[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] spontaneous concepts indeed

Great story Joanne. I do hope you succeed. What a shame that such a powerful state provides such schooling that parents are better off doing it themselves!

I think children often desparately want to be part of the world around them. That's what the workbook meant to them.

Joanne Hyatt wrote:
I'm only a grad student, but I'll risk a spontaneous response.

In 1991 I had no background in education other than my own experiences.
However, compelled by circumstance, I home schooled my fourth grader. My
main thought at the time was, "Even if he only reads at home for a year,
he'll be better off than attending the school he is destined to be bussed
to." My pedagogy was inspired by John Holt's magazine "Unschooling", a
publication edited by Holt and filled with inspiring stories from families
following Holt's theories.

I loved overseeing school at home, and my son and later my daughter thrived
there. However, try as I might, it was exceptionally hard to shift or impact
the approach my children took to schooling. They were already hopelessly
brainwashed by their few years of traditional schooling. While I hoped
they'd want to build a ham radio and communicate with 10-year-olds in
Australia, they'd see a workbook in the supermarket and ask me to buy it for
them. Also, years later, when I became a 4th grade teacher, I found it
impossible to create at school the environment I strove to create in my

Clark Aldrich, in the link Peter supplied, is a breath of fresh air, a more
modern and insightful 'Holt'. He is spot on in his diagnosis of traditional
schooling's failings and offers compelling reasons try a new approach at
home. However, to unschool properly, in my opinion, required a tremendous
amount of work on the part of parents. Today, in my community, more and more
parents are choosing to home school, mostly out of desperation and
frustration with the school systems, but they lack the time and energy to
follow up on Aldrich's compelling implications of what might compromise

I just finished reading Vygotsky's Thinking and Speech. Admittedly a novice,
as I read, I kept looking for more references to a child's learning from
their own experiences. Vygotsky's notion of scientific and everyday concepts
seemed defined more by an instructional pedagogy than by content. He seemed
to discount the idea that a child could develop an interest and pursue it
successfully on their own.  He refers to formal schooling, as he knows it,
as a given, an unchanging institution, and the trick is to figure out how
children are developing there. The concept that many children might learn
outside of such an institution in different ways was absent.  "Schools are
teaching too many children too many things that don’t excite them and have
no relevance to what they need or love... says Aldrich." In home schooling
described by Holt, certain scientific concepts could be learned by a child
at home, driven by their loves and needs.

It seems that today we are trying to reinvent the institution of formal
schooling; how would that affect both Vygotsky's teacher or expert in the
ZPD as well as his distinction between scientific and everyday concepts?

On Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 6:04 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:


xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
MIA: http://www.marxists.org

xmca mailing list