Monday, November 16, 2009


Three glimpses of satisfaction


Sunday morning I had the opportunity to have two uninterrupted hours of conversation with an old friend. We have known each other since we were 12, she now has four girls and is an awesome mama. She asked interesting and interested questions about what our days look like. How do we homeschool? I gave the broad Venn diagram explanation of the three basic camps of homeschooling--school at home (protecting kids from what they might get at school), eclectic (name says it all), unschooling. I said unschooling is the idea that we live as if the institution "school" did not exist. If that were the case, how would people live? How would people learn? As my friend asked questions and expressed her own fears about *NOT* using the school system I became more and more satisfied with our choice. I really do trust my child. I really do believe that the ups and downs of life provide the richest possible experience.


After log rolling on Sunday we were hunkered down with the three other girls from Evie's team that were there, all in their early teens. They were doing homework. The more I listened the more furious I became at how disrespectful the school institution is of their time and their intellect. One girl's homework involved solving math problems with a calculator, then turning the calculator upside down and copying down the word made by the upside down numbers. The homework of another girl was copying biology terms from the text into a fill-in-the-blanks worksheet. When that girl asked a question about something she received the answer, "oh, we did that last year so I don't remember it anymore." These are smart, talented interesting girls who go to well-regarded schools! They quickly abandoned their homework when one suggested we all play a game. Suddenly crochet projects came out, we started talking about food and agriculture and cooking. We started laughing and telling jokes. I was so mad that our society is satisfied with sticking kids in a system that wastes their time and dulls their mind. It is not the fault of teachers or specific schools, in fact there are shining examples of folks combating the drudgery. We need to wake up and realize there are other ways. Schooling does not equal education.


We had rough start to the morning today. I woke up still tired, unable to muster much enthusiasm. I took a walk. Evie read. Then Evie wanted to clean the pantry. Then we found all sorts of grains in the pantry so we ground them in a hand-crank coffee grinder and made bagels. Then I read aloud and Evie started to draw. She drew and drew and drew. Then we had a visit from my parents. Then we ate dinner. Then Scott went to skating. Evie and I did and exercise video. Then we went to the sewing room and worked side by side. I tried to thread the Serger and failed three times. She worked on a project and made lots of mistakes. Then Scott came home and we went to a holiday light show. Then we all got ready for bed. Then we fell asleep around 11:00. Right before bed Evie said, "You know sometimes you have days that are just okay and some days your really satisfied with what you've done? Today I am REALLY satisfied." Thank goodness I didn't try any harder than I did at the beginning of our day, it might not have been very satisfying.


Scott Lynch said...

Don't forget the old maxim from Mission Control in the moon-shot days: If you don't know what to do, do nothing!

Sunflower Hill Farm said...

Oh, Jen. I do so wish our paths crossed more often. I think I could learn a lot from you! Love this post. And love "do nothing", Scott. That's hard for me, but I think it's good.