Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday Quote

I love this description of "Guerilla Learning"...although some of the examples are probably more than I could handle (like riding a bike across state...I would worry about safety issues). But in general, these paragraphs are so powerful & beautiful...

“Guerrilla Learning is coloring outside the lines, finding the shortest direction between two points, moving directly toward goals, doing the best you can with what you’ve got to work with now, making what you want for your kids and what they want for themselves as real as you can, asking people for specific kinds of help, getting out of theory land and into the trenches, realizing that schools could take centuries to significantly improve (or to get our of the way altogether) and that meanwhile your children are barreling through childhood.

Guerrilla Learning is letting your daughter read her stack of library books instead of finishing her homework. It’s hiring your son’s beloved third-grade teacher to give him written feedback on his poetry, even though now he’s eleven years old. It’s inviting your massage therapist to dinner, since your daughter’s been talking about going to massage school instead of college—even if the thought worries you a little. It’s telling your daughter how that thought worries you and listening to her talk about her motives.

Guerrilla Learning is committing to learn Spanish fluently, as you’ve always planned to do, and attending a church where the service is in Spanish as well as listening to audiotapes. It’s going back and reading Shakespeare, now that you don’t have to and now that you’ve lived a little more and you can appreciate his wisdom. It’s going to a lecture on evolution, which leads you to read Jared Diamond’s The Third Chimpanzee, which leads you to the zoo, with or without your kids. It’s volunteering in the ticket booth at a community-based dance series, so that you and your family can attend for free. It’s reading and writing and building and enterprising and listening to music and doing and discussing all these things with your kids. It’s continuously reawakening your own intellectual vitality (or rediscovering it, if you’ve misplaced it) and sharing it with your children.

Guerrilla Learning is telling your son it’s okay for him to focus on physics (or history, or engine repair) class, even if that means letting history (or physics, or engine repair) slide. It’s staying up till midnight helping your kids care for an orphaned bird. It’s asking your neighbors if they’d let your daughter play their piano a few hours each week. It’s telling your stressed-out son that there’s no rush; he doesn’t need to start college right after graduating from high school (or learn to read by the end of first grade, or keep up with his friends’ computer expertise, or learn to drive by next summer). Or allowing your sixteen-year-old daughter to start college now, if she feels she’s ready. Or letting her ride her bicycle from Virginia to a summer camp in Oregon. It’s trusting your kids, trusting the universe: The sky will not fall if your son doesn’t take Advanced Placement courses or if your daughter doesn’t belong to the National Honor Society. And Guerrilla Learning is relaxing—knowing that you’ve made a lot of mistakes as a parent (and educator) and that you’ll make a lot more, and that that’s okay—your kids are resilient; it’s not all up to you, and life will provide.

In a nutshell, Guerrilla Learning means taking responsibility for your own education. For young people, that includes thinking clearly and seriously about one’s own goals, interestes, and values—then acting accordingly. For parents, it means supporting your child in doing so. It might mean giving your child a kind of freedom that may seem risky or even crazy at first. And it also means continuing your own involvement in the world of ideas and culture, continuing to read, to think, to discuss, and to create—and being a walking, talking invitation to your kids to do the same.”
Guerrilla Learning: How To Give Your Kids A Real Education With Or Without School, by Grace Llewellyn & Amy Silver

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