Monday, February 16, 2009

Learning From Life and From Books

Books usually play a big part in our unschooling.

I think this just reflects dh and I. We are readers. We read a lot. We read a lot to the kids. From the time they were babies we took them to haunt libraries and to hang out at bookstores with us. We listened to audio books in the car. We bought books.

The boys grew up covered with books.

And so their unschooling involves books. By choice. By strewing. By life.

Jonathon, son number four, was recently accepted into liberal arts college. He had to write an essay as part of his entrance requirement. In his interview on Thursday, the Dean of the College said he really liked Jonathon’s writing style and asked what had he done for English..Now, those on the interview board obviously knew from his application that he had been homeschooled..Jonathon said I read a lot. The Dean asked Jonathon what he had read – Jonathon talked about a lot of authors in general and more specifically about F. Scott Fitzgerald, P. G. Wodehouse, James Thurber..

Jonathon was really into playing and crazes as a kid, dress ups and arts and crafts as a small child, then cowboys, then soldiers, then James Bond, then Star Wars, then art and music and always books. All these books have helped him write.

Right now, Anthony is into Isaac Asimov. And Star Wars roleplaying guides. And The Cricket in Times Square. Reading Cricket this week, lead him into an internet search on New York City.

Thomas is reading Alexander Dumas . While flicking through The Dangerous Book For Boys . Which sent him to another book, one on D-Day, as D-Day is mentioned in the Dangerous book.

Dangerous also had us in fits of laughter today. Thomas shared bits from the section on how to impress girls...Find a heavy object. Surreptiously check you can actually lift it before showing off your prowess to the girl...

Alexander is reading short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Discussing ideas. With me, as I share my thoughts my reading, on Grahame Greene.

Books become part of who we are, how we live, how we learn. I know my childhood was formed by books and movies. Just as our unschooling is being formed by many things, including books and movies.


Cath said...

Great post, Leonie - very close to my heart!

I can see various author/genre influences in dd's writing - Tolkein, Shakespeare, lots of sci-fi/fantasy. She has a natural and lovely style, not forced at all.

I'm interested in the authors you mention that I've never read (my parents weren't bibliophiles so I only devoured what was popular). Would love to get to know Wodehouse, Thurber, et al. Must browse your bookshelves sometime!

Hopewell said...

Good post--I like hearing the paths they decide to take on their own. I'm finally seeing a little bitty bit of that in our house! I firmly believe most grammar, writing programs are a waste of time. Good literature, talking meaningfully with our kids all do a better job of teaching writing than a grammar book with blanks to fill in! Your son will likely do very well in a liberal arts program. He's very well-read and well-rounded.

molly said...

Kudos to Jonathon!

Jo said...

I trust so much to the books that my kids read, to help them navigate life's paths. I'm so often rushed or inarticulate, or unseeing of what the children need, moment by moment, but the books they read are the expression of the greatest powers of thought and feeling of some very wise people indeed. I am sure that children immersed in the world's best books can never go too far wrong...

Erin said...

Such a reassuring story to hear, my Chiara spends all her life reading. On your recommendation last year on the board she has read lots of PG Wodehouse, I'd forgotten the others we'll check them out.

So what college is he going to? Congratulations Jonathon!!