Let me begin by saying, I am STILL sick and thus not in a very read-y or bloggy frame of mind this week (actually, I've been blogging like crazy on the new CfM blog, so maybe that is where that energy is going). So, anyway, whine, whine. I've had a nasty cough since Nov. 3rd. I can't shake it. I also feel like my head is underwater (and thus have trouble hearing people when they talk--feel sort of separated from them by a bubble) and I have almost no sense of taste (which is too bad because I've been making some tasty foods lately and then wishing I could actually enjoy them). WAH!
Okay, so I did read Providence by Daniel Quinn this week. He is the author best known for Ishmael, which I read as a young teenager. I remember considering it to be a life changing and fascinating read, but it has been a LONG time since I read it. So...it is now back on my to-read shelf. Anyway, Providence was less illuminating/interesting. It was primarily an autobiography with an emphasis on how the author developed Ishmael (which went through more than 6 versions over a period of like 13 years) as well as an exploration of his religious development (which includes some time spent in a monastery and ends with animism).
While he was writing his book, he worked in educational publishing and I appreciated several of his comments about education such as:
"One of the great, persistent myths of education in our culture is that children become reluctant learners as they grow older. In fact, what they become reluctant about it going to school, where they're bullied, regimented, bored silly, and very effectively prevented from learning...We know what works for children up to the age where we ship them off to school: Let them be around you, pay attention to them, talk to them, give them access to as much as you can, let them try things, and that's it. They take care of the rest. You don't have to strap small children down and teach them to speak, all you have to do is talk to them. You don't have to give them crawling lessons or walking lessons or running lessons. You don't have to spend an hour a day showing them how to bang two pots together; they'll figure that out all by themselves--if you give them access to the pots. Nothing magical happens at the age of five to render this process obsolete or invalid."
I think ideas like this were the underpinnings of my mom's approach to homeschooling. Thanks Mom!