After the great success with his presentation about whales, my 3rd grade son has decided that he is going to prepare a presentation about our solar system next. “Astronomy interests me” he announced.
While he is embarking on a new self teaching project I am thinking about his learning abilities and process. I feel that any kid can do it given the chance, and I ache for all those kids who are not given this chance.
My son’s chance? I work from home, and this year have decided to let him spend one day a week “homeschooling”. I don’t think I am the traditional homeschooling mom, in that I am not spending every minute of the day with him. Can’t afford to – have a startup to manage. So most of my contribution is by helping him choose his plan for the day during breakfast and being there if he has questions or need specific help.
Had an interesting conversation with my 11th grade daughter about her young brother’s joy of learning. She said to me: “His joy is clear to me. We, human beings, love to learn like we love to eat and breath. When a baby is born the first thing he does is breath, then eat, then learn. How else would we get to sit, stand, walk and talk??”. Then she went on to explain that schools actually kill this natural instinct by creating limits and frames and rules that disrupt the natural evolvement of learning abilities and skills.
My daughter thinks one of the reasons she survived 11 years of school and still loves to learn is because she has created, in her mind, a total separation between “learning” and “schooling”. And I think what I do with my young son might help him create this separation too.
I only started this homeschooling-day experiment because he expressed distress and frustration when going to school. On this particular day his class studies English (ESL) but he has advanced by himself way beyond his class and the teacher said he didn’t have anything for my son to do. Then there’s a music lesson – terribly boring according to my little violin player. And an arts class – where there’s no room for imagination nor learning of techniques, but rather draw what the teacher tells you to draw. Exactly. I could sympathize with his feeling of suffocation.