Tuesday, August 28, 2007

peachick pedagogy

JoVE and Steph made some good points about unschooling in the comment section of my last post. JoVE said:

Personally, I think that defining unschooling as no structure at all (which many do) is a misinterpretation of the term. As I see it “schooling” is a specific combination of things that include not only content but also certain forms of discipline and organization of learning. There are a lot of ways to facilitate children’s learning that do not conform to “schooling” and could thus be called “unschooling”.

So the fact that we encourage (or even require) certain subjects and ask our kids to spend 20 minutes a day on some of them is quite different from an approach that thinks that “school” just take so many hours a day all of which are pretty structured, with a set scope and sequence for subjects, etc.

Steph said:

I think of unschooling as something like Frank Smith’s model (The Book of Learning & Forgetting) - the children primarily absorb interests and knowledge from the people around them rather than studying in an intentional way. Your children are absorbing many of your passions (many of which are Latin centered) and drawing from your knowledge. All of it (your interest in unschooling and your classical leanings) seem to fit together seamlessly.

One of the nice things about blogging is that you suddenly get a glimmer of what you are thinking, just as you are writing it out, and then if you’re fortunate, you get a couple of comments that put it more clearly still.

So maybe my “unschooling in method, classical in content” can be simplified still further into a sort of relationship-model. As Steph mentioned, Frank Smith in The Book of Learning and Forgetting talks about how easy learning is. You learn from your community, your “club”, almost as easily as you breathe.

Why is this important to get clear? Hmm, that’s hard to explain, but I suppose I get a bit compartmentalized when I’m not careful. Thinking of these two things as integrated rather than two separate streams that mingle uneasily would be freeing, somehow.

(Liam sent me this picture of a peahen and its chick — there is a muster, or an ostentation of them, take your pick, at his college)


(The peachick by itself — Liam said it was much more curious and less cautious than its mother and was approaching him without fear. Is this one of those writerly metaphors trying to happen? Sorry, but it will have to fend for itself — its author is too tired out right now)