Friday, February 22, 2008

Close the textbook and slowly step away from the kitchen table!!

The March '08 edition of Unschooling Voices will be hosted over at PoMoyemu. The optional topic question is:

What do you do, as an unschooling parent, when your child expresses an interest in a particular topic, and you don't know how to help them in a way that doesn't involve lesson plans and curriculum?

As an unschooling parent, lesson plans and formal curriculum do not drive our days. While we do have what I would call "schooly" resources in our ho
me - workbooks and such- they are probably the least- used materials we have.

This is a John Holt quote that is in place at my friend's blog, Be Here Now.
“What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out.”

-John Holt, Teach Your Own

When my kids develop an interest in something, it is an exciting opportunity to see where it takes us. The library is full of movies, audio books, instructional videos, CD-ROMS, and loads of BOOKS! Sometimes the curiousity is sated with a short explanation or a picture, and other times it is the beginning of a path that takes us to a different place. Museums, beaches, wooded trails, historical markers, restaurants...all these places and more are considered our curriculum materials.

An internet connection and a minivan connect us to thousands of resources. When I look at our traditional schoolish worksheets and activity pages, I like them for what they are. They can be a jumping off place, or they can concretize something I have trouble explaining, but standing alone they cannot compare to the rich opportunities that the wide world of unschooling offers.


Anonymous said...

The whole of life is an educational experience. This morning at the ski club our new club t-shirts had arrived. So my three sons and a group of maybe 5 other children spent the whole time selling them, totalling the money, working out the profits (taking into account cost price and sponsorship money) - as well, as employing admirable marketing skills in outlining the washability and hard-wearingness of the shirts - all without a calculator. If I had given them a worksheet of sums they would have run a mile but they loved every minute of all that brain work.

m~ said...

I totally agree with opportunistic learning. My seven year old was doing multiplication before he even knew what is was just because he was interested in figuring something out. We probably do too much "school work", but I do try and let us go where the wind takes them.
Thanks for the post.

piscesgrrl said...

Great post!