Disclaimer… this post is for me. This post is for me to work out some things floating around in my mind. I’m letting you look in and, hopefully, through the mercy of God, be encouraged to do well.
May we set ourselves on the path to be better parents,better friends, better children, better learners, and most importantly, better disciples of the living God. As a note, this post, though it may seem detailed, is not simply about school… I think that anyone can learn from what I’m wrestling with, because for me, it’s changing the whole way that I go about my daily walk with our God.
So, lately Yvonne and I have been embarking on new ways of doing schooling. About a year ago we began to look into what is called “Unschooling”… in fact, the first book we read on the subject referred to the concept as “Christian Unschooling.” I was intrigued and curious and apprehensive. But the more that we read, the more I thought that this was definitely something we had to take a good long look at.
Maybe you’re not familiar with the thought. If you look it up, you’re sure to find a dozen or so definitions, opinions, and maybe even staunch warnings about it. But you know, many of the very best and most valuable things worth doing in life will get your hands and backside slapped for going against the mind-numbing grain of our culture.
Unschooling, to me, is this… Everything is school. Period.
This does not mean we get to do whatever we want and call it school, no, that’s not it. This means that we’re facilitating our little ones in being the life and information sponges that they already are. God already made them that way, our job is to, just like shepherds, guide them along on this path.
Sounds simplistic? Risky? Nuts? Yeah, it is. But so far, it is so so so so so much fun.
For a long time I’ve had a thing on my heart that I’ve wanted my kids to learn from everything put in front of them. This thought makes you question what you put in front of them. The truth is, whether we like it or not, they’re being truly shaped and molded by each and every word entering their little minds. Every song, every commercial, every cheeseburger, every touch of your hand, every harsh or kind word… it’s all school.
This is reality. What you put in front of them is who they will be.
Needless to say, it’s a big deal. Right? Sure, there’s no question.
So I’ve been thinking on all of this lately. I’ve even been rethinking my involvement in various things here in our church body that we live with.
Last week I found myself asking myself, “Who’s life am I living? What’s happening?”
I’m not having an existential crises. No, I’m hashing out some concrete decisions. In fact, I’m learning far more deeply who I’ve been made to be.
But there’s this fight I find day to day. For example, I’ll teach the kids something awesome, they’ll get a lot out of it. Then, I want to shut off the mind and check out. Now, I don’t always do this, but the urge is always, always there. It’s a real thing. There’s always that thought of waiting to be done.
After thinking on this for a bit, this is the way of schooling, typically, as well. You go to the school house, or if you’re a home-schooler you go to your schooling area, get to work, put in your hours dumping info into your head. You strive to pass the tests. You cram it in, puke it out… and… it’s gone.
I’ve heard stats in the past about information retention, and of course they weren’t impressive. I honestly don’t feel like taking the time right now to look them up. But needless to say, this is the style of learning that the majority of us are accustomed to.
Beyond that, this ideology transfers over to our spiritual life as well. We go to the scriptures, learn a thing or two. We stuff it in our brains, and then we run along with the subtle impression that we’ve “attained” some new revelation, all the while that “information” is leaking out the back of our heads onto the roads.
The information that we crammed in our heads, and hoped would seep into our hearts never gets a chance to become part of our lives. Supposed “learning” has thus become separate from actual “living.”
This is a seriously compartmentalized life and way of being. It’s a mess. From here out I’m going to simply refer to this as info “dumping” and move on.
– more to come –