I just finishing taking a quiz over a chapter in my teaching texbook entitled "The Organization of American Schools." Part of this chapter deals with the structure needed in a classroom in order to make a classroom feel safe. Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm about as anti-structure as one can get; but I can understand now why public school classrooms need structure. With the prevalence of drugs and gangs and other evils that harm children's safety- found right in the classroom - it's no wonder that teachers and parents call for more structure. What I do have to wonder about, however, is why homeschoolers call for more structure. One of the leading reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children is due to safety issues. Obviously, this owrry over safety should not be a concern in a homeschool. There should be no threat of bullying, no threat of a student walking in with a gun and opening fire. So why do some homeschool parents insist that everything be structured? Maybe it's because I truly believe learning should be enjoyable, but when I watch Taliesin and Nathanael observe their pet caterprillars or build a fort out of sofa cushions or bring me books to read with them; I cannot fathom structuring their learning and taking the enjoyment away. (By the way, the hummingbird moth caterpillar we found a week or so ago is now burrowing into the dirt in the bottom of the aquarium - must be getting ready to form his pupa).
I hear people a lot say they create an orderly structure because the universe is orderly, showing evidence of an orderly God. I have no doubt that we live in an orderly universe, and that God is orderly. But does orderly have to be overly structured? That's really a loaded question. I believe in order - I'm not going to allow my sons to play in the street. I'm not going to allow my sons to hit each other and call each other names. I'm not going to allow my sons to be cruel to another creature. But I do allow them to make choices regarding how they learn and what their preferences are. For quite some time, Taliesin went through a stage in which he did not want to wear shorts or t-shirts. He wanted to continue wearing his long sleeves and long pants. We talked about it. I showed him there were shorts to wear. But to have forced him to wear something he was uncomfortable in would have been wrong of me. Finally, a few mornings ago, he decided he wanted to wear shorts and short sleeves. Yesterday, he even took his socks off and wore flip flops (Taliesin wore socks all summer last year). I admit I was concerned for a while that he would get too hot, especially because he gets hives when his body temperature rises too much. But I got a lot of assurance from other unschooling moms - and even some suggestions on making light-weight pants and longsleeved shirts for this summer. Encouragement is a good thing - especially for us unschoolers. :^) Why do I allow my sons such choices? Why do I not decide for them? God is the ultimate Parent, and He allows me choices. Should I not do the same for my children?
Mirror, Mirror – Magic Mice #18 & 19
6 hours ago