|Originally posted by morsan
For you unschoolers, how do your kids start to show an interest in something? Is it mainly what the parents are involved in, or do many of you introduce things that you feel would be fun for your kids?
In our family it's about half and half... half things the parents are interested in, half tangents that fly off in new directions. My kids are heavily into music, and that's definitely something I'm a SME (subject matter expert) in. But they're developing interests in composing, and that's a tangent I've never really explored. They're history and mythology nuts, and while my husband has a bit of interest in modern history, they've focused mostly on ancient and medieval times. I've learned tons, following in their wake as they've travelled this web of knowledge.
Where it starts? Well, our experience is very similar to Dar's.
Sometimes it starts with a library book, or a page in an encyclopedia, or with a video, or a question about gravity or world events, or a game or computer program, or a discussion about why one part of the world is the way it is, or with a chance experience or a friend who has a passion for something. There's initial exposure, and then evidence that the child's interest has been aroused, and sometimes it just goes somewhere... they can't seem to get enough. A tiny spark, a tiny flame kindled, leads to a raging fire of passion.
For instance, I trace my kids' deep and abiding love of ancient and medieval history and lore to the sale copy of "Age of Empires II" I picked up 2 years ago when we were on holiday and it was pouring rain and cold and I needed something to throw on the laptop to amuse them for a couple of days. From there it was history books, alchemy lore, picture books, Joan of Arc, Nova shows about medieval ballistics, Playmobil castle stuff, historical novels, illuminated manuscripts, chivalry, mythological bestiaries, ancient history and mythology, Egyptology, hieroglyphics and the history of written language, costumes, pyramids, ballistics constructions and experiments, and tons more. Looking back now, it's huge, but it was just one little path on the web followed after another and another and another.....