September 20, 2011
Learning about learning (wait, what?)
My wonderful husband (who probably doesn’t remember his offhanded comment, but I do because I’m a woman and we remember EVERYTHING) once helpfully pointed out to me that I spend a lot of time reading about teaching and learning, but I don’t seem to actually DO much with what I learn. His observation wasn’t limited to homeschooling. No, apparently I while away my days greedily sucking up all manner of knowledge which I then jealously hoard. (Or perhaps I’m reading too much into his remark…)
And to be honest, I do love knowledge for its own sake. No action required. But some knowledge just begs to be put to good use.
If I hadn’t spent months, nay years, wading through stacks of books on education theory, learning styles, learning differences/disabilities, homeschooling styles, how the brain works, etc., I wouldn’t have tried and discarded the 5,478,309 different ways to homeschool before discovering that unschooling is our golden ticket. I would’ve simply ordered school-in-a-box for my son’s grade level and insisted he read all the textbooks and fill out all the workbooks according to the curriculum’s schedule. Because everyone knows that that’s the way it’s done.
When he struggled with the traditional methods (and he would have, because he learns differently than the “average” kid), I would’ve accused him of being lazy or not trying hard enough, and our relationship would have suffered. His sense of self would have been damaged. He would have decided that there is something wrong with him, and that learning is always hard and unrewarding.
And we chose homeschooling to avoid that.
Kids are more than little walking brains for us to fill with information. I want to speak to my son’s spirit–the essence of who he is–in addition to feeding his mind. That requires that I one, know who he is, and two, reach him where he is. When I’m able to let go of my own worries and expectations and follow his lead, I am reassured that he IS learning (all the time!), and his accomplishments are even more satisfying to him because they are truly his own.
So I don’t regret the time I spent learning about learning. It has borne fruit in what I have decided not to do. And I’m not done yet! To put it in teacher-speak, it’s my continuing education.
This post can also be found at christianunschooling.com.