Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little about how we unschool

So, what does a baby on a little potty seat have to do with unschooling?  Well, babies learn by being helped, when they are ready for each new thing (and so do bigger kids).  I am not "teaching" or "training" A to use a potty seat rather than a diaper.  I simply notice her cues and set her on it.  She may be making that face or sounding grunt-y, or she might have had a dry diaper for a while, but it is up to me to notice when it's time.  I also did not teach A to roll over, she just started trying one day.  When she got frustrated, I would give her some support or a nudge.  If that didn't work I picked her up and snuggled her or nursed her.  I  never "taught" her because she learned on her own.  This is similar to the way we live our unschooling life.  When C was ready to learn to read, I didn't sit her down and drill the letter sounds into her, or use flashcards for whole word recognition, we just read a lot.  She started to ask questions about the words on the page.  I answered them.  We drew giant letters in the sand, or made letter shapes out of sticks, or bread dough.  Once, we drew large letters in the grass with flour, and walked out the shapes they made, tracing the flour path with our feet.  We also read Dick and Jane and sounded out the words because C liked it and thought it was fun.  If she got frustrated, we gave it a break, or snuggled, or got a snack, and then, one day she was off and reading on her own.
 This is also how we learn science.  Hmm, raking leaves?  Why do leaves turn colors?  (some of the colors are there all along, we just can't see them until the chlorophyll disappears due to lack of sunlight, others are caused by the glucose being trapped in the leaf after photosynthesis stops)
Why do they fall off the tree? (they actually grow a line of cells right where the leaf stem and the branch meet that causes the tree to let go of the leaves which are no longer useful for producing food in colder weather) What happens to them as they decompose?  (here we could talk about the life cycle)  Raking leaves also counts as physical education, right?

Working hard

...and wait for it...
and just because they're sweet.

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