Long post, sorry, lots on my mind this morning
Nomadmom, it was really cool to read about your trip. I went to Dover once, when I was 10 (and took the hovercraft to Calais, totally cool), I wish that I'd been able to wander around the countryside a bit like you did.
It's been brutally hot here (there was snow on the ground a month ago, ahh, the Prairies
: ) so we're not doing much, and not really going outside before 10 at night.
Ds spent most of yesterday napping with the cats. He perked up in the evening, and spent a few hours composing a prank email to his buddy who lives downstairs. They have been joke emailing each other for months, but, being 13 yo boys, it has mostly consisted of various combinations of monkey, poo, and your face. Last night, though, ds spent hours writing up a fake commodity sale offer (like the sort of stuff he gets on his msn account from Nigerian princes and the like
) about how frozen waffles have quietly become the dominant commidity traded globally, and are poised to become the most important form of currency in the world
He spent hours on this, looking up the Great Depression and other major economic events on Wikipedia, finding a pdf chart program online and faking up a pie chart demonstrating "waffle dominance". Asked me to spell and grammar check his writing to make sure it looked more official and formal and asked me to explain some stuff about formal writing so he could get all the details right
Ds is still listening to his book on tape every night, a history of the rise and fall of the British Empire. He has always had phases of his main interest, where he will be completely obsessed with and spend huge amounts of time reading on one subject. When he was a baby and toddler it was moving vehicles (he didn't read the books, but from 1 on would sit and listen to anything, or watch anything, that had a car, train, plane or construction vehicle in it), at 3 it was dinosaurs and that morphed into becoming an expert on all sorts of animals. At 10 or so this morphed into reading every single nature guide in the library and an obsession with nature in general, trees, fungi, animal tracks, weather, geology.
This paralled his interest in game systems, video games, online, card games, etc. He was mostly all about games for the last 2 years or so. This last year he's been getting more interested in politics, government, because of the war, and elections both here and in the US. So this has taken off in the last 4 months or so into an obsession with politics, religion, civics, ethics, philosophy, etc. Basically anything that has to do with how humans choose to regulate themselves.
The interesting thing for me, watching this, is the progression his interests have taken, going from the simple "what things are" and "how things work" to complex living systems. What's interesting for me is, my sister is a resource/special ed teacher and writes curriculum for special programs, and we talk a lot about how curriculum is written and the developmental approach that is taken, and ds has naturally followed exactly the "optimum path" in terms of his intellectual development, and how the school system works so hard to try to make kids follow this kind of path and finds it incredibly difficult to acchieve. Even my sis, who has never really been out of school since she was 4, talks about how most kids are just better left on their own, and that the programs in use often do more getting in the way of natural development. There is a movement now in curriculum development to follow children's development more naturally, basically to try to mimic the kind of enviroment that unschooled kids would have and to move to "experiential learning" situations.
What really gets me is that more and more, schools are trying to mimic home life, so that kids get up, are rushed through their morning to get to school to experience a simulation of what they're missing at home
: The longer ds is out of school, the less the whole thing makes sense to me.
When I first pulled ds from ps, I was pretty scared about how, and what, he would learn. It's been really neat for me to look back now and see how he has covered on his own (with a lot of input from mom
) far more content, and studied it far more thoroughly, than he ever would have in school. Even more gratifying since I'm a single mom, was very low income for most of his life, and all the things I've been told you *have* to have in order to be educated (lots of expensive equipment, access to classes and programs and experts, travel, tests, etc.) none of that has been remotely neccessary. In fact, I would say that internet and library access are the only things we couldn't live without at the moment, and if I had to choose between the two, we could do without the internet
Anyway, sorry for the long post, like I said, lots on my mind today