Saturday, January 13, 2007

Email Exchange

On my local unschooling support list I shared this article. Someone responded to it with some questions. I am pretty happy with the response that came through me, so I thought I would share it here for all of you. Here is the email, with the response from me below:
Thank you for sharing that for me Miranda. I am still uneasy, and likely wanting the control in the teaching. Since DH has taken over - and he is far less controlling than me, I am seeing even more of a new development in learning for T, and more time with us is building our bond with a family. :)
I would like to know from all of you, if you have more ideas for learning games - just so when T asks, I can have things in mind and on hand. We are going to be purchasing some more board games - and for math - well, right now Yahtzee is working wonders.
But since this is our first year, I am still a bit shaky on how to approach T's schooling. He loves math, and science, but without a curriculum we both (DH and I) get a bit lost. Any advice or tips would be helpful.

I am going to delve deeper into the unschooling philosophy for you all here, and maybe it will help you see how to proceed.

People think of unschooling as a homeschooling "method", one where you get rid of the curriculum and your kids direct their own learning. It is not a method. It is a way of life.

Unschooling is based on the idea that learning is inevitable, that you learn what you need when you need it, and that living is more important than learning. That last part being the key. Living is more important than learning. It is not that you won't learn. You WILL. Because learning is inevitable. It is what we humans DO. If the focus is on living a life worth living, everything else falls into place.

You do not need to worry about what your child is not learning. If you focus on what your child loves to do, with no thought to what he will learn from it (other than a backwards glance to see the learning that did occur), you will be doing the best thing for him. You will be helping him to live a life worth living, now. No, you won't be actively preparing him for his future. But by being immersed in the joy of the present moment, living it to the fullest, he will be preparing for the future. He will be learning what he needs to fully enjoy what he is passionate about now. That will lead to more passions and more learning, because everything is connected.
It will NOT look like school. Far from it.

This is where the trust part comes in. Because unschooling does not look like school and you are NOT in control of what your child is learning, it can be hard to trust that his present passions will be enough to prepare him for his future. But, honestly, how else can it work? We have nothing but the Now. Your passions are what your heart is telling you to do. Your heart is how the Divine speaks to you, guides you. If there is a Plan for your life, THIS is where it is being laid out. In the Now. In your heart.

If your child does not seem to have passions, the answer is not to push lots of different stuff on him to see if anything "sparks", but to help him be still and listen to his heart. And to learn to relax and know that there is all the time in the world to hear what your heart is saying. It is not a race or a competition. You know how they say that life is a journey, not a destination? THIS is what they mean.

Ok, I've gone pretty deep here and revealed my foundation for living this unschooling life. This Life Learning life. It may not resonate with all of you and that is ok. If you do not believe in a Divine Plan, that is ok. It STILL works!

What your child is passionate about today will still lead to a full education, given time and trust that natural learning is the most efficient way to learn. You only truly learn when you are interested in what you are doing. So focusing on what your child is interested in will be the most efficient way to help him learn things. Strewing lots of stuff in your child's life will allow for a greater range of things for your child to be interested in, leading to more learning. For strewing, the reason we say to put the stuff out there but not be attached to what your children take from it is because your children don't like to be told what to do. Any more than you do! If you have an agenda, they will sense it and resist it. So, again, the most efficient way to help your children learn is to remove the agenda, expose them to as much of the world as you can, and sit back and trust that they will learn.

Long story short: give T games that he finds fun, that you find fun and want to share with him, or games that you both think will be fun. Focus on the fun! The learning will happen. But only if it is FUN!

A curriculum is an agenda. Your child's passions will be the only agenda worth following, if learning is your goal. Once you learn to trust that learning is inevitable and natural learning the most efficient, you can relax and just LIVE. Living becomes the goal, and you have become a Life Learner.

Hope that helps someone...


Justine said...

"Your heart is how the Divine speaks to you, guides you. If there is a Plan for your life, THIS is where it is being laid out. In the Now. In your heart."...this is profound...and worth posting on my desk in front of me. Thank you.

justine said...

Miranda, there are just so many bits of wisdom in this post.

Miranda said...

I know. Scary, huh? Um, I mean Thank You. ;-) hee hee

Annette said...

You have always been an eloquent speaker and writer and this post explains unschooling / Life-Learning just beautifully. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog :)
I have h/schooled our kids for 14 yrs now and have only just moved into total unschooling.....I can be such a slow learner!! lol
My girls are almost the same ages as yours. I love to see what they and you are doing.
Karen in NZ who has 5 sons (17 to 23) all left home and working and 2 beautiful girls (6 and 9) who totally fascinate their dad and me :)

Anonymous said...

nice M, C

Sandra Dodd said...

I think unschooling IS a method.
It's a method that involves the mom becoming an unschooling mom so that the learning can just happen without all the mom's prior trauma and prejudice thwarting her children's natural learning.

That's what you said, but I think there is a method to creating an unschooling environment, and once that's created, it feels just like living.