Unschooling and Sound Craftsmen

Kids in the SunEvery morning, I click around the WordPress universe looking for a few blog posts worth reading. This weekend brought me two posts that were not only intellectually stimulating but actually put tears in my eyes. I believe that reading them made me a better person, and I want to share them with you.

Here are the links, along with the lines from each post that most struck me.

Where do you want to get to in life?” from the blog Unschooling to College:

While we were making cookies tonight, my daughter shared with me that a friend told her she will get nowhere in life if she continues to watch Anime (Japanese animation) all the time. I told my daughter to ask her friend where does she (the friend) wants to get to in life. My daughter thought it was a funny question, but then proceeded to tell me that she – herself – wanted to design apps or write Manga when she grows up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga). “In that case,” I said “watching Anime will probably help to get you there”.

In my mind – though nothing is assured – the best way to get clear on what you want to do when you grow-up is to do what you want to do right now.

Whether you are an adult or a child, if you get into the habit of doing what you want to do at any given moment, chances are you will continue to do so when you can, rather than follow someone else’s “getting there” plan for the rest of your life.

Why I Write” from the blog with one aim:

At the root of this tendency [to highlight one’s strengths and minimize one’s weaknesses] is a desire to be accepted into what C.S. Lewis calls “The Inner Ring.” He described this longing as “The lust for the esoteric, the longing to be inside.” Most of us will do anything to be accepted into this pseudo-guild. Lewis certainly was familiar with it. Reflecting on this self-inflicted pang for affirmation, he says, “To a young person, just entering on adult life, the world seems full of ‘Insides,’ full of delightful intimacies and confidentialities, and he desires to enter them. But if he follows that desire he will reach no ‘inside’ that is worth reaching. The true road lies in quite another direction.”

This post also includes another striking quote from Lewis’s essay:

The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow. If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know.

6 responses to “Unschooling and Sound Craftsmen”

  1. These are certainly inspiring articles. I especially like the first one because I deal with a similar situation at home each day. Sort of. We constantly get asked what curriculum we use as a home school parent. Truth of the matter is, we don’t use a curriculum. That would be attempting to fit our son into the same box that is offered through traditional schooling. Yes, we still cover the basics that are needed. But, we allow the interests, passions, and desires of our son to drive the direction of his education. Right now, he is seriously into chemistry, particle physics, and string theory. As a 10 year old. Yes, that is certainly not the norm. But, he is exploring his passion and that is the most important thing to us as parents. The passion may not be sustained over time. Or, perhaps he will go on to work at CERN in Europe and discover super-symmetry. Either way, he is making every single moment of his life one that is interesting, educational, and fun. Through his inquisitive and thought provoking approach, he reminds me to do the same every day and for that I feel lucky beyond compare. The approach holds true for children and adults alike, yet another valuable lesson learned from my child. I love it 😉

  2. Very captivating. I’ve found unschooling has forced me to reassess my ideas about what a “good life” looks like. I have a dream for my children that has very little to do with where they will work one day. It has everything to do with helping them discover what God put in them and helping them explore that.

    • I am a new parent to an eleven-year-old stepdaughter, and I think one of the toughest things about parenting so far is learning to trust her. To realize that she knows a great deal about what’s good for her. I’m here to help acquaint her with the rest of the world, to give her guidance when she wants it, but ultimately her life is about her. She has to figure out where she’s headed. But it would be so much easier to do it all for her!

      • Oh wow, yes that’s quite a delicate balance and hard to find yourself suddenly THERE without the gradual introduction to it. I hope you’re able to keep realigning your relationship. 🙂 It sounds like you have a great perspective already!

  3. I love the quote from C. S. Lewis, and I offer here my own thoughts on unschooling. Oh, wait, they aren’t my own thoughts, they’re from Ken Robinson’s TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html. Our system of education truly is focused on obedience, on parroting the one correct answer. I learned to be very good at that–and now trying to write something creative feels, most days, like an impossible task. It helps to read posts like this one! Thank you for sharing these links.

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