[permaculture] Sustainability and invisible structures

Kathy Evans evansdk at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 13 12:14:38 EDT 2006

I've homeschooled my kids all along, till high school, oldest is 22,
youngest is 10. I can say that they learn a great deal with very little
effort on my part, so anyone who is considering it, do not fear! I always
thought I wasn't doing much and felt guilty around moms who had more
structure. But Michelle is right...my kids were with me in the garden, they
had a little egg "business", money-losing though it was, when we first had
chickens, we hiked and camped, they read a whole bunch, and I occasionally
made stabs at teaching math and spelling, and we read the entire Joy Hakim
series about US History (fantastic. The two older ones walked into school,
when it was time, made friends and good grades, but what meant more to me
by far were comments from teachers regarding what kind, compassionate,
curious human beings they were. The two older ones were both in the upper
one percent of their class...not to brag about them being brilliant, but to
say homeschooling works, and I had no curriculum, few workbooks, was fairly
disorganized, and mostly the key was they had time--time to think, read,
dream, develop an inner life, see who they were. I am now the breadwinner
and they are still homeschooling and very independent and they love it and
so do I.
	Thomas mentioned early reading....if you take two kids, one who learns to
read at age four and another who learns to read at age ten, by age eleven
you can't tell them apart. Homeschooling lets them learn when they're
ready...also a basic tenet of Sudbury Valley School thinking. You were
obviously ready, but some little ones do better being outside playing in
the dirt rather than focusing on academics. Dorothy and Raymond Moore's
books are excellent on this subject, Better Late than Early, and the
Colfaxes book as well....I forget the name, something about Paradise...they
homeschooled four sons in a rural setting with no curriculum, had early and
late readers, all four went to Ivy league, etc.
	Michelle, email me off list if you are interested in hearing about a model
for a Learning Co-op. evansdk at earthlink.net. Our homeschool community is
120 kids plus parents including lots of teenagers. Each family offers a
class or series of classes and kids can sign up for anything they want.
This semester we had 67 families participating and 75 classes
offered--field trips, Math Club, Drama Club, henna art, hatha yoga, making
and racing model solar cars, an extended field trip to New Orleans where
they visited a tent city of volunteer rehabbers, and on and on. I'm in an
urban/suburban setting and it is a different picture in rural areas...But
years ago we started the co-op with many fewer families and it worked very
well then too. The learning co-op has encouraged many families to
homeschool around here because each family doesn't have to make it all up
alone, there IS a community, kids and parents get to develop relationships,
etc. Sometimes the teenagers offer classes for the younger ones. The
socialization kids get when they homeschool is the natural, normal social
structure...kids of all different ages, small groups, lots of adult role
models/mentors. Kids get to see everyday what we do to care for the
environment or grow food or learn about nature, instead of being in a brick
box all day. There are fantastic teachers out there and my kids have had
some fine ones when they were in school and my hat is off to anyone who can
teach a class of 25 second graders, when some of them can multiply a two
digit by three digit number and others can't count past 12. But
institutional learning has its limits. Homeschooling is whole, and it so
fits with the way the permaculture folks look at life, from what I can
tell. An extra tidbit regarding families spending time together,
homeschooling or not...the number ONE factor in a multifactorate analysis
of what most positively affects SAT scores for college bound high schoolers
is whether or not the child came from a family who ate supper together. Oh,
shut me up, I can go on forever!     Kathy in St. Louis, Missouri, US

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