Wednesday 8 August 2012

The Real World

As we get closer to the usual start of school,
it seems the pressure is on to get a homeschooling plan together.
But I forget that one of the reasons for homeschooling is to take the pressure away from learning.
As important as it is for the kids to learn how to read,
there are many more important lessons that have already been prepared for them to experience.

The catalyst for my decision to homeschool came when I read an article on
corporate involvement in the school system.
(Kira had already made her mind up months ago.)
There was an emphasis on preparing children for the 'real' world.
And I agree heartily.
It's just that what I consider to be the real world is different than how the politicians see it.
The real world to them is math, and job skills,
and predictable consumption habits.
And though math and literacy empower us to manipulate our environment,
the real world is the earth beneath our feet and the miracle of life on our planet.

I believe that relevance is critical to encourage young minds to learn.
What I mean is that they must experience cause and effect,
and what their relationship is to their world.
Meaningless abstract ideas can be taught when their minds are better suited to go beyond themselves.
And how could they transcend the material world without first exploring the magic and phenomenon of the natural world?

That is not to say that we won't teach them mathematics.
But it will be easier when they find they need a means to an end.
Understanding numerical relationships has zero relevance unless you need to understand in order to make something tangible happen.
And there is no deadline.
No equivalency tests.
Life is the only true test,
and those learning experiences come whether we teach them or not.

I find it ironic that we have a good understanding of cosmological physics,
but many mysteries remain close at hand among the bees and flowers.
Photosynthesis, for example, is barely understood.
As is how food interacts with our physiology.
Many profess to know, but in truth, our knowledge of the natural world is wholly short-sighted.
And so the derelict knowledge of the school books can stay in their musty holds until they prove their meaning to the 'real' world.
We should be setting the aspiring young minds to the more important task of understanding our home
and everything that lives and dies within it.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. We homeschool too, and I too believe that the "real" world our children should be getting acquainted with is the natural world, not the human-created world of making money. Whatever happens in the human society, the natural world of plants and bugs, the circle of life, will always remain. It is the most "real" thing we have.