[permaculture] is unschooing effective? responsible?
knat at sprintmail.com
Thu Jul 20 10:44:42 EDT 2006
Jenny Katz wrote:
> What would permaculture say about this? Make slow and small changes in the
> system? Or what? I'd love your opinions.
The chapter from A Pattern Language (thanks Steve for leading me to read
this) has a wonderful description of permaculture education and it is
what our family did for homeschooling. Children stay connected to the
whole community and develop with guidance from experts that nourish
their interests. In our model, parents keep children near them as they
work and teach, by example, interaction skills (which reading and
writing just naturally flows out of .) As the children interact with
more diverse adults they expand their language to include the technical
vocabularies of specialized fields and when one field peeks their
interest they work alongside a smith of that trade. In my son's case it
was math and music so he hung out with retired engineers that people
forget to listen to too often in this society- math doesn't get old and
elders with a passion for it can explain why the special vocabulary (and
that is all Math is) is beautiful. He learned history by interviewing
elders at homes and day centers they were forgotten in and helped them
write memories their children had never dreamed to ask for. My
daughter's passions were different and she did a joke book of what
people remember as funny from childhoods of different decades. It still
gave her a real sense of how humans age and find joy. That's
permaculture. Timelines of people's stories needed research on life at
the same time in other places, then other times. Then other governance
structures. My son, reading his own work, learned to edit and write for
different audiences by experiencing different audiences- political
advocacy, newspaper articles, poetry festivals. Society has always
offered him an audience because he had something to say and didn't know
children aren't people yet and he'd have to wait. It is not the same as
some people's version of homeschooling to produce hot house flowers that
excel on the same scales of questionable value. Unschooling is
permaculture. It is a community educating a child. That's why we chose
permaculture for a school model to try and form a community around a
school. Historically, "school" was where one went when one had "leisure"
time to develop themselves. It presumed other life skills were learned
elsewhere. A place that supported philosophers who could share mental
knowledge with passion. A way to apprentice thinking arts. It was for
the student driven to those masters the same as the student craving
blacksmithing. Trade schools developed around tradespeople students
flocked to for their skills. Today "school" needs to have many types of
experts or serve as a referral service to where such expertise is. Too
often the only masters to learn from are people who "teach."
But any of us need to realize the other real learning is in summer camps
now. The students who will excel in other than teaching are now studying
fencing, crafts, nature lore, or working on farms. They may be enjoying
music or foreign language immersion. They may be engaged in family
interaction of a wonderful or stressful kind. This is the season for
those studies. Some are studying video games and television watching.
Children don't have an off season and "school" only does 6 hours of 180
days of their education/year. 1080 hours- including lunch and hall time
to study societal values displayed by like aged peers and select adults.
That's of 5840 study hours (8760 hour year less 8 hrs sleep.) Seems
silly to me to evaluated them only on their teaching/testing skills. So
much more study is in other areas.
The kid you walk by today could learn from you. Share your passion. That
would be permaculture change. "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
"In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students-and
adults-become passive and unable to think or act for themselves.
Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which
emphasizes learning instead of teaching."
A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, p 100 (Volume 2, Center
for Environmental Studies)
More information about the permaculture