Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Personal Interests and Learning

One of the most amazing things about children, well, about humans in general, is that we are all so different. And we all have so many different interests that are always changing. Some of those interests-they stick with us for a long time.

If we really tune into those individual interests that we have, we will find out a lot about ourselves and the world around us. As a young child, I had an intense interest in horses. Unfortunately, I didn't receive guidance deeper into learning about them, so I never learned more than what I read in some of my books. And my interest died after a few years of looking at pictures and playing with horse toys, but maybe one day l'll pick it back up... I also had my own business with my brother when I was 9. It was called Sticky Stickers. (We went door to door trying to sell our sticker collection.) I loved art as a child and as I grew older I loved writing also. I wrote books and poems unceasingly. I studies poets like Poe, who was my favorite. I spent endless hours trying to learn his style and everything about him. I was always researching topics such as alchemy, which was sparked by a friend. I studied many other things all on my own, simply because I wanted to know. I wonder, had I had more free time to expand my mind, just how far I would have taken my interests?

S has really grown into a Beautiful young lady who has had no trouble finding herself. She has so many interests and has been able to explore each of those with few restrictions, if any.

S looks forward to gymnastics all week. She goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour each time and still can't get enough. She has become very dedicated to gym, so we decided to reward her with a trampoline to practice on throughout the Summer and on days she has no class. S will play on that trampoline from sun up to sun down, barring it is above freezing outside. She practices her swivel hips, "seat, doggy, smash," and all kinds of other flips and tricks. The trampoline gives her confidence to practice without a group watching and to try new things without a time limit or being told what to do. She has really improved in class and is moving up to intermediate come Fall. I wonder how far up she will decide to go? 

S really loves Legos too! Well, really she loves any building materials. We use Legos, blocks, Tinker Toys, Mable Rollercoaster pieces-with gears, paper, cotton swabs, bobby pins, popsicle sticks....There are endless materials and endless opportunities! When we build, her mind is constantly working and problem solving. She is experimenting to see what looks best where. And why doesn't that fit? What would? Build, Build, Build. She could do it for hours. The more she builds and older she gets, the more intricate her designs are. We often use Minecraft as a resource. It is in fact not as mindless and most parents think. Even virtual building is building. And you have infinite materials-in Creative Mode that is. She can experiment with different colors and decide whether she wants wood or stone. Should she build a lake or lava pit beside her new house? Are those creepers? Ah! Oh, the possibilities.

Building is a form of art and S is also an artist like I was. We can't keep stuff off the walls! We empty the refrigerator one day. The next day it is full of new creations! She is bursting with ideas. Sometimes she makes simple pictures. Other times she makes signs for the doors. (Each bathroom in our house now has its own male/female sign.) Other days she drags out all her stuff from the closet and sees what she can do. (She enjoys making 1st Place ribbons from coffer filters.) We have homemade necklaces, still life drawings, paintings, pastel art...She really enjoys using her professional art kit, complete with full size easel to see what she can make. Art is a way for her to experiment with color, space, and scenes of any kind.

S is also a writer. She loves to write books, comics, and songs. She just began spelling on her own fluently. (She still needs my help on words, but she can spell most simple words on her own.) Any who, it makes her feel a million times more confident that she can do most if it without help. So she just writes away. Her comics are always written with elaborate drawings and minimal dialogue. Books are filled with a plethora of words AND pictures. Then we write the songs as something to do together, complete with music notes!

Speaking of music, S also loves classical music, always has, and has expressed an interest in playing the piano. Right now we are keeping it at one activity, gymnastics, on top of CHEA-which has several extras we attend: play dates, field trips, parties, nature group...not to mention volunteering at two places, weekly trips to the library, etc. She needs down time for exploring outside, getting together with friends that aren't in CHEA, and following other interests, such as the most recent interest in starting a lemonade stand business....I digress. Classical music expands the mind, so I will always encourage it. We will see where this love takes her and go from there as she gets older.

Well, that's my S. She is a tree climbing, nature and animal loving, active, artist, little girl. I'm taking in every minute of her once in a lifetime childhood and trying to encourage every bit I can...afford. ;)

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