I was re-reading one of my old Permaculture books today (An Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison) and read this paragraph about connection in nature.
“…a connection between things. It’s not the water, or a chicken or a tree. It’s how the water, chicken and tree are connected. It’s the very opposite of what we are taught in school. Education takes everything and pulls it apart and makes no connection at all.”
- Bill Mollison
As I read it I thought connection is also the thing with Unschooling, with Whole Life Learning.
Our learning is all about connection.
Instead of everything being taken apart and divided into subjects and disciplines; broken into pieces, Unschooling is learning about things in relation to each other. Instead of studying Maths and then studying English and then History etc the children are constantly learning about things as they are naturally connected.
Instead of being a separate and theoretical subject Maths is learned as it relates to life, as a part of the whole. Maths is learned in conjunction with English and Economics and Building and Engineering.
And History is learned in conjunction with language and culture studies and social studies and Geography.
As Geography is learned with Maths and Science and Technology…
And so it goes on.
I know that in education these days there is an emphasis on inter-disciplinary learning, on cross-curricular activities but I feel that this is a bit like cutting a Painting into pieces and putting them back together…it is no longer a Painting, it is a jig-saw.
There are going to be bits missing where the lines were cut. There is a certain skill involved in putting information back together but looking at the jig-saw once it is re-made is inferior to looking at the painting as a whole and understanding the connections.
In Unschooling the intrinsic beauty of the whole is not lost. The intrinsic love of learning is not fractured by cutting the world into subjects; into boring pieces that make no sense on their own.
The learning is natural and is filled with and perhaps fueled by connections. Everything is learned as part of the whole of life.