November 17, 2010

I saw my first homeschool bumper sticker yesterday:  Homeschool, where learning and love go hand in hand.  I admit it made me smile.  A scruffy unshaven cute middle aged dad was driving the minivan.   It all looked so typical and familiar I thought: there is my tribe.  It was a moment of happy recognition.

Riley and I have taken up an interest in math.  This is the first time anyone in our homeschool has shown any interest, outwardly.  Apparently the kids have been thinking about it.  We were talking about the multiplication tables and Riley said,  "oh yeah, Henry is really good at math, he helps me calculate my screen time."   Right, unschooling still and always surprises me.  Folks think I'm over here on the blog beating my drum. Actually, I'm convincing myself.  When it all works I'm surprised and thrilled every time.

I'm working hard to set down notions of ahead and behind.  Because its not a helpful rubric.  All children are ahead and behind in many ways. What does it matter?

It doesn't matter because it doesn't tell us anything about the way children really learn.  The industrial timeline of elementary education is a fabrication and an irrelevancy.  Cramming math facts at 5, 7, or 9, says nothing for the shape of the child's mind.  Any child with interest can cover math from 1+1 through Algebra II in a year.   Homeschoolers do it all the time.  Anyone can do it, if that's a goal.

Sitting with workbooks noticing patterns and enjoying ourselves, with a genuine feeling of love and pleasure in the room, that's math unschooling style.  Its lovely.  Its fun.  For Ry, its normal.  For me, its almost unspeakably tender and surprising.   This is learning?  This is caring?  This is math?  What the what?

1 comment:

val said...

That's the thing--we don't really get WHY it works or HOW, and yet it undeniably does.

I tell this to people all the time--I don't know why it works. It totally does, but HOW? We don't have some super smart guy homeschool. I'm so glad, but still baffled.

love, Val