Tuesday, May 04, 2004

We've had such incredible conversations these past couple of days, which is one of my favorite parts of unschooling. People often ask how kids learn anything if we don't "teach" them or how we know they're learning. Conversations are moments when these things come together. We're not sitting down teaching them anything; rather, we're sitting as a family discussing things in a free and respectful give and take. Sometimes I might know more, sometimes dh, depending upon whose turf it's own. Lots of times neither of us are experts, but we're debating opinions or current events. Discussions are always animated and opinionated, and Emily, especially, loves to participate! Julia often likes to listen as well, but she doesn't like confrontation and gets uncomfortable when we disagree.

The past couple of days we've been discussing anatomy, nutrition, muscles, atrophy, the nervous system, comas. We've had conversations about Henry VIII and the English monarchy after his death, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, James I, the Interregnum, the Magna Carta. We compared the American and French Revolutions, the French overthrow of monarchy and the English adoption of a limited monarchy, the long-time animosity between England and France. We talked about Catholicism and Anglicanism, which led to a discussion of Christianity, the Crucifiction, Resurrection and what happened to Jesus after the Resurrection.

We have some of our most interesting discussions after dinner when we're all still sitting at the table, enjoying each other's company. Everyone's relaxed, genuinely curious and interested in the subject at hand, playing with ideas, making connections and just enjoying the adventure.

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