Homeschooling / Unschooling

The Importance of Sharing Your Passions


It’s becoming a bit of an evening ritual now. The girls were recently given guitars for their birthdays. Last year their Dad started learning and every time he goes to practice two, three, or four little people quickly follow. Sitting close by his side, listening, asking questions, having a turn.

Miss 7 was the first to ask if he could teach her how to play, followed by Miss 5. And now after dinner and baths, they gravitate to the guitars and ask to learn more. Seated on the floor in front and listening intently they practice and laugh and share precious time together.


It might look unusual from the outside, considering we’re an unschooling family. Doesn’t that mean we don’t directly teach them? That’s true, unless it’s what the child has asked for.


As unschoolers we have no curriculum and they learn what they want to learn, when they want to learn it. Unschooling is definitely about following the child. But more than that, unschooling is a relationship. And a relationship goes both ways. Just as they share what they are learning with us, we share our passions with them. If we want our children to grow into inspired adults with a lifelong love of learning, let’s show them what that looks like!

Sharing common interests is a great opportunity to nurture connection, encourage positive family rituals, and expose children to new ideas. Here’s a few things to keep in mind to make sure it’s a positive experience…

Let them get involved.

Sometimes our hobbies are great ‘me’ time and that’s fine! But let your kids see you pursuing your interests sometimes too. Their natural curiosity and desire to spend time with you will often have them wanting to know more. Be prepared for questions and little hands wanting to try too.


Don’t go overboard.

It is exciting when we get to share our interests with our kids! We love to pass on our knowledge. But don’t start planning lessons at the first sign of a curious glance. Let them ask the questions. Launching into detailed explanations and instructions they haven’t asked for yet is a sure way to put them off. Go at their pace.

Encourage effort.

Be encouraging and supportive! Instead of empty praise like ‘good job’ that turns the focus from accomplishment to pleasing you, encourage effort instead. ‘I can see you’re trying really hard’.

It’s ok if they’re not interested.

And of course, try not to be offended if they’re not that keen on getting involved. Everyone likes different things!


Most importantly, enjoy yourself. As parents we are our children’s biggest role models. We can show them what passion, dedication, and learning look like. We can welcome their curiosity and share our joy and knowledge with them. And we can laugh and congratulate them when they show us the impressive blisters they’re working on developing from all that guitar practice.


What passions have you shared with your kids lately?


The girls are using the sticks and dots from our Spielgaben set in the pictures above to visually represent the chords they are learning. An 11% discount is available from Spielgaben for all Happiness is here readers! All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to mentioning Happiness is here and you will be provided with a discount coupon.


April 1, 2016 at 6:19 am

My partner got a guitar for her 40th birthday, 5 years ago. She was all gun ho for a while, self learning…then it kind of petered off. Fast forward five years and our 8 year old picks up the kids guitar that lives in the lounge room collecting dust and says he wants to learn guitar and asks my partner if she can she teach him like she taught herself! Well of course reality is now they are learning together! Like your mob, every evening, he has ditched their story time or making stuff time and they are learning chords and songs! ( as an aside, there is a great website called Echords which has all the guitar chords for popular music, my son is very into pop etc, and we’ve always found they learn better and easier if it’s something they are interested in as opposed to clunky songs they have never heard or nursery rhymes they aren’t interested in…..the best piano teacher they ever had for the few terms they took piano understood this. She didn’t say ” oh you’re a learner, you can’t learn Grease songs, she said sure and found simple piano music for them 🙂 ).

For my 5yo its gardening. We’ve got a pretty cool veggie patch and he is my shadow there! At first I was hoping for it to be “mine ” a place I can just be and mediattively work. But he’s persistently been my best helper. At a local market the other day, he pointed to an unlabelled seedling on a stall and said ” that lady is growing pea plants like us “. The stall holder was blown away that a 5yo could correctly identify a seedling like that. It was no surprise to us, his passion is our garden 🙂

For my 12yo, it’s the opposite. I’ve joined HER in her passion…horses! We share an online game as well as Pinterest boards and I immerse myself in her equine world. I think that’s also a very important part of unschooling. It really deepens relationships. She is teaching me SO much!

Amanda - Raising da Vinci
April 7, 2016 at 9:57 am

My son currently want to know everything there is to know about the piano, so I happily teach him. The other day we heard him playing a song then realized he wasn’t using sheet music. He had memorized it on his own in the matter of days!! We were SHOCKED! He is 3 and the song was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I think this is because he has access to the piano all day and we never tell him to play it or not to play it!

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