Suppose you heard the phrase #30PostsHathSept Blog Challenge. Would you be intrigued…or would you run away?
Maybe I need to have my head examined, but I’m jumping with absolutely no idea of whether or not I’ll surface unscathed (or surface at all).
Conceived by my friend, the author Lisa Rivero, #30PostsHathSept challenges bloggers to write one post each day throughout September. Short, long, filled with videos or images, it matters not. What solely matters is the ultimate sense of accomplishment felt through a daily ritual and meditation of self-expression. So join us for a new season, the new academic year, this new daily blog challenge. [See the other posts HERE.]
TO BEGIN…Day #1 (#30PostsHathSept)
Even before September’s arrival, fall has been creeping into my thoughts ever more closely. Fall is a time for fresh starts and new promises…and a perfect match for this blog’s challenge. Fall is a shaking off of the sands of summer and a re-focus on 7th-inning stretch of the year.
As a homeschool educator, I keenly feel the tug of fall. I take seriously my responsibility to facilitate my teen’s educational needs. Each new school year offers brand-new ideas, interests, and opportunities.
But as I reflect upon my homeschool journey, and education in general, I’m reminded on how knowledge is exponentially expanding everyday. Students in each generation are confronted with ever more vast quantities of information at every turn. Courses. Textbooks. Websites. Video. Audio. Email. Text. Social media. The influx of information is 24/7. There also is no likelihood of seeing a slowing of information’s spread.
The standards of what a student must know to be educated make the assumption that student are carbon copies of one another. “Vessels to be filled”. But each student brings years of experiences to each educational encounter, and assumptions of standards often clash with reality.
So what is truly essential to learning?
Big question, indeed. Individuality dictates that every person has his or her own interests and strengths that assist in the process of learning. Through years of experience, I have discovered that what is learned is never as important as the process of learning itself.
By supporting my teen’s interests, I try to instill a sense of independence of choice and direction. I’m a firm believer that children are born with intense curiosity for the world around them, and a deep need to understand this world. We owe all children the unbridled freedom to express their endless questions and seek answers that bring them ever more closer to understood truths.
Truths…ah, truths. Truth is a subject onto itself. Sometimes truth is knowledge with an expiration date. Understanding that knowledge can (and does) change is a crucial life skill.
And while I’m a strong proponent of subject mastery in education, an education solely composed of regurgitating known information is often done so at the cost of learning how to learn. It is important to learn to be cognizant that as information changes, we must change as well.
One should never stop asking questions. Never stop dancing at the edge of knowledge and thriving in uncertainty. Never stop seeing the interconnectedness of everything. Innovation co-exists within this event horizon. So does progress. Art. Science. Our future survival.
What is essential to learning comes not from content, but from attitude. Curiosity, passion, and knowing how to learn are skills far more important than those tested for on state exams. Understand the child who stands before you as a unique being and discover his or her interests. Never be in a position where you are asked what your child loves to do and punt the answer to the child.
Know intimately what makes your child tick. Water those seedlings and allow them to grow into beautiful gardens.
Consider the question of essential learning for yourself. Begin by taking a look at Ted.com’s incomparable Sir Ken Robinson, as he discusses personalized learning.
Also, read the New York Times discussion on ignorance to understand how much more there is to learn, and consider reading one of my current favorite books entitled Ignorance: How It Drives Science, by neuroscientist Dr. Stuart J. Firestein.
Trust yourself. Trust your child. Until tomorrow…I leave you with few quotes.
“I know one thing, that I know nothing.” – Socrates
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shores of our ignorance.” – John A. Wheeler
“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.” – George Bernard Shaw
[You can enjoy all the daily posts from the #30PostsHathSept bloggers HERE]