A brief comment online caught my attention yesterday.
One of the tenets of home learning that is tailored to the child’s interests (whether it is self-motivated or arises from conversations or topics you yourself find important, think they need to know, introduce to them) is that children up until school age are constantly soaking up information and constantly learning and that this quest To Know doesn’t change when they hit school but rather can be squelched through a system that dictates what should be learned when.
(I myself am a product of the public school system and i would consider myself a life-long learner so clearly, there is not necessarily a correlation between the industrial school system and the diminishment of interest in learning, with the provision being that I was in the school system 25 years ago and much has changed since then)
However. The point on this thread that I was following was that these days, most children are placed in pre-school at a very young age, whether for daycare purposes or because everybody else’s kids are in preschool so they are going to put their kids in as well. (To be honest, it seems like a pretty good scam to part parents from their money, particularly if there is not a financial impetus such as 2 full-time employed parents). The point here is that: most people’s kids go to preschool at least part-time, so, no, there’s not the realization that kids will learn on their own. They might assume that it is the preschool that is prompting the learning; in actuality, the child is learning because that is what children do.
To bring it home:
The 5 year old has been reading for quite some time and now he has turned his attention to the world of numbers. When he was decoding reading, he would sit for long periods of time playing with plastic alphabet letters. I don’t know what games he was creating in his head but it was meaningful and he taught himself to read at 3.5. He, like me, is a compulsive reader and is amassing a stunning amount of information from his eclectic reading materials, not only reading but REMEMBERING because he is reading what is interesting to him: physics, anatomy, natural sciences, stories, astronomy; it’s all fair game.
Now, suddenly, in the past few weeks, he has turned his attention to math. I had tried in the past to introduce it but with little interest in his part. Now that he is ready, he is absorbing the world of numbers with just as much focus as when he was absorbing letters: Addition, subtraction, fractions–today he was reading about binary code and told me how interested he was in it (Note: do they make chapter books about binary code that a 5 year old could understand? :S)–greater than/less than, geometry, you name it.
The unfolding of his learning is incredible to watch and it is probably the biggest key to why I have been open to pursuing the world of the Unschooling/Relaxed Home Learning spectrum.