Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Life-long Learners

There has been alot of talk lately on homeschool blogs and groups about the different philosophies/methods of homeschooling and the implementation of said methods. This has led me to do some inward searching regarding our own journey.

Looking back at the progression after 8 years now of "doing this" it is interesting to see how we have evolved in practice especially. My reason for homeschooling has never wavered from the beginning; I want my children to be life-long learners. I want them to be interested, passionate and excited beings about life and all we learn from it. I want them to have the skills/abilities to go in search of information/answers to questions they have. I still want that for all of my children today, even the ones who are no longer "in school". When we first began homeschooling people would ask question after question about "how we did this thing" and more importantly "why?". My answer was that, for our family, learning new things was just "par for the course" as they say. We are a family that is constantly reading, watching, doing, in any and all aspects of life. I thought it was only right that we continue this. Why did it have to change just because my children were "school age"? I had begun to think outside the box and have stretched that thinking more and more each year we continue on.

We have tried many a "practical" way of doing things. I have found that for us it seems to be an ebb and a flow type of learning and living. I mean this in the sense that at times we look more structured and at others we look more "unschooling". It works for us. I know my son and am able to see what he needs at that particular time of his life, thus the ebb and flow. This not only applies to him but also to me as his mother and guide/mentor. I do not use the term teacher because for us many times my son is the one who ends up teaching me!

I have found many of the philosophies of Charlotte Mason very much in tune with my own thinking. It is important to me that whatever we are looking into at the time that my son "make it his own". He sometimes gets something totally different from myself and in sharing these things with each other we are both enriched. Neither is right or wrong. We take from them those things that speak to us as individuals.

There has also been much talk about the whole notion of "strewing" or a laying out of things that may interest your child. I have found for our family we have a very "direct" way of strewing with each other. Each of us will find something that they think is interesting and wishes to share. Another member of the family may find it also very interesting and go off to find out more or may listen and that is enough. There is much discussion and such sharing that goes on in our family as a daily part of our lives. If any of us just set things out they would probably go unnoticed but in this direct way of sharing we broaden ourselves and each other in many areas. I have to laugh when adults ask my son, who just turned 12, how he got interested in birding at such a young age. Let me explain that this interest has turned into a life passion for him at this time and he is much the more knowledgable one than any other member of the family. The reason for the laughter; when asked this question he proceeds to tell them that one day his mom was reading a book on Thoreau (someone she is very interested in and who she was using as a main character of a children's book she was beginning to write). She shared a bit of information on how he became so familiar with the birds during his time at Walden Pond that they would come and eat out of his hand. This intrigued him and he went outside with some bird seed to see if he could do the same. Thus, an avid birder was born as a result of this "direct strewing/sharing" of something from another family member.

Life-long learning - the homeschool journey that our family is on together sharing in our lives and interests daily.


Anonymous Theresa said...

I never really thought of strewing that way. Very interesting! BTW let me know when the book comes out, I'm a big Thoreau fan myself and I'd love to read it!

1:32 PM  
Blogger barb said...


I tried the "indirect" way of strewing and it never worked. They all walked over it, around it, even on it with no results lol. The direct way has always been a part of how we interract as a family so there it was right in front of my face :)

5:57 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

This is wonderful. I'm notifying my kid sis in Colorado Springs of your blog and its musings. She's terribly disappointed with the public schools and I know she is interested in home schooling.

"Strewing." A new word to 'old' me. When my 40 year old son was a kid, we'd drag his wagon and telescope through snow drifts to watch the glitter strewn over the dark velvet of a bitter Ohio night. He's now an astronomer. Parenthood. Whew.

Josh is a lucky young man to walk beside parents as engaged in sharing and transmiting the beauty and mysteries of life as you and your husband.

8:44 AM  
Blogger barb said...


Thanks so much for the kind comments. Good luck to your sister. Homeschooling has been a wonderful journey for us and I feel blessed to have had such time with my children.

Sounds like you have been "strewing" long before people gave definiton to the word :)

12:29 PM  

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