Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just life

Occasionally I am asked about our "educational philosophy" or how we plan to make sure Evie gets a good "education." I am never quite sure how to respond because my answer is so long, and it is not really to that question. The word "education" is likely derived from any of three Latin root words. It is popularly known to be derived from the Latin root "educo" meaning to "educe"- to draw out. It also has root words, "educare" and "educere". " Educare" means to "rear or to bring up" and it refers to child rearing, whereas, "educere" which is derived from two roots "e" and "ducere" means to "draw out from within" or to "lead forth." All of those root words and the common connotation of the word "educate" seem to me to be things done to someone. You give them an education. That is decidedly NOT our goal. We know more about some things than Evie does. We are older and have our own interests. Evie knows more about some things than we do, she is younger and has her own interests. The goal as we see it is to live together, sharing experiences and gaining wisdom from each other and the world around us. In our culture it is important to be able to read and write. By golly Evie picked that up and taught herself how to do it. In our culture some degree of technological literacy is important. Funny thing, she is figuring that out too. In our family, service to others in our community is very important--Evie gets it. In our family we are kind of food geeks, Evie loves to cook. In our family, living sustainably and in harmony with the planet is important, Evie is right on board. We are not GIVING Evie an education. We are living with her in mutual perplexity, assisting when we can and absorbing when we can. Life is not something that is supposed to be "done unto you." It is supposed to be a challenging, exciting, ever-changing, one-shot chance to be the best and happiest you can be. That is our goal.

What does that look like?

Today I read aloud for several hours from Treasure of Green Knowe while Evie worked on a cross-stitch of Mount Vernon and a ColorKu

Evie rode with her horseback riding teacher. They rode bareback because that is what Evie requested. Her teacher is now a friend and Evie is gaining so much knowledge and experience from her that she couldn't get elsewhere.

Evie and I each swam 1 mile at our pool. I have never swum a mile in my life, neither has she. We have been working up to it for about 8 weeks. It took us both around an hour and we were really tired but we did it! Evie has never had a formal swim lesson, didn't put her head underwater until she was 5 1/2 and just decided to learn swim strokes this past September because she thought it would be nice to swim more efficiently. The lifeguard at our pool commented that he never had lessons as a kid either and he was impressed with Evie's form.

After dinner we watched Return of the Jedi
thus completing Evie's first go around with the trilogy. She is full of connections and questions and amazing observations. As soon as the movie was over we started discussing Annakin and Yoda and love and permanence and universal thruths--after several minutes Evie said "I want to watch those more than once."

Then we read some more and went to bed. There were probably other parts of our day that I forgot. Not because they were not important but because our life is full. That is our goal: just life.


Frank said...

In the context of Latin roots, even the ancient Romans were aware of the dangers inherent in "teaching," as evidenced by their popular aphorism, "Nemo nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur!"

Nobody learns anything unless they like it. Cognosco not educo is the key.

denise said...

Well said. Whenever I think, what if, I look at them and realize WOW, look at what they know and love and are passionate about and interested in and totally into...without anyone 'giving' it to them. They are brilliant, interesting, amazing people and love to figure things out and learn. Wow!