Sunday, August 28, 2005

Some More Questions

How does unschooling mesh with the ideal of a liberal arts education?

Let's say a child is interested in the Legend of Zelda video game, or in having a pet? (two particular interests of my 9 year old at present)

On one hand, I can *almost* see how everything is a window to the world -- everything made directly by God or indirectly by human creativity. IF everything is related to everything else, then Legend of Zelda could lead to so many things -- interest in designing or art, in creating one's own stories, in skills of reading and strategic thinking and visual understanding.

On the other hand, I worry a bit about "dead ends" -- things that lead to prefer sitting on a floor pushing a button to running about outside, or that lead to a modern-type contempt for anything that's not electronic.

I think that perhaps that "lead to"s -- whether negative or positive -- need a bit more thinking about. Is this talking about secondary ends vs primary? Does Legend of Zelda have or need a utilitarian purpose?

Is it a matter of time spent? If I am spending my time learning about non-essentials, I miss out on the essentials?

But even in an unschooling household, or especially one, don't kids basically pick up on what's important to their parents -- *whatever that is*? So if the parents value these things, ie the parents are truly interested in literature or philosophy or whatever, the kids see that value modelled for them, as opposed to pushed on them artificially?

Hmm, I don't like that last sentence. "Pushed on them artificially" is knee-jerk. When we value something, we DO push it. That's part of the way we show we value it. Of course, when we value something, we don't do things illegitimately to show we value it (at least, not properly....).

Further than that, whenever we are talking about "converting" another human being, no matter how small, we are talking about what methods are not only the most effective but the most truthful, with the most integrity to our message, and part of that package seems to be a respect for the dignity of the person.

In other words, approaching a liberal education servilely -- beat 'em, or they won't learn -- isn't a real liberal education. So part of a liberal education MUST be the respect for and care for the person's free will and consent.

No comments: