I've been thinking lately, about unschooling, and the dangers of leaving gaps in my children's education. It's not so much, that I've been worrying, although I wouldn't be a homeschool parent, if I didn't occasionally worry, so much as I've been rolling thoughts around in my mind.
What will happen if the children fail to learn a skill now, that they might end up needing later on? Will the lack of that skill keep them from pursuing some later interest, or will they pick it up as they need it? What if it's something complicated like calculus, or physics? Will they be able to pick it up later?
Thoughts like these have been surfacing, and swirling through my "planning" for the fall. But, I had a breakthrough, recently, in the form of an experience, that has brought some peace, and reassurance to my mind.
It happened right before the 4th of July, while we were watching an early firework show. The fireworks were impressive, to north, but the real show was happening in the form of a moon rise to the east. We pulled out our spotting scope (what serves as a telescope in our house), and viewed the clear, beautiful surface of the moon. I have never seen the moon look bigger.
In fact, I was so impressed by the size of the moon on the horizon, that I snapped several quick shots of it.
Doesn't look too impressive - does it? That's because the large size of the moon, sun, or constellations, as seen on the horizon, is an optical illusion known, fittingly enough, as moon illusion. Your camera can't capture it.
But, I didn't know that. I'd never heard of moon illusion before, or if I had, I'd completely forgotten about it.
I set out to discover what was going on, and found that scientists don't really know what is going on. There are a few different theories, you can find them by Googling "moon illusion". I would love to explain them to you, but just reading the explanations gives me a headache. In fact, it was while holding my head, knee deep in one particularly wordy theory for moon illusion, that I realized the truth.
I don't have enough math, or science background to make proper sense of it. Not that I won't try to wade through all the theories, anyway. I'd love to know if it's the same illusion that makes the mountains, I look at every morning, appear to move, depending on where I am in town. But, I doubt I'll be able to figure it out. There is a gap in my education, that is keeping me from finding an answer I would like to find. I will probably never win any scientific awards for solving this particular puzzle.
I went to both public, and private schools. I have a college degree. And, yet I don't know everything (gasp, I know). I don't even know everything I'd like to know.
So, back to the question of will unschooling leave gaps in my children's education - probably. Will those gaps keep them from pursuing later interests - possibly. Will sending them off to be educated by professionals solve this problem - apparently not.
And, just in case this wordy post wasn't enough for you, this morning, I'm also guest posting today at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn, on the topic of homeschooling multiple ages at once. If you pop over there, be sure to check out the rest of Debbie's blog. On her second time around homeschooling, she has some very helpful insights.
It's great to be a homeschooler.