5 months ago we made the decision to unschool Miss P (5.5yo), we’ve had a lot of support from family and we’ve had lots of odd questions from strangers in the street (but that’s a whole other post for another day).
Tell people you’re homeschooling and they kinda get it, mention that you’re unschooling and suddenly your child is going to be 20 years old, a hermit and illiterate. People seem to think learning must happen in a set order, at a set time and with instruction. What I’m discovering is that learning happens without any of those things.
Miss P has been able to write her name and all the letters of the alphabet (some lower case some upper case) since she was about 4 yrs old, I didn’t sit down and teach her it just happened. For the last few months I’ve watched the slow subtle evolution of the letter E, and it’s possibly been one of the most rewarding things out of this entire experience.
Miss P has for a long time written her name using an upper case E smack bang in the middle of it. In the right place? Yep you bet. In the right case? Nope. I didn’t point it out I let it be. I figured that for now capital E’s were easier. Then one day she discovered how and why capital letters are used and then I noticed her writing her name and other words with some very awkward e’s. She would start at the end go backwards then stop and add a circle for the top part. Still I thought this is what is easiest for her, this is her learning the process and when she’s ready she will fine tune it. After all human beings are incredibly intelligent and we are designed to find the most efficient way of doing tasks. Given the space, time and opportunity.
So I gave her the space and time and this morning she asked to finish writing the grocery list. So I handed over the pen and paper and low and behold she wrote out a wonderful R i c and a perfectly formed and executed e. Then she wrote it again just because she wanted to.
And so there it was. She didn’t need to be endlessly corrected, directed and tested. She needed time, space and the opportunity to explore. That is what our unschooling journey is about, surrounding them in experiences and knowledge, joyfully living, immersing ourselves into their worlds and interests and then allowing them the time to explore, then I sit back and watch them soak it all up. It’s kinda awesome.