Saturday, April 17, 2010

Natural Learning: One family's story

I have 3 daughters. Tannah, my eldest at 5, walked at almost 18 months. Willow, the middle child, walked at 10 months. And Harper, my baby who has just had her first birthday, is yet to walk-but she can climb!

I did not put Tannah in remedial walking. I was not taken aside by an expert to say that she was behind her peers and we would have to work hard to have her catch up. Willow was not in a gifted walkers program. There was no pressure on her to then perform all her milestones early to keep that “gifted” label.  Harper does not have a “walking difficulty” because she is learning in a different way to other walkers.

My girls learned to walk (and are still learning!) without labels and pressure to do so by a certain date, or at the same other time as a group of children born in the same year. They did it because they wanted to, because it is human nature to want to learn to do the same as others in their tribe, because they can’t help but want to progress. They were not graded on how they walked, they did not all learn to walk in the same way which was dictated by a textbook nor were they taught by a walking teacher. They learned to walk right alongside other children of different ages as well as adults and their peers.

Did I help them? Sure. When they wanted me to I held their fingers and walked up and down, up and down the hallway. Providing support and reassurance when they fell. I provided trolleys to push around and let them rearrange the dining chairs moving them around on the tiles. There was no set amount of time per day that they had to walk, and no end to the amount of time they were able to try out their new skills.  I delighted in their achievements but they are not “good girls” for walking who deserve gold stars any more than they are “naughty” for crawling instead when they so chose.

It might not surprise you that my children are homeschooled. They learn at their own pace, free from labels and grades and judgment. They have my support to pursue subjects that interest them for as long as they want to, to ask as many questions as they wish using all the resources we can find. They are not hindered by 9am-3pm or the needs of 28 or so other children as well as their own. They are not limited by a system that caters mostly to average.-where being too far ahead as well as behind is not encouraged nor dealt with very well (in most cases). My children are free to form friendships with children of all ages-as well as adults because there is no age division in my world. They can learn all kinds of skills from all kinds of people who use all kinds of styles to teach, not merely one way taught by one person.

Bust most importantly their education is not something that is done to them. It is something that they are willing participants in. They have plenty of time to learn because school does not get in the way.

About the author:  Shae is a homebirthin, homeschoolin, homecookin, stay-at-home Mama to 3 amazing daughters.

Check out her blog 'Yay for Home'


Lauren said...

I ADORED this. I hope to do this with my girls! :)

Auroras_Garden said...

This is a great inspiring story!

Sarah Barnard said...

I like the walking anaology! It drives me nuts the idea we have to force our children to learn anything...they are born with an innate drive to do so, whther that is walking or any other skill!


Anonymous said...

Awesome story!!!! So true!!!!

Outspoken Tomato said...

Fabulous analogy! I wasn't homeschooled growing up but my younger siblings have been. I have seen them growing and learning in ways that far exceed what most public schools would be able to teach. Love this post!

katepickle said...

Yay for home!!! ;)

Lauren Cylkowski said...

Wow- I absolutely LOVE this article! I am TOTALLY into homeschooling and would love to be able to do this for my future kids.
Watching Yay for home's blog now! :o)

Lauren Cylkowski said...

Wow- I absolutely LOVE this article! I am TOTALLY into homeschooling and would love to be able to do this for my future kids.
Watching Yay for home's blog now! :o)

Anita Hamilton said...

I was home schooled too, well sort of. I independent studied at home and took tests at a charter "school". There's no judgement at all people are there from all different grades working on different subjects at their own pace and just their to take their tests and turn in homework thats about it. You dont get a "grade" handed back to you. The "teachers" just make sure you comprehend the work and thats about it.

I taught myself at home on my own and read and studied all my classes on my own and it was the first time i felt no pressure, since leaving public school. And I was happy. I am glad i had the charter school though because they had a prom and everything that was SO FUN!

I believe home school is very powerful and wonderful and less stressful for kids.

Hey I've given you a blog award on my blog hop on by to pick it up and show it off

Jami said...

I absolutely LOVED this and can't agree more! I am homeschooling/unschooling my kids and loving it. I love that they are able to learn at their own pace and enjoy learning! It is not a forced thing, it is something they enjoy and seek out. :) The walking analogy is FABULOUS!! Happy to reshare this link to all of my friends :)

melissaR said...

LOVE!!! thank you for posting! this is why, really i feel to unschool.

shae said...

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments :)

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