A couple of days ago, our neighbor was riding her bike and we were outside planting our flower garden in our front yard. Taliesin, the night before, had picked some snapdragons to plant; and Nathanael had picked some petunias. We also planted rose bushes, a wild flower mixture, forget-me-nots (another of Taliesin's favorites), zinnias, and morning glories (another of Nathanael's favorites). As our young neighbor rode past our house, she stopped to talk; and she proudly told me, "Kandy, I got an A and a B!" I, of course, told her that I was proud of her. Taliesin, without missing a beat, told her, "I got snapdragons!"
Maybe it sounds crazy, but that made me so proud of him. Those two statements just epitomized the difference between the school mindset and the unschool mindset. What most kids are striving for is a letter grade - that "A." That is what they know. I have school-age children in childcare who, it seems, only talk about what grade level in reading they are at. It has been pounded into their heads since they were old enough to think that what they live for is going to school and getting good grades and staying ahead of the rest of the kids in their grade.
I am almost finished with my education degree. In fact, other than a couple of core classes for my religion degree, some gen. ed. classes, and scholarly writing for teachers and my practicum; I have taken all of the required education classes. And, don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed them all and have learned a lot. I'm glad it was something I pursued. But the more I learn about the education system, the stronger I believe in unschooling. I just cannot wrap my mind around a child's whole educational existence being based upon standardized testing and grade level. When Taliesin does something more academic - like reading to me or making pictures and putting sticker letters at the top to title the picture - I do not place him at grade level. Half of the lapbooks that he does are, according to the front, at fourth or fifth grade level. I don't care! What I care about is he enjoys what he is doing. That is the important thing to me. He plantssnapdragons. What more could I ask for?