I have come to realize that Grace does not consider anything to be learning unless it has a letter grade attached to it. Apparently five years in the public school system has done this to her. Yesterday we were discussing with a friend what we have done this summer. Grace was asked if she did lessons and she replied that we did not. Remembering my previous post, I chuckled and asked her to share all she had learned. She was silent.
I was in shock. Grace! Tell her about your summer of weather. Again, silence. I asked her if I needed to start with what she had learned and I began to list some of the things she has accomplished. Then she smiled and began talking about some of her favorite things.
I was deeply concerned. Here I felt my child has learned a great deal about something she is passionate about. She recognizes the work she has put into the projects like blogging, hurricane tracking and writing mini-mysteries but she did not consider it “learning” because #1 it was not assigned and #2 it will not be graded.
I am now on a mission to dispel my daughter of the idea that schools assign value to learning. I would much rather her spend hours pouring over books about tornados, watching documentaries on Hurricane Katrina, blogging back and forth to new friends and eagerly anticipating when the newest Hurricane will form than go back to the days where a summer reading and math packet were to be completed by the first day of school. To me, that has no meaning. It is not connected to her desires, it may or may not have been something she has learned yet in school and it is drudgery. Busy work to keep their minds “engaged” during the weeks of summer break. I will concede that some children probably need this, but not mine.
I am going to start leaving quotations around the house, on my chalkboard basement door in the kitchen, on the white board in the learning lounge, on the dry erase calendar in the bathroom. I need to plant more seeds that learning is not only what happens in the confines of a school building. Learning is not completing an assignment for a grade. Getting all As on your report card does not necessarily mean that much has been learned, only that a student was successful in memorization and regurgitation.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. - John Lubbock
I learned most, not from those who taught me but from those who talked with me. - St. Augustine
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - Thoreau
Do you have any favorite quotes to recommend?