Scuttle Those Deck Chairs 2

The first article of this series, Scuttle Those Deck Chairs. . ., discussed the importance of the word "sustainability" in the LearningWilds mission statement regarding family learning. The point of reference was the contribution well-assisted family learning can make to world sustainability.

The second aspect of meaning is about the necessity of sustainability in order for family learning to remain possible. This is a bit where "think globally, act locally" comes into play. In the whole picture, we all need homeschooling to be sustainable for families (the local level) to invest in so that it can collectively impact world sustainability. This should be a fairly simple concept, so the rest of the article will be about how the content on LearningWilds lends itself to that pursuit. (And apologies for the self-talk here, but it is somewhat necessary to communicate the will in the matter).

Hopefully by this point, it is clear that equipping families for effective long term home learning is serious here. In truth, it represents the driving purpose in the format and ideas created on this site. To explain further, experience as a teacher in mass education provided ways of seeing, thinking and doing that can help make this sustainability possible. As a result, I can see a good deal of homeschooling which is engaged in by means that cause friction. At best, these ways can reduce effectiveness or cause instability and, at worst, could ultimately bring about finality. Many of these difficulties could be amended or avoided through simple adjustments in perspective or knowledge of appropriate resources.

To these ends, the desire is to help home learning families have self-ownership. This may sound like a fancy flagship term, but is used with purpose as well. For whatever reasons, many well-intentioned home learners often use curriculum, activities, resources and other things that bind them to commitments in one way or another. Where this could be part of healthy relationships in, say, a local co-op, it may not be so in other situations.

One of the clearest examples is dependency upon paid commercial systems, services or resources. Hopefully it goes without saying that the more of these one is tied to, the larger the regular expenditures, and the less sustainable learning efforts become. Smart companies milk these things for all of the mileage they can get out of them and use attractive hooks to keep the dependencies alive. This is not to say such resources shouldn't be used. There are times when the quality received from commercial products is necessary and beneficial. But the intention here is to promote use which minimizes dependencies and practices realistic awareness of them, be they financial or systemic. This includes being able to own, control and depend on resources long term within the means of the average family. You can see this way of thinking throughout the Open Source articles here.

LearningWilds also wants to aid home learners in being self-generative. Homeschoolers often have beliefs or intentions about learning which become time and resource commitments. A mismatch between such expectations and available resources can cause sustainability problems, though they may just be a matter of adjustment. An example of this could be if a parent happened to feel that every lesson should have a matching work or activity sheet. At first glance, it may seem that these should be easily found on the Internet, but some searching will likely show the huge time sink it can amount to. This can be especially true with specific topics or concerns about quality or consistency, and could be more effectively achieved through other simpler means in many cases. So, part of the intention is to introduce accessible ways of thinking and operating which can lead family learners into effective, sustainable learning. This is coupled with an effort to help identify and reduce impractical and unsustainable commitments which may unknowingly be self-imposed.

Really, this is a small portion of the thought behind the LearningWilds' efforts. The important thing to know is that the words and ideas here are not presented flippantly. Honestly, these things are mportant to understand because of the way that the Internet generally works. There is an earnest desire here to make family learning sustainable, in order to strengthen all of our families with the overall goal of bringing about a sustainable learning world. Another interesting question is how to make supporting home learning sustainability a sustainable activity. . .:-)

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