Socialization 2


My aunt wrote me a follow-up question to my previous post on socialization, and I will try to answer her in Danish first, and translate my answer in English below (NB – to save time I have used Google translate and only edited a little to weed out the most obvious mistakes).

Spørgsmål: “Nu blev jeg lidt klogere på jeres liv og unschooling. Og ungernes kontakt og samvær med andre børn. Jeg har et par tillægsspørgsmål: Med grupper/team tænker jeg på mange ting, fx turtagning (ved samtaler, spil m.m.), at lytte til andre børns oplevelser/tanker, hensyntagen, men også sammenhold og fælles sejre. Uden mor i nærheden. Er I adskilt fra børnene ved nogle af disse sammenkomster? Med tolerence tænker jeg lidt i samme baner: at holde ud, at andre også skal have plads, uanset hvordan de er. Også de besværlige, sære, stille, hurtige, langsomme, dominerende, småt begavede, dem med ADHD, autisme….. At være fælles om, at også de skal trives. Får unschoolede børn udfordringer på det område? Uden for forældres domæne? Er der mulighed for tøsefnis, prinsesselege, spejlinger, bedsteveninder uden mor og bror er med? Det sidste med læring på markeder osv adskiller sig vel ikke fra alle børns læring, skole eller ej? Når mine børnebørn opdager en vrimmel af børsteorme i fjorden og fanger dem i net, medfører det automatisk, at vi undersøger, hvad børsteorme egentlig er for nogle fætre, hvorfor der er så mange i et par uger, hvem spiser dem, kan de bide – osv osv. Og den viden er langt mere spændende og sidder bedre fast, end hvis der var læst en halv side om dem i en skole eller ikke-skole. Hvori mener du, forskellen er?

Rundboldkamp eller fodbold, det fælles grin og de sjove oplevelser kan fås på mange forskellige måder.
Og så lidt om mistrivsel: jeg regner med, vi taler om børn, der trives med eller uden skolegang. Mistrivsel skal der naturligvis altid tages hånd om, men det er efter min mening en ganske anden snak. Nogle forældre har desværre ikke ressourcer til at tackle deres børns mistrivsel, og vil være ude af stand til at unschoole.
Jeg synes, det er så fedt, at du til enhver tid vil efterkomme børnenes ønsker, hvis de vil i skole. Så jeg er slet ikke bekymret over deres kommende teenageliv. Er der nogle i jeres grupper, der IKKE vil acceptere, hvis børnene vil noget andet?
Det frie valg svarer vel en smule til, at jeg hverken er døbt eller konfirmeret, men det har altid været en mulighed, hvis jeg ville. Og ligesom du altid skal forklare, hvorfor dine børn ikke går i skole, har jeg altid skullet svare på, hvorfor jeg ikke er kristen. De andre får sjældent spørgsmålet, hvorfor de er medlem af folkekirken, hvilket de fleste aldrig har overvejet.
Et lille PS: Du skriver, at timerne er kedelige OG at børnene mobbes – lige efter hinanden. De sidste kan vel ikke være dem, som elsker kammeraterne?”

Jeg vil denne gang skrive et lidt mere sammenhængende svar, fordi dine spørgsmål stikker mere dybt IMO – og jeg tror at vi her helt grundlæggende er uenige.

Sagen er nemlig den at jeg f.eks. ikke mener at børn har brug for at være uden deres mor før de selv har lyst og er klar, jeg mener ikke at børn i skolen “får lov til” at være uden mor, eller “får lov til” at lave gruppearbejde – de bliver ikke spurgt, det er bare sådan det er. Det kan være godt for nogen – men det er sandelig også rigtig skidt for mange andre. Min baggrund for at sige det er, lige som i artiklen omkring min holdning til folkeskolen – at jeg kender mange af de børn der bliver taget ud af folkeskolen af utilfredse forældre (her taler vi naturligtvis om stærke middelklasseforældre), fordi de ikke trives, og jeg kender til en del af de børn der bliver nød til at blive i folkeskolen selvom de ikke trives gennem min mors arbejde (ikke så tit middelklasseforældre).

Jeg har en personlig grundfilosofi omkring frivillighed – og den bunder i at jeg ikke tror på at nogen i denne verden lærer noget godt af at være tvunget til at gøre ting de ikke bryder sig om. Man kan godt vælge at gøre noget man ikke bryder sig om, fordi gevinsten er større end “smerten” (som ex. når jeg tager opvasken hver dag selvom jeg ikke gider, fordi jeg hader hvordan her ser ud når jeg ikke gør det), men det tror jeg helt reelt kun man kan gøre på en god måde, hvis det er frivilligt. Nu er jeg godt klar over at der er mange børn der er glade for ex. deres kammerater i folkeskolen, men mange af dem er så ikke glade for timerne, nogen er glade for timerne men ikke kammeraterne… Og så er der nogen der er midt imellem. Nogen hader nogen fag, andre hader andre – meget få elever elsker det hele, men de skal deltage uanset hvad. Meget af den tvang der er i et skolemiljø fører til mobning – jeg mener faktisk at børnene mobber fordi de mistrives og ofte er skolen i lige så høj grad årsagen som hjemmet. Den tvang der er i skolen ville ingen voksne accepere i deres eget liv – alligevel forventer vi at børnene skal acceptere det i 10 år og så undrer vi os når de slår ud efter hinanden eller lærerne. Jeg personligt hadede idræt og oplevede ingen sejre i hverken rundbold eller fodbold – jeg vidste at når mit “team” vandt, var det ikke pga noget jeg havde gjort, nærmere på trods – det samme vidste jeg om de elever som jeg lavede danskopgaver med, som var blevet sat i gruppe med mig fordi jeg var god og kunne “hjælpe” dem. Jeg hjalp dem ikke – jeg lavede bare opgaven. Med mindre folkeskolen har ændret sig radikalt er det stadig i høj grad det samme.

I et ægte team har man brug for hinanden, eller også er man sammen fordi man er bundet sammen af noget andet – venskab, kærlighed. De teams der er i en skoleklasse er kunstige – og de eksisterer kun fordi læreren har bestemt at de skal eksistere. Eleverne har derfor ingen anden motivation for at samarbejde end den læreren kan give dem. Regler som at vente på sin tur til at tale etc er jo til stede i det almindelige liv – det behøver man ikke en skoleklasse for at lære. I en arbejdsgruppe på arbejde har vi brug for hinanden – de andres viden, arbejdskraft etc. I venskaber vælger vi at overse svagheder og fokuserer på hinandens styrker, fordi vi kan lide at være sammen, det samme gælder familien. Dette er kun til stede i meget heldige tilfælde i en gruppe i skolen. Det fører mig frem til hensyntagen og tolerance. Jeg tror ikke mine børn ved hvad det betyder – og det er ikke fordi de er intolerante, men fordi de simpelthen ikke er klar over at flere af deres venner er “diagnosebørn” eller “etniske” – de kan lide at være sammen med dem og det er hvad der gælder, de er sammen med dem når de har lyst og kan vælge dem fra når de ikke har lyst. Igen af os behøver lave om på vores jul for at tage hensyn til muslimske venner, med mindre vi har lyst, for de vælger bare at lade være med at deltage hvis de ikke bryder sig om festlighederne – og hvis de deltager er det som gæster, som vi behandler høfligt med den gæstfrihed der nu forventes til gæster, ellers ville vi jo ikke invitere dem. Det samme gælder børn med ADHD eller autisme – så Lucas’ ven der har en ASP diagnose, jamen han er vildt god til alt muligt med tal og computere, hyperfokuseret på at finde alle detaljer om alle de mennesker han er sammen med – til gengæld tager det ham mindst et døgns samværd før han slipper sin Nintendo DS og kigger på de andre børn, og han kan ikke rigtig finde ud af andre “børnelege” end dem der foregår i poolen eller på compteren. Lucas har aldrig bemærket at han er anderledes. Hans ven der har en ADHD diagnose mødes vi med på legeplads, fordi det går som regel galt hvis vi er indendørs. Men på legeplads er der plads til hans energi og han er ikke en gene for nogen – og hvis han er, så er der plads til at han kan trække sig, eller de andre børn kan – bla. fordi mor er med til begge børn og kan tage sig af deres særlige behov. De andre børn bemærker dårligt nok at han er anderledes – for vi er alle anderledes og det er bare sådan det er. Deres anderledeshed griber ikke ind i de andre børns behov for at trives eller lære. De er ikke til gene. Så – måske man kunne vende det om sige at det er skolemiljøet der skaber et behov for at lære tolerance?

Mor er med og mor støtter i det omfang det enkelte barn har brug for det. Det er en stor forskel fra et skolemiljø og ikke en dårlig en mener jeg. Behovet ser forskelligt ud fra barn til barn. Jeg har ét barn der gladeligt taler med fremmede, når jeg er ved hans side, men som ikke vil overnatte hos nogen med mindre han virkelig føler sig tryg. Han vil ikke engang passes et par timer hos venner, med mindre det er nogen han kender godt og har det rigtig godt med. Et andet barn der under ingen omstændigheder taler med fremmede, men som derimod næsten blindt stoler på folk så snart de er over tærsklen – således har min søn i en alder af (næsten) 8 år 2-3 venner han har overnattet hos uden mor, medens min datter har været på “camping” med 2 af vores frivillige og overnattede hos en ny veninde 24 timer efter hun mødte hende første gang (vi kendte forældrene). Så ja de har mulighed for at være uden mor – hvis de har lyst. Det har de ofte ikke skal siges og det er helt OK. Det er ikke noget vi tilstræber, eller noget vi opsøger – det sker bare. Skolebørn bliver nød til at lære at klare sig uden mor, fordi det er realiteten i deres liv og læreren kan ikke tage sig af dem som deres mor ville. Unschoolede børn vælger selvstændigheden når de er klar. Personligt mener jeg at det sidste er langt sundere, men det er jo op til den enkelte familie at finde ud af hvad de mener.

Du mener at mine børn vil savne venner når de bliver større, eller synes at det er fint at de i det mindste kan vælge skolen når de bliver større. Jeg kan ikke lade være med at smile lidt – for antallet af teenagere jeg kender der er massivt skoletrætte, men som ikke får lov til at forlade skolen af deres forældre er enormt. Til gengæld kender jeg efterhånden også en del unschoolede (danske, spanske og amerikanske) teenagere og når jeg spørger dem om de savner skole eller venner så kigger de på mig som om jeg er idiot… De har alle et rigt socialt liv, kan gøre som det passer dem 90% af tiden, studere når de vil, spille guitar når de vil og være sammen med vennerne når de vil. De ved hvad skole indebærer og ikke ret mange af dem er villige til at opgive deres frihed for et kunstigt socialt fællesskab (som de fleste af deres venner tørster efter at slippe fra), slet ikke hvis det indebærer at voksne skal fortælle dem hvad de skal lave hvornår og hvordan. De er meget stærke og sunde unge mennesker – og de fleste har ingen teenageoprør ifht deres forældre (jeps jeg siger ingen, der er intet at gøre oprør imod). Så om mine venner ville lade deres børn gå i skole hvis de valgte det? Mange af dem ja, nogle få nej – men antallet der er villige til at lade børnene vælge selv er langt højere end antallet af forældre der ville lade deres børn vælge skolen fra hvis de ikke gad den 😉

Det bringer mig så tilbage til det du skriver om dine børnebørns læring når de er hos dig og det de laver dér – hvordan er det forskelligt fra det jeg laver med mine børn? Ikke ret meget, faktisk slet ikke – hvilket jo også er grunden til at middelklassens børn generelt klarer sig så godt i folkeskolen og underklassens børn ofte ikke gør det. Problemet er at når først børnene begynder i skole, så er der ikke ret meget tid til den slags. Problemet er også at børnene i skolen lærer at de har brug for en lærer og en lærebog for at lære noget. En del af dem lærer også at læring er kedeligt og langsommeligt (spørg de fleste børn der forlader folkeskolen og gymnasiet om hvad deres mening om et eller andet fag er). Det fører blandt andet til at børnene ser ned på “nørderne” – fordi de ikke har mistet deres barnlige nysgerrighed for naturfag. Unschoolede børn kan udforske et emne når de er klar – det betyder at de lærer det på ingen tid, der er ingen spildtid – resten kan bruges til socialisering 🙂 Jeg har en lille historie til dig som eksempel (min danske hjemmeskole-veninde Luna leverer):

Luna: Hr. Tilsynsførende; hvad mener de om et barn på 10 år der ikke kan læse?
Hr. T: Det er jo bekymrende og må der gøres noget ved. Det går slet SLET ikke
Luna: Hr. Tilsynsførende; hvad mener de som om et barn på 10 år der læser Shakespeare?
Hr. T: Det er jo imponerende, fantastisk. Sikke et dygtigt barn
Luna: Hr. Tilsynsførende; det er det samme barn, med nogle måneders mellemrum

Dét er forskellen! Drengen her ville ikke have fået lov til at vente til han selv var klar, skolen ville have lært ham at det var et problem at han ikke læste tidligere, at det var svært og evt også kedeligt at lære at læse, evt også kedeligt at læse – og han ville nok ikke have læst Shakespeare som 10 årig. Til gengæld ville han være overbevist om at han ikke ville have været i stand til at lære at læse hvis det ikke var for skolen…

I unschooling kan vi vente på de der vinduer af læring børn har, når barnet spørger “hvorfor kaster vi skygger?” eller “hvad ville der ske hvis vi slap en prut ud i verdensrummet?” Eller “hvad rimer på vandmelon?” Vi prøver ikke at proppe viden i hovedet på børnene før de er klar. Det at lære at læse ex. er i den sammenhæng som en tidevandsbølge, der kommer igen og igen og bliver højere for hver gang – og til sidst har de knækket koden, ingen har lært dem det, ingen undervisning har de modtaget – det er en organisk process. Den process griber skolen – ødelæggende efter min mening – ind i. Det er ikke lineært, ikke nødvendigtvis målrettet og ikke altid noget der sker i fordybelse (men det kan det også gøre, når lysten melder sig). Det bare er – altid, i alting.

English Translation:

My aunt wrote me a follow-up question to my previous post on socialization, and I will try besvare here in English first and translate my answer into English below.

Question: “Now I am a little wiser about your life and unschooling. And the kid’s contact and social interaction with other children. I have a few supplementary questions: With groups / teams I think of many things, such as turn-taking (by conversations, games and more) that listen to other children’s experiences / thoughts, but also the unity and common victories. Without mom around. Are you separated from the children at some of these gatherings? With tolerance, I am thinking a little along the same lines: to hold out that others need space, regardless of how they are. The too cumbersome, strange, quiet, fast, slow, dominant, mentally retarded, those with ADHD, autism ….. Being in common that they too must thrive. Do unschooled children get challenges in this area? Outside the parent domain? Is there a possibility for girly giggles, princess games, reflections, best friends without mom and brother being with you.

Last – because learning in markets etc it hardly differs  from all children’s learning, school or not? When my grandchildren discovers a swarm of worms in the bay and catch them in nets it results automatically in that we examine what kind of dudes these worms are, why there are so many in a few weeks, who eat them, do they bite – etc. etc. And the knowledge is much more exciting and sit better than if it were read half a page about them in a school or non-school. Wherein do you think the difference is?

Softball or football, it is common laughter and the fun experiences can be obtained in many different ways.
And a little on children who don’t thrive: I figure we are talking about children who thrive with or without schooling. Children who don’t thrive should of course always be taken care of, but it is in my opinion quite a different story. Some parents have unfortunately no resources to deal with their children’s failure to thrive, and will be unable to unschoole.
I think it’s so cool that you will at all times comply with the wishes of the children if they are going to school. So I’m not at all worried about their upcoming teenage life. Are any of your groups will NOT accept if the kids want something else?
Free choice corresponds well a bit that I am not baptized or had any faith confirmed in church, but there has always been an option if I wanted to. And just as you always have to explain why your children are not in school, I always had to answer why I’m not Christian. The other rarely question why they are members of the church, which most have never considered.
A little PS: You write that the lessons are boring AND the children being bullied – in a row. The latter may well not be those who love comrades? ”

This time I want to write a little more coherent answer, because your questions protrudes more deeply IMO – and I think that we fundamentally disagree.

The fact is that I don’t believe that children need to be without their mother before they have the desire and are ready, I do not think that children in the school “allowed” to be without mother, or “allowed” to do group work – they are not asked, it’s just how it is. It may be good for some – but it is indeed very bad for many others. My background for saying it is, just as in the article about my attitude to school – I know many of the children are taken out of school by disgruntled parents (here we are obviously talking about strong middle class parents) because they do not thrive, and I know some of the children who will have to stay in school even if they do not thrive through my mom’s work (not often middle-class parents).

I have a personal philosophy of voluntarism – and it stems from that I do not believe that anyone in this world learn anything from being forced to do things they do not like. You could choose to do something you do not like, because the gain is greater than “pain” (as f.ex. when I do the dishes every day even though I did not like it, because I hate how this looks when I do not), but I think quite effectively you can only do this in a good way, if it is voluntary. Now I am well aware that there are many children who are happy with their friend in elementary school, but many of them are not so happy for classes, some are happy for classes but not for classmates … And then there are some who are in between. Someone hates one subject, others hate others – very few students love it all, but they must attend no matter what. Much of the coercion that is in a school environment leads to bullying – I actually think that kids bully because they don’t thrive and often the school just as much the reason, as the home. The coercion in school no adult would accept in their own lives – yet we expect the children to accept it for 10 years and we wonder when they turn around and hit each other. I personally hated sport and saw no wins in either softball or football – I knew that when my “team” won, it was not because of anything I had done, quite the opposite – and I I knew that the students that I shared group with in Danish classes, whom had been placed in a group with me because I was good and could “help” them. I did not help them – I just did the job. Unless the school has changed radically, it is still very much the same.

In a real team do you need each other, or you are together because you are bound together by something else – friendship, love. The teams that are in a class are artificial – and they exist only because the teacher has determined that they must exist. Students therefore have no other motivation to cooperate than the teacher can give them. In a workgroup at work, we need each other – other people’s knowledge, labor, etc. In friendships we choose to overlook weaknesses and focus on each other’s strengths, because we like to be together, as does the family. This is only present in very fortunate circumstances in a group in school. That brings me to consideration and tolerance. I do not think my kids know what that means – and it’s not because they are intolerant, but because they simply are not aware that several of their friends are “diagnosis children” or “ethnic” – they like to be with them and that is what is important to them, they are with them when they want to and can select not to be with them when they do not want. We don’t need to change our Christmas to take account of Muslim friends, unless we want to, they just choose to not to participate if they do not like the celebrations – and if they attend it as guests, we welcome them politely with the hospitality which would be expected with guests, otherwise we do not invite them. The same goes for children with ADHD or autism – so Lucas’s friend who has an ASP diagnosis, well, he’s crazy good at everything with numbers and computers, hyper-focused on finding all the details of all the people he’s with – but takes it him at least one day together before he escapes his Nintendo DS and look at the other kids, and he can not really figure out “child play ” except those taking place in the pool or on the computer. Lucas has never noticed that he is different. His friend who has an ADHD diagnosis, we meet with in the playground because it usually goes wrong if we are indoors. But on the playground there is room for his energy and he is not a nuisance to anyone – and if he is, then there is room for him to resign, or the other children can – among other things. because the mother is helping both children and can take care of their special needs. The other children hardly notice that he is different – because we are all different and that is just the way it is. Their differences don’t interfere with the others need to thrive or learn. They are not a nuisance. So you could turn it around – maybe it is the school environment, that creates the need too learn tolerance?

Mom is there and mom and support to the extent that each child needs it. It’s a big difference from a school and not a bad one, I think. The need looks different from child to child. I have one child who gladly talks to strangers when I’m by his side, but will not spend the night with someone unless he really feels safe. He will not even accept being babysat a few hours with friends, unless it’s someone he knows well and feels really good about. Another child that under no circumstances talk to strangers, but almost blindly trust the people as soon as they are over her threshold. So my son at the age of (almost) eight years has 2-3 friends he stayed without his mom, while my daughter has been “camping” with 2 of our volunteers, and spent the night with a new friend 24 hours after she first met her (we knew the parents). So yes they have the opportunity to be without mom – if they want to. Often they don’t and that’s perfectly OK. It’s not something we strive for, or something we seek – it just happens. School children will have to learn to cope without mom, because it is the reality of their lives and the teacher can not take care of them like their mother would. Unschoolede children choose independence when they are ready. Personally, I believe that the latter is much healthier, but it is up to each family to find out what they think.

You think that my children will miss friends when they grow up, or think it’s fine that they can at least choose the school as they get bigger. I can not help but smile a little – for the number of teenagers I know who are massively school tired, but not allowed to leave school by their parents is huge. On the other hand, by now I know quite a few unschooled (Danish, Spanish and American) teenagers and when I ask them if they miss school or friends they look at me like I’m an idiot … They all have a rich social life, do as they please 90% of the time, study whenever they want, play guitar when they want to, and hang out with friends whenever they want. They know what school entails and not many of them are willing to give up their freedom for an artificial social community (that most of their friends craves to get rid of), certainly not if it involves adults to tell them what to do, when and how. They are very strong and healthy young people – and most have no teenage rebellion against their parents (Yeah I said NO, there’s nothing to rebel against). So if my friends would let their children go to school if they chose it? Many of them yes, some no – but the number who are willing to let the children choose for themselves is far higher than the number of parents would let their children choose to quit school if they don’t not care for it 😉

It brings me so back to what you write about your children children’s learning when they are with you and what they do there – how is it different from what I do with my children? Not much, actually not at all – which is also the reason that middle-class children in general are doing so well in school and lower class children often do not. The problem is that once children start school, there is not much time for that. The problem is that the kids at school learn that they need a teacher and a textbook to learn something. Some of them also learn that learning is boring and slow (ask most children leaving primary and secondary education on what their opinion on any subject is). This leads among other things to the kids looking down on “nerds” – because they have not lost their childlike curiosity for science. Unschoolede children can explore a topic when they are ready – this means that they learn it in no time, there is no wasted time – the rest can be used for socialization 🙂 I have a little story for you as an example (from my friend Luna – after a meeting with her supervisor):

Luna: Mr. Supervisor; what do you think a child of 10 years who cannot read?
Mr. T: That’s a concern and must be addressed. It is certainly not, NOT OK.
Luna: Mr. Supervisor; what do you think of a child of 10 years who reads Shakespeare?
Mr. T: That’s impressive, fantastic. What a clever child
Luna: Mr. Supervisor; it is the same child every few months apart.

That’s the difference! The boy here would not have been allowed to wait until he was ready, the school would have taught him that it was a problem that he did not read earlier that it was difficult and possibly also boring to learn to read, perhaps too, boring to read – and he probably would not have read Shakespeare at the age of 10. In return, he would be convinced that he would not have been able to learn to read if it were not for school …

In unschooling, we can wait for the windows of learning children when the child asks “why do we throw shadows?” or “what would happen if we threw a fart into space?” Or, “What rhymes with watermelon?” We’re not trying to cram knowledge into the minds of children before they are ready. Learning to read ex. in this context like a tidal wave coming in over and over and getting higher every time – and eventually they crack the code, no one has taught them that, no teaching have they received – it is an organic process. The process school interferes with – devastating in my opinion. It is not linear, not always goal oriented, and not always something happening in contemplation (but it can also do that). It just is – always, in everything.

 

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