Friday, December 3, 2010

The Natural Child


I have shared this book, The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart by Jan Hunt before in a post I did on Parenting the Second Time Around. As I stated in that post I do not agree with everything in this book, but there are a lot of things I do agree with. One thing I really enjoyed was Jan Hunt’s view of education.

She points out as a homeschooler that we as parents learn just as much as our children especially when it comes to learning the process of the nature of learning. As she states it, “The main element in successful homeschooling is trust.” We trust that our children know when they are ready to learn something new and we trust ourselves for recognizing it and providing the materials they will need. I like how she points out that children do know how to go about learning, this comes natural and is instinctive. Think about it in the first two years, they learn daily, who to trust, who is caring for them, how to sit up, crawl, and walk. We encourage and help, but these are things that children seem to just come by naturally. Yet for some unknown reason we think when it comes to learning reading, and math, that this instinctive natural learning skill disappears.

Through my trials and errors of getting caught up in the blog world I sometimes have forgotten this. I have pushed when I should have sat back, and I have ignored when I should have listened. This was one of the issues that Papa and I discussed last weekend when I took my little break. I pulled this book back out and had myself a good reminder.

I reflected back over the past almost 4 years now, and when I have just encouraged, listened to Selena, and allowed her to drive her learning, she has learned so much more and retained more information then I could ever imagine. Also those have been the best times we could spend together.

I will be sharing more about this topic later, but for now I want to share what our child led learning looks like. Yesterday morning Selena asked for play dough. At first I gave her green since that was handy. When I noticed she was making gingerbread men I asked if she would rather have brown. She quickly put the green play dough away. After she had made a plain gingerbread man she then wanted to decorate him.

100_3973 100_3975 100_3976 She told me what colors she wanted to decorate him with, I provided those colors and she went to work to give him eyes a mouth, buttons and shoes. My point being, sometimes we are too quick to want to make it what we think it should look like and forget that our children see the world in their own way. We need to step back and just provide what they need or want, then let them show us how they see the world. They do not need to see the world from our eyes, because their views are just perfect the way they are.

It wasn’t until a few comments came in, and good ones at that, before I realized I did not state that I feel this the case for younger children. While I believe all children are natural learners at all ages, and so are we adults, direction is necessary to assure they do learn what they need to do. I will address this more however in another post.

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  1. I couldn't have said it better. We all need this reminder once in a while.

  2. I'm thinking this through, and you are right, but there also needs to be a bit of a balance, because they don't always get to choose when they are doing things, and they do need to learn to do things at a certain time.

    Does that make sense? So, there's part of that I agree with, and parts that I disagree with.

  3. I was trying to form my thoughts into a comment, when Ticia's comment popped up, and said what I was thinking through.

    It would be nice to be able to jump ahead in time, and make sure all the freedom, and self guided direction, leads to a good place.

    I think that's why I appreciate your thoughts so much. Being on the second time through, you have more faith and courage in where your going.

  4. I was interested to read Ticia and Leah's comments on this. I think for the kids Selena's age the self-directed natural learning is definitely the way to go, but as they get older they must also form some study habits and learn that sometimes they have to work hard and to practice something before being able to master a subject. Some kids are naturally more predisposed to music or art or academics, but if we follow just their own desires, we might end up with people who are very narrow in their focus.

  5. This is nice post for me to read. I was reflecting back on a time when I homeschooled my daughter Ken for grades kindergarten and first grade. We had good times, and bad times. Most of the time the bad days could have been contributed by me. See I didn't realize it at the time but I expected her to go from point A to Z overnight. Sad but true. When the right enviroment is prepared for the child all subjects of learning will happen very naturally, I didn't know this then. My oldest daughter is a quick learner and I expected the same from Ken. Not fair! Because my attitude has changed expecting my children to be oh so smart, I get alot of time to observe them naturally learning. There is a process that involves learning anything and naturally it takes one step at a step. Seeing the world through the eyes of our children can be a wonderful thing. Thank you for sharing.