Friday, August 7, 2009

School has started!

Well, school has started here and, once again, Jason is concerned that he is missing out on all of the learning (in his own words). Here is our conversation from last year:

Jason: "Mom, I don't want to go to school."
Me: "You don't have to. Remember, we decided to do homeschool." (Just FYI - We don't homeschool, we unschool, but this is just too much for a kid to explain to an adult when the adult asks him why he isn't at school.)
Jason: "But how will I learn anything?"
Me: "You learn lots of things when you are at home. What did you learn in school last year?"
Jason: (after LOTS of thinking) "I dunno. I learned ... umm... to wait in line." (Once again, this is so true! As an kindergartener, Jason was far advanced in all areas of academics, but his teachers and the school district insisted that he needed to do the same work as his typical classmates. As you can probably imagine, this left him with LOTS of down-time.)
Me: "So do you want to keep learning how to wait in line or is there something else you want to learn?"
Jason: "HA! Mom, I already knew how to wait in line before kindergarten. I just didn't like it, so I didn't do it!"
Me: "I don't like waiting either. Do you think we need to practice waiting in line more?"
Jason: "We already practice waiting in line at the grocery store and stuff. I don't need to go to school for that!"

Boy, I love my son! (Well, both of them!) Jason is the only one who seems to feel like all learning must be done in a classroom. It makes me so sad that he had successfully been brainwashed by the school system in such a short amount of time, but I do think it's interesting that he will quickly admit that he didn't learn anything in kindergarten (his last year in school). He laughs quickly when I ask him about what he learned, because he already knew how to read at a second grade level, do addition and subtraction, some fractions, and some multiplication before he went to kindergarten. He also knew all of his directions (N,S,E,W), how to read a map, all of the continents and most of the oceans. So son ... learning only happens in a classroom, huh?!

I challenge anyone who doesn't know about unschooling and/or anyone who thinks that school is great to really, honestly think about what you actually LEARNED in school. Really think about it! And teachers, don't be offended ... remember, I used to be one of you too!

Ok, so this year's conversation:

Jason: "Mom, can we go play with Chase today."
Mom: "Not today. Chase went back to school today."
Jason: "Oh. Um... what are we gonna learn today?" (By the way, this question only occurs when Jason is suddenly made aware of the fact that others are in school and he's not. It's not a regular occurance.)
Mom: "Well, what do you want to do today?"
Jason: "I want to write a story."
Mom: "Ok! That sounds cool. Let me get the pen and paper."

Here is the story that Jason dictated to me:

Jason's plan for destroying ***** School.

First, I will get my friends out of school. They will come with me and my brother. Then you will drive us to the Nashville Zoo. We will liberate ("um, that means set free, right?") the animals. I will create a diversion, and the animals will be set free. The zookeepers will never send the animals back to the zoo forever. The animals will run to Hendersonville and stomp on the school. Then there will be nothing but a big pile of dust.

So, there you have it. What Jason wanted to do on the "first day of school" this year. He is so happy that he says his head will explode!

What does Jeffrey think of the school year starting? He couldn't care less. He happily built with Legos for the longest time today and made up a balloon game in which you had to count by twos (we made it to 326), then we had to count by threes from the first score of 326. Jeffrey did a better job at figuring it out and correctly adding than I did. Oh, and don't forget badminton tournament, basketball shoot-out, making many imaginary meals for mommy, and lots of other stuff. Right now, he and Jason have set up an animal hospital in the living room for all of their stuffed animals. They are the vets and are practicing giving shots, wrapping bandages, singing lullabyes, and generally discussing what needs to be done for each. (Isn't this amazing! Autistic kids aren't supposed to be able to play interactively with anyone ... let alone each other! I am so blessed!)

I absolutely LOVE being able to watch my children learn. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be their helper in learning!

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