A fellow homeschooling mom forwarded an article on child-led learning to me the other day.
I had just finished reading John Holt’s ‘How Children Learn’ so the article was timely for me. John Holt said “…what we need to do – and all we need to do – is to give children as much help and guidance as the need and ask for, listen respectfully when they feel like talking, and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest.”
In school and in homeschooling,there is a guiding belief that learning isn’t natural; that children must be coerced to learn anything.
Some parent, even some homeschoolers, believe that the only way to learn is to take a class led by an expert. Others believe certain subjects can only be mastered by memorizing and being tested on it.
After reading various books and researching articles, speaking with other parents and watching my children learn, I am convinced learning happens all the time, naturally. Time does not need to be set aside for learning. It just happens.
This past year my son seems to have learned so much during ‘free’ time. While reading a book, going for a walk, building his lego masterpieces, making models, playing computer games, he makes astounding connections.
What I have noticed is that when he is coerced or forced to learn, my son freezes up or is not able to retain the information in a meaningful way.
When discussing this with my friend, she exclaimed she cannot be hands-off with her child’s education. I cleared it up by asking her not to confuse child-led with hands off parenting/homeschooling. Partner and facilitator are better descriptions of the parent’s role.
Article By Nuria Almeida
Picture By apdk