Sunday, September 16, 2007

September 16

This morning while I was insisting I be allowed more sleep on the couch and when I finally gave up (at after ten o'clock - ?!) I woke up to all sorts of goings on.
There were cuisenaire rods all over the coffee table. Mixed with cars.
Grapes were out.
Madeleine was eating a plum (not candy).
Books everywhere.
The library prehistoric video had already been viewed, and now a documentary that we taped late last night from discovery channel on prehistoric animals was being watched.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with my mother last night.
She said that family had voiced concerns that Trev wasn't reading and doing math.
Number one - Trev is reading. Not that it matters. Granted, it's words like "the" and "fish" and "frog", but I am not worried about his "not reading" when the child regularly asks me how to spell words like "social". Psh.
Number two... he is six! He's not fourty!!! Sheesh!
My mother (bless her) defended us, and said "Let me tell you something, that boy knows more about insects and dinosaurs than I will ever know. I'm not worried about it."
Our conversation (the babes were home with dh) went on to a bit of politics, but mostly just about the presidential election, and she said something about "I'm a lot more liberal than my sisters are. My parents always tried to put a square peg into a round hole, or visa versa, which ever." She followed her liberal comment later with "But I can tell you this... I'm also a lot happier than them (some folks she knows).
"That's a really interesting observation, Mom." We were not speaking of political affiliation, of course, but philosphy.
"Well, yeah," she said, "if you don't judge, and just let people be, you're a lot happier."

Back to the disapproval from the family...
Do people really suppose that unschoolers aren't learning anything? Do they suppose that we visit places like antelope island and don't speak to eachother the whole day? Do they suppose that we see a hole in the ground, and don't say "What do you think might be living in there?" and "what other animals live in this area?" and "what do they eat?" and "do they hybernate?" and "does their fur change colors in the wintertime?" and "how far do these birds migrate?"
My biggest gripe about the disapproval - and I'm not angry, just frustrated with that thinking - is "Why. do. people. not. ask. themselves. WHY?"
"Why should children learn about evolution only when they're in high school?"
"Why should they learn math before biology?"
"Why is school so important?" Don't spout answers at me - do some soul-searching, and serious studying. Come to me from a place where you've let go of all you've learned, and studied with an open mind, and have witnessed the magic of true discovery. For that's what most unschoolers have done.
"Because it's the way we (as a society) do things" is never, never an acceptable answer to me.

It's sorta funny, but sort of insulting, too, that people would (apparently) assume that we (parents) don't know what we're doing. That we don't do so much reading, studying, researching, questioning, noticing, and facilitating.
That we don't keep cool tools around the house. That we don't explore wondrous places - places like under the rocks in the front yard as well as the Natural History Museum. Places like the neighborhood bakery and the aquarium. Places like ponds and even bushes in the front yard.
How many families discuss weekly regeneration and echolocation?
We're not idiots (ru parents) and we know what we're doing.

"Mom, come see this!"
I go in there.
"Watch, this Euparkeria is going to evolve. Watch."
"What do you mean it's going to evolve?" I'm thinking he's mistaken, it's gonna grow? Or get eaten?
It did, indeed, evolve. It was showing that up until now euparkeria had a small part in the early triassic, 240 million years ago, but that it was one of the antecedents of all dinosaurs and pterosaurs.
Yes, I can surely see that I need to be worried about the welfare of this child's mind.


Stephanie said...

I'd like to add that most of these things can be said of many homeschoolers, too, not just those living ru.

whimsigal said...

Ahhhh. Family. My favorite punching bag, I mean topic.

They just have to be all in your business. It wouldn't matter what you were doing, even if your kids were in school, they would be in your business about something else. It's just the nature of family, especially the extended variety. Because you are an Ru'er there is a lot of "material" for them to work with, at least that's the way they see it. Good for your mom for sticking up for you!!

The things your kids talk about blow my mind, friend. Blow my mind!

Kim said...


I have to agree with whimsigals comment. I wish one of my children were as interested in donosaurs so I could learn all that you've learned, with my own children. But for today, it's all about the speed of sound and breaking the sound barrier, and the physics of flight.
Anyway, I can only speculate who of our Aunt's is so very narrow minded. Makes me grateful for our Mama who is so much more open minded about our choices of education for our kids. I seriously could not deal with so much oposition on a regular bases...I would have to change my phone number or move off the planet.
Oh...and by the way, Harrison the car man can name EVERY car on the road. He also observed all on his own "Old people drive Oldsmobile". (Funny, huh?) It is still a mystery to us ALL how he learned all of these cars and what symbol goes with which name (he has never asked us).....he can't read. Should I tell Aunt (???) so she can unnecessarily worry about my kid, too? I hope she meets my children some day, just so that she can see what beautiful, intelligent, happy people they are. Not that I have anything to prove, just to maybe soften her heart.
Keep up the great work, my friend. You are an inspiration to us all.
Love you lots.

Stephanie said...

I know!
Mom told me all about Harrison! She said "Harrison knows cars like Trev knows dinosaurs." That's all she had to say.... I totally understood it!
Just goes to show that things come in time - can you imagine trying to get them all or him to know that if he wasn't interested?!? What a nightmare!
I read the sound barrier thing on you blog - I can't wait to study that one myself!
Trev just woke up and the first thing he said was "Mom, we're still pretending we have prehistoric animals in our yard! But we have some in our house, too!"
Maddie followed that comment with a shouting "Camptown ladies sing song, Doo Da! Is too loud, MOm?"
"No, babe, it's not too loud."
So she screamed it again.
Up thirty seconds and Here we go....