Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Kitchen Table

Our kitchen table is an old door, so it is very long. When I built it, we had two children. I could have ongoing sewing or scrapbooking projects at one end and meals at the other. Now, we have seven at the table which is almost full (unlike our van that we purchased at about the same time--it is full). I don't have a school room and don't ever plan on building one. I think (though I haven't fully evaluated it) that I don't believe in a separate room for school. Even an isolated desk in a child's room feels wrong to me--at least until that child is twelve or thirteen. Learning should be a family experience. How many times has a child been struggling with a word or a problem only to find a sibling at her side to give aid? When one person has a wonderment, the whole family can get in on the action. We consider opposing sides and offer arguments; founded opinions are formed the while. Mom is always near when you are at the kitchen table.

A library, that is, a genuine, no-talking, big dictionary, all-reading and writing room, is altogether different to me. The library provides a place for quiet study and pondering. I'm not sure that it is conducive to the learning style of young children.

Here at the kitchen table, we have had three weeks of school: school that is recognizable to the general public.

On one science day, we talked about the great painting masters. I showed them some paintings and described the beauty that I saw, then explained that the paint was made from crushed sea shells. The masters had to not only paint well, they had to make the paint (and the brushes).

So, we made paint. Carrots, food coloring, grass, berries, and dirt provided the pigment. Oil, glue and egg became the binder. We made a royal mess and had a great time. We've studied inertia, gravity, and force. We've learned the meaning of words like predicate and clause. We have integrated Yoga into our routine which seems to be helping the headache that I have been nursing for three weeks. I love having school at the kitchen table. The pods are learning that education is an all the time pursuit, not an in the right place, at the right time kind of thing.
But that's just me.


  1. Hey, I've been following your blog for awhile now and this is the post that prompted the comment out of me. I love how you write! And, I wholeheartedly agree. Creating a culture of learning--wherever you are, whoever you're with--is the goal, isn't it? Your children are very fortunate to be in your home, I can tell. It sounds like a delightful place to be.

    Katy Cabbage


    I don't know how you do it all. (I can hardly keep up with my children's spelling lists and reading homework...) (And I certainly can't keep up with my blog!) (...But I love keeping up with yours!) (Have we had enough of the parentheses yet??!)