learning just for the joy of learning

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

My dad has been the best history teacher I’ve ever had.  A naturally avid student, he is always finding a new book or another show.  Our family sat down at the dinner table together most every night; between rounds of regaling us with stories from his days working at the packing house, he enjoyed discussing what we had learned in school that day…especially what I had learned from my history or social studies teachers.  We discussed events and ideas and social constructs, sometimes degenerating into good-natured name-calling.  Often our ungentle debating got loud enough to make my poor mom remind us, “People are trying to EAT here!”  Especially during that fun time after I discovered Socialism.  Loud times. 

This was the perfect classroom for learning history.  At school, all too often my main concern was listening for what I’d need to know for the test, looking for names and dates, but not really interacting with the greater story being told.  The classroom that was our supper table joined into the story.  Filled it in with real people, real color, varying shades, backdoor deals, unspoken motivations, and all of the messy drama that comes with the human race. 

This is not a diatribe against school.  I was the weird kid who was always EXCITED at the end of August to be getting back to the classroom.  I have often said that if I had the financial resources for it, I’d be one of those perennial students, wandering across whatever subject caught my fancy.  I love school

I still enjoy the classroom of the supper with my dad sometimes.  Just a couple of weeks ago over his homemade pizza, we pondered the Japanese internment camps of World War II.  I brought it up because it was in a book I’d been listening to on CD, and because I knew he’d have something interesting to say about it.  He did, of course.

There is a special joy in learning just to be learning.  In chasing down the new information, digesting it bit by bit.  No deadlines.  No test questions.  Just a hunger to fill in the story, to understand the interwoven parts, to uncover the unknown bits.  Living in the age of the internet makes such a quest possible without even leaving one’s living room.

Pretty cool stuff.


(I wrote this today earlier, or something like it, and the internet stole it.  Who knows how these things happen?  This one feels less smooth than I thought the other one was!  But…I’ve kept my commitment to write daily, for another day.  Thanks for sticking around!)

  1. Dona says:

    Strangely enough Karen, I received both your “learning” blogs…….and enjoyed reading twice!!!

  2. LOL!! I read both, too. Actually they were similar but NOT the same.

  3. karen says:

    I’d be interested to see the differences, Currie!

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