Thursday, June 7, 2012

Magic Dan and Dreaming Big

Yesterday, Aidyn and I visited our local library to see Magic Dan. As he does every year, Magic Dan wowed the crowd with his magic tricks and fast-paced punchlines. I saw delight in Aidyn's eyes as Magic Dan pulled a six-foot wand from his tiny, tiny hat. But what I most loved about Magic Dan's performance was his ability to encourage every child to wave their little magic wand-fingers and say, "I am special."

The theme of his show and the library's reading program this summer is Dream Big.

The freedom of summer and the theme of dreaming big is pervasive in homeschooling. In the summer, children spend much of their time outdoors, playing with the neighborhood children (who are all ages and come from many backgrounds), discovering ladybugs and other fauna, cracking open random books they found on a shelf, walking through the library aisles, and coming up with inventive ways to spend their time. Homeschoolers gravitate toward this same attitude all year round. We use the world to school our children because we have big dreams for them. We want more than imprisonment in a brick-and-mortar building, seated at desks, and learning what will be most useful for passing a state standardized test.


We want them to trust their curiosities and follow them. Experiment with the world. Notice the intricacies of the planet with awe and wonderment. Go ahead and squish your hands into the mud so long as you share what it feels like. Follow a single question through books, an internet search, interviews of family members and experts, documentaries, and personal reasoning until you quench that query. We want them to think of learning as all-around-us, hidden in books on our shelves and waiting wide open in the big wide world.


That's why when I hear a naysayer quipping, "but then they're stuck in the house all day with no socialization," I try very hard not to laugh.

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