How about “daily adventure” instead of “learning log“? Seems more…adventurous. Less…schoolroom.
Well, it’ll work for now.
Today we went to our favorite morning beach to sit on the sand under the trees and take small swims. There were crab-prints all over the sand, evidence of a nighttime crabby jamboree. I was fascinated.
Lia and Amelie gave my crab-prints a cursory, compulsory glance, and went to play happily at the place where the sand meets the surf.
And I sat there, staring out to sea, and thought about the value we (I) apply to learning. I thought that looking at my crab-prints would be a wonderful, awe-inspiring, biologicaly, naturalist-ic kind of learning experience. Just the kind of thing to “learn” on today’s adventure. But it didn’t interest the “learners”. Much.
I’ve been reading a lot of unschooling literature recently and have been readjusting my concepts of what ‘school’ and ‘learning’ are. I’ve been feeling enlightened by not automatically assuming that a textbook or a curriculum provide higher levels of learning than other, more organic, avenues. But I got caught out this morning in a mellow sort of way, assigning a higher value to a (Mommy directed) investigation of crab prints and completely overlooking the ‘educational value’ of what they were choosing to do on their own.
It looked like they were playing in the sand, but if I needed to assign (or intuit) a learning opportunity, I’d probably make a list like this:
- observing the nature, rhythm, and properties of waves
- experiencing the texture and properties of sand
- building 3D structures
- learning cause and effect (wave hits sand structure)
- good natured parallel play
Montessori talks about “sensitive periods” — times when a child is open to learning about certain things. Devo and I are trying to be more and more aware of what our children are interested in (vs. what we’re interested in or what we think they should be interested in – although, obviously, there will be some intersection) and bringing our focus to those things.
I thought alot about those crab-tracks this morning (and Devo thought I was just wool-gathering with a blank look on my face). I, in my growing up and schooling, obviously learned enough facts to be able to identify those crab prints this morning. I had absorbed knowledge, but I had failed to experience the wonder the first time around. The deeper we get into this whole homeschooling bit, the more I am realizing and hoping for myself that this will be my chance to go back and learn everything again … this time with the wonder.
The Rest of Today’s Adventure
- watched Mr. Roger’s about firefighters, engines, safety
- watched Word World
- discussed fire, courage
- balati (sea cucumber) – swam out to get, examined, removed coral from carried, put in a bucket of water, played with, discovered legs on (we had previously looked them up on wikipedia)
- compared water murky from sand being stirred to a glass of ovaltine (what scientific principle is this?)
- examined a praying mantis, counted legs
- wrote letters in the sand, all numbers and capitals, some lower case
- built sand castles (see above)
- money – bills and coins: sorted, counted, learned names of
- read “I Spy” book with Grandma Ruby
- read usborne book on World History (from cover to cover, with biblical parallels)
- played go fish with alphabet cards with Grandma Ruby
- visited train display at local friary