Saturday, June 18, 2011

I have been thinking a lot about a post of Willa's, over at Quotidian, where she defines unschooling as 'doing the things you would normally do when you weren't in school." I'm assuming she means useful and interesting, and not, say, playing thirty thousand rounds of solitaire on the computer, or becoming an expert at WoW, or something.

I've also been thinking about when it's right to play to your strengths/work around your weaknesses instead of trying to overcome them. I'm not naturally organized, and I naturally resist people trying to teach me things verbally- I'm much better with movement, tactility, or reading. I am never going to take the same total joy that, say, Cynthia does in putting things back afte I use them. This doesn't mean that I shouldn't train myself to do it, but that I think it's more useful to acknowledge that I slightly prefer to have mild disorganization.

When I was in high school I taught myself a bunch of poetry (and tried writing it, which was not a good idea), taught myself to sew and do applique beadwork, and learned reasonable amounts of Ojibway. I can still say useful things like I have a bad cat (Neen ayau matchi gauzhug, for those of you who need to refer derisively to your cats). I learned a lot about costume history. I could tell a 1720s gown from a 1750s gown, and knew basically what social changes had gone along with the change in shape.

I guess I was unschooling myself.

I'm thinking about this particularly right now because I've been worrying that my fizzling out of enthusiasm, tendency to distraction, and rabbit-trail nature would work very badly for homeschooling. I can keep accurate records, I do so for Nat, but I won't ever take Geoff's joy in seeing things neatly organized in spreadsheets. I might do it, but if I am going to undertake something as big as teaching my kids, I would like to play to my strengths as a teacher as much as possible. If I can make things as easy as possible on all of us, we might be able to do it.

1 comment:

Willa said...

My oldest's roommate in college was like 10,000 hour good at WoW but he was also active in the Legion of Mary and a super-intellectual.

I know what you are saying, though. Though my husband had always wanted us to homeschool the only way I could consider it was by broadening my idea of what teaching was like so it could somewhat allow for my hyperfocusing and inconsistency and all that. Not "enable" them but "allow for them" if there is a difference (I think there is one but sometimes the line between the two gets fuzzy.)