This is a back-up copy, in a format that might be easier to read. The link to the REAL original is at the bottom.

Help!! Our unschooling seems like 'doing nothing'.

By SandraDodd on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 08:37 pm:

I figured I would use this folder to post something that's about everything in general.

It's how "nothing" turns into something cool:

Kirby, Marty and Brett (all unschooled kids 14, 12, 15) are in the other room playing a game. They just returned from hours of gaming at the shop where Kirby works. Brett only played an hour and a half; before that he was at driver's ed.

Anyway, Kirby was telling the other boys a story about a schooled-kid they all know whose name is not Bob—I'm borrowing that name for him.

Bob has learning disabilities so he spells and writes worse than we do, but today we were figuring out the scores from [some game phase I didn't catch] and I was telling him how to figure it out by 8, and 9, and multiplying by 18 I told him just treat it like 20, and the subtract two for each one, so he had four, and that was 80 and he took out the eight and had 72. He said, "Oh, okay! I get that."

And [adult who works there] said, 'KIRBY, where did you learn that?' and I said... ::dweebish geek voice::..."I'm homeschooled."

And he said no, really, did you make that up? And I said "Yeah! I'm homeschooled!"

The story and the reactions to it from the other two illustrated that Kirby wasn't aware not everyone had figured out how to multiply by 18 in their heads and he didn't know an adult would be so impressed, or that a kid who claims on his own to have learning disabilities wouldn't just get it, and having just gotten it would actually appreciate it.

But our kids' lives are just kind of like that.

Brett was critiquing my driving on the way home, using the acronyms they'd learned in class so far. He was very complimentary. I didn't know I was doing all those fancy processes. I thought I was just driving! He was very analytical, which proved he understood what he's been hearing this week and last, and which gave my boys a chance to learn some stuff AND to appreciate my driving! Good afternoon!

I was about to hit send and heard:

Brett to Kirby: If you weren't a gamer, what would you be?

Kirby: A computer geek. What about you?

Brett: I don't know.

Kirby and Marty in combination told him he would be a jock.

Marty, they decided, would be a skater.

Brett has played baseball as much as possible, Marty has skated (roller blades at the skate park and ice hockey) a fair amount, and Kirby spends a lot of time on the computer. So they do have secondary skills to fall back on if the gaming thing doesn't work out.


Original, written on the day, of Kirby and multiplying by 18

That leads to a once-wonderful version of that website. It has gone through a couple of owners, and is currently run by evil-doers who falsely claim the entire history and whose politics are objectionable and far outweigh any discussions of learning, or kids at all. I don't recommend anyone go there, but the Wayback Machine does have some of the 2001 sorts of days, if you like internet spelunking.

ALSO, on the day I created this page, May 29, 2022, I posted the text to Always Learning, here. There might be comments there.

That multiplication story was told less directly in an article called King's X From the Math Monster

Unschoolers and Mathematics

Becoming Courageous
How to develop the courage and confidence it takes to unschool.
Deb Lewis