Yesterday I went to the library. I had about 100 books. OK- only twenty or thirty but it caused me to stand at the self check out for quite come time. While I was looking for books I witnessed several 'tutoring sessions' in the break out rooms. Snore. But the last one I heard was while I was standing there checking out books. I don't have the words quite right... but the confusion (mine) was evident..as was the student's.
Tutor: What is a mole?
Student: silence. I don't know.
Tutor: OK so what is a mole?
Student: nothing. I pictured a blank stare.
Tutor: How much is a mole
Student: I don't know.
Tutor: If I say I have a dozen then I have a dozen. So if I say I have a mol then how much do I have?
Student: A mole?
(I'm still not sure if it is mole or mol. Wikipedia showed it mole.)
I had to stay there and listen more so I feigned looking at the 'Macy's passes' which were right there. The conversation got no better.
All the way home I was thinking, WHAT IF we didn't teach students what a mole was unless they NEEDED to know what a mole was? I learned that when I was in college I think. I really don't remember what it is and I couldn't have answered what the tutor was saying. I had to suppress the urge to turn around and say, "IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!" What if we went for a student's PASSION and let them dig deep into that? I wonder how much farther we would be ahead in all fields of study.
I did end up finding a Macy's pass to Cranbrook Science Center so I had to go to the desk. I asked the librarian, "do you know what a mole is?" Really.. I did. She did not know what the scientific term was although she does remember learning it at some point. She was thinking 'skin mole' when I asked the question.
So back to the 'what if.' What if.. we exposed children to many different things. Perhaps we did expose them to ALL the definitions of mole. (Quick.. how many definitions can you come up with?) But then, we trained them up in the way they should go- in their bent- their strengths- their passion....What would happen?
I love the concept of Unschooling but Andrew needs to learn to be a good apprentice. So I use things he is excited about, and things he is not, to learn how to apprentice. But when it comes to LEARNING, I try and go into depth on the things he is really interested about. But I also do exposure. I picked up a book on CD; The World according to Humphrey, along with the printed version. Then when I was in non-fiction I picked up a book on hamsters. (Humphrey is a hamster.) We will practice our listening w/ the CD as well as reading comprehension. Then we can do some biology with the non-fiction book. I also found several 'how to' books for comic drawing. (That would be fine motor.) I found "Daddy Goose" on CD and in print. (He loves poetry.) We will still do math and 'boring history' but we do that so that he will learn to apprentice. He will not learn as much that way right now. I found a very cool book on fractions that I think he WILL learn from. We will do chores.... and he will balk at it but learn to apprentice.
So I am not for a free-for-all. But I just don't think we have to drill and sKILL the tedium. I also don't see it changing any time soon.
Gratitude.. I am thankful for my right to homeschool freely. I voted last week for a school board member that I thought was for my rights but not so sure anymore. I learned more AFTER I voted for him that although he is 'pro homeschooling' he is also 'pro testing.' Does ANYONE think NCLB has helped things? As one friend said in reference to the laws and elections, "stay on your knees."
I think the rapture will happen before our society will embrace creativity in life and learning. Maybe it will take the rapture for that to happen.
But right now I am very thankful that I can teach Andrew in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it. Amen.