Originally Posted by Lillian J
Note added later to clarify: The idea is that someone posted in an unschooling thread that she didn't feel as if she exactly "fit" into either talks specifically about "unschooling" by name nor ones about curricula - and she expressed that she'd just like to hear more about how children learn from their own interests.
Most people have similar experiences. Whether it's learning HTML or knitting or gardening or playing an instrument. And then, there are those of us who become semi-experts at everything that interests us - we find a puppy, so we learn everything we can about the breed; we learn about the benefits of organic food and can't stop finding out more and more and more; we learn about an interesting great aunt and have to keep delving deeper, until we've eventually filled in a family tree six generations deep, complete with interesting anecdotes about many of the ancestors.
Also, I think some people get caught up in separating certain kinds of learning from "real life." Math, for instance, and reading. But, these things are completely connected to real life. They ARE real life. If a kiddo wants to learn to cook, for example, there's LOTS of reading involved, as well as math, obviously. Interested in YuGiOh? Got to know how to read the cards and add and subtract damage points.
Everything is connected, and young kids (and those who haven't been to school) haven't been programmed to categorize things and separate them. So, it's only natural that playing with Hotwheels turns into a discussion on speed limits and road safety, or friction (watching them slow down), or how far they could travel in a second, a minute, an hour. Or, maybe it turns into a few hours spent drawing favorite race cars or talking about how car engines work.
My little one was never really into Hotwheels, but Greek mythology intrigued him. I can't for the life of me remember how it started, but for the past two years, Greek heroes and villains, gods and goddesses, monsters and nymphs have filled our conversations. He haunts the Greek myths section at the library. It wasn't long before Greek history slipped in, and suddenly, we were surrounded with books on crumbling structures and statues, Greek trivia, the Greek alphabet, etc. Well, of course, that turned into a love of all things Roman, and we spent long days with Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire. And Cleopatra, of course. Leading us to - you guessed it - Egypt! Lots to work with here. Mummies and pharaohs, pyramid building and heiroglyphics, treasures and tomb robbers. Archaeology. The Nile. Daily life in Egypt. Well, back to Rome, which wasn't built in a day - so how WAS it built? Sewage systems, buildings, roads into Rome, etc. Roman numerals led to a discussion of different number systems through history. Stepping outside, we stared into the night sky searching for constellations and planets, many named for Greek/Roman mythological characters. We bought binoculars and a Stellarscope, as well as several books on the constellations and astronomy in general. Then, on to Greek and Roman coins! This led to an interest in coins and bills from around the world and through the ages. The history of money. Why it's worth what it is today. And on and on and on and....
He's 7.5 now and hasn't shown a decline in interest. He could talk your ear off! He certainly knows much more about Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt than I do! He's better at remembering which constellations are which. These were all just things that came up naturally because of his interest. We talk A LOT and one subject naturally flows into another subject.
Sorry this is so long. Guess I got carried away.