Diversity in Homeschooling

Start your week with an Inner Work Meditation. Take some time to reflect on the following short essay/blog post and let it inspire you this week as you parent, teach, study and live!

DaVinci was a scientist, a philosopher, a writer, an artist, a mathematician, painter, sculptor, architect, cartographer, geologist, engineer and inventor.

In the modern world we stand in awe of such intellectual diversity. However, what many people don’t realize is that it was normal for scientists before and during his time to study and work in more than one field.  Other polymaths (the really cool word given to people who excel in multiple fields) included Roger Bacon, Galileo, Paolo Sarpi, Nicolaus Copernicus, Michael Servetus, Ibn al-Haytham, and Avicenna.

What I appreciate about education at The BEarth Institute is that is allows the student to experience this diversity and interconnectedness of each subject. In Waldorf-inspired Earthschooling education you do not hand a student a text book that says, “HISTORY” or “MATH” in big letters and tell them to focus only on that topic. When we do that to students we hear things like, “how am I ever going to use this information in my life?” In classes at The Avicenna Institute we encourage the same diversity and interconnectedness in learning.

So how, then, did one-subject text books become so standard?

As history progressed people started specializing in narrower fields of study. There are many reasons for this – industrialization, standardization, increased depth of knowledge in different fields, technology, and more. However, the result has been the same – we often forget that these fields are still related and interlinked in so many ways. Just because an educational system, government or some other entity decided to divide and separate different “categories” of knowledge does not take away the fact that you cannot really separate math, science, art, history and language.

The more we allow our students (and ourselves as students) to integrate subjects and  experience the interconnectedness of science, math, art, history and language, the more education will come alive and take on new meaning. In our Earthschooling Main Lessons, (which make up the Earthschooling Curriculum) we integrate numerous skills into one focus. If a student is studying math they will also be using language, history, art, science and real-life experiences. If a student is studying history they will experience math, science, language and art.

In the classes students take at The Avicenna Institute knowledge of nutritional healing, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, iridology and the temperaments all work together to create an amazing synergy. Students are encouraged to study the history of medicine, the science of plants and the human body, the philosophy of the temperaments, the language of communication, and the art of creating (delicious and beautiful healthy food, aromatherapy blends, herbal fusions and more).

So many example of this interconnectedness surround us, too! One example I can pull (from thousands running through my head) is the work of a biologist. To study biology well you will need to know the history of the species or area you are studying, you will need to be able to write down your observations in a skilled manner, you may wax poetic about some of nature’s beauty as you are out in the field, you will need to use math formulas to draw conclusions about your observations and drawing skills are essential if you want to fully communicate your observations.

Meditation: To experience stronger, more focused and positive energy this week:

Celebrate the interconnectedness of the world around you and what you are learning! Use this as your daily meditation before you start teaching or studying (if you are a student) each day.

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