RE: Open Source Learning
I just drafted a pamphlet I would hand out as an annoying person in your local grocery store. Here is how it reads so far:
Open Source Learning: the Three Category System
What is Open-Source Learning?
It is an approach to learning that seeks to turn anything and everything into an educational experience.
What is the Three Category System?
It is an approach to knowledge that sorts everything into one of three categories.
(1) Facts, those truths which we simply have to submit to.
(2) Opinions, the things that are subject to debate.
(3) Experience, those things you must do to understand.
The purpose of this framework is to aid in analyzing any given situation. Our knowledge is never complete, so as a way of figuring out how to fill those gaps, we consider these three aspects.
The difference between a “fact” and a “conclusion” is decisive, for one is actually an opinion. The Art of Conversation is that we listen attentively to the thoughts of others as in (1), though we also seek to understand, clarify, or challenge in pursuit of a more fact-based understanding (2). We also don’t ask our physics teacher how to throw a curveball, we ask a pitcher for some tips and then we grab an actual ball (3).
What about the different learning styles of kids?
I don’t believe that different learning styles exist, rather that we have interests and inclinations and that the nature of those interests are different.
I ask, if you need to learn with your hands, how then would you approach literary analysis? Does it just need to not be a Kindle? What if you are more of a visual learner, how would you approach theology? Do we need to now draw a diagram of God?
It might also be that some honesty reflex goes off when we hear an opinion that is not our own, and we don’t trust it until we arrive at the conclusion ourselves. This process will vary based on the question, not the questioner.
How can “Anything” be made Educational?
Consider that any activity bears these three aspects in some form or another. One of my favorite examples is Legos.
The materials you work with are what they are, they are not subject to debate (1), but the possibilities still remain endless. You work (3) to bridge the gap between your imagination and reality constantly making decisions (2) along the way on how to best construct your vision. The play itself is already educational, though it might not be obvious how.
Consider too that I’ve just described the basic skill set for a wide range of high-paying and respectable jobs. Engineering and architecture aside, consider how much technology is employed to make a house work or a car work. Understanding how to repair things can make good money, and even beyond that is the prospect of being a reseller fixing up old ones; appliances, cars, or even houses themselves.
How do we prepare kids for adulthood/working?
The process I envision is as follows, that the natural interests of children are encouraged enthusiastically at first, and as they grow up over time, our support becomes more challenging and critical.
The “facts of life” are, as facts, a matter where the child should be sat down and made to listen, but we have to be honest with ourselves about where our knowledge ends, and work, perhaps even with them, to fill those gaps.
Trips outside the house to find information and the people who have it are wonderful, meaningful, purposeful adventures which can result in contacts, networks, and even the possibility of referrals to people in a position to employ or invest.
If your child wants to be a(n) “X”, find some “X’s”, and ask them hard questions about what is it really like and how do you get in. Curiosity needs to be satisfied and the greater world needs to be made available to pique such curiosity.
Don’t just “get out of the house”, do it with purpose, conviction, and objectives, even if they are vague.
How could I ever do this? I am so busy!
Useful things always require that time be budgeted in some way. My suggestion, practice first the Art of Conversation by scheduling about 30 minutes for meetings on a regular basis to discuss the interests your child is currently pursuing. The goal of these meetings is to identify new objectives in the pursuit of those interests and to review written reports they make on their progress. You take a moment to review these for correct Grammar, Logic, and follow up with questions.
By taking such an active interest in them you can count on them to follow through with the work, even if their interests change (it will). And since your explanation of Grammar and Logic, which are facts of communication and reason, is in the context of their interest they should be more receptive than if those same subjects were handled in an abstract manner.
There are more than 10,000 minutes in a week, so 30 minutes should be reasonable, but they should be focused with multi-tasking kept to a minimal.
Any thoughts? Questions?
Purity is to Believe only that which deserves it.
Wisdom is to follow only the Opinion which makes the best use of evidence.
Excellence is to be mindful of all these things in Living.
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