Things kids learn from following their own interests - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 58 Old 10-27-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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Interesting article - I gave the link to my entire h.s. group...I love the quote in there-
"the result is a handsome young man who has been raised by middle class wolves"(?not quite sure of wording) I just thought that was funny...sounds like an interesting family-
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#32 of 58 Old 10-27-2005, 06:48 PM
 
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Oh, I did it again. I posted within a post when I meant to create an new post.
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#33 of 58 Old 10-27-2005, 10:52 PM
 
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YK, that article was so interesting, but it actually put me off of unschooling. I came out with the conclusion that we may not stick with unschooling after all. I don't expect my kids to go to university or anything; I want them to follow their own dreams. But I, personally, would not set up an environment where my kids could play video games until 5am and skip reading until age 14. I loved the part about the kids playing in their yard all day. I love the non-conformity that Quinn had. But I don't follow TCS and so I, personally, would not be comfortable with some of the choices that the kids were given. The quote that said something like, "Why would you choose Dante if you could choose Doom?" kind of echoed my general feeling. I couldn't live in an environment like that, personally.

Maybe we won't/don't unschool after all. We're "child-led", but I don't know if I could along with the stuff that the family did. We are very anti-video games, for a start (for all of us, not just our kids).
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#34 of 58 Old 10-27-2005, 11:15 PM
 
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*disclaimer*not trying insult anyones personal thoughts and ideas, just trying to express my own...

Don't be so put off by the article- I *think*that's why LillianJ started this thread-b/c the article described these folks as radical unschoolers... it's getting so some folks feel the need to differentiate even further...unschooling,radical unschooling,etc.which I guess is an ok thing- b/c unschooling can mean different things to different people-
that's why I like the title of this thread-
I like to refer to it as the T.K.L.F.F.T.O.I. thread...
I consider myself unschooling(on my good days) but I can't agree with the philosophy of "just letting go of my own expectations for my kids"- not knocking it here- just saying- I don't agree with that aspect of their thinking- but I don't think that's the absolute essence of unschooling. and the TCS line of thought, that's the TCS line of thought. That's not necessarily what you have to believe in order to unschool. I've had to ask and answer quite a few of my own questions along this line in the last 2 years also.
So I think especially if you feel like an unschooler,and consider yourself one, to me u.s'ers of all people are the ones who can and should defy neat categorizing....
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#35 of 58 Old 10-27-2005, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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YK, that article was so interesting, but it actually put me off of unschooling. I came out with the conclusion that we may not stick with unschooling after all.
Well, the thing to keep in mind is that all the neat categories that are so widely assigned to different homeschoolers these days are just a whole lot of different people's opinions; and there's a lot of disagreement on the definitions themselves, let alone the choices. So I don't think it really matters that much what we call what we individually do. You might very well unschool, but just not call it that. You would never homeschool in the way that family did - many of us wouldn't, because we're not them, we're each of us - it's really a matter of individual family and parent styles.

It's certainly interesting, though, to see some of what that boy was able to learn without traditional formal study. The reason I posted the article was not to show what "unschooling" is, but to show that even in the most radical form of unschooling, there's still amazing learning that can take place when a child is following his own interests, and we can all learn from that. It was certainly easy to overlook some of that while reading about some of the more radical things that went on, so I think you're initiation reaction is going to be a pretty common one. Lillian
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#36 of 58 Old 10-28-2005, 09:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J

The reason I posted the article was not to show what "unschooling" is, but to show that even in the most radical form of unschooling, there's still amazing learning that can take place when a child is following his own interests, and we can all learn from that. It was certainly easy to overlook some of that while reading about some of the more radical things that went on, so I think you're initiation reaction is going to be a pretty common one. Lillian
Thank you for helping me reframe my thoughts on this.
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#37 of 58 Old 10-28-2005, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J




It's certainly interesting, though, to see some of what that boy was able to learn without traditional formal study. The reason I posted the article was not to show what "unschooling" is, but to show that even in the most radical form of unschooling, there's still amazing learning that can take place when a child is following his own interests, and we can all learn from that. Lillian
Yup!
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#38 of 58 Old 08-28-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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This will be my first year hs'ing dd 8 and ds 4.5. However, since I have started to research hs'ing I've started to look at everyday activities in new ways.

For example, ds loves to build and follow plans for things. I bought him some Kid K'Nex (like K'Nex but bigger for younger kiddos) for Christmas last year and ridiculous me figured he wouldn't want to follow the plan book that came with it. Wrong. He was copying the objects off the side of the container - visually just figuring out from the pic the steps necessary to make the different things on the box. I quickly brought the plan book back out Now he likes to play with his sister's K'Nex which are smaller. He doesn't follow the more complex plans in the book yet, but still loves to tinker with them. He also loves building with Tinkertoys.

He also loves playing with Duplo blocks and was trying to build some things off the side of the box the other day. First he had to count how many blocks of each colour and size he needed to reproduce the picture on the bin. So right there he was doing counting, matching, classification, colour identification, and shape identification. As we were searching for the blocks I would say something like "We have 3 blocks so far and we need 4 total so how many more do we need to find?" Sometimes he would have to count it out again, but the connections were still being made, even if subtly. Then he had to use symetry and follow the pattern on the picture to re-create the item pictured. A couple of times we needed a block that wasn't in the bin and so we had to use other blocks to add up to the missing block which brought us to impromptu fractions. One I helped him with (taking three blocks to equal the length we needed of the missing block). The other time I was so proud of him because he needed a reg. rectangle and couldn't find one so he took two flat rectangles and put one on top of the other to equal the missing block! I was so proud of him for figuring it out on his own and he was proud of himself too.

I've also noticed how many times my kiddos ask me a question and I brush them off. No more of that now that I am mindful of it! I never realized how often they asked me questions!

Dd is a huge fan of books and will sometimes read for an hour after "official" bedtime at night. I'm really looking forward to being able to give her more free time for reading this year now that we are hs'ing.
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#39 of 58 Old 08-28-2007, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was so proud of him for figuring it out on his own and he was proud of himself too.



I think that experience of a child discovering his own ability to figure things out and learn from it is so incredibly valuable - it's delicious to watch. We tend to take that away from them when we assume they're little empty vessels waiting to be filled. I really like this little piece by a teacher:

What We Steal From Children

- Lillian
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#40 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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My son (8) mentioned that he wanted to know more about chemistry, so I got him a $1 (clearance section @ half price books) chemistry you can do with ordinary household items book and after he finished his schoolwork Monday (he is n school two days a week) he did 2 of the experiements out of it (on his own), and has gone on to look up things online.

My six year old just barely got addition at the end of last year (he is homeschooled-relaxed eclectic) and we really didn't do much over the summer with math (a little reading). Just from playing with his brother & deciding he wanted to know now he can do 2 plus 2, 4 plus 4, etc. without counting on fingers anymore. Just from playtime with his brother over the summer (we basically did nothing this summer *G* it was great. I think all the kids needed to just do NOTHING).


I am sure I have more examples if I think enough, but those are the two most recent big things.
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#41 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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Oh. One more thing. My son has a study hall period when he is at school (t/t) because the music class didn't make b/c of not enough interest. So during this time he can bring an ipod/cd player, snacks, drink, and either work on his homework or read or write. Basically something quiet, it isn't a social time.

Today he went to the library in beetween classes (the librarian does study hall, so she is good about letting them get books if they want to read) and got one about George Washington & read the whole thing. Was telling me about it later and said he wants to learn/read more about him. (Sidenote: I am reading out loud Revolutionary War On Wednesday - Magic Treehouse - to the kids, he finished it reading to himself already because he couldn't wait t o know the ending, I think that is what prompted him to want to know more about G. W.) I am still upset the music class didn't happen, but I love that he gets that free time for himself, without the younger kids bothering him (at home if he trys to sit and read a whole book he would be distracted!) and he gets a nice break in two very full days.

We had so much stress at the school he attended the past few years & this is our comprimise (I wanted to homeschool) and so far it is working out way better. The love for learning he had when he was in Montessori preschool is coming back already.
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#42 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 01:08 AM
 
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My daughter (age 4 at the time) came into the kitchen with her new little plastic animals. She had 2 Rhinos and they were not the same for some reason. She asked two questions "why aren't these Rhinos the same? and "What do Rhinos eat?" We took the time to look up all kinds of information about rhinos and she knows so much about them now. She was interested, it's in her now and she won't forget it.

My son (5 at the time) really wanted to learn to play games on the computer. We let him play kid games, but he was interested in going to different areas that we weren't really allowing him to go because he couldn't read. So, he learned the word "game" and went from there. He learned to read by clicking where he wanted to go on the computer and having to figure out what it said so that he didn't have to ask us to help him.

I've taken a lot of history and geography classes, but haven't retained anything. AS soon as I see something that peaks my interest, I can learn a historical fact, but otherwise, it's all mush. It's just now (at 32) starting to make a chronilogical line in my brain and becoming understandable. I'm just NOW starting to be interested in learning history even though I've had many classes that taught me nothing.

Lisa

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

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#43 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 01:17 AM
 
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Well my kids watched Pink Floyd's The Wall last night. The movie is a complicated mix of animation and symbolism combining WWII, an overbearing mother, drug abuse, music, and a not so nice depiction of school . It was cool. We discussed the music of Pink Floyd, and looked up some stuff. Interesting.
::bad memories of the meat (em......child) grinder::

Things my dd has pursued on her own:

She likes to invent role playing and board games. We are her game testers.

She loves to create music. She sings, plays her guitar, and writes a song nearly every night before bed.

She came running to me the other day "mom, where is the yarn?". I told her and she came running back, "mom, where are the scissors and tape?". She had gone online and figured out how to make friendship bracelets.

She designs outfits out of fabric for herself and her dolls.

She's working on making her own website. (I'll have to show her that macromedia link).

She enjoys creating her own recipes.

She's almost 10.
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#44 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 03:15 AM
 
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My 4 yr old DS is really into Survivorman right now. We usually watch it a couple times a week. He asks A LOT of questions about it. He tried building a fire the other day in my living room by rubbing 2 chopsticks together. He is also saving up to by snowshoes so we can go to the arctic tundra. He likes to make up scenarios.

DS: "we are lost in the forest.What do we do?"
ME: "we yell for help??"
DS: "no no no!! we build a shelter and start a fire...like this (demonstrates building a fire). Then we go get some snakes to eat and then we go to sleep."
ME:"what do we do after that"
DS:"we walk until we aren't lost anymore"

Over the summer he was obsessed about outer space. I think he watched the Bill Nye planets video a billion times We researched online. Read a ton of books. He loved the M&D solar system floor puzzle. Now he can tell you a lot of things about the planets.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
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#45 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 05:47 AM
 
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Dd has taught herself how to make videos with our camera (a skill I have not yet mastered... ) and also how to load them up on Youtube.

She's crocheting a blanket.

She was doing some pre algebra the other day. (I think that's what it was... we got some problems off of google.) She said some of it was fun, but the rest was really boring.

Ds is trying to improve his handwriting. He hates to write by hand, and will type any time he can, but he's been applying for a work and doesn't care for his penmanship. So far so good!

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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#46 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 08:58 AM
 
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What a fun thread!


Left Field wrote:
<<"What does 2+2 equal?", a formula that many young children are taught to memorize and regurgitate, he wouldn't know what I was talking about. But if he wants to hear song 9 on the CD and he sees that it's on 7, he knows that he has two songs to get through first (he said that today in the car). >>

My ds likes to do this kind of deductive reasoning too. He also figured out how to add large numbers, he said "200+200 is 400 because 2+2 is 4" He really is having fun with numbers lately.

Cal likes paper airplanes and a few weeks ago I found this fabulous little book in a thrift store called Paper Jets. It had patterns you photo copy and cut out and glue, color, etc. We worked together (he needed help since it involved using a very sharp art knife) and made this:

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...ts070003-1.jpg

My oldest is ten and she is an animal LOVEH!! She also loves to create. We recently had some tree stumps taken out of our yard and she dug around after and found some pretty good clay. She worked with it and made some little hide out huts for our baby garter snakes. Both kids had fun with this and I even got my hands dirty!

Here's a pic of her stuff laid out to dry:

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...ts070006-1.jpg

 Mommy to Emily (16), Cal (12) and Claire Bear (3)
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#47 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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What a cool thread Lillian!

I haven't read others, but will when I'm done.

Some examples that stand out how my children have learned something just because they were interested in learning about it:

DS15 has always (even while still in ps) been interested in war/military history and weaponry, and has always searched out information (even reading encyclopedias as leisure reading) on that topic.

He's also a big lover of golf, and a huge fan of T. Woods. He has searched out lots of information on golf and golfers.

I still chuckle over his library book selections. One of my favorite, which shows how eclectic his learning desires are, was a while back. He had 32 books; the selection was from Hitler, small engine repair, golf, football history, Sophia Loren (sp), silent films, Calvin and hobs, super hero comics, ancient weaponry, and solar electric toys.

This year has been the year to learn 16th century England, which also leads to all over 16th century history. He joined the cast of our state Ren faire, and it being a faire that tries to focus on education-entertainment, he needed to research his character and other aspects of Elizabethan history. Needless to say, I've learned a lot along the way as well. The younger 2 also joined in on the learning, and it became a family affair. Not only did we all have a blast with this, but we all had a blast while learning. I can't imagine having had to work around a work schedule, school schedule or even a school at home schedule and get all that we had to do done without going insane. My hats off to all that did do it, I'd not have done so well.


DD9, when she was just over 6 was looking over my shoulder as I was looking at a picture of a caterpillar that was being discussed on a message board. She said, "Oh no, you don't want to touch that one, it stings you and it hurts". It was a "white caterpillar" and it does have that very effect. I asked how she knew this and she replied, "I read it in one of my bug books".

She wished to learn how to play the piano. Well, we can't afford a piano or lessons, so I got her an inexpensive keyboard and found an online free lesson plan and she taught herself how to play and read music from that. Sure she won't be a concert pianist, but she enjoys playing music.

She taught herself how to read because she wanted to know how to. I went to read with her D|ck and Jane one day when she was 5, and she picked up the book and read it to me as if she'd been reading all along, even the harder words she read smoothly and understood what was going on. She then, in turn taught herself how to read cursive...then later how to write. All because she wanted to know how to do it. She's now teaching herself how to write in cursive, because she wants to.

She's also searching out ways to improve her spelling, all because she wants to be able to spell better.

This is also the child that at age 5 put the tv on closed caption, just so she could read the sub-titles. She also puts dvd's on different lang. modes so she can watch them in another lang.

She teaches herself math concepts, just for giggles and kicks. I'm always in search of interesting and child friendly math concept reading materials for her, since she learns best by reading or watching and copying.

For longer than the past year, she's been into the brain. This child will go on and on about the brain. The other day, we were out in the heat all day, and I wasn't feeling too "with it" on the way home. She goes on how my cerebellum affects balance and on and on about the brain and why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling because such and such affected my brain in this such and such way. She has asked to see a real live brain, I've yet figured out how to accomplish this one.

There's a lot more on her, but I'll move on.


DS5 isn't reading, yet, but that hasn't stopped him from learning about things he wants to know about. He LOVES dinosaurs, has since infant hood, it seems. He may not be out there reciting the different dinosaurs and their purposes, but he knows about them and enjoys learning about them. He also enjoys and has searched out information on various topics, I can't think of off the top of my head...oh yea space stuff. He's, on his own, learned mental math. I'm not sure how or when this happened; he just the other day came up to me as said 4 and 6 is 10. Later on he was asking for something, and I said he could have 5, and he said that he wanted more. SO I said he can have 10 more after lunch. Without hardly any hesitation he said, "Then I get 15 total, OK!". Somewhere along the way he's learned how to tell time on the digital clock and he's now trying to learn on a reg. clock. He also said that he wishes to learn to read this year, so we'll see how that goes. He also likes to measure things and loves things about Knights.

OK, there really is so much more, but I'll stop for now.

Ahhh tea the essence of life.
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#48 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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She has asked to see a real live brain, I've yet figured out how to accomplish this one.
Have you tried contacting a nearby college or university? All the anatomy labs I've ever been in have had a brain or two for students to observe. You might try giving a call and seeing if someone who has access would give you daughter a tour. I've had some great professors who probably would have loved to show your daughter around.

+ (13 years together)= (9), (9), (2) and
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#49 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:03 PM
 
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Have you tried contacting a nearby college or university? All the anatomy labs I've ever been in have had a brain or two for students to observe. You might try giving a call and seeing if someone who has access would give you daughter a tour. I've had some great professors who probably would have loved to show your daughter around.
I've thought about it, but not exactly sure how to go about doing it, then we got busy with Faire.

I need to get my rump in gear and call around, it seems. thanks for the motivation.

The pp's kids learning to knit made me realize how much dd9 has learned this year. Because of our involvement with the Ren faire, she. and I, have learned how to crochet (nun’s work), use a knitting doll, basic weaving, spinning (she’s begging for a spinning wheel…which I want as well), leather working (basic stuff), sewing by hand, beading by hand and rag doll making. She is always working on creating something with yarn, or fabric.

Right now I’m learning basic clothes drafting and hat making, for which she wants to learn as well. Once I know what I’m doing, I’ll pass on the information to her and she can draft her own things (for her toys). I also learned how to knit this year as well as machine embroider and sewing clothes, not just basic stuff either.

DS15 collects sports cards…and works out their value.

The kids are always inventing things to play with or use. I guess I never thought how valuable allowing their inventive juices to flow really was. I mean I knew, but never gave it much thought beyond the creative learning.

LeftField your ds might find Space Rummy fun, the kids love that game.

SunRayeMomi we have chickens, which are raptors and a lot of fun to say we have dinos in our yard. DS5 has been obsessed with dinos since infanthood.

Ahhh tea the essence of life.
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#50 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a cool thread Lillian!

Well, yeah, I thought so back in 2005 when I started it - but it seems to have a lot more juice now that it's suddenly been resurrected by someone who clicked on a link to it. Go figure! - Lillian
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#51 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#52 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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My kids do things that interest them all day long. Write, draw, read, play paino, play drums, ride horses, play tennis, knit, dye wool, cook, take care of animals,raise chickens, bike ride, build things out of branches, play cards, play board games , work on the interent, draw commisons for Deviant Art, make posters, write poetry, keep nature journals, look for constellations at night, set off fireworks (!!) , watch TV, watch movies, swim, collect things at the beach, build fires (pyros are us), catch frogs, raise Monarch butterflies, dig for worms to feed to chickens, attach ropes to trees, go to Hershy Park and discuss why the water park is the the worst designed water park they have ever been to, ask the librarian to order books, plant seeds, pick food from vines that were once no more than seeds...

I can't think of just one thing, or maybe I misunderstand the question?
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#53 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't think of just one thing, or maybe I misunderstand the question?
As I recall, there was also some confusion about it when the thread first began. This was later added to the first post to clarify:
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. Obviously everyone learns from whatever their interests are - but she's one of many new homeschoolers who are curious and interested in examples of what we mean when we say children will learn lots of important things from their own interests as compared to the notion that they need to have their learning formally planned, packaged, or orchestrated in order to get a good education. It's a fairly new concept to a lot of people, and there are many people out there - some of whom will be reading this thread - who have come to assume that kids don't learn about much of anything unless they're being "taught." So this thread is simply a place to cite examples of all the cool and often unexpected things kids are learning from their own interests as compared to learning from things "taught" to them. - Lillian

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#54 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I missed the added info. Ok, sometimes we've needed direct instruction for some of the things I lised, event hough the interest came from the child. When they learned how to knit, we got a book, and we got confused, lol, so we had a friend teach us. So we got the interest on our own, but we couldn't figure it out on our own. Take away knitting, but we did experiment with dyes on our own, and take away horseback riding, because they didn't learn that alone, either. And while they experiement all the time with their instruments, they also have music teachers. Swimming, yes, cooking, sort of, but with books, making stuff out of branches, digging, swimming collecting, on their own. Drawing, on their own, but my teen dd took an art class when proprotions and muscles etc were aggravating her.

So, I guess they do a bit of both...some things we learn on our own, and sometimes we need an assist. Gardening is kind of hit or miss. Somethings grow better than others in our soil and climate, no matter what the gardening books say etc.
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#55 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 01:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post

Well, yeah, I thought so back in 2005 when I started it - but it seems to have a lot more juice now that it's suddenly been resurrected by someone who clicked on a link to it. Go figure! - Lillian
I didn't even notice the thread made date. It's still way cool, esp. since a lot of neat things have been going on this past year that we've learned from just because we wanted to know.

Ahhh tea the essence of life.
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#56 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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My 8yo spent the last hour creating an amuse bouche. He is so proud of himself! It's actually pretty good - triscuit style cracker with mozzerella cheese, tomato soup drizzle and shredded carrots garnish with a little lemon juice. Not too shabby for a first try! (I've eaten 3 so far. So much for the point of an amuse bouche! )
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#57 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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Well, let's see....

DD started reading Sherlock Holmes as part of the library reading program which lead her to read the Mary Russell novels by Laurie King. After reading A Monsterous Regiment of Women she became intrigued wih theology and feminism and got some books out of the library about that.

After hearing Nathaniel Greene mentioned briefly in a Percy Jackson novel she found an article about him in Smithsonian Magazine and then looked him up on Wikipedia.

This has been going on for awhile but DD started making wands from instructions on hogwarts summer coorespondance school group and has become very adept at tree ID because of it.

DS can now identify many medieval weapons from playing Age of Empires and can tell what the *castle age* actual was.

We've all learned a lot of geography looking up where the cheerleading teams in the USA and UK come from and where the competitions will be as well as a lot about muscles from watching and helping DD cheer.
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#58 of 58 Old 08-29-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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Kenna, who just turned 7 this weekend, is learning a lot of Latin, etc. words and definitions because of her all-encompassing love of Harry Potter. She wanted to decipher what the spells and incantations are
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