05/22/20

Outtakes of Heath's "school pictures", taken by me outside our cabin.

It’s the last day of school/ not school. We’re pretty relieved over here. The teachers and administrators at my sons’ wonderful public Montessori school have worked really hard and I appreciate them so much.


That being said, I/ we have.. not.. been fans of the distance learning. I mean, I know probably no one has. But the constant online stuff just runs so counter to everything I believe about learning. Especially for young children. Austin Kleon puts it so well, regarding their own experience with this, as well as his exploration of John Holt’s writing. I think we’re made of the same stuff.
       
“I am not optimistic about the chances of schools opening later this year (or rather, I can see them opening, but not staying open) and I see many parents out there struggling with trying to figure out how to homeschool their children. I believe that Holt’s books and Growing Without Schooling provide a healthy alternative to “distance learning,” or, rather, the replication of school-like busywork done at home through the computer screen, the small amount of which we’ve already experienced as exhausting for everyone, unsustainable, and probably, ultimately ineffective. (My new favorite genre in social media is all the creative ways students have learned to get out of Zoom calls and online homework.)

The alternative is this: What if school, in fact, isn’t the best place for your kids to learn? What if you didn’t try to replicate school at home? What if you had the opportunity, now, to try something else? What if we saw this time as a radical opportunity to let our kids learn and explore their interests unfettered by the demands of the classroom?  What would happen if you stopped worrying about teaching them and gave your kids the time, space, and materials to lead their own learning?  What would happen if you let them in on your working life, let them see you working, involved them more deeply in the work of keeping up a house and a home life?“

I was passed a copy of Grace Llewellen’s The Teenage Liberation Handbook back in 1998, when I was just a young punk, recently transplanted to the Midwest and eons away from ever wanting or having children of my own. The punk scene in the mid-late nineties was an incredible thing, and hard to describe if you didn’t have the privilege of being involved in it. I’ll try another time here. 

Anyhow, that book led to many others re: “alternative” education/ unschooling, including John Holt’s Growing Without Schooling and How Children Learn, which Austin references. The concepts have always really hit home for me, as someone who was so curious about the world and obsessed with reading and learning, but despised school and was a pretty terrible student. Whether it’s something you subscribe to, there’s so much fascinating insight and observation there. 
I’ve also come across and been loving Matthew Jervis’s How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids: Tricks, Tools, and Spontaneous Screen-Free Activities!  Really fun stuff, great ideas here.

So, I don’t know what the future holds for us. But I hope to get back to implementing a lot of the ideas from all of these into our daily lives.


05/ 20/ 20



"Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea."
"If you know you have to write a blog post tomorrow, something in writing, something that will be around 6 months from now, about something in the world, you will start looking for something in the world to to write about. You will seek to notice something interesting and to say something creative about it. Well, isn’t that all we’re looking for? The best practice of generously sharing what you notice about the world is exactly the antidote for your fear." - S. Godin

I can’t argue with that, let’s give it a try ~

I’m enjoying these playlists by my longtime web host Cargo so much lately- they’re all I want to listen to when I work. Useful Music


05/ 20/ 20