13 September 2010
unschool monday :: by the book
Despite having the world as our classroom, the owlets are sometimes drawn to workbooks as part of their learning. This makes things easy for me when it comes to writing up a curriculum that ticks boxes for the authorities, but its something that they seem to enjoy from time to time. It all started with dot-to-dots. Big owlet always loved them and recently she's been sharing the love with little owlet, showing her how its done. I'm loving watching them learn together and work co-operatively. For the most part they do...
Also amusing to me is the way they use these books. Big owlet is working her way through an approved Victorian maths curriculum workbook at the moment. It gets dragged out periodically so she can have a look at the bright colours and fill in the gaps... I find that books like this are designed to encourage a particular style of thinking. Often the questions are geared towards a certain answer or idea of what is correct. What I love is how when you have the mindset that anything is possible, the way the questions can be interpreted changes completely. One example... Big owlet had to write possible or impossible for various scenarios that could happen to her this week. Here are her answers:
You will walk home from school : IMPOSSIBLE
You will learn to fly : POSSIBLE
You see, faeries might come and take her flying - she wishes for it every night - totally possible!!
Then the next page is about number lines. She has to pretend her pencil is a frog, bouncing down the number line to subtract. What she creates is a page full of zig-zag squiggles. I take a deep breath and wonder at the logic. I can see that the answers are right. "The frog wanted to do really big hops because that's much more fun!". Uh-huh. She's making the book more interesting by creating stories. Using her imagination. I think about what the response would have been if I'd tried the same when I was at school - I know I would have been told this was wrong, probably made to feel a degree of shame for making the page messy... I wonder if its the same in schools today? Would this freedom of expression, where the process becomes part of the outcome be valued? My guess is no. I'm relishing our world where gold stars are for decorating or wishing on and not for rewarding neat work... and I'm relishing children who think outside the box.
Labels: unschool monday