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Planning Ahead

 
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makitam
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Joined: 11 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:50 am    Post subject: Planning Ahead Reply with quote

My son is just 18 months old, and I'm single, but I'm going to do everything I can to put myself in a postion for unschooling him. Seems like it might be a challenge so I'm starting my research early. Education, unschooling in particular, has been an interest of mine since my college days, so I'll be interested in reading what you experienced folks have to say.
I'm also the manager for a book discussion forum and a topic has come up recently that begs the perspective of educators and high school aged students. Someone brought up the book Lord of the Flies and whether it's a good idea to "teach" it to kids. That's at www.aroundabook.com, if you're interested.
You'll be seeing me on here, I'll have to build a signature soon.
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Adrienne
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sparkie12
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:43 pm    Post subject: Hello Reply with quote

Hello, Adrienne!! Cool

I am kind of an unschooler too. I love the concept and have actually been watching it work with my 5 & 3 year old sons. There is a great book called The Unschooling Handbook. It is a compilation of interviews from several unschooling families and how they decided to use this approach and how it is working for them. I thought you might want to check it out.

I'll be sure to check the link you posted though I don't know anything about Lord of the Flies. Sorry.

Welcome anyway, Robin
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:25 pm    Post subject: Lord of the Flies is not a good book to assign, imho: Reply with quote

I'm reading through a summary of Lord of the Flies, and it doesn't seem to me like it's worth teaching from. What do you gain by reading a book like this? Yes, children left alone on an island could easily turn feral and start beating or killing each other, but unless you want to encourage these sorts of actions in your students, you don't assign them a book like Lord of the Flies. You want something more like Swiss Family Robinson or Island of the Blue Dolphins.
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hbmom36
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord of the Flies is not a good book to assign, imho: Reply with quote

Theodore wrote:
I'm reading through a summary of Lord of the Flies, and it doesn't seem to me like it's worth teaching from. What do you gain by reading a book like this? Yes, children left alone on an island could easily turn feral and start beating or killing each other, but unless you want to encourage these sorts of actions in your students, you don't assign them a book like Lord of the Flies. You want something more like Swiss Family Robinson or Island of the Blue Dolphins.


I learned a lot from reading Lord of The Flies-but I read it on my own, not in a class. I don't believe you would want to introduce it to kids unless you really know how stable they are (mentally, socially and the family situation).
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MeganWiles
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord of the Flies is not a good book to assign, imho: Reply with quote

Theodore wrote:
What do you gain by reading a book like this? Yes, children left alone on an island could easily turn feral and start beating or killing each other, but unless you want to encourage these sorts of actions in your students, you don't assign them a book like Lord of the Flies. You want something more like Swiss Family Robinson or Island of the Blue Dolphins.


(Trying this quoting thing for the first time, so let's hope it works.)

I read Lord of the Flies on my own, and wasn't a huge fan, but I think that it is short sighted to believe that using a book with negative examples cannot be a teaching tool for positive behavior. Many classic and not-so-classic works of fiction demonstrate negative aspects of life, and are a great springboard for a discussion with your child. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a great educational piece of literature even though it depicts slavery, Macbeth focuses on greed and deceit, Fahrenheit 451 depicts censorship to an extreme and is great to get kids thinking.

Just because a book depicts unpleasant actions does not mean that children will demonstrate unpleasant behaviors. In fact, I think books that depict negative actions along with their negative consequences, like the ones I mentioned, and including Lord of the Flies, are great teaching tools. This is especially true when the books are used for guided reading with a parent.

Heck, the bible is full of these types of stories of people run-a-muck, and many with lots of blood and gore as well.

A book like Lord of the Flies is certainly intended for a more mature audience. However, if you have a teenager who is studying or wondering about the purpose of government and authority, this book is a very gory illustration of what can go wrong in society if we do not have structure, rules, and consequences.
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:39 am    Post subject: Huckleberry Finn is not the same thing as Lord of the Flies: Reply with quote

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may depict slavery, but that is not the main focus of the book, and our main character Huck is not shown mistreating slaves. In fact, Jim is shown to be a human being throughout the book just like everyone else, and Huck frees him at the end. Equating Huckleberry Finn with Lord of the Flies is going a bit far imho.
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MeganWiles
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I need a refresher on Lord of the Flies, but as I recall the main character, Ralph, for the most part, is not a participant in the brutality, but rather is trying to establish a set of fair rules to live by including the passing of the conch shell. Much like Huck, he finds himself a member of a cruel society, but in the end he takes the side of a mistreated character, Piggy, but in this case is unable to defend him from the others.

In any case, my point was simply this: to show the negative side of humanity can be a valid teaching tool. All of my examples were those of literature in which a character or society as a whole were making decisions that I think we can all agree were negative, and yet there is something to be learned from all of those texts, if you choose to take a teaching a approach.
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord of the Flies is not a good book to assign, imho: Reply with quote

Yes, but the balance of the material should be much more in favor of the "good" viewpoint than the "bad" viewpoint. To give an example of what I mean, would you assign a book about inmates in a state prison who primarily spend their time assaulting one another in various nasty ways, but are sometimes held back by the one or two nicer inmates? Both viewpoints are given, but the balance is heavily in favor of the "bad" viewpoint, therefore I personally wouldn't assign something like that to teens.
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Last edited by Theodore on Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MeganWiles
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose I would need a more specific example of a piece of literature to make a judgement. But in general I think that there are many valuable books that show problems in individuals and society, that lead to suffering. In this way they demonstate the consequences of inappropriate or immoral actions. Think of all the greek tragedies, filled with hubris, The Crucible a story of condemnation where the innocent hang, The Pearl telling of greed and superstition and ending with the death of a child, there are so many great plays and novels that demonstrate human suffering and teach so much about morality, history and life.

I don't think that everything you have your children read should focus on the bad, but there should be a balance, and to ask, as you did, "What do you gain by reading a book like this?" seems to negate the value that all these works bring to our lives. They allow us to experience the anguish of life that comes from cruelty and poor choices that all humans are capable of, and remind us to stay on the right path. To me that is a very valuable lesson.
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