Thursday, February 14, 2008

How did I miss this one?

Today as I was checking out some of the blogs in the Homeschooling Blogroll in my sidebar, I came across one that referred to strewing and linked to this site.

I am not surprised that there is a name for this, or that Sandra coined it. (Sometime I'll have to write a post about Sandra and the HUGE impact that this person I've never met had on my kids.)
I am surprised that in the last twelve years I never heard it before.

It's such a perfect word for something we've always done, sometimes consciously, but even more often unconsciously. I'll be cleaning and come across a book that I know one of the younger ones is ready for. Lay it on the kitchen table. Almost invariably it will at least be looked at.

This is part of the reason my kids didn't have game boys and we don't have a dvd player in our car. The drive to wherever we may be going has things to be seen. There is always something to be learned. And the conversation has always been the biggest part of the learning.

I have a couple of friends who are pretty structured and have young kids who are having some difficulties in getting them interested in "school." Maybe some strewing would be just the ticket. It can be a great way to pique their interest, or possibly help them find an interest. (Of course, as parents we have to be ready and willing to help them follow those interests, even if they don't match up with the chosen curriculum.)

So I've added a new word to my homeschool vocabulary. What fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

School and ADD/ADHD

Ned Vare has a post at School is Hell about a subject near and dear to my heart, ADD/ADHD.

I especially like this quote from his friend, Jerry Mintz, who has the website The Education Revolution.
You got a person who has a psychiatric illness in a public school that requires medication from a multibillion-dollar industry, but when you put him into an alternative school environment, not only does he not require the medication, but the disease seems to vanish and he does very well. The question is, then, where is the disease? And I have firmly, solidly come to the conclusion that the disease is in our schools. It's not in our kids.

Yes, yes, and again yes. Some people think and learn in a way that is not compatible with the way schools choose to teach. So their way of thinking is treated as a disease. They are drugged so that they can better conform.

I am the diagnosed ADD parent of two, possibly three, sons who would certainly have been drugged if we were part of the public school machine. It drives me crazy to see so many parents unquestioningly give their children--especially their sons--psychoactive drugs for most of their childhood because they are behaving like children. Why as a society do we try to shove children into a box instead of making the box fit the child?

For us, one of the huge benefits of homeschooling is that we have been able work with our children's strengths and around their weaknesses.

And contrary to the doubts of the critics we've faced, as pre-teens and teens the boys can all function just fine in a regimented classroom situation when they choose to do so.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Christian unschooling?

I was out tooling around in the blogosphere, looking at some of the homeschool blogs outside of my usual rambles. I found a post that Dana at Principled Discovery had made a couple of days ago about Christian Education and Unschooling. Both her post and the comments were very interesting.

As you know, I think that unschooling is perfectly compatible with Christian parenting. Christian education as a distinct entity is not something that I generally think about. Our churches have always had a Board of Christian Education that oversees the Sunday School, VBS, and day school where such existed. I know that isn't what they mean.

The sense I get is that many of them believe that there is a distinctly Christian way to educate. I don't.

I don't think of what we do as Christian education. In fact, I don't think of it in terms of education all that often. I think in terms of learning, certainly. But not education or teaching.

The one difficulty that I have with the underpinnings of the philosophy of unschooling is that it assumes innate goodness of children. I, of course, believe that my children were born sinful, as we all were, but I don't think that that has to keep us from enjoying the benefits of unschooling and the lifestyle that we enjoy.