We took a 3-week trip to Europe in September of 2012. It began in Milano, Italy and ended in Paris, France. There are posts detailing each day of the trip starting here.
How do you “teach” things that don’t fall neatly into subject categories? When you’re following curriculum, learning is chopped up into bite-sized pieces, which are supposedly easier to swallow (and to test)… but what about all of the tangential topics that don’t get covered this way?
I don’t profess (ha! see what I did there?!) to know everything about teaching or learning or education. But I do think there are many advantages to skipping the individual subjects and approaching education in an organic, whole-learning fashion. And I am a really big proponent of just learning by living, because who can think of all the things you might need or want to learn about otherwise?
This thought occurred to me because I found a list of fonts S13 had written down. She was making labels for her birthday party, and wanted the perfect font to go with her gaming-fandom theme. How do you learn something like font-choosing without actually getting in there and choosing fonts?? I guess you could take a class on typography, but what 13-year old is doing that? And yet, font-choosing is something you’re a lot more likely to do in life than, say, balancing a chemical equation. Not saying that fonts are more important to learn about than chemical equations. But they’re definitely more likely to be something you encounter when you’re grown and doing your own thing. It’s fascinating to me that we ply kids with highly specific and arbitrary knowledge, which will only be important or useful to a very small percentage of them, yet we deny them the opportunity to learn about things that nearly everyone will use at some point, no matter what they end up doing as adults.
I think the best way to learn what’s useful in life is to just get in there and start living it, and you’ll learn all sorts of things. Maybe chemical equations will be one of those things. Maybe they won’t. But I’ll argue that if you spent time learning chemical equations as a kid, and never needed them as an adult, you probably could have spent that time choosing fonts instead and been just fine. And if you didn’t learn chemical equations as a kid, you can probably pick up that knowledge quickly and easily if it’s really important to what you want to do as an adult.
Today we spent some time working outside and taking care of our chickens and bunnies. Our 4H books are also in at the extension office, so we’ll have to stop next time we’re on that side of town to pick them up.
In the afternoon, the girls went to their regular Thursday Hip Hop class, then S13 stayed for jazz line. We are also starting to get ready for our annual unschoolers event, which is just over two weeks from now.
S12 is now S13. She celebrated her birthday with a “fandom” party, with her theme including elements from several of her favorite games. Undertale, Pokemon, Yandere Simulator, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Overwatch, and Stardew Valley were all represented. There was even a little nod to Minecraft.
Today we started a new session of art classes at the Butler. They are working on stop-motion animation, something the girls really enjoy playing around with. They spent today planning their animation and learning the iPad software that they’ll be using for their projects.
Today was our first day back to dance since we left for Florida at the beginning of April. It was tough getting back into the swing of things, but S12 had her ballet class and then both girls did jazz and tap. They are working on the numbers for the upcoming show in June.
Today I got to see the girls in “Romeo & Juliet: Restaurant Wars!”- a spin on the Shakespearean classic tale. DH went to last night’s show, which was opening night and, from the sounds of it, a bit rough. Tonight’s show was really fantastic. O11 played Amy, Juliet’s BFF. S12 played Fryer Laurence, a chicken merchant.
This show was the final project for the homeschool theater class they’ve been doing since the fall. The class also included basic theater elements, set design and lighting, choreography, and improvisation. We will have one final class this term to celebrate the show and do a final Improv performance, possibly live-streaming online.