September 20, 2011

Learning about learning (wait, what?)

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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.

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  1. You are like my TWIN! I did (er Do?) the exact same thing! I spend hours learning about how to do stuff (and sometimes I become bored once I understand but I digress) and through all of this I discovered GREAT ways to teach my kids - and teach them to their individual strengths. I'm so happy to have found someone like me, that I'm hitting the follow button right now :)

    Glad I visited from the Hop!

    Recent Post:Turn Dinner into a World Adventure

  2. Yes! I agree totally! Even if you don't use the knowledge today, it's always there for when you need it:) That's what I tell my husband when he reminds me about my unused graduate degree:)

  3. I have definitely learned that the same things don't work for every child and have dealt with the frustrations of trying to push things on them that they just don't get without realizing I needed to change my methods. At our house it's my husband that loves knowledge for it's own sake! I can see myself saying a similar statement to him. :)

  4. Yep, I'm obsessed with learning. Love it. =)
    I have such issues with going with my instincts and allowing us to unschool. Half of the time I praise it and say how great it is. Then my neurotic grew-up-in-a-school-environment side takes over and convinces myself that we're not "learning" enough. Argh.
    Love the cartoon...that's so me. =O}

    Visiting you from the HHH!

  5. Such an interesting post! I still struggle with this. My kids are in public school, but even getting my girls to read feels like such a chore most days. I'm hoping to do better and find some methods that will work for my kids. :)

  6. Good to hear I'm part of such an awesome club, y'all! :) I still struggle with anxiety about our path sometimes. I would love to be one of those super confident unschooling moms with no worries. Actually, being one of those super confident moms IN GENERAL would be nice! (Do they exist?)