Learning
gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.
commit to memory.
become aware of (something) by information or from observation.

We are created to learn. We start before anyone can “teach” us. We become aware, we observe, we attempt, we fail, we add to our experience, we retain, we succeed.

At what age and in what sequence the differing experiences of failure and success occur really does not matter. That we learn, and we continue to do so, is exciting and amazing. We are wondrous beings.

Babies learn, and when given an environment that is loving, safe, and interesting they thrive. This does not change as we grow older, the human capacity is vast. We are capable of learning new things throughout the course of our lifetime. The possibilities are endless.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, we do have a time frame in our childhoods where compulsory school years are required by law. There are definite pros and cons of these years. It can be a time of mindful and interesting exposure to information that piques our curiosity and helps us expand our knowledge base. Unfortunately, it can be filled with arbitrary subjects deemed “necessary” to be learned in a certain sequence, at certain ages, and that can be very problematic as humans learn at different rates, in different styles, and for different purposes. If the flexibility is not there, the very children that are expected to acquire this information may suffer from unrealistic expectations to their unique timing and way of assimilating information.

Another problem is part and parcel within the very definition of the word “learning”. The idea of “being taught” should be seriously peeled apart to best serve the one who is learning. To be given information is not the same as receiving that information. To be taught assumes that what is presented is accepted and added to our knowledge base. On the surface, it can seem perfectly sensible and acquirable, but humans are not a “one size fits all” and what we think is being clearly given, may not be receivable by the other for so many reasons, or may come through muddled and confusing. Teaching assumes learning takes place. Ideally so, but not the reality too often.

I have had the benefit through my life experiences, and choices over the years to be very familiar with public school, some private school, alternative schools, schooling at home, homeschooling from different approaches leading up to unschooling and for years now, radical unschooling. All are legal options available to those within the United States. Some are legal options outside of the United States. Each has its place, but not all will be the best fit for all families, or even from child to child within a family. Some may be for a season, and not for another. Knowing what each means, what each takes to do well, what principles need to be understood in order to live them out optimally would be beneficial for those seeking options, or in better comprehending, parents, teachers, and children alike. There is power in choices and clarity. I want to be a bridge to knowing more and doing more. Knowing better and doing better. Our children need us to be their best, safest, and softest points of contact. During the compulsory school years, the relationships they have with their parents, with their teachers, with their communities will make a huge difference in how supported they can be so that they are able to learn to their unique abilities and timing. This will then continue on with them, for better or worse, into their adult lives.

I am here to offer a place to discover and expand. To recognize and reframe what interferes with living a life of respect and kindness within the family and those who have input and who impact the family members. This is most important where ever a child may find themselves, which for many years may be inside of a school setting as well. I’d love to hear what you all have to say, what you think, concerns you may have, questions that bounce around inside of you. I look forward to your company.