This question has come up recently, in different forms and in different situations.
When asked about homeschooling by another.
When quizzed by a teacher and a teacher trainee.
On an email list.
I see that teens, if given time to breathe and explore, well, explore within boundaries; if given a healthy, well, healthy as relationship with their family; if given an interesting home life and environment; if surrounded by prayer ( I pray for my teens daily..) ; well, I see that teens do grow and mature and start to look at themselves and at learning.
At Who They Are and Who They Want To Be.
At goals and careers and futures.
At interests and work, be it part time work or volunteer work.
Anthony ( just turned 13) and Thomas (15) are writing novels. Now, I don’t ask them to do this and they definitely go through stages of writing and of not writing but of playing computer games instead –however, this writing is something they have taken up on their own.
They like reading. They like writing. The two seem to go together for them, like fish and chips, like Jeeves and Wooster, like Abba and pop music, like gin and tonic, to create the writer’s urge.
Anthony is reading a book on Ancient Egyptian Literature and someone recently asked me if Anthony was studying Ancient Egypt in homeschooling this year. No. He became interested because older brother Greg is learning Ancient Sumerian. As a hobby. And I think Anthony is more interested because this study is not a school requirement or a subject, he is free to pick and learn things without me making them schooly.
Of course, he has days and days of just reading Battlestar Galactica comics, too!
Thomas is reading Dickens’ David Copperfield. We discuss the characters and Dickens’ distinct writing style. We talk about romance and the ridiculously funny things David will do to attract Dora’s attention.
Dickens seems hard reading, sometimes, perhaps, when assigned and pondered. It is, however, interesting for Thomas, interesting in a others-have-said-this-is-good so-I’ll-try-it-for-myself way.
Alexander has chosen to study Discrete Mathematics at Open University this semester, again a choice prompted by curiousity and love, and piqued by interest. He is not being pushed to pursue a career in Mathematics, he only turned 17 in July and is studying subjects of choice at university, before picking a (possible) major.
An unschooling, liberal arts education.
Not required but inspired.
And such an education amidst comic books, Singstar, music video clips, Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica, movies, foam dart guns, video and computer games, pop art and pop culture, chores and helping out, helping others.
Amidst our prayers and faith; amidst our ever failing striving for virtue.
But we strive.
And the teens do choose schooly stuff, education. Living.
….Enough philosophy…. Must get off the computer and cook dinner…Just home from work and haven’t even thought about dinner…Too busy pondering the philosophy of education…And blogging.
Will mums cook dinner if not required to do so? Perhaps that should be the question?