If you don’t teach children how do they actually learn things?

 Unschooling kids learn

Here is an example of self directed learning. Our son has shown very little interest in learning to read. He is 9 and wants to be able to really read before he can actually read. So right now he absolutely loves Minecraft and he is realizing that in order to do it well he has to read. His reading is moving swiftly forward at his own pace but there has been a leap because he knows in order to get better at Minecraft he has to get better at reading.

It is the same with cooking and fractions and writing e mails to friends who live on the other side of the world. When a friend writes back with really wonderful grammar our kids naturally want to be on a level with them, so their grammar and punctuation naturally improves. It goes on a lot like this and the opportunity for learning is huge as they don’t just learn the subjects which you would learn at school, they seem to throw themselves in to everything.

Such as…

A lot of dancing

They love dancing, they dance a lot they watch people like these amazing identical twin dancers from Paris, this is a great tutorial.

They listen to a lot of music

Cooking, we all share cooking so they each cook 3 times a week. Jahli  2 times, he assists (kind of)

They go to circus lessons

And we talk a lot which has nothing to do with a curriculum

 

So within all that learning goes on. I am an internet strewer…which means, every now and then I put something on on the internet and they look over my shoulder and either really enjoy it or walk away. I love Ted Education. It is a great child friendly resource. They also love Ted Talks but I am aware that they are out of their age range but if I put a talk on more often than not they will cast their eyes over what I am watching and sometimes they will fixate on it or walk away.

The Khan Academy comes and goes sometimes they will sit and do it, sometimes they don’t go near it for weeks. Even if I know that they haven’t gone near maths for weeks I know that when they do dip in to it they will really be deeply learning as they are there by choice and I am not making them do maths.

So yes, they learn.

‘Jahli how do you learn?’

‘I learn through my life, I learn whilst having my life’

‘Olive and you?’

‘I learn through mistakes, I learn through fun and I learn through enjoyment’

‘And Amari?’

‘I learn through fun’

 

Those three sentences to me sum up their learning. They said it better than me. More than anything they are in control of what they are doing and learning. They are living their lives and we are here to help and guide them along the way. As Kahlil Gibran says ‘they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself’

 

 

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About the Author

Lehla is an illustrator and an author of books, she has written for The Guardian. She trained as an actress at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She wrote The South African Illustrated Cookbook, The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women and she illustrated a kid’s book by M.J. Amani called ‘Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read’ and also ‘I am Me, You, Us and We’ by Caroline Trowbridge. Above all she is a mother to three fast growing kids, she juggles her time between them and working on new books and projects. She has recently co authored with Anthony ‘Jump’, Fall, Fly – from schooling, to homeschooling, to unschooling’ Her art work can be seen at http://lehlaeldridge.wix.com/lehla-

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