Thursday, 18 November 2010

Conversational Learning

There are times when I am not quite sure how my children have learned what they have. We don't have much of a structured curriculum and I do very little in the way of formal subjects. Sometimes I feel that we have a lot of wasted time in the car, driving to swimming or bookclub or to a social group. This week, however, while driving we have had a long talk about God and worship. Does he just want to be worshipped because he is showing off about how great he is? When he doesn't do things our way, who is right? What can we expect to understand of his plans? We have also discussed censorship. If I say a song or a film or a book is unsuitable for the children, should they trust me? Why would I stop them? What would happen and what should they do if they do listen or watch or read? Why are some films rated "15" or "18" and why would anyone enjoy watching stuff that puts horrible pictures in their heads? Looking out for the train on Thorpe Park's Stealth roller-coaster, which we regularly see in its terrifying plummet as we drive along the M3, led to a conversation about free-fall, gravity and orbit. The children don't make notes or write answers to questions testing their understanding and we have nothing physical to show for this style of learning, but learning they undoubtedly are. And not just the information, such as it is, but how to question, how to listen, that it's ok to disagree or not know or try to figure out an answer. And when we run out of stuff to talk about, we study contemporary cultural trends and listen to our friend's playlist on CD!

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