Blogging about music, family life, the outdoors, unschooling and everything else

for more than a quarter century

Category: Thinking about learning

  • On being twelve

    This isn’t about my own, current, 12-year-old, or about any of my former 12-year-olds. Maybe it’s a bit about the 12-year-old I used to be, and about who that has made me as a parent. It’s a copy and paste from a message board, where I was responding to a mom whose daughter had stolen […]

  • Unschooled adolescents

    Fiona’s primary enrolment this year is with SelfDesign, an independent umbrella program that supports home-based learners from Kindergarten through Grade 9 and their families, including loads of unschoolers. The support is primarily moral support, though there’s a little money available that can be used to fund things like sports and music lessons. I love the […]

  • Building Rat Park

    At a recent unschooling workshop, the issue of technology use came up. Some parents expressed concern over the potential addictive nature of technology. With unschoolers having far more autonomy over their lives, the risk of excess use seems much higher, particularly without the natural time constraints of school attendance and homework. “Video games and social […]

  • A time and place

    Fiona started coding club this week. It was held at the Nelson Tech Club’s hackerspace. Three kids, all about 12, two of them on the autism spectrum and with their workers along for support, the others being boys. There may be a few other kids who come out of the woodwork as the program goes on. A homeschooling mom […]

  • How to know if your unschooler is learning

    Q. How do you know if an unschooled child is learning? A. He’s alive. The point being that children are hard-wired to learn. You can’t stop them. Give them a reasonably rich environment, loving support and relative freedom and you really can’t go wrong. However…. We’re part of a Distributed Learning program, which means that at […]

  • Between the subjects

    One of the things I love about homeschooling is the way the boundaries between subjects don’t need to exist at all. I know that many schools pride themselves on making “cross-curricular connections,” but those are more like threads connecting otherwise discrete areas. As homeschoolers we are free to dwell for months in the spaces between […]

  • Fiona’s Schedule

    The older kids now have timetables for school. Fiona wanted one too. So she sat down with me and we came up with something. First we put in the out-of-home things she has to attend. Summit Strings and the trip to Nelson she has to do because she’s too young to be left home alone. […]

  • Fiona’s Learning Plan 2011-2012

    She’s my only full-time homeschooler this year, and gosh, is she every loving that! She would also love to attend school in the flexible part-time way that Erin did for three years, and that Noah is doing this year, but that’s not going to work easily until Grade 10, when teaching becomes subject-oriented rather than […]

  • Children and computer use

    Written in response to a mom of a 5-month-old who was asking for advice on how much and how early to encourage computer use by her child as she grows up: I love what technology does for us, but here’s the thing: its pull is relentless. There is no way bright kids today with computer-literate […]

  • The drive to learn

    “Help me understand about unschooling. I know kids learn to talk and walk with no overt teaching but they learn by example, I think these are more of a biological drive in the human being. I am not sure learning Pi falls under the same category.”If you want to look at it from a “biological […]

  • Show your work

    On the way to Calgary last week Noah was doing some math work. He was in a good mood and things were going well. He finds his current textbook (MathPower9) to be okay for the most part. It’s rife with practice exercises, most of which we skip, but they’re there in case he stalls for […]

  • Of back burners

    It was gone. Now it has returned. The interest in math. She is barrelling ahead in her Singapore book again, easily internalizing things that I expected a child so young would really struggle with. The efficiency of her learning still surprises me. She’s excited to be mastering new concepts and algorithms, to be filling in […]

  • Adolescence rant

    Copied & pasted from a discussion board where it was being argued that young adults from 18-25 ought to be cut a little slack by the justice system when they do stupid things like engage in credit card fraud — because science has shown that their frontal cortexes are still developing. “There is good reason […]

  • Extending patterns

    Fiona and I were waiting for Sophie’s Aikido class to finish. We were hanging out in the van. She had brought along her math but after a couple of minutes decided she didn’t want to do any more of that, but would like to do some “different math.” On a paper I drew pictures: square, […]

  • Schools and rules

    A Grade 6 class is expected to read a book of their choice per week at home independently and submit a book report for each. They should read a range of genres. Multiple books from the same series are not acceptable. Non-fiction books are not acceptable. The aim of this home reading program can only […]