April 9, 2010

HELL YES. I think this is a beautiful illustration of unschooling. Unschooling doesn't mean you absorb what you love, like, majikally, or what'ev. It means you work work work at what you love. You learn how to learn about what you love. And in the process you learn how to learn. And once you learn how to learn, you can learn anything. As soon as children really get that - they get that they can learn anything. Talk about empowerment.  And what better way to teach a child how to learn?  I took an excellent class in college. It was a literature class. The prof told us to figure out how we learn, to learn how to learn. He said it was key. Like, DUH. Why don't they spend 13 years teaching THAT to children? Because ..............oh............... "they" don't know how to teach children how to learn. Its too individual, for one thing. And its too mysterious, for another.

You know Candy, this makes my day. Thank you. Because I really need to put the string down and get out of the corner and go make dinner. And you just made that whole thing seem easier. Because you just validated all my work, here protecting the children's right to explore and play. THANK YOU.


Cecelia (CC) said...

OK, what did I miss?

Ami said...

I was wondering the same thing.
Enlighten us?

Cecelia (CC) said...

I came back to reread this just because I spent the day with a family member who is scared for my children. It takes energy to hold the space. Your notes help me see a way that is still foggy for me but clear as a suny day for my partner - so I get to hear it from another source. Thanks.

Laura Inglles said...

You, Sister, are a nut job! When those kids turn on you (when they move out and become aware of the emotional vice-grip you have on them) they may never speak to you again. But, you'll still have your cow, complacent husband and your three "blog" friends

Hillary Mac said...

You, Laura Inglles, are a bitch. What's your pay off being rude here? Go get busy living your own life.

Cecelia (CC) said...

Ummm, Laura? you doing OK? Them's fighting words. Anything we can do to help you get your needs met at less cost? We're all learning here. What has you angry?

Katherine said...

I think "sister" is an interesting word to invoke....

Anonymous said...

Three blog friends? Apparently Ms. Inglles (who doesn't know how to spell the literary person she is alluding to) does not realize how much traffic this blog actually gets...but Ms. Inglles seems interested enough to actually stop by, read and post. Wow.

Why is Laura so interested in someone who is a nut job? Why does it matter? Tell us Laura, we really want to know what investment you have in this? But that is a definition of troll isn't it. They have nothing better to do. It makes me wonder about Lauras own family. If Laura is so busy hatin' what is Laura's life like?

Clearly, Laura wants a cow. Or a hobby. Or a life. Better yet, therapy.


Cecelia (CC) said...

Kat...forget Little House, What Was the post about???

Sarah said...

Leaving Laura 'Inglles' out of it, something in your post woke a memory in me.

When I was having a *lot* of trouble with math in middle school, my dad (an absolutely brilliant man who was stymied by my apparent lack of math skills since all of my siblings were as brilliant in math as he was) sat me down and said "School is for learning how to learn. That's the most important thing you'll learn in school. Buckle down and learn math and you'll be teaching your brain how to learn."

He had the right idea, but the wrong venue, the wrong process.

How is it that we learn so very much up to the age of five, but after the age of five we require school and rote learning? How is it that what we had no fear or thoughts of 'I'm stupid' or 'can't' about learning, but once we start with rote learning - either in school or in 'school at home' - we start thinking those thoughts about specific subjects? How is it that we, as parents, not only allow - but sometimes force - our children to abandon learning for interest and love and instead think that it must be standardized and spoon-fed and tested?

Interesting thoughts ... especially for Laura Ingalls who learned so very much in the years before she moved close enough to town to attend a school.

MOM #1 said...

Well, I, for one, love. it. all.

Keep sharing.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I would love it if my students and their parents cared as much as you. I find it offensive, however, that you seem to group all teachers into "they". Is it incomprehensible to you that there may actually be decent teachers out there that ARE making a difference? After all, it seems that you are a teacher of your own children as you help them learn to learn...So are you included in your "they". Rudyard Kipling said, "All the people like us are we, and everyone else is They." Perhaps part of your job as a teacher helping your children to learn how to learn is helping them to understand themselves and show some tolerance for how others choose to grow and learn.

Katherine said...

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."

Hey there Anonymous, I'll give you a free pass this once. But if you want to chat here you'll have to get an identity.

I am a school teacher. Which is to say, I've been paid to work in several different schools. And I know (and love) many excellent teachers. And I thank God for them.

I oppose the inane system of education in this country. I think its profoundly broken. Some kids do well. Some kids survive unscathed. Most kids are poorly served. If you spent a year unschooling you might discover what I'm talking about. I know its radical. I know its hard to hear. I hate saying it, frankly. I want our industrial school system to be excellent. I would even accept good enough. Mostly, I think its damaging for children.

It might be an interesting exercise for you to go look for studies proving industrial elementary education is better for children. Or simply, that's it beneficial.

If you choose to spend some more time learning about unschooling, I think you will discover the remedy for parents and children who don't care. There is no uncaring in unschooling. Which might sum up the difference perfectly.

Anonymous said...

You're right. If I looked into it, I might think unschooling was great. You are right, there is a lot that is wrong with education today.
My point, however, is that grouping all teachers together as "uncaring" and referring to them as "they" (your quotation marks, not mine, which I'm not sure I understand. Was it intended to be ironic? An ironic they?) is not the best way to convince people that your way is the right way. I was simply asking for a bit of tolerance. Accept people who are doing the best that they can. Teachers that are trying their hardest to help children find their interests.
Teaching is my passion and my students are incredible. There isn't a lot of parental support at my lower-income/inner city school, but we (teachers and students) do the best that we can do.
I'm not trying to be rude, and I actually plan on looking up unschooling. I just don't appreciate being grouped into something that you make out to be the worst thing ever.

- Emily

Katherine said...

Emily, I haven't been clear. I apologize. I don't blame teachers. I blame the system in which you have to work. "They" is the the Institution. If you are interested in articles I'd be happy to pass along some links. Have you read John Taylor Gatto? He has an interesting perspective.

Think about why you believe in institutional elementary education, as you teach it. (Beyond the democratic ideal that all children deserve an education - I very much agree with that.) Can you explain what works well and why? The fact is, there is very little science to support your work. (And even still, some great teachers will facilitate great moments for their kids. Which is amazing.) The fact is, 95% of your job is babysitting. I do understand that your loving care may be some of the only loving care some of your children receive. I'm sure they are lucky to have you.

There is, perhaps, no science to back up unschooling either. Then again, its not compulsory and its not making any children unhappy. Its based on the idea that humans are hardwired to learn. Actually it is difficult to hinder learning in healthy well fed happy children who are reasonably free. (Reasonable is a key word. I'm not one of the unschoolers who don't believe in any rules.) Unschooling works because of something most adults do not understand in our society. Children learn naturally. Children like to learn. Children are hungry to learn. Children learn like gangbusters....as long as you don't put them in school. And since almost all children are forced into school this secret truth remains obscure.

Unschooling is the most radical and unexpected thing I have ever encountered. I understand how hard it is to understand. It is quite odd. But, it works. And it works in the most delightfully simple, sublime, subtle, and happy way. Which is why I like to advocate for unschooling.

Are you a Mom? And please know, I welcome intelligent discussion. I appreciate you taking the time to voice your opinion thoughtfully. And thanks for introducing yourself. :o)

Katherine said...

Here we go: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sanjoy/benezet/three.pdf

This is interesting as well: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200909/how-developmental-psychology-s-marriage-the-school-system-distorts-our-und

Katherine said...

"The Six Lesson School Teacher": http://www.cantrip.org/gatto.html

"Discovering Assumptions":

Katherine said...

"Race To Nowhere":

Your Savvy Psychic said...

Lucky you, lucky your children. Keep up the good work, don't pay attention to the naysayers, love yourself. Thanks for your good work.