Gayathri Rajaraman

I read AlwaysLearning yahoo group almost everyday (if the subject is of my interest) and been reading for couple of years - this is the first time i am posting.....

My 8 year old is playing lego in the kids room (while eating his dosas) and listening to me reading out loud, HP Order of the Phoenix and making this comment - "Amma, sometimes you gotta break rules to get the bad guys (lego guys) just like in Burn Notice (a show that we all watch on netflix).

My 5 year old is playing a game in Ipad and partially listening to HP.

When i read this line in HP, i started wondering if Ms. Rowling is an unschooler as well!
This takes place in the first class of "Defense against the Dark Arts" with the new teacher (sent by the Minstry to Hogwarts).  Kids in the class are asking questions about the objectives of the class written on the blackboard as it only says they have to learn theory not actual spells.  This is what the new teacher says.

"theoretical knowledge will be more than sufficient to get you through your examination, which, after all, is what school is all about"

To harry potter's question about "And what good's theory going to be in the real world", the teach goes :

"This is School, Mr Potter, not the real world".

And then my son and I broke into discussion as he got really mad about the teacher being silly and treating the kids like kindergartners, but that's another topic I may write another day :)



Certainly there's an ongoing theme in the Harry Potter books that kids learn better from their peers than from adults. Harry and Ron learn mostly from Hermione. Harry's Defense Against Dark Arts class is a fantastic success. And in The Half Blood Prince, Harry learns the most he's ever learned about Potions from teenaged-Snape, in the form of his annotated book.

At the same time, many of the students at Hogwarts provide a picture of what schools are good for - because Harry, Hermione, Neville and Luna can't possibly learn what they need at home. They just don't have the resources.