Sunday, April 1, 2012

Of labels and article links

I don't consider us "unschoolers," yet appreciate much of that philosophy. And I liked this article, which addresses unschooling as a feminist act, while expressing my own antipathy to labels. (The author also seems to imply a pro-life philosophy, which made me want to read more about her.)

Psychology Today also recently published research about unschooling; more quantitative than I prefer, but interesting.

I liked this article from CNN about the relationship between play and academic success. I recently talked with a friend about her kids' schedules and felt tense and claustrophobic just hearing the answer: Long school days followed by after school activities followed immediately by dinner, homework, bed. When I asked when they play, the response was, "well, they get ten minutes in the mornings if they wake up early!" Oh, no, no no!

I can't imagine my childhood without play time; I accepted school hours as inevitable, but was horrified by the thought of Saturday intrusions on my time when I was told I needed to do Religious Ed classes (just an hour on Saturdays). Hearing of the concept of homework struck me as truly appalling, intrusive, and offensive (what! this obligation follows me home?!) and though I gave in and was always a student who performed above expectations, I retain my initial impressions because my best memories of childhood had nothing to do with organized activities and everything to do with free time to play.

Many parents don't have flexibility to change this (I'm certainly NOT blaming parents); shifting this will require a coordinated effort on the part of parents, administrators, community leaders. But to deprive kids of long periods of extended free play is to stifle creativity and is therefore of great concern to our future success as a people, nation, individuals.... We have given up much financially to enable the choices that we make and while the end result isn't always perfect, I'd trade anything money can buy (beyond basic survival necessities) for a schedule that allows kids to engage in the business of childhood - playing, discovering, and exploring as they grow into responsibilities, passionate work, creative endeavors, and more.

Changing the subject a bit, this next article link is from a self-described public school teacher and administrator: compelling reasons to homeschool.

And finally, randomly but joyfully, a favorite quote from the 11-year-old protagonist in April's book club book, "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate," by Jacqueline Kelly. "One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of them. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home."

I think you will love it! There's much more to it, but this captures her spirit and enthusiasm, which informs the book.

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