Monday, October 06, 2008

Living Without School

I recently tried changing our blog name. It has been Living Without School since 2005 but I liked a term I coined in a post describing our unschooling. Life, liturgy and learning.

Well, some of the family didn't approve. Specifically one son.

So, it is back to the mundane traditional name.

Recently, it was also pointed out to me that the blog is supposed to be about our homeschooling. Yet, lately, there has been a lot about me.

Hmm, you mean it is not all about me? I am shocked! I even have a Felix the Cat pyjama t shirt that says please let it all be about me...

So, in the interest of returning to my blogging roots, I will write a post on unschooling. On homeschooling.

Except I have nothing to say. Really.

I have been homeschooling for what seems like forever . And I say this in a positive sense. I love homeschooling. I am a different person than I was, because I have spent years homeschooling, learning with my kids. And I worry sometimes about who I will be when everyone is grown and we are not official homeschoolers any more, just unschoolers learning as adult.. Hopefully talking and connecting to each other, but maybe not...

But I digress. It's not about me, remember?

Since we have homeschooled, like, forever, I find it hard to write about our days. About the topic of homeschooling in our life.. We lead pretty dull unschooling lives, I guess. We just live. We learn. You can't stop learning, can you? We get on. We don't get on...

No exciting news here.

I will, however, share some of the homeschooling books that I am currently flicking through. I've read these before, but picked them up again to glance through.

As articulated by Pliny the Younger, the principle is multum non multa: not many things ( multa) but much ( multum)...Formal education should not merely introduce us to many things - the multa, which can by necessity lead only to superficial knowledge - but should encourage us to drink deeply at the springs of our culture. ...the number of subjects is limited to a few key disciplines...In the wry words of Jacques Barzun, we expect our schools to turn out "ideal citizens, supertolerant neighbours, agents of world peace, and happy family folk, at once sexually adept and flawless drivers of cars." The classical curriculum insists on a limited number of subjects taught in depth... The Latin Centred Curriculum, Andrew Campbell

You know what happens in the average school..They take the attitude that children are little brats who don't want to learn. Then they shove the stuff down their throats, and pretty soon they're right!...Our children are learning all the time. ..All day long. They're learning what interests them. What doesn't interest them they're not ready for, so they'll learn it later. Maybe next year or maybe at age fifty. When they're ready...The reason they're not in that we want them to be educated. And we want their education to go on till the day they die. That means self-education, and it means preserving the love of learning they were born with. We believe all children have a great desire to learn..until they go to school, and get it systematically destroyed. And The Children Played, Patricia Joudry

These two quotes, these two books, these ideas, may appear to be in opposition to each other.

The story of my life. I tend to like opposing ideas, I tend to think that such ideas can be played with, twisted, squashed, perhaps assimiliated and than made to fit together.

But it is not all about me, is it?

I find that children, and teens, and adults can mix the ideals of classical education, of studying the classics, if you like, with a life filled with lots of play.

Just ask St John Bosco.


HomeGrownKids said...

Oh yeah, I'm so with you...if my blog is supposed to be only about our homeschooling then that probably partly why I don't blog much anymore...because life is too full, but it is LIFE and doesn't necessarily look like 'education'. Life is an education; education is life.

I used to find it easy to write about our days because it was mainly a booklist. Or I would relate things that the children would say but as they get older I'm aware that not all of these stories are 'mine to tell'.

Our family looks less and less 'schooly' as the years go by, yet the children are all still learning - in fact more than ever!!

Oh well, off the computer and back to real life... :wink:

Chris said...

You and your family are "Living without school" so of course you are going to have posts about you and your family because that is what living without school is about - YOUR LIFE. Besides I'm sure I'm not the only visitor to your blog who loves to see not only what you have been doing but reading your opinions and sharing your thoughts and feelings on a whole host topics. You lead a rich life and you share those riches with us. I'm grateful.

Leonie said...

Hey, Chris and Susan, you both make good points. :-) Real life is more then homeschooling and so, of course, I share it all. Maybe too much sometimes! lol!

Laura A said...

I think every homeschooling parent comes to a point at some time or another when they get sick of the word, and get sick of the way it pigeonholes them. This doesn't mean that they're tired of what they're doing, necessarily, but that they're ready to get a different perspective on who they are. To that end, I sometimes go for months during which I try not to think about it very much if I can help it. That doesn't mean that I'd like to put my child in school; it just means that I'd like to re-think how we're living and learning, and push it deeper. It helps me to de-categorize.

You are so right that your homeschooling is really just a phase of our family's life as a whole, just as having children at home is a phase of your family's life as a whole.

And then, there is that matter of what you feel comfortable putting on a blog, and what you don't. Everyone finds their own line. But I do like the title of your blog. The idea of living without school is still revolutionary, despite the increased acceptance of homeschooling as a legal/social phenomenon. And I like the fact that you've been doing it for so long, and you bring some of that long-time homeschooler attitude to your blog. I find it quite refreshing!

My this is long! Just wanted to say that I appreciate what you're doing. And I have to confess that, as pretty as the purple background was, I do find the grey easier to read.

Beate said...

Aargh - I want to chat, but 6yo wants to get on to play StarFall...anyway, the book And the Chidlren Played sounds great so I went to Amazon....$90.00. some excerpts LOL!

Greg said...

I liked the quote from Pliny. Never read much of either the Younger or Elder so interesting! I'm typing this in the middle of making Southern-style black eyed beans and corn bread...hope it turns out!

Living Books of Today said...

Nothing mundane about an honest, straight forward name! How many kids in this world get to "live without school??" Pretty extraordinary if you ask me. You may be interested in this link, too,
Living Books for kids in the 21st Century--where all things "new" aren't all bad!