Unschooling – A Clearer View

English: The new Color/Colour sensor in the NX...

English: The new Color/Colour sensor in the NXT 2.0 kit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many parts of unschooling are coming together for me as I witness my children becoming a little more of who they really are.  It was hard to trust entirely the process when they were younger and true interests were hard to see.  They were self motivated mostly just to play and run wild and though I knew that brain science explains how learning through play is critical to brain development it was so hard to trust and fully understand.

I have an 11-year-old now that has taught himself to read in his own time.  Without pushing him and without labeling him I maintained his sense of being smart and he loves books and learning in general.  He is very innovative and creative which he could use in any profession or life choice.  He has recently been gifted by his grandparents the Lego MindStorms NXT 2.0.  He is super confident and competent to build and explore this robotics technology.  He has always loved science and I figured this would be his lean.  I did trust that his reading would progress but I never in my wildest imaginations could have known how quick this progression would be when he needed to read to learn something he really wanted to learn.  The best part is that he loves the learning and has so much time to explore it.

My younger boy is leaning towards the arts but I do feel that it is too young to tell for sure.  All the same I recently put him in an art class and he blew us all away.  He was so calm and focused in the class while on an even better note he carried the confidence with him for the next three or four days.  It would seem he is consciously or subconsciously choosing a journey that is separate and different from his brother.  This could be a difference in gifts or simply a choice to follow different paths.

My bitty twins are still a mystery to me and I can tell they are very different from one another but I will wait before I “notice” specifics.  I do not want to label even if it is a good label – even with those older two whose interests are clearly emerging.  I want to support them through stages and interests and allow them to move on when required.  Who knows the artist might be the best scientist and the scientist who is clearly very creative could be the amazing artist.  It is so fun to watch them grow and I especially enjoy watching as unschooling gives them the freedom to be good at what they are good at while not focusing on the weakness which often kills the entire self-esteem.

Those of you that are on an unschooling or child lead learning path – did you have a light bulb moment?  For those of you who have younger children – is it hard to trust?  Do you look to other examples while waiting to see the talents emerge in your children?  I have been all across the board but in my heart have always been unschooling.  I am grateful that my heart is one of those types that screams really loud and I am glad I have never abandoned this philosophy.


~ by Nicole on June 19, 2012.

10 Responses to “Unschooling – A Clearer View”

  1. What a wise mamma you are! I never unschooled, but I love the thinking behind it. Two books I recommend – Geurilla Learning and A Thomas Jefferson Education. They sound like they have nothing in common, but they both recommend a child-centered approach to learning.

  2. I’m not sure when my a-ha moment was. Maybe watching a toddler throw stuff off the table and wondering why it took so long for a Galileo to come along?

    I love your point about shying away from labels, even positive ones. Every label is limiting, even if useful.

    And the one about playing to strengths, not weaknesses. That’s huge in management writing right now too–building up individual’s strengths and innate talents, to foster people who are “stars” in their specific areas, and not trying to shore up their weaknesses to create an army of more or less competent performers.

    • Thank you for your comment! How much do you think role models in your building complex played a part in backing your early instincts?

      • They played a huge role in my decision to homeschool, and for sure were a reinforcement of the “loving learning” versus curriculum/school-at-home path. Having role models–and people you can point to and say, look at their awesome children!–absolutely helps.

        I don’t think the moments of doubt ever go away, though. When you’re marching in the opposite direction from the masses… you’d be inhuman if you didn’t doubt.

        When they hit me, that’s when I usually immerse *myself* in a project–because it’s about *me* not about the kids, right? (The doubt, I mean.)

      • Project based sounds like a really great way to ease the uneasiness. Remind me of that next time I start them up on workbooks!!

  3. Nicole. Thank you for this. In my blind moments of frustration that jordan just loves scooby do cartoons and would watch them all day long….you remind me that he is a child and his development is HIS path not mine.

    • Indeed it is their path. When/if i would get frustrated with too much Scooby Doo I would entice them with other things BUT sometimes they would simply watch a lot. But then they start to emerge as individuals. My oldest rarely wants to watch TV – certianly not the same as at certain stages.His favourite show is Daily Planet which is highly educational. The others like to watch kids stuff still!

  4. I am so glad I have friends with older boys to pave the way ❤

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