It's 2:00 am right now, and I am not sleeping. Insomnia hits me sometimes, and I just can't or don't feel like going to sleep. Maybe it's the fact that the house is quiet for once. Just the sounds of the animals moving around and Annika's radio coming from the monitor.
I have had a lot on my mind lately, school being the front runner. We are about to start year number 7, and I think it's going to end up very different than any other year. Usually we start at the first of July and follow a 4 weeks on, 1 week off sort of schedule for most of the year. This year we discussed it, and the boys decided they would rather follow a more traditional schedule and start in mid-August, after their birthdays.
So I have been thinking a lot lately about school. Thinking about things I
have fought against thinking for a very long time because it wasn't
school. It wasn't the school I was used to. It wasn't the school I went
to. But when it comes down to it, I chose a different path. I chose NOT
to send my kids to that school I went to. I wanted different for them
for many, many reasons.
I was a good student in school. I tried hard. I worked hard. I got good grades. Do I remember everything I learned? No. Does that affect my day to day life? No. Do I even need half the stuff I learned in school? Probably not.
And every time I sat down to think about planning this next year, I got stuck. Lists of units, book work, standards were piling up. And I couldn't help but think, why does it matter?
Does someone really need to know how to diagram a sentence?
Does a child really need to learn calculus?
Does it matter in day to day life if you don't know the technical names for the parts of speech?
The answer to all of those is no. Unless...
And it's that unless that is what really matters. Think about it.
I am a firm believer that most of what kids learn between Kindergarten and 12th grade can be taught in a ridiculously short amount of time. Meaning that if I taught nothing until one day my son decided he wanted to be a [enter profession] and he figured out what it was that he would need to know to accomplish that goal, he could do it. And end up at the same level as those who were taught yearly through 12th grade.
So, if your future career/life includes sentence diagramming, calculus and adverbs....then yes you need to know that information.
I am also a believer in universal skills. I think that everyone should know how to write, and write well. Knowing how to communicate with others is important. I think life skills are seriously overlooked in today's society. I mean, what use is calculus if you can't feed, house and keep your self clean? And I think that if you know how to learn, that is all you really need to know- until you want to know more, that is.
So where does all of this leave us at the start of the new school year? It leaves me with a leap of faith. That taking a new path is a good thing. That positive things will happen. The specifics are still being worked out, and that is another post all together, but I think it will be a good change. For all of us.