Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Book Burning

Have I mentioned my thoughts about "Burning the Book" yet?
This thought isn't really related to Freedom of Speech so much as it is Burning Bras.
The Book would be my own personal copy of What Your Kindergartner Needs To Know.

The reason? Oh. Well. There are many.

One very good reason would be that I don't want to judge my son according to what another tells me he should be. (I should say that most of the things that My Kindergartner Needs To Know he already knows... just by living his life in this world.) He should know Christopher Columbus. He should write his name without help or reminders. He should be familiar with stories of early American government, which may or may not be true, but which are definitely biased. He should be interested in this, or that. He should tie his shoes - even if he doesn't own any shoes that have strings.
And I should feel bad about the fact that he doesn't yet know or care about these things. I should worry. I should fret.
Even though he has a sometimes astounding vocabulary. And a love for the earth, and its creatures. His imagination is inspiring and delightful. His reasoning is remarkable. His curiosity about a great many things is unsurpassed.

I've heard too many times (from school teachers) that learning timelines are Completely Arbitrary. They have barely anything to do with developmental readiness, or interest, but rather they are an adherence to a schedule, so that all children can get taught and pushed through the system in a twelve (or thirteen) year program.
That's it.
The Reason.
One of the blogs I visit regularly is Our Life, Our Adventures, and Candice said that she home educates because she doesn't believe that people should be be mass-manufactured (at least I think it was Candice, I can't find that quote, now). Amen to that.
So why hold my children to a public standard, when they are not the public standard? They are thinking, believing, questioning Individuals. They are two children learning freely.

We have a fifteen-or-so inch tall human body complete with organs, bones and blood vessels. We have and use a microscope. We have tons of tangram blocks and cuisenaire rods, measuring tapes, and a balance scale. We have paints, pastels, a set of PrismaColor pencils, and really nice set of watercolor pencils. We have books, and software, Animal Planet, and the History Channel. We have four libraries within a couple of miles of our house. We have music. We have books. We have our garden. We have mountains, and deserts, and ghost towns, and caves and mining tunnels and lakes and rivers and museums and ponds and farms and country fairs and cultural festivals and aquariums and puddles.
We are not in any danger of becoming disinterested in our world.

My last reason is even more personal.
Fire seems so cleansing, to me. Often when I'm done with papers, I burn them. It seems a wonderful way of transforming something (a worry, trial, residue) of yesterday, and freeing myself entirely from it.

And that's what I'd like to do. Be entirely free from judging my children's learning, knowledge, and intelligence against anothers.
Be free from another's (society's various) opinions.

I'd like to be free from all judgments - my own as well as others.
Seems like a really loving way to embrace the world.


whimsigal said...

I love your blog and this entry really spoke to me. I hope you don't mind but I quoted you on my blog with a link to credit you as well. You have a wonderful writing style and I've enjoyed spending some time here! If you do mind me quoting you, please let me know and I will immediately remove it.


Stephanie said...

Dear Evie.
I'm glad you like the blog.
I don't at all mind your mention, and I thank you very much for your kind words.
Also with sincerity,

Lerend Zonder School said...

I know the book of which you speak, and the whole series as a matter of fact just by perusing them at the library, but I've never felt compelled to check them out. I almost have and then thought "no, whatever it is Damek knows, is what he should know right now for him and him only". So are you really going to burnt it?:)


Stephanie said...

I haven't decided, yet.
I'm contemplating the question if I need to make a ritualistic endment :) out of it, or not.
Meaning - is it a Rite of Passage for me? Or do I wish to quietly Let It Go, and be at peace with my peace?
Not sure yet.

Kim said...

I discovered these books a few years ago. As I heard people rave about them, I kept thinking.....these just aren't for us. I am sure they are written according to the PS standard. I hate their standards, so I'll ignore those books and move forward. At first I was afraid of reading them and finding out my kids weren't "up to par". As I evolved as a homeschooler and gained more confidence in my ability to meet their needs, my reasons for disliking this series changed. Now....6 years later I have learned that are mamy books (parenting, homeschooling) out there that play on our fears. I refuse to buy into THEIR ideals about what is best for my children.
I am the expert on my children and I guard this role very jealously.
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Steph. Love you, too.