Wednesday, February 24, 2010

General happenings

Stylish has been asking questions that are long multiplication so yesterday I sat down with her and reminded her how to do them. She had so much fun she asked for more. She seems to struggle with which column to put the carried over numbers in, and then forgets which one to add on when she is faced with that column, but it's nothing practice won't straighten out. Amazingly enough she seems to really know her times tables now, and that's more than half the work in this type of sum.

Spikee was very impressed with his sister doing maths and announced that he wanted to do some too, so I wrote numbers and he scribbled over them. He is starting to be familiar with some numbers, I'm sure Stylish could read all her numbers by now, but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So many kids hate school!

How many children begin each day begging their parents not to send them to school? And how many parents listen to their kids and keep them home, and how many offer useless placation and send their kids off in tears?

In order to live a full and healthy life we rely on four essential functions, according to Patricia Evans, feeling, sensate, intuitive and thinking. There are many ways we damage these basic functions in children, and forced schooling is the cause of plenty damage.

A child cries about not wanting to go to school because every day this week they have been picked on. The child uses their intuitive function to predict what will occur today, and yet the parent brushes this aside telling the child "it'll be alright, you don't KNOW what today will bring".

A child cries because they can not compete with their peers in an academic or physical subject, and the parent tells them "go on, try your hardest, you can do it". The child uses their feeling function to understand anguish, and the parent ignores their feelings - obviously with good intentions, but it is still ignoring a function the child is using to navigate their way through their day.

Intuition and feeling are very powerful and useful, crucial, senses, however we are socially conditioned to use our "thinking" function above all else, and the thinking function can not give us all the information we need for decision making. The other functions are viewed as weaknesses, failings, little more than an inconvenience in all things, from work to relating to other people.

Many of the parents who send their children to prison despite their tears are switching off their intuitive function in order to do so. Using their "thinking" function to override their intuition, telling themselves that the benefits of education outweigh the negatives of the "feeling" function of their child, and the child's intuitive fear. This is something that the parents of the parent most likely drummed into them in order to raise fully functional human beings. It has somehow become the norm to use only the thinking function to the detriment of all other functions, and the detriment of the human beings being raised to ignore such essential parts of themselves.

What does this teach children?

In order to be a successful human in our "dog eat dog" world, we rely on all the senses, and we rely on a connection to them, within ourselves to be fully functional, independent, whole beings. When we ignore a child's functional senses, we teach them to disconnect from themselves, we teach them that our thinking function is more worthy than their intuitive or feeling function. When in actual fact ALL of these things must operate together for harmony to exist within us, and we must be aware of them for them to guide us. We are teaching our children to disconnect from their inner voices, voices which may one day be relied upon in life and death situations .... and yet by then they are unable to access them, or they do not value the messages their senses are sending them.

I am well aware the homeschooling isn't a viable option to a lot of people, but I do believe that it's an option to more people than ever consider it. If homeschool isn't an option for you because you have court orders preventing you from making decisions by yourself, if you are a sole, working parent, or any other myriad of reasons prevent you from learning at home, you can still listen to your child and validate their feelings. You can work with them to find a solution for their aversion to schooling. You can employ a counselor, demand the school steps up to the plate and meets the needs of your child, you can look at changing schools to a school that has a different approach to the particular problem your child is encountering, or you can simply allow your child to have a "mental health day" now and again to relieve some of the stress.

If more parents did this the world would be a happier, more functional place! Our children would be healthier, less inclined to experiment with sex and drugs, and able to form more complete adult (and youthful) relationships with both themselves, other people, and the world around them. Imagine a world where children learnt to use all their feelings, without ever judging the value of one above another, and they grew up to raise children the same way!

Here are some other ways to value and encourage your child to develop all their senses and functions.

  • If your child falls over, don't tell them it didn't hurt and that they'll be ok. Just hold them close and comfort them quietly.
  • If your child tells you they don't like a particular food, don't tell them that it's actually tasty - you probably don't like green cordial, and couldn't be convinced of its' virtues.
  • If your child doesn't like a particular relative don't tell them the relative is nice, they should get to know them, let your child feel protected by you.
  • If your child does not wish to have physical contact with a particular person do not force it upon them, who cares if the adult is upset, it's your job to protect your child, not another adult's feelings.
  • If your child finds something too difficult, don't tell them it's easy, they will either grow into the skill or find other skills which they can accomplish easily.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A day at the MCA

Today we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art with a group of home schoolers. The museum has a fantastic collection showing at the moment, by a Danish artist called Olafur Eliasson.

These are a couple of his works that we saw. There is a tunnel of mirrors and lights, when you walk through one way it's colourful, but the other side of the points which jut out is black so that when you walk through it that way you are in a dark tunnel. There is a room painted white that is lit by yellow lights so that everything in the room (people can walk in) is a rather off putting shade of yellow, and a darkened room with a fine mist of water that light shines on, creating a rainbow. If you stand right under the water you see a perfect circle of a rainbow in front of you, it's rather impressive!

There is also 300kg of white lego which the children were allowed to build things with, they spent an hour at least making houses and towers and various other creative things, then storing them at the side of the room where everyone else's creations were displayed.