Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Gestalt learning

Thanks to the contributors at UnschoolingDiscussion, I have some reasonable descriptions of the way Fish & Cricket learn:

"One way you can put this idea across, is to borrow some teacher jargon to stun the next person who tries this {examining & criticising children's knowledge}. Say "My kids are whole-to-part learners, not part-to-whole learners." Or if you want it to be more understandable you could say that they are "holistic" learners. When I want to be LESS understandable, I toss in the world "gestalt", even though I'm not completely clear on the meaning."

{to which another unschooler added:}



"A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts."

Sounds like a perfect way to describe a learner, and also Unschooling.

I have also heard the definition that the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts"

So, Fish and Cricket are pursuing a gestalt education.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


While house-sitting for my sister (dearest sister please give yourself a screen-name for this blog) and gratefully accepting some online time - we found her link to the Auslan signbank. As we have been wanting to learn this wonderful language I registered at the Auslan website. Fantastic - we found video of the signs we want to make - so much easier than trying to interpret picture and description from a book.

On the way to GUF's we practiced numbers in counting down the number of stations to go. When we got back I just how to find out how I would ask "how many stations to go?" So now I can ask "how many stations?" I'm curious whether and if so what sign might make my question clearer.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Go Dog Go

Unlike Logan at Rainbow Academy I wouldn't say this book is a favourite - however I did pick it up at a garage sale this morning, along with "Dreams" by Ezra Jack Keats, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst, and "Whistle up the Chimney" by Nan Hunt (I love Craig Smith's illustrations). AND we read them tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Zac arrived, thanks to Dorset at NVC Australia.

Cricket decided to get a start on it at home while Fish, Margie and I went to the Furniture Op-Shop.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fish IS developing at reading

Fish, at 7, can read: his name, and game commands such as "play", "start", "go", "joshua", "save" as well as recognising and being able to form 11 letters. His is aware of his very fledgling reading status, particularly as age-mate friends are varyingly more reading-able at the moment.

As an unschooling family we have seen Cricket learn to read without lessons or reading-programs, although he did not have an age-mate crisis because of a dearth of age-mates until his reading was established.

The greatest risk for Fish at this time is *not* that he may not learn to read as there is no doubt that he will (because he already is... learning...) but that his self-esteem will be eroded by comparison with others or "polite" (ie doubtful) queries from family/friends. I do hope his extended family will avoid such negative well-meaningness.

Of course I am happy for extended family to discuss their interest in Fish's reading with me, if they are sufficiently interested in first reading about our perspective on the subject.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Counting by 20s

Fish came up to me today to say he can count by 20s to 100. I guess
the process of spending his gift money on snack-machine food & drinks
daily wherever we go has at least given him the opportunity to come to
grips with currency - even if it doesn't jibe with my frugality!