Sunday, January 04, 2009

Retrospective -- Eleven Questions

I already wrote this first paragraph as a note in another post where it didn't fit, so I'm moving it to its own post.

I just went past post #1,111 on this blog. I didn't even notice reaching 1000. So I will celebrate 1111 as a milestone. Aidan's favorite number is 11. He *contemplates* eleven. He likes to write 11's on papers and type them on word processors and trace them when he sees them on license plates. I love to see the way he delights in things for themselves -- their elevenness. I see that in a lot of his reactions to the world. ... a joy in the things themselves.

Since I am past a blogging milestone, PLUS it is the beginning of a new year, I've been looking back over the archives. This blog was mostly started as a quiet place to think over my questions about unschooling. So I would write questions out to myself -- these were from August 2005:

  1. Do we indeed learn all the time? How could anyone dispute that? I'm sure my skepticism is a bit better expressed by the question: Are some forms of learning more focused and more effective than others?
  2. Is learning more effective when it's driven by personal desire?
  3. Are some kinds of learning more valuable intrinsically than others?
  4. How does unschooling mesh with the ideal of a liberal arts education?
  5. 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?
  6. Is it a matter of time spent? If I am spending my time learning about non-essentials, I miss out on the essentials?
  7. 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?
  8. Granted that learning the 3Rs is not difficult, are the basic 3Rs "enough"? Catholics have a long honorable tradition of intellectual excellence, involving the study of Latin and Greek, logic and rhetoric, etc.
  9. While not every student can or should be a second Thomas Aquinas, isn't there a sort of heritage beyond reading, writing and 'rithetic that we owe some sort of responsibility to?
  10. Now let's say I DID move a bit more towards unschooling this school year. What would that actually involve, in our homeschool?
  11. .... if Catholic character formation can be like that (ie mostly positive) without being permissive (we certainly have our permissive moments but I'm talking about the overall pattern and direction here), why can't academic education be like that?
I really never did come to find settled answers to many of these. (The short answers would be Yes, Indeed, Yes, Yes, Yes, To Some Extent, Yes, No, Not Precisely, Still Not Sure, Probably, To A Significant Extent, No, Yes, Details to Follow, and Still Thinking on This One). But the questions, and the attempts to think through them, and work through them into our lives, were fruitful. And it is nice to look back and see little time capsules of our lives.

That reassures me, somehow, that the mental effort I've been making to understand these pesky moderns in light of Catholic ideas and my own reasoning process can bear fruit, too, at least in my own understanding of things. (though I'll probably move it to the back burner for a while once I've finished the Kant book).

On towards post 2000. By that time Aidan may be 11 himself!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love these questions! I think they would be a wonderful thing to explore (especially the ones that bring in Catholicism) on the the unschoolingcatholics blog that Leonie has started.