Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Try not to have fun...this is supposed to be educational."

"Try not to have fun...this is supposed to be educational."  Charles Schulz, creator of The Peanuts.

What is it I expect of my children each day? How does my idea of what work looks like influence my expectations for the kids?

Math books, equations lined up neatly in a row on lined paper? French verbs nicely conjugated in a notebook? Essays on assigned topics? Some days, yes, this makes me feel better. It also gives the children either an education complex or a sense of accomplishment. I haven't yet decided which one. Ticking items off of a list does allow one to feel as though your day was not wasted, but are all items on that list truly equal, as the utilitarian would have us believe? Would the time and exertion be better spent on something else? 

When it comes right down to it, time is not the biggest factor. An hour or so a day of prescribed work leaves many many hours of daylight to pursue the rest of their lives.

No, the primary question is whether my attitude is affecting their picture of what learning means, whether it is stunting their desire to further explore whatever may interest them in more depth. If I say; "we're exploring US history this month," why do they suddenly become allergic to anything pertaining to the history of the country they live in?  At the same time, Lily and Aragorn are suddenly fascinated with WWI because of a book they are both engrossed in. (Well, WWI is part of American history.)

It comes down to perception. This is work. Work is not fun. In their kung-fu class they have to keep to a strict regime of exercise, respect for elders, lines and discipline. There is nothing like that at home, yet they love kung-fu. They chose to attend class, they chose to progress in it. It is fun, for them. It would be torture for me. It would be educational and "good" for all of us. Perception. This week's task: figure out how to make it work to my advantage.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Angela. Glad you found my blog. (You commented on my Rise Bar review - gluten-free energy bars.)

    I agree - perception makes a huge difference in how we approach learning - and life in general!


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