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From: Maureen (204.211.2.254)
Subject:         Re: REFERENCE TO UNSCHOOLING HIGHSCHOOL...Please Read!
Date: May 27, 2008 at 9:56 am PST

In Reply to: REFERENCE TO UNSCHOOLING HIGHSCHOOL...Please Read! posted by tam w on May 25, 2008 at 10:29 pm:

First, don't beat yourself up. You did exactly what most of us did - took the advice of experts. What I wanted from a modified form of unschooling was a way to create a curriculum of my own, not just take what someone created off the rack. Like most folks here, I suspect, I simply don't think the educational establishment knows beans about teaching kids for real life. So it's reasonable to want to get out of the stultifying routine of dumbed-down American education.
Here is the pitfall: with the most creative, talented, learning-driven kids in the world, you can still end up with creative, artistic, interesting, socially adept dabblers who can't hold down a steady job to save their hope of heaven. That is because in adult life and in most real jobs, you sometimes have to do what you don't feel like doing. Love of learning does not always translate into ability to plan a life, support oneself, and dedicate oneself to focused, sustained effort in anything. Thomas Edison (himself a reject of American education) said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. The trouble with radical unschooling is that kids and parents think that 1% is all you need. Wrong. TO produce anything, you have to do the boring parts too. That's the part I struggle with with my kids.
With your 16 year old, I'd start with, not academic grinding, but life planning. If she's going to be out of the house in 2 years, and needing to support self and any children she produces, it's time to start thinking life skills and job choices, and then plan the academics around that, in a very goal-focused way. I let my kids do a lot of arts and volunteer involvement, but part of that was always integrating those skills into "how would you earn a living at this?" kinds of activities. There is a career development center that does interest and occupational testing and counseling at the local college, and my kids have to start that process at 17. That's one choice I make for them, because I've told them they are not still staying with mom till they are 35.


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