Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Textbooks for Unschoolers

From: Time-Life Books
To: The Sucker at ...

DH used to say all the junk mail I got from Time-Life was addressed to "The Sucker at ..." because I had ordered this cool history series called Time Frame. The concept is that, instead of covering the history of a particular culture over a period of time, they cover a particular time over a number of cultures, so you get a better picture of what was happening in, say, the Holy Land during the Golden Age of Greece. Like most Time-Life books, they're mostly pictures with a little, mostly superficial, text but it's enough to spark questions in my mind about interactions and connections between the Christianization of Europe and the concurrent rise of Islam and whether they had anything in common. I'm a girl, I like to find the connections between things.

What brings all this up is an article at SandraDodd.com about textbooks for unschoolers. The essay discusses the reference books she has in her library and how unschooling is all about making the connections between ideas. She says these little bits of information are called "trivia" in the school context:

"For school kids, trivia is (by definition) a waste of time. It’s something that will not be on the test. It’s “extra” stuff. For unschoolers, though, in the wide new world in which EVERYTHING counts, there can be no trivia in that sense."

I've been saying for years that I have a "trivial mind" because the parts of school I found interesting were the bits of trivia and the connections between them. How nice to find a system of education that values the same things I value.

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