Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Evidence of Learning

"Mom, can I have a bath?"
It's a question I hear often - almost always at least once a day. Often more.
"Sure, Bub."
"I need a scuba diver... he's gonna travel back in time to the triassic sea, and look for prehistoric sea creatures. This is the prehistoric killer whale,this is the prehistoric manatee. This is a shark, which evolved in the early triassic.. This is a prehistoric octopus."
"Okay. Do you want me to help you find the guy that goes with the animal rescue?"
"Yeah."
We couldn't find him.
"It's okay, Mom, I'll just used Spidey." He is resourceful.
He shouts a few minutes later - he's in the tub - "No, Maddie! It's not time for those, yet!"
I go in there to see what all the ruckus is about, Maddie is standin' in the tub and tossing in his sea creatures.
Turns out, he had some waiting on the sidelines, as it wasn't time for them to be in the story, yet, he was following along precisely with their scientific evolution.

I had a few thoughts later regarding this and similar matters.
It's not that I notice the learning - even though I do my very best to notice the magic in Every Day. There isn't always evidence of learning. It's not every day that Trev asks about the life cycle of yellow jackets (three days ago - what an interesting half-hour or so that was!) or if a jack rabbit's coat changes color in the wintertime (also pretty recent). Or who Mark Twain or Charles Dickens were (never - but I am hopeful).

But - though learning may be hiding itself in our everyday play and conversations, and may sneak by unrecognized - the demonstration of that learning is not.
The play and the conversations and the living is where I see the learning.
It's in every moment and every question.
This is what unschoolers mean by saying "it just shows up" and "you see it by living with them" when folks ask "but how do you know they're learning?"

I've said it a thousand -well, surely well over twenty- times, and I'll say it again.
We just learn by living our lives.
By being interested in The World Around Us.
We learn because we Live.
I say it like it's the most natural thing in the world - which of course it is.
I none-the-less amazed and astounded by it.
Beautiful.

1 comment:

whimsigal said...

Wow. Really wonderful! What a mind, what an imagination. How many kids would play that way??