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« I'm in Charge of Celebrations | Main | Success or Failure? »

December 26, 2006



Excellent post! I have always felt that home learning is neither "parent led" nor "child led," but collaborative. We are not unschoolers in the strict sense of the word. But I do feel my kids have intuitive wisdom about what they need to meet their intellectual and emotional needs. Like you, I see a big part of my role as being to help them experience a wide range of things and helping them discover and nurture their interests.



I really enjoyed this post. Can you tell me which spelling program you have found? My 7-year-old is a great reader and someone who loves method, but is a miserable speller. Having something where we learn the rules of spelling without memorizing lists would be awesome. Thanks.


Nance Confer

I enjoyed your insights, Stephanie.

We were also discussing these articles over at the Cocking A Snook blog. I posted a link to your blog there but do not know how to do trackbacks in comments.



The spelling program that we are using is Sequential Spelling (www.avko.org). We use it very loosely. It teaches using related word families rather the spelling lists. No memorization...you just have the child spell the word and immediately correct them if it is wrong. It relies strongly on seeing patterns, which is one of Jason's strengths (memorization is not).

A similar program is Natural Speller (which you can get through Rainbow Resource).



You sure have a way with words. You know how to zero in right on the topic at hand and not meander (as I'm known to do). You nailed this topic on the head and share collaboration clearly. Thanks for your voice! It is needed in helping each of us "see" the real deal :-)



I hate to say "ditto" but I could have written your comment myself!


What a great post! I've been trying to articulate these same thoughts to post at my own blog, but hadn't quite formulated them as well as you did! It'd been on my mind since a couple of months ago when a *very* school-at-home friend said to me that, unlike me, she "actually has goals" for her children so there are things her children "have to do." I had been thinking about how to respond for a long time, not able to quite explain it this well. Now I'll just refer her here. :-) Thanks!


I think you've nailed the "problem" for some of the experts. And you've described what is going on very well. But perhaps there is something else underlying that criticism -- valuing hierarchy, and a particular view of what children are (and thus what parenting does).

The hierarchy thing is a view of relationships in which someone is in charge and others are subordinate. Pretty common view. Leads to particular sorts of relationships both personal and in work situations. And if you think that is how the world works (and/or how it should work) then it would be pretty important to make sure kids learned how to operate in that system. You clearly don't think the world works that way (or at least don't think it needs to) and thus learning to operate in that heirarchical mode is not an important goal. I agree with you but then I homeschool a bit like you do.

The other aspect is a view of children as lumps of clay or blank slates or something. This leads to a view that everything a child becomes is put there by parents or other influences. I read a good piece on the '80s supermom ideal by Barbara Ehrenreich in which she said "Children are not salmon mousse. You cannot mold them." That expresses where I am on this question (and you, too, I suspect). If, like us, you believe that children have their own personalities, their own preferences, their own strengths and weaknesses, then you parent (and homeschool) very differently than if you think that parenting (and other influences) GIVE a child its personality, preferences, strengths and weaknesses. We can guide how our children express those things. We can help them develop those things. But we have to work with what we have. Some of the critics disagree about this fundamental principle.

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