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Friday, April 23, 2010

Under-schedule to take advantage of the richness of life

One piece of myth is, the busier a student, the more he or she learns. Children's days, the common thinking goes, should be scheduled tightly to maximize the amount of formal instruction and rehearsals and events.

But when a schedule is a bit more porous, it can allow for happenstance. Here's a real example.

A homeschooler and parent are driving in their car and see two local police cars. They slow down, then stop. They sit and watch as a third police car comes. The student and parent get out of the car. Then a state police officer arrives with dogs. A crowd is forming. People start talking. There was, people are saying, a person who left a suicide note and is now missing. An ambulance and fire engine arrive. Then a thundering Life-Star helicopter. The paramedics swarm; the person is found. The local news arrives, interviewing people. Moments later, in a cloud of dust, the Life-Star helicopter is flying off to a local hospital.

When there is room to explore, there is the opportunity to watch the real-world evolve in a way that has so much more resonance than a text book or museum exhibit or teenage novel or Hollywood blockbuster.

Life is educational. But only if you let it.


  1. @Clark

    Dr. Daniel Siegel (Full Sail University) uses your book "Simulations and the Future of Learning" in his online Masters Degree course "Gaming Strategies and Education" course. He put us on to your Blog site as well. Thanks for your insight.

    This particular post hits home. We get so wrapped up in the rat race and business of life we often don't absorb life's lessons going on all around us. And we steal these opportunities from our children as well.

    I like to do what you gave as an example. I have taken my young children to the park down the block to witness a MedEvac helicopter landing and taking off (and the whole process of transferring a patient). I have also taken them down the block to witness 8 local fire departments putting out a house fire!

    There are so many life lessons to be learned for anyone. Unfortunately, our educational system has gotten so busy with the business/busyness of education, we turn our back on these grand opportunities.

  2. Thanks for your comments and better examples. And please say hi to Daniel!