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).
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.