In search of knowledge ....

As lifelong learners, we should be motivated by a desire to learn, a motivation which will prompt us to seek out knowledge from appropriate sources. Such sources might include books (libraries), the Internet, the television, galleries / museums, or other people. One of my aims with home educating is to teach the boys to become lifelong learners. To this end, we need to seek out the knowledge they desire from the sources available to us. One of my roles is to facilitate this, but it is also important to encourage them to do this for themselves.

Recently our middle son (aged 7) decided he wanted to learn to play the guitar. He had saved up some money and he went to the music shop, asked the advice of the shop owner and tried out a few guitars before purchasing one for himself. He then asked my brother (who plays the guitar and lives nearby) to help him and he is picking it up with surprising ease and confidence, displaying a good ear for music. I do not have to nag him to practice. He picks his guitar up regularly and plays it with clear improvement. He then realised he cannot read music, so he asked me to help him with that, and we sit together at the keyboard working through a simple book of introduction to music theory and piano.

His elder brother (recently turned 9) then decided he wanted to learn the drums, so all on his own initiative, he rang up a friend of ours who plays the drums and asked for help. This friend, very kindly, offered to spend half of his lunch hour once a week introducing him to the drums. He picks him up on his way home and my son makes his own way back. Again, the friend lives nearby. And this was all arranged independently.

Our eldest son's latest interest is in whittling wood, and my mother mentioned a man she had met at her art group who whittles and carves wood. She told him about our boy's interest, and he passed on his phone number, so I rang him up. Of course, as an older man, he was thrilled that a youngster was showing interest in his unusual hobby, and we have arranged to go and visit so that he can show my son how he whittles. Apparently he has a workbench in his kitchen and is eager to share some of his tips and woodcarving stories .... So we are looking forward to that.

One of the things I found frustrating in school was the increasing distance from and suspicion of the community. Even as a parent it was difficult to gain access to school, but if we remove our children from their local community, I believe rich learning opportunities are lost - both for the children and for those with wisdom and knowledge to share. Of course, there are risks, but with discernment, we should not allow risks to blind us to opportunities.