Monday, October 03, 2005

Have You Started Yet?

I've been asked this question a lot recently. As is my wont, I have no idea how to answer question. I'm hoping that with experience, I'll work out my insecurities and irritations and be able to give a meaningful and considerate response. Until then, here are some possible replies:

"No, we really don't do anything."
Meaning I don't use any formal curriculum and we don't have a schedule. I wouldn't mind having a loose structure or schedule, but this simply isn't our season for it. I've got a preschooler and a kindergartner. The preschooler is alternatively the sweetest thing in the world or an annoying, whining, negative mess. And its unpredictable. So, thus far, we go with the flow.

"Yes. Truth is, we never stopped."
Actually, she has been learning continually from birth and there is no way I could stop her even if I tried. Nearly everything the kids do is a learning experience. They learn constantly. I don't teach, I facilitate and stay out of the way. Here, have some fairy dust...lalalalala...

I don't sit them down for lessons and we don't have a class schedule. I suppose we might someday, but we haven't started yet. Right now, we just follow our interests and the learning flows.

"Your question simply demonstrates that you ascribe to a system which deems itself to be an expert and you to be incidental, at best, and a nuisance, at worst."
But thanks for asking. This question highlights the divergence in our thinking. Or in other words, no matter what I say, you'll probably think I'm crazy.

"Kind of."
Look, I know you're really not interested in my diatribes and liberal, feel-good approach to education, but thanks for your interest.


Anne Zelenka said...

Sounds like the questioning increases a notch when it's kindergarten instead of preschool. Back when we were kids (too long ago), kindergarten was a couple hours of group playtime. Now kids are expected to sit at their desks and do their workbooks.

I had an experience you might identify with... we went to a luau last week when we had a visitor in town. I was chatting with another mother there who asked how old Anna was. When she found out she was five, the mother said, "so you're missing school to be here!" I told her, no, we live here on Maui. But still--so what if she was missing school?

As for your technical issues, I've had that problem with "save as draft" in the past but it seemed more intermittent than the problem you're dealing with. I will watch out for that if I ever feel inspired to write a blog post again.

H. Stallard said...

Teachers and most schooled parents have a very peculiar mind set about learning. At the beginning of each school year you will hear teachers moaning about how they must spend the entire first six-weeks of school to just catch the kids back up to where they were at the end of last year, meaning that during the summer not only did no learning take place but an actual regression of learning has occurred. When I would hear this, I would envision summer as a giant leach attached to the kids’ brains, slowly sucking out the hard earned knowledge won during the school year. :)

Marjorie said...

Hi -- thanks for your comments. Anne, as you know, around here, many kindergartens are full-day, which I think contributes to the idea that there is a lot of 'teaching' going on in kindergarten. Howard mentions the summer leach (I love the metaphor!) which seems to make it clear that they can teach all they want but they can't guarantee learning.

To me, it all sounds so hard on the kids.

terrible speller said...

I am a home schooling mom as well. What amuses me is how much my mom keeps track of our "attendance" . She is constantly concerned that we are not schooling enough. It used to really bother me, but now I just turn my head and smile real big. Funny how a lot of people question the structure of your own little "family private school". My grandma who was a preschool teacher for 30 years, loves to choose to correct and criticize my methods instead of encourage. It took me a while to get over it. But I did. It's so freeing not living for the approval of family, friends, etc.

Sorry for the long comment. Just a side note. I like your blog. Keep on keeping it real.

Marjorie said...

Comment as long as you like, TS, thanks! I'm always trying to balance my personal annoyance with a considerate response to what might be genuine concern for my kids by others. Though I don't think I'd take your grandma's too well. Good for you for getting over it. Thats another reason I love these blogs, its another way of finding community.