Citizens of the MultiversePosted: September 9, 2014
A sense of place, and the tools to deal with it: to immerse, but also to dissect and subsume. This is my homeschooling philosophy in its broadest form.
With the oldest at 8, dissecting reality is limited, but we’re laying the groundwork via math. Alpha and Beta are responding really well to the interface of the Khan Academy program. I still have to prod them to get through the subject matter at points, but math is no longer a subject I dread teaching.
In science, our lifestyle constantly immerses us in the nature around us. While limited, being in an urban area, Milwaukee is a city blessed with a lot of green space – some of it surprisingly remote. We’ve taken 5 mile hikes within earshot of roads where you can barely see the cars through the forests, and at times the sound of the wind and water drowned everything else out. We climbed through a dry creekbed that turned not so dry further upstream. For the first time, they got to see (and hear) a squirrel eating.
There’s also formal education. The current unit is about bats, and each subsequent unit will start with flora and fauna from our region, but eventually broadening out past what we might encounter on our nature hikes.
Bats were also the subject of some silly stories, like:
The vampire bat was searching for a mammal. The bat was thirsty. It found cows!
When it found the cows, they were swishing their tails. The cows were in the forest, and it was light. Then the cows got scared of the bats. Then the bat was chasing the cows. Then cows got away.
Then it found a gorilla! It was eating bananas. Then the bat chased the gorilla, but the gorilla was too fast.
Of course, there’s more to humans than just their isolated interactions with the ecology around them. The social fabric of humans is its own ecology. So we’re learning about countries as well. The current unit is France. I’ll admit we haven’t learned a ton yet, but there’s no particular speed or requirement here. Plans include a day where we eat like a family from that country, and the cookbooks I’ve been poking through are at least teaching me something.
Which is one of the joys of homeschooling. The parent learns almost as much, if not more than, the child. Education isn’t about mass-producing an economic cog that’s finished at 18, with optional future upgrades. It’s about learning all along life’s journey.