Saturday, December 22, 2007

Guerrilla Learning

How to give your Kids a real education with or without school. By Grace Llewellyn and Amy Silver

A new book I am reading and would like to share:

"when you get down to it, unschooling is really just a fancy term for "life" or "growing up uninstitutionalized"

most of the homeschoolers- the kids in freeer, "unschooling" homes as well as those doing more traditional "School at home"- were engaged in ambitious, serious projects of one kind or another
...... in addition to their academic progress, they were learning the critical skills needed to devise a project, commit to a goal, and, at the risk of real failure, make something happen in the world."

Real learning requires meaning.
In schools it is a little too guided, too disconnected, too removed from the world.
People can be asked to absorb a certain amount of meaningless data in good faith, the promise that it will eventually be related to a larger world and transformed into information. But most people can't absorb 12 years of it.

Classrooms make poor worlds.
Children work on always putting things into their "world view", to make sense of the world around them and their questions are the most critical clue to what information is currently required by their emerging internal maps of the world.

That is why allowing kids to follow their interests can make learning so powerful.
They are searching for the missing info in their mind models.

Then it talks about the industrialized model of schools, turning out citizens to fit into cogs. That is one of the two main functions. The other is to babysit, so parents can be cogs.

Then it hits the apex of the first chapter: that it is our- the parents- ultimate responsibility to educate (or allow learning) for our kids.

I like that it also trys to help you work with in the system for some of it.

"you can view school as a deadly serious, meaningful test of what your family and children really are and the only significant source of your children's learning. Or you can choose to look with certain rules, certain penalties for losing and rewards for winning, and certain costs of playing. It doesn't have to define who your child or your family are, it doesn't have to be the only or the main source of your child's education. It probably won't much help your children find and develop their strengths, grow as a whole, healthy and spiritually connected, intellectually vital people, or find their calling in life. But neither does it have to crush their spirits"

First exercise given in the book:
List everything about which you know enough about on to contribute significantly to a conversation or to write a pithy booklet called "The beginner's guide to _____"
Write down everything you are good at- your skills, anything from webpages building to changing diaper....
Next put an a star by each of the items that you learned mainly in school or college.

I did a quick mental list, and about 99% was not learned in school.
Everything I do daily was not taught in school. I learned through doing, kind of trial by fire...
cooking, cleaning, financing, web stuff, people relationships, marketing, house repair, clothing...

Like many things in life school can be a poor master, but a good servant.
If you recognize it for what is it, and be aware of it's dangers, then you can use it as a tool
Like a skill saw.

And that concludes chapter one- hand around and I may share the best parts of other chapters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I agree with nearly everything that was said, I just wanted to add in my two cents...

From the point of view of a teacher with that same philosophy working from inside the system I find it disheartening that parents who feel this way (that schooling should be an entirely different experience) so often choose to pull their kids from the system and do nothing to change the system. Not all parents have the expertise, connections, or patience to be teachers, and not all of those driven to educate want to be parents. We (public school educators) could really use the strength of YOUR convictions to convince those in charge that they are wrong. Unfortunately, the only kids left in the schools are the ones whose parents don't understand the vast difference between education (what's happening now) and learning (what should be happening). Consequently, teachers like myself are left fighting the good fight on our own.