Saturday, October 08, 2005

Life as a Puzzle

Our Life Learner day today was a group art project called a community puzzle. I had purchased this a few years ago, thinking it would be cool to do sometime. Well, it seems the time had come. The puzzle has pieces that are all the same shape, so they go together any way you want to arrange them, then a border is added on. We had four families join us. Everyone worked on a piece to add to the whole, parents, too. We added the name of the group to the border and had the kids who wanted to do more than one piece create more art on the remaining border pieces. The finished whole is such a cool reminder of the diversity of the creative abilities of different people. We all had something very unique and beautiful to contribute, even those of us who did not think we were artists. We still have a few pieces to add, as some families did not make it but wanted to be a part of the puzzle. I post a picture when it is complete. As usual, the kids played and had a great time. The last family left at 8:30, if that is any indication of the fun we had!

Here is a portion of an article I have written that I am going to adapt for publication (hopefully!) in an unschooling magazine:

My daughters have a beautiful puzzle that is really a set of square wooden tiles with fragments of a scene painted on them. A piece of sky, with sun or rainbow, here, a window, door or roof there, various animals, people, and plants as well. There is no correct way to put it together. You start with one piece and add on, as you like. Each picture is different, but they are all beautiful. Four tiles, ten or 30, it does not matter; each is a complete scene.

I like to think of life and the learning that happens as like a puzzle with no edge pieces. There is no limit to what you can learn and no set time frame for how long you have to learn it. Each piece you find will fit somewhere in your own personal puzzle of life but it does not have to connect to any particular other piece. You build it as you fancy it. And it all adds up in the end because it is YOURS. It does not have to, and really should not, look like anyone else’s picture. Our present method of educating our children is to hand them the standardized puzzle pieces and tell them they have 13 years to complete it. And that they will be failures if they don’t complete it or if their puzzle looks different from everyone else’s or if they reject the standardized picture.

Unschooling is honoring that individual picture of a life in each child, even that picture in ourselves as well. Respecting that we each have a picture of our own choosing to create. Trusting that we will “finish the puzzle” because in each given moment it is complete. Knowing that all the moments leading up to the present moment create a finished life. You never know which moment will be your last. Why not live each one as if it IS your last?

I felt that was appropriate to share after our wonderful day today.

1 comment:

Justine said...

Beautiful, Miranda.