Lots of homeschoolers know about Sal Khan's Khan Academy. The format has changed a bit since we started making use of this resource, but the mission has clearly retained its vigor. I am undeniably impressed with Sal's endeavor. If you have never visited Khan Academy, you need to stop reading right now and head over there. Here's the LINK, again.
We've been messing with the math tutorial. It is FUN. It is ENCOURAGING. It is GENTLE. The program meets you where you are at via a pretest and then proceeds to gently coax you to mastery over topics, slowly but surely. It's brilliant in that it sets the learner up to WIN. By the way, Lumosity is a barrel of fun, too. Nothing like a little brain training to get a day started.
Math has always been received with reticence around these parts. There's just not enough room in this here town for math and Max. Somehow Sal has ingeniously managed to sell math to my reticent teenager by boosting his confidence, showing him that he can, in fact, 'get it'. I could cry and hug this marvelous human named Sal. He probably hears it all the time! Math, at least in my mind, is a magnificent tool to help one carve out a unique worldview. It is pattern, it is art, it is language, it is rhyme and reason. I don't need Max to know how to do math. I do, however, crave for him to be able to see what math really is and then decide from there if it's worth taking a closer look at. Math is magical stuff. Exactly the kind of cool, mysterious stuff that makes life worth examining.
This unschooling journey has been simply marvelous so far. He is learning how to learn with what can be described as single-minded determination. Having tackled many books, built a computer, fiddled with the speed cubing arena and countless other subjects in which he noses about, he is developing a strong drive to discover and understand. That's exactly IT. The point of an unschooled life is to discover and uncover as much as you wish. I harbor a deep craving that every child could experience the freedom of learning dictated by one's interests.
Sir David Attenborough has hung out in our living room via Netflix lately. Gosh, isn't he wonderful, too? I could gush, but won't. So many admirables out there to explore with. This week, here is what has come up so far: we've visited the Constitution and its amendments, the three branches of our government and their purposes, and that whole electoral college thing; we've projected forth into the future and talked about having your very own mortgage and what that entails. "How long does it usually take to pay off a house?" The thirty year answer was met with saucer eyes, so we talked about the pros and cons of renting. Which led to us opening a credit card application that conveniently arrived in the mail today. After careful examination of the fine print, we shredded it with glee. Take that, credit card company!
Every day is different. Some days are packed, some are nice and quiet. A good friend asked when I planned to test Max, just so I know where he is at grade-level-wise. We won't be testing him because it simply doesn't matter where he is grade-level-wise. As his mom I see how he is conducting himself and based on that observation alone, I am confident that he will craft a life that fits his own personal standards, whatever they may grow to be. Our internally-generated standards are more important than the arbitrary ones dictated by the school system.
I am one homeschooling mom who is grateful for people like Sal Khan and David Attenborough. They epitomize what it looks like to live life in line with one's passions. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone was given room to explore their very own interests? Perhaps this all sounds a little 'Pollyanna-ish', but.......just imagine!