Tuesday, October 18, 2011

But, what about the controversy?

I am concerned about the education that my children are getting in public school.

For example, the children are taught unequivocally that the earth is round. 

There are a lot of people that believe, instead, that the earth is flat.  Isn't it unfair that their viewpoint is being treated with such disdain?  Why is it that we have this value judgment in place where we will teach one set of beliefs and not the other? It is culturocentric for us to presume to teach only one side of this controversial topic. 

Where are the discussions about the cultures that dissent on this issue?  Where are the alternative map views?

It is all about giving fair time to different perspectives.  Isn't it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The most exciting day of school.

The most exciting school day... has no school in it.  Following, please find a list of some of the most exciting moments our kids have had learning.
  • Our eight-year-old taking on college kids in chess.
  • Our six-year-old playing with sea creatures under a microscope.
  • All three boys fishing on a boat, learning to identify fish, types of bait, how boats and waves move, how wind interacts with waves, tides, and how to work together toward a common goal.
  • Hiking in the forest and trying to catch bugs.
  • Doing long, hard, challenging workouts for months on end until you can earn the privilege of testing for the your next belt in your martial arts.
  • Disassembling furniture, and trying to put it back together again.
  • Finding a book in the library that makes them want to tuck in and read all afternoon.
  • Determining whether or not you want an item based on how many weeks allowance it would cost.
  • Negotiating deals and calculating costs in monopoly.
  • Building Lego robots, and programming them.
  • Talking about different ways of viewing the world and our culture.
  • Reading Richard Dawkins new book, and asking Professor Dawkins a question about it.
  • Holding a live hummingbird at the hummingbird festival.
  • Going to a Rennaissance Fair.
  • Practicing piano for weekly lessons - this week... "Hedwig's Theme"!
  • Learning about their uncle's sculpture.
  • Picking out a recipe and cooking dinner.
  • Going to an art gallery.
  • Playing with dry ice.
  • Building and lighting a fire.
What do these days have in common? 

Self motivation - they were learning because they were personally invested in learning something. 
Determination - they were teaching themselves to stick with something, even when it is hard. 
Pushing the bounds of their knowledge and know-how - they were stretching themselves in new and different ways. 
Responsibility - they were empowered to try something out, even at the risk of minor injury, to learn to take care of themselves and make good choices.

These are the features that we should be looking for in quality, high gain schoolwork.  Not more, just more interesting.  While all schoolwork can't do all of this, all school work should do some of this.