Stay-at-Home Sabbatical

I haven’t been working much in the month of November.  December is set to be more of the same, though I will have some final papers to grade from one course and am trying to revise the syllabus for another course that starts in January.  I had hoped to get out of town during this time.  I feel a really strong need to be far away.  But I also feel compelled to stay at home, to get some things accomplished around the house that I’ve been putting off, and to reflect on the past few years in preparation for those to come.

One thing I keep coming back to in my mind about being at home is having the time and space to be with and observe the kids as they grow and to consider these observations in relation to my work in art education.  Of course watching Cora is infinitely interesting as the world is new to her and her explorations are constantly exposing her to things. But, as I’ve seen over the past few weeks of writing on this blog, the older kids have a lot to teach me at this time too.  I’m reminded again of George Szekely:

“Firsthand child study, including observation in homes, toy stores, and playground, is the true source of education for art teachers. One cannot become an art teacher without playing with children.  Children’s interests, inventions, ideas, and their own art history should be the guiding light of school art.  Art education for teachers cannot wander away from kid’s concerns and collections by substituting the adult’s perspective on art for children’s own creativity.”

So, perhaps I should think differently about not getting away.  Perhaps I ought to think of this time ethnographically, as a time for intense study of what’s going on in the wilds of my own backyard.



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