I often get the impression that people think we chose not to send our kids to school because they are extra smart. Or maybe that homeschooling is easier for us because we have children that are suited to it. Or sometimes they just can’t imagine how it would work. How they would get their kids to do their ‘work’.
The truth is, they’re just normal kids. Normal kids who direct their own learning, are passionate about learning, are self-motivated to learn everything they need to know. Kids who spend their days immersed in maths or reading or writing or science and PLAY, without ever being forced to do it. That’s how natural learning works.
It is hard to imagine. I didn’t really understand how it would work until I started living it. I went to school myself and so that was my view of what education was. Kids go to school where they learn a list of subjects. The teacher decides what they learn and how, then they are tested on it and deemed to have learned the material (or not). For me, there was not much space for creativity in there. For pursuing what interests you just for the love of it. For atypical interests that weren’t included in the curriculum.
When I wasn’t at school I think I was spending most of my time doing not much at all! And it’s no wonder, I had a lot to learn at school. It was perfectly normal to just want to relax when I was home. And so you see how the life of a child who goes to school is much different than one who doesn’t. It may appear that if given the choice they would choose to spend their time doing not much at all instead of initiating their own learning. So it becomes hard to imagine a child that would choose to spend the majority of their time engaged in learning of their own motivation. But, it is a whole different lifestyle, a whole different perspective.
Just as it has been from when they were born, they absorb everything in the world around them and they learn. With little input from us other than a supportive environment they learned to sit, crawl, walk and talk. Usually when a child gets to 5 years old they are off to school, whereas in our case we continue on the same path we have always been on. Nothing changes suddenly when they turn 5, unless you want it to. They continue to learn in the same way.
My kids are just normal kids, the only difference is they’re living a life without school. With the freedom to decide what they learn about, and when they learn it, they are alive with curiosity. There is never any pressure, there is never any forcing. There is a lot of trust.
And so with a day wide open, with a world full of interesting things, of course they are motivated to learn. They don’t seem to need the down time that I craved, because their life is only lived to their agenda. They are constantly doing things that they want to do, and they are enjoying it. Although they do end up learning the things that their schooled peers are learning, they’re going about it in a different way. It doesn’t ever feel like ‘work’, so they don’t feel that they need a break from it. Here, there is no distinction between weekdays and weekends, terms and holidays. Nor is it divided up into subjects with set times for practicing each. Learning and education is happening all the time. Truly, learning is life.
It is hard to imagine. It is hard to see how it could possibly work for your family because it is so different. Most people, like me, have no experience of education outside of schooling. It is hard to see past that sometimes and imagine learning happening in any other way. Homeschooling, and in particular natural learning, is a whole lifestyle and perspective shift. It’s not about super kids or super parents. It’s just normal families, living and learning together.