of other things sprinkled in, is this enough? I
don't think it is enough for my dd.

Thank you for the other replies, it has given me things to think about
and ponder on xxx

elizabeth roberts

My daughter Sarah watches quite a bit of Scooby-Doo. She is 9 by the way. It has led to an interest in "solving mysteries" which is deductive reasoning and other critical thinking skills...sequencing...she's gone from there into discovering Nancy Drew books and having more of an interest in reading. What she has been interested in as a possible future career is biblical archaeology. This is also fueled in part by her Christian beliefs and interest in ancient Egypt (which she discovered an interest in through playing YuGiOh). So while these may not seem practical skills, these skills she is developing in her thinking are ones she will definitely need in her future as she is currently planning it.

I hope that's been helpful!

Elizabeth



Amanda Sutton <[email protected]> wrote:
I posted this on unschooling.info and didn't get any replies (though
45 have read it so far) Have I got people stumped?

Am I right in saying that the goal of unschooling is not necessarily
to get the job they want, but that that will probably happen as a by-
product.

I have just read the article by Kelly Lovejoy on the stages of
unschooling and I have some questions I would appreciate your
thoughts on.

Okay, so unschooling is fun, living is learning. Learnng and making
connections happen everywhere. Can you tell me how it can serve a
child if they say spend hours a day watching Scooby-Doo, then after
a break they go and play Harry Potter for a few hours (this is
hypothetical, well maybe not the Scooby-Doo). I hear how not to
worry because they are making connections and learning. Does the
televison and game playing become a habit that is all the child then
wants to do. They may pick up snippets of information from cartoons,
but compared to the hours watching, it seems little knowledge return
really.

Yes the child is having fun, but what skills are they learning that
they can use in the world outside their home? What skills will they
get that can help them function as adults? How can this compare to
schooled peers who are learning a variety of different things?

I know we live in a technological society, but shouldn't a childs
world have more in it than just cartoons and computer games? Is this
where strewing comes in?

Amanda, mom to 3 (dd 13, dd5 and a ds baby rugrat)




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

Kiersten Pasciak

Amanda,

Are you bringing home or working on things that YOU are interested
in? I LOVE looking for new games, art stuff, even recipes from the
internet (as well as out in the rest of world).
My kids sometimes jump right in, sometimes not.
Sometimes they will use things in ways I could never have imagined.
Could you look for books, toys, art supplies, etc. that could go
along with what they are watching/playing? Are there any online
printouts featuring those characters or games you could make up to
get a little physical with it?

My son is really into underwater stuff and scours books, draws,
makes things out of dough, tells stories from his imagination, plays
games, etc. all featuring his favorite underwater animals.

I do think that if you have interesting things left where they can
find them or if you play with them, the kids are more likely to take
breaks from what they are doing.

Also, maybe you could just talk to them and let them know you would
like to try some new things and ask for suggestions of cool places
they would like to go or things they would like to try?

Kiersten

Rod Thomas

Im just now jumping into this conversation. Because im still not
convinced. Because some just watch tv. End. Then just play video games.
Period. No tangents. No inspired learning. No pursuits, no follow up.
No questions. No discussions. And all the cool stuff your kids did only
makes me feel that much more frustrated.

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected]
[mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of coolcrew
Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2005 1:54 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [unschoolingbasics] Cartoons and computer games

I have to agree that children do make connections.e.g My youngest two
have both been inspired to learn about tropical fish, coral reefs,
whales, turtles and oceans just for watching Finding Nemo. This led on
to water ph and a bit of chemistry, the water cycle and conservation and
then they watched Lord Of the Rings and wanted to learn about castles
and medieval history. Thomas the Tank Engine inspired an interest in the
working of steam trains. My dd learnt about Forensic medicine after
watching Quinsy( for weeks lol). My eldest son is learning Egytology
as a knock on from all the ancient history he got interested in due to
playing Civilisation, Age of Mythology and Rome Total War on his
computer. He has been offered an early uni place next year to do history
if he wants it but that was not the point of it all. I never imagined
any of these pursuits would lead on to any of the further learning it
did. It was them that decided and made the choices to follow things up.
All these things may never have been learnt if I had said "Turn off
Finding Nemo or don't play that computer game anymore." Don' t ever
think anything a child does is a dead end pursuit cos it isn't. Trust
them to know what they need to learn in their own good time.
Ruth

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





Yahoo! Groups Links

Dana Matt

> Okay, watching run after run of Fairly Odd Parents,
> going for a bounce
> on the trampoline, then playing Barbie My Scene on
> the computer
> followed by more Fairly Odd Parents, a bit of paier
> mache then off to
> bed. That is not hypothetical.

We have days like this. Probably tomorrow, in fact,
as this weekend was really long and we're all in need
of a rest...

But then other days look like: park day with friends,
exploring the farmer's market for ours, searching for
shells at the beach, reading, library trips, shopping
bike rides, concerts in the park, gardening, crafts,
painting, computer games, etc, etc, etc, Why would
anyone, child or adult, *need* more than this in life?

Dana

Guadalupe's Coffee Roaster
100% Organic Fair Trade Coffee
Roasted to Perfection Daily
http://www.guadalupescoffee.com



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TreeGoddess

On Aug 7, 2005, at 9:08 PM, Rod Thomas wrote:

-=-Im just now jumping into this conversation. Because im still not
convinced. Because some just watch tv. End. Then just play video games.
Period. No tangents. No inspired learning. No pursuits, no follow up.
No questions. No discussions.-=-

I don't think that anyone can watch TV or play video games as mindless
zombies. There's *something* going on in their heads even if it
doesn't LOOK like there is. Head over to Sandra Dodd's web site and
read her article on watching Gilligan's Island at
http://sandradodd.com/t/gilligan I think it might help you to relax a
bit.

I'm just throwing out my cyber-observation based on what you have
written, and I may be completely off base, but it's all I have to go
on. I get the feeling from your posts, (I don't know your name
because you don't sign your posts), that you are watching your -so-
child intently and waiting for them to *do* something . Anything
really.

I can't help but think that maybe you're watching them too closely, too
critically. And they know that. And now it's become a battle of
wills. You're not going to concede that they are "really" learning
anything until you see them building plywood out of pencil shavings or
something really inspired; your child IS learning lots of cool things,
but they're not going to talk to you about it because they think you'll
probably shoot it down as not "real" learning, "real" connections,
"real" valid. So they keep it to themselves and you get more
frustrated because you are still not *seeing* results. 'Round and
'round.

After all, if your child were in school they would be free on Summer
vacation right now anyway. Try to relax about this stuff and let
things unfold. They *will* unfold, but I think you might need to take
a few steps back and a couple of deep breaths. Let go of your
expectations. Go along for the ride and see where it leads. :)

-Tracy-

"Peace *will* enter your life, but you
need to clear a spot for her to sit down."

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

TreeGoddess

On Aug 8, 2005, at 8:04 AM, TreeGoddess wrote:

-=-that you are watching your -so- child intently-=-

LOL That should read "that you are watching your child SO
intently...." ;)

-Tracy-

"Peace *will* enter your life, but you
need to clear a spot for her to sit down."

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

Sunday Cote

Hi,

I've been reading the thread on cartoons and computer games with
interest. Before I began unschooling last October I was very strict
about TV viewing and we didn't even own any video games. My boys were
respectful and loving at that time, both to each other, their friends
and the adults in their lives. I've noticed that since they started
watching commercial TV (almost exclusively Nickelodeon), they have
become more rude to each other. There's such an adversarial
relationship between them now. I hear things come out of their mouths
that are straight from their shows. They are also more disrespectful of
adults and girls (I have two boys). Again, I see this modeled after all
the cartoons they watch. One of my ds3's favorite phrases now is, "I'm
going to kick your butt." Since my husband and I don't use this type
of language, I know he gets it from TV. Most of our friends are still
very strict about TV viewing, so I don't hear it from their kids. In
fact, my children have now become the 'bad influences."

When ds7 was about 5 he discovered a Calvin and Hobbs book of cartoons
that we had. At first I thought this was great because he is an artist
and it was spurring him on to create his own cartoons and read.
However, very soon after this, he started acting like Calvin! We had
several talks about it but I finally just took the book away thinking he
was too young for it. Well, recently he asked about the book again.
Wanting to be a good unschooler, I decided to give it back to him
because this was where his interests were. We had a talk about how
Calvin wasn't a real person and that in real life, at least in ours, we
try to work out our challenges in a more respectful way. I explained
about how the point of the book was to be funny, which it was, but it's
still not appropriate in real life. He said he completely understood
and agreed to not use the phrases and behaviors that Calvin uses.
Well, only a few days later he was at my friends house, and she told me
about an incident where she had asked him to help her find his shoes so
they could leave and when she left the room, he was muttering under his
breath, but loud enough for her to hear. He was disgruntled about
helping. He was saying things like, "I don't know why I have to help
that fat little woman!" Now how Calvin is that?

He hasn't asked for the book since them, so I haven't addressed it with
him. I want to take the book away, but I feel so unschooly about that.
I'm stuck between seeing the negative effects of the things he finds
enjoyable and allowing him to discover and learn in his own way. And
don't even get me started on the influence of all the commercials they
are now watching!

When we weren't watching the shows he wants to watch, I didn't see this
type of behavior. It's not what we model for him in real life. I was
hoping that our influence would be the dominate one, but it doesn't seem
to be. I'm seeing behaviors exhibited in both my sons that are
concerning to me and it is tempting to just pull the plug on the TV. Of
course I know that this would just create resentment in my children. I
feel like I've opened Pandora's Box and that it's too late to take it
all back. I think I could handle this all better if I was the only one
experiencing this rude behavior, but it's really a challenge to see them
acting it out with other adults and kids.

Thanks for your thoughts and experiences in this area.
Sunday



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

Jennifer

I don't have enough experience to respond to this well
myself, but I am looking to reading other responses.

My only comment is that it helps all of us here when
we make the effort to watch TV with our kids a lot of
the time.

Jenny


--- Sunday Cote <[email protected]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I've been reading the thread on cartoons and
> computer games with
> interest. Before I began unschooling last October I
> was very strict
> about TV viewing and we didn't even own any video
> games. My boys were
> respectful and loving at that time, both to each
> other, their friends
> and the adults in their lives. I've noticed that
> since they started
> watching commercial TV (almost exclusively
> Nickelodeon), they have
> become more rude to each other. There's such an
> adversarial
> relationship between them now. I hear things come
> out of their mouths
> that are straight from their shows. They are also
> more disrespectful of
> adults and girls (I have two boys). Again, I see
> this modeled after all
> the cartoons they watch. One of my ds3's favorite
> phrases now is, "I'm
> going to kick your butt." Since my husband and I
> don't use this type
> of language, I know he gets it from TV. Most of our
> friends are still
> very strict about TV viewing, so I don't hear it
> from their kids. In
> fact, my children have now become the 'bad
> influences."
>
> When ds7 was about 5 he discovered a Calvin and
> Hobbs book of cartoons
> that we had. At first I thought this was great
> because he is an artist
> and it was spurring him on to create his own
> cartoons and read.
> However, very soon after this, he started acting
> like Calvin! We had
> several talks about it but I finally just took the
> book away thinking he
> was too young for it. Well, recently he asked about
> the book again.
> Wanting to be a good unschooler, I decided to give
> it back to him
> because this was where his interests were. We had a
> talk about how
> Calvin wasn't a real person and that in real life,
> at least in ours, we
> try to work out our challenges in a more respectful
> way. I explained
> about how the point of the book was to be funny,
> which it was, but it's
> still not appropriate in real life. He said he
> completely understood
> and agreed to not use the phrases and behaviors that
> Calvin uses.
> Well, only a few days later he was at my friends
> house, and she told me
> about an incident where she had asked him to help
> her find his shoes so
> they could leave and when she left the room, he was
> muttering under his
> breath, but loud enough for her to hear. He was
> disgruntled about
> helping. He was saying things like, "I don't know
> why I have to help
> that fat little woman!" Now how Calvin is that?
>
> He hasn't asked for the book since them, so I
> haven't addressed it with
> him. I want to take the book away, but I feel so
> unschooly about that.
> I'm stuck between seeing the negative effects of the
> things he finds
> enjoyable and allowing him to discover and learn in
> his own way. And
> don't even get me started on the influence of all
> the commercials they
> are now watching!
>
> When we weren't watching the shows he wants to
> watch, I didn't see this
> type of behavior. It's not what we model for him in
> real life. I was
> hoping that our influence would be the dominate one,
> but it doesn't seem
> to be. I'm seeing behaviors exhibited in both my
> sons that are
> concerning to me and it is tempting to just pull the
> plug on the TV. Of
> course I know that this would just create resentment
> in my children. I
> feel like I've opened Pandora's Box and that it's
> too late to take it
> all back. I think I could handle this all better if
> I was the only one
> experiencing this rude behavior, but it's really a
> challenge to see them
> acting it out with other adults and kids.
>
> Thanks for your thoughts and experiences in this
> area.
> Sunday
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed]
>
>


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Robyn Coburn

<<<<< Im just now jumping into this conversation. Because im still not
convinced. Because some just watch tv. End. Then just play video games.
Period. No tangents. No inspired learning. No pursuits, no follow up.
No questions. No discussions. And all the cool stuff your kids did only
makes me feel that much more frustrated.>>>>>>

This vague yet negative commentary about your kid will not help us get to
what is really going on, both practically and emotionally, in your household
and has a deleterious effect on our ability to help you move towards
Unschooling with joy.

My suggestion is for you to post us a "typical day" post. Honestly, with
real details and sequence of events, and without shorthand, please tell us
all about your son's day today, and maybe another one last week. Go ahead
and include the conversations you had. These may be more important than the
actual activities.

Robyn L. Coburn

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InnerLight Academy

We went through this when we moved a few years ago. Our new house was not ready before we had to be out of the old one so we moved in with my brother in laws family. My kids were 10 and 8 at the time and had never been allowed(nor ASK) to watch constant TV much less Sponge bob, Simpsons, or King of the Hill. My in Bil's kids were constant cartoon TV watchers and never wanted to do anything else.Mine always liked Nature shows or History channel. My kids gave in and stared with the others...(they were made fun of for what they wanted to watch)

They were changed very quickly just like you mentioned. They became hateful to each other and everyone else, foul mouthed, and rude.They had always played outdoors and made crafts and invented games.

These habits were hard to break after they started and they will never be the same kids. Once something has been seen you cannot take it back.

I dont restrict the TV now nor did I before we moved. They just never found the silliness entertaining. Now that we have settled into a new home, They are back outside swimming or hiking. Hunting new bugs and building stuff. They watch the History channel and Animal Planet mostly, but on occasion they will still watch the cartoons they met at my Bil's.

Dena






> Hi,
>
> I've been reading the thread on cartoons and
> computer games with
> interest. Before I began unschooling last October I
> was very strict
> about TV viewing and we didn't even own any video
> games. My boys were
> respectful and loving at that time, both to each
> other, their friends
> and the adults in their lives. I've noticed that
> since they started
> watching commercial TV (almost exclusively
> Nickelodeon), they have
> become more rude to each other. There's such an
> adversarial
> relationship between them now. I hear things come
> out of their mouths
> that are straight from their shows. They are also
> more disrespectful of
> adults and girls (I have two boys). Again, I see
> this modeled after all
> the cartoons they watch. One of my ds3's favorite
> phrases now is, "I'm
> going to kick your butt." Since my husband and I
> don't use this type
> of language, I know he gets it from TV. Most of our
> friends are still
> very strict about TV viewing, so I don't hear it
> from their kids. In
> fact, my children have now become the 'bad
> influences."
>
> When ds7 was about 5 he discovered a Calvin and
> Hobbs book of cartoons
> that we had. At first I thought this was great
> because he is an artist
> and it was spurring him on to create his own
> cartoons and read.
> However, very soon after this, he started acting
> like Calvin! We had
> several talks about it but I finally just took the
> book away thinking he
> was too young for it. Well, recently he asked about
> the book again.
> Wanting to be a good unschooler, I decided to give
> it back to him
> because this was where his interests were. We had a
> talk about how
> Calvin wasn't a real person and that in real life,
> at least in ours, we
> try to work out our challenges in a more respectful
> way. I explained
> about how the point of the book was to be funny,
> which it was, but it's
> still not appropriate in real life. He said he
> completely understood
> and agreed to not use the phrases and behaviors that
> Calvin uses.
> Well, only a few days later he was at my friends
> house, and she told me
> about an incident where she had asked him to help
> her find his shoes so
> they could leave and when she left the room, he was
> muttering under his
> breath, but loud enough for her to hear. He was
> disgruntled about
> helping. He was saying things like, "I don't know
> why I have to help
> that fat little woman!" Now how Calvin is that?
>
> He hasn't asked for the book since them, so I
> haven't addressed it with
> him. I want to take the book away, but I feel so
> unschooly about that.
> I'm stuck between seeing the negative effects of the
> things he finds
> enjoyable and allowing him to discover and learn in
> his own way. And
> don't even get me started on the influence of all
> the commercials they
> are now watching!
>
> When we weren't watching the shows he wants to
> watch, I didn't see this
> type of behavior. It's not what we model for him in
> real life. I was
> hoping that our influence would be the dominate one,
> but it doesn't seem
> to be. I'm seeing behaviors exhibited in both my
> sons that are
> concerning to me and it is tempting to just pull the
> plug on the TV. Of
> course I know that this would just create resentment
> in my children. I
> feel like I've opened Pandora's Box and that it's
> too late to take it
> all back. I think I could handle this all better if
> I was the only one
> experiencing this rude behavior, but it's really a
> challenge to see them
> acting it out with other adults and kids.
>
> Thanks for your thoughts and experiences in this
> area.
> Sunday
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed]
>
>


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

Pam Sorooshian

On Aug 7, 2005, at 6:08 PM, Rod Thomas wrote:

> Im just now jumping into this conversation. Because im still not
> convinced. Because some just watch tv. End. Then just play video
> games.
> Period. No tangents. No inspired learning. No pursuits, no
> follow up.
> No questions. No discussions. And all the cool stuff your kids did
> only
> makes me feel that much more frustrated.

When a teacher is boring, they have to close all the shades in their
classroom to keep the kids from staring, wishfully, out the window.

Limiting tv is like teachers closing all the shades to make
themselves the most interesting thing happening.

You can do better.

Here are a couple of ideas - and I just can't imagine a kid not
interested in this - you have to prepare the first one in advance:

Get some cheap plastic eye droppers, some tempra paint in different
colors, and some plain gelatin. Mix gelatin into boiling water - a
couple of quarts of water - until it dissolves. Use a lot - maybe
about 2 or 3 times what the box says to use for that much water. Pour
into a medium sized mixing bowl and chill until very well gelled.

Now - loosen the mold by running some warm water over the bowl until
you can dump the molded gel out, in one piece.

Now you suck up some paint into an eye dropper - gently insert the
eye dropper into the molded gelatin - nice and deep - then slowly
squeeze out paint - it's cool if you squeeze while you pull the eye
dropper out. Keep doing that. The paint does some very wonderful
things and the colors mix and it is just awesome!

Here's another one:

2% milk - room temp is best, food coloring, and detergent -- pour
some milk on a plate - just to the point that it covers the surface.
Put some drops of different colors of food coloring scattered here
and there - try not to disturb the milk surface when you drop them on
it. You can dip a toothpick into some dish detergent and then touch
the toothpick to the milk. Just wait until you see what happens. TOO
COOL.


This is chemistry, of course. Or art. Or just a good time!

-pam

Pam Sorooshian

On Aug 8, 2005, at 11:08 PM, Pam Sorooshian wrote:

> When a teacher is boring, they have to close all the shades in their
> classroom to keep the kids from staring, wishfully, out the window.

I meant to say "wistfully" but "wishfully" works, too!

-pam

Angela S.

> My daughter Sarah watches quite a bit of Scooby-Doo. She is 9 by the way.
It has
> led to an interest in "solving mysteries" which is deductive reasoning and
other
> critical thinking skills...sequencing...

Maybe she would like the board game Clue?

Angela
[email protected]

Tina

> > My daughter Sarah watches quite a bit of Scooby-Doo. She is 9 by
the way. It has led to an interest in "solving mysteries" which is
deductive reasoning and other critical thinking
skills...sequencing...> >

>>> Maybe she would like the board game Clue? >>>


My son, Adrian, (he's 11) has loved this game for years. It's SO
simple to play as far as learning the game. The more they play the
better they get. There are SO many skills involved. He beats me
almost every time. I don't know how he figures it out so fast! :)

Tina

elizabeth roberts

Yes, probably. Our game closet is nearly empty right now for...stupid reasons...but that is one of many games we plan to get after our move. I can't wait..it will be such a renewal for us in many ways.

Hmmm I wonder if there is an online Clue game? Most of the games Sarah plays are online right now. It's just easier what with the little ones.

Elizabeth, NYC

"Angela S." <[email protected]> wrote:

> My daughter Sarah watches quite a bit of Scooby-Doo. She is 9 by the way.
It has
> led to an interest in "solving mysteries" which is deductive reasoning and
other
> critical thinking skills...sequencing...

Maybe she would like the board game Clue?

Angela
[email protected]




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

Janis Tan

Hi Sunday,

first i confess my girls do not have free access to TV; mostly they
watch videos we check out from the library or have bought ourselves.
They are still too young (4 and 2) to play video games. They enjoy
doing many other things, like your kids, like drawing, playing house,
etc etc etc. Still, there are influences all ard them, and no program
is truly "wholesome".

So, given that my girls have not had 'true" freedom with TV and games,
you may take what i have to say with a big grain of salt. But I do
have some thots after reading your post...

I think your children may just be trying to act like what they see on
TV because they think it is "fun" or different. You cld have a
discussion with them abt the behaviours you are uncomfortable with,
and ask how they wld feel if people are really talking like this all
the time. experiment for half a day (or as long as everyone wants it)!
You will tell you ds "Come for breakfast, you stinky and skinny little
monkey with protruding ears!" and so on and so forth, ask if they like
when people commuicate like this with them all the time.

That said, my experience is sometimes they just need to be able to
experience for themselves being "someone else". For quite a while dd1
insisted she was a character on this video series she watched, and
insisted we call her that character name, and told everyone (jncluding
strangers, airport security, etc) that she was X instead of Valerie.
She gets upset when we call her "Valerie" and said, "I am X!!!!!"....
things like that. We started to play along and after some time, X
became a memory of the past.

As has been suggested watching TV with your children is also a good
way to open a discussion abt some of *your* values. Discuss, talk abt
it, but don't make a judgement such that they want to rebel against
it.

You cld also try a playful approach to it, like I remember an example
in the book "Playful Parenting" whereby the author had an encounter
with a boy who called him a "name" when he was abt to leave. The
author did not get angry but engaged in a game where he came up with
an even more awful name and begged the boy not to tell anyone he had a
truly horrible name. this takes the "attention" off that original
name, and when the matter was make light of, and it was demonstrated
that it was not a good way to anger or challenge, it was dropped.

Another thing is maybe they need an outlet from the negative emotions
they are getting from the programs. For instance, if I watch a sappy
movie, I cry during it, and after that i want to cry some more! I may
somehow get into a mode where I want to go read some sappy book and
cry some more.... I'm not sure if you get what I mean, but it is like
the emotions gets transferred to me and then i need to expel it. Kind
of weird, huh? Maybe your boys also get some aggression from the
characters in the programs and need an outlet to expel it. Maybe you
cld suggest a physical activity/outlet after a TV session. there was
also a time when i was angry a lot and one day i dec'd to watch my
face as I uttered some angry faces and really recoiled at what I
saw.... you cld try that as a fun experience for your boys.... maybe
let them pretend they are like the charavters in the movie, videotape
them at it, then show them, just to give them an idea what they look
like when they behave that way, it may not be as "cool" as they thot
they may be.

I'm not sure how helpful this has been, just some of my thots.

Best,
janis

dd1 Valerie (4yo)
dd2 Sophia (almost 2)

On 8/8/05, Sunday Cote <[email protected]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I've been reading the thread on cartoons and computer games with
> interest. Before I began unschooling last October I was very strict
> about TV viewing and we didn't even own any video games. My boys were
> respectful and loving at that time, both to each other, their friends
> and the adults in their lives. I've noticed that since they started
> watching commercial TV (almost exclusively Nickelodeon), they have
> become more rude to each other. There's such an adversarial
> relationship between them now. I hear things come out of their mouths
> that are straight from their shows. They are also more disrespectful of
> adults and girls (I have two boys). Again, I see this modeled after all
> the cartoons they watch. One of my ds3's favorite phrases now is, "I'm
> going to kick your butt." Since my husband and I don't use this type
> of language, I know he gets it from TV. Most of our friends are still
> very strict about TV viewing, so I don't hear it from their kids. In
> fact, my children have now become the 'bad influences."
>
> When ds7 was about 5 he discovered a Calvin and Hobbs book of cartoons
> that we had. At first I thought this was great because he is an artist
> and it was spurring him on to create his own cartoons and read.
> However, very soon after this, he started acting like Calvin! We had
> several talks about it but I finally just took the book away thinking he
> was too young for it. Well, recently he asked about the book again.
> Wanting to be a good unschooler, I decided to give it back to him
> because this was where his interests were. We had a talk about how
> Calvin wasn't a real person and that in real life, at least in ours, we
> try to work out our challenges in a more respectful way. I explained
> about how the point of the book was to be funny, which it was, but it's
> still not appropriate in real life. He said he completely understood
> and agreed to not use the phrases and behaviors that Calvin uses.
> Well, only a few days later he was at my friends house, and she told me
> about an incident where she had asked him to help her find his shoes so
> they could leave and when she left the room, he was muttering under his
> breath, but loud enough for her to hear. He was disgruntled about
> helping. He was saying things like, "I don't know why I have to help
> that fat little woman!" Now how Calvin is that?
>
> He hasn't asked for the book since them, so I haven't addressed it with
> him. I want to take the book away, but I feel so unschooly about that.
> I'm stuck between seeing the negative effects of the things he finds
> enjoyable and allowing him to discover and learn in his own way. And
> don't even get me started on the influence of all the commercials they
> are now watching!
>
> When we weren't watching the shows he wants to watch, I didn't see this
> type of behavior. It's not what we model for him in real life. I was
> hoping that our influence would be the dominate one, but it doesn't seem
> to be. I'm seeing behaviors exhibited in both my sons that are
> concerning to me and it is tempting to just pull the plug on the TV. Of
> course I know that this would just create resentment in my children. I
> feel like I've opened Pandora's Box and that it's too late to take it
> all back. I think I could handle this all better if I was the only one
> experiencing this rude behavior, but it's really a challenge to see them
> acting it out with other adults and kids.
>
> Thanks for your thoughts and experiences in this area.
> Sunday
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
>
>
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

Deb Lewis

***Can you tell me how it can serve a child if they say spend hours a day
watching Scooby-Doo,***

I asked my son what he thought a person could get from watching cartoons.
He said he's learned a lot from watching Loony Toons and especially
Daffy Duck. "What?" I asked. "I learned that you really can solve all
your problems with dynamite!" <G>

Don't panic. He was being funny.

But really, maybe hours of Scooby Doo is glorious fun. Fun is serious.
Fun is important, especially for kids. Don't underrate fun. People who
are not happy as children seldom find easy or lasting happiness as
adults.

But there are all kinds of things a person could get from watching Scooby
Doo.
They are kind to Scooby, they love him and wouldn't leave him behind,
he's their friend and they would do whatever they could to save him if he
was in danger. It might inspire someone to think about kindness to
animals.

Freddy, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scoob genuinely care about each other,
trust each other. Might inspire thoughts about friendship and trust.

They work together, plan and organize. It might inspire thoughts about
the usefulness of cooperation.

They handle tough situations with humor. That might inspire someone to
think about the value of a happy and positive attitude.

They help people who need help.
The people who need help ask for it.
These are good things.

Viewers might learn about comedic timing, setting a mood with music,
foreshadowing, plot development, character development, dialog, story
line, fashion, animation.

***Does the television and game playing become a habit that is all the
child then wants to do.***

If television and games are only two choices in a whole house and
neighborhood and town and county and state full of choices then they are
no more likely to become habit than anything else. It's up to you to
offer your kids a big life. If you don't do it, it would be very smart
of them, really brilliant of them to find something stimulating and
challenging like TV and games. But if kids are watching because they're
bored then the parents need to think of ways to make life more
interesting. TV should be a choice among many choices, not the only
choice.

If a child has a lot of choices and chooses video games or TV then he's
getting something valuable from them. People have all kinds of interests
during their lives. An intense interest in TV or video games now
probably won't last a lifetime but for some people it might and those
people could someday be sound technicians or cameramen. They might be
producing TV shows, acting, writing musical scores, writing screenplays,
directing, doing stunt work - they might be graphic artists, or writing
codes or software, etc.

Lots of people enjoy TV all their lives. It's no different than enjoying
reading or enjoying playing cards.

Some people focus on one thing really intently for awhile, weeks or
months or years and then when they've had their fill, move on to other
things. Someone who's discovered a few great shows on TV might really
focus on them until they've explored every aspect of the characters and
themes, etc. It's the same when a really little child likes mom to read
a favorite book over and over again. It doesn't mean it's a habit, in
the negative way you're using "habit" above. It means some people focus
more fully and deeply and get everything they can from that interest
before moving on.

***They may pick up snippets of information from cartoons, but compared
to the hours watching, it seems little knowledge return really.***

Many unschoolers and most radical unschoolers don't consider unschooling
to be a method of education. There is no way to completely measure
another persons knowledge. People know so much more than they show the
outside world at any given moment. People are learning all the time. We
may not be able to see the learning or name it but it's happening.
Unschooling will be easier for you if you can come to trust this process.
Humans learn.

This is a strange statement really. If your kids spent hours in the pool
during the hot summer would you be wondering what they were getting from
it? Would you be measuring the return. Would you need to document, even
in your own mind what they might have learned in/from the water?

***what skills are they learning that they can use in the world outside
their home?***

Your children aren't outside your home though. They're young and at home
with you. What is it that you think they need to know right now, today,
this minute, that they don't know? I'll bet they know what they need
for today. You're speaking mainly about your thirteen year old, I'm
guessing. It will be five years before she can legally leave your house.
She's not standing still. It sounds like you want the comfort of
knowing she's ready to be on her own right now, but she doesn't need to
be.

***What skills will they get that can help them function as adults?***

What skills do you have that help you function as an adult that you
believe your child is missing? If you list them I can tell you ways she
might come to possess those skills. (or not)

***How can this compare to schooled peers who are learning a variety of
different things?***

Kids who go to school don't all come out the other end ready for life in
the world. A guy my husband used to work with graduated without knowing
how to read. Kids in school are there six or more hours a day one
hundred eighty days a year and still have to "review" when the new school
year begins everything they "learned" the previous year. Then there's
remedial classes and homework and summer school and the big push to get
kids to read teacher selected stuff over summer vacations. If ever there
was a disparity between time spent and knowledge gained it's in school.

And the "variety" they're (supposedly) learning in school is selected by
a bunch of fat, rich white guys who believe they know, without a doubt
what every child in the country should know and when they should know it.
It's not reasonable in any way.

***I know we live in a technological society, but shouldn't a childs
world have more in it than just cartoons and computer games? Is this
where strewing comes in?***

I'll just guess here that your daughter talks to people, talks on the
phone, talks to friends and relatives. I'll guess she reads a little,
goes to the store with you, knows the difference between dirty clothes
and clean ones. She probably sees that grass is green and the sky is
blue and she probably knows birds sing and bees buzz.

I think you're in some kind of panic. I think you're not thinking of
what your kid knows and does in any balanced way because you're so
focused on the thing she's doing that you don't really approve of.

What really helps some people is to make a list of the things their kid
can do and the things they're interested in and the things they love.
Focus on those positive things instead of the negative thing in your head
that's telling you your child is missing the mark.

And I'd ask, if you think she should be doing more, what are you doing to
make other choices available to her that would be as fun or interesting
as the TV.

Does she have your support in getting to the library or the park or the
pool or the mall? Do you go out to lunch to new places, have
interesting people over for dinner, visit museums, and parks and art
galleries and funky shops and ice cream parlors? Does she have games to
play and books and magazines to read? Can she chat with friends on-line
or go to camp if she wants?

Yes, this is where strewing comes in. Strewing should be "in" all along
because people of all ages need to have interesting lives.

Deb Lewis

Elisa Allender

Wow, what an awesome response! We are unschoolers (for 2 years) but if
I wasn't I sure would be after reading this response! LOL
Way to put it in words!!
Elisa

Deb Lewis wrote:

> ***Can you tell me how it can serve a child if they say spend hours a day
> watching Scooby-Doo,***
>
> I asked my son what he thought a person could get from watching cartoons.
> He said he's learned a lot from watching Loony Toons and especially
> Daffy Duck. "What?" I asked. "I learned that you really can solve all
> your problems with dynamite!" <G>
>
> Don't panic. He was being funny.
>
> But really, maybe hours of Scooby Doo is glorious fun. Fun is serious.
> Fun is important, especially for kids. Don't underrate fun. People who
> are not happy as children seldom find easy or lasting happiness as
> adults.
>
> But there are all kinds of things a person could get from watching Scooby
> Doo.
> They are kind to Scooby, they love him and wouldn't leave him behind,
> he's their friend and they would do whatever they could to save him if he
> was in danger. It might inspire someone to think about kindness to
> animals.
>
> Freddy, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scoob genuinely care about each other,
> trust each other. Might inspire thoughts about friendship and trust.
>
> They work together, plan and organize. It might inspire thoughts about
> the usefulness of cooperation.
>
> They handle tough situations with humor. That might inspire someone to
> think about the value of a happy and positive attitude.
>
> They help people who need help.
> The people who need help ask for it.
> These are good things.
>
> Viewers might learn about comedic timing, setting a mood with music,
> foreshadowing, plot development, character development, dialog, story
> line, fashion, animation.
>
> ***Does the television and game playing become a habit that is all the
> child then wants to do.***
>
> If television and games are only two choices in a whole house and
> neighborhood and town and county and state full of choices then they are
> no more likely to become habit than anything else. It's up to you to
> offer your kids a big life. If you don't do it, it would be very smart
> of them, really brilliant of them to find something stimulating and
> challenging like TV and games. But if kids are watching because they're
> bored then the parents need to think of ways to make life more
> interesting. TV should be a choice among many choices, not the only
> choice.
>
> If a child has a lot of choices and chooses video games or TV then he's
> getting something valuable from them. People have all kinds of interests
> during their lives. An intense interest in TV or video games now
> probably won't last a lifetime but for some people it might and those
> people could someday be sound technicians or cameramen. They might be
> producing TV shows, acting, writing musical scores, writing screenplays,
> directing, doing stunt work - they might be graphic artists, or writing
> codes or software, etc.
>
> Lots of people enjoy TV all their lives. It's no different than enjoying
> reading or enjoying playing cards.
>
> Some people focus on one thing really intently for awhile, weeks or
> months or years and then when they've had their fill, move on to other
> things. Someone who's discovered a few great shows on TV might really
> focus on them until they've explored every aspect of the characters and
> themes, etc. It's the same when a really little child likes mom to read
> a favorite book over and over again. It doesn't mean it's a habit, in
> the negative way you're using "habit" above. It means some people focus
> more fully and deeply and get everything they can from that interest
> before moving on.
>
> ***They may pick up snippets of information from cartoons, but compared
> to the hours watching, it seems little knowledge return really.***
>
> Many unschoolers and most radical unschoolers don't consider unschooling
> to be a method of education. There is no way to completely measure
> another persons knowledge. People know so much more than they show the
> outside world at any given moment. People are learning all the time. We
> may not be able to see the learning or name it but it's happening.
> Unschooling will be easier for you if you can come to trust this process.
> Humans learn.
>
> This is a strange statement really. If your kids spent hours in the pool
> during the hot summer would you be wondering what they were getting from
> it? Would you be measuring the return. Would you need to document, even
> in your own mind what they might have learned in/from the water?
>
> ***what skills are they learning that they can use in the world outside
> their home?***
>
> Your children aren't outside your home though. They're young and at home
> with you. What is it that you think they need to know right now, today,
> this minute, that they don't know? I'll bet they know what they need
> for today. You're speaking mainly about your thirteen year old, I'm
> guessing. It will be five years before she can legally leave your house.
> She's not standing still. It sounds like you want the comfort of
> knowing she's ready to be on her own right now, but she doesn't need to
> be.
>
> ***What skills will they get that can help them function as adults?***
>
> What skills do you have that help you function as an adult that you
> believe your child is missing? If you list them I can tell you ways she
> might come to possess those skills. (or not)
>
> ***How can this compare to schooled peers who are learning a variety of
> different things?***
>
> Kids who go to school don't all come out the other end ready for life in
> the world. A guy my husband used to work with graduated without knowing
> how to read. Kids in school are there six or more hours a day one
> hundred eighty days a year and still have to "review" when the new school
> year begins everything they "learned" the previous year. Then there's
> remedial classes and homework and summer school and the big push to get
> kids to read teacher selected stuff over summer vacations. If ever there
> was a disparity between time spent and knowledge gained it's in school.
>
> And the "variety" they're (supposedly) learning in school is selected by
> a bunch of fat, rich white guys who believe they know, without a doubt
> what every child in the country should know and when they should know it.
> It's not reasonable in any way.
>
> ***I know we live in a technological society, but shouldn't a childs
> world have more in it than just cartoons and computer games? Is this
> where strewing comes in?***
>
> I'll just guess here that your daughter talks to people, talks on the
> phone, talks to friends and relatives. I'll guess she reads a little,
> goes to the store with you, knows the difference between dirty clothes
> and clean ones. She probably sees that grass is green and the sky is
> blue and she probably knows birds sing and bees buzz.
>
> I think you're in some kind of panic. I think you're not thinking of
> what your kid knows and does in any balanced way because you're so
> focused on the thing she's doing that you don't really approve of.
>
> What really helps some people is to make a list of the things their kid
> can do and the things they're interested in and the things they love.
> Focus on those positive things instead of the negative thing in your head
> that's telling you your child is missing the mark.
>
> And I'd ask, if you think she should be doing more, what are you doing to
> make other choices available to her that would be as fun or interesting
> as the TV.
>
> Does she have your support in getting to the library or the park or the
> pool or the mall? Do you go out to lunch to new places, have
> interesting people over for dinner, visit museums, and parks and art
> galleries and funky shops and ice cream parlors? Does she have games to
> play and books and magazines to read? Can she chat with friends on-line
> or go to camp if she wants?
>
> Yes, this is where strewing comes in. Strewing should be "in" all along
> because people of all ages need to have interesting lives.
>
> Deb Lewis
>
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>

Deb Lewis

***watching run after run of Fairly Odd Parents, ***

Have you watched it? It's a celebration of imagination.

***going for a bounce on the trampoline,***

Do you bounce? It is such an amazing feeling. It's like feeling like a
little kid again. Like a little kid who can fly! I think if everyone
had a trampoline there'd be no need for therapists.<g>

***playing Barbie My Scene on the computer ***

Can you design clothes and store fronts in that game? I don't know this
game but my friend's daughter liked it for awhile. Every kid likes their
favorite game intensely for awhile but when the challenge is met the
gamer usually moves on to more interesting things. If she was reading
War and Peace and it was taking her four weeks would you think she should
leave the book in the middle somewhere just because she'd already been at
it so long. Let her finish.

Does she have other games to play?

***a bit of paier mache ***

What does she like to make? We made masks for months and really got to
where we could make artsy ones, sanded smoothe and painted, decorated.
They were really fun. "A bit of papier mache" doesn't tell us what
she's making or wishing she could make, or why she's making it.

You're making judgements about how she's spending her time without
looking at the whole picture. You want to see return but you're not even
seeing what's giving her joy. I don't think the problem is with your
daughter here at all but in your level of understanding of the
unschooling philosophy. There's great reading at
www.sandradodd.com/unschooling.


***is this enough? I don't think it is enough for my dd.***

It might be enough for your daughter right now and not enough tomorrow.
Ask your daughter. Are there things she'd like to be doing? Help her
find a way to do them. If she's happy right now, celebrate that.

Deb Lewis

Deb Lewis

***Because im still not convinced.***

What made you consider unschooling? Why did you decide against school?
It's not our job to convince you of anything. We offer ideas to people
who are interested in how unschooling works.
But if you think there is something of value in this philosophy then it's
up to you to do the research *you* require to be convinced either way.
To either say, yes there's something here or no, it's not for me. We can
answer questions along the way.

***Because some just watch TV. End. Then just play video games.
Period. No tangents. No inspired learning. No pursuits, no follow up.
No questions. No discussions. ***

I've asked you before and I think others have too, tell us what your kid
likes.

Really, it helps some people to focus on the positive. Because I really
get from your posts that you're very negative. Maybe your not in real
life, but the way these posts come through you're showing us a lot of
negativity about your kid.
I don't mean to be harsh. I think it's an important part of why you're
struggling with some of these unschooling concepts. I can't remember the
last nice thing you wrote about your child.

It's not always easy to stay positive when we're worried (especially
about our kids) but we can't help you with the worry if you're stuck in
a moment you can't get out of. (Plagiarism!<g>) (Thank you Bono)

Please tell us what your kid likes to do, what does he consider to be the
most fun, what does he like to eat, what does he think about? It will
help, I promise.

I will bet you quantities of cash that there are untold connections in
your childs mind when he's watching his favorite shows and playing his
favorite games. Just because an interest doesn't take off and take
tangible form doesn't mean it's not real. Just because you're not seeing
a physical manifestation of his intellectual life doesn't mean there's
nothing going on.

***And all the cool stuff your kids did only makes me feel that much more
frustrated.***

You're son is nine? I think we start comparing our kids to other kids
about this age, some before, but really about this age because they seem
so big in so many ways. We're saying goodbye to our babies and we're
looking for our grown kids and missing this incredible person in between.
And it can be, for the child, a difficult time when the most beloved
toys and games of childhood are loosing their appeal and the very cool
stuff of the world of adults still seems too hard and too far away.

What kinds of things do you do with him? What do you talk about? What
are some of *your* interests and how do they manifest themselves in your
family life? What example do you set for your child? Do you love life
or are you bored? Do you love to learn or are you dispassionate? When
you see a bug do you wonder what it is or do you squish it? These are
all things to consider when we're wondering whether we're providing the
most interesting life possible for our kids. It starts with us.

Deb Lewis

soggyboysmom

--- In [email protected], Deb Lewis <[email protected]>
wrote:
>When you see a bug do you wonder what it is or do you squish it?

Had to LOL - after many years with DH and all of DS' life, I now make
sure to trap unusual looking bugs and let them examine them, figure
out what they are, BEFORE I smash them or flush them. One evening I
saw a weird bug in the upstairs bathroom. I trapped it in a paper cup
and DH pulled out his laptop (which is usually nearby wherever he is)
and he hit his favorite bug ID site and we figured out what it was -
then I could squash it and flush it. I think having "Ocho" for several
months helped - he was a jumping spider we caught and fed. He lived in
a big clear plastic jug on DH's nightstand for far longer than we
thought he'd live. We'd catch live critters and pop them into his jar
and watch him hunt (jumping spiders hunt like cats).

--Deb

Deb Lewis

***Most of our friends are still very strict about TV viewing, so I don't
hear it from their kids. In
fact, my children have now become the 'bad influences."***

It is very normal for people to swing to extremes when a thing has been
controlled and then the controls are lifted.
It levels out with time and kindly, balanced input from interested
parents.

***However, very soon after this, he started acting like Calvin! ***

Humans learn by trying on what they see in the world around them. We
know children learn from their parents and it's only natural for them to
learn from others. A child trying on new and different behaviors is
engaging in a kind of scientific exploration.

It's fun, to be sure, to try out new personalities and behaviors but it's
also a means by which humans gather information. It is very normal and
any parent who thinks they want to or can stop it from happening will be
very surprised. It happens with adults all the time and our children
see it. When Sue mows her law we think, "man I better get out there and
mow mine." When a friend calls us over to see her new scrap booking
stuff we go buy some and make plans for a scrapbook for grandma for
Christmas. Don't be fooled into thinking it's a kid thing. Women
change their hairstyles after seeing a nice one on some celebrity head.

Sometimes what a kid learns from trying on a new behavior is that it will
really piss mom off. There might be a world of reasons a kid would want
to piss his mom off and those begin with the mom. It might be that he
doesn't want to make mom mad, sees the behavior then more clearly and
stops it. Sometimes he learns he loves football. Sometimes he learns
people will find him more interesting if he tells jokes. Sometimes he
learns it can hurt other's feelings. It's all learning and it's all
valuable and very, very normal.

***He was disgruntled about helping. He was saying things like, "I don't
know why I have to help
that fat little woman!" Now how Calvin is that?***

Maybe it was your real kid an not Calvin. Maybe she wasn't as nice as
she could have been. Maybe he feels like he has no real ability to
express himself honestly. Maybe he was busy with something more
important and she showed no consideration for that. Maybe it wasn't
"helping" at all but an order for a little person to do something a big
person insisted upon.

I don't think it was so bad. I think paying attention to a kids feelings
is much more important than worrying about what our friends will think of
us as parents. I would be more interested in what made him feel that
way than in automatically classifying that as "bad behavior". And
something some parents never consider, kids respond to bad behavior with
bad behavior. Chances are the reason he was feeling and acting that way
and even said it is because he was responding in kind. The real
difference here is adults are seldom called on bad or rude behavior if
their target is a kid. It is not even considered rude or bad behavior
when adults talk to kids the way they might talk to a dog. That's just
how it is. Lots of people never see it. But kids always do.

***I want to take the book away, but I feel so unschooly about that.
I'm stuck between seeing the negative effects of the things he finds
enjoyable and allowing him to discover and learn in his own way. And
don't even get me started on the influence of all the commercials they
are now watching! ***

You won't make his life better by making his world smaller. It will
never work that way.
But you, as the person he spends the most time with will have the biggest
influence on him. You are more real than books and TV and you're voice
will be the loudest voice in his head. Forever. Make it the voice of
fairness and reason and love.

Your kids are not alone in the world of books and TV. You're influence
is still important. Talk about what they're reading and why it's funny,
why it's good, why they like it. Does he like Calvin because he relates
to a child who's life is so controlled by adults he's only really free
and happy in his imagination?

You don't have only the two options, "control" or "free for all". Be
involved with what your kids are reading and watching and talk with them
about it. Acknowledge that it's funny and why and talk about why some of
it isn't really good in our real lives. Acknowledge that sometimes the
reason it's funny is because it's what we all wish we could do, but we
don't do it. Talk about why there are good reasons to not always act on
our secret desires.

***And don't even get me started on the influence of all the commercials
they
are now watching! ***

Commercials have been very positive here. The psychology of advertising
is a much discussed and beloved subject in our house. Do some
experimenting. Buy some things that are made to sound life changing and
see if you like them. See if they all live up to the claims. Ask you
kids if fruit roll-ups taste better out of the dinosaur box or the Nemo
box. <g> Talk about why an advertiser would put a famous guy on a cereal
box. Who do they hope will by that cereal? You'll have a great time.

***I was hoping that our influence would be the dominate one, but it
doesn't seem to be. ***

Maybe your influence is stifling. Kids are under no obligation to be
perfect. They are under no obligation to be clones of their parents or
of the seemingly perfect kids of our friends. They need to be
themselves and they need acceptance and love. You influence *is* bigger
than any other but make sure it's the influence you think it is. If
you're demonstrating a lack of regard for his feelings by criticizing his
choices in TV he may demonstrate that lack of consideration back at you
or a sibling. It's possible to talk about the behaviors of TV
characters without making a judgement about the program or the person who
likes the program.

*** it is tempting to just pull the plug on the TV.***

Of course you can do this. You have the power and the authority.

But most of their lives will be lived away from your power and authority.
They'll spend sixteen or eighteen years with you and they'll spend sixty
years without you. In those sixteen or eighteen years, if you cannot
think of a better way to help them learn than through externally enforced
limits and controls, who will do their thinking for them when they're on
their own? Will it be a controlling spouse? A controlling boss?
Business partner? Drug dealer?

With your positive input and real interested participation and guidance
they can learn about good decision making and good behavior. With your
ultimate control they will learn to not trust their own judgement.

You will not be able to control outside influences on your kids. What
you are in control of is the kind of relationship you have with your
kids. If your relationship is loving and respectful and strong your kids
will value your opinions, trust your judgements, look to you for advice
and hold you up as the standard instead of Calvin.

***I think I could handle this all better if I was the only one
experiencing this rude behavior, but it's really a challenge to see them
acting it out with other adults and kids. ***

Don't waste one minute worrying about what other people think of your
kids, or think of you as a parent. This relationship is not about
whether you're living up to someone elses standard of parenting. Instead
spend that time improving your relationship and communication with your
kids. Worry about what your kids think of *you.*

You don't owe your friends good kids. You owe your kids a big, happy
life with a mom who's right there helping along the way.

Deb Lewis