Monday, March 2, 2009

Practical Knowledge

Even though Luke is so healthy, vibrant, and knowledgeable about almost any subject you'd care to mention, I still worry about the traditional sorts of things that he doesn't know yet. Math facts, long division, the diagram of a sentence; these are subjects Luke does not know much about because they don't particularly interest him.

While I do worry, I have confidence in Luke. It springs from the knowledge that, should he suddenly become interested, he will learn those subjects faster than you can say 'standardized test.'

At the Life Without School blog over the weekend, I read a great post about what kids should know, when. Laureen, the author, wonders where practical knowledge fits into a child's education. For her family, living on a seafaring Catamaran, 'practical knowledge' takes on a different meaning than for us landlubbers. Still, Laureen's point is made every day, right here in our home.

Each time Luke cooks himself an egg, asks a question and then says 'hey, I know where I can find this out!', begs to get on the library website to search for books on his favorite subjects, makes connections between seemingly unrelated subjects, says 'I don't get why this is funny' when reading the comics and then really listens while I explain it to him - he learns so much about metaphors, sarcasm, facetiousness, mottos, and other conventions of English as well as our culture, just from the comics! - each time he pokes his head up from the blankets in the morning, he learns infinitely practical stuff.

It doesn't stop at practical, though. Luke is capable of seriously high-level critical thinking, and participates actively in family discussions about any topic from chicken-keeping to the American Revolution. He may not remember each and every fact he's ever learned - although, he does a better job with this than his mother, for sure - but I think he is expert at a more important skill: how to research, really learn , about a subject.

And, I ask you, what is more practical than that?

From The Stone Age Techie


Laureen said...

Thanks for the props! It's an ongoing thing with us, and I'll probably blog about it again, the next time someone challenges me and I get all weird about it.


topsytechie said...

Okey-dokey...keep these posts a-comin'. I'm going to need every one of them to boost up my unschooling nerve this fall!!

The Stone Age Techie said...

Topsy, I was telling my husband about your thinking on becoming unschoolers, and we agree that with all the resources you're putting into finding out about it, you will do an outstanding job at it, too :-)