Re: Just learning!


Sometimes I have a hard time thinking on my toes, but in retrospect, here's what I wish I'd shared at the symposium about natural learning: 

I taught first grade for several years.  One of my most struggling students was a boy named Martin.  Long after his peers had finished their worksheets, Martin would be dawdling, confused and uncertain with the arithmetic or phonetical task at hand.  I would dutifully help him, while he'd look, wistfully, at his classmates during their time of free choice.  

It wasn't until the very last day of school that I realized Martin's true giftedness.

Another student had brought in a mechanical carousel to share on the last day of school.  Unfortunately, it quickly broke amongst all the eager hands.  Each student, in turn, had a time of playing with the instrument, to see if he or she could fix it.  The carousel was passed around, looked over, turned upside down, opened up... and all day long it failed to turn or play.  

Martin was the last to have a try.  He didn't give up on the carousel.  He poured his concentration into the mechanics of the toy, determined to get it working again.  And sure enough, right before the last school bell rang, he fixed it.  The toy turned, the horses moved up and down, the music played.  

I regret that it took me an entire school year before Martin had an opportunity to display his true gifts.  All year long I focused on his deficits.  I don't think I could have fixed the carousel, even if I'd really wanted to.  I don't think Martin had been "taught" how to fix a carousel toy.  This was an example of his natural learning and natural giftedness.


Ben Lomond, CA

---In AlwaysLearning@..., <alwayslearning@...> wrote:

-=-I've been reading here since our kids (now 6 yr olds) were babies and I came to trust that the parents of grown unschooled kids knew what they were talking about when they described how their kids learned. It is truly awesome to experience our kids learning. Reading and swimming (two activities that many folks believe must be taught) arose spontaneously, easily, with joyful confidence. The corresponding joy my husband and I feel----immeasurable!-=-

Tori, I want to start a page with this, on people's "own certain knowledge" that their children can learn.

As you say, it starts off trusting other people's stories, but at some point, with each person, it becomes personal. Maybe they used to think it could happen. Then one day they *know.*

One of the sessions I led last weekend was about that very thing. Here was the description:


Your Own Certain Knowledge

Vague interest can turn to trust in others' accounts of learning and of parenting successes. Trust in those stories can give us courage to experiment, and from that we can discover our own proofs and truths to share with newer unschoolers, who might find courage from that to try these things themselves. Faith in others can only take us a little way, though, and then our own children's learning will carry us onward. Some ideas become theories. A few theories might turn to convictions. Some early thoughts will be abandoned; others will gain substance. After much thought and use, what is left will be what you believe because you have lived it.

Share (if you wish to) a moment when learning surprised you in a profound way.

It went well, but it wasn't the time to be taking notes. At least three people got tears in their eyes. I did a similar one (less tearful) last May in Minneapolis.

If anyone else wants to write something for me to preserve there for others to read, please do. Here, or send it to me.


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