Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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by heart

i love homeschooling my kids. especially this late life child, ziona!
our sociology lesson for yesterday was the movie “samsara” (just click on create streaming link, type in code it gives) or here it is from youtube

this beautiful and moving film shows life as it is. the good, the bad and the ugly of it all. the sameness and differentness of the people of our world. the daunting majesty of nature juxtaposed with the works of man.

watching this, with the only narration being me answering any questions ziona had about certain places or things depicted, took slight over an hour and a half. it was the discussion afterward that proved the effectiveness of this film.

public schools aren’t able to pursue this sort of methodology in teaching. aren’t able to or just don’t try to…not sure which is a truer statement of the facts. but the practice of education as a mere ‘pouring in’ of information into containers overlooks the reality that young minds aren’t empty cups. they are mini-processors already involved in decoding and encoding much of the experience taken in through their senses, information cued by their surroundings, by their observations, or inspired by what they see, hear or to which they are exposed.

sociology can’t be a mere exercise in rote memorisation of the main export of this or that country, its population, or the major languages spoken there. it is, after all, the study of society, and the social constructs that pervade it. any attempt to understand the subject of social arrangements that concerns itself mainly with the gross national product or the governmental and religious systems of a place will omit the most important things: the actual people that comprise the population. sociology fails miserably if it overlooks the historical and cultural backdrop behind the facts.

the beauty of ziona’s mini-processor upon having taken in this film (which by the way, everyone should see) was on full display as she led the remainder of the lesson by stating her observations and asking the questions pertinent to her own understanding of what she had seen.

ziona’s autism hasn’t given her savant-like powers to memorise facts and numbers. to date, spelling and multiplication tables still give her the most trouble, altho she reads at a grade level 2 or 3 years above her own, and is beginning to learn algebraic mathematics. but like every other child, she has an innate curiousity and propensity for arranging information and thoughts in her mind. lessons that take into account the beauty and complexity of ways a child learns don’t rely on force-feeding.

yesterdays lesson was a glaring success. no, ziona didn’t learn what language is spoken today in brazil, or what religion is most practiced in the world. what she learned can’t really be summed up in words, can’t be assessed in an ordinary test…she learned to see the world with new eyes! she grew aware of the realities that other people on this planet experience. she began to take note of the samenesses shared and differences between the inhabitants of her world.

this is something not easy to impart with text books, charts and graphs. it is truly a lesson she’s learned ‘by heart’.