Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I don't get it

If Hubster reaches down into the creek and grabs a baby painted turtle and lets the boyshold it, love it, and feel its scratchy claws on their skin, that is "messing around by the bridge"...

...But if we go to a nature center and see a painted turtle behind glass, that's an "educational field trip"?

If my kids spontaneously and by their own choice build two fishing poles out of Magnetix toys, stand atop the couch and fish for creatures made out of other Magnetix, they are "just playing"...

...But if I create a detailed lesson plan about magnetism and order them to use magnets to build something functional and/or fun...that's "learning"?

If Ooky bakes a pudding cake, almost completely by himself, he's "being cute", "making a mess" or "making dessert"...

...But if Ooky would have made it in school, it would have been considered a "fantastic home ec. project"?

If we play a game of badminton or field hockey in the backyard, we're just "running off some energy"...

...But if we were to do it at school, it would be considered gym?

When you really look at the world and realize that learning is happening just as often and as naturally as breathing does, you can't go back. You can't shut off that realization. You look at the world in a completely different way. Forever. I really feel in the last couple months a light has been turned on for me, and its almost so bright it makes my head spin. Sometimes it hurts my eyes.

I wonder why other people don't see it.


Kim said...

I wonder the same things all the time! But I love how all the "messing around", "running off energy", and "just playing" are all such richer experiences than any "educational learning experiences" that can be found in any classroom! Gotta love this life! :)

By the way, I just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE it!

Stephanie said...

An excellent post!

Sometimes when I post about our days I wonder along these lines... if folks are thinking "play, play, play" - but then... two things...
one) most who visit us have a similar life, I think, and understand it pretty well
and two) I don't have time or the inclination to dissect our days and to put them into tiny boxes.

Besides, [grin] most of the time when I'm wondering if our activities are getting a bit chaotic and disconnected, something happens to connect it all again. :)

What you're speaking of is reinforced, also, when you visit the teacher/home ed shops, so many things are tools to simulate real life experiences. Those are good places to visit to get your head on straight again.

I often say that school imitates a life well lived, and I believe that.

Ruralmama said...

Awesome post!

I get those same moments of almost-surreal comparison going as well. Remember in school when they'd give you a pile of Popsicle sticks and tell you to build a bridge or something out of them? Our kids are coming up with stuff like that, on the fly, all the time! To them it's a completely new concept, it's play, it just *is* and doesn't have all the trappings of "No Child Left Behind" duct taped to it either. Sure, we whip out a workbook every now and then, but by far the most valuable lessons we are learning together happen when we are just "doing stuff".
Incredible how it works, isn't it?

Sherry said...

I totally relate.

Every time someone asks me if we're "done with school yet" (as in, for summer), I just stand there staring at them for a few seconds. I haven't figured out how to respond to this yet. I usually say something like, "We learn all the time--year round, and just take breaks whenever we want." Which doesn't accurately define the situation, but at least gets them a few steps closer to our reality. It seems such a ridiculous question. I know that they just don't get it. To them school is the same whether at school or at home. They just don't count (or even realize) all the natural learning that takes place.

mamak said...

Man, i love these posts of yours! Why can't all my cool blog friends live closer. I would have the most perfect neighborhood!