January 22, 2011

"You'll find us rough, sir, but you'll find us ready." ~Mr. Peggotty

Riley asked for assignments the other day.  "Like what kids do in school, ya know, projects and stuff."  I'll pick up some advanced and cool looking math curricula I saw at A.C Moore.  (Of all places?)  This is unschooling too.  Its all about seeking to learn.  If they seek classes, planned lessons, any course of study we still call it unschooling.  Because they want to learn. And more importantly, they control their learning.  But it made me a little sad, they way she framed her request.  Partly because I suppose the notion of assignments arises from some conversation with a child who is forced to study.  She even asked me for grades. Nevertheless, she is eager.  And that is the goal from my point of view.

Her request puts me in mind of the day, not too far off now, they'll leave for high school or college. I don't believe in shoving them out the door as frightened clinging babies.  I want to see them striding out the door, thrilled, excited, surely nervous but old enough to be genuinely capable.  Not easily frightened babies but bright young folks ready to learn.  Even if they go with some hesitation and a sentimental glance back, they go strong and capable and ready. Isn't it more appropriate, when its time for the children to go, the parents are sad and not the children?  That's how it should be, perhaps, rather than the new normal: relieved secretly happy parents escaping from sobbing terrified babies.

4 comments:

Cecelia (CC) said...

I can see you all overjoyed at that moment. I can imagine the high-fives you give each other, the smiles on your faces, the confidence of choosing 'now'. Sure, sad. Sure. And oh so very happy. It's a great goal. Thanks for that picture.

Cecelia (CC) said...

you have surely rejected this idea yet, we are doing it, so, in case for some reason it didn't occur to you (that's just a silly notion, I know)...there are a plethora of online learning sites. I like the self-directed aspect: use as you wish, log your own hours. Assign to yourself. Share your process. They like it. Sutton likes IXL math. Rufus likes taking sample EOG tests and seeing my face light up with amazement. Just seems like 'assignments' means something else. If mine asked for it, they would really mean, "I want you to pay attention" or "I want to play 'school' and pretend at that life" or some such thing, rather than really wanting to learn some topic.

Cecelia (CC) said...

nevermind that last comment - your story I think is intended as a commentary on the process of unschooling, a sort of meta-comment rather than any kind of wrestle with details. Thanks so much for your view of the process. It's so helpful.

Katherine said...

Oh CC, my post is just a snap shot of what actually happened. And what I thought of that. Not complicated at all.

I'm intrigued that Rufus is taking EOGs online somewhere. That's cool. My kids might enjoy that.

Maybe you're insulated from the argument. Are you aware folks get perspersnippity about defining unschool? Odd but true...