Thursday, May 3, 2012

Opposing Views

Or maybe not.

I'm reading Raising Lifelong Learners by Lucy Calkins (with Lydia Bellino). It's worth reading for many reasons. (It's always horrifying to read that children between the ages of four and fourteen watch about four hours of TV a day, isn't it? Those statistics shock me so much that my brain wanders away and I immediately skip to thinking about something else, lalalalalalalala, kind of like how we can't bear thinking about global warming or the receding coastline.)

While I was reading, I was thinking my personal and professional opinions were sorting themselves into a Venn diagram. Aligning at some points, bickering at others. 

On one hand, I agree with much of what Calkins says. We parents need to talk and read with our children; we need to spend time with them and ask them questions and listen to the answers. And yet--at about page 123, I started chafing from the reins. There's just so much direction, there's so much talk, there are so many questions. I started to wonder what it would be like for kids to live under constant instruction.

Not everything has to be a lesson. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes we just take the dog for a walk or see a butterfly amid the geraniums. Sometimes we go to the beach just to walk barefoot in the water, not to talk about the tides. When we see  pelicans, we can just watch the formation they take in flight, rather than talk about how having hollow bones pelicans lets pelicans be light in the air. Experience is enough in itself. Learning also happens without explicit instruction and the constant talkitty talk talk talk.

Maybe I'm talking to myself. I do tire of the sound of my own voice.

But Calkins' book is about accomplishing a specific goal, and she offers many means toward a worthy end. Or maybe I haven't yet gotten to the part about how lovely it is to sit and look out the window at the bumblebees in the morning glories and, off in the distance, to see the soft haze of fog coming in from the ocean.

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