Friday, May 7, 2010
I listened to this podcast today about Karl Hess, a fascinating man with a fascinating life history. (You can get started learning about him at Wikipedia. )
In this podcast, at 2:20, the narrator talks about Hess' educational experiences under the influence of his mother, a dropout (note that this was not unusual at the time).
She did several things that I found interesting from the standpoint of helping a child move forward into developing a strong ability to self-educate. Supposedly she:
1. Began to refuse to answer his questions if she thought he could use resources to find out the answers on his own.
2. Showed him how to use the library, dictionary and other reference books, and also took him to government offices and showed him how to access public records. In other words, she guided him to resources.
3. Finally, and this was really cool, she wrote him notes so he could skip school anytime he wanted, as long as he went to the library or stayed home and read books which he then later discussed with her.
It's amazing to me that his mother had such a clear idea of self-education and when you look at Hess' life you can easily see that the man was a life-long learner, constantly taking in more information and then changing his life as he processed what it all meant to him.
That's educational freedom and one of the best gifts we can all give to our children.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)