I've been thinking on lately the fact that our blog doesn't say hardly anywhere, "Unschoolers!".
Not that I want to separate ourselves from anyone else, or to make the distinction because of any imagined superiority.... but one of the whole reasons of this blog (there are so many) is that I imagine the doings and beings of our everyday lives to be evidence that living in joy is Enough.
You can Play (with everything!).... and it is Enough.
Children can explore and discover and absorb at their own pace... and it is Enough.
Learning and living can be had with Joy and Choice as the main objectives, and it will be Enough.
Sometimes I think of the telling about the processes (such as Trev's learning to read on his own, without any "lessons", and now Maddie's learning to write), showing pictures of the shelves, and writing the snippets of the everyday discoveries and play as a record of a twenty-year experiment....
To live life as fantastically, well-ly, and richly as possible - ie to live and grow in Happiness.
Wheelbarrow races and butterfly chases. Painting as a possibility every single day. Favorite museums and galleries are considered home turf. Always Yes! to a snowcone. Cutting literary teeth on words like Jurassic and Parasaurolophus. Learning to read and spell and round-up numbers and read a map and recognize patterns while playing super-fun computer games. Holding snakes that Daddy catches in the wild. Turning over rocks. Mixing and exploding things on the kitchen table.
Of course I can't know the result, can I? But I can look at two always unschooled children, and tell you whether or not they've ever learned anything.
And I can guess that they will be much like their young selves when they are grown.
And I can say with a certain heart that if the catastrophic result of living in Happiness and pursuing Joy should cause us to be discontent to live and work and have relationships in Misery, and we're always instead led by Joy, then we'll just have to live with those results. [rolls eyes.]
Along these same lines, I've shared in the last few months that my main objective as far as things we learn about and Do and Be are led by my personal (parental/facilitator) educational objectives: Discover and Create. I've felt that these two things are nice, big, encompassing ideas - and if we can include these two things in our Every Day's, then we're doing pretty fine.
I've since added another, though I'm not quite sure yet what to call it. It looks like processing. Thinking. Analyzing. Connecting.
I don't imagine that this is something that can be forced, of course. Nor do I imagine that it is something that does not happen naturally and spontaneously every day.
But every since listening to John Bennett and reading A Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart, my head has changed regarding the study of mathematics, and gone from "how can I incorporate math (to make sure there are no fears about it, and that it's a comfortable topic) into our every day?" Not being a mathematician myself, I really had no idea what the goals or ideals were. My only real understanding of the subject was numbers, and what they were teaching in school in an orderly (if sometimes confusing and mostly very uninteresting) fashion.
In step Lockhart and Bennett.
Thank goodness. :)
Two very bright mathematicians whose positions are (paraphrasing) Don't teach boring processes! You'll ruin it! Play games! Let the learning be fun - mathematics should be about excited logic and thinking, not dreadful, boring -and useless- formulas.
Which leads us to the morning of January 7th.
I've been thinking, as I said, that another thing to scan for on my Mama's Radar is thinking.... contemplation. Contemplate.... yes, that might just do it.
First thing in the morning I looked up the games mentioned by Lockhart. He mentioned Chess, Go, Hex, Backgammon, Sprouts, Nim... Cool. A great place to start, don't you think?
Bennett has a few things in his video background... Blokus (you can find it at a toy store locally), Mastermind (which we own and I love - also find locally), Quads (there is also a magnetic one), Avalam (several different people make it - it's coming here, soon), Quixo, Quoridor, Pente, Katamino, Subtrax, Quarto, and Zertz.
What a list.
How excited I am about this list and these games.
So! My day began with checking out Go!. Never even heard of it.
I studied it for a while, got a very basic understanding of how it works, got excited to make our own board, and checked out Hex. Same thing. This time I actually got to play...
I'm embarrassed to say that though it states that if you go first, you should be able to win the game, that has not been my experience so far. :/. But I figure I'll get comfortable with the way it works, and eventually my mind will engage and be able to See.
We had a date with friends at the park, so we got our cookies Fancified.
Trev and I watched "Leaves and Light - the Land Art of Richard Shilling" (via 5OrangePotatoes - thanks, Lisa!), and I got excited to exercise some artistic muscles on our visit to the park we had planned.
To the park!
(Not too much LandArt, but certainly an afternoon spent outdoors is A Fine Thing.)
There was all the usual play
- which looks like
sharing (feeding apples to horses)
and there were discussions
A couple of errands on the way home,
and we eventually tucked our tired selves into nooks and crannies and books and warm blankets.
And we'll call that Good Enough, shall we?