Monday, February 26, 2007

True Learning and the Stinkin' Co-op

Long ago (last year) I wrote a post titled "We don't do no stinkin' co-ops"...beware of such pronouncements as they may come back to bite you!! My oldest son, the lifelong unschooler, decided last September he needed to try academics and through a surprising series of events (iow it was a God-thing), got himself enrolled in a highly academic co-op. As part of the deal, I got to teach World History to high schoolers at the co-op.

In my mind, it became the "the co-op that ate my life". It has been a major adjustment to arrange our lives around a school and homework schedule after 10 years of unschooling. He had to figure out how to organize his formerly laid back ways, where the biggest demand had been an hour of piano practice everyday. Now he had to fit in homework from 4 classes, algebra at home and, oh yeah, that hour of piano practice; plus, playing music in 2 bands, working on Saturdays and teaching piano lessons to a friend. On top of his schedule, I needed to prepare lessons for World History every week which led to competition for Word Processing time! It has taken us 6 months to finally get the hang of it all. Which is why I have not posted here for many a moon--the stinkin' co-op was kicking my butt!

So now I look back at that six months and see what has come of it.
One of my all time favorite quotes is from John Holt:
"True learning--learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning--can arise only out of the experience, interests, and concerns of the learner."
So the interesting thing about it is, he is experiencing that true learning that I value so highly in a new setting that is the opposite of unschooling. His Writing and Literature class is his favorite! He is loving it, soaking up so much knowledge and learning to love writing. And because he chose the co-op and he wants to succeed at it, he is truly learning some valuable skills for organizing his life and making good choices with his time. The fact that this is his chosen path and so it is addressing his interests and concerns, makes all the difference for me.

It makes the whole stinkin' co-op that ate my life morethanfine after all!