Frustration with lack of information on child development beyon six years of age...
© Beverley's Blog: 12th November 2005
[last article Creative Solutions and Goal Setting 9/11/05]
I've just posted a great description of unschooling on the daily homeschooling tips list by Renata Rooney, from an article she wrote for the current issue of Life Learning. Does anyone else subscribe to Life Learning ? Although I'm totally convinced about unschooling and natural learning I still find the articles informative and sometimes challenging. 'Radical unschooling' is still something that I struggle with, and now that my kids are grown up I can't experiment on them any more to see if it really works!
One of my constant frustrations when my children were young was that parenting information stopped when children turned six... I had parenting books that could tell me everything I needed to know about children under that age, and a book by Penelope Leach was never far from my hands, but no one seemed to know how a child developed - naturally - after this age! All the studys on children's development were done on children who went to school, and this seemed totally inappropriate for my situation. Especially as I wasn't seeing the kind of development the books described. I wasn't having the kind of problems described either! I am glad there are now authors like Jan Hunt and Alfie Kohn producing great books that help parents navigate child-rearing beyond those early years and beyond school...
Many of the questions I'm asked about homeschooling once parents are through the getting started stage are usually parenting questions: the kind of questions we asked during those early childhood years - what is 'normal' development for a child of this age, are we doing the best we can for our child, how can we overcome this or that problem? I often find that the problems are usually resolved when the parent recognises that each child is an individual and that issues usually arise when we try to fit these individuals into behaviours not tailored to their, or even our, needs, but to fit what someone else has determined should be 'perfect'.
Unschooling and natural learning unfold from the centre - our centres. Our kids' centres. Our families' centres. The question we need to ask each day is what is central to our needs, as individuals within a family, within a community, within a society, within the family of humanity. Keep it honest and frank and confronting and we will naturally (and almost magically!) meet our needs in a timely and satisfactory manner.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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