Monday, February 20, 2012

On Keeping It Simple

Sometimes I do have doubts about whether our "method" of education is the right one.  (As if there is a one-size-fits-all way of learning that is "right")  I wonder if anything is really sticking.  Then I have short conversations like the one I just had with Brewer.

Brewer:  "What are you watching?"
Me: "The Last Emperor"
Brewer: "What's it about?"
Me: "It's about China's last emperor who became emperor of China when he was just 3 years old."
Brewer: "A kid?  That's kinda like The Empty Pot."

Okay, so the story is nothing like The Empty Pot but I was a bit shocked at his link between the two since I have only read that story once about 8 months or so ago. This is just one example of how simply reading good books and discussing them is a valuable way of learning.  When I am tempted to complicate things with worksheets/workbooks and lots of "hands on" activities and lesson plans that I would spend hours planning, I always have to remind myself that learning need not be complicated.  For most young children it is as simple as snuggling up with someone who loves them to read a good book and talk about it.  Then they are free to use the new ideas in the book as they like, not the way we think they should.  No worksheets or tests to see if they learned the right ideas.  They take away what they want or need at the time. I think it's sort of wonderful.