Monday, January 18, 2010

It "Counts" as School

I'm not a true unschooler, as there are things I impose on my kids' learning lives.

But, as I've said before, "most of our curriculum is talking."

Here are a few recent examples:

We read about St. Hilary of Poitiers last week. The reading was simple but it led to a discussion of doctors of the Church, as well as a discussion of the difference between doctrine and discipline.  That in turn led to a discussion of Vatican II, of church councils in general, as well as authority and obedience.

And all of that led to talk of the definition of "Vulgate" and why the word "vulgar" has come to mean both common and crude. 

Whew. All from a one-page summary of St. Hilary.

Ramona has been back on her Emily Dickinson kick, and has been finding I'm Nobody! Who Are You? all over the place: in a coloring book, in several of our poetry books. She really loves the poem, has memorized it, and loves to recite to anyone who will listen.

Finally, this is an old example, but a few months back we reread The Penderwicks on Gardam Street together.  The Halloween scene led my kids to discover what a Richard Nixon mask is, and what it looks like:

as well as learning a a bit more about Watergate and partisan politics.

That Halloween scene also led my children to find out exactly what Mr. Spock looks like:

They know the "Live Long and Prosper" sign (which, because I can't seem to manage separating my fingers in exactly that Spockian way, is also known around here as my awkward version which in Vulcan roughly translates to "Die Young and Poor") but that's about all they know of Mr. Spock. I'm afraid we aren't really Trekkies here, as evidenced by the fact that my favorite Star Trek movie is the one in which they went back in time to the 80s. The other ones generally put me to sleep or make me say, "Eeeww!" (as in the Ricardo Montalban-thing-in-the-ear.)

I guess Mr. Spock could have led to a discussion of Dr. Spock and various child-rearing philosophies, but we didn't get that far.

Still, it's all about connections and curiosity. It all counts.

Here are more posts detailing spontaneous moments of learning

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