An excerpt from ‘Jump, Fall, Fly’ written by Anthony Eldridge Rogers
One of the main focuses of unschooling is related to learning. And out of this come many of the insecurities about alternative learning lifestyles like unschooling. It revolves around our beliefs and experiences of learning ourselves. So first of all let us get clear about learning.
I love dictionaries and for this section I decided to look again at how the Collins dictionary defines learning. It is worth reproducing here as you will see.
So first Learning is defined as:
- the act of gaining knowledge
- psychology any relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a direct result of experience
The only word that does not really apply in our lives above is instruction. We do almost no instruction around learning except where appropriate for practical and safety reasons. (you would not let a young person learn to drive a car through trial and error alone) All the rest are activities that take place in our children’s lives. The first definition, No 1 is knowledge gained by study, a very schooly kind of word. Hmm. So what is studying then? Here is the definition for studying.
Word forms: studies, studying or studied
- to apply the mind to the learning or understanding of (a subject), esp. by reading ⇒ to study languages, ⇒ to study all night
All of this takes place in our household. Olive and Amari are voracious readers, they speak two and a half languages, soon to be three. They sometime read into the early hours! They read into a variety of subjects according to their mood and interest. Does it conform to a curriculum? No. Are they learning? Yes.
- (transitive) to investigate or examine, as by observation, research, etc. ⇒ to study the effects of heat on metal
Lots of that has gone on, on and off. Much of it in the kitchen and more no doubt to come. Research by the kids online through different projects is also an activity that they engage in.
Done that too.
This is an ongoing part of our family life. We often talk, discuss, reflect and think about ideas, ethics, life situations, philosophy, story dilemmas and so on.
- to take a course in (a subject), as at a college
Nope. Not yet. Maybe on the horizon.
Yes. The greatest studying they do is music. The kids have great musical memories for both music and lyrics.
We do this too. It is just part of life.
(Anthony Eldridge Rogers)
A snippet from ‘Jump Fall Fly’ available to buy now here