World on the Weekend: Introduction

This blog is the story of one child’s education into a very specific set of values.  It is well to outline these values before beginning so that you as a reader are on the same, pardon the pun, page as I the writer

We begin with idea that every human being is a valuable individual, unique and never to be repeated.  We do belong to families, communities, cultures, nations, religions and other groups both small and large because we are fundamentally social creatures, but none of these should exclusively define, label or limit us in any way.  As human beings we all have fundamental rights, not only those outlined in the United Nations declaration, but the right to be the best version of ourselves we can be.  In order to achieve that, we need to educate ourselves and our children to exercise our minds in three ways: freedom of thought, scientific and logical reasoning, and creativity.

The first is freedom of thought.  Children are not required to think as their parents do.  This is important.  They are required to respect their parents as more experienced and knowledgeable people who have their best interests at heart, but this is not the same as being obliged to agree on every point.  This cannot be emphasized enough: how many adults are estranged from their parents because they felt ridiculed or repressed?  Children have the right to respect their own bodies and minds: their likes and dislikes, their feelings of hunger, tiredness and  satisfaction, their sadness and their joy, their need for companionship or solitude, their sexuality.  As they grow up and learn more about themselves, they have the right to choose their own  path, and though it pains us, to make their own mistakes, suffer the consequences and learn from them. 

This leads us to the second concept: logic and scientific reasoning.  Children have a right to a clear comprehensive education that will allow them to make appropriate decisions.  They deserve to know how their bodies work and how to take care of themselves.  They deserve to be taught basic logic and the dangers of logical fallacies so that they can make decisions based on real possibilities.  They need to understand basic science and scientific reasoning so they will understand how the world works.  Ignorance, in a word, kills, and it is our duty as parents to ensure our children are taught truth, morality and ethics.

This will allow them to exercise the most fundamental element of our humanity: our creativity.  Creativity is not simply splashing paint about or telling fairy tales though it may manifest that way.  Creativity is the ability to take everything we know about the world and combine it into something unique, something no-one else can.  Children are not actually born creative because creativity is the highest end point of knowledge as you can see in  any Blooms taxonomy pyramid; you cannot write a bestselling novel without understanding the fundamentals of grammar and storytelling, you cannot be a top chef without knowing  basic kitchen chemistry, and you cannot see that mathematics is itself an incredibly beautiful art form if you don’t have a clear sense of numeracy.  What most children are good at is combining the limited knowledge they have in unexpected ways, and this process should be celebrated and encouraged as they gain in academic competence.

This blog does not purport to endorse any particular teaching method and certainly does not aim to suggest any type of schooling is necessarily better than any other.  However, that being said, the values above cannot be drilled and tested as one would the multiplication tables or state capitals.  They can only be taught through exposure to people who live and embody them.  If you want your child to love learning, you must be curious; if you want them to think freely while respecting the rules of science and logic, you must model this with the types of questions you choose to ask and the means you use to seek and evaluate answers; finally, if you want them to be creative, you must show them what creativity looks like in your own life whether you are an artist, a farmer, a computer programmer or anything else.

This project is intended to be applied to and certainly expanded upon by families of all types.

Homeschoolers: Those who follow a curriculum will be able to use this “weekends around the world” project as a way to review and introduce concepts found in the textbooks.  It will also help homeschooling parents unite themes that otherwise appear as separate entities accross the curriculum.

Unschoolers will find the games, activities and projects a helpful way to spark interests that can later be developed according to the child’s own interests.  Since the activities in this book can be done in a single afternoon or spread out over one week or several, there is ample opportunity for the parent to “strew” related books, games and materials.

Schooled children and working parents: Sunday is often one of the few days families spend together.  This book is designed so that you can pick only the activities you like,whether one or several, enough to ensure that you really get quality time with your kids without overwhelming exhausted parents

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