Monday, August 29, 2011

Child-led Learning - 8/16/11

‎"Our flexibility and willingness to follow a child's lead will allow remarkable things to happen, if we let them." - Bev Bos ...

Today made me think about the idea of "Child-led Learning."   I had some basic plans for the day as usual. Nothing set in stone. Nothing is ever set in stone for me. I know anything can happen. Someone may get sick. It may take us longer to do one thing than I planned and something else will have to get scrubbed for that day. Or maybe one activity will just totally flop. Then again, we may have to unexpectedly go out and not have time to do what I had planned. Sometimes, we get really interested in a different subject and we follow that trail instead. That is sort of what happened today. Flossie had been reading a Little Orphan Annie picture book at home and brought it to read here as well. She wanted to know if I had a video of the movie to watch. I did. With us being involved in the theater, my kids were both excited to watch the musical again, so we were all involved in sitting and watching the movie. This took up a couple of hours of our morning, and that was ok.

Freddie wasn't all that interested in the movie. He kind of off and on watched it. But during that time, he kind of did his own thing too. He got out a bunch of drawing materials and set to work creating something for his room.  Then he went on the computer for a little while. Next, he drew something with the animal markers, and then then he built a small zoo with the blocks.

In homeschooling I guess you call thins kind of a day "unschooling," - letting the kids determine what the day will look like, what kinds of learning they want to do.  I can see some value in it. I think doing it now and then is a good thing. But again, I think balance is good. Moderation. I found this interesting article at Bending the Twigs blogspot and I think this is a good summary of how I feel:

"Modern neuroscience has found that the part of the brain responsible for considering the long-term consequences of one's action, the medial prefrontal cortex, does not mature until around age 20. Children therefore lack the maturity to persevere in tasks that are unpleasant in the short-term but beneficial to them in the long run. This is where adults have the responsibility to step in and guide them.

As parents, we do not allow our children free reign in choosing their diet. Few (if any) children would choose tofu and broccoli over french fries and ice cream. Instead, we ensure that their diet meets their basic nutritional needs. Most of us do take our children's preferences into consideration when planning meals and allow a certain amount of choice. However, we set the general parameters and limit the choices to approved options.

This philosophy of taking the child's preferences into consideration while setting the general parameters to ensure basic needs are met applies to education as well as nutrition. There needs to be a balance between "child-led" and teacher-guided activities."

 Definitely something to think about. But for today, it was mostly a child-led day. And fun was had by all :)

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