Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Deep Learning: Letting it Stew
People often wonder how you learn when you don't do school. It always takes me by surprise how deeply the idea that we must go to school to learn is ingrained in our society.
The other thing that we are all guilty of, schoolers and non schoolers alike is that we usually don't allow time for learning to grow; we need the showy stuff to prove to ourselves and to others that learning is taking place.
I was reminded of this while reading 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' by E.L. Konigsburg.
It's a fantastic book about two kids that run away from home and and live at the Metropolitan Museum for a week without being discovered. While they are there they embark on a quest to discover whether a piece called 'Angel' was made by Michelangelo or not.
This leads them to it's original owner, Mrs. Basil. E. Frankweiler.
In one of their conversations with her, Claudia the oldest is surprised when Mrs Frankweiler says she is not interested in seeking out any more experts' advice. She is satisfied with her own research and "not in the mood to learn anything new."
Claudia replies, "But Mrs, Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing everyday. We did even at the museum." (Note the 'even at the museum' instead of especially at the museum!!!).
"No," the old lady continues. "I don't agree with that. I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you.You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow."
That's kind of where my head is at with unschooling these days. Less accumulation of facts. More of 'let it stew.'