Friday, October 7, 2011

The Zen of Unschooling

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

Zen: such an interesting concept. Much like Unschooling in many ways. Trying to explain unschooling to one like the above mentioned professor garners about the same results. One has to be open to receive.

One of the great, persistent myths of education in our culture is that children become reluctant learners as they grow older. In fact, what they become reluctant about it going to school, where they’re bullied, regimented, bored silly, and very effectively prevented from learning…We know what works for children up to the age where we ship them off to school: Let them be around you, pay attention to them, talk to them, give them access to as much as you can, let them try things, and that’s it. They take care of the rest. You don’t have to strap small children down and teach them to speak, all you have to do is talk to them. You don’t have to give them crawling lessons or walking lessons or running lessons. You don’t have to spend an hour a day showing them how to bang two pots together; they’ll figure that out all by themselves–if you give them access to the pots. Nothing magical happens at the age of five to render this process obsolete or invalid.
Daniel Quinn


jugglingpaynes said...

Very true. It's all about being present to your children, which is hard to explain to someone who isn't open to the concept in the first place.

Peace and Laughter,

Paula Vince said...

Yes, well said and very true!

Julie said...

What a great quotation from Daniel Quinn! Thanks for sharing it.