It's okay to relax and play, learning happens doing that too!
Just read an article written by someone in the UK - his child attends school at age 4. Not preschool, school. That trend worries me. And an article on the growing practice of 'hot-housing' toddlers in Australia to get them for preschool...
My dad likes to tell my daughter-in-law holding his 5 month old great-grandchild that there is an 18 month old child in the UK that can speak four languages. Gee, my kids weren't chatting away in English at that age! And apparently, according to my mum, I wasn't talking properly at the age of five and she thought the teacher would call her in after the first week of school, fearing I was 'retarded'! Despite the fact that all three of my children turned out okay, as did I, my dad keeps insisting that if a child hasn't learned everything by the age of five it not only becomes considerably harder to learn, but chances are won't be learned at all! Old habits and thoughts stick like, well, you know what! Learning to let go of nonsense is one lesson we definitely need to encourage in our children early in life!
This is what I think should happen in the lives of young children. Older children too. Adults as well!
Let the children play: get involved in their play, play alongside and with them. Talk to them, listen to them, respond to them, be attentive and responsive to what they say and do and need. If they are interested gently teach them, help them learn as much as they want in the way that suits their nature and needs. Follow their cue and be inventive and creative in your approach and activities. Champion their learning. A busy, productive, constructive, caring and involved life is an education within itself!
I'm in awe of my adult children. They aren't astronauts, engineers or award winning authors. They aren't mega famous film stars, or brain surgeons or potential Nobel Prize winning scientists. They aren't entrepreneurs busily making millions of dollars. They are workers, problem solvers, managers of their own lives, getting on with what comes next, doing what needs to be done, busy being mums and dads, uncles and aunts and friends. They are intelligent, creative and independent people who enjoy challenging dogma, researching information and implementing solutions that improve their lives and those of their friends. A busy, productive, constructive, caring and involved life was an adequate and appropriate and successful education for them.
It's okay, it works. Living and learning outside of the school paradigm works. If you want, give it a go, a red-hot determined go or a wonderfully relaxed let's see what happens go. Focus on learning, not education. Focus on learning, not schooling. What happens when we focus on learning is a wonderful holistic education. What happened when I did that amazed me, it might amaze you too!
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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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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