17 May 2010
unschool monday :: learning from nature
Yesterday we held the annual owlet fungi fossick. A tradition we started a few years ago and now that the world is our classroom, one that we intend to continue..
I'm forever surprised at the variety. I mean why do they all grow so individually, so beautifully? Some delicate, others strong and tall or like plates in the side of a tree...
We marvel at each one and imagine the kind of faeries that might live nearby. We walk and talk and look at the little things, down around owlet eye level, or lower.
There's lots of time for observation... and questions!! Oh the questions!! I'm sure every parent alive knows about the questions and this is the magic of a day wandering outside for an unschooling family. "How do rocks form?" "What started the first fire?" " Why do trees fall down?" "What did it look like when all the trees were very tiny?" "How did the trees get there?" Some require some imagination. Others are fairly easy and some we have to google when we get home. Sometimes we'll find a new area of interest through conversation, borrow a book from the library, watch a documentary and learn what we can.
It works differently to school, this style of learning. There is no checklist. There's no list you can look at and tick off to make sure the subject is covered. The subjects that are relevant to the child will be covered. But perhaps not in the traditional order. They'll be covered when they are important to the child. They'll grasp whatever they can if there's an interest. Sometimes they'll come back to it over a period of years, or just learn it through further reading when they are ready. The same way we do as adults. If we want to learn about something, we ask, read, watch, find out. We don't wait for it to come up in conversation or class in a few years time when its no longer relevant.
So far big owlet knows more about evolution than I did when I was 12yo. She asks the questions, we answer as best we can. We read and learn with her. Sometimes she asks again maybe a year, aweek or an hour later and we know we need to be clearer, more specific, or more interesting... I'm glad we're there to answer the questions as they do come up. I'm glad she doesn't have to compete with a group of 30 kids for our attention. I'm glad we have the time to explain things as she needs to learn them. I'm just so glad we can be there to guide her and little owlet along this journey and help them maintain that interest, the desire to learn, that awe for nature.
This last photo is an oldie but a goodie. Its my favourite from a few years ago taken by Huz when he and big owlet went camping together. It captures that awe that is one of our reasons for choosing unschooling. We never want to lose that.
** All photos in this post were taken by Huz**