Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What is Learning?

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?


Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog through heart of the matter. I am going to be a first time homeschooler in about 2 weeks and I can really relate to many of your thoughts. I have a nine year old and a five year old. Thanks for sharing. It has helped me and encouraged me:)


Jessica said...


Thank you for your comment. When I was researching homeschooling, there were not many blogs that focused on the first year, or I had to dig through archives for years and years to get to their first year! I can honestly say that after 8 months (we began in January) it was the best decision we could have made for my youngest daughter. My motto is we will homeschool for as long as it works for each child and for our family. Good luck to you. If you haven't yet - check out
www.LifeinStories, They are also about to begin their first year and her blog is wonderful!

Theresa said...

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change," Albert Einsten :)

Tiffany said...

I love how you are recognizing how she "speaks a different language" and are learning to interpret and teach her a new way.

Karen said...

I think that is so normal. Kids have to 'deschool'. Get out of that PS mindset. Kei was pulled out at end of 1st so she wasn't too brainwashed. :) Look at this link.

She will figure it out. Sit down with her and actually write down all she has learned. Maybe if she can see it in 'black and white' she will understand it better.

Kei said for the first month of HSing, "If I was in PS, what would I be doing right now?" or various "PS" comments. She got over it and Grace will too!


Aunt Donna said...

"Two woods diverged in a wood and I -- I took the one less traveled by -- and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost

Let us the children of the night cast off the cloak that hides the scar. Let us be children of the light, and show the ages what we are. (I forget the author)

RSMacias said...

Thanks for visiting my blog : ) LOVE the way you view hs and the quotes - they're going on my inspiration page

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