Unschooling and other alternatives

Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 11:13 am
Well, my Godchild is in first grade in Germany. He has learned to write
simple words and can read them too. My daughter already was at the same level in Kindergarten. Reading/writing is taught much earlier in the US as
in Germany for example, where most emphasis in reading/writing will be given in second and third grade.

I don't think German kids lack in education due to that, there is just no
advantage in teaching them early on, as it has no impact on their learning
abilities/intellect later on.
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 11:20 am
I learned to read in first grade (they might have taught letters in kindergarten, but I skipped the second half of kindergarten when my family moved for part of a year.) I know my mother helped me "read" an oil cloth book wth mostly illustrations fairly early - but don't remember any intensive effort on her part, though I remember having a Mother Goose book, likely way before first grade. That was in a parochial school with a rather large number of children in the classes. I probably knew my letters entering first grade, if not some words. I have a dim memory that all the reading 'hours' were fairly slow re our progress, not particularly pushy. The first stories I read on my own were... the sunday funnies.

So, I learned later than many children do now, but I became a reading fool by 8 or 9. I ended up enjoying words, the sounds of them, the flow of them, their meaning, word play, even just liking them visually.
I'm somewhat less fond of math, though I was taught that by the same teachers.

I don't know much about the teaching of phonics and its pros and cons, as opposed to any whole word method. I have a feeling I read with a mix of both, using phonics for a totally unfamiliar word even now - though that doesn't happen often anymore.

It's a bummer that Mo has been turned off by the reading teaching so early. Maybe positive experiences like the science books, and his guitar lessons (reading notes?), will help blunt the effect of that.

I too understand your researching other schooling, Boomer.
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 02:11 pm
Now THAT is interesting CJane. I wonder when reading is approached in other countries. I might have to post a question about that. I wonder if it is as compare and compete as it is here.

I've long had a quarrel with the build a better baby mentality that consumes so many parents. Newsweek had an interesting article just last week on the billion dollar smart baby type toys. Studies are showing that they're worthless. But that's a different matter.

I don't remember learning how to read at all, osso. Everyone in my family reads all the time and they always have. I was born into a family of readers.

I do think learning to read music has helped him learn to read words. Especially in that melodies are made up of components (notes) that when strung together make a song and words are made of of components (letters) that when strung together make a story. The structure is very similar.

His love of music class is one of the primary motivators I've had in looking at other schools. It is never a struggle to get him to music class. There is no crying, no "I'm sick"s, no lollygagging -- just jump in the car and go.
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 02:23 pm
boomerang wrote:
I've long had a quarrel with the build a better baby mentality that consumes so many parents. Newsweek had an interesting article just last week on the billion dollar smart baby type toys. Studies are showing that they're worthless. But that's a different matter.

I agree! I always emphasized on creativity as opposed to playing with
"smart toys". My daughter was mostly outside and looked for useful
"toys" in tree branches, soil, water and pine cones. She built a "fort"
in the nearby woods with whatever she could find, and it was quite
presentable. She observed the snails, worms and other insects outside
and was faszinated. Dolls etc. were really useless in our house, too boring
for her.

If Mo loves music, you should encourage that. Learning notes is far more
difficult than the alphabet. He knows already how to read and if he's
reading at home, there is no need to pressure him at school.
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 05:56 pm
I think this website has some great information Reading Rockets.

I especially like this page http://www.readingrockets.org/helping/self
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 06:21 pm
Oh my. CJane. That sounds like Mo! He's a total nature boy.

I do encourage the music thing. One of the things on the thread Swimpy just linked gave me a chuckle becuase of the music thing -- "Understand that print is read left-to-right and top-to-bottom ". We had several problems in his melody class because of the way the lines were spaced. He wanted to play the top line and then the lines in descending order. Getting him to grasp that it was really all one line was our biggest hurdle.

I need to spend some more time on the link but really it looks like Mo has met each of those expectations. I know he is doing better than some kids in the class because he was kicked out of reading group and others are still in it. He has an amazing vocabulary. He tells amazingly visual stories.

When I say he's falling through the cracks I don't really mean that he is not preforming up to standards.... it's more like.... I don't know how to express it..... like he's.... unhappy about school.

He won't ride the school bus anymore.

He makes up stories about the "kid with the big gloves" who hits him all the time.

He says the other kids call him stupid.

I DO consider education to be very, very important but I really just want Mo to be happy. Happy is so ignored.
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 06:29 pm
It will be clear soon enough that he isn't stupid. And then will come the resentment.

I dunno, I didn't live life as a boy. Makes me think of calming, yet strong stuff, like tai chil, karate... (no personal experience).
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Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 04:03 pm
What an interesting day I had.

Wednesday is my school day and my co-mom-helper, let's call her Bex (she of the Moish elder son and the Jesus poster kindergartener) settled into our typical work/gab-fest. I told her that I was looking at this private school for Mo because blahblahblah and I was curious about how her elder son did advancing through the grades at our current school.

Troubletroubletrouble she reported. BUT she also knew a family that sent their kid to a different Waldorf school and they went completely bonkers. She suggested that when I meet with the school that I tell them I'm looking for a school, not a lifestyle because it seems a lot of people really get wrapped up in the no-materialism aspect of the school to the point where they are giving their kids twigs for birthday presents. She was pretty familiar with the Waldorf ways though and said she really wished she could do something like that with elder son.

I had sent an email to Mo's teacher the other day to let her know that Mo would be missing a day while we went to this other kindergarten so she wanted to chat a bit today about it.

She isn't at all familiar with Waldorf (which kind of surprised me since she's a teacher -- you think she'd know about other types of schools) but she said that "every kid could benefit from having only 10 other kids in their class and a teacher who stuck with them for years" but she warned that kids have a hard time going back to public schools once they have attended private schools and that if I were going to do it I really needed to look at it as a BIG commitment.

Good advice, I think.

Which of course serves to make me queasy about making this decision.

Meanwhile, Mo is excited about going to spend time at the school ("not 1 day, mom, 55 days"). When I asked him if wouldn't he miss his friends he said "I can make new ones."

Really, I hate this.
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Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 04:46 pm
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Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 06:08 pm
Yes, I agree, just get all the information you can, then interview a few
more schools (Montessori, private) and after you evaluate them all,
you probably can make a better decision, and make sure to take Mo
to all the schools you'd like to visit.

I did that when little Jane was ready for Kindergarten. I researched
a few schools, narrowed it down to two, and ultimately made my decision
with the help of little Jane, as she had some impact here too.
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Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2007 02:58 pm
Today was the big day that Mo spent in their kindergarten and he loved it.

He was not too happy to see me at the end of the morning and he was not ready to leave. He is insisting that he go back tomorrow. He told the teacher there that "My dad says this school is harder than my school but I think I handle it".

Luckily his school field trip is this week and he's been looking forward to that so maybe it won't be such a chore to get him back into the regualar swing of things.

Mr. B is still unconvinced and I'm still wavering. I guess I'll set up an interview and take it from there.

There really aren't any openings in any of the other private schools around here -- I've checked. The only reason that there are openings at this one is because they've hired a new teacher and they have a few spaces left to fill.

Private schools are HUGE here because our public school system is kind of sucky. Some of the private elementary schools cost up to $20,000 a year and I simply can't afford that. The Christian schools are less pricey but I'm not really wanting to go that route. As it is now the choice is going to have to be between this school and public school.
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Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2007 05:24 pm
Sounds like that two family members have made up their mind already.
If the public schools are not that good in your area, and all private schools
except Waldorf have no vacancies, than it's pretty dry cut, right?
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Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2007 05:27 pm

One would think!

Mr. B does get a bigger cut of the vote pie than Mo does though.
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