Thursday, January 4, 2007

Have Fun With Your Kids

I sense an underlying current among home learners. It seems there is this idea that every moment must be educational. Baking turns into math lessons and gardening is science. Once you pick up the mode you realize it happens everywhere. For instance, last night at the grocery store I had T-Guy weigh a tomato and estimate its cost. He had fun, but I had that jolt of awareness that I was doing something that I could write on the unschool log.

Yes, we are our children's first and best teachers. But I think something happens and it is too easy to move away from natural learning and to take on the awareness that the child should be learning something. My mom taught me to weigh produce too, but I was a public-schooled kid and the teaching wasn't fraught with fear that I wouldn't learn or that she might forget something. The knowledge was passed on much the same way we learn to chop vegetables, dust, or eat an apple. Mostly we watch, there may be some verbal instruction, and then we take off with it. No one quizzes us later: "How wide did you open your mouth when you bit into that apple?"

I did have fun with my boys yesterday. For Christmas we bought a couple of Ed Emberley drawing books and I ordered colored pencils from Paper Scissors Stone. We sat down and drew animals the Ed Emberley way. They weren't Waldorf, they weren't Enki...but they looked cute! I drew for about 45 minutes and the boys kept going for another half hour. It was fun! We broke out of the box and did something completely different, and there was no attempt to turn it into any kind of lesson.

Best part? I can draw a really cute porcupine now.

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